November 26, 2014
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Cote says he’s leaving RI; drops role of citizens’ advocate
Warwick Beacon photo
Rob Cote

After nearly a year of leading the Car Tax Revolt and spending $10,000 on efforts to engage the community in city politics, resident Rob Cote announced early Friday morning that he plans to move out of the city, possibly even the state, due to lack of citizen attendance at last week’s budget hearings and recent council meetings.

In an email to the media, as well as more than 200 members of the revolt, Cote wrote, “Please be advised that in view of the limited attendance by taxpayers and the overwhelming attendance by union thugs at the city budget hearings, coupled with the obvious intent of a city council to support a criminal enterprise in Warwick and to ignore the best interest of the taxpayer, I have chosen to remove myself from assisting in any and all efforts to correct what is so dramatically wrong in Warwick.”

Cote didn’t elaborate on what he means by “criminal enterprise.”

He continued in the letter, “There is nothing that a handful of people can do to make change. It becomes a choice of logic versus time. The time has come where I spend all of my time with my family and plan our strategy to relocate.”

During a brief phone conversation, Cote said, “I can’t fight this fight on my own,” and declined to speak of the issue any further with the Warwick Beacon.

However, he appeared on the Dan Yorke Show Friday afternoon and said while he hoped his efforts would “institute change” in the community and encourage people to be more aware of their local government, he has thrown in the towel.

“The smoke is already on my heels,” he said. “We sent out hundreds of emails letting people know and you get a dozen people that show up. If we don’t get regular attendance at these meetings, there won’t be any change and I just don’t see that happening with all the efforts that we put through. How do you move forward in a society when this is the element you have pandering to the unions? They don’t want to hear from people with logical views.”

On the show, as well as via email, Cote expressed that he didn’t appreciate the manner in which he and other members of the public were treated at the hearings. He felt Council President Bruce Place allowed the assembly of mostly Warwick firefighters and Department of Public Works (DPW) employees to jeer him when he asked the mayor and his staff if the DPW would fiscally benefit from obtaining GPS tracking systems and time clocks that require fingerprints to clock in and out for work.

At the hearing, he said the questions came from an investigation he conducted, plus research done by WPRI reporter Walt Buteau, in which they witnessed DPW employees “wasting” taxpayer dollars.

“These are legitimate questions when you follow around DPW workers who drive for 300 miles around the city of Warwick and never get out of the vehicle for months on end,” Cote told Yorke. “My purpose was to address what we could save with a GPS … It was brought to the mayor’s attention and he dismissed it.”

Further, he said he didn’t like the fact that Ward 1 Councilman Steven Colantuono, Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson and Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis applauded as he was jeered.

Also, said Cote, when he and more than 200 members of the Car Tax Revolt came before the council last summer, there were 30 police officers on duty at City Hall. But, during the budget hearings with a crowd of mostly union workers, no officers were present.

Cote also claimed he was threatened by a DPW employee at Thursday’s hearing. In fact, he mentioned the incident to a Beacon reporter via email. When asked to elaborate, Cote failed to respond in time for press.

Despite his frustration, Cote’s efforts grabbed the attention of Rep. Joseph McNamara, who drafted legislation in January to modify automobile assessments from full clean retail value to average trade-in retail value, as well as set up a “quantifiable” appeal process in which vehicle owners would be able to submit a certified appraisal to challenge “inflated” values. As of now, the bill is on hold for further study.

Cote grew up in Warwick and graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in 1977 before earning a Bachelor’s Degree of Science from the University of Rhode Island in 1981. These days, he works full-time as a certified welding inspector.


Comments
11 comments on this item

Make sure when he is cleaning up his property he doesn't dump another 30 gallons of fuel in the sewer. If he needs a ride to the boarder ill drop him off...

The city is losing a good citizen. Good luck.

I am sorry to hear that. It take's courage to stand up against the corrupt unions and our corrupt mayor. We are loosing one of the only true good people in the city. We, the working class, will all suffer at the hands of the unions and the mayor more so without Mr. Cote. He is a true advocate for the people, something RI lacks in all levels of government and certainly the unions were never an advocate for the people.

