Solomon talks city's outlook, beach fees at Pilgrim

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In their last meeting of their inaugural year, the Pilgrim Political Involvement Club welcomed Mayor Joseph Solomon on Tuesday afternoon into the classroom to talk about all things Warwick – including his hopes to be elected to a full term and the economical outlook of the city moving forward.

Beach fees at the city’s public facilities were also one of the issues to come up, which is a hot topic as Solomon – who had helped champion enacting the fees at beaches last year as the concept was unanimously approved by the city council – decided to put the brakes on those same fees this summer.

“The reason those fees were withdrawn was because the numbers didn't make any sense,” he said, adding that the fees would adversely affect citizens who enjoy parking at the beach for a short period of time to sit and enjoy looking at the water.

Solomon broke some news by saying that he would be implementing a system of city “interns” who would monitor the beaches for litter and “assist visitors” but did not expand on more details regarding this system, such as whether or not these interns would be paid positions or how many would be hired. However, he said he was confident such a system, which includes working with DPW to “streamline” services, would have a positive impact on the cleanliness of the city’s public facilities.

“I think with the assistance of these monitors, these students, in all those areas, I think that people will be more conscientious when they utilize the facility where they're going to respect the facility because it shows we're respecting the facility,” he said. “We're not locking anybody out. We want everyone to come to the community. We want them to go to our local businesses. We don't want to keep them away.”

In response to a question about people leaving versus staying in Warwick, Solomon reiterated his prior belief that, despite new census data showing Warwick to be the third most populous city in Rhode Island – now trailing Cranston for the first time since 1950 – he doesn’t take the numbers so seriously, as it includes thousands of inmates who “reside” in Cranston’s Adult Correctional Institution (ACI).

“So, if we have about 300 people paroled, guess what?” Solomon said. “I feel Warwick is number one, and I'm going to head in the direction to keep Warwick number one. I love this city.”

Originally from Providence, Solomon moved to Warwick to raise a family with his wife, a Warwick native. Now Solomon and his son, Joseph Jr., both have tenures of representing the city through political endeavors – the senior Solomon for 18 years on the City Council and now the mayor, and the junior Solomon as a state representative for Warwick.

“My days right now are 12 to 14-hour days,” Solomon said in response to how he has handled the quick transition from council president to mayor, which happened abruptly when former Mayor Scott Avedisian announced he would be leaving to pursue a new career as CEO of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority with about a month’s notice.

Despite the long days and missing time usually spent on the weekend with his wife, Solomon told the small gathering of politically-minded students that the hard work of the job comes with the reward of being able to do events like this one, in addition to showing appreciation to the generation of people who now make up the city’s senior citizen population.

“That really makes it all worth it, it makes all the hard work worth it,” he said. “From the school sense, you people are our future. From the senior sense, it's gratitude to them for giving us the present. Those are the things that are important, and you can't lose sight of that.”

Students were curious as to how Solomon aimed to drive the city forward economically. Solomon indicated the importance of continuing to emphasize the city’s role as a transportation center, with both T.F. Green Airport and its train station that can open up the doors of Warwick to people from all over the world.

“We all know the airport is an economic locomotive to the community right now. You're not going to move the airport, the airport is here to stay,” he said. “I'm optimistic we can grow the base in the city, both economically and with great citizens…You’ve often heard Boston be called the hub, well we're going to make our city the hub.”

One student asked if there was any progress on finding a new use for the former Aldrich Junior High School, where he had once attended as a student. Solomon said that marketing surplus school buildings was a high priority part of his mayoral duties, and that he hoped that whoever winds up acquiring Aldrich will keep its architectural integrity while re-purposing it to become a revenue-generating resource to the city, suggesting a housing complex as an example.

“We are going to actively market that this year,” he said. “I'm hoping that whoever acquires Aldrich will keep that facade in place. When you look at it from the curb, it's a beautiful spot. Maybe it's an older person thing, but you'll appreciate the architecture as you get older.”

Solomon spoke at length about his pride in working with Avedisian to acquire Rocky Point as a city/state-owned partnership, with the city owning the waterfront and opening that up to the public.

“It has a very historical significance, it goes back to the turn of the century, even before, and everyone who is a native of Rhode Island, at some time that has been a part of their life,” he said. “Whether it be when you went on your grammar school field trip or your first date with your girlfriend or boyfriend...I used to fish off those rocks when I was a kid.”

Political Club adviser Paula Merdink recalled seeing the Three Stooges at Rocky Point when they performed. “I did too! I was there!” exclaimed Solomon. He urged students to pursue their dreams wherever they wanted but to eventually return to the place they know as home.

“Go out, get your education and get your experience,” he said. “Then come back and utilize those tools in the community that you grew up in and invested in you. Sometime in the future you're going to have to visit me at the Pilgrim Senior Center one day and say hello.”

Solomon spoke briefly about school safety implements saying that, “Anything that is going to increase the safety of our children, to me, is well worth the investment.”

When asked if he had any specific goals in mind for the months leading up to the election, Solomon indicated he was looking beyond November in terms of what he hopes to accomplish.

“I'm hoping that by viewing my performance, that they will give me the additional two years that I need to complete the things I'd like to see happen,” he said. “I think we can get a lot accomplished.”

Solomon was the final guest of the year at the Pilgrim Political Involvement Club, which since its inception in December last year has welcomed guests including former mayor Avedisian, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee, school committee member David Testa, Ward 2 Councilman Jeremy Rix and candidates for public office such as school committee candidate Nathan Cornell and Republican Lt. Gov candidate Michael Pence.

