Garabedian Suggests Eminent Domain Seizure

Even though he probably won’t win this one, council President Garabedian is impressive in his tenacity. He just won’t let go of the fundamental issue regarding the Cullion Concrete plant — that the original building permit was granted wrongly. He’s like a bulldog going after the same bone again and again. You can almost hear him — grrrrr, GRRRRR, grrrrr…

From the Projo:

[...] But Garabedian, who has hired a lawyer with his own money to pursue the idea, dismisses those concerns.

Like other Cullion critics, he argues that the building permit the city issued the concrete company in March 2006, under the administration of former Mayor Stephen P. Laffey, was flawed in several respects.

And if a judge invalidated the permit during eminent-domain proceedings, Garabedian argued, Cullion’s claim on the value of the land would drop sharply.

With Cullion lacking authority to build and operate a plant, he said, the land would no longer be worth $1.9 million. [full text]

We keep coming back to that original permit, and the still unknown circumstances surrounding its issuance. It seems like a classic case of those on the inside protecting others on the inside. And all of us plebians on the outside are supposed to accept that this is the best we can do. I like that Garabedian is still saying, “we can do better.”

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53 thoughts on “Garabedian Suggests Eminent Domain Seizure

  1. Even with eminent domain, you have to pay the owner fair market value. This has been set by the mayor and a majority of the council with the resolution. This just needs to get done.

  2. I agree with Oblomov, there would need to be an ascertainment of the fair market value of the property in any eminent domain action. In this market, w/ the wetlands issues, along with the construction on the property, who knows what that value would be.

    One thing that seems certain is that any condemnation of the land would result in protracted litigation the outcome of which is uncertain. Let’s not miss the point that in the settlement the city is not just purchasing the property, but is purchasing the certainty of a specific outcome. And let’s not miss the point that Cullion is also “buying” the same certain outcome.

    I share Aram’s anger at this settlement. The city should never have been in this position. And while it’s nice to blame Laffey for this mess (not doubt in some measure appropriately so), the real issue is the process by which this permit was issued.

    Questions abound – eleven days from application to issuance of the permit, meetings between top city officials and Cullion and his attorney, concerns that the plans were manipulated to avoid a notice requirement, the seeming reluctance by some city officials (not Aram) to be actively involved and vocal in 2006 when it might have been easier to halt this project, along with the mess at the ZBR. How were decisions made? What acts did Cullion take in reliance of receipt of the permit and when did he take them? How did this go forward for months w/o a valid DEM permit? That’s the short list. All these questions cry for answers.

    I agree with you Kiersten. This permit/concrete plant is an infection on the body politic. If sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant, then let’s investigate this matter and let the sun shine in.

  3. After 2 1/2, 3 years of growling, the permit still stands. The permit may not be desireable to the neighbors, but it appears to be legal. The Mayor’s deal and Aram’s proposed deal are bad news for the people of Cranston as a whole.

    I went to the comprehensive plan review sessions back in 2004/2005 and Aram was at every session. That was the opportunity to rezone the area! Sorry CCRZ’ies the permit is legal. Sorry Cranston, your elected officials are guttless puddy cats.

  4. With respect, it’s been just 2 years this week. As for the zoning, there is a process that needs to be followed before a permit can be issued. A review of the issuance of this permit raises the question of whether that process was followed. If not, then that weighs on the validity of the permit.

    As for the Mayor’s “deal” and Aram’s “deal” as being bad news for the city as a whole, I would argue that there is no “good” deal in this situation. The settlement or eminent domain action will/would be costly. The alternative would be to permit the plant to be built and put into operation. If that were to occur, then the diminution of property values in the area, attendant health hazards to neighboring residents, and unanticipated costs related to the plant (e.g. impact of concrete trucks traveling on roadways to and from the plant, impact adjacent wetlands)could be equally costly. There’s no “good” way out.

    I do agree that the property could’ve/should’ve been rezoned long before the permit was issued. The 1992 Comp. Plan indicates that the parcel in question was designated open space. Statute requires local zoning to be brought into line w/ the plan w/i 18 months of its acceptance by the state. This obviously wasn’t done. Another question to be addressed by an investigation into this matter.

  5. A smart Mayor whom knew the contention around this issue should have read the August 2006 Minutes that the Council started it’s investigation. Surely even Mr. Mayor could comprehend the ramifications revealed. Instead of researching and investigating. He was guided by the same spineless attorney that was the former Mayor’s and knew exactly what the 11 day distrastrous permit could mean. Let’s bury the facts – ignore them.

    Yes, the City gave (albeit without the proper process) the Permit. Katrina is most correct, but, you fail to point out the permit EXPIRED after 6 months where it was voluntary for Cullion to agree to stop building or not – the fact is – it then became INVALID. Pay attention Katrina. If Mr. Mayor had done some reading and been following this – he would have known of something called “Revocation factor”. That’s the ability to leverage a $$ amount for the use of land with a VALID WORKING Permit versus one that is EXPIRED. This is one of the many places he failed you and all of us.

    Now, you mention the Comprehensive Plan which was supposed to be followed in 1996 when the land was sold from Bauman Bros. but the Building inspector/Zoning Board did not feel they needed to be in compliance with this…although there is an expectation that that is met. You are absolutely correct that the CITY COUNCIL at the time (was Allan Fung on that council too?) FAILED to rezone this land. They dropped the ball – screwed up and we in turn are again paying. Councilman Garabedian knows all too well, if it defies logic and reason than something STINKS, and he now has the opportunity to make it right.

    Go ARAM, GO ARAM. This insane Mayor has complied with Cullion, has voluntarily signed agreements with Cullion – what has he done for us?

    Interesting that they want to put Low income housing on the property. Interesting that former CCRZD President, Frank Mattiucci IS ON the CBDG Board. Interesting that Mr. Mattiucci after he left CCRZD walked with the Mayor and seemingly thinks he is speaking for most of the residents when he says they are supportive of this $1.9 giveaway. Mattiucci is also remembered as saying….I don’t care what goes back there…I don’t care if it’s a 7-11, as long as it’s not a Concrete Plant. Yes, he and his buddies didn’t pony up any serious money….they are part of the whiners club, which is probably why Mr. Mayor is magnetized by them.

