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Editorial
Our choices for Council

Balance in government is viewed as a good thing. Having one party control both the legislative and administrative branches is thought to be undesirable, as it concentrates power with one group. Likewise, it is argued party domination within the legislative branch vests too much power in the hands of few.
You would think that would be the case in the Warwick City Council, where there is one Republican and eight Democrats. The Republican would be close to superfluous and the council would do its best to show up Mayor Scott Avedisian, a Republican, at every opportunity. But that hasn’t happened.
Votes don’t strictly follow party lines and, quite frequently, Democratic members of the council are divided on issues. That is positive, although there is room for even greater communication and cooperation between the mayor and the council. We can’t say how that will change after Nov. 6 and the election of a new council president, as the current president Bruce Place is not seeking re-election.
That is one manner of looking at council candidates. Will they work with the mayor?
While they are not exclusive, another way is to evaluate performance in the case of incumbents; is their ability to listen and to act on issues affecting the ward?
This election year, three council seats will go uncontested, as either only one candidate declared for the seat, or as in the case of Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson, won a primary contest. Incumbent Steve Merolla is unchallenged in Ward 9. and newcomer to elective office Thomas Chadronet is the only candidate in Ward 2.
Ward 1 incumbent Steve Colantuono has done a good job in representing his constituents and should be returned to the council. In a bizarre twist, the most volatile issue of the Ward 1 campaign has come from outside the camp of his Democratic opponent, Sharon Ahearn. Ahearn disavowed any connection to a flyer claiming Colantuono had voted on legislation that would benefit him. As it turned out, former Councilman Robert Cushman distributed the flyer.
In Ward 4, veteran Councilman Joseph Solomon faces a challenge from newcomer Michael Penta. Penta has waged a good campaign. He has walked the ward and he has gotten his name out. We hope Penta pursues his interest in public service, however, at this time our choice is to stay the course with Solomon.
In Ward 5, where incumbent John DelGiudice has chosen not to seek re-election, Danny Hall and Edgar Ladouceur have both waged intense campaigns. They come from different backgrounds. Hall is a corrections officer. Ladouceur is an advocate of small business and owns a contracting firm. Both would bring new insight to the council and both, we feel, would do a good job of representing the ward. Our choice is Hall.
Donna Travis, the incumbent Ward 6 councilwoman, has done a good job of representing her constituents. We have heard little from her challenger, Catherine Leach, and think Travis should be returned to the council.
In contrast, Ward 7 is a hotbed of political activity. Incumbent Charles [CJ] Donovan Jr. is in a three-way contest with William Russo and Alfred Gemma, who are running as independents. Donovan is a survivor, narrowly winning prior contests. He is likable but not especially attentive to constituents. Gemma, who previously held the seat, and a seat in the State House, is looking to make a comeback. Russo, a retired policeman, is a consistent observer of government and has run before. We would like to see what he could do if elected. He’s our choice.
Ward 8 voters have a choice between Joseph Gallucci, the brother of incumbent councilman Ray Gallucci who is not seeking re-election, and Lyn Jennings. Joe has a long and distinguished career in city government. He served on the council from 1977 to 1984 and returned from 1990 to 1994 before becoming the city’s registrar of voters. He retired from that job last year. Jennings made her mark on the political scene two years ago. She rallied salon owners across the state in opposition of Governor Chafee’s proposed taxes and galvanized opposition that led to the measure’s defeat. We like her feistiness and think she would be a good addition to the council.


Comments
11 comments on this item

What a surprise...John Howell endorses all 0f Scottie's republican lap dogs. It was interesting to read Howell's mis-characterization of the flyer drop in Ward 1.

The FLYERS question the self serving interest of Steve Coluntuano. The first flyer asks why special legislation was passed to grant family lifetime healthcare after Stevie serves only 6 years. That benefit will cost over $400,000.

The 2nd flyer points out Stevie introduced and voted for the increased car tax. He refused to give the school dept an extra $400,000 after level funding it for years.

The 3rd flyer points out Stevie never did anything to help the residents of Gov. Francis II stop mandatory sewer connections.

Contray to Howell's assertion the flyers had nothing to do with a former councilman but rather the lack of Stevie representing his constitutents.

Content of First Flyer:

Self Service vs. Public Service

Are you sick and tired of career politicians who put their own interests ahead of their constituents (read: YOU)?

Meet your own: Councilman Steve Colantuono

This man voted to give himself lifetime health-care in 2009. A benefit that if he is re-elected will cost taxpayers approximately

$400,000

Re-electing Steve Colantuono, a bad deal for Warwick taxpayers.

