Solomon hopes to help make Warwick 'even better'

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Mayor Joseph Solomon wasn’t elected to become mayor when Scott Avedisian resigned in May for a new job at RIPTA, but he’s certainly hoping that the citizens of Warwick will choose to do so this fall.

He will have to face a competitive primary first, with three candidates running for the Democratic nomination besides him in Gerald Carbone, a longtime journalist and local historian; Richard Corrente, a mortgage broker who advocates for lowering taxes to stimulate growth; and Vincent Ferla, owner of a used car business for many years and whose family owned Rocky Point Amusement Park.

Should he earn the nomination, and he’s already gained endorsements from powerful Democrats such as Rep. K. Joseph Shekarchi, House Majority Leader, he will have to win out in a primary election against Republican candidate Sue Stenhouse.

Despite the competition ahead, Solomon thinks his performance as mayor through the coming months will allow him to prevail.

“I’m the only candidate for mayor that has the proven experience and is currently doing the job as mayor. I don’t think anyone else possesses those credentials,” he said in a recent interview from his office. “I’m performing the duties and have been performing the duties through quite a tumultuous period of time and I’ve been doing it in a way where, maybe we have a couple bumps in the road but ultimately, we’re operating smoothly and efficiently.”

Solomon, who spent 18 years as a member of the Warwick City Council and was the president of the council when Avedisian resigned (rendering him mayor), believes that this long tenure as part of the legislative branch will prove valuable in keeping branches of government on the same page, resulting in better results overall.

“It will be very productive, for not just myself but for all taxpayers of the city because I’ve developed a report with this council,” he said. “They believe in me, they know where I’m coming from, I have credibility and I like to think integrity, experience and knowledge that they know of. They chose me as council president two years ago and I don’t think any of them are unhappy with that choice.”

In working with the council, Solomon has often expressed it was difficult to get information from Avedisian’s administration in regards to city issues and projects. Now, he stresses that there is an open door and an open dialogue between the executive and legislative branches at all times.

“I think that line of communication benefits everybody in the city,” he said. “I don’t care what your political affiliation is, what your religious denomination is, your nationality – open communication, honesty and integrity and putting everything straight on the table; that’s what’s going to make this community even better.”

Making the city “even better,” as Solomon has proposed to do, has so far included some actions that conflict with actions of his in the past, such as his decision to waive beach fees that were originally proposed and voted in unanimously by the council he presided over. However, Solomon maintains he made the decision in the best interest of the city taxpayers, and in light of information that wasn’t available to him while on the council.

“I was presented with certain information [while on the council],” he said. “As mayor, I started a comparison of numbers relative to expenses, economic benefits and noneconomic benefits…When I had the accurate figures before me, I made an informed decision not to implement fees at this time. That was not just arbitrary or capricious, that was based on facts that were not privy to me in the legislative branch, nor any of the other council members who voted unanimously in support of it.”

Similarly, Solomon had staunchly defended the council from public comments criticizing the city for raising taxes too often, as he was proud of the fact that the council succeeded in getting a budget passed last year with no tax increases. This year, however, Solomon had to put forward a budget with the maximum possible tax increase.

This, too, he said was a result of the prior administration providing him with a problematic budget that didn’t adequately fund large liabilities, such as the school department providing raises to teachers that were negotiated and finalized well prior to Avedisian leaving.

“If someone is critical of that they clearly don’t understand this year’s budget,” he said. “We had schools looking for eight million dollars, we had raises that had to be paid that weren’t accounted for in the budget. We had $4 or $5 million in raises to the school department, and they were level funded, so where was that to come from? These are the cards the council had to deal with.”

“To do anything that would be irresponsible, there was nothing irresponsible or over-taxing on behalf of the council addressing the former mayor’s budget,” he continued. “They did the best thing they possibly could do to keep the city floating with the underfunded budget that was presented before them. Anyone, to make that statement, clearly didn’t go to any budget hearings.”

Other issues on Solomon’s radar is what to do with the city’s annex building and reopening the Buttonwoods Community Center. He has stated he is actively working on both issues, but there haven’t been major developments at this time.

