Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 10-15-2020

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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SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | OCTOBER 15-21, 2020 LETTERS 21 What's in the Scituate Home Rule Charter? And why we should vote to adopt it Decision to purchase Camp Shepard was the right choice In a few weeks Scituate voters will go to the polls to approve their Home Rule Charter. Ruth Strach, who chaired the Home Rule Charter Commission, has said that the proposed Charter will keep things basically as they are now and that the Home Rule Charter is similar to a previous document written by a panel appointed by the Town Council – with two important differ- ences and two important changes. One important difference is that HRC is a grassroots effort by the people of Scituate to democrati- cally elect a Commission to write it. The result has the legitimacy that a charter from an unelected panel does not; however, since the two are similar, one might say a vote for one is like a vote for the other. One important change will con- vert the position of town clerk from elective office to town employee. In more than 40 years, Scituate has had only two town clerks, Peggy Long and Roger Medbury, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, both exceptionally capable. This is rare, if not unprecedented for an elective office. The fact that Scituate has elected three different Town Councils in the last three elections underscores the need for continuity. To run for town clerk and win, there are only two requirements: be 18 years old and live in town. Scituate has been very lucky to have such excellent town clerks for so long. The Home Rule Charter removes the element of luck. Future town clerks will be chosen on the basis of experience and training. All the meetings of the HRC were open to the public. I attended only a handful but enough to under- stand how they went about reach- ing this important decision. They interviewed officials of other Rhode Island towns who described how their charters work and what their experience was working with them. The other important change is the creation of a town manager, an experienced, trained professional person to oversee day-to-day opera- tion of Scituate government. The manager will report to and will be directed by the Town Council. Public administration is much more complex than it used to be and much more time consuming. We expect members of the Town Council to have vision and wisdom to guide Scituate's direction. But they hold full-time jobs and have family and other social commit- ments. It is too much to expect them to manage the many details, attend the many meetings, read the many reports, write the many grant appli- cations, negotiate the contracts and manage the budget without profes- sional help. The second important difference is that with a Home Rule Charter, rather than one written by an unelected panel, Scituate no longer will need permission from the state assembly. Also, after it is approved by voters, Scituate no longer will have the distinction of being the only Rhode Island town without a charter. ROBERT PEARLMAN North Scituate We applaud the decision by the Smithfield Town Council to pur- chase the 114-acre Camp Shepard site from the YMCA. We have recently experienced the tremendous value of open space to the town during the pandemic lock- down. While many recreational oppor- tunities were limited, Smithfield residents were able enjoy the ben- efits of walking on our many hik- ing trails maintained by both the Conservation Commission and Land Trust. The $1.2 million to purchase the property (some or all of which may be recoverable through government or private grants) is an outstanding investment. Although dividing the land into house lots would increase tax revenues, such revenues are usually offset by the cost of the addi- tional services the town must pro- vide. The town's open spaces and recreational assets add quality of life benefits that cannot be quantified. Property values are also increased by making the town a more desir- able place to live. Congratulations to the Town Council for seizing this unique opportunity! CHERYL AND MICHAEL IANNOTTI Smithfield A married couple on the Scituate School Committee? Are you aware that if Kevin Pendergast is elected to the Scituate School Committee, both he and his wife will be on the five-person com- mittee? There are two open seats and Mr. Pendergast is running for one of them. We are not commenting on his qualifications, but rather questioning if a married couple should serve on such an important committee at the same time. Since his wife is currently on the School Committee, isn't it safe to assume that they would likely share the same opinions on the edu- cation of our children? Isn't a broader range of opinions and perspectives more beneficial in planning the future of the educational programs and bud- get of the school system? Again, we are not questioning the candidacy of Mr. Pendergast. The intent of this letter is to simply make sure the voters in Scituate are aware of this unique situation. RICHARD AND DOROTHY STAPLETON Scituate Musical instruments for children needed PROVIDENCE – The Instruments for Children Program of the Rhode Island Rhythm & Blues Preservation Society is seeking donations of used or new musical instruments for chil- dren who express an interest in their school music programs, and would not be able to participate without help. The group constantly has a need for flutes, trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, guitars, basses, string instru- ments, etc. With COVID-19 guidelines in place, there is a special need for elec- tronic keyboards for remote learning. The organization fully restores the donated instruments before they reach the schools. These instruments will be provided to children for whom this activity would otherwise be a financial hard- ship. According to organizers, the pro- gram has provided hundreds of musi- cal instruments to students in Rhode Island schools since 2006. Contact Tom Colantonio at 401-793- 1281 or Tcolantonio@cox.net . Visit www.bluespreservationsociety. org for more on The Rhode Island Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society. Do you like to read The Valley Breeze & Observer? Then please shop with our advertisers, and tell them 'I saw it in The Observer!' AREA NEWS Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to: news@valleybreeze.com, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Walid Saber, MD FACC, FSCAL, RPVI Chief of Cardiology - Landmark Clinical Assistant Professor Warren Alpert Medical School Ibrahim Elgabry, MD FACC Director of Cardiac Rehab - Landmark Clinical Assistant Professor Warren Alpert Medical School World Class Care . . . So Close To Home Our Services: Cardiac Testing & Therapy Vascular Testing & Therapy Fully accredited state-of-the-art facility utilizing advanced technologies and expert techniques. www.oscvc.com 191 Social Street, Suite 100, Woonsocket, RI 02895 Phone: 401-597-6500 Ground Breaking Solutions for Varicose Veins! 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