Friday, June 01, 2007

"Out of Order" in Middletown

The "Daily News" in its "Cheers & Jeers" column today faults the Middletown Council for petty political bickering. Duh, where have they been the past few months? And who is to blame for this? I've certainly heard talk of reconciliation from the current Prez, coucillors Mello & "Inspector" Sylvia, but seen little beyond that.

The first hint that the all-out Democratic war (it's WAY beyond bickering) accelerated was when committee assignments were handed out. When Republican councillor "Mother Theresa" Santos was given more than TWO Democrats put together, it should have provided a hint. That was the place for the healing to start. Instead it's continued to be "our way or the highway," and "to the victor belongs the spoils." I've seen little movement from this stance except to further isolate councillors DiPalma & the "White Knight" Silveira. It will get much worse and the Daily News has done much to contribute to this.

DiPalma's legislative idea to increase Middletown's take from the hotel tax instead of sending the bulk of it to the Newport Co. Visitors' Center was one worth looking at. And if we'd had a better State Senator it might have stood a shot with some changes & a Council backing him. But they were totally disinterested & since Sen. Gibbs was the sole sponsor, it died.

The White Knight's idea to actually return some of our banked "rainy day" fundings & return them to the residents is gaining in popularity (duh). But he's given little if any credit for this because it was HIS idea. He is also the chief complainer along with DiPalma regarding the new public information policy. While the Snooze declares that it pertains only to councilors requesting public info records which then must be forwarded to the Council Prez, I disagree. I was at the meeting where it was discussed. It pertains to to ANYONE requesting records. You - me - a reporter -anyone! The Daily News agrees that this is a poor policy, but neglects to mention from where it originates.

The White Knight requested info on various monetary items - it's budget time! He dared to go where no man has gone before. He requested records regarding the Senior Center. The Prez's sis is the Director. Do you think that the Town Admin. (the man in between a rock & a hard place) made up this new policy on his own? Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? This request was not appreciated. Big deal. And all the requested info has NOT been received.

No budget is sacrosanct, especially when we're cutting school staffing, etc. We're the only community on the island running our Senior Center through town government, with considerably more $ than any other center. It deserves a second look at the very least.

The local Democratic Town Committee is now run by the "victors" after the past officers stepped aside (generously, I might add, since they could have won an in-house election). The Senior Center Dir. is the Vice-Chair.The town committee is now run exactly the same way the Council is - difference of opinion is not appreciated & former active members are on the "don't call us, we'll call you," list. That's why I was recently ruled out-of-order when I suggested adding two new members who were present. And I don't even bear any responsibility for not endorsing two sitting Democrats in the past election. I voted for them but they lost. Whose fault is that that other Democrats don't want anything to do with them??? One might & should ask why.

So expect more fireworks, especially the next Council meeting when much of this is brought up in a more formal manner & venue.

BTW, During the Dems meeting I also rec'd a dirty look & a biting comment. The same committee (different attending members) who used to stand up & clap whenever I entered the room. It's wasted effort. I was a teacher for 30 yrs., I've heard it all & have an advanced degree in "the evil eye." Listening to the meeting was like being with my Mom (who is Portuguese). No use arguing, just nod your head in agreement & do what you want. I learned a long time ago that's why I have two ears - let it go in one side & right out the other. Or just leave. I've been out-of-order all my life. I prefer to think of it as a good thing.

I've also been asked to "tone down" this blog so that the Dems "can come together." Gee, you think everyone would like each other then? I'm just reporting & commenting. I've seen how friends are treated ("Hello, Eileen" - insert shiv in back). Why bother? I think some of them have forgotten, "sic transit gloria." Today's big win can be tomorrow's big defeat. Politics is ALL about compromise. And compromise doesn't mean shutup, sit down, & be quiet. It's talking, listening, and showing some good will. Snotty remarks, nasty asides, & dirty looks aren't compromise. Where is the leadership here? Where is the "coming-together?" Saying it don't make it so. Now the group's rules are scheduled to be changed to limit membership (among other things) with a dare to provoke a primary. Yeah, togetherness, friendship, & good will. Working to promote the town's best interests. Ain't it great?
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