The East Providence City Council ran over by about 15 minutes on Tuesday evening, July 16, its self-imposed 10 pm deadline for meetings. It did allow City Councilor Helder Cunha to extend the meeting for an item he asked be put on the docket as a "personal privilege."
The extra time did, indeed, get a bit personal as he used the extra minutes to chastise fellow City Councilor Chrissy Rossi and School Committee member Anthony Ferreira for what Cunha termed some recent inaccurate or inappropriate comments made by them.
Cunha read from a prepared statement. He submitted his statement to Patch early Wednesday afternoon. It reads:
"I put this on the docket to address some public comments made by Councilwoman Rossi and School Committee member Anthony Ferreira.
I'll start off by saying that I don't usually respond to comments made in newspapers or social network sites. I believe in the First Amendment and that everyone is free to say whatever they want. But lets not forget the reason we are sitting here: to do what's best for this community. I draw the line when people choose to ignore or twist the truth. To that I respond.
Councilwoman Rossi has been critical of the Harding Ave. decision. She has decided to play politics with the issue. She ignored her own lawyer who told her that we would open the city to the wrong end of a lawsuit if we didn't follow through on the prior decision made by the budget commission.
Councilwoman Rossi has also been critical of our decision to limit council meetings to 10 pm. She, once again, fails to be honest that meetings were running past midnight and into the next day.
She also fails to admit her role in extending them when she insists on taking up council time with her weighty contributions to the future of this embattled city with fireworks and greenhouses.
Now I am all for these and in better times we might consider her contributions to be important and worthy of debate until 1:00 am, but this city is trying to fight its way out of a deep hole, part of which Rossi helped dig deeper during her time on the School Committee.
If there is an emergency, we certainly can go past 10 pm for our meetings. Until then, we owe it to the taxpayer to do our business while they are still awake and we need to focus on matters of importance, not fireworks or greenhouses.
As to Mr. Ferreira, he has been in office for less than a year and now he's scolding the rest of us. We voted on May 7th to request a joint meeting with the school committee.
He complained in the newspapers that we were uncooperative and would not meet. He either doesn't pay attention or he intentionally misrepresented the truth.
I would submit that the problems of our schools, which in fairness preceded the tenure of Mr. Ferriera, require that we try to work together and not seek cheap political headlines if we want to do right by our kids.
As far as his stated threats to run people against the rest of us, he risks adding his name to the tawdry list of the past few years of people who put politics first before any real concern for the health of this city, which is the primary reason we are in such a disadvantaged position. We should stop this political nonsense and buckle down to represent the taxpayers of our city. They are fed up with it, and so am I."