John McDaid's blog
Rhode Island’s top Democratic Party leadership gathered Tuesday to denounce the actions of President Donald Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (D.A.C.A.) program, which safeguarded the rights of an estimated 800,000 immigrants who were children when they entered the United States. The news conference, according to a release, was held at the Segue Institute for Learning in Central Falls and led by R.I. Democratic Party Chair Joseph M. McNamara, included Governor Gina Raimondo, Lt. Governor Daniel McKee, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, Treasurer Seth Magaziner, Mayors James A. Diossa (Central Falls) and Jorge Elorza (Providence,) and two ‘Dreamers’ — Javier Juarez, a Brown University graduate student, and Rodrigo Pimental, a member of the R.I. Progressive Democrats.
“Rhode Island was founded on the principles of tolerance and diversity," said Governor Raimondo. "Throughout our history, our state has been strengthened by the contributions of immigrants. President Trump’s plan to end DACA is nothing short of cruel, and it would be a disaster for the nation’s economy. As long as I am Governor of this state, Rhode Island will stand up for the American Dream, and the Dreamers who keep it alive.”
Lt. Governor McKee said, “Here in Rhode Island, we have thousands of amazing young people who are protected by DACA, many who have only ever known Rhode Island as their home. These young people are studying, working, running small businesses, paying taxes, and building their own families. DACA protects the progress they have made and the many contributions they continue to make to the social and economic fabric of our state. Halting this program is inhumane and stands against everything Rhode Islanders stand for.”
Rhode Islanders seeking support with DACA or general immigration issues are encouraged to reach out to Progreso Latino, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, or Roger Williams Law School Immigration Law Clinic.
“DACA children have known nothing else but this country as their home, they contribute greatly to the fabric of our community, and they deserve our protection from any attempt to undermine their rights as residents,” said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin on Friday. “This is one of the most heartless and immoral decisions the President has made yet. We are a nation built on the contributions of our many immigrant populations, and we are a stronger nation because of those contributions. Now the President is turning his back on children who have so much to give to this country. We cannot sit idly by as he strips DACA grantees rights they have been afforded and deserve.”
“Dreamers represent the best of the American spirit – young people going to school, working, and volunteering to build a better life. President Trump’s plan to expel these promising young people is cruel and un-American. We must all have the courage to speak out,” said Treasurer Magaziner.
“The elimination of DACA is a direct attack on the American Dream for 800,000 young people,” said Mayor Elorza. “DREAMers are Americans in virtually every way and it is deeply disheartening that they now face additional anxiety and uncertainty. Congress has the ability to bring hope back to DREAMers and we urge them to come together in a bipartisan way. We have 6 months to get the job done, let’s get to work.”
“President Trump’s decision today is going to hurt the progress of our country. Many of our kids benefitting from DACA are potential doctors, lawyers, scientists, and small business owners. They are creators, builders and innovators,” said Mayor Diossa. “The President has stopped the opportunity to make our country stronger – by having our kids paralyzed from seeking a better future.”
“DACA has affected my life drastically,” said Brown University graduate student and ‘Dreamer’ Javier Juarez. “Without DACA, I would have never been able to drive, get a decent paying job with benefits, graduate from Rhode Island College and get accepted into Brown University. Without DACA, everything that I have worked so hard for will vanish. I will continue to fight for DACA. I don’t need a set of papers to show the government that I am a stand-up citizen,” Juarez said.
Chair McNamara concluded, “It is so devastating to families and the impact it will have on them educationally and personally. These young citizens will lose the opportunity to fulfill themselves, and it will negatively impact our economic prospects for this generation.”
Editorial note: Written from a news release.
Rhode Island’s elected Democratic leaders joined today to condemn President Trump’s remarks Tuesday voicing support the ‘Alt-Right’ movement — White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan — and in a statement sent to reporters, called for Americans to unite peaceably to protect Democracy.
"The hateful and violent actions of white supremacists and self-identified Nazis this weekend leave no room for equivocation," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "President Trump responded to the events this weekend with dog whistles and muddled words. I stand with Rhode Islanders from across our state against hate, racism and white supremacy. I call on President Trump and all elected and community leaders to make a clear, unequivocal statement that white supremacy, Nazism, racism, and bigotry are evil and have no place in our democratic republic."
"All of our leaders have a responsibility to speak with one common voice against bigotry, hatred and prejudice," said Nicholas Mattiello, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. "A failure to denounce such actions in Charlottesville and elsewhere is an implied acceptance of this intolerable behavior. Americans must stand united for decency, honesty and the shared common value of equality for all."
President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio said, “There can be no false equivalency between those who seek to subjugate groups of Americans and those who stand bravely against hatred and oppression. This isn’t about left versus right; it’s about right versus wrong. Rhode Islanders of diverse ideologies have fought to protect the American ideal that all people are created equal against the scourge of slavery during the Civil War, of Nazism during World War II, and of racism during the Civil Rights movement. We as Americans stand united against racism and intolerance, but the leader of this great nation must not equivocate on the fundamental American principle espoused by George Washington to a Jewish congregation in Newport: that we shall give to bigotry no sanction.”