Looking back, Solomon talked about two initiatives he was particularly proud of as a member of the City Council. One was introducing legislation to acquire Conimicut Point Light from the state so they could prevent dredge spoils from being dumped off the coast of Warwick. The other was forcing the city to go out to bid for healthcare costs, which he argued has saved upwards of $20 million in healthcare costs to the taxpayers over his political tenure.

“I’m a results-oriented guy,” he said. “I’m not into campaigning, so to speak. I want to do the job and that’s where I’m spending all my resources and time right now – performing my duties as the mayor of Warwick.”

While he doesn’t yet have a campaign headquarters, he said he would looking into acquiring a space to run his campaign. He says while he doesn’t consider himself an active campaigner, he has been going out and knocking on doors and talking to people in the community.

“I’m not shy,” he said. “I walk up to people and introduce myself and listen to what their concerns are, what they think can be improved or would like to see or if they’re happy with things. I’m getting input.”

As for why he’s seeking the seat, Solomon reiterates that it’s the place he chose to settle down and start his family, and that he has never once regretted that decision.

“Warwick is the greatest city in the state of Rhode Island, and I love it,” he said. “As a young man I didn’t have coastline or waterways. We used to come to Warwick and that was like coming to heaven. I think people are more and more discovering what Warwick has to offer.”

Comments

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Scal1024

I truly believe Acting Mayor Solomon has a chance to do big things in this city if he governs the right way. I think in fairness, he has to build trust with individual departments and that takes time. That will require some patience which is not always easy. Once he does that he can start looking at ways to reform our pension system, or improve the conditions of our schools. He is by far the most qualified candidate for mayor Warwick has seen, after his years on the council.

One issue to arise, was the issue of beach fees that many people felt differently about. Many felt fees would deter trash which could lead to cleaner beaches and more beachgoers. Some believed any fee (tax) on residents was incredibly unfair. The problem with the "beach fee" legislation is nobody ever ran a cost estimate of the program. If no one knew how many employees were needed, how much it would cost to pay those employees then there was no guarantee the program would generate money. That meant, no one could guarantee there would be enough revenue connected from collecting fees the clean the beaches. I thought Joe Solomon did the right thing. He held off the fees until he and the City Council figure out a better way to maintain our beaches. To me, that showed a candidate who is atleast trying to do the right thing, wherever possible. He could've raised fees and wiped his hands of it, but instead took the issue on and has made himself more accountable by doing so. By this I mean if our beaches remain filthy certainly he would share in some blame, mostly it still goes to slob beachgoers.

This is very different than Rick Corrente who wants to raise fees on every driving resident, without studying ANY ASPECT OF THE LEGISLATION. That is reckless and irresponsible yet, not surprising from a candidate known for his tax delinquency. This is just 1 issue. If you start to study the "Corrente plan" you see there hasn't been much studying at all. There is no cost estimates, no word on where the money to pay for these things will come from. All of the "Corrente plan" is borrow, spend, tax. If he doesn't know how much it will cost, or how to pay for it how is he so certain any of it will save money? This is my point exactly.

Thursday, July 19
WwkVoter

Scal I agree, he is a highly qualified and professional candidate. Scott was the "go along, get along" mayor and that worked well and he was popular. But things are tightening now and decisions may be a little harder. Joe Solomon can handle the job easily.

As to the beach fees, we may see that differently. I want fees. Not because it passes some cost analysis to pay for cleaners.

Know why? Because then people will respect the experience more. Get something for free and some people will treat it as such. There were dirty, disrespectful, rude people trashing our beach after they have 'enjoyed' it - and it has to stop. Paying cash for the privilege to get in is a step toward that improvement, in my opinion.

Thursday, July 19
Scal1024

WwkVoter, I appreciate your feedback on the beach fee issue. I do understand where you are coming from with fees possibly getting others to respect their beach experience more. My fear is people who are leaving trash now may be emboldened to leave things with the thinking of "I paid my money let someone else clean it". Then it becomes a different issue. Do we asses fines? Are we paying spotters to watch out for litterers? I know it sounds like getting carried away, but government has a way of doing that sometimes

The other holdup I have is that the last time this beach fee program was instituted, it was losing more money than it was taking in. That should be considered when studying this issue. I am against holding bills for study 99% of the time. This is actually one time where I agree with holding off. Thats not to say I will never support beach fees, I just believe cost estimates should be done first. This way we're making sure the fee part right if we are going to implement them. Thanks again for the feedback WwkVoter, hopefully this explains my thinking a little more.