The club now enters an uncertain future, as Merdink’s hopes to become a compensated adviser for the time she puts into the club does not appear to be in the cards. Regardless, on Tuesday she said she would keep her door open to all kids who want to continue using her room as a meeting space to discuss modern issues of circumstance and politics.

Comments

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richardcorrente

I don't get it.

Acting Mayor Solomon says the reason he is reversing his decision about beach fees from last December is "because the numbers didn't make any sense."

The numbers made sense in December, 2017. Nothing has changed since then. Today, 6 months later, the numbers "didn't make any sense."

I don't get it.

I have supported beach fees paid by beach users rather than having all Warwick taxpayers pay for them. My opinion hasn't changed.

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, June 7
Thecaptain

No one cares about your opinion as it is always meaningless.

Thursday, June 7
CrickeeRaven

Hey, Thecaptain:

This is possibly the most truthful thing the make-believe mayor has ever said: "I don't get it."

Of course he doesn't get why the actual Acting Mayor would decide not to charge parking fees at local beaches; it's the same way he doesn't get that he can't lie to voters and expect to be elected.

Joe Solomon is putting together a plan and working with the DPW to address beach clean-up. The make-believe mayor wants to impose a new tax in the form of parking fees.

That clear difference between the make-believe mayor and Joe Solomon, an actual elected leader in the city, will result in another humiliating loss for the make-believe mayor this year.

Thursday, June 7
Scal1024

Corrente again states his willingness to raise beach fees on every driving resident without ANY PLAN of his own. Again, this idiot has been running for 4 years.

The problem Rick doesn't get is that nobody did a cost assesment of the program. Meaning nobody knew how much it would cost to run the program. Much like Corrente hasn't done ANY COST ANALYSIS of his own "plans".

The problem in both cases is if you don't know how much the program costs to run, how is it you know you'll have the money to clean the beach? Or in the case of his own plans how is it Rick knows they'll be saving money? He doesn't. This is the difference between smart, serious candidates and Rick Corrente. Corrente just thinks words are all it takes and then magically spending is cut, taxes are lower and services increase. Serious candidates understand that it takes hard work, not just words. Rick Corrente in almost 4 years only has words.

Why can't he tell voters how much his proposals will cost? The answer is he doesn't know so he avoids ALL QUESTIONS on these subjects. Rick Corrente is a lying, tax delinquent, loser candidate who doesn't have an honest bone in his body. Warwick taxpayers deserve a mayor who actually understands what its like to pay their taxes on time. Not some lying, fraud who is oblivious to the real world around him.

Corrente credits himself for taxes going down in '17 (taxes didn't go down) I wonder if he's going to take the blame for this years MAX TAX INCREASE. The wannabe mayor continues to use this website as a propaganda arm, myself and many others will be here to fact check his baseless lies EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!

Thursday, June 7
CrickeeRaven

100% correct again, Scal1024. I also thought you may be interested in what the Warwick Democratic Party posted on its Facebook page on May 24, following acting Mayor Solomon's fundraiser:

"What a great night at Mayor Solomon's fundraiser. Great turnout. Looking forward to true Democrats running the great city of Warwick."

This proves that even his supposed party is disowning the make-believe mayor this year.

Monday, June 11
Scal1024

Crickee, its not surprising to see "his own" party move away from Mr Corrente. Even though he was the only Democrat who ran, I was still shocked to see the Democrats actually endorse Mr Corrente in 2016. I thought the fact Mr Corrente supported Stacia Huyler (Petri) in the 2014 Republican Primary would've been enough to deter ANYONE from supporting this man any further. Also, it was late in the campaign when Mr Correntes tax delinquencies and foreclosure were brought to the surface, so it would be unfair to expect the party to withdraw their endorsement so late in the campaign season.

Now, we can clearly see the party has learned their lesson. They've looked into this reckless candidate, his trail of litigation and history of late tax payments and his COMPLETE ABSENCE FROM THE BUDGET HEARINGS. All of these things point to a failing candidate who CANNOT be taken seriously.

Corrente continues to talk about a "plan" to "cut taxes and cut spending" while never telling voters ANY SPECIFICS SUCH AS COST. All of these reasons AND MORE are why the local Democratic party wants nothing to do with Corrente and his (in his own words) "epic" (15 people were reported in attendance) campaign fundraiser. Local Democrats, like so many others already, have said NO THANK YOU.

Side note Crickee and ALL READERS: Someone on Warwick Watch fb recently commented on a picture of Correntes campaign sign and said last election they asked the fake mayor how he'd cut taxes and cut spending (outside Dave's Marketplace). The man said Corrente grew visibly angry at the question and walked away. The man said he'd NEVER support Rick after that. How telling that even while campaigning the fake mayor refuses to answer legitimate questions.

WHAT A DISGRACE!!!!!

Monday, June 11
CrickeeRaven

Thanks again, Scal, for putting all of this in perspective.

Just for accuracy's sake [something we know the make-believe mayor doesn't care about], the 15 people were at his December, 2017 announcement from his office. Here's the article on that: http://warwickonline.com/stories/corrente-in-race-for-mayor-again,129946?#comments

The "epic" fundraiser was on June 22, 2015 and collected six contributions from the make-believe mayor's unconfirmed estimate of 200 people who attended. Here's the campaign finance report on that: https://bit.ly/2L5PZ0c

So, as always with the make-believe mayor, it's tough to say which is more pathetic: His terrible fundraising or the pathetic attendance at his campaign announcement.

As you say, it's no wonder the Democratic party is distancing itself from him,

Monday, June 11
Jaywin86

Richard,

Please cut the grass of your rental property on Greenwich ave. It's up to 18 inches tall at this point. How can you maintain/manage a city, when you cant even maintain a rental property!? I'll wait to hear your plan.. which I will not hold my breath for

Tuesday, June 12