March Madness at Town Council on Monday: Arsenic, marijuana, and skateboarding
The Portsmouth Town Council has a full bracket of PCC-sponsored mayhem on Monday, and I would urge all citizens interested in respect for science, medicine, and the right of our children to play as they wish in our public parks to attend.
Under old business, Paul "Transparancy" Kesson has an agenda item to "request that the Council Direct the Town Solicitor to prepare and ordinance limiting contaminates in fill material to the levels existing on land to be filled." Yes, the Council clearly knows better than the RI DEM, the Federal government, and the international scientific community about safe levels of arsenic. If you care about science, the right to use compost, or our taxes (see my previous posts) you'll want to encourage the Council to think long and hard about this one.
Okay, well, maybe just think long.
Then, former PCC director "Cheshire" Kathy Melvin has requested an agenda item, "Request Council Involvement in Approval Process for Locating Marijuana Center in Portsmouth Industrial Park." While I suppose it's possible that Ms. Melvin wants to urge the Council to speed the process along to get medical relief to those who need it, my gut tells me that's not what's going to be requested. Where were Ms. Melvin and the Council when CVS and RiteAid were stocking store shelves in our town with oxycodone? I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.
And to round out the trifecta of wacky, Portsmouth Police Chief Lance Hebert has an item, "Request Council Direction on how to Proceed re: Signage - Skateboarding at Island Park Playground/Police Dept." If you've read the coverage in Patch, you'll know that a new sign banning skating appeared in the Island Park playground, and my guess is that the Chief is going to ask the Council for an ordinance to back it up. Journalists are always looking for hidden connections, and while correlation is not causality, the fact that some of the most vocal landfill wingnuts are also the core of the anti-skate crowd makes me go, "hmmm." Not that the drumbeat of "who approved the aresenic" rhetoric about Town Administrator Bob Driscoll could have scared him into putting up a no-skating sign. I would never believe that. Nope. Not me. Remember that Descartes fundamental axiom is more properly stated as Dubito ergo sum, which makes much more sense when you think about it.
I'll admit, I haven't been going to Council meetings. Given the 4-member PCC bloc, it just hasn't seemed worth trying to reason with them. But these are issues that touch everyone in the community, and even if they're intent on corkscrewing Portsmouth into the ground, I think they should hear from us. Hope to see you there.
Full disclosure: I was a member of the Island Park working group that attempted to find a mediated solution on the skate park, and I was on the side of the skaters.