Mayhem and madness?
Fri, 07/08/2022 - 4:30pm

To the Editor,
I will entitle this letter Series 1 “S1”, Episode “E1”, because that’s how much information I would like to relay to the public. Block Island, the beautiful bucolic island most of the time, out at sea, a would-be stress-free zone, is under attack. Unfortunately, much of our problems are self-generated with multiple changes in our innermost structures. The Fourth of July 2022 was, for the most part and to most islanders and visitors a quieter, more gentle Fourth. No fireworks which would have been three days too early anyway, but still blaming the weather and a barge, I’m not sure was the real reason. For years they were off the beach with no problem. The parade was smaller but represented well
with well-mannered individuals all along the way on a perfect day. But the worst was yet to come.
Our island is a microcosm of the nation in general. Political agendas, mostly partisan, have soiled even this lovely place and enclave. We now will have an unelected Town Council, all self-appointed with few islanders interested and why? Partisan politics should play no role in what should be this United States because it is one way politics. Our Town Council has voted down public transport when the state DOT even purchased smaller trolleys for Block Island free of charge. The Council and the new town manager, the seventh in six years, forced our longest running Chief of Police, Vin Carlone, 17 years, to quit over mopeds, not crime, not drugs, not alcohol
consumption on our streets.
The Council this year voted down funds to employ a few State Police here on weekends. Was this part of the “defund the police” attitude in many now lawless places? Well, here it comes. By default the Governor of Rhode Island sent them anyway, free of charge, in lieu of the resignation after one year, let me restate that one year, of our new police chief. We also were sent a State Police Captain for a few weeks to act as our intermediary chief. This poor individual now has the entire policing situation on his shoulders with no guidance from the town fathers, whoever they are. Without a permanent chief of police and with a bewildered Town Council, the town enters the night of fireworks of the Fourth of July without fireworks. The true meaning being overdoses, drugging, underage drinking, sexual assaults under investigation, domestic violence, alcohol-infused dockside battles, ferry boat fights, unauthorized beach-side assemblies leaving a mess (South Beach, Conservancy-owned and supposedly patrolled but wasn’t). There is more, driving under both drug and alcohol influence, the smell of a forest burning, but in reality marijuana smoke permeating down town.
So now the leading question, is it mopeds, traffic, or maybe just maybe all of the above? At this moment the Council will conduct yet another intergalactic search for a chief of police. Episode “S1 E2” being researched at this moment.
John Willis
Beacon Hill Road