Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 10-10-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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18 OPINION OCTOBER 10-16, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION One would be hard pressed to come up with a more qualified attorney general candidate than Peter Neronha. He spent close to 20 years as a prosecutor, first serving under then- Attorney General Jeff Pine in 1996. During his tenure to 2002 in the Attorney General's office he began in the 6th District Court, which processed thousands of cases. That court has a profound impact on many people since it is usually their first brush with the law. Prosecutors need to have great analytical skills in order to analyze what is important vs. a major prob- lem which may lead to a lifetime of crime. Neronha then went to the "suburbs" in Wakefield before return- ing to Providence to handle the Providence Superior Court calendar. Later in 2002 he went to the U.S. Attorney's office where Neronha served as an assistant U.S. attorney before becoming the United States Attorney. He has a lot of experience as a prosecu- tor under his belt but that is not the only qualifica- tion. Having "guts" should come with the job and he has shown great courage in cases he pursued as U.S. Attorney. Shunting politics aside, he sent law enforce- ment into the office of then Speaker of the House, Gordon Fox, and prosecuted him successfully. He brought down a corrupt mayor in Central Falls, and locked up an airtight case against Rep. Raymond Gallison who headed the House Finance Committee. In a recent interview he exhibited a sure sense of what he needs to accom- plish in the Attorney General's office, if elected. Criminal justice reform tops his list. The focus of his office will be to prosecute violent crime. For non-vio- lent crimes he wants to uti- lize the diversion program for lesser offenders. Finally, in order to stop the cycle of recidivism he will strongly advocate for employment opportunities for prisoners departing from the ACI. Neronha has a motto of "act more and speak less" which has punctuated his service to the public to date. He lets his actions do the talking, including bringing his message about opioid abuse to classrooms around the state He thinks issues through. Recently, he was asked about whether he would commit to investigate dioc- esan sexual abuse cases in Rhode Island. He carefully noted that unlike his peers in some other states, Rhode Island doesn't have a stat- ute permitting a grand jury to issue a report where a criminal indictment is not returned. Getting such a stat- ute passed is one of his top priorities. He also supports extending the statute of limi- tations for civil actions to be brought by victims. There has been a recent hullabaloo over securing records as to how the office of Attorney General spent the Google money secured by his office when he was U.S. Attorney, and turned over to the state. Neronha thinks those records should be available but he prefers a "hands-on" session not- ing that the Department of Justice had to sign off on use of the Google money with detailed written requests and, in some instances, with the approval of then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Producing those approvals promptly might have settled the issue. Showing a non-partisan streak he suggested that while he supports a num- ber of gun safety initia- tives he understood where Republican Patricia Morgan was coming from in seeking a possible source for funds for school safety. Experience, courage, and analysis: He has the goods. Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general. Neronha is the real deal I don't know about you, but after all the messiness and political polarization of the last month, I'm going to take one small step back to a simpler time, a time when, for one day, the entire world came together and gazed heavenward in amazement at what was happening. On that late Sunday afternoon and evening, July 20, 1969, while our political enemies might not have shared our joy, the people of those nations – and every nation across the world – all stopped for a few hours to watch the scientific triumph of our time as this odd-shaped contraption lowered two men to the surface of the moon for the first time. A few hours later, we were in awe as their shadowy figures walked (and bounced) on the surface in the powdery, low-gravity world. For a few hours, the chaotic 1960s – the assassinations, the riots, the widening drug use – were set aside. Everybody was looking at the moon in a new way, thinking "there are two guys up there right now!" The moment, of course, didn't last long. They never do. But it did happen, and this weekend we can go back and relive the more personal side of "First Man" Neil Armstrong, the brave pilot who landed that contraption and first set foot on the lunar surface with Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, who is still around today. I'm going to look past film- makers politicizing the film and removing the iconic scene of astronauts planting the American flag on the moon. (Apparently, they came for "the world," and yes, the plaque on Apollo 11 read "We came in peace for all man- kind"). Still, it will be good to go back in time, even if only for a few hours, and recall the real "day the earth stood still." What a waste! The North Providence School Committee last week learned the scope of the waste of money that came from the first-week-of-school mold prob- lem that developed at Ricci Middle School. The clean- up cost for the school was $341,000, a number Interim Supt. Robert O'Brien called "staggering." And I'll call "stupid." Once again, taxpay- ers have to suffer under the lash of politicians who defend "prevailing wage," that give- away to big labor in the state as a thank you for campaign donations. O'Brien cited costs of $50 to $75 per man hour for the work, some which had to be done on overtime so kids could get back to school. (And please don't tell me "it's insured," as if some insurance fairy drops non-tax dollars into the pockets of laborers. It's all tax money!) For those in other commu- nities watching dumbstruck, the solution going forward will be to leave rooms open after they are cleaned and put some of those box fans around the school to move the air. Genius! Can we all do that next summer and not ask taxpayers to bear this crazy expense anymore? School repairs I was asked to sit in a con- ference of political leaders in Cumberland last week gear- ing up for the coming vote on a bond issue question for improvements to Cumberland schools. They are asking tax- payers to spend 29 million local dollars and leverage them to a total of $83 million in spending when paired with state aid. The spending level is based on the hoped-for pas- sage of Question 1 on this year's ballot Nov. 6 that asks state taxpayers to fund $250 million for school improve- ments. Frankly, I expect easy passage of that. This is the same state money Smithfield hopes to tap into with its school bond question, too. It's hard to imagine today, but once upon a time (I don't recall the precise year), dur- ing the administration of Gov. Lincoln Almond (1995-2003), there was a state surplus of nearly a billion dollars. I sug- gested to the governor that perhaps the state should cre- ate a pool of money for a "Marshall Plan" for schools, a fund to jump start repairs and improvements to aging facili- ties. Needless to say, it never happened. To legislators, a sum of cash that tasty was like a fresh kill on the savanna to a bunch of hyenas, and it was spent elsewhere. Schools kept rotting. Now, 20 years later, we have to borrow the money to fix them. Too bad. Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze newspapers There was once a day we were all as one From the Publisher TOM WARD Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET ABOUT US The Valley Breeze Newspapers are a locally owned and operated group of free weekly newspa- pers serving the people of Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Woonsocket, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster, Glocester, North Providence, Pawtucket, R.I., and Blackstone, Mass. Each Thursday, 60,000+ copies are distributed to retailers, banks, offices, and restaurants and other busy spots. Circulation is audited by the Circulation Verification Council of St. Louis, Mo. and has earned its "Gold Standard Award." OUR MISSION It is the Mission of The Valley Breeze to facilitate a positive sense of community among the res- idents of Northern Rhode Island by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas, and to provide information of local events and neighbors. It is our further Mission to provide the highest quality advertising at the lowest possible cost to retailers, professionals, tradespersons, and other service providers in order to enhance the economic well-being of our community. Thomas V. Ward, Publisher James Quinn, Deputy Publisher Ethan Shorey, Managing Editor Doug Fabian, General Sales Manager Barbara Phinney, Controller Volume X, Number 8 October 10, 2018 @ Breeze THE VALLEY

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