Letters to the Editor, March 2, 2013

Mon, 03/04/2013 - 3:20pm

To the Editor:

There is a glaring error in the letter said to be sent to the Rl Ethics Commission by Kim Gaffett and appearing in the Feb. 23 Times. In the fourth paragraph of the Times’ letter, last sentence, it is stated “None of the (Gaffett) donations were received through Kay Lewis’ efforts.” To the contrary, in the letter actually sent to the Ethics Commission that sentence reads (emphasis supplied):

“EXCEPT FOR THE DONATION THAT KAY LEWIS MADE HERSELF ($175) none of the donations were received through Kay’s efforts.”

Why was the First Warden hiding from the community the fact that Kay Lewis donated $175 to her campaign while she was negotiating with Kay for the largest donation the Medical Center receives? This is another of a series of ethical issues raised by the First Warden’s conduct.

Finally, the letter to the Times devotes several paragraphs instructing the Ethics Commission to penalize the complainant for making a groundless filing. This, of course, ignores the fact that I was in prior contact with the Ethics Commission to discuss the grounds of the complaint and the status of the law relating thereto. Using the office of the first warden to threaten or intimidate any complainant is a violation of Rl Ethics Code (RIGL 36-14-5 Prohibited Activities (m).

The Ethics Commission emphasizes that a public official should avoid any appearance of impropriety. This warning has fallen on deaf ears as far as the first warden is concerned. We need to see a change in conduct to avoid future problems.

Peter Saxon

Corn Neck Road

Editor’s Note: The Block Island Times asked Kim Gaffett to respond to the discrepancy between the two versions. Here is her response:

To the Editor:

As you might imagine a letter such as the one I wrote to the R.I. Ethics Commission in response to complaint #2013-3 takes hours and days to write, evolving through several permutations.  I felt that I should be very precise in refuting the claim that Kay Lewis was my fund raiser. Not wanting to get “tripped up” by the nuance that Kay would of course be responsible for making her own donation versus the general fact that Kay did not do any fundraising for my reelection campaign, caused me to add the additional clause in the final version of my letter to the Ethics Commission.

Perhaps I should have updated the copy of the letter that I had sent to the B.I. Times, but the cryptic complaint seemed to target Kay Lewis’ position as treasurer not the “red herring” of who made what donations to various candidates for office. And so, despite my best intentions, I appear to have been “tripped up” by trying to keep the focus on the intent of the complaint, not the duly reported $175.

Kim Gaffett

Connecticut Ave.

To the Editor:

My name is Lisa Ommerle writing as a proponent of the Block Island Wind Project. I believe that this project will prove to be an asset to Block Island, the State of Rhode Island and eventually the entire East Coast.

I am a fulltime resident, my home is located in the center of the Island, therefore my immediate view shed will not be affected by this project. I can only speculate that my opinion wouldn’t change if my home was located elsewhere. I wholeheartedly believe moving towards “green” energy solutions far outweighs the dependency on an antiquated diesel generated power system.

This project enabling a cable to the island will have a positive fiscal impact on both individuals and businesses. Any reduction of the fuel oil adjustment fee would be beneficial to the community

It is my hope that there will be the continued checks and balances on this project going forward to ensure that the residents of Block Island will benefit.

Lisa Ommerle

Beacon Hill Road

To the Editor:

I am writing to say I am in favor of wind power. Since I am no longer young and I know it will take a while for it to be up and running, I fear that I will never see it. I do think it is important for our children and grandchildren and all generations to come.

I administer the Mary D. Fund. I know how hard it is for my fellow Islanders to pay their electric bills. It will help our economy. I know, too, how important our conservancy and all our ecology is to this great Island of ours.

We all relish the beautiful views, from the Island and on the island — they are all beautiful and they are free. I believe we must think of the future and what is best for all of us.

Mary A. Donnelly

Old Town Road