Letter: ‘The Big Con’ — the mayor and Metacomet

Posted 6/2/21

To the editor:THE BIG CON – Last year the Marshall property plan to develop the Metacomet golf course was strongly supported by Mayor Bob DaSilva and a few members of our city council. However, …

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Letter: ‘The Big Con’ — the mayor and Metacomet

Posted

To the editor:
THE BIG CON – Last year the Marshall property plan to develop the Metacomet golf course was strongly supported by Mayor Bob DaSilva and a few members of our city council. However, the loud voices of members of Keep Metacomet Green and the support of our citywide residents shocked the Mayor and ultimately affected the 2020 election results.

Immediately, the grassroots movement (KMG) introduced the use of eminent domain to protect the nature preserve and create recreational space at Metacomet. The idea was quickly supported by our state officials and members of the city council. Unfortunately, Mayor DaSilva presented a false picture of the city finances and eventually the city council had the votes to stop the process of eminent domain.

I’m publicly calling out Mayor DaSilva and those around him for pulling a fast one on the residents of East Providence. I refer to his actions as “The Big Con”.

The fact is the Mayor and his administration put no effort into acquiring the golf course, but instead created a false impression that the city had no current or future funding to take over the property and at the same time worked secretly with Marshall property to advance their development plans.

The TRUTH is that East Providence is overflowing with funding and this is what the Mayor never wanted residents to know as he constantly repeated that eminent domain was out of our reach.

East Providence here are the numbers.
• Rhode Island 2020 State Budget Surplus = 416 million dollars
• Biden’s American Rescue funds to Rhode Island = 1.1 billion dollars
• Biden’s American Rescue funds to East Providence funds = 19 million dollars
Even though this may seem like a windfall of funding, it doesn’t even begin to describe the resources available if the Mayor and his administration wanted to deliver for the residents of East Providence.
• East Providence has bonding capacity
• DEM provides environment funds to preserve property
• Non-profits provide funds to preserve property

Mayor DaSilva is giving away this once in a lifetime Jewel of land. He is selling out our residents as he continues to work with wealthy developers while telling us we can’t afford anything different for the city.

This is” THE BIG CON”. The Mayor now tells two stories, the first is he is working for the residents. The second, the city can’t afford the land at Metacomet. Unfortunately, it appears that some of our elected officials are going along with him.

The TRUTH is there is an abundance of funding streaming into East Providence and we never scratched the surface of what more is available.
If Mayor DaSilva wanted the residents to have Metacomet property, we would be well on our way. If the Mayor and his administration did their jobs and represented the residents instead of private developers Metacomet would be ours.

Let’s stop the dirty game of politics, let’s stop giving away our city, let’s stop “THE BIG CON”.

Maureen L. Gomes Lopez
East Providence

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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.