“America is at a crossroads. Do we continue our experiment in democracy or do we return to the days of bigotry, racism, hatred, and condoned violence?” asked Party Chair Joseph M. McNamara. “This is not a Republican / Democratic issue – this is an American issue; our nation needs its elected and political leaders to unite to speak out now against this injustice, and to fight to protect our nation from this divisive presidency.”
Editorial note: Written from a news release.
“It is an absolute outrage that President Trump is calling for the ban of transgender people in our military, and that he would be so cavalier as to ‘tweet’ this policy reversal,” said Rhode Island Democratic Party Chair Joseph M. McNamara in a statement Wednesday.
“Trump’s statement that transgender Americans will not be allowed to serve 'in any capacity' is absurd and discriminatory on its face. Love of country is not affected by gender identity, nor should it be hailed as a marker for who is patriotic or best qualified to serve this nation,” McNamara said. “At a time when democracy faces threats inside and outside our borders – North Korean aggression, Russian interference in our elections, ISIS terrorists — we need the best and most committed soldiers possible. This policy does not accomplish that.”
Anthony DeRose, Chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus, said, "It is truly disgraceful how this President, who has not served one day in the Armed Forces, is now a so-called expert on what is considered a 'disruption' on the battlefield. He's not only disrespecting those trans individuals who have served our Nation bravely or who would have wished to serve, but he is maligning all trans people.”
Editorial note: Written from a news release.
The Prudence Island Water District will hold a workshop on implementing their taxing authority this Saturday at 1pm the Union Church, according to a news release.
After research, discussion of options and careful consideration over the past year, the Board of the Prudence Island Water District intends to implement use of its taxing authority effective with passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget. The District has had the authority to tax real property within the District since its creation through legislative action in 2004. However, the District has never implemented this authority and instead relied exclusively on collection of semi-annual water service fees to pay for all operating expenses, capital expenses and debt service.
During the past year, the District has reviewed its taxing authority and the need for additional debt service as part of this long-term plan to continue improving not only its water quality and upgrading its infrastructure, but to also increase potential capacity for new customers (including redundancy of supply to respond to temporary interruptions in the availability of one or more wells), as well as improve the accessibility and quantity of water available for fire fighting within the District.
The Board has concluded that these projects will equally benefit not only its water customers, but also the property owners within the District that are not currently purchasing water service from the district. The Board feels that it is unfair to place the full financial burden of these system improvements solely on current water users when they benefit all property owners within the District. Therefore, the District intends to move to a budget that is based on funding operations with a combination of water service fees and debt service through a District wide tax on real property. This funding structure is common practice in water districts throughout the State of Rhode Island.
The Board has scheduled the second of two public informational workshops to present this change to property owners within the District. The workshop will be held:
July 29, 2017
from one o'clock to two o'clock at
3 Pier Road, Prudence Island
Full implementation of the budgetary decision and setting of the tax rate will occur when the Board adopts its budget for fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018) at its monthly Board meeting on September 16, 2017.
Editorial note: Written from a news release.
Nearly 100 women from East Bay and across the state gathered Tuesday night at Rogers Library in Bristol to map out next steps for the growing Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus; nearly a third of those present were first-time attendees. Caucus co-chairs Rep. Lauren Carson, Rep. Shelby Maldonado and Rep. Grace Diaz led the two-hour program. (Senator Gayle Goldin was absent due to family illness.)
The attendees suggested specific workshops and training sessions they’d like to be part of, including: fundraising, leadership training, communications, running campaigns, understanding the legislature, learning how bills are made and passed, and supporting women candidates. An upcoming outline and schedule of workshops is expected to be presented to members in its next meeting.
Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea spoke to the group about the importance of getting involved in elections and politics, to exercise their right to vote and to encourage others to do so. She applauded the efforts of the co-chairs and the dozen elected women in attendance, and urged all to attend their local city and town committee meetings. At least two dozen of those attending were either elected or city or town chairs.
RI Democratic Party Executive Director T. Kevin Olasanoye gave a state Party update, including an overview of Resistance Summer, a 4-month, Democratic National Committee-led program to expand voter involvement. He introduced the Party’s two new interns, who will be responsible for building voter registration and community involvement: Michelle Arias and Jakub Lis.
The next meeting is Tuesday, August 1, in Newport; co-chairs also announced plans for tri-state regional meeting with other women’s caucuses for the fall. For more information, call 401.272.3367, or see the Women's Caucus on Facebook.
Editorial note: written from a news release
Sen. Jim Seveney (D-11) will host a constituent meeting next Sunday, July 16 at Foodworks Restaurant, 2461 East Main Rd. in Portsmouth from 1:30-3pm, according to an e-mail sent this afternoon. Sen. Seveney's district includes all of Portsmouth, southern Bristol, and an area of Tiverton near the bridge.