    I stand for reason and fail to fall into the criminalese that seems to flourish is this Mayor’s office. Council President would never expend his own personal cash $$$$ if he did not feel he could win. His lawyer is a real lawyer and is thorough and genuine whom surely would not have entered into this if he didn’t feel there was just cause.

    Most of Cranston is not up for paying $1.9 for Section 8/low income housing that will spread it’s asphalt and contribute to more flooding in the already Flood plane –giving less “walkable trails” open space to enjoy.

    I am 100% behind Council President Garabedian! LET’S START DISCOVERY AND WATCH THEM FALL!!

  6. I agree that we should not put any houses on the “Cullion” property, and wish even more that we can take the property as have noted, through eminent domain.

    We fought again Cullion because it was putting a major polluter right in our backyards. What the mayor seems to be doing is two fold; in his attempt to get money to pay off his 1.9 million dollar fiasco, he is attempting to put up low income housing and he is putting it on predominantly wetland-areas. He is putting up houses on property to be owned by the city, with the builders getting all the profits. Why? Why do they use city owned properties for private sales?

    And in putting up the condos, more and more wetland areas will succumb to asphalt parking lots and when the cars are washed, when the laundry done, all of the soaps, debris, and oils and gas leaks will run like sprinters right towards the wetlands, exactly what we were against with Cullion.

    When living in Burrillville, I spoke at a zoning board meeting and stopped cold turkey the allowance of a variance of a builder who was attempting the very same crap. This was wasn’t even wetlands, it was striated with soils and sands that gave easy drainage to all these pollutants when in the supersaturated water. Imagine if the same were present in an area which often succumbs to 1/2 foot or more ground water in most rainstorms! Imagine how this drainage reacts with all the water it reaches on the way to the bay.

    Politics is politics, true. You can get a new version of the same old crap every couple years, but pollution stays and spreads. When we have good men like Aram on our side, we consider ourselves lucky. Legal permit or not, let Cullion take us to court. Imagine the agreement on the side that Nappy has with Cullion. He doesn’t care about the citizens of Cranston unless they can do something for him. And as written previously in the Herald, I don’t think the land jumped so much in value in the time since purchase… more Nappy junk. See how much 17 acres of WETLANDS is worth anywhere… not worth the pot to pee in.

  7. Once again, I find myself having to fill in the gaping holes of Scharfy’s story-telling.

    1. Aram hired a lawyer on his own dime because the City Council’s assigned attorney has reached the same erroneous conclusion as the Mayor’s lawyer, and has thus deferred his judgment to the Mayor’s apparent need for political expedience.

    2. There is still no mention of the unprecedented 11 day turnaround for this permit in Scharfy’s latest story.

    3. As I’ve written previously, one of the underlying principals in Aram’s argument is that if Cranston folds under this kind of pressure, other developers will be able to push around other cities and towns in a similar fashion. This also goes unmentioned, although I’m sure Aram has attempted to explain this to our intrepid story-teller.

  8. just a remark…regarding Oblomov:
    Oblomov Says:
    March 21st, 2008 at 10:13 am
    Even with eminent domain, you have to pay the owner fair market value. This has been set by the mayor and a majority of the council with the resolution. This just needs to get done.

    sir, when is a wetlands not a wetlands. answer: when the mayor thinks so.

    if he told you that your house were worth 6 million dollars, and taxed you accordingly, would you accept that too? when a 3rd party, unknown, unrelated to anyone involved or living in the city of Cranston or its happenings, does the real estate valuation of the property, based upon its value, not as a site for industrial development, which it isnt, but as a site which is a wetlands and has only limited value for building houses because of its environmental demise, then you can let us know what it is worth. and for damn sure, it isnt 1.9 million.

    If Cullion paid any money for it, in an attempt to pull a fast one on Cranston, and got caught, that is a shame. NOT. they can write it off as a loss on their taxes.

  9. Geoff,
    Unfortunately the state doesn’t enforce the statute that requires zoning and Comp Plans to be updated within 18 months. Once a Comp Plan is approved, it assumes that the City will conform zoning to it, but never checks up on it. You know what they say about assuming…

  10. Rachel,

    Absolutely spot on. The state, as in so many other areas, does not enforce its own laws. One can only speculate why that is so, but I think the end result is the answer begged by your question about “assuming.” Of course, in the end, we get knucklehead stuff like a concrete plant in the middle of a neighborhood or a box store complex on open space. In some ways, it reminds me of an old (are there any other kind?) Bob Dylan lyric, “Everything’s legal as long as you don’t get caught.”

    Kiersten, the award for the best Zen question of the day, week, and maybe month goes to you! I would suggest that the answer is partly found in our state’s motto.

  11. As a self-avowed Aram basher, I must do a 180 here: I support Council President Garabedian on this issue. More importantly, I am very intrigued by Nungal’s observation that the permit expired. Why does it seem like this is the first we’re hearing of this?

    I hope Aram is not too late to the dance on this one. If he prevails, it could make up for his dithering on the Police Station proposal several years ago!

    Lastly, I think Aram can finally expose to a much wider audience what a buffoon our current Mayor is (anyone involved in the Mulligan’s issue or CCRZD already knows this)!

  12. There are new Dylan lyrics and songs, they’re just not quite the same as all of the ones he wrote before I was born:)

    I think tonight’s Council meeting will be interesting because the Exec. Session beforehand will discuss the Mayor’s Cullion proposal and then I’m sure both his and Aram’s will be discussed in great detail at the regular meeting.

    I’m sure I’ll see some of you tonight.

  13. I just saw this on the Projo blog, I like this idea.

    Providence residents can get answers tonight
    Potholes? Taxes? Crime?

    Whatever your municipal quandaries, you can ask them tonight at Ask Your Elected Official night.

    Sponsored by Providence Crime Watch and the District 6 Community Police, a handful of city officials have been invited to answer questions.

    Those invited include Mayor David N. Cicilline, Sen. Frank Ciccone, Sen. Paul Jabour, Rep. Peter Wasylyk, Council President Peter Mancini, and Councilmen Joseph DeLuca, Michael Solomon and Terrence Hassett.

