Letters, March 24, 2012
To: the Editor—
Most voters in this country have computers in their homes or ready access to the internet at a library or using a device such as an iPad. Never before has contacting your legislative representatives, both in the state or Washington, D.C., been so easy — just a click of the mouse and away flies your opinion on how you want them to vote.
Do we do it? No, we just complain and moan about what they do for us, or what they fail to do.
Right now the flurry of bills going before the R.I. House of Representatives and Senate is mind boggling. Two things went in that would be very harmful to all cities and towns in the state. One is binding arbitration, and the other is automatically extending contracts that are due to end. The unions want both of these bills to pass.
In the last session our senator, V. Susan Sosnowski, voted in favor of binding arbitration, as did Paiva Weed, senate president. I believe Rep. Donna Walsh voted against it. Of course Senator Ruggerio also voted for the bill, as he really does not represent the people of Rhode Island, he represents the unions first, from whom he receives a handsome salary.
I have asked the B.I. Times to run a box in the paper with email addresses for our federal and state legislative representatives. Hopefully they will find space to do it.
So turn over a new leaf, become a good citizen and let the powers that be know how you feel. Believe me they do pay attention when the public speaks up. Remember the fees proposed by Bank of America on debit cards? The uproar caused the bank to back down.
If you maintain a blog or Facebook profile, contact family members and friends by email, then you can certainly let your feelings be known in the halls of congress and in our state capitol. Once a day, once a week or monthly, go click that mouse.
Edith L. Blane
Corn Neck Road
Representative Donna Walsh:
Senator Susan Sosnowski:
To: the Editor—
On behalf of the Block Island Tourism Council, I would like to thank Ted Merritt for his six years of dedicated service on our board. We have regretfully accepted his resignation.
Ted has been a great asset to the Tourism Council. His love and knowledge of the harbors and boating community has been beneficial in making sound marketing decisions. We have been extremely fortunate to have such a diverse and productive board, with Ted playing an instrumental part. In addition to transitioning us through a change in directors, Ted has stayed focused on his mission to collect relevant data, therefore helping us to produce valid strategies for improving tourism on Block Island.
Ted has volunteered additionally on the Five Year Plan Subcommittee and has played a leading roll on the Personnel Subcommittee.
We wish you all the best, Ted. We look forward to seeing you as a participant in the audience at future Tourism Council meetings.
President, Block Island Tourism Council
Sent to the Town Council and copied to the Times—
The March 3 edition of the Block Island Times reported that the management of Heinz Field faces a budget squeeze. Will this problem ever come to a conclusion?
For more than two years I have asked the following question of the Town Council and the Land Trust: “What is the validated, research based fact or facts that have led the Town Council and the Land Trust to determine that it is the town’s financial interest to mandate the use of organic fertilizer at an added cost of $6,459 (per year, current cost) in lieu of equally effective use of synthetic fertilizer?”
To date there has been no response to this question.
In December I attended a Town Council meeting after writing a letter to the editor in which I outlined several facts to back up my contention that spending $6,459 is a dreadful waste of money when every town department has been urged to hold budgets tight. To its credit, the council voted 4 to 1 to send a memo to the Land Trust to reconsider its policy requiring the use of organic fertilizer at Heinz Field and allow the application of synthetic fertilizer.
The Land Trust’s answer to this request at their December 12 meeting concluded “that the Land Trust’s recent public poll showed an even split on the issue, and that based on the research that had been presented thus far at various town forums, the argument for one or the other type of fertilizer could not be supported.” With no supporting facts of their own, the Trustees voted 4-0 to uphold the policy to require the use of organic fertilizer at Heinz Field. This was in spite of the discussion that was held at the Town Council meeting.
Further, I attended a Land Trust meeting earlier in the fall and during the discussion on the maintenance of Heinz Field, I was asked by Denny Heinz if I had any comments. I gave one simple reply which is that, and this is backed up by research, the nutrients that come from organic and synthetic fertilizers are the same once the plant takes them up from the soil into its vascular system. In effect, the roots don’t care, nor do they know from whence the nutrients originated.
Here is a question: While I never saw any evidence of a public poll on the fertilizer issue, I question how the question was presented. In order for a taxpayer to know the significance of the poll, the question should have been worded in a manner in which there was an opportunity to make an educated decision such as:
There are two proposals for the fertilization of Heinz Field. Both programs will provide the same adequate nutrition to Heinz Field. Please choose one.
An organic fertilizer program will cost $9,084 and consist of 177 bags.
A “synthetic” fertilizer program will cost $2,625 and consist of 83 bags.
As a refresher, here is the Land Management Policy that oversees the maintenance of Heinz Field: “The Town, as owner of the property, would have the authority to decide what products are to be used; however, because the Land Trust holds a Recreation Easement on the property, it would also have to approve of the Town’s plan for turf management. New language in the Land Management Policy allows for the Trustees to approve of the use of synthetic products on a particular property if it is determined that they are needed. The burden would be on the Town to show why a synthetic product is needed.” (Reference: Land Trust Minutes of September 14, 2009.)
If the unnecessary additional cost of $6,349 is not sufficient enough for the Town Council to show a burden of proof during tough financial times, I can think of only one other course of action: Recreation Director Rob Closter has proposed twice that the Land Trust contribute all costs associated with the implementation of an organic fertilizer program, along with the additional labor costs to apply the materials. To date and to the best of my knowledge, the Land Trust has refused this offer.
Frederick H. Nelson