02871

LTE: Action needed to avoid an eviction crisis

By Sen. Dawn Euer and Rep. Jason Knight

Rep. Knight, Sen. EuerRhode Island is on the precipice of a cataclysmic housing disaster stemming from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But swift, decisive action would avert this crisis.

On Monday, the courts will open and landlords may begin filing for evictions, although in some situations renters may have protections until July. With over 230,000 new unemployment claims since March 9, and a record 17-percent unemployment rate, vast numbers of Rhode Islanders are likely on the verge of losing their housing. When Virginia reopened its courts two weeks ago, it had over 800 eviction proceedings already scheduled. Rhode Island, with the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the nation, is likely to experience a similar avalanche.

Renters are more likely than homeowners to live paycheck to paycheck, at risk of financial ruin if their income stops. While the moratorium has protected them up to now, if they’ve been unable to pay rent for several months, it’s unlikely they can pay those months of back rent to avoid eviction.

Rhode Island can use a portion of its $1.25 billion federal COVID-19 response funding for emergency rent assistance. Quickly establishing an Eviction Diversion Court – really, just a special District Court calendar to handle evictions – would create a means to provide tenants legal counsel, require mediation and provide the financial assistance necessary to prevent eviction.

We appreciate the courts’ and the administration’s efforts in this arena so far, and urge them to act swiftly to save tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders from homelessness.

Sen. Dawn Euer (D-13) represents Newport and Jamestown, and Rep. Jason Knight (D-67) represents Barrington and Warren

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, LTE, GA

LTE: Rhode Island needs real environmental action in 2020

Reps Speakman, Donovan, Cassar, Cortvriend, Carson


By Rep. June S. Speakman, Rep. Susan R. Donovan, Rep. Liana Cassar, Rep. Terri Cortvriend and Rep. Lauren Carson

In virtually all the predictions of what will be hot in the 2020 General Assembly session, there has been little mention of environmental policy. It is imperative that we make progress in 2020 on several fronts including plastics pollution, sea level rise, renewable energy, sustaining a clean water supply and waste management.

The foundation of Rhode Island’s economy —tourism, small business, boating, fisheries — depends on its policymakers looking beyond the current budget cycle and providing a reliable funding stream for these efforts. We also have the opportunity to recognize the innovation, growth and job creation that will come to our state when we embrace these priorities.

Our coastlines are being threatened by sea level rise. The Coastal Resources Management Council provides Rhode Island with maps predicting a changed shoreline in every coastal community.  We must improve the capacity of local communities to respond to these changes by offering education, technical assistance and funding to support resilience and adaption. There is no need to spend any more time questioning the probability of sea level rise. It’s happening.

Off the coast of Rhode Island is a sustainable resource that is becoming a driver of economic growth: wind power. Policymakers must seize the opportunity to ensure that this green industry has the support it needs to grow in a way that respects the needs of those who use the waters for fishing and boating.  Governor Raimondo’s mention of this in her State of the State address is a good sign, as is her commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

Rhode Island’s water supply needs long-term planning and policymakers’ attention. From the reservoirs close to the beach in Newport County, to the cross-bay pipeline that serves the East Bay, to the PFAS-polluted wells in Burrillville, our drinking water faces continued risk. The General Assembly must join with the governor to study these risks and provide stable, long-term funding to address them.

As we all know, Rhode Island faces a grave waste-management problem. The Central Landfill is nearing capacity; the town of Johnston cannot be expected to bear the burden of significant expansion. There is an easy mid-term solution here: produce less waste.  At relatively low cost, the state can lead the nation in cutting our waste significantly by limiting the distribution of single-use plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam. We can also establish an aggressive statewide composting program to divert food waste and yard waste from the landfill to our renewed small-farming sector and our own home gardens.

All these issues require our policymakers’ immediate attention, stable funding and focused planning. If we are to protect our precious resources and secure a sustainable, healthy future for our beautiful state, the time to act is now.

Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol), Rep. Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), Rep. Liana Cassar (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence), Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) and Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) all represent coastal communities and share deep concern for the environment.

 

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, environment, GA

Aquidneck Island Emergency Preparedness Fair Nov. 9

There will be an Emergency Preparedness Fair on Saturday, Nov 9 from 9am-noon at the Gaudet Middle School in Middletown with displays and representatives from local and state agencies to help answer questions and help plan for the unexpected. There will be emergency vehicles on hand for the kids, and representatives from all three island communities (including local emergency management organizations that are always seeking volunteers!)