  14. Here’s an excerpt from an Oct. 10, 2007 ProJo piece about the apparent expiration* of the building permit:

    (*more near the end of the post)

    “… state Representatives Palumbo, Robert B. Jacquard, Joseph M. McNamara, Nicholas A. Mattiello and Charlene M. Lima argued in their letter to the mayor last month that the lengthy hiatus means the permit is now worthless.
    State law, they note, declares a permit invalid if the work authorized by that permit is suspended for six months.”

    The entire story is here:

    http://www.projo.com/ri/cranston/content/WB_cullion_legislators_10-10-07_3C7E7AP.330204b.html

    * “Apparent expiration” — Mancini argued that the citizens’ appeal suspended construction, meaning the six-month countdown couldn’t continue.

    If Nap gets his way, this contradiction would never be addressed.

  15. Jesse always does his homework. Too bad we don’t have more Jesse’s, and it would be great if they filled more City Official jobs.

    Irrelevant of Mancini’s justification for the expiration of the Permit. It has expired. I have always said that any new developer would need to apply for their own permit. What our “Poll Taking Mayor” fails to ACT and LEAD on is his ability to have an evaluation done based on the expired permit – giving the flood plain a worthless status because any new developer would not get the same permit (we hope) due to the media attention for the initial 11 day permit screwup. Our screw up Mayor would then have had some leverage to tell Cullion based on Revocation you have less ability to make demands and the Mayor could have set the stage for realistic negotiations. And, if he had known what many of us have known from the beginning (and as Rachel points out above) that your Comp Plan must be in compliance with the land when it’s transferred, sold etc. The City Council screwed up. They errored in not rezoning this to S-1.

    Tonight the Mayor continued to naseaute and preach I have put 500 hours on this alone…I have walked the streets…blah blah blah. Then we listened to Emilio Navaro say nothing of substance. Nice guy, but makes no point…at least after comparing notes our head scratching is mirrored in each onlooker. Aram made a lot of points that we knew, points that should have been acted upon a year ago. Is it too late? Apparently only Council members Bucci, Barone and Garabedian have the logic to vote for Aram’s Condemnation Resolution.

    As I am a member of the CCRZD’s 1,000 supporters, I just received this e-mail which was read tonight by Ramsey Davis of the CCRZD:

    Aram Garabedian’s motion to take the Cullion property by eminent domain was denied. Aram’s argument was presented
    well by Bill Harsh, a highly respected attorney knowledgeable in this area of law. It is unfortunate this path was not
    pursued a year or more ago.

    The following statement was read to the City Council:

    “In order to qualify for the use of approximately $300,000 of Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds to be used towards the 1.9 Million dollar Cullion pay off, the Mayor is proposing the construction of 6 or more “affordable housing units” somewhere on the Cullion site. This housing is reported to be for the benefit of low and moderate-income residents. CCRZD approved the earlier plan of “OPEN SPACE” for ALL the property ~ not cutting it into sub-divisions and building upon the land – this is what the $1.9 Settlement was designated to accomplish. CCRZD is opposed to any type of housing on this location.

    FEMA Flood Plain Maps (available on line) indicate no buildable property on the Cullion site. The only buildable property is located less than 100 feet from an historic cemetery owned by Bethany Lutheran Church. Parking for the housing would remain in the flood plain requiring massive retaining walls and fill.

    ANY construction of buildings and parking lots will result in direct runoff into the Pawtuxet River and ultimately Narragansett Bay. We await the results of the HUD biologist’s findings with great anticipation. (due this week)

    Cranston is already spending plenty of time, money and other resources dealing with flood plain issues. Need we add more problems to Cranston when the solution is very simple: Don’t build there.

    We strongly recommend the Mayor find $300,000 elsewhere and continue to pursue an open space park with bike and walking trails as well as a boat launch

    for all Cranstonian’s to enjoy. Remember, the Settlement we agreed and supported was for ALL of Cranston to enjoy an open recreational park. This deal is NOT what we bargained for. Let us seek to improve the quality of life for all Cranston, as well as improve our real estate values.”

    This Mayor is going to tax us $2.05 (something like that he said to residents when walking, yes..door to door) per resident and couldn’t he just omit the HUD money of $300,000 and work that number into the resident tax. What, would that be .10 extra and no worries of Section 8 Housing.

    Bravo to Aram!!!! Personally, I really think just a couple of hours of Discovery would open a lot of doors and all of a sudden Mark Cullion’s Lottery ticket would trickle down and he would haul @ss out of town for fear of exposure. Yup, let’s go to Court.

    I noticed Frank Mattiucci absence tonight. Perhaps because he is on the Board of the CBDG Board(Cranston Building Development Grants – HUD money). Maybe he was avoiding questions.

    Big Fat Murray and the Rat Mancini were there….along with someone…possibly Mark Cullion himself.

    Shaerfenberg will only sell the Mayor’s story as the realistic and best choice for the people. It’s quite pathetic to read his one sided stories….certainly not fair coverage to the people.

    I guess the only consolation is knowing this Mayor will never be Mayor again. Fung will get the swing votes for all those he’s screwed over….just add him to the long list….and yet we stay, but in protest!

  16. Dear City Council Members, (also cc’d to CranstonDelegation) [From January 2008]

    While I am sure you don’t typically look at Blogs, Kmareka.com has one on the recent meeting of Emilio and his suggested Resolution for Monday’s City Council meeting. Geoff points out some specific details:

    Geoff Shoos has some interesting commentary on Kmareka.com and I have some comments for you after this.

    ” … in a column last March that, in my opinion, the Mayor had the authority under the City Charter, Chapter 5, to pull the permit on health and safety grounds. Why Aram was looking at zoning statutes rather than the Charter is a mystery to me. That said, I think it’s a whole different ballgame now than it was a year ago. What might have worked then will be more costly now.”

    and

    “… Methinks the city is attempting to bootstrap the argument that the subject property is not zoned industrial and therefore its value is too inflated in order to obscure the fact that the city failed to appropriately zone the land after the state’s adoption of the 1992 Comprehensive Plan. By statute, the city had 18 months after adoption to conform its zoning to the Plan and it didn’t do it. Had it done so, Cullion would probably not have been interested in that parcel and ultimately the city might have been able to acquire the land with less effort and for less money.”

