The redoubtable Meaghan Wims did another story today on the meeting focusing on Barbara's letter. And yet naught on Councilor Santos' "bus" moment (see previous posting). If you rely on Newport's own paper for ALL of your local news, you are definitely lacking.
Meaghan does a more focused report than mine; mainly because I'm easily led astray by comedy aspects lately.
The announcement and pointed comments mark a return to local politics after a more than decade-long hiatus for VonVillas, who is retired after most recently serving seven years as Burrillville’s schools superintendent. She served on the Middletown School Committee from 1990 to 1996.
She continues quoting VonVillas' letter to the Council criticizing its overall tone & leadership:
Hmmm, they had nothing to say? Fish got their tongue? Ooops, I mean cat. Perhaps they were distracted by thoughts of that phantom killer bus.
“The discussion about a motion was ended when one councilor [Rodrigues] had a
temper tantrum, accused others of casting blame on him for wrongdoing, and made
a motion that everyone in attendance and those who read the papers recognized
[it] was a sham,” VonVillas said, referring to Rodrigues’ motion to compel Kempen to return his severance payment before the board would agree to speak with him.
The council modeled offensive behavior, VonVillas said, causing some in the audience to issue “catcalls, insults, and gutter language.”
VonVillas said she supports nonpartisan elections — one of the major proposals by the Charter Commission, now under council review — to “level the playing field for all Middletown voters.”
“The citizens of Middletown are conscientious, decent people who expect a government that they can be proud of,” she added. “They want to express their opinions. They want you to hear them and to appreciate their concerns. They know that you have to make hard decisions with which hey may not always agree. But they want you to behave respectably, and they need to respect your motives. The Middletown Town Council has to do better.”
Council members listened, but did not react, to VonVillas’ comments.
Non-partisan elections? What is that woman talking about? Council Prez Paul Rodrigues thinks that they are un-American. So what does that make Barbara? Un-American? I think that voters should be allowed to choose what kind of elections that they want. What does that make me? Simple-minded?
Perhaps it's time for me to post a new poll. Perhaps it's time for a new Council.