Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-04-2020

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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22 OPINION JUNE 4-10, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION Over Memorial Day weekend I was thinking about a writing that my friend, Rick Wilson, for- warded to me about veter- ans. It said: It is the veteran not the preacher who has given us the freedom of religion. It is the veteran not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press. It is the veteran not the poet who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the veteran not the campus organizer who has given us the freedom to assemble. It is the veteran not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the veteran not the politician who has given us the right to vote. I try to parse my respons- es to events with the above framework in mind So, when some progressive Democrat politicians called recently for the suspension of signature requirements on nominating papers for 2020 elections I was deeply concerned. I worried about whether right around the corner will be the call to negate bipartisan witnesses/ notaries on the upcoming November election for mail in ballots or identification at polls so folks won't have to "touch" a document. The ostensible reason for suspending the collection of the necessary minimum signatures for wanna-be candidates is the coro- navirus. The proponents suggest that it is difficult to collect the signatures with social distancing require- ments in place. Actually, particularly with the requirements to run for a Rhode Island senate seat (100 signatures) or house of representatives (50 signatures), the require- ment is miniscule and really bespeaks a failure of imagination. The minimum signature threshhold is to ensure a candidate's serious commitment to run and should not be set aside. This proposal may also be a stalking horse to remove notarized or bipartisan signatures from mail-in ballots or identi- fication at polling places. Repeatedly, the same group of Democrats has suggested that identifica- tion at the polls be jetti- soned since it is a burden on lower income folks. Any such modification should never happen. Everyone who is truly eligible to vote has numer- ous opportunities for securing a proper identifi- cation. Putting aside such a requirement opens the door to voter fraud wheth- er it is at the polling place or with a mail-in ballot. The exigencies of a health problem shouldn't excuse proper identification or adherence to mail-in ballot procedures. Coming back to the veteran who sacrificed much to allow us to vote, I think it is a small ges- ture to require a voter to be the person he/she says they are when they vote. I have often marveled when people in other countries have actually put their lives on the line to vote in an election as, for example, they did in Afghanistan. It was far more dangerous on the streets for them to vote than any "danger" precipi- tated by proper credentials. I'm aware that I am mak- ing a slippery slope argu- ment here, but in light of the past unrelenting beat- ing of the drum to abjure the identification require- ment for actual voting, I don't want the camel to get its nose under the tent. The right to vote has been won with the blood of heroes whose sacrifice shouldn't be minimized by a failure of imagination. Keep all the requirements in place. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. Let's not jettison the election protections Appearing in this space as a replacement for Tom Ward is a high honor. I have known Tom as a fellow media pro and as a neighbor for most of the 20 years I have been in Rhode Island. I have mar- veled at his vision and tenac- ity in building this paper to its current status as a major influencer and staple part of the quality of life in northern Rhode Island and across the state. I wish him a long and happy retirement and I will do my best for the time I am here to hold up to the stan- dard of what he has built and what I have coined "the Bible of Northern Rhode Island, The Valley Breeze." Deep breath. What a time this last three months have been. Economy stopped. Business suspended. New terms such as PPP and $600 weekly bonus unemployment checks. Caravans of cars beeping through our neighborhoods serve as the creative yet hol- low replacement for friends and loved ones to know that the birthday is remembered, that the achievement of grad- uation is congratulated. College graduation sea- son has passed with hopeful promises of events in the fall. My wife, daughter and I stood formally dressed in our living room for the national anthem which began the virtual ceremony for her graduate school commence- ment, the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes, so proud of her achievement, so appreciative of the effort with the online formality, so over- whelmed by the emptiness for everyone. The virtual and drive-up high school graduation sea- son is upon us and will have to do. The Class of 2020 will have a one-off (we hope) very strange life-long memory. Weddings postponed and planned for smaller groups. Honeymoons and other vaca- tions postponed. And much, much worse, loved ones are disconnected from each other at our nurs- ing homes and hospitals. Unimaginable pain tears through families who can- not say goodbye at the end and properly mourn together after. Simply, we've been robbed. While it does no good to dwell on it, it's OK to just say it and move on with a sense of resilience with at least the solace that we're all in this together. Now to Phase 2. The travel restriction is relaxed, you can hang out at the beach or park until nature calls, restaurants can operate indoors at 50 percent occu- pancy, you might be able to go to weekend worship, you can get a workout and you can (finally) get your haircut. You may be working from home still, not all that it was cooked up to be. Progress. And now we need to be governed better. Gov. Raimondo has been great at lowering the curve. Tireless at the start, she was a calming adult voice. She still appears daily, offering updates, opining and setting the rules. Currently she is the government. She, by the void created by the legislature, is owning this thing. A national resume builder. But her circle is small. Her perspective on too many things, including business, is narrow. General Assembly leader- ship deceptively wait in the wings to pounce in a few weeks, to make decisions on billions of dollars by them- selves. The joke is that's the way it's always been. But this isn't funny. What made sense for the first month is no lon- ger viable. There should be oversight on Covid spending, "Phase" decisions and restric- tions. Tell your cowering local reps and senators to get back to work. - Dan Yorke is the PM Drive Host on 99.7/AM 630 WPRO, Dan Yorke State of Mind weeknights on MyRITV/Fox Providence and owns commu- nications/crisis consulting firm DYCOMM LLC. We've lost so much to COVID Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET DAN YORKE Volume XXI, Number 41 June 4, 2020 valleybreeze.com @ 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. James Quinn, Deputy Publisher jquinn@valleybreeze.com Jack Birolini, Director of Sales jack@valleybreeze.com Ethan Shorey, Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com Barbara Phinney, Controller accounting@valleybreeze.com

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