Seveney says in the e-mail, "Needless to say, some major pieces of legislation, including the FY 2018 state budget, are in limbo and awaiting final completion. Hopefully we'll reconvene soon to finish the work left undone on Friday, June 30th.
"Come anytime between 1:30 - 3:00pm to discuss issues, expectations and the latest status on legislation of interest. I'll also share my experiences and insights gained as a first term state senator. I invite you to stop by and let me know what you're thinking."
Meeting is free and open to the public. Coffee and light snacks will be available.
Editorial note: Written from an e-mail.
Following the Portsmouth Water and Fire District election last week in which Mr. Phil Driscoll ran unopposed, the newly re-elected Clerk took the time to attack me in letters to the editor of the Newport Daily News and Portsmouth Times.
Calling me an "antagonist," Mr. Driscoll criticized me for supporting a write-in candidate. You can read his letter in the paper or online version, and my response, included below, appeared in yesterday's Daily News, and should be in next week's Portsmouth Times.
To the editor:
When an elected official attacks a private citizen for being involved in civic life, it should not pass unremarked. So when the newly re-elected Portsmouth Water and Fire District Clerk, Phil Driscoll, denounces me in a letter to the editor published on 6/28, I feel compelled to respond.
Mr. Driscoll calls me an “antagonist” and alleges that a “surreptitious write-in campaign” was mounted against him. What did I do to merit his ire? I ran into someone outside the polling place who said they were doing a write in campaign and I posted that on Facebook. (And on harddeadlines.com — thanks, Mr. Driscoll, for mentioning the name of my news blog!)
In my opinion, the public is always best served by contested elections. Especially for a quasi-municipal entity with taxing authority. Apparently, Mr. Driscoll disagrees.
As to Mr. Driscoll’s assertion that I question his environmental credentials, I’ll quote the self-description from his letter: “I am a committed advocate of the environment but that does not mean that I wallow in the DEM, DOH and EPA trough of fallacy, fable and fantasy.”
Personally, I respect the validity of peer-reviewed science. You should draw your own conclusions about whether Mr. Driscoll does based on his words.
John G. McDaid
Rep. Dennis Canario (D-71, Portsmouth) and Sen. Cynthia Coyne’s (D-32, Barrington) legislation (H 5551Aaa) that would create a 19-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island passed the General Assembly last night, according to a state house news release.
“The potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island would have drastic impacts to the fabric of our state and this commission is necessary to determine if those effects would come with positive or negative outcomes,” said Canario. “There is too much at stake from both a financial and a public health standpoint to rush into legalization because Massachusetts has elected to do so. This commission will take a thoughtful and data-driven approach to determine if legalizing marijuana is the right move for Rhode Island.”
“Based on my experience as a retired State Police lieutenant and a mom of four children, I understand that legalization of marijuana for recreational use could have serious public safety, public health and societal ramifications. It is imperative that we thoughtfully consider the unintended consequences and take notice from lessons learned in Colorado and Washington. We should take full advantage of other states’ experiences and learn about whether we should follow in their footsteps or perhaps take a different approach to avoid any problems they may have encountered,” said Coyne.
The commission would consist of three members of the House of Representatives, three members of the Senate, one member from Smart Approaches to Marijuana, the President of the Substance Use Mental Health Council of RI or a designee, a member from a pro-legalization organization, the Executive Director of the RI Medical Society or a designee, a member of a local chamber of commerce, the Director of the Department of Health or a designee, the President of the RI Police Chief’s Association or a designee, a designee of the RI Attorney General, a member representing the medical marijuana patients of Rhode Island, an educator in Rhode Island, a mental health professional, a criminal defense attorney, and the President of the RI AFL-CIO.
The purpose of the commission would be to conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding marijuana and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, and to study the fiscal impact to those states; and thereafter the potential impact on Rhode Island of legalized recreational marijuana.
Local cosponsors of the legislation included Sen. Jim Seveney (D-11, Portsmouth), and Sen. Lou DiPalma (D-12, Middletown).
The bill now heads to the governor for consideration.
Editorial note: Written from a state house news release.
Both incumbent candidates on the ballot, Phil Brooks and Ann Marie Lockwood, were re-elected to the Prudence Island Water District board at last Saturday's election -- Phil Brooks with 19 votes and Ann Marie Lockwood, 14 votes. In the race for Clerk, with no declared candidate and incumbent Martha Fuller deciding not to stand for reelection, Chris Brown carried the vote with 13 write-ins.
Official numbers from the hand count were:
Board Member (elect 2)
Phil Brooks 19
Ann Marie Lockwood 14
Rick Brooks, Sr. 5
Clerk (no declared candidates)
Chris Brown 13
Chris Blount 1
Frank Jurnak 1
Total ballots cast: 22, out of 716 eligible voters, for a turnout of 3.07%
Editorial note: Written from a news release.