Two community-minded candidates vye for Ward 4 seat

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One has a compelling story of making it on the street as a high school student and going on to build three businesses employing about 40 people, and the other has a background in law and government. Both have families, a love for community and want to work for a better Warwick.

Mike Penta, running as an independent, and James McElroy, having won the Democratic nomination in the September primary, are vying for the Ward 4 council seat left vacant with Joseph Solomon’s designation as acting mayor following the resignation of Scott Avedisian and Solomon’s decision to seek the post in the November Election.

Solomon has represented the ward, largely made up of Conimicut and Hoxsie, for the past 18 years.

The Penta/McElroy campaign is one of two City Council contests. The other race is in Ward 1 where incumbent Richard Corley faces Patrick Maloney, who is running as an independent. Incumbents Jeremy Rix, Ward 2; Timothy Howe, Ward 3; Ed Ladouceur, Ward 5; Donna Travis, Ward 6; Steve McAllister, Ward 7 and Steve Merolla, Ward 9 are without opponents. In Ward 8 where Joseph Gallucci is not seeking reelection, Anthony Sinapi beat Bethany Furtado in the Democratic primary, thereby assuring his election as no other candidates declared for the ward.

McElroy and Penta are walking the ward, knocking on doors, meeting people and both spoke at the recent Conimicut Village Association meeting held at St. Benedict Church hall. They are finding people are concerned about Warwick schools, speeding in their neighborhood and trash at Conimicut Point beach.

“I’m hearing a lot about schools,” said McElroy, whose wife was a Warwick teacher and is now the acting principal at Sherman Elementary School. He finds the battle over school finances with the possibility of a lawsuit against the city as well as a history of teacher contract unrest as creating an atmosphere of strife that has worn at the fabric of schools.

Pointing to cutbacks in custodians in order to balance the budget and what that means in school cleanliness and the cutback in after school use such as that for cheerleading practice, Penta said, “do I know the school system is in need of bucks? Absolutely.”

Neither candidate offers a resolution.

“We have to try to work out something reasonable,” said Penta.

His concern is that the issue has contributed to an overall sense of malaise about the city.

“People are just fed up,” he said. “I don’t want to give up on Warwick.”

McElroy feels a legal fight would be counterproductive and serve to harden positions.

“Once you start fighting, it’s hard to go back,” he said. McElroy feels Mayor Solomon is “receptive” to an agreement and trying to work things out.

On a ward level, the two candidates are troubled by the number of vacant storefronts in Conimicut village.

McElroy feels the city should take an active role in attracting a major outlet that would serve as a catalyst for other businesses.

“There should be some type of draw,” he said. “Someone has to take the lead and come up with ideas.”

As the operator and owner of a construction business and two restaurants that he runs with his wife, Angelica – Gel’s Kitchen in West Warwick and Mike and Gel’s Pizza on West Shore Road – Penta believes Conimicut and the city overall would benefit from a friendlier business climate. He said businesses are over taxed and regulated. He would seek to create a “one stop” environment for businesses where they could get answers on planning, zoning and permitting without having to interact with multiple offices, facing delays and often getting conflicting information.

“When businesses want to come in, we need to say this is what we’re doing for you,” he said. “We have to make it easier.”

The use of beach fees as a means of generating revenue and reducing beach litter was a hot issue at the village association meeting. Penta opposes fees and says if the city came down harder on littering it would make for cleaner beaches. If revenue is the objective, Penta suggested the use of speed-ticketing cameras, as being used in Providence, would serve that purpose while also addressing complaints of speeding on Point Avenue.

McElroy isn’t convinced beach fees would solve the litter problem. He’s willing to try fees for a year or two to see if it would work. Speeding is of concern.

“All it takes is one speeding car to hit a child,” he said.

While rooted in the community, the two candidates have contrasting stories of growing up and their involvement in politics.

McElroy said he has been friends with Solomon for years. They lived across from one another and McElroy served as his campaign manager in his first run for Ward 4. McElroy said he wouldn’t have run had Solomon sought reelection to the council rather than running for mayor. He follows city politics and is active in Democratic circles. This is his first bid for public office.

An attorney, McElroy worked for the state Division of Taxation, the state Supreme Court and served as a legislative counsel in the State House. He left five years ago and is thinking of returning to legal work. He and his wife are the parents of four, all Pilgrim High School graduates. One is an attorney; three are teachers.

As a high school student, Penta found himself homeless as his father left him and he and his brother were evicted from their apartment. Caring for his younger brother, Penta didn’t tell authorities of the situation and the two of them lived out of a car he parked near Pilgrim High. Working odd jobs, Penta found an apartment and then through the landlord and realtor took on construction jobs. It was what put him on a path to going into business for himself.