Click image to embiggen.


Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, RIEMA

New hypertext fiction: Standing By The Wall

48-Hour Hypertext ChallengeWritten for the Association for Computing Machinery Hypertext 2019 "48-Hour Hypertext Challenge" (took about 30 hours), this work was displayed as part of the exhibition at the conference in Hof, Germany. You can read it at Eastgate.com.

.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, Fiction, sf

Eighteen years

Heaven/is falling
The angels/lie on sidewalks in the rain.
The serpent/calling
Up from the lost world/buried deep within our brain.
And the saints have piled up in the streets
Their sacred blood staining the sheets
Their halos and bones have been sold
Pried loose before the bodies were cold
And the Rainbow disappears with the dawn
And there's nothing left to carry us on
And there is no salvation to be found
Now that Heaven's underground.

Darkness/descending
Unending/as the chaos runs its course.
We grind on/pretending
Nothing/left us but remorse.
And the voices that speak in our dreams
Offer comforts as cold as they seem
As faces fade off into noise
And the lost take the Hand that destroys
And there are no stories left to tell
Now that Earth inhabits Hell

Bridge
It's forever
and it's worse than it appears.
This brave new world
is just the sum of all your fears.
And each day
follows senseless on the last.
With no way
out of the demon haunted past...
(Spoken: "Dingir.Pazuzu Qatu Dingir.Ishtar")

The Heroes/are dead now
Their bodies/scattered ashes in the deep.
The Prophet/unread now
In the sound and the fury of reason's final sleep.
And all along the roads to the Dome
the dead appear to carry us home
and the angels have begun now to rise
their screaming held back in the skies
and the world is just the walls of a cave...
As we look up the sides of the grave...
And there is no salvation to be found
Now that Heaven's underground

Ahh oooh
Ahh oooh
Ahh oooh

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, Music, 911

My WorldCon Dublin performance schedule!

WorldCon Dublin logoThe musical performance schedule for the World Science Fiction Convention Dublin2019 has been posted, and I'm delighted to have two 50-minute concerts where I'll be playing my geek-inflected folk/filk acoustic tunes.

The first is Thursday night in the cool art show performance space at Point Square:
15 Aug 2019, Thursday 16:30 - 17:20, WH2 - Performance space (Point Square Dublin)

Then on Saturday afternoon at the conference center:
17 Aug 2019, Saturday 13:45 - 14:35, Wicklow Hall 2A (Dances) (CCD)

I'm putting the finishing touches on a demo album this weekend featuring most of the music I'll be playing. Look for a link soon.

More information about Worldcon available at the main Dublin2019 web site.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, sf, Filk, worldcon

MacGibbon and Shers for Portsmouth Water Board 6/12

While I'm not running in the Portsmouth Water and Fire District election this year — I've got a conflict with Tuesday meetings — I'm supporting Tasha MacGibbon for Moderator and Allen Shers for Treasurer. Please take a few minutes to vote next Wednesday, June 12 at 1944 East Main Rd, from 7am to 8pm.

I'm not alone -- the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee voted unanimously on Monday, June 3, to support Tasha MacGibbon for Moderator and Allen Shers for Treasurer. Here's what they said in a statement sent to the press:

"We didn't vote to support them because they're Democrats," said Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee chair Len Katzman. "In fact, Allen Shers was recently elected to the school committee as a Republican. But our members have been impressed with his clear thinking, reasoned positions, and dedication to the community, and felt he deserved our support."

Tasha MacGibbon is a district training manager for T-Mobile with significant management experience. She's the parent of an 8-year-old, and her husband is a sergeant in the U.S. Marines. MacGibbon ran for Town Council as a Democrat in 2014.

Supporting multi-partisan candidates in this election was not an issue for the Town Committee, said Katzman. "Like all residents, we value efficient, transparent governance," he said. "And we know that one of the things people look to us for is vetting and endorsing capable people."

The Portsmouth Democrats urged all residents, no matter who they might support, to get to the polls on June 12. "One of the challenges of Water Board elections is turnout," said Katzman. "While these are important public offices, typically only a few hundred people participate. We want to do our part to remind folks to take a few minutes to cast their votes."

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District election will be held on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at the Portsmouth Water and Fire District Office, 1944 East Main Road from 7am to 8pm. And remember to bring photo ID.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, Elections, pwfd

Pages