Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 07-11-2019

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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Page 17 of 51

18 OPINION JULY 11-17, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION Despite being prepared for the release of the list of clergy members who had been "credibly accused "of sexually abusing children I still felt sick reading about it. After all, as attorney general in 1985-86 I pros- ecuted four of those priests and indicted another who ultimately made the Hall of Shame list on perjury charges. Rhode Island was only the second jurisdiction in the United States to pros- ecute child sex abuse cases where the perpetrator was a priest. It is difficult to remem- ber that time of innocence when people were actu- ally shocked by such a revelation. Now it is com- monplace. Good priests have been victimized by their confreres. Virtually everyone today in a Roman collar is viewed with skepti- cism. As bad as the transfer of "guilt by association" is from the guilty priests, the Catholic Church has shot itself in the foot and other parts of its body politic over and over. One of the priests in a rectory who reported the criminal activity of a clergyman was treated as a pariah with then-Bishop Louis Gelineau transfer- ring him out of the Diocese because he was also a priest who belonged to a religious order. The message was loud and clear to other priests namely: shut up or lose your ministry. It was only when the provincial of the religious order agreed to send the reporting priest back to testify that the perpetrator professed guilt pre-trial. Yet, the damage was done since some priests mummed up when they should have had the cour- age to come forward. Meanwhile Bishop Gelineau and his confreres continued the victimiza- tion of those harmed by these priests. It took over a decade to complete litiga- tion brought on behalf of victims. (For disclosure: I was part of the litigating team and settlement since I represented a woman who as a 13-year-old girl had been repeatedly raped). I never was so proud of my colleagues like attorneys Tim Conlon and Carl Deluca. All were sole prac- titioners who were buried with motions to dismiss and paperwork and appeals by the Diocese. These lawyers drove around in jalopies for 10 years and resisted the temptation proffered by the Diocese to pay their legal fees while sell- ing out their clients for a nominal amount. They were Catholics who exhibited more Christian concern and justice then the diocesan hierarchy. The bumbling by cardi- nals nationally and in Rome has also exacerbated the poor image of the church. Archbishop Bernard Law (or Lawless as I called him on the radio) was the poster child for obstruction. The church promoted him to a treasured post in Rome, notwithstanding the Boston Globe's expose of the cover- up he led in the Boston Archdiocese. The College of Cardinals recently came moaning to the table in set- ting some parameters finally for handling allegations. Will Bishop Tobin's release of names and the church's belated action promote reconciliation? Most feel it is too little too late. The church has lost its moral authority by coun- tenancing such immoral behavior for far too long. I suppose that's what I am really sad about. In this day and age there is so much anti-gospel behavior being countenanced, including by so-called evangelical churches. The treatment of immigrants at the border is immoral and Christian churches stand mute. Sad, indeed. Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general. Too little too late for church As Pawtucket political officials "hail" the General Assembly's passage of a bill allowing them to squeeze a private property owner, let me disagree. As I see it, the city of Pawtucket, angered by the intransigence of Apex prop- erty owner Andrew Gates, decided that they have a better idea for the use of Gates' property along the river, and now will force him to sell for a much lower sum of money. If he won't sell, they will simply take it. The arrogance of the political class in Rhode Island is startling but never surprising, and should serve as a warning to all citizens and business owners. In related news, Monday's weekly WalletHub study arrived in my inbox, and found Rhode Island "the worst of the 50 states to start a business." Well done, Smith Hill! But back to Pawtucket. For the past few years, it was known that Gates, the owner of the Apex prop- erty, was asking far too much (according to some) for his property as it was considered the best location for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium. Was he too greedy? I'll never know. Everyone knows that his Apex department store has been long suffering. Still the value is in the land, and he chooses to run his busi- ness. This is still America; he can do as he pleases as long as he behaves legally. Prior to the June 28 legislation, if city leaders wanted to grab somebody's property through eminent domain, they had to pay him 150 percent of the value, the extra 50 per- cent for putting an owner through the trouble. Not anymore. The General Assembly lowered the pay- ment to 100 percent of appraised value. Politicians (in Rhode Island, it is always Democrats), get to live their dreams, and prop- erty owners get screwed out of 1/3 of their money. Supporters will counter that we have to look at the "big picture" of downtown Pawtucket redevelopment, and to a small degree, that's true. But then, that's what they told us with the still partly empty I-195 space in Providence. Will Gates get his last 50 percent if politi- cians and developers screw this up? Hardly! The real answer to eco- nomic development is right under our noses. Make Rhode Island busi- ness friendly. Cut taxes. Cut government! The real Masters of the Universe in America are private sector entrepreneurs and business owners, not government dreamers. It takes no great talent to win election, then confiscate the money of people who work hard and spend it. The talent comes in intelligently balancing the two. Our last place ranking should tell legisla- tors we are on the wrong track. Hands up. Don't lead! It is way, way too early to really care much about next year's presidential election. So much will change in the coming 15 months, and our mercurial president, Donald Trump, could do so many offensive or dumb things in the meantime. Still, it was stunning to see one answer last week in the sec- ond round of Democratic candidates in their debates. When asked by Savannah Guthrie "if your govern- ment (health care) plan would provide coverage for undocumented immi- grants," all answered yes. And so, the invasion on the southern border con- tinues apace, and immi- grants trained in how to ask for "asylum" pile up until they are let go for- ever. Democrats complain of conditions in "cages" built by President Obama. Donald Trump can't build "the wall," and certainly can't get Mexico to pay for it. For the rest of us, health care premiums rise swiftly to pay for the madness while lying politicians BS us. Do we have a country anymore? Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze Tyranny comes slowly From the Publisher TOM WARD Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET Volume XXIV, Number 16 July 11, 2019 @ Breeze THE VALLEY ABOUT US The Valley Breeze Newspapers are a locally operated group of free weekly newspapers 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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