To the Editor: The political news and advertising in last week's Beacon evoked a sick feeling of amused embarrassment. The city council president, Steve Merolla, who has been spanked by the Elections Commission for using thousands in campaign funds for
To the Editor:
The political news and advertising in last week’s Beacon evoked a sick feeling of amused embarrassment. The city council president, Steve Merolla, who has been spanked by the Elections Commission for using thousands in campaign funds for his personal business, is called on the carpet by fellow Councilman Timothy Howe for giving a six-figure city contract to his own former campaign treasurer.
In his defense, Merolla says his fellow councilmen are just trying to derail his senate campaign because he did not agree to grant a plum municipal court judgeship to Councilman James McElroy’s daughter, a sinecure that she did receive despite being censured for prosecutorial misconduct in a high profile police brutality case. And anyhow, Merolla said, “Howe’s daughter got a $50,000 a year job at the Sewer Authority,” so who’s he to be complaining about a conflict of interest?
No one mentioned the mayor’s conflict of interest in creating a new department, the Department of Recreation, and installing his niece’s husband as its head despite his having no experience in recreation. Thanks Uncle Joe!
Meanwhile, the mayor’s chief of staff spoke against Councilman Ed Ladouceur’s resolution calling for potholes to be filled in the Angelsea development, a large cul-de-sac with no through traffic, but the place where the councilman lives. The mayor also lives on Warwick Neck, or has a house there, though he officially lives in Ward 4 (wink, wink), where he’s running for a seat on the Ward Committee.
Of course all of these guys, and I do mean guys, run as Democrats, because they know that to win in Rhode Island you have to claim to be a Democrat. Speaking of Republicans claiming to be Democrats reminds me of these “Endorsement Committees” that voters will be seeing on their primary ballots. I won’t get too specific about which people are practicing political legerdemain in pretending to be Democrats because it’s important to remember that we are a small community; good people can hold different political opinions and still be good friends.
Let me issue this caveat to voters: before filling in your ballots for Endorsement Committees, City Council Seats, and House and Senate races, do your own research. Many people pretending to be Democrats run in the primaries in Warwick, and indeed throughout Rhode Island. These Democrats in Name Only (DINOs) highjack the party and wrestle each other for control, taking it on erratic, embarrassing flights such as the wild ride we are currently witnessing in Warwick.
By way of disclosure, my wife, Mary Preziosi, is running for the Senate District Endorsement Committee that supports returning Jeanine Calkin to the State Senate. Senator Calkin proved to be a hard-working, conscientious senator, and she deserves to return there.
I am running in the primary against a whole slate of endorsed, incumbent DINOs for a seat on the Ward 5 Committee, and in November I will be running a low-key campaign against the mayor’s son for state representative in House District 22. Though I have been a registered Democrat for 40 years, I am running for state representative as an Independent. The internecine shenanigans of our one-party politics are at times amusing, but they are ultimately an embarrassment to our city and our state. Please join me in reforming the party from within, starting at the ward and endorsement committees, and from outside of it at the statewide level. Surely we are better than what we are now witnessing.