    I would like to comment that the CCRZD has claimed we support stopping the concrete plant and in theory a settlement. Geoff pointed out something that has concerned me about the City’s inflated appraisal. If the land was bought dirt cheap 24 cents a square foot for the 17.7 acres. Why would they think this was prime commercial industrial property which would be appraised as such. I agree that it was the fault of the previous Building Director whom should have made sure this land was in compliance with the zoning per the Comprehensive Plan.

    The land is without a valid Permit. Albeit one was granted -that is 1 of 3 needed in order to conduct a concrete plant. The Stormwater and Air was never granted, and after talking with expert environmental groups do I feel one would have ever been given. The CCRZD gave a letter of 13 points of suggested assurances we feel would protect the City.

    I would like to ask, based on the City Council’s knowledge and initial attempts to investigate, that you finish what you started and dedicate time and effort to close up loopholes ensuring this will never happen again.

    1. Clearly the only way to do this would be to further investigate (August 2006 Minutes was a accounting of some of the wrongful acts – it was a start, why has it been abandoned and why aren’t you finishing)

    2. Create passage of an ordinance that ANY business or industrial industry to exist where residents live, would be subject to a public hearing on their place of business along with the abutters.

    3. Investigate why this Administration chose not to go forward with an investigation, pull a permit, and many other poor decisions that in the end cost the taxpayers a premium.

    4. To give the Council overriding authority if a use of office has been committed like the 11 day permit.

    For every elected official, including the Mayor, has said “An injustice has been done to the people” inferring to the flawed permit. If this is true, we the people fully expect once the ink is dry you will not forget your promise to the people to value your citizens and do right by us – investigate – hold those accountable. One or two folks who don’t know me want to know my agenda – – to do the right thing. I hope you are driven by your conscious to do the right thing and in the end seek justice. You do make a difference.

    I posted this back then and I will do it over and over, until one day justice is mine.

    “Logic and reason need to be applied here, if something is not consistent with logic and reason then I question and challenge it.

    If a law doesn’t make sense – then the law be damned and changed.” ~ CCRZD Board Member

  17. Nungal:

    Thanks for the nod. Just one note on your post: I think you’re referring to CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) money (?); I’ve never heard of Cranston Building Development Grants, although I’ll take your word for it if that’s what you mean.

    Now, to your point about the potential of a Fung victory this fall: the voting numbers from 2006 are not frozen in time (in other words, Fung will need more than 85 additional votes to win). Nap automatically gets a 10-15% margin from being the incumbent. I don’t see that many “swing” voters going the other way, particularly if Nap can argue (which he can) that he stopped the plant. Or, to put a fine point on it, if residents outside of Pontiac Avenue know he stopped the plant, they’re likely not going to care about the details.

    Fung will pound him on the taxes, but Nap can (and should) blame it on Laffey “not finishing the work” of cleaning up the city budget. Fung will throw the school budget in his face, but Nap will argue that they got an average of $4 million a year, all school districts are hurting, Cranston is still overtaxed, he wasn’t going to use the surplus, etc. And with the concrete plant DOA, Nap has one more talking point to use.

    Also, to take a wider view of the election scene this year, it’s going to be another huge Dem turnout, and without a guv’s race in RI this year, the Repubs have an even longer shot at making any gains in either the General Assembly or in local races.

    So, while I’m not a Nap fan (see more below), I’m afraid he’s got an easy shot at a second term.

    All:

    This entire episode raises a very unflattering picture of Mayor Nap. In fairness (and I think we all agree on this), he is trying to do something to stop the plant. However, he has been very slipshod in his approach, to the point of seeming impulsive and petulant.

    Evidence? Start with the closed-door negotiations with Mancini (in deference to whom, I was reminded recently, Nap did not run in 2004) and the questionable $1.9 million figure. Then there was his “calling out” of Aram at Emilio’s public hearing (not something Aram appreciated); his support of the Council resolution before the funding scheme was in place; his continued insistence that this is the only way to proceed; and his most recent shot at Aram for “fail(ing) to take into consideration the circumstances that have already transpired,” as quoted in the 3.21 ProJo. And in today’s story, he says he doesn’t want “more roadblocks.”

    One is left, then, with the underlying question: What are Nap’s motives, exactly? Clearly, he wants to claim victory. But equally clearly, he doesn’t seem to care who he steps on to get there; doesn’t really see the need to build consensus or shift his own priorities to be in line with what others hope to accomplish. What Nap wants, Nap gets — or so it seems is his attitude.

    One story that has been percolating “under the surface” recently is Nap’s bullying tactics toward the Council — clearly, not Aram, Maria Bucci, or Barone. Those of you who are in regular contact with your councilors (John Lanni, Paula McFarland, Terry Livingston, Emilio Navarro, et. al.), may want to take an opportunity to ask them: What are your votes worth? At what cost to your voters’ priorities are you supporting Nap’s plans? How is he going about seeking your support?

    I’ve already got an inkling of the answer, but don’t take my word for it — go ask.

  18. JOC, I may be wrong but wasn’t there a surplus in the last Laffey budget?

  19. GCF:

    There’s about $16 million in what is alternately called the “surplus” or “rainy day fund.”

    There was also a projected $4 million operational surplus, which was later cancelled out because of a.) a tax receipt error to the tune of $2.5 million, meaning Laffey was reporting $2.5 million more in collections than had actually been received; b.) the recent settlements to Providence Water and Ms. Valley the car-crash victim which were, over David Exter’s objections, correctly applied to “the last Laffey budget.”

    So, strictly speaking, Laffey reported an operational surplus for the 2006-07 budget, but it was only on paper. It evaporated in the face of reality, like so many of Laffey’s other claims.

    You can read the Auditor General’s report here:

    http://www.cranstonri.com/pdf/Cranston_Budget07_6748.pdf

  20. There are budget meetings on 4/1 and 4/3, the agendas were posted on the SOS’s website today.

    I think that a lot of actions are being motivated by thoughts of reelection right now (and I’m not targeting that at anyone in particular). I think that Jesse is right that the incumbent factor does help this mayor, especially since the chances of a primary being slim. I agree with Jesse that there is a definite division in the Council, but I would imagine that all will support their party in the end.

    Aram was calling out Lanni quite a bit during his “regular council member”–time off the podium time last night. He wasn’t a fan of it when the Mayor did it at Emilio’s meeting, but I couldn’t see Lanni’s reaction as I didn’t have a great seat. Also, I’m not sure who Dan McKenna is, so perhaps I’m mistaken as to who sat in front of us.

