August 28th Newsletter

Meeting Date:  August 23, 2022

Reporter:  Bob Murphy


Don Saracen said he was inspired by today’s Mayoral Debate, saying that debates play an essential role in American Democracy by enabling voters to make an informed decision after hearing from candidates in a direct, unedited, and unfiltered manner.
Don described the process as follows: “You will see leaders together in one place, live on stage, answering questions and challenging each other’s ideas and opinions.  This will help you make your decision about the issues that matter to you and have an opportunity to learn about issues that matter to others and be exposed to views different from your own.  Listen, learn, and then exercise your right to vote.”


President Steve advised that at our meeting on August 30 there will be a Service Project organized by the Good Works Committee in which members will prepare packages of school supplies to be given to the pupils of The Harry Kizirian Elementary School.
President Steve extended Club get well wishes to members Pete Brock and Margaret Kane and Past President Ken Conde on their road to recovery.
Don Saracen reported on new donations to support the October 25 Legends for Literacy Gala. Donating at Division Champions Level are Marcum LLP (Luis Lorenco), and Ditmar, McNeil, and Varone CPAs (Randy Ditmar).  Donating at the Game Sponsor Level are Art and Mary Norwalk, Family Services of RI (Steve Hug), Jan Feyler, and John Hare MD.


The featured presentation of the day was a debate between the 3 candidates for the nomination of the Democratic Party for the office of Mayor of Providence to be determined in the Primary held on September 13th. 
The debate was moderated by Dan McGowan, Boston Globe columnist for Rhode Island affairs.  The format was Mr. McGowan posing questions to the candidates. 
Following are highlights of statements made by candidates on various issues.  

Brett Smiley

The teacher shortage must be addressed by a plan involving financial incentives, competitive pay and benefits.  School Resource Officers (SROs) may be continued with approval and guidance by principals.  The next contract with the Teachers Union should contain more flexibility for teachers and administrators.  Charter School expansion should be allowed.  Non-Profit institutions should pay tax on non-mission activity and make more payments in lieu of tax.  The work of the Providence Reparations Commission should continue, and Providence should have a Climate Justice Plan.  The housing rental crisis should be addressed by more affordable housing construction but not by a rent cap regulation.

Gonzalo Cuervo

The main educational focus should be on improving the public schools and not expanding Charter Schools.  There should be no SROs in the schools.  The next contract with the Union should not allow school assignment by seniority.  The rent crisis should be addressed by having a 4% cap on annual rent increases and increasing construction of affordable housing.  The Police Department should assign more officers to street patrol.  The non-profits should contribute more payments in lieu of tax following a formula similar to the plan Yale University has with New Haven.  The Reparations Commission should invest in improving communities affected by discrimination and close the opportunity gap for affected individuals.

Nirva LaFortune

Councilwoman La Fortune cited her experience as a graduate of Providence public schools and as a mother of students in those schools as giving her a good insight into the school problem.  One project to help improve the situation would be to seek collaboration with local universities to work with students guiding them to seek careers in education.  Charter Schools have a valid spot in the system but should not be increased at this time.  SROs should not be posted in the schools.  The Police Department needs better command leadership and efforts to develop a more diverse force reflective of the population of the city.  The rent crisis may need a rent cap of some level, but caution is needed since many landlords are people of modest means.  Ms. La Fortune agreed with the other candidates that the work of The Reparations Committee should continue and that more payments in lieu of taxes should be sought from the non-profit institutions.
Correction:  The editor missed the misspelling of Ms. LaFortune's first name in the original email, it is Nirva. I apologize.
Club Information
Tuesdays at 11:45 AM
Providence Marriott
1 Orms Street
Providence, RI 02904
United States of America
Lunch is served at 11:45 AM; meeting begins at noon.
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Aug 30, 2022
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