Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 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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22 CAMPAIGN TRAIL OCTOBER 15-21, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION Marandola have all called for greater transparency and accessibility to town government as a top priority. Simpkins and Staples, who partnered on joint political advertising, have also called for a slowdown in solar devel- opment and stricter enforcement of the town's ordinances. "It's really overrunning our town right now," Simpkins said about solar development. "You hear from a lot of people in town that they're not happy with the decisions that have been made, and largely, I would agree with that." Staples, a Planning Board member who launched an unsuc- cessful write-in bid for Town Council in 2018, said that for her, transparency is about mak- ing government more accessible to residents. She called for continuing to stream meetings online post-COV- ID-19, archiving meeting videos in a way that's easy to navigate, and mak- ing more information about the town available to residents online. "Even when it wasn't the pandemic, I was still a single mom who hunts and gardens and has a kid that goes to school and plays hockey," she said. "Nobody has time to go and sit at meet- ings." Simpkins and Staples were also crit- ical of the 2018 pro- posal by Beauregard, a former council president, to boycott Nike products in response to an ad featuring NFL quar- terback Colin Kaepernick. Beauregard told The Breeze he acknowledges the proposal was a "big mistake" and hopes residents can look past it to his accomplishments, including forging a better relation- ship between the council and School Committee. "I admit 100 per- cent it was a mistake the way I went about trying to show my support for the police. And I paid for it," he said. Beauregard and other councilors also faced criticism for a 2018 deci- sion to allow the Green Development solar project on Iron Mine Hill Road to move forward under a zoning over- lay. Beauregard said he still stands by that decision, even if he's disappointed plans to use the revenue from the farm to purchase the Gold property fell through. Instead, he said, the town has been able to negotiate a new concession stand and bathroom facility at the high school football field and protect the property from more intensive development. While some residents have contin- ued to criticize the Nike proposal, others have been more willing to move past it. O'Hara, Bartomioli and Corriveau all said Beauregard showed strong leadership and was an asset during his time on the council. In addition to transparency, Marandola, a Parks and Recreation Commission member, highlighted her background as a data analytics professional in calling for greater fis- cal responsibility. She pointed to the difficult financial decisions facing the town on the Halliwell property and the police station, and said the town needs to have better long-term plan- ning. "I think that's where preparing for the future is important, because in the short term, there are limited options," she said. Another new candidate, Corriveau, also highlighted his business back- ground in pushing for smarter eco- nomic development. Corriveau, who serves on the town's Economic Development Commission, said the town should be taking steps to market itself to large businesses to bring in new revenue to support schools and infrastructure. "There's no reason why we shouldn't be in the running like a Johnston or like a Lincoln that have opened their arms to businesses without compromising the beauty of the town," he said. A fifth candidate, Parsons, said she was inspired to run partly after watch- ing the Conservation Commission resign in protest last year during a dis- pute over reappointments to the vol- unteer board by Town Administrator Gary Ezovski. Parsons said she believes the incident was "poorly handled" by town officials and posi- tioned herself as a "fresh perspective" for the town. "I don't have an agenda that I'm trying to fix, I just want to be a new TOWN COUNCIL From Page One BEAUREGARD CORRIVEAU See NO. SMITHFIELD, Page 25 SIMPKINS MARANDOLA STAPLES Glow Oil heat your home for less 401-475-9955 Check Our Website for Today's Low Heating Oil Price Is your will or trust over 5 years old? Call for a review JOSEPH J. ROSZKOWSKI Attorney at Law Serving the people & businesses of Northern R.I. for over 50 years. 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