    The Mayor did seem rather jovial when he walked into the room and shook lots of the Cullion abbuters’ hands lately, so it’ll be interesting when we all learn what came out of the Executive Sessions.

  21. Rachel, it was Dan McKenna – neighbor to Frank.

    JOC – Yes, I agree it must have been an oversight on Nungal’s behalf …Cranston Department of Community Development Community Development Block Grant Program.

    I was very disappointed seeing the Mayor’s posturing. I will work very hard to make sure I can influence those I know to place their votes in whomever the other candidate is.

    We need a City Council that doesn’t pony up to their own agenda’s and acts responsibly based on what the PEOPLE want. A Mayor without a bunch of special interests with buddies. Although I loathed Laffey….and I never thought I would say this, I would actually would vote for him over Nappy. Nap called me the other day not to talk about the body of an e-mail compliant I sent him, rather, wanted to know if I was the brainchild behind http://www.Nappylies.com. I told him I couldn’t take credit. Again, he misses the point – he doesn’t listen – he has his own Agenda and is not able to hear. Laffey heard you and told you to your face – I’m not going to help you…at least you knew the beast.

  22. Jesse says: “Fung will pound him on the taxes, but Nap can (and should) blame it on Laffey “not finishing the workâ€? of cleaning up the city budget.”

    Oh yeah, Jesse, there’s a winning message – “Laffey didn’t finish the job – so how the hell do you expect me to?”

  23. That site has been around for quite some time, Randy Jackvony even wrote about it in the Herald one week and discussed who created it. Plus, I think Kiersten was the one who discovered it.

  24. Suzanne:

    What is it about the third-floor office at 869 Park that makes mayors so damned paranoid? Did Nap really ask you whether you were behind Nappylies? Not that unbelievable, actually.

    Especially now that they’re pushing the Channel 12 “secret settlement” story. I don’t really know what to make of this story, other than to note that this cop was paid nearly as much in two years with Laffey as mayor as this “settlement” is purported to be. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Laffey a.) threatened her, b.) tried to get her kicked off the force, or c.) just swept the issue under the rug — and that it’s just another mess SL left that Nap is trying to address.

    Again, though, we’re left to question the way Nap is handling the situation.

    Mr. Cardarelli:

    I get your sarcasm, I guess. Are you agreeing that another Nap term is not exactly desirable, though seemingly inevitable?

    Seriously, I don’t really think Nap is going to portray himself as helpless as you suggest — “how the hell do you expect me to?” — as it would actually discredit his overall argument. I think he’s smart enough not to present such a blatant contradiction.

    (As opposed to, let’s just say, hypothetically, a school committee candidate who pledges to reform the department, but once elected, just threatens lawsuits every year instead of cutting the budget.)

    Nap’s going to put up a smokescreen of “accomplishments” to cloud the tax issue and counter Fung’s talking points, he’ll blame Laffey and previous City Councils with leaving him a mess to clean up, and he’ll win, by something like 54-46.

  25. Now, now, Jesse, I hope you’re not trying to entice back the pro-Laffey trolls. That only leads to trouble, although it can sometimes be a little fun. Seriously, though, I don’t want to get into suggesting possibilities when we have no evidence to base them upon. The fact is, we just don’t know the issues involved in Rivera’s pay-out. It would be good to find out, though.

  26. Kiersten:

    No, no, I don’t want another firefight with the Laffster’s minions.

    Allow me to state for the record: My suggestions were based on what I feel would be in keeping with SL’s previous (and well-documented) actions. Burying the ProvWater payment as an example of sweeping an issue under the rug, for instance. You’re right, though, that Laffeyites typically don’t, shall we say, appreciate this rhetorical approach.

    You’re right, too, that there are issues here that we don’t know about (yet), and for what it’s worth, I apologize in advance if my speculation causes undue havoc on the blog.

    Rachel:

    To your point about Aram “calling out” John Lanni at the Council meeting… I’d only suggest that a Council meeting is a different forum than a community workshop. Also, council members generally communicate quite frequently outside of meetings, so I don’t think Aram’s questions are necessarily surprises.

    I’d also say that Aram really didn’t appreciate Nap using him as a shield to justify the outlandish land assessment. Plus, it was a total shock to Aram to hear the mayor call him out like that.

  27. I must say, there is one nagging question that, despite all of the rhetoric, accusations, allegations of fraud, wrongdoing, etc, etc, etc, on this blog regarding the concrete plant – and that is – if any of your arguments, (and let’s face it, there must be hundreds) had any validity, then why has this concrete plant NOT been stopped due to them. I mean, I am sick of hearing the nonsense. Put up or shut up. NOBODY has been able to stop this thing from going forward on the merits of one single argument you people have come up up with.
    Am I the only one asking why you can’t stop it if you all think you are so right?
    It leads to one, an d only one conclusion: you people are all wrong. You have no valid argument, you have no credibility. It doesn’t matter how many of you shout as loud as you can. You are all dead wrong. The plant was properly permitted, it was approved not once – but TWICE – by DEM. And now you have this moron mayor paying for it. WHy don’t you people just deal with it – you are wrong.

  28. I think that’s hype that Nap will get in again, and, if it’s going to be as close as some infer…I will walk and talk more to influence those on the fence and close the Gap on Nap!

    As far as NapoLIEStano (sorry, nappylies.com)…I think he was just baiting me so I would tell him who it (they) are…and I never will.

    Rep. Palumbo has orchestrated a wonderful letter in opposition to this ridiculous idea of housing on the property.

    I was up with one of the Governor’s aid tonight while waiting to Testify on the H-7577 which supports schools being built on site. An interesting point came up at the hearing was that these toxic sites the City builds schools on is becausethe land is CHEAP and it’s CHEAP for a reason. A red flag should go up. In this case that was cited, they said the City had an Environmental Site Assessment done which didn’t reveal anything ~ however, a few years later teachers and kids were getting sick. Upon another Site Assessment there was Lead sheets and it was clearly a toxic dumpsite. So why did the City say it was okay? Answer: Cities have little School budgets and so some cover up what should be disclosed. Remember, you get what you pay for. Bowerman sold this Cullion land .24 cents a square foot. Dirt cheap because it was and is wetlands. Also, when talking to the Sue Stenhouse whom was a former City Councilor for Warwick she listened to my frustration which many have voiced about the Comprehensive Plan. Why bother. Why bother having Cities and towns to create a Comprehensive zoning balance if you don’t enforce this on a State level. Our officials spend endless hours and in the end “we the people” are screwed over and foot the bill.

