Wishing more people would get involved in the discussion


If we had one early holiday wish for the City of East Providence if would be for more of its citizenry to become involved in public and political life. It would certainly vary and broaden the range of opinion available on important issues facing our residents and business owners.

All too often in the recent past, especially, the same group of voices has been doing much of the talking for the city. And while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can and has become a bit stale.

This is not to say that their views don’t hold merit. In some instances they certainly do. But when a small group is speaking for the whole, it doesn’t always have the interest of the greater good completely in mind.

The lack of participation in the process is conspicuous when it comes to the Budget Commission. The state-appointed overseers will  have been in charge of East Providence for one calendar year this time next week.

Much of what the Commission has done was needed. However, on other issues, specifically those pertaining to personnel, it has and continues to falter.

In the Commission’s slight defense, though, what they’ve done has been an open book. There have been few, if any, secrets kept from the public. On the contrary, the members have pretty much done exactly what they’ve said they would.

The only and obvious problem with the Commission’s forthrightness is the lack of input from the people.

Plenty have complained about its heavy-handedness, its purported taxation without representation, its unchecked authority.

Those rebuttals to the Commission’s efforts, however, don’t always compute because they’re often uttered by the same, albeit well-meaning, people.

The Commission has shown a willingness to listen and work with those in opposition to its proposals, but few have actually taken the time to compose credible, compelling counter offers.

It’s easy to throw haymakers from outside the ring. It’s much more difficult to join the conversation.

If more folks in East Providence decided to do so, then maybe, just maybe, things might improve to everyone’s liking not only in the near term, but also in the foreseeable future.


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Ricardo Tiburon

And here’s a suggestion for getting involved in a national issue. January 3, 2013 will mark an unusual opportunity for the United States Senate to improve upon archaic filibuster rules which prevent uncontroversial executive and judicial nominations from moving forward, while time and money continue to be wasted with delays at multiple redundant points in the legislation and appropriations process. Immediate action by Rhode Islanders can influence a very close vote on the following two sensible proposals:

To filibuster Senators will be required to go to the Senate floor to explain to the American people why they oppose a bill or nominee.

The motion to begin debating a bill, or to send a bill to conference with the House, will be non-debatable.

Senator Jack Reed voted “no” in January 2011 when a similar very close reform vote failed. After experiencing unprecedented obstruction, he may now be persuadable. Please call him toll free at 877-782-8274, or directly at (202) 224-4642, (401) 943-3100, or (401) 528-5200,

and email your opinion to: http://www.reed.senate.gov/contact/

Select “other” or any subject, and write your own message, or use mine: Please support Senators Harken, Merkley and Udall in their effort to make the 113th Senate accountable for all its rules via a vote on opening day, January 3, 2013. I urge you to adopt by a majority vote Senate rules which allow the majority to act, while protecting the minority’s desire to be heard.

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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.