Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 06-13-2019

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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26 OPINION JUNE 13-19, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION Let's get this out of the way: Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin as a United States citizen with the same constitutional rights as anyone else has the right to express his opinion. Even more so, as a religious leader, he has the right and additional duty to express what he thinks are the doctrinal underpinnings of his religion. Whether you agree or disagree with him you should never block or limit his expression. Similarly, if you have a dis- agreement as the LBGTQ and its supporters do, you also shouldn't be shut up in your counterargument. Personally, I disagree with the bishop. There are lots of folks who support the Pride parade because they eschew discrimination in any form. They adopt another Christian tenet as an overarching life guide, i.e. to love your neighbor as yourself. As a practical matter this means extend- ing to everyone the same privileges and rights that you want for yourself. Further, the entire issue of one's sexuality is one that has been studied and modified as more scien- tific information becomes available. While some regard the work of Kinsey (1948-1953) as the seminal work, Masters and Johnson (1959-1991) and a plethora of other researchers have raised important data which challenges the conven- tional wisdom of just what is normal vs. abnormal sexual orientation and iden- tity. This work should be encouraged, not stymied. Most importantly, the First Amendment in all its permutations should be protected. Recent events in Bristol and Fall River, over a child's story hour where a transgender person reads a story about tolerance, has come under attack. Like everything else, parents have the right to vote with their feet. Either "walk" your kids to the story hour or walk the other way. You are in control. Publicly express your opinion as some women have done because they think the overly sexualized clothing worn by some transgen- ders insults women as sex objects, All of this back and forth is important in a society. Recently, there has been some consternation about an exhibit in the Bristol Art Museum where one artist submitted homo- erotic pieces with a military theme. Again, folks can vote with their feet. Attend or not attend. Argue about its appropriateness or not. Only one thing: Please don't ban it. I, for one, am appalled by some pieces by Andres Serrano, like his snap- shot of Jesus on the Cross soaked in the artist's urine. Hate speech is obnoxious, but, I'd rather know how some people are still think- ing then have it shrouded. Further, some things which are considered her- esy can also someday be correct. You only have to recall that the Church condemned and convicted Galileo of heresy for hold- ing the belief that the earth revolves around the sun, contrary to Church doctrine of the time. Pythagoras (6th century BC) was ostracized for sug- gesting that the world was more round, not flat. All of these incidences where the popular wisdom was challenged and ultimately proven to be wrong should serve up a healthy dose of humility to folks who think they know it all. If free speech means any- thing, it means the right of others to express ideas that you may strongly oppose, trusting the people to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Plus, you and I might actually learn something! Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. Protect the First Amendment I've always been a fan of Ruth Pacheco and her farm on Old Smithfield Road in North Smithfield. The bees, the herbs, the puppy care … all of it. The entire road is beautiful, a throwback to simpler and quieter times, yet only a stone's throw from shopping and restaurants and other niceties that make modern life enjoyable. I understand the need for Mrs. Pacheco to seek out ways to keep her farm finan- cially sound and in her fam- ily's hands for generations to come. But in seeking to place a large wind turbine on her land, she has created a firestorm with neighbors. My dad once told me "Remember, the rights of your fist ends where the rights of the other guy's nose begins." To neigh- bors, this wind turbine is a giant 462.5-foot fist in the face. Proposed by Green Development and its found- er, Mark DePasquale, this turbine would be 32 feet taller than Rhode Island's tallest building, the so- called Superman building in Providence. That seems pretty big. People have been talking about this project for years, and signs saying "No Wind Turbine" are along the road. At one time, I counted 27, but there are fewer today. In last week's story by reporter Lauren Clem, we were intro- duced to Nicole Valliere, a woman who with her family bought the beautiful 16-acre property and home next to Mrs. Pacheco. It was perfect for her children and ailing father, she told us. Mrs. Pacheco came to meet and welcome her new neighbors after the sale, and told Ms. Valliere of the turbine, no doubt in an earnest effort to win her approval. It didn't work, and Valliere has joined neighbors in the fight against the turbine she knew nothing about. As an aside, may I ask: Do real estate agents or homeowners have any obligation to tell unsuspect- ing buyers that a massive wind turbine is planned next door? Apparently not. Legally, home sellers, with their professional representa- tives, must sign disclosure forms that inform buyers of all sorts of things that may impact the value of a home. But if a 462.5-foot wind tur- bine is planned next door, nothing needs to be said? If so, may I say here, "There ought to be a law …" Right now, however, it seems current laws favor the developers of green (with a small "g") energy. As I've written before, environmen- talists across the state are protesting – rightly, in my view – the clear-cutting of trees that absorb carbon only to have them replaced by solar sprawl. We can all pat ourselves on the back for saving the planet, but it's clear this is ridiculous pub- lic policy. Solar belong on rooftops, or large buildings, or brownfields and other damaged lands like former dumps. Clear-cutting wood- lands for solar energy makes no sense to me. Still, that's what state policy rewards today with our taxes – fairly aggressive and rampant development of green energy just to make a political point. I have read enough about the light "flicker" of spin- ning blades and the noise levels of large turbines. While Green Development has maps that show flicker will not be a problem for neighbors, there isn't much besides promises that can be made regarding noise. One Portsmouth woman, Denise Wilkey, complains bitterly in our comments last week of the noise and changes to her quality of life from a Green Development turbine 1,100 feet from her home. She is not alone. With apologies to Ruth Pacheco and her fam- ily, I would urge the North Smithfield Zoning Board to turn this plan down. My bottom line: Huge turbines don't belong anywhere near people. The neighbors' noses – and ears – have rights, too. Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze. Reject huge wind turbine From the Publisher TOM WARD Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET Volume XXIV, Number 12 June 13, 2019 @ Breeze THE VALLEY 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, 58,500+ 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 Barbara Phinney, Controller

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