    Aram should have been afforded extra time to speak. The public has heard the council bring up Cullion in the past, but not much substantitive information I was disgusted watched Lanni conduct himself. But what do you expect from a Councilman who says “It’s no big deal” in reference to Ernie Carlucci taking a City vehicle and using it for his own use and getting into an accident. These people have been in office too long and we need to vote them out. They have become complacent and forget whom they represent. I will admit, I do not think they get paid enough for the time and attention that is required for the job (but some aren’t doing any of that) …perhaps that’s why we have some of “the bottom” making top decision.

  29. Mr. Cardarelli:

    Please allow me the pleasure of again ripping your “argument” to shreds…

    If you’d been awake for the last 14 months, you’d know that this permit was approved by the Laffey administration with so many tangles that it’s only now being unraveled. The DEM approval you note is beside the point; at issue — the whole time — has been the propriety of the city building permit. The majority of us on this blog have rightly argued that it was improperly allowed. John Mancini would not be caving in for a hefty payday if he didn’t realize this — all of his bluster aside.

    By the way, the concrete plant IS dead. Or have you missed that, too? For all of Mancini’s big talk, he has never suggested the plant would reopen — just that his client would continue the legal fight.

    And really, Mike, are you actually trying to say that the Mayor hasn’t argued the plant would harm the neighborhood (as CCRZD has, here and elsewhere), or that the City Council hasn’t blocked completion of the plant based on the questionable permit (which has also been stated here on many occasions)? Seems that this exact question was the basis of a Council hearing or two.

    Sorry, but based on the evidence — look up the term, if you have to — your statement: “NOBODY has been able to stop this thing from going forward on the merits of one single argument you people have come up up with” is, on its face, false.

    Now, I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt — busy as you must be, you just might not have the time to, I don’t know, do a little research before posting false statements on a blog. But before responding again, maybe you could take a few minutes, really think about how you’re presenting yourself, and cobble together something approaching a serious point.

    Or, maybe, you could just decide to take your stick and go hit someone else’s beehive.

  30. Suzanne:

    Trust me, I’m not all that “hyped up” about a potential second Nap term. I’m just offering what I feel are realistic factors to be considered. At the very least, the margin is going to fall somewhere between Laffey’s trouncing of Mancini 67-33 in 2004 and Nap’s 80-vote win in 06.

    Now, given that Mancini essentially didn’t run a campaign and Fung will be a more formidable opponent, I still give Nap the edge because of a.) the incumbent factor and b.) the expected Dem turnout. Also, Cranston hasn’t had a two-year Mayor in at least 30 years (even Ed DiPrete had 6). It’s still ingrained in the city, I think, to give a guy four years, at least.

    And I think we all know it’s the local GOP who’s behind the site. Nap needs to stop the bunker mentality, quit acting like he’s carrying the weight of the city on his back, and actually get some work done in a way that genuinely makes people proud of having him in the Mayor’s office. You know, build consensus and get people to work with him instead of just following him?

    Let’s face it, he also has to grow up a bit — he’s got to stop with the petulance and impulsiveness and start taking a longer view of what he can do for the city. He has to listen more than he talks, trust the City Council more, open his mind to differing (if not necessarily opposing) views, inform himself about all options instead of jumping at the first one that sounds good enough to become a campaign flyer headline, and get things done using more than just his own willpower.

    I admit, that’s a tall order. But there are still eight months until the election, another budget cycle, and who knows how many more Laffey land mines still to be found. He’ll have his opportunities.

    To get back to the point, he’s acting as if this election is a foregone conclusion — I disagree that he should act this way, but I think he’s probably right to expect that he’ll win again this year. If he keeps up the way he’s going, it’ll be his last, though.

  31. It must be a very heavy burden for some to be so right so often. Why the obsession with Laffey. He’s gone. Swallow some Prozac and move on. By the way, the council approves the budget does it not? How long have the council members been on board. Independents, Democrats and Republicans. Hmmmmmmm…

  32. I’m less concerned with blame and more concerned with doing what’s right going forward. I am pleased that the land is going to be owned by the city and I hope the city will take care of this land. We change the course of history when we choose to do the right thing with land.

    I think there was an injustice here. That injustice was a settlement that is not public, and which appears to be unaccountably in favor monetarily of the former land-owners. But this is just my opinion, and I haven’t seen the detailed breakdown of the settlement, although I would like to. But maybe the settlement is just and if so, all is well. If the settlement is unjust, then I believe that this wrong will be righted in some way. I’m with Barack and MLK: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

    Here at Kmareka, we will continue to care as we watch what goes on in Cranston, and (despite setbacks and disappointments) we will remain faithful to the state’s motto.

  33. Whose to blame – right, we need to vote them off.

    Jesse, RIGHT, but Nap is not going to change now….he likes walking, talking about our “monies” and whining – -not leading and getting on with it.

    A little ditty, that 2 of us worked on in 2 minutes …cute for a laugh…

    CLOSE THE GAP ON NAP
    VOTE FUNG FOR MAYOR

    WE GOT THE MONIES
    YOU GOT THE VOTES
    FUNG FOR MAYOR

    BELIEVE YOU ME
    NAPPY IS DONE
    FUNG IS THE ONE

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
    IS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
    OF NAPPY
    VOTE FUNG FOR MAYOR

    I guess we read too much Dr. Seuss.

  34. Kiersten:

    Very clever incorporation of the city’s motto, “Dum Vigilo Curo,” or “As I watch, I care,” with your reference to RI’s motto of “Hope.” You’re an inspiration to all of us.

    Suzanne:

    Excellent, excellent rhyme.

    I can sum it up in no time —
    Nap again? What a crime!

    (he, he)

  35. Whose (it’s “Who’s,” as in “who is,” btw) to Blame:

    I don’t consider it a “burden” to help inform my fellow citizens of the facts surrounding the important issues we face.