Cote why don't you follow a semi to Mexico and don't let the toll booths hit you in the ass on the way out. Bye Bye and don't forget your gas cans, LMAO!!!!!

Oh Mr Cote,

Good riddens is the words that come to my mind. Dont let the Door hit you were the good lord split ya!!! Maybe you can't get enough people behind you cause most of the things that come out of your BIG MOUTH or are on your videos are not true!! You post vidoes of a trucks in driveways then say you follow it around but I hope people notice that the pictures of the trucks are 2 diffrent trucks with diffrent tag #'s. Also all of the so called "UNion Thugs" as you say are Warwick Tax payers also.. Please I pray your house sells quickly and you move to woonsocet or central falls and see how much better off you can be!!!!!!!!!

Too bad Central Falls, Woonsocket, Providence, West Warwick didn't have their own Rob Cote.

Rob is right, and people are not engaged.

God Bless you Rob for trying.

I have lived in Cranston, where I worked for the public works department during summer breaks when I was younger. All we ever did is ride around and hide from the supervisors. I still see it today twenty years later.

In the city of Warwick, I have seen probably ninety percent of the public works people do their jobs and do it better than most of the cities in Rhode Island. They do am excellent job plowing the streets, repairing roads, and cleaning the streets.

Rob Cote is absolutely CORRECT, that there are ten percent of the people who beat the system and rip off the taxpayers.

The fire Department is a whole different story: frequent abuse of overtime, by swapping sick days for overtime with their BROTHERS. Criminal

Fraud perpetrated against not only their neighbors, but also a slap in the face to the Police and military, who still believe in ethics and morality.

The firefighters think that they are above the law, as well as above any sense of moral duty. Three million dollars for overtime fraud. If it was up to me I would fire everyone of them and give the money to the police department who always get the short end of the stick.

When I asked a friend of mine recently why the police and other unions let the firefighters rip off the taxpayers, he responded that they are the only union who hang around with each other in the station, so they become tight, and have the time to swap schedules to make all of the fraudulent overtime and the other unions go to work, and then go home. Remember now that most of the country including cities as large as warwick either privatize the fire departments or have strictly volunteer.

COte is a Hero and all of the uneducated losers who say don't let the door hit you when you leave is the reason why Rhode Island is in last place.

I wrote the last post and failed to mention that my friend that I mention in my post is a twenty year veteran of a police department in another city, and I happen to know the firefighter game, because I have had four members of my family who are retired fire fighters. No, punk loser who will respond that I probably was rejected, I decided to go into a job that would bury any firefighter salary by three times.

Rob- Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win! So are you a quitter because things didn't go your way? Did you do this for the fame of being on TV? Well Rob, print this story out because and frame it because this it what you are left with from all of your work, Don't forget to put the ending of the story in your scrap book.

The accusations lobbed at firefighters here are laughable. Simply because these guys don't need to sit around coordinating sick time in an effort to create the overtime. The city has chosen to chronically understaff the FD which has created the perpetual overtime budget surplus. Secondly, the city doesn't pay into TDI insurance for them so if they get hurt or sick off the job and are unable to work for a week, month or year, the only way to continue feeding their families is by using the sick days they accrue. I don't know too many guys who would waste that imperative safety net to pad another guys paycheck. I'm sure the 4 family members who were firefighters that you cite are figments of your imagination created solely to pad your argument.

Instead of leaving RI, Mr. Coat should hurt the City of Warwick where it hurts most, in their Bank Account.

He is a apparently unaware that neither he nor any other Vehicle Owner in Warwick or any other City or Town in Rhode Island needs to pay the outrageous amount of tax that the Cities and Towns extort from their Residents.

To force a person to pay tax on a $8,000 vehicle when the vehicle only cost $2,000 or less, is a Crime and is the act of an out of control criminal government and that is what Warwick and the State of Rhode Island is.

Even though the tax collectors and the DMV will tell you otherwise there is a way to avoid being taxed on more then you actually paid for the vehicle and if the readers can't figure it out on their own, I will post it on my Site, www.usastrike.org and on Craigs List after I return home from my business trip which will not be for three or four weeks.

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