Abstract Promises and Concrete Problems

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 – 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 CCRZD’s appeal of the issuance of the building permit, the mayor’s director of administration told the Eden Park residents gathered outside Judge Indeglia’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 – I was there as well. Last week he stated that the ZBR could hear the issue as early as this fall.

It’s no wonder that people feel like pawns in the game. They justly feel like victims of a government that forgot Immanuel Kant’s admonition to “always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.� [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.

3 thoughts on “Abstract Promises and Concrete Problems

  1. Articulate and thorough piece by Schoos. His reference to 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. I found it problematic that the City workers whom had only started the week prior on the Park Cinema found the morning of the Press Conference to have TWO cement trucks decible piercing as they tumbled all during the speech. I think it is a message from the City and if it was pure coincidence…..then why didn’t someone from the City come out and ask them to knock it off and give some respect….after all, we’re all on the same side …right?

    The pattern I see is of games. Mark Lucas captured it beautifully in his recent letter to the Cranston Herald


    I also spoke to a councilman today that said what many City officials have said…this was a problem we didn’t create. But, you own it now and you had the ability to do some quick, hard decisive action which no one took. We need to turn it around and take a stab at DEM and make them understand …if not, off to the EPA.

    Thanks Kiersten!

  2. This whole situation should never happened from the previous administration and now it is the new administration problem. Why are we wasting th taxpaper’s money when this should have been resolved long time ago.No one seems to want to put this to a halt. Is this the way we are spending our tax dollars–“in court”?/

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