    This thread is about the concrete plant, which is something Laffey left in his wake on the way to a losing Senate run. Beyond that, I’m not going to take your bait.

    Do some reading of previous threads if you want to revisit the role-of-the-Council-in-the-budget-process question. Same goes for their terms: look them up. As it pertains to this thread, the Council is supporting the Mayor’s work to stop the plant. They’ve held hearings to unravel how Laffey allowed the permit to be approved.

    As Kiersten rightly notes, Nap negotiated a settlement in private using a questionable assessment of the land. That’s not so much seeking to place blame as it is airing the facts.

  36. Suzanne:

    I’ve been reflecting on your earlier replies, and I’d like to ask out of pure curiosity: How do you think Fung would be a better Mayor? Let me be clear: I’m no fan of Nap’s style (as I’ve explained at length), and I’m not all that excited with the idea of another term.

    But Fung? His claim to fame is trying to sue his way to the Mayor’s office two years ago. He had no platform, just talking points (remember “don’t raid the surplus”?). Since then, he’s only criticized — he hasn’t offered any alternatives. And “I’m not Napolitano” doesn’t count, to me, as an alternative.

    Now, take my opinion with the requisite grain of salt (or 50), but I’m genuinely curious about your viewpoint.

  37. Jesse from Cranston,

    Your attempt to “Please allow me the pleasure of again ripping your “argumentâ€? to shreds… ” has fallen woefully short. In fact, laughably so. Did you read what you wrote?

    Paying off the owners because you cannot cobble together a winning gameplan is proof of my point.

    You have merely supported my contention – NOBODY has been able to stop this plant from going forward on the merits of one single argument that has been made.

    I guess I have to make it real simple for some people:
    You win when you DO NOT have to pay the losers. Or, put another way, whoever has to pay is the LOSER.

    Get it?

  38. Mr. Cardarelli:

    If the “merits” of those arguments really had no influence on the city’s approach to this issue, the concrete plant would be OPEN. But it’s not. It’s dead.

    And the fact of a payment to stop the plant does not negate the fact that the plant has been stopped.

    Not to mention, the whole origin of this thread was Aram’s attempts to seize the land by eminent domain — a plan that took a backseat to the pending settlement. He wouldn’t have tried that if there weren’t some “merit” to the arguments made against the plant.

    But I think I’m finally seeing your “point”: those of us who have blogged on this site can not, strictly speaking, take credit for killing the concrete plant.

    (It took a lot to get to that concept, based on your condescending and insulting post.)

    Even if that were your point, though, it is still wrong. I don’t seem to recall anyone patting themselves on the back for anything else but bringing the issue to the elected officials or organizing to petition the courts to stop the plant. And those efforts, very clearly, were motivated by precisely the arguments you’re trying to dismiss.

    I’m not surprised, though, that you refuse to give people any credit for influencing their elected officials’ actions. I seem to recall that, when you were on the school board, you only listened to those parents who agreed with you, and shouted down anyone with an opposing opinion — just like you’re doing now.

    So, what I “get” is that you’re repeating a failed argument to convince only one person that you’re right: yourself. Yeah, “simple” is what I’d call it.

    (And, really: “whoever has to pay is the LOSER” — ?! I, along with 22,000 of my neighbors pay residential property taxes so things like concrete plants don’t get built in Cranston. Are we all losers, then, Mike?)

  39. Just a quick question. Do you think the Mayor looked at the GOP’s site? If he had, there is a link to their website on the bottom of the page. He may just have heard about it and gotten a little perturbed.

    Not that I want to jump into the middle of anything, but I think that the most important outcome from all of this is that residents are getting involved in local politics and trying to make a difference in their community. Even if the outcome in this (or any situtation) isn’t the perfect solution for 100% of the population (and when would it be?), at least people took action, rather than being passive and taking whatever was thrown at them.

  40. The losers that gave the Permit (knowingly): Anderson, Stepalvich, Laffey and his legal council, Vito. If there were more who knew of this bogus deal…then they were losers.

    Mike, “we” are the victims that the Losers above victimized, and now we are expected to pay damages for their wrongdoing. I don’t know why any of us are explaining it to you. I agree with Jesse, that you are not grasping the point because you are not listening.

    Kmareka, SCOS, and StoptheConcrete Plant have all contributed to additional community awareness.

    Jesse as you know, I’m no fan of Fung and unfortunately I typically don’t forget the points you make about him, along with other pieces of personal experience.

    Perhaps the wounds felt re: Nappy is more raw and fresh than that of Fung.

    I like neither. But, I hated when Napolitano smugly said when he called me “I will be in office again. You watch and see, you will vote for me Suzanne Arena because you hate Fung!”. That really P’d me off. I would rather vote for Oscar DeGrouch than for either!

    What has Fung done for the people? What is his real strategy? Whom will he have around him as his chief people? Will he be playing golf most mornings at Alpine Country Club when he’s not walking door to door? Will he be a proactive Mayor versus our current reactive one?

    What is his definition of Leader? In addition to the complex issues in Cranston, I think there are some basic questions we all need to be asking and give examples of what we have recently been through and what exactly would he have done different? Or, where was he during the Concrete Deal – – I think those know the answer to that one.

    Finally, Jesse – if someone like Geoff Schoos was to run…someone with principals and intergrity, clearly seeing the failures and gross misuse of positions etc., then myself and probably thousands of residents in Cranston would put our votes behind that individual.

    Who’s …yes Jesse. There is a lot to be said for proofing one’s work or re-reading …thanks for the gentle reminder. ;+}

  41. Jesse,
    Your reading comprehension skills are nonexistent.

    You say: “If the “meritsâ€? of those arguments really had no influence on the city’s approach to this issue, the concrete plant would be OPEN. But it’s not. It’s dead.

    And the fact of a payment to stop the plant does not negate the fact that the plant has been stopped.”

    Nowhere did I say that the plant had not been stopped, Jesse. I said that it had not been stopped on the merits of any argument that has been brought forth on this blog. And that is a fact. Cullion is being paid off so they don’t build the plant. That is why it is stopped. Your lame arguents have come up short – therefore, the city is PAYING THEM OFF. If your arguments, held any water, the city WOULD NOT BE PAYING THEM OFF.
    What is it that halts your brain from grasping this very simple contention?