He has been active in city politics as a member of the Republican Party and as its former chairman. In 2012 he ran for Ward 4, losing to Solomon. Then in 2016 he ran for House District 21, making the unusual move of attending a fundraiser for his Democratic opponent Camille Vella-Wilkinson, who won the seat. Friends with Vella-Wilkinson, he said regardless of who won, he believed the constituents of District 21 would be well served.

After that run, Penta said he was thinking he would not seek public office again. Then with Solomon’s run for mayor the picture changed. Penta decided to make a run, but this time as an independent.

Penta says his tenacity is his greatest asset.

“I never gave up when I was 14 and I’m doing it at 52…if I get elected I’m not going to stop.”

He said McElroy lives right down the street and should McElroy win he offered to work with him for the betterment of the city.

Comments

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richardcorrente

I am happy that candidate Penta recognizes the need to "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" as a way to resolve the lack of businesses in the Conimicut Village area but I don't read any plan from either candidate as to "how" they plan on improving ward 4.

Both candidates define the problems accurately but as John Howell pointed out "Neither candidate offers a resolution." One of these good candidates should come up with an idea, even if it gets improved upon later. That, in my opinion, will sway this tight race in the favor of the candidate that does.

Good luck gentlemen.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, October 18
Justanidiot

and we wonders why such a stunning intelluct like master mayer can't garner a hug groundswell of support

Thursday, October 18
CrickeeRaven

The two-time election reject only succeeds in further humiliating himself by twisting information that is reported on this website.

Nowhere is Mr. Penta quoted supporting his failed campaign slogan; in fact, neither candidate mentions taxes at all.

And Mr. Penta opposes the beach parking taxes that the two-time election reject has vocally supported, meaning that Mr. Penta does not agree with him.

The two-time election reject's desperate and pathetic attempts to make himself look credible will have the same result as his two campaigns: He will fail, yet again, except to make a disgrace of himself.

Thursday, October 18
richardcorrente

Dear CrickeeRaven,

Half-way down the article Mr. Penta is stating that he feel that businesses in the Conimicut "are overtaxed and regulated." That is the part I was referring to. Didn't you read it Mark?

Hey, while we're at it I noticed that your house went DOWN in tax assessed value from 2004 to today. I guess working for Avedisian had that perk, didn't it? No wonder you don't want my number one idea from The Corrente Plan, which is to have the appraisers at Vision Technologies, send their findings to The Warwick Beacon BEFORE the MAYOR AND HIS CHIEF-OF-STAFF get their greedy hands on them so they can alter the numbers. It would mean YOUR house, Mark, would have an HONEST assessed value...and your real estate taxes would mirror your neighbors, a huge increase over what you are currently paying. Right? (so would Avedisians, and Solomons and others)

BTW, I was checking out the West Warwick Dept. of Economic Development, you know, just for fun. It said, on their own website, that there are only 8 new business filings in West Warwick in the last TWO YEARS. WOW! I wouldn't want to be THAT failing Dept. head! Talk about a failure! What a loser! Must have the IQ of a cricket!

Be careful when you attack me Mark. You're heading for a corner that you may not be able to paint yourself out of.

You anonymous coward of a critic.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Friday, October 19
Cat2222

RC, You just made an allegation of record tampering of tax real estate taxes by Former Mayor Avedsian and his administration. Where is your proof to back up that statement?

Friday, October 19
CrickeeRaven

He has none, Cat. He has no idea who is using this screen name, he thinks he is still running against Avedisian, and as you rightly note, he shows no restraint in making false accusations against others.

He's a pathetic, disgraceful trainwreck of a candidate, and is seemingly, stubbornly, the last person to realize it.

"Be careful," is possibly the most hypocritical thing he has written, given his own careless behavior.

Friday, October 19
CrickeeRaven

Just to add, Cat, I direct you to this letter to the editor written by the two-time election reject in August, 2016, where I first outlined his own tax delinquency and lack of paying taxes: http://warwickonline.com/stories/running-on-a-platform-to-cut-taxes,115119

This is where he first alleged tax assessment fixing by Avedisian. He had no proof then, and he has no proof now.

And please see this article from the Warwick Post that explains, in detail, how his claims about tax assessments were false: https://warwickpost.com/correntes-attacks-fail-on-the-facts/

For the last two-plus years, the two-time election reject has failed -- utterly -- to explain why he so blatantly lied about the assessments on his and Avedisian's properties in a letter to the editor explaining his candidacy in 2016.