Friday, July 20
richardcorrente

Dear Scal1024,

Your first and second paragraphs had wisdom. Congratulations on those well worded statements.

Your third paragraph suggested that I didn't do my due diligence when you know that I have even participated several times in actual beach clean-ups both with the Friends of Warwick Ponds as well as the Save The Bay volunteers. You are right when you say "there are no cost estimates" but that is not the issue. The cost of cleaning the beaches depends on how much the City Council decides they want to spend on it. There is no exact cost. "Who pays for those costs" is the important issue. I want "those that play (which includes me!) to pay for the clean-up". You want "all taxpayers" to pay whether they use the beach or not. I respectfully disagree, and I believe most Warwick Citizens feel the same way. Two separate issues Scal.

In either event Scal, you wrote a fairly decent comment, up until the part when you started the lies and the childish name calling.. Wish you would just come clean and walk into my office. You aren't afraid to come out of the shadows are you?

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Friday, July 20
Scal1024

Rick, no cost estimates are the issue with this legislation. If you don't know how much the employees/cleanup cost, then how do you know how much of a fee you'll be charging in the first place? Numbers matter. If its just about deciding how much the Council wants to pay to clean the beaches, then why aren't our beaches spotless now? So there is something to the fact of a cost estimate needing to be done.

I'm not surprised you say cost estimates aren't the issue, Rick. I've asked you about your platform dozens of times. You run and hide behind another article. Just like you did when I listed each year your car taxes were due, and the date they were paid. Again numbers matter. Facts matter. Your campaign has not been truthful with voters. That is my issue with you. If you came clean on your taxes 3 years ago do you think it would even be an issue now?

When Rick Corrente announced his candidacy I told him it was great he was putting his name out so early. I thought this guys really going to learn issues and take it to Avedisian. Quickly, I knew that was not going to be the case. When I complimented Rick he was very appreciative. Then I started asking questions as he repeatedly said "cut taxes cut spending". Great! How? As I continued to ask questions, I wasn't getting answers. I was getting spin, basic talking points and an irritated candidate who clearly hadn't done his homework. Other commenters began coming forward with links to the Tax Assessors website. Those links both showed delinquent car, and property taxes. How could a candidate run for office on "cut taxes cut spending" and not bother to tell voters he hadn't paid his own taxes? That was the final straw for me.

Since then, I have been called tons of names by Rick Corrente. I was an Avedisian employee, city worker, garbageman, Solomon worker, goon, political insider. The weird thing is when I was nice to Rick Corrente I was never called any of those things. Much the same way Rick turned his back on Joe Solomon. Rick loved Joe Solomon when he needed his help against Avedisian. Once Solomon declared for Mayor then Rick began calling him a political insider. This is not the behavior of a serious candidate. A serious candidate would take the time to answer a voters question. Any question. Rick uses the excuse if he gives specifics he'll be "attacked". If he's so confident in the "Corrente plan" then what is he worried about being attacked over? Ultimately it is voters who will make the right choice, and send Rick Corrente packing once and for all.

Friday, July 20
Thecaptain

I had big hopes for Joe. Unfortunately he has already made some major mistakes. He pushed to have the police and dpw contracts ratified before the 5 year plan was issued, before the RIPEC report was issued, and before the independent CFE/CPA report was issues. Postponing the ratification for a couple of weeks until the next council meeting was the right thing to do from a logical business perspective, but not from a vote gathering perspective.

Going on the Dan Yorke show and stating that he knew nothing about an outside contractor performing services for the council was ridiculous seeing that he signed the award and it was unanimously voted on by the council on 12/18/17.

Three freshman council members really screwed up by not acting in a fiscally responsible manner. For Mcallister to say that the 5 year plan is just another piece of paper was completely incompetent. Howe, Mcallister and Rix, have spent zero time looking at the fiscal stability of the city. In particular, when the council president looked at them and said "how are we going to pay for it, give me your plan", they stood silent and white as a ghost.

