Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-15-2018

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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12 OPINION NOVEMBER 15-21, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION Most people concede that incivility has reached epi- demic proportions. In fact, many complain that the lack of civility has stymied efforts to achieve viable solutions to the nation's – and, indeed, the state's – most pressing problems. Yet, despite the professed abhorrence that such behav- ior is also a bad example to children, nonetheless, the proponents using disrespect- ful and demeaning state- ments still won their respec- tive campaigns. Is it because most opponents also arm- wrestled in the mud or that we have become inoculated to outrageous rhetoric? I submit we have come to think that only the person who disagrees with our posi- tion is the distasteful culprit. Folks somehow ignore divi- sive comments from those whose views they support. It matters not that the candi- dates don't focus on policy and contrasting solutions to actual problems, as long as the opponent feeds into the conclusions the voter already has. Many folks blame President Donald Trump for the rise of incivility. He certainly has exacerbated the situation but he hasn't caused it. The President finds a willing audience to his name-calling because he awakens the lurking anger of people who already hate certain groups. Trump also draws others into the negative exchange. In a recent Washington Post article a Democrat activ- ist stated that he, too, has resorted to verbal attacks since Mr. Trump and the Republicans are bringing weapons to the gunfight while he and his friends have been bringing butter knives. He has concluded that he must degrade the Republicans as much as he perceives they do to him and his party. Democracy, of course, is the real loser here. Certainly, our forebears fought with each other in unkind ways yet it would take months for the slights to reach the populace. By that time the hulabaloo's origination had calmed down. Today, the Internet has unleashed unbridled passions which support the party line at all costs. Nobody can deny that social media turbocharged jihadism. Similarly, tribal politics, far often spew- ing untruths or half truths, encourage the "party" to ignore countervailing argu- ments and to abridge the rules to take power from the "enemy." Anyone or thing is castigated as the "enemy of the people" as opposed to any discernment as to the validity of any other point of view. Now that the elections have concluded, does any- one find it strange that with elections being the quintessential exercise of citizens' rights the roll-up to elections involved so much lying, exaggeration and venom? If it is true that free societ- ies depend on broad agree- ment to respect the rules of the game, how far away are we from disintegrating? Any society with the right amount of polarization can lose its democracy. Indeed, if history is a lesson, societ- ies like Poland suffered pre- cisely that loss. So, if your "tribe" won at the state or national level, you might want to think about whether you really lost. Did you lose your sense of solidarity with this country's ideals in the name of having your tribe conquer the other? The United States greatest danger comes from within. Tribalism replaces unity. I think we are on the brink of a loss of the heart and soul of this country. Indeed, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" is more than a slogan. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. As usual, incivility wins! Does anyone want to help Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien keep toy giant Hasbro in the city? Probably not. That's likely why all the lofty words coming from Gov. Gina Raimondo and the state's Commerce Department talk about a commitment to work hard to keep Hasbro in "Rhode Island," but not neces- sarily "Pawtucket." Even a Nov. 10 Providence Journal editorial was titled "Keeping Hasbro in Rhode Island." While Grebien's press con- ference on the matter last week appeared desperate, he might have just been getting the conversation onto the front burner, knowing equally des- perate state leaders are about to betray Pawtucket – again. The recent losses of Memorial Hospital and the Pawtucket Red Sox are fresh in every- one's mind. A Hasbro loss would be a huge blow to the city's prestige. I'm told Hasbro is looked at as a possible tenant in the much vaunted but little sold "I-195 land" created when I-195 was pushed south. The area has been "shovel ready" for five years, but little beyond the heavily subsidized – and finally under construction – Wexford Innovation Center is on the horizon. There's no doubt the very slow pace of progress on this land has been a huge disappointment. Hasbro is a work in prog- ress. It remains a huge global company despite its short-term problems related to the clos- ing of Toys 'R' Us stores last year. It's not as if kids won't get toys anymore! They'll just be at Walmart, Target, and on Amazon this year. Next year, Hasbro's partnership with Disney will pay off with mer- chandise linked to a spate of new movies, including Frozen 2. Hasbro is an entertainment company now, and much more than a toy company. For these reasons, they need to cre- ate new space designed for a more collaborative workforce. I'm with Mayor Grebien, and I hope Hasbro's new space can be found in Pawtucket. But if it can't, we need to have a "Plan B" to be sure Rhode Island-born Hasbro stays right here. In election news: • It was not a shock to see the utter repudiation of Scituate Town Council President John Mahoney and his so-called Independent Men, first elected to form a four-man majority there two years ago. Reports from town told of bullying and harass- ment – all "my way or the highway" – from Mahoney. He did, however, get approved by taxpayers the new $1.7 mil- lion police station in January, and that should serve as a small cautionary note to the returned Republicans – take care of the town's schools, fields, and first responders. The former police station was an embarrassment. Yes, Republicans are known for fiscal conservatism. And yes, union leaders may ask for too much in pay and benefits. Still, GOP leaders shouldn't be cheapskates around public ser- vices. Frugal, yes. Stingy, no. Learn that, and they may be in place for many years to come. • In North Smithfield, the behind-the-scenes jockey- ing will begin soon as voters there turned down a charter change that would have made the town administrator a posi- tion appointed by the Town Council. Instead, it will remain an elected post. Gary Ezovski, the current administrator, thought residents would be better served with an appoint- ed administrator, but residents disagreed. Ezovski already wrote, in a letter to the editor here, that he's done after this, his second term. And so, let the games begin! • In Woonsocket, Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt surprised many with her big victory over Al Brien, an ex-friend. Frankly, I thought she'd win, but not by nearly the 57-43 margin she claimed. It was an odd vote, with residents also backing – by large margins – the city councilors arrayed against her. It will be interesting to see if Baldelli-Hunt, who has burned more bridges than the retreat- ing German army in 1945, will get anything done going for- ward. She may actually have to (gulp!) play nice with others. Let's hope so. Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze. Ward's brother, John, was returned to the Woonsocket City Council after a five-year absence. Are R.I. leaders 'stealing' Hasbro from Pawtucket? 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 tward@valleybreeze.com James Quinn, Deputy Publisher jquinn@valleybreeze.com Ethan Shorey, Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com Doug Fabian, General Sales Manager doug@valleybreeze.com Barbara Phinney, Controller accounting@valleybreeze.com Volume XX, Number 12 November 15, 2018 valleybreeze.com @ Breeze THE VALLEY

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