This failure took many forms, as you've seen yourself over the last few months: Denials, ignoring the information, calling other commenters names, and here, again, falsely claiming he knows who is using this screen name.

None of this behavior proves his statements, nor does it disprove the factual information provided above about his utter lack of self-restraint in making false claims.

Allow me to repeat his words, this time describing the correct person: Him.

"Talk about a failure! What a loser!"

Friday, October 19
richardcorrente

Dear Cat2222,

I have often written about the "allegation of record tampering."

When I ran against Avedisian I wrote how the taxes on my land in Potowamut almost tripled in one year, (the second year of my campaign against him) and how the taxes on my home increased by about $1,000 while Avedisians taxes on his home decreased by a similar amount in that same year.

Avedisians Chief-of-Staff, Mark Carruolo, owns a house at 18 Hendricken Court. He bought it in 1997. His tax assessed value today is DOWN to less than what it was 15 YEARS AGO!!! ($219,700 today. $227,000 in 2004) Zillow says that his house INCREASED IN VALUE by $80,000 just since January 2016! How is THAT possible on a house that is going DOWN in assessed value unless someone is "tampering"? (Hey Cat2222, look up what happened to YOUR assessed value during that 2004-2018 timeframe)

This election, against Joe Solomon, it was more of the same.

He owns a car dealership at 1129 West Shore Rd. that has a tax assessed value that is less than what he paid for that property 29 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!!! I challenge you to find ANY other property in Warwick that enjoyed that kind of preferential treatment. (or anywhere else in the USA!)

I also wrote about his present home at 21 Crawford that went up by a paltry $4,400 in assessed value over the last two years, while his neighbor went up $61,000! In fact, all the other houses on Crawford increased in assessed value over the last two years by an average of $38,000.

Want more? OK. He also owns a house at 54 Hess in Warwick Neck that somehow went DOWN in assessed value by $39,700 over the last two years.

Still want more? OK. He also owns 180 Shawomet, (where he claimed he lived so he could represent ward 4). That house went DOWN in assessed value over the last two years, by $25,700 and it's ON THE WATER!

There's more but I think I proved my point...again.

Still not convinced? Call Vision Technologies at 401-435-0033. I did. They defended themselves when I did my due diligence and asked about these properties. They said they gave an accurate evaluation to the City. What happens after that is out of their control.

Cat2222, I have been analyzing real estate appraisals for over forty years. What I have seen from Avedisian, Carruolo, and Solomon is either the biggest coincidence in the history of mankind, or it's tampering. I firmly believe it's the second answer.

Want a solution? Here it is.

I suggest that, starting with this upcoming assessment of the entire City, which begins this December, Warwick sends the findings from Vision Technologies direct to The Warwick Beacon and have them "forward" the appraisals to the City. That way if the IS any tampering, The Beacon will notice it and hopefully report it. With that system of checks and balances, we would stop this alleged tampering from ever happening again. It would require legislation that I have proposed to both Solomon and Stenhouse. We could save the taxpayers a fortune without it costing them a penny. (It is item # 1 in The Corrente Plan)

Is that enough "proof" or are you going to find where I am off by a penny or two and attempt to discredit the whole picture like others try. Up to you.

Happy Autumn Cat2222.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Friday, October 19
Thecaptain

To Warwickman(boy), Corrente, Tkpfd, and the rest,

Well, it seems like Mayor Solomon went on WPRO today and admitted that the way that the sick leave pay was being distributed was wrong, the formula was wrong, and the payments based upon that formula have been stopped. He stated that the grievance that was filed has been denied.

Cant wait to hear what's next from all of the voices that cant stay on point and want to shoot the messenger.

Is this where I say I told you so?

Friday, October 19
Warwick Man

Captain,

You gave zero brain cells. He absolutely did not say that. Listen to it. He said IF, yes that’s right IF it’s wrong then he will see restitution. He said clear as day he has not see the results. Stop putting words in his mouth. He also said IT WASNT INTIMIDATION what the inspector did.

Still guessing Block called on himself to blow the story up. He isn’t the building owner therefore wouldn’t be responsible for any violation anyway. But keep digging. When that report comes out you will be a laughing stock. TRUST ME..,,

Friday, October 19
WarwickFreemason

Mr. Corrente,

I love your enthusiasm, and I truly do believe you love Warwick; but with all due respect, you really should tone it down... It is almost a guaranty that you will practically comment on every article. This doesn't do you any justice, you come across as being cheesy and just another phony politician... You are not campaigning anymore and you should just let it go.

Every time I see one of your posts, I read the responses of your critics... It is like train wreck that you can't look away from... You either have no clue or you are just trying to get a rise out of them by messing with them constantly. If that is the case, kudos!, you are doing one heck of a job, because you truly irritate the c--p out of them! I can almost feel their blood boiling when they read your comments.