Now we have 2 freshman councilmen, on the finance committee, that voted against the finance chair. That committee is now broken.

Joe Gallucci who in the past I admired and respected made another grave error. When I approached him to ask him to hold the vote for 2 weeks he said to me that it is out of his hands and that he has been told what he needs to do. Manipulation for any reason is never beneficial in the fiscal process.

We will now see maximum tax increases for many years to come, every year. The rainy day fund will get depleted more and more every year. Copy and paste this last sentence, if I am wrong, stuff it up my whazoo next July 1.

Friday, July 20
WarwickObserver

Mayor Solomon is really the only person running who is qualified. The three gentlemen playing politics in the primary have no business running. Mayor is not an entry level job. The Republican candidate is working in positions of progressively less responsibility and has a history of poor judgement. She has taken a lot of mulligans in her pubic service career.

Friday, July 20
CrickeeRaven

Hello again, Thecaptain, WwkVoter, and Scal:

It may interest you that the make-believe mayor is no longer reporting his address as being the Grand View Drive residence that he lost to tax sale, and is instead reporting his residence as 2194 Warwick Ave. on his publicly available voter registration information: https://bit.ly/2H01wNz

This is yet further definitive proof that, completely contrary to his repeated claims, he did not pay the taxes on his former residence and he did not win any court case that would have allowed him to stay there.

It is only a matter of time before honest, taxpaying voters add this fact to the long list of reasons why they will reject his candidacy a second time on Sept. 12.

Monday, July 23
Scal1024

"The Tax Delinquents Mayor"- Rick Corrente

Monday, July 23
CrickeeRaven

Let's see how he tries to spin that new fact, Scal -- or ignore it.

Monday, July 23
richardcorrente

Dear Scal1024,

Have you not read The Corrente Plan? My web is "correnteformayor.com" It answers ALL your questions. For example:

If we had a HIRING FREEZE and just one employee retired or resigned wouldn't that CUT SPENDING?

If a tax REBATE CHECK got just one new homebuyer or business owner to move to Warwick wouldn't the extra tax revenue reduce the tax needs on the rest of us?

If we had VOLUNTARY PENSION BUTOUTS and just one retiree opted for it, wouldn't Warwick be able to CUT SPENDING?

If we had a 2-YEAR MORITORIUM ON BUILDING PERMIT FEES wouldn't that attract new construction? If just one resident decided to build an addition or a garage, wouldn't that give Warwick many times the cost of the building permit?

If Warwick CUT TAXES, wouldn't we attract new taxpayers? and Scal, wouldn't those new taxpayers increase our TTR, Total Tax Revenue? More taxpayers reduce the tax needs on the rest of us Scal.

You know that I can't give you a cost estimate because it depends on how many people take these offers. But each of my plans are written so that Warwick saves or makes money "even if only one person accepts the offer".

Finally, You want me to give an exact number on the beach cleanup so you can dispute it, but Scal, you and I (and everyone else) know that you could have a low-cost beach clean-up or a high cost one. I would leave the dollar amount spent to be decided by the City Council. I just feel that whatever that amount is, it should be paid by those who use the beach, not ALL Warwick taxpayers. You claim I don't answer your questions. You know that is a lie. I just refuse to do it when all you want me to do is explain myself repeatedly. I have never been any of those things you accuse me of being and I have offered you to visit me to prove it. Not my fault you were unwilling to accept my offer. If I was ANY kind of tax delinquent, how in Gods name could I get away with it when Avedisian and now Solomon are in charge? If I missed ANY time not registering my car, how in Gods name could I have it registered today? It's not humanly possible for me to be any of those things you accuse me of. If you EVER want to come clean and show yourself that would gain you some credibility. Until then, all you are is

Fake news. Fake sources. Fake people. Fake names.

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Monday, July 23
CrickeeRaven

Well, Scal, it didn't take long at all for the tax delinquent former Grand View Drive squatter and constant liar make-believe mayor to do exactly what I predicted: Try to ignore this new information about him.

But again, he fails.

You and I know that he's put a condition on his delusional hiring freeze idea -- that positions should be "necessary" if they are to be kept in place. And now we know how he evaluates the necessity of certain positions: Police officers and firefighters can be cut, but the senior center nurse can't.

