Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 06-07-2018

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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20 LETTERS JUNE 7-13, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION Scituate Home Rule needs OK, backing by those who approve Why would people participate in the same process that they refused to endorse? "Charter chatter" in Scituate has turned into charter confusion. The Town Council majority is trying to manipulate the proposed legisla- tive charter; the Legislative Charter Committee is wishing for a magic wand to turn their proposal into a Home Rule charter without ever sup- porting the Home Rule petition, and the Home Rule advocates just want to follow the democratic procedure outlined in Article XIII of the R.I. Constitution so that the voice of the voters can be fully reflected in a char- ter. As the originator of the Home Rule Charter petition, let me try to clarify this confusion. I believe that Scituate, the only "charterless" town/city in Rhode Island, does need a charter (a rule book) to delineate how our local government should be set up. I also believe there is no mystery about how to do a charter. A Home Rule Charter is what Article XIII of the R.I. Constitution is all about. Why ignore that? The R.I. Constitution is the charter for Rhode Island. We should be following it, plain and simple. The steps in Article XIII, are quite clear. Step one: A petition is needed to put Home Rule on the ballot. That's done, signed by 1,715 voters. Step Two: A two-part ballot will ask the people if they want a charter and who they want on the charter com- mission. That ballot will happen on Thursday, June 28. Step Three: When completed, the Home Rule Charter will be subject to voter approval at the next general election. The Home Rule Charter ballot will be held on June 28 and a "yes" vote will require the Council to appoint the people who are elected to create a Home Rule Charter. Surely this task should be done by nine candidates who actually signed the petition, not by people who refused to support the Home Rule effort. But…there are, indeed, 10 people who never support- ed the petition and yet have placed their names on the ballot so that they can turn the legislative charter into Home Rule Charter. No wonder there's so much confusion! The voters of Scituate must be brought into this process as valuable participants, not dismissed as people who do not understand and do not care. The decision to ignore Article XIII was made in May 2017, so the process we have now is just a free-for- all and the result is what we now see in Scituate – charter confusion! It is my hope that Scituate voters will understand that the ballot on June 28 is all about Home Rule and that they can keep it that way by voting for candidates who have actually sup- ported Home Rule in the past several months. On June 28, please vote "yes" for a charter and select nine Home Rule Charter supporters to be on the charter commission. Visit for more information. RUTH STRACH Scituate There was nothing interesting on TV last night so I looked around for a good mystery to read and found one in the Rhode Island Constitution. It was Article XIII which, as everyone knows, is titled "Home Rule of Cities and Towns." This might not sound very exciting to most people, but in Scituate it could distract someone watching the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game. Scituate voters who go to the polls on June 28 might be confused thanks to authors of the R.I. Constitution. Voters will be there to decide, "Shall a commission be appointed to frame a charter?" These are the exact words, the only words, Article XIII says may be used to approve a home rule charter commission. And that's a mystery because a panel to write a charter was already appointed last year by the Town Council. So why are we voting on one now? Of course, you are confused. So were the authors of the R.I. Constitution in 1986 when they tried to make sense of the previous Constitution written in 1843 and all the amendments added since. The result was they left the word, "appointed" when they clearly meant "elected." Mystery solved. A "yes" vote on June 28 establishes the Home Rule Commission as the only legitimate authority to write a Scituate charter. Everything else, par- ticularly the document already writ- ten by the council's appointed panel, will be disqualified. My friend, Dimwiddie, wasn't so sure. I won't say he is a conspiracy theorist, but he suspects a plot to sneak in the document already writ- ten by the appointed panel. "Dimwiddie," I said. "That's impos- sible. The Town Council passed a resolution to put to voters on June 28 the question about a Home Rule Charter and to elect a commission." "Oh yeah?" he said completely within his idea of context. "Then why are some people who refused to sign the petition for a Home Rule Charter now running for a seat on the commission?" I had no answer. He had found an even better mystery: Why, indeed, would people want to participate in the very same democratic pro- cess that they refused to endorse? We could always ask them, I sup- pose. We could also find a list of public-minded candidates who did sign the petition on the web site: https://scituatehomerule.wordpress. com/2018/05/28/home-rule-commis- sion-candidates-list/. ROBERT PEARLMAN North Scituate Eastern Paint Center 1926 Smith Street, North Providence, RI 02911 (401) 232-0600 Wall Coverings Available 50% Off All Deck Stains On SALE NOW 143B Danielson Pike Scituate, RI 02857 We are located in the of Scituate Village Daycare / Boarding / Grooming For Your Best Friend Jake & Rosie, Clients Our Daycare is Structured Socialization 401.764.5955 RI DEM Lic. #1209/940 Insured

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