This year when the Warwick city council considered giving the school department an extra $400,000 to renovate buildings, improve programs, and purchase supplies for our children, Colantuono voted a loud and clear

NO!

So what are the Colantuono priorities?

1) School improvements for our children? No!

2) Lifetime healthcare for himself paid for by you? Yes!

Now it’s our turn to say NO to Colantuono!

Vote Democrat for City Council on Tuesday November 6.

Put children ahead of selfish politicians.

Second Flyer contents:

Are you happy with your higher car tax?

Is your car assessed at thousands more than it is worth?

Thank Councilman Steve Colantuono

He introduced and voted for the legislation authorizing the car tax!

Re-electing Steve Colantuono, a bad deal for Warwick taxpayers.

Tell Councilman Colantuono: “WE ALREADY PAY ENOUGH IN TAXES”!

Third Flyer contents:

NOTHING

That's exactly what Councilman Colantuono did to stop mandatory sewer connection in Gov. Francis Farms Phase II

Thank Councilman Colantuono for his lack of effort by voting against his reelection.

Interesting. Please post links to what you have asserted. I would be interested in reading more before election time, as he is both my neighbor and representative...

@falina:

Hummel Report on Warwick Lifetime Health-care benefit for politicians, 9/23/2010:

http://www.hummelreport.com/9.23.2010_health.html

City Council minutes January 21, 2009- (PCO-22-07 - An Ordinance prohibiting lifetime health care or supplemental health coverage to any current or future city or school employee upon their retirement) Legislation amended to allow the councilman to be the last elected official to receive lifetime healthcare. Councilman voted for this change.

http://www.warwickri.gov/pdfs/cityclerk/2009/minutes/RPH%20-%201-21-09.pdf

Orginal legislation:

http://www.warwickri.gov/pdfs/cityclerk/PCO-22-07.pdf

Amended legislation:

http://www.warwickri.gov/pdfs/cityclerk/2009/PCO-22-07%20AMENDED.pdf

From Hummel report:

Colantuono: ``It's not an issue for any of my constituents. What I hear from people is - what they see me doing is out all the time, working really hard. And I had a lady the other day say: thank you. Because I wouldn't want to do it.''

Steve Colantuono will be the last councilman eligible to receive the lifetime benefits if he serves three terms - since the ordinance eliminating them was passed after he took office in January 2009. His fellow council members amended the ordinance that would have excluded him from the lifetime coverage. (Colantuono participated in this vote - CONFLICT OF INTEREST?)

Colantuono: ``Now the benefit is a great benefit, don't get me wrong, it's not that I worked my butt off for the benefits. I didn't even know we got benefits until I was on the council and we started talking about these kinds of things; didn't run for the benefits, love to have them and I put in my hours and I do what I need to do but if the benefits weren't there I'd move on. My wife and I would find another way to move on and get benefits too.''

But the premiums are only part of the real cost of the benefit to the city and its taxpayers. The Hummel Report has learned that last year the claims against the city's policy for the current council were more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Colantuono: ``It certainly is a big number , but I know there have been some issues with folks in terms of the claims and the usage.''

Hummel: ``I'm wondering whether that gives you pause at all about the benefit

Colantuono: ``It absolutely does. It's a benefit that we all appreciate. You never know when you're going to need it or use it to that degree.''

Appropriation of additional hundreds of thousand of dollars to school budget record:

http://www.warwickri.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1213:audio-archive-fy2013-budget-hearings&catid=139:council-agendas-2009&Itemid=349

Go to June 04, 2012 - Part I - Warwick City Council - Budget Hearings audio testimony and forward testimony to NUMBER 2276 of the audio.

When asked what he would say to the individuals who claim his only interest is lifetime health care, Colantuono, replied, “They don’t deserve a response.”

Colantuono said. “The only vote I’ve ever taken on health care eliminated health care going forward on a prospective basis for people who would take public office after the date of the ordinance. I’m not sure how that jumps to me eliminating lifetime health care for every politician but myself.”

Warwick Beacon article on the issue:

http://www.warwickonline.com/stories/Flyer-stirs-politics-in-Ward-1-race,75866?search_filter=colantuono&town_id=1&sub_type=stories

The above facts prove that Colantuono is not telling the truth.

AND AT THE END COLANTUONO WINS LOL

8 Democrats vs 1 Republican

But the truth is 6 are in lock step with the Mayor.

3 think independently.

The Mayor vetoed against any release of actuarial reports and one would definately think 8 democrats would not allow that much lack of transparency from a republican Mayor. Again, the truth is favoritism and professional courtesy trumps all. Corruption in Warwick is bigger than party politics. R and D mean nothing in Warwick.

This story is a big bunch of bull!

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