Editorial: It’s time for politicians to fish or cut bait

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The noted political speech writer turned columnist William Safire penned the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism” for use by then Vice President Spiro Agnew in 1970. Mr. Safire wrote those words in defense of the Nixon Administration against what it perceived as an assault by the “liberal” press and other detractors of the time.

In a different context, “nattering nabobs of negativism” could very well describe some people in the State of Rhode Island as well as a faction of residents here in our fair City of East Providence.

In more modern times, at least, going back over the last two decades or so, the political atmosphere in this city has likely never been as fractious, never been more dysfunctional as it has become with the elections of the past few City Councils and Councilors.

Despite what is actually taking place in our community on a regular basis, what most of the residents and employees accomplish daily, there remains a prevailing sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction with how East Providence is operated.

Of course, much of the bad taste that now lingers here is due to the once and current presence of the Budget Commission. Some of it has to do with the City Manager and his perceived short comings. And a certain segment of the population, those who voted in the minority, will always have a problem with some in elected office.

So, how do we rectify the situation, you may ask?

First, it’s time for the Council to fish or cut bait with the City Manager? Give him some job security or replace him. It’s that simple.

Second, as many believe, it’s time for East Providence to change its form of government to a strong, elected mayor with a City Council comprised of seven members instead of five with three at-large positions to go along with the four wards.

And third, it’s time for some to put down their pens and turn off their computers. Be quiet for a moment and actually become active in the city and do something of substance to make it better, rather than throwing cheap shots from sidelines. This last one alone could go a long way in creating a positive atmosphere going forward in East Providence.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.