Quo Usque Tandem Abutere, Napolitano?

It’s the opening line of Cicero’s first oration to Cataline. The full sentence is “Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?” It essentially means, “How long, Oh Cataline, will you abuse our patience?” It’s an age-old sentiment for expressing frustration with the powers-that-be. My high school Latin teacher, Mrs. Murray, would be proud that this was the sentiment that struck me today as I reviewed the events of the rally yesterday to stop the concrete plant in Cranston.

The rally was about the size of the one last September but seemed less populated with political big wigs and more populated with families and children. As things got organized, Geoff Schoos quickly filled me in on exactly where things stood legally. As detailed in today’s Projo, legislation was passed to expand the city’s zoning board and one of the additional zoning board members was appointed last night, a lawyer named Steven Minicucci. Now we are waiting for the Mayor to choose the second zoning member appointment, and then there should be enough members of the zoning board to form a quorum and review the building permit issued to Cullion (and hopefully revoke it).

Suzanne Arena deftly wielded the bullhorn and organized the children. The Mayor benevolently crouched down and greeted each child as he or she handed over their petitions and asked in one way or another for the preservation of their neighborhood. Our ward councilman, Emilio Navarro, was there in a full suit and spoke emphatically on behalf of his constituents. Frank Mattiucci, President of CCRZD, reminded everyone that it has been a full year with little progress on resolving the concrete plant issue. Then there were questions. One woman asked why there are vehicles parked at the site of the concrete plant every day if they are not building it. The Mayor responded that there is an existing business there that they are continuing but that if they try to start building the concrete plant, the city will file a “cease and desist” motion or make some sort of blocking legal action.

There were some other good questions, but the question that really cut to the chase was the last, asked by the young gentlemen with reddish hair. I don’t remember his exact words, but the gist of the question was, “How long? How long before we know that this concrete plant will not be built?”

The Mayor’s response was that he guessed the Supreme Court ruling would be postponed for about a year. This was when you could hear the collective groan of a community whose patience is already on life support. But he quickly added that the zoning board should be able to rule on the matter long before then. So people could take heart in the knowledge that at least in terms of our local government, we weren’t going to be waiting for an answer too much longer.

But the article in today’s Projo reveals Cullion’s counter strategy to this game plan. John O. Mancini, the lawyer for Cullion (and former Democratic Mayoral candidate in Cranston), implied that Cullion will try to get a restraining order to prevent the zoning board from convening. If this restraining order is granted, could things really be stalled for another full year?

Perhaps it’s not worth worrying about. Perhaps the restraining order won’t be granted and Cullion will give up and the concrete plant will go away after the zoning board rejects the building permit.

But I wouldn’t count on it. Which means the community is still in limbo. People who were planning to sell their houses are in limbo. Buyers interested in moving into the area are probably holding off. People all over the city and state are waiting to see if our government can function to protect a residential area from environmental hazard.

One reason why people are losing patience is because this is the Mayor who promised to revoke the building permit for the concrete plant once he was in office. Now he says the Supreme Court’s stay on the case prevents him from doing this. Soon, a restraining order may be filed to prevent the zoning board from convening. Basically, whatever the city does to try to move things along, the Cullion team is going to block.

So, the question remains. How long will government abuse the patience of the people it supposedly serves? How long will the citizens of Cranston have to wait to get this issue resolved?


6 thoughts on “Quo Usque Tandem Abutere, Napolitano?

  1. I spoke to many children about why they didn’t want a cement plant….and answers like my 5 year old…there’s too much dust in my house now I don’t want a dust plant is funny but interesting that he grasps some of the details and as interesting as the trucks are to him and other children, many said they didn’t want them in their backyard and near their school stops.

    I will move my family. This is not just a 1 mile block radius either, as this has a plume on it like the Wastewater facility which we get the smell from time to time. Cancer rate in Cranston is already high for RI. I expect the Western Cranston folks who like to shop in Garden City aren’t paying attention…if the neighbors to the plant sell for little next to nothing for their homes and they sell to low income people…the economic stability will redirect to a different group and Garden City will be hard pressed to have a strong clientelle. We need to get their attention, and I have some ideas on that area to come unravelled in the near future. But come on, let’s not kid ourselves ALL will be affected in one way or another. So we can’t afford to have them.

    Rhode Island is an interesting place – not only did Buddy get a great job right out of jail…..but our own fired Building Inspector Kerry A. Anderson landed a terrific job with the Providence Public Works as Chief of Structures and Zoning. Simply mindboggling.

    Cullion has proven time and time again they are deceiptful and unethical ~ and a bully. They might be winning little nuisence lawsuits hammering away (or like a cat clawing it’s way from drowning)…but in the end we will win the war.

    Dr. Seuss inspired:
    I will not have them in our town,
    not in our yard,
    not on our road,
    not on our bridge,
    not pollute our air,
    I will not have the cement dust anywhere…cause Shazam I am,
    I dare to care.

  2. Napolitano is a stooge for the city employee unions and no more. I have spoken with him on several occasions and he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    Remember the audit of the police and fire departments a couple of years ago? The one that said that we had about 50 too many firefighters and too much equipment?

    Well, the mayor has conveniently ignored all of the recommendations of that highly regarded group when he negotiated the new fire contract. Did we get staffing concessions? Of course not!

    And, the council is about to Ok the contract. It is available for inspection now. On the website? Heavens no. That would be too accessible. It’s at the library.

    Oh, Nappy has also removed all of the city contracts from the city website.

    Our ignorance = their bliss.

  3. Has anyone taken the liberty to remind Cullion of the COMMON SENSE predictions that running their concrete business at that site will cost them money instead of make them money? It is just plain STUPID for the plant to be there. The site got flooded when we had our last deluge storm. With climate change, I think we can expect more of those storms. A combination of recovery costs after storms and court costs from suits brought by citizens could force Cullion out of business. This whole situation is JUST PLAIN DUMB!

  4. Dr. Rick, Thanks for taking time to comment. I’d like to ask that in the future you refrain from estimating the IQ of individuals. It is one step away from name-calling and doesn’t contribute much to the discussion. Also, your statement that Napolitano is a “stooge for the city employee unions” doesn’t jibe with the fact that Nap has underfunded the schools by 3.5 million, which will likely impact the upcoming teachers contract negotiations. In my opinion, it seems Napolitano is aligning himself with the political attitude in the state that teachers should pay a larger share of their healthcare and retirement benefits.

  5. Kiersten asks “How long will government abuse the patience of the people it supposedly serves? How long will the citizens of Cranston have to wait to get this issue resolved?”

    Council President Aram Garabedian explained at one of the City Council meetings that no matter what the circumstances (responding to the allegation he did it criminally) the building Inspector gives the Permit it is binding. That’s insane. We need to put leglislation in that overrides that giving City Council the authority to pull the permit. Considering the AG’s office has been notified along with some other gov’t enforcers – BUT, we here in incestious RI need to wait to check on who’s a Democrat and Republican before lifting a finger.

  6. Dr Rick sounds like a Laffey-ite going through withdrawal. Granted, the former mayor’s standard phrase was “dupe of the [fill in the blank],” but the idea is pretty much the same.

    Besides, “stooge” degrades those great Americans Moe, Larry, and Curly. Show some respect, will ya?

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