To the editor:In response to Councilman Nate Cahoon’s Commentary in the October 14th issue of the Post, I offer these thoughts.
Mr. Cahoon rightly notes that we’ve come a long way …
To the editor:
In response to Councilman Nate Cahoon’s Commentary in the October 14th issue of the Post, I offer these thoughts.
Mr. Cahoon rightly notes that we’ve come a long way since the dark days 10 years ago when the State of Rhode Island set up a budget commission to oversee the City’s finances. This action was necessitated when poor, sometimes self-serving, decision making over a number of years had led East Providence to the brink of financial ruin. With the budget commission setting us on the right course, subsequent elected officials including—but not limited to—Mr. Cahoon have continued to keep us on track.
My issue with Mr. Cahoon’s commentary is in regard to his embrace of the future and what it means to lead. Mr. Cahoon proudly notes a recent GoLocalProv article that equates the building of our new high school, for which he deserves much credit, with “embracing the future.” Agreed, but embracing the future requires much more of us for the benefit of future generations than a new building, no matter how grand it may be. Embracing the future also means acknowledging the devastating effects of climate change, which is not only our future, but our present.
No reasonable person, I think, can look at the recent excessive rainfall and flooding in our country on the one hand, and drought and wildfires on the other, without realizing that embracing the future requires acknowledgment of the devastation climate change is bringing, and will continue to bring. Preserving open space, protecting a mature tree canopy, mitigating rising waters, and preventing heat islands caused as a result of replacing grass with concrete is crucial.
To me, saving the property formerly known as Metacomet golf course from development would be an appropriate embrace of the future.
Responsible, accountable leadership, as Mr. Cahoon mentions, is what the people of East Providence expect and deserve. This type of leadership respects our governing documents, such as our Comprehensive Plan, which should guide development decisions made now that will resonate for generations.
Mr. Cahoon, as I recall, cited fear as one factor influencing his decision to rezone Metacomet, fear of what might happen if he didn’t vote the way he did. Leadership doesn’t arise from fear, but from courage, courage to challenge the outrageous appraisal of the property and courage to push back on the administration’s insistence that we couldn’t find the money to buy the place. It didn’t have to be Plan A or Plan B. It could have been a real examination of eminent domain, not just a shrug.
Mr. Cahoon concludes by asking that we all reflect on what we’ve done to help make East Providence the best-run city in Rhode Island, as GoLocalProv puts it, and how we plan to keep it that way. I don’t know about the best-run part, but I do know that the Keep Metacomet Green community has done its best over the past 15 months to save the quality of life that makes East Providence such a desirable place to live, and our plan is to continue to do so as long as we need to.
Keep Metacomet Green