  42. Aram is clearly a man of the people. He single handedly took on the administration and stood alone spending his own money in an attempt to save us taxpayers a sizable chunk of change. Too bad his efforts didn’t have a shot. He’s running again isn’t he? Man of the people or brilliant political strategist? Time will tell.

  43. Mike C.:

    If by “comprehension skills,” you mean “acceptance of insulting and condescending language from someone pushing a false argument,” then I plead guilty — I don’t have it.

    But I think, finally, I really know what your point is: You’re out to insult the people on this blog… by writing trash on the blog. Well, you’ve succeeded there, anyway.

    So, please, for all of our sakes, just take your ball and go home.

  44. Rachel:

    Ahh, a voice of reason. Whatever the result, it IS a positive outcome that people got involved. And, contrary to what our rather “noisy” former school board member seems to believe, people don’t have to just accept what’s thrown at them. The elected officials represent us, and when enough of us talk, they should listen.

    Suzanne:

    Thanks for the back-up. Notice, too, that Mike doesn’t address his own conduct on the school board; sometimes, silence speaks louder than shouting.

    Nap really claimed you’d vote for him?! Wow. I certainly don’t doubt you, of course; it’s just that I find it hard to believe that we have another Mayor convincing himself that he’s the people’s favorite in spite of running up their tax bills and being confrontational instead of supportive.

    All of the questions you raise about Fung are valid — and they pile up to a mountain of doubt that he’ll have to overcome. I don’t think he can do it.

    GCF:

    To my knowledge, Aram has not yet decided what he’s doing this fall. As you know, he’s been involved in the Project REDIRECT work; I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided not to run for office locally and instead initiated a statewide campaign to reform how local governments work (i.e., the idea of eliminating school committees).

    And I’d remind you that Aram already has 40 years’ work in the public sector, so I think his reputation is already established. As to your suggestions (“Man of the people or brilliant political strategist?”), I think it’s a mix of both — his political instincts always seem aimed at helping people above his own personal gain.

  45. Suzanne,

    I’m a first time blogger to this site. What will EVER make you happy? Your comments are false and misleading. He didn’t lie about the cement plant settlement. It would have never been approved by the City Council unless he had all the monies. In fact, they still haven’t approved it yet. Do you want him to use $500-600K of CITY funds for this???!!!! If this deal doesn’t go through, you and your sycophants are responsible for a cement plant in that neighborhood. If you lived there, do you think you’d be able to sell your house and how much would you get?? Your “brilliant idea” of taxing residents for open space will never be approved. You NIMBYS oppose any business coming into Cranston but would be the first ones to complain if he had to raise taxes.
    If I remember correctly, you recently praised the Mayor for solving a flooding problem you had encountered. (Yup, I go to some Council meetings) Now your trashing him.
    You are losing all credibility. You don’t like Laffey, Fung, Barone and now you say you’d vote for Laffey over Nappy. Which is it!!!!Make up your mind!!!! PLEASE!

    If you don’t like it in Cranston, LEAVE!!!

  46. cosmobabe:

    Sorry, but there are several gaps in your “reply.”

    (“Rant” is my preferred description, but leave that aside for the moment.)

    The only thing left for the Council to do is approve the financing. So there’s no chance the “deal won’t go through,” as you claim — and if there were, it wouldn’t be Suzanne or anyone else here who would cause it. Unless she runs HUD, that is, and I don’t think she does.

    So most of the rest of what you’ve posted — scare tactics about lower home values; suggestions of NIMBYism and hypocrisy; and claims that you are, somehow, an arbiter of credibility — is two minutes of our lives we won’t get back.

    Take your own advise: If you don’t like what you read here, leave. Please.

  47. Gee Jesse,

    I didn’t know you were Suzanne’s spokesperson!! Does it pay
    well?

    Never said I was “an arbiter of credibility”, but since you or Suzanne never rebutted the “suggestions of NIMBYism and hypocrisy” then what’s a logical person to think?

    Face it, Jesse. You love Cranston as much as I do. I just think we all should be consistent in what we post on this blog. We should all be the solution, and not the problem.

  48. cosmobabe:

    “Never said I was “an arbiter of credibilityâ€? — ?
    Then why this: “You are losing all credibility”?

    And the burden’s on you to prove your contentions about NIMBYism and hypocrisy, not just repeat it. But I’ll adress your claims thusly: The people who fought against the concrete plant did not want the pollution and traffic associated with it — for the good of the city, not just their neighborhood. As for the potential use of city funds, it’s not happening, so erecting the straw man argument about how people who write here “would be the first ones to complain if he had to raise taxes” after “oppos(ing) any business that moves in” is misleading.

    But you’re not the first “first-time” blogger to try out specious arguments here. (And you apparently don’t know that anyone who has to say they’re first-timers, generally, are not.)

    The real “problem” is pushing arguments loaded with character assassination and hiding behind some moving scale of “logic” to justify it. So, again, take your own advice. Be part of the solution.

  49. Gee cosmonapolitan babe.

    I agree – you sound very unsophisticated.

    Argument that Suzanne praises for her flooding woes being solved by a new Mayor. I remember her constant punches at the council that she wanted her drains cleaned for her area. But there was no truck. New Mayor got a truck and found the problem areas and fixed it. That woman thanked the Mayor and crew as was the decent thing to do.

    Your statement “you recently praised the Mayor for solving a flooding problem you had encountered. (Yup, I go to some Council meetings) Now your trashing him.”, seems pathetic…or so Rhode Islandish! He did me a favor so residents must always kiss his @ss. I disagree with your mindless rhetoric.

    If you lived in the area where you say, assuming you read (better yet…comprehend more than 40%…ah there’s the problem you think everything the Projo states is fly) the papers and listen to what has been said, then you know the Mayor is a parasitic worm like the rest of them. Yo, I am not as patient as JFC to explain to a lack of a sizable brain, the many reasons Garabedian is right because I too agree.

    Also, I know Garabedian was one of the founders 1996 fighting Pep Boys which he will tell you all about – so Nimby group is unfounded.

    Your style is charateristic of those Gumba’s that cult like follow our clown mayor.

    This is proably an advanced group of bloggers that actually are well researched…you may be better suited with http://pbskids.org/teletubbies/peekaboo.html

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