You and I also know that, despite his demands that you accept his ideas, any voluntary retirements would require up-front payments, plus overtime for remaining staff -- they would not "cut spending."

We know that halting permit fees would not result in more building, it would just result in less revenue.

We know that the make-believe mayor has no real plans, just slogans -- and, as he readily admits, he would leave the real work to the city council and municipal staff. So, why, again, should he be considered suitable for a leadership position in the city?

And we know that all of his rhetorical questions -- why he was able to get away with not paying property taxes, etc. -- have been answered with factual, easily verifiable information.

He did not pay the property taxes on his former residence since 2014. That's how he got away with it -- he had other people pay them, just as he has a new person paying them in 2018.

He did not register his BANKRS plates for three years, and got them back only after paying late penalties and fees.

And still -- after all of this verifiable information has been presented on this website countless times -- he tries to question your credibility.

Again, he fails. The information presented is true, no matter what names he calls others or how many times he signs his false comments with his fake title.

We have little more than six weeks until we and thousands of honest, taxpaying voters again reject the make-believe mayor's candidacy and prove that he has failed yet again to fool us.

Monday, July 23
WwkVoter

There is a great free widget app for your Android phone called "Final Countdown"... you set a end date, let's just say for example when polls close on Primary Day, and it starts counting down.... there are many countdown widgets but I like this one the best. I'm sure Apple has similar...

right now, mine says 50 days, 20 hours, 17 minutes...

Tuesday, July 24
Scal1024

As a candidate for Mayor you would think Rick Corrente would understand how taxes work. He certainly doesn't bother paying them, so I can't say I'm surprised he knows so little about how they work. If my home were for sale, that doesn't mean I'm not paying taxes on it. In fact, I would still very much be paying full taxes on the home. Just because the home is for sale, doesn't mean the taxes aren't being paid.

When Rick Corrente says a "new homebuyer means new taxes" he's literally lying to your face. How would a mortgage guy not know how property taxes work? The taxes are paid by the owner of the home REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE HOME IS FOR SALE OR NOT. That means Rick Correntes proposal to "buy a house, get a check" for new homebuyers, would be giving money to folks, for taxes that the city already collects. How is that a smart plan? How would the city not lose money with this terrible idea? Again, just another "broken idea" from the "Tax Delinquents Mayor" "The Grand View Squatter" and of course "The Deadbeats Candidate". Rick Correntes vision is not paying his taxes, while continually raising yours. Warwick voters will overwhelmingly reject this failure once again.

Tuesday, July 24
CrickeeRaven

Scal, I give you lots of credit for continuing to point out the make-believe mayor's many defects as a candidate in spite of his constant attempts to shout you down, change the subject, and engage in name-calling over your use of a screen name.

And I thank you for consistently driving right to the heart of his many delusional claims and exposing the basic flaws in them, like the very astute observation you make about property taxes being paid whether a home is occupied or not. This is a very fundamental fact that the make-believe mayor simply ignores in favor of his poorly thought-out campaign ideas -- and despite the fact that the property taxes on his prior residence have been paid by other people since 2014.

As I've said many times, the make-believe mayor seems to think voters are stupid, and that we'll fall for slogans instead of serious policy proposals. I can't think of any other explanation for his repeated lies and attempts to distract from his own questionable financial history.

But, no matter how many times he tells himself otherwise, there is not some group of previously uninformed voters who will magically support him in Sept. 12 after reading his claims on this website.

Anyone who does not already know about his many defects as a candidate will certainly learn enough about him [thanks to his own willingness to use this website for free political advertising] to justify the overwhelming and humiliating defeat he is about to experience.

Tuesday, July 24
CrickeeRaven

Thanks for that link, WwkVoter. As much as he wants to ignore this fact, the clock is ticking on the make-believe mayor's second [and hopefully last] pathetic run for office, and once the time runs out, he will find himself a loser again, making him the first candidate in a generation to lose to two different mayors.

