At last night's , a public hearing was held on an ordinance to make Oakley Street one-way (with a separate ordinance about parking introduced later in the docket).
When this one-way ordinance was introduced last month, Mayor Rogers cited alleged concerns from residents about traffic on Oakley Street that he supposedly heard while walking the neighborhoods in his ward. The mayor claimed that he supported this ordinance because it would be for the public good.
Last night, during a very lengthy discussion, it was brought to light that this ordinance actually came about as a result of a private meeting and was for the benefit of one business owner who was seeking additional parking for his nearby restaurant/banquet facility, and not for the public good at all.
Despite a petition signed by a number of local residents in opposition to the scheme, despite only a lukewarm endorsement by the Police Chief and a neutral response from the Fire Chief, and despite a lack of a factual report from planning or zoning officials, the mayor and Assistant Mayor Thomas Rose were adamant that this ordinance be passed.
Councilwoman Kleyla made a surprisingly impassioned argument that the residents in this area not be made to suffer because this one business owner might need additional parking in the future. After lengthy discussion, the vote on the ordinance was deferred.
If one business owner needs some special consideration for the economic development of his business, I don't begrudge him that. Let's work with him, find the best solution for him and his neighbors. But let's not pretend that it's for the public good, when it's obviously not.
We are in desperate need of transparency in our city governance. Primary election day is less than three weeks away. There's a fight for the Council seat in Ward 2. Rumor has it that Daniel Dalton has dropped out of the race in Ward 3, leaving only incumbent Tommy Rose and me as active candidates, but it's no less hotly-contested than it was.
Voters, come out for the primary. Make a statement right now that we've had it with business as usual in this city. Let's make it loud and clear that East Providence is heading in the right direction at long last.