Geoff Schoos writes this week about the concrete plant battle and all the litigation it has created, referring to it as a possible “lawyer’s relief program.” His piece is excellent in its description of the August press conference for the residents opposed to the plant, where they were joined by the American Lung Association of New England and several other organizations. What I found most valuable about the piece was how it shed light on the ways in which our local and state governments are failing to do what have promised to do. From The Cranston Herald:
[…] It did not have to come to this. If the city had changed its zoning laws, as required by state statute, to conform to the Comprehensive Plan approved and adopted in 1992, the land would currently be zoned as open space. There is little question that there would not be a controversy over a misplaced concrete facility today.
In the 2006 election campaign, the mayor promised that if elected, he would investigate the issuance of that building permit and revoke it if it were determined that any impropriety occurred. He said that on Nov. 1, 2006. I know â€“ I was there. To date, no serious investigation into the matter by either the administration or the City Council has been conducted.
In March 2007, after the mayor agreed to the consent order and to do nothing pending the ZBR hearing of the CCRZDâ€™s appeal of the issuance of the building permit, the mayorâ€™s director of administration told the Eden Park residents gathered outside Judge Indegliaâ€™s courtroom that a ZBR hearing could be held by the end of April. He told the residents that the city was committed to a quick resolution of the issue. I know â€“ I was there as well. Last week he stated that the ZBR could hear the issue as early as this fall.
Itâ€™s no wonder that people feel like pawns in the game. They justly feel like victims of a government that forgot Immanuel Kantâ€™s admonition to â€œalways recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.â€? [full text]
Schoos starts his piece off with a quote from John Locke — “I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.” The actions of our state and local leadership speak much louder than their words, and their actions are about talking the talk but not being able to walk the walk. The Comprehensive Plan of 1992 promised to designate the area open space, but that didn’t happen. Mayor Napolitano promised to do an investigation of the building permit given to Cullion, but that hasn’t happened. The DEM promised to hold a public hearing in July to allow residents to voice their opposition to the concrete plant, but that didn’t happen. The pattern of lack of follow-through is obvious. And they count on your apathy — the public’s unwillingness to hold them accountable — to do things like this.
Don’t let them get away with not listening to the public about the problems being created by the location of the Cullion concrete plant. Write a letter to the DEM. Do your part to hold our elected and appointed officials accountable.