I did not vote for you two years ago and while I no longer live in Warwick, I would not be voting for you in the general election if you would have won the primary. To be perfectly honest, you come across as if you can't be trusted. There are just too many unanswered questions (that are brought up to you constantly by your critics) that you ignore or just plain refuse to answer.

In my personal opinion, I think you should come to realize that your aspirations to become the mayor someday are probably not ever going to come to fruition... I think every resident of the city should be outspoken and critical of local government (if applicable), but I think you need to come to terms with the fact that your political career pretty much over. And out of respect for the Office of the Mayor, you really need to stop calling yourself Mayor, you did not earn that title and it really doesn't do you any justice when you continue to apply that title to your name. If anything, it makes the whole situation more laughable and it makes people question your competency.

Either way, In the end you are going to do whatever you want! I will continue to shake my head in disbelief and amusingly cringe when I read what your critics are going to say! It does make a long day at work go by quickly.

Happy Waxing Gibbous Moon Mr. Corrente;

Happy Waxing Gibbous Moon Everyone,

Warwick Freemason

The Taxpayer's Freemason

Friday, October 19
CrickeeRaven

Cat, I am sure you see the obvious and glaring defects in the two-time election reject's reply to you.

"I wrote how the taxes on my land in Potowamut almost tripled in one year, (the second year of my campaign against him) and how the taxes on my home increased by about $1,000 while Avedisians taxes on his home decreased by a similar amount in that same year."

And as the links provided above show, this was a lie.

- The two-time election reject's rental property's assessment went down by $5,000, while the assessment on his undeveloped plot in Potowomut went up by $5,000 -- not triple. That means his overall tax increase was zero.

- The taxes on his former residence were not paid by him in 2014, 15, 16, 17, or 18.

- Avedisian's taxes went up on a lot next to his home by almost $100 while they went down on his home by about $91, meaning Avedisian actually paid more in taxes than the two-time election reject.

Here's another obvious defect in his statements: He is comparing market value with the city's property assessment, a dishonest and false comparison.

Market value and city assessments rarely match -- and he is, of course, ignoring the revaluations that happen in Warwick regularly that lower the assessments while raising the same or more tax revenue.

For someone who claims such expertise in real estate, the two-time election reject willfully ignores a major factor in city property valuations.

He also make a delusional suggestion in having the Beacon serve as "checks and balances" on the city valuation process -- once again proving his utter ignorance of city operations. The valuations are conducted by an independent appraisal company (Vision) and the data is entered with no -- NO -- opportunity for city officials or any one else to "tamper" with that data. The only changes that can be made are through appeals to the city's board of assessments, and even then, that board does not make the actual changes to any property valuations.

[I'm sure you've also noticed his unhealthy obsession with the former chief of staff who left Warwick in 2014, and who he wrongly thinks is using this screen name.]

So, this is what he calls proof: Ignoring the regular city revaluations that lead to lower published property assessments and happen as a matter of routine, comparing them to market value which is in no way related to city assessments, and repeating a set of false accusations against Mayor Solomon.

I'm not sure about you, but I am having a happy autumn knowing that our honest, taxpaying neighbors saw through the two-time election reject's lies and disgraceful behavior to ensure that he is kept far away from any office.

Friday, October 19
richardcorrente

Dear WarwickFreemason,

Please read my sincere comment to you at the "Officials: Warwick destined to become 'Medical Tourism' hub". I responded to you there and would only add that I respectfully disagree with you about referring to myself as "Mayor". I never have. I have, however, repeated the title that is given to me everywhere I go. I have been referred to as The Taxpayers Mayor so many times that I wonder if some of those people remember my real name. If you feel that sounds "cheesy" I'm OK with that. I have an absolute dedication to the taxpayers of our City, not the political insiders, like the ones who will complain, criticize and condemn this comment as soon as I hit the "Post comment" button.

WarwickFreemason, I ran for Mayor so I could promote the message "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending". I didn't promote that message in order to run for Mayor. It has always been the "message", not the "man", as I repeated throughout both campaigns . The political insiders have never understood that. That's OK. I don't represent them. The TAXPAYERS understand. They are the MOST important group, in my opinion.

The Corrente Plan is still on my website at "wwwcorrenteformayor.com". I believe that the two remaining candidates have read it and "some" of it sank in. If it did, I feel a sense of accomplishment. If it didn't, no one can fault me for trying. I spent over $40,000 of my own money and over 1,000 days of my life. Not one of these, empty-can-too-afraid-to use-their-own-real-name critics can say they did even 1% as much as I did. Not even 1%. If THAT doesn't "irritate the c--p out of them", nothing will!