Tuesday, July 24
Scal1024

Thank you for the kind words, Crickee. As frustrating as it is trying to have a serious discussion with the "Tax Delinquents mayor", I think this election is too important to simply ignore him and let him rant. I'm sure many readers roll their eyes when they read some of my comments, and some I'll admit can be repetitive. However, I feel it is important to expose Rick Corrente for the fraud candidate he is at each and every opportunity. If any new readers were ever to log on and read the fiction Corrente spews, I'd hate to think any of them would actually believe it (especially after we have factually picked apart every facet of the "Corrente plan"). Most of the time I'm happy to have detailed policy discussions with anyone on this website. It is Rick Corrente who is incapable of having that kind of discussion at anytime in this campaign. Once any idea of his is looked at with any kind of scrutiny, the "Corrente plan" is exposed as a bunch of empty words.

I have often said imagine if Corrente owned up to his tax delinquency in the 2016 election? (much the same way I believe Sue Stenhouse should take the "elderly dress up" issue head on this election) It would immediately take the air out of the topic as a campaign issue. Much like every other piece of his campaign we've exposed, Rick Corrente ignores his tax delinquency amongst many other things and pretends these things can't be easily researched and confirmed.

-His plan of "buy a house, get a check" has been exposed as nothing more than a giveaway, chasing money thats already being collected by the city. How much would each homebuyer be paid in rebate checks? (keep in mind property taxes are being paid regardless of whether a home is sold or not)

-Let me ask voters another question: Have you ever stopped putting that new shed in your backyard, or that new bathroom in your home because the price of building permit fees was too high? If you were putting a $10,000 bathroom in your house, would you really balk at the idea of paying the building permit fees? Once again, another Corrente plan that isn't serious. The words sound great and Rick usually throws in something like "TTR" (total tax revenue) to try and convince voters he has any clue how the city budget works.

-The voluntary pension buyout he speaks out will easily cost taxpayers well over $200,000 PER CITY EMPLOYEE. In order to "buyout" the remaining salary/benefits per employee pension, think about that upfront cost PER EMPLOYEE. Assuming benefits alone are $30,000 PER YEAR/PER EMPLOYEE (low estimate), How much upfront money would it cost for someone making $40,000 a year off their pension to opt out? By simply doing nothing in 10 years (without reductions) that retiree will have made $400,000 IN PENSION PAYMENTS ALONE. How much would you offer that person to opt out of those payments Rick? Again THE MATH DOESN'T WORK!!!!! You say "what if one person takes it?" Well then the city will have spent over 1/2 MILLION DOLLARS ON ONE EMPLOYEE. Again, Rick Corrente is either woefully ignorant, or one of the most unqualified candidate to EVER seek elected office in the City of Warwick.

There are things about each candidate in the Democratic Primary I find flaws with. The ONLY candidate who I have EVER questioned the integriry and character of is Rick Corrente. So while I understand readers might be frustrated by some of my comments from time to time, I hope that they atleast realize the comments are always well intentioned. I refuse to allow a deadbeat like Rick Corrente to parade around the city of Warwick acting like a serious candidate for Mayor, when he couldn't even bother to contribute to this city by paying his fair share of taxes. Karma as well as the facts will continue to sink Mr Correntes campaign.

Tuesday, July 24
CrickeeRaven

Scal, anyone who gets tired of reading your comments should tell the make-believe mayor to stop lying so that it's not necessary to continually disprove everything he says.

You are absolutely right, if he had responded to his proven tax delinquency in a forthright way -- instead of denying it and the compounding his lies with name-calling on this website -- no one would be talking about it.

But I get the sense [and maybe you do, too] that the make-believe mayor considers any attention to be good attention -- and is too stubborn to understand that the attention he's gotten is all negative and will not help him in his futile campaign.

It's also important to note that he has put a total of $100 into his current campaign since January 2017. [Perhaps he paid his moving expenses instead.]

He has not received any contributions [including from Democratic officials he accepted money from in 2016 and is now calling "political insiders"] or spent money on anything except bank-related fees for nearly 20 months.

Instead, he has used this website as a free political platform -- and, as you rightly point out, willingly and intentionally opened himself to public scrutiny.

The make-believe mayor is a candidate who sees the world in terms of what he can get away with -- and by consistently providing factual, easily-verifiable information that disproved his statements -- you and others are showing that he will not get away with fooling people into voting for him.

Tuesday, July 24