‘City needs fundamental change’

Posted 7/27/23

To the Editor,

On Monday July 17th Rob Cote was asked to leave the Council Chambers by acting Council President Donna Travis.  Rob did nothing but step up to the mic and begin his …

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‘City needs fundamental change’


To the Editor,

On Monday July 17th Rob Cote was asked to leave the Council Chambers by acting Council President Donna Travis.  Rob did nothing but step up to the mic and begin his presentation by congratulating Mrs. Travis for getting her name on the front page of the Providence Journal.  Mrs. Travis assumed what was coming was another helping of disgust and questions from one of many that have come out against her ethically questionable Quit Claim of a parcel of land next to her Oakland Beach Ave home.

 Rob never mentioned the content of the article.  All he did was offer congratulations which is, on its face, is a positive.  Why didn’t any other member of the Council stand up for Mr. Cote?  He never mentioned the land deal.  If the City Council is going to hold meetings and offer time for public comment shouldn’t they wait for a personal attack before they remove a taxpayer from the chambers?  I say yes.  What Mrs. Travis’ “hair trigger” did was expose her own fear of having to defend herself in that forum and lent credence to what the Journal and many believe is a credible opinion.  What Mrs. Travis did was wrong.  There are rules in other places that will be brought to bear and we should wait and see what happens.

The next day when Rob Cote was being interviewed by Dan Yorke on WPRO radio the dialogue went the same as it has many times before.  Rob is a popular guest and deservedly so.  He has been a community watchdog for years and is usually on the right side of many of the causes he takes up.

I noticed something in their dialogue that I have heard many times before and that is that Dan Yorke’s opinion of the Picozzi administration, the City of Warwick and the City Council is that, and I paraphrase, it is a circus, a disaster and a laughing stock.  The residents of Warwick and of the entire state have heard Warwick described as a  “dysfunctional mess”.

 What I also hear is a tone that suggests that there is no hope in sight for any real change in the future. No person or persons on the horizon that can rise and break into this self absorbed group of tenured and entitled elected officials able to inject some new blood,  maybe some questions once and a while.  Some that start with why, how and how much.  Someone or something that tells us our Council members are paying attention.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Now more than ever Warwick needs new leaders.  Its time to thank the old and welcome the new.

The taxpaying voter in Warwick has been led to believe that change is bad.  That is far from the truth.  Change is good.  Imagine a council chambers filled with taxpayer interested and curious about what’s going on.   What’s coming next and how can they be part of the process?

There was a time when committee meetings were a place to get detail and make an impact on the legislation going to the floor just by asking a question.   The average citizen who may have questions is held to a limited time that must be shared by many to a point where nothing really gets heard and the Council goes to a vote without considering the questions asked.  It is like it is all for show.  Many times, Mr. Cote or Mr. Cushman will be prepared to deliver important facts and data to the Council only to have it treated as criticism with no consideration of is merit.

This letter is a call to action.   Warwick needs fundamental change, and it starts with our elected officials.  If we cannot count on them to care about Warwick enough to take the time to listen to the Taxpayer rather than shut them down when the topic gets too close for comfort, then it is time to consider the alternative which is new faces all around. 

Don’t fear change. One party rule does not work.  Warwick has been mired in a 30-year political rut.   Let’s climb out and get to the poles to elect new, energized and motivated leaders to serve as City Councilors, Mayor and State legislators. 

If there is one thing that comes from the Travis issue is that there are not enough seats for the citizens clamoring to get prepared to run in 2024.  Help is on the way. 

Rick Cascella


Mr. Cascella is the former chairman of the Republican City Committee.

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