Hoping to keep you "shaking your head in disbelief" and making you "amusingly cringe", I remain,

Sincerely,

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Happy Waxing Gibbous Moon WarwickFreemason.

Happy Waxing Gibbous Moon everyone.

Monday, October 22
CrickeeRaven

Well, WarwickFreemason, you have again succeeded in drawing out the extreme level of delusion that the two-time election reject continues to willfully exhibit.

"I have, however, repeated the title that is given to me everywhere I go. I have been referred to as The Taxpayers Mayor so many times that I wonder if some of those people remember my real name."

No one ever gave the two-time election reject his make-believe title. He invented it.

No one ever referred to him by that fake title except himself.

Although, as is typical for him, there is a kernel of truth buried in his pathetic statements: No one remembers his name.

Consider, too, that he apparently thinks it's an accomplishment to insult other online commenters [who use screen names just like you do] who have provided 100% verifiable public information about him.

I am glad that you did not vote for him in 2016; more honest, taxpaying voters agreed with you in 2018 than with him -- but of course, that doesn't exist in the two-time election reject's delusional version of events.

He represents only himself -- and he's done a terrible job of it, evidenced by his overwhelming losses in two straight election.

The two-time election reject is now portraying his repeated lies as some kind of joke -- clearly not understanding that he made a running joke of himself.

Thanks, in any case, for trying to talk some sense to the two-time election reject. It helps to expose him for the unreasonable, delusional person that he's already proven himself to be.

Monday, October 22
KaptainMorgan

I've often referred to the delusional wacko as a buffoon and an embarrassment, yet he doesn't anoint himself with those titles... hmmm. I called you that to your face when you tried shaking my hand, does that jog your memory?

Monday, October 22
Cat2222

RC, if you have solid proof, why are you not pursuing reversing your tax evaluation? Why are you not bringing it to the attention of others? Have you filed a complaint? Reported it to the administration formally?

I do remember the article where your numbers and accusation was shot down as being false and without merit. It was misinformation then and it is still misinformation now. You have a very bad habit of pointing a finger but never have real, concrete evidence to back up your claims. Just because you think you have been wronged doesn't automatically make that true. Most people would be trying to fix inaccuracies but you just leave them be and comment about how you have been wronged.

Most normal people would be on the phone, writing letters and shouting from the social media roof top if they believed their taxes were tampered with. You? Just comment here in the Beacon.

Monday, October 22
CrickeeRaven

KaptainMorgan, you're probably going to have to narrow that down... I can't imagine you're the only person to have told the two-time election reject how much of an embarrassment he has made of himself.

And Cat, we know why the two-time election loser uses this site for an outlet to repeat his lies and false claims -- he realized very early that no one on the staff or management of the site would stop him. And for the most part, they haven't. There have only been a handful of times when the editors deleted his comments [and those of everyone else who commented] over the last three years.

This has given him the unfortunate belief that he can say whatever he wants, no matter how untrue, and somehow consider it legitimate. That virtually everyone who has ever responded to him has proven his statements to be lies -- on the same website that he believes makes his words credible -- doesn't seem to matter as long as he can keep hitting "post comment" and seeing his own statements appear.

I'd also guess that he just doesn't believe that so many people who read this site actually care about accuracy and facts. To him, it's a personal slight when public and verified information proves him wrong, and so he tries to make it a personal issue with others.

As you rightly point out, most people would address the underlying facts instead of simply repeating their lies. But as with so many other things, the two-time election reject is wrong to think that he doesn't have to be accountable for what he has said as a declared candidate for office.

In fact, he's gone so far the other way that he doesn't even acknowledge that his repeated lies and disgraceful behavior on this website led directly to his two overwhelming losses at the polls.

Thanks for trying to talk sense to him; I'm sure, unfortunately, that all you'll get in return is more gibberish.

Monday, October 22
Cat2222

CrickeeRaven, I am baffled. Honest and truly baffled! I don't have much money so if I am being cheated out of it I move heaven and earth to fix the situation. I did have an issue with my federal taxes. I phoned the IRS 13 TIMES! I did not stop until I had the issue corrected. If my vehicle tax records were recorded incorrectly online then I would call or show up in person and have them updated. I am not even running for office but I would straighten it out right away because it reflects negatively on me.

I have a real issue with untruthful and uncorroborated statements. I have never known anyone (except maybe for our current POTUS) that makes outrageous statements and then flips it around when asked for proof. It is simply unacceptable to me that this is allowed to continue.

Tuesday, October 23