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Lynch, Briden spar over Pond View, law tabs in East Providence Ward 1 Council race

By   /   September 24, 2012  /   3 Comments

Richard W. Dionne Jr.

The disputed TLA/Pond View recycling plant is a bone of contention between Ward 1 City Council candidates Edward Lynch and James Briden.

EAST PROVIDENCE — The first real salvos of the 2012 General Election locally were lobbed over the last week, and were done so fittingly concerning arguably the most controversial and pressing issue facing one of East Providence’s residential sections.

In a wide-ranging and, at points, tersely-worded press release directed at his opponent in the East Providence City Council Ward I election, Edward Lynch recently called out James Briden about his actions regarding the contentious TLA-Pond View issue that has gripped Rumford for the last several years.

The candidates are at odds over Mr. Briden’s efforts as the East Providence City Solicitor between 2008-2010. Mr. Lynch chided his opponent for his perceived lack of initiative on issues related to the disputed recycling plant while he served the city as its legal representative.

Mr. Lynch wrote in his release, “As a candidate for Ward I City Council and a former state representative, I still have several questions regarding Pond View’s inception into all our backyards. My opponent, a former city solicitor, never complained about Pond View when he worked for the city of East Providence.

Richard W. Dionne Jr.

Edward Lynch

“Astoundingly, he waited until he was released from his prominent position as solicitor by the present city council to begin his attack of the facility and build a platform against the city that he once represented. Most recently, he attended a city council meeting and recommended that a new lawyer (costly environmental attorney) be hired to fight Pond View.”

In response, Mr. Briden said the on-going Pond View legal battle began before he became City Solicitor and he believes he conducted himself in a pro-active manner.

Mr. Briden said, “My opponent’s statement that as Solicitor I never complained about Pond View could not be further from the truth. As the city’s attorney, I worked diligently on behalf of East Providence in strongly opposing the expansion of TLA Pond View. This included the numerous DEM hearings where the city’s experts and residents testified against the company’s application to expand its operation and the lawsuit filed in Superior Court by East Providence and the Rhode Island Attorney General.

“My role as Solicitor in the Pond View case is well known to residents, documented as a matter of public record and requires only a minimum amount of effort to discover. Before making such statements in the future, it is my hope that my opponent will do at least a little bit of research beforehand. The public expects no less from candidates running for elected office.

Richard W. Dionne Jr.

James Briden

“My opponent is also factually incorrect when he states that I recently recommended that the city hire an environmental lawyer for the Pond View case. As a resident, I addressed the City Council on Sept. 4, 2012, and asked the city to have an outside review of the present zoning appeal by an attorney recognized as an expert in zoning law. As this is probably the most important zoning case in the history of our city, it is wise to maximize our chances of winning this appeal. A victory now will actually save East Providence money as it will fortify our position relative to any future legal battle.”

Mr. Lynch later escalated his argument, noting the numerous cases of litigation the city has and continues to find itself involved in.

He wrote, “The taxpayers of East Providence should be fed up with the past council and school  committee decisions to hire outside lawyers to fight issues that has put our city further  in debt for years to come. For example, how much have we spent on outside legal counsel to fight Pond View? That is the job for a competent city solicitor, not costly  outside lawyers. ”

Mr. Lynch cited the well over $1 million the city has paid to Attorney Dan Kinder, who continues to represent East Providence in legal squabbles with its teachers. In addition, Mr. Lynch referenced the controversial firing a few years ago of then-city building inspector Al Quattrucci, who recently successfully appealed his job loss and who is expected to receive a large settlement as well as have the opportunity to return to his former position.

“Let’s stop paying for outside lawyer fees when we have the ability to hire a professional city solicitor and legal team,” Mr. Lynch added. “Let the city’s  legal team direct the city council and school committee on important issues to start  rebuilding our city together.”

Mr. Briden countered his recommendation to hire an outside environmental lawyer to work with the Solicitor’s office on the Pond View case was proper and because of it East Providence is in a stronger position legally. Spurred by the efforts of community organizers, including Mr. Briden, Pond View has been shut down by its receiver.

Mr. Briden continued, “By contrast, from my opponent’s comments it is clear that he would have been against hiring an environmental law attorney to work with the city in opposing the  expansion of Pond View. This would have been a mistake and might have enabled Pond View to expand its operation.

“When evaluating a municipality’s legal representation, one must not oversimplify this issue. It is necessary to have a basic understanding of the practice of law, to review the models that other cities have used successfully and to accomplish this objective in a cost effective manner.”

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3 Comments

  1. David_P says:

    I don’t know why either candidate is arguing about city lawyers when the budget commission is already preparing a bid to outsource the law department. Maybe if either candidate or any council/school committee candidate bothered to show up to the budget commission meetings and see how this group is ripping this city apart. For all their talk about setting EP right the commission is using fake budget numbers and a five year plan that destroys all services. The public buildings manager told the commission that the budget cuts mean there aren’t enough people to plow the streets. Great, its going to take days for just a small storm. NO ONE is going to move into this city and property values are going to plummet and the state and budget commission will be long gone. Mr. O’Keefe thinks the people of EP are idiots. He talks about no tax increase for five years while they just add new fees, increase sewer rates and eliminate our homestead exemption. Don’t nickle and dime us… if more money is needed so we get services then explain that to us. Don’t use fake budget claims to make yourself look good.

  2. Biker says:

    Mr Lynch, it sounds like you are saying the current solicitor and legal team are incompetent, not professionals and are totally clueless.
    I hope you realize Mr. Lynch your buddy Rogers and Rose hired these people that you consider incompetent.
    Mr. Lynch as a former state representative you must of not been to effective in your job then, if you do not stand with your neighborhood now. If you have questions regarding Pond View inception into your back yard, I am sure it dates back to the late 1990′s. Take a trip down memory lane, some of the players are still the same.

  3. roadrunner says:

    Mr. Lynch, you claim “Mr. Briden never complained about Pond View when he was working for the city”. Did you really know what Mr. Briden’s job entailed working as city solicitor on this case?
    It was not Mr. Briden’s job to complain as city solicitor, it was his job to fight for the residents, the taxpayer. Did you Mr. Lynch ever complain about Pond View? Did you ever sign up to ask questions at a council meeting or speak out against Pond View??
    As a resident I give Mr. Briden a lot of credit, he has the right to complain, just like any resident affected by Pond View. Mr. Briden is very respected in his community, an outstanding family man, resident and citizen, who cares enough about his family, his neighbors and community to fight along with them.
    No one can say the same about you Mr. Lynch, because you lack all those qualities.

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