To the Editor,
A few months back, I got an email about a “facility” being built on behalf of ICE here in the great city of Warwick. My initial reaction was “Oh, Hell …
To the Editor,
A few months back, I got an email about a “facility” being built on behalf of ICE here in the great city of Warwick. My initial reaction was “Oh, Hell no.” I had already had several run-ins with James Lombardi, due to his Wyatt connection not his Providence one, and Bristol County Confederate Flag tie wearing Sheriff Thomas Hodgson over ICE. I did not want them in my new hometown - thank my girlfriend if just the thought of that sentence troubles you.
However, I also remembered promises I had made to myself regarding local politics. On another day, we can talk about the differences between “politics in Newport, RI” and “politics in Utica, NY.” For now, let’s just say I didn’t want to get into a dustup with local pols over a Federal issue. I reached out to the Mayor’s Office to see how much they were invested.
For reasons I do not understand, I get spoiled a lot. I go on the road to places I have never been and receive all kinds of courtesies I do not deserve. I reach out to levels of government people say never return phone calls and I always get the info I need. Just today, Klamath Falls Oregon came through. On that day, the Mayor’s Office came through.
The representative from the Mayor’s Office explained to me that this was a deal put together by the previous administration. The current Mayor really did not have anything to do with it and was not planning to obstruct. The tenor of the conversation indicated that he really did not have an investment here. Then I called ICE to find out everything I could about these “transitional” facilities. Once again I was given time to ask all the questions I wanted to. I even received documents.
After the conversation and the review of the documents, I had one other thought. Even if we prevented this from being built here, just like San Diego taught us the way to block the approved Amazon facility in Johnston, in this case it would be built somewhere else close by. How many of these fights do I want to engage in? Doesn’t it make more sense to let it be built here so we can monitor what happens at the facility?
At that point I decided to just let it go for now and monitor it afterwards. A couple of weeks ago, the hearings were coming up. Once again, after the initial hearing, because ICE just causes this reaction naturally in people, I was asked to think about opposing the project again.
I thought the best way to make that decision is to bring it to the people of Warwick. If everyone is cool with “let them build and monitor later” we can stay on the current path. You can tell me that’s what you want by ignoring this letter. On the other hand, if it’s “NO ICE NO WAY” at all times, reach out to me on social media or send me a text. If there is an overwhelming response, some of the strategies being employed in Scituate and Johnston will be employed here.
Everyone should thank the Warwick Beacon for the way they have covered the story up until now. The Beacon’s format allows for deep dives on issues that sometimes get skimmed over in other places. One of the reasons the nation is in the state it is in with regards to misinformation is not every community has a Beacon to look forward to.
From a larger perspective Warwick is awesome because issues like this can be handled without too much fanfare. It is that lovely “just right” between having to head to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to settle a local conflict and participating in a pier 6 brawl at the local Hannafords, think Stop and Shop with less fish choices but more meat choices, to handle a local conflict. I appreciate that part more than you’ll ever know.
Thank you for your time and consideration. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience.
Robert T. Oliveira
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