Letter: Tiverton recall team damaged integrity of our elections

Posted 11/6/19

To the editor:

The Tiverton Recall Team damaged the integrity of our elections and abused the Charter provision to distort democracy. During this process, they dismantled the 2018 election, stole …

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Letter: Tiverton recall team damaged integrity of our elections

Posted

To the editor:

The Tiverton Recall Team damaged the integrity of our elections and abused the Charter provision to distort democracy. During this process, they dismantled the 2018 election, stole something very valuable from you, your vote and vision, and replaced it with their vote and closed down yours.  They silenced you!

How did the Recall Team accomplish this?  Here’s how.

Five separate mailers supporting the recall were sent to Tiverton homes. The most disturbing

was from “Progress RI,” appearing to be a political group of statewide teachers unions, with a middle school teacher’s return address.

The front picture of this large postcard depicts nine people with black tape covering their

mouths, a violent picture similar to a kidnapping, hijacking, robbery or hostage situation.

Directly under the pictures it states, “Now it’s time to silence them,” apparently meaning Robert Coulter and Justin Katz.

Imagine that! Teachers sending out postcards with a picture of violence to silence others in

town. What kind of an example is this for children? Worse, it might be sent to a home with

children who might see violence against their family. What kind of community do we live in

where teachers pollute mailboxes with this sort of message?

I guess “Turn the Tide” folks support violent pictures directed against people with a different

point of view. Do current Replacement President Hilton and Replacement Vice President deMedeiros support images of violence, since they both signed the recall petition?

The postcard says Rob and Justin “silenced you” and claims that they “hijacked our Town Council” and “dropped the open forum public period from Council meetings.” This is false and easily disputed, anybody who attended a meeting, read the minutes, or watched the videos can see it’s not true.

The entire council voted to change our meeting rules to allow more public input, not less. We

let everyone speak on anything that is on the agenda. We let everyone submit an agenda item

request, and we still have public forums. The only exception is when we have executive sessions, and we had fewer of those under Rob and Justin’s leadership than in the past because we did so much more out in the open.

Progress RI’s mailer wasn’t the only one to push these alleged truths. A card sent directly by the NEA teachers union said the same. So did another card sent by the AFL-CIO labor union. So did a card from the Turn the Tide PAC, using their new “Tiverton Independent PAC.”

Interesting how all these “independent” groups pushed the identical dishonest message.

Residents and voters deserve the truth.

Donna Cook

Tiverton Town Council member

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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.