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Cutting Through Lies About the Souza Rd. Proposal

It’s hard to believe that people would just lie.  And when people spread lies about you, it can be like a trap.  You can’t prove that a conversation never happened, and you definitely can’t prove that you’re not going to do something you haven’t done, yet.

That’s the position that the TTA majority of the Town Council is in right now.  People who want to get themselves or their friends back in control of the town are saying we have some plan to force through a major development on Souza Rd.  We don’t.

In fact, the Carpionato development would require a change in zoning, and I for one and Council President Robert Coulter for two have no intention of voting to do that.  The last proposal from the company caused months of stress in the community, and with no planner, new zoning and building officials, and multiple vacancies on our planning board, the town isn’t in a position to revisit that decision for a project that’s very similar.

Why would people be saying we’re somehow trying to push the development through?  That’s an easier question to answer.  One of them, William McLaughlin, is the man who pulled petitions to recall Rob and me.  He’s got no real justification for that campaign, so he’s trying to invent one.

Whoever has control of the “Don’t Mall Tiverton” group is obviously doing the same thing by constantly linking the development with the recall.  Not one person from the organization asked us our position on “the mall” before they started telling people they had to recall us to stop it.  Even after we made clear that neither of us supports the development, they continued with the lie.  If they were really about stopping “the mall,” they wouldn’t be trying to get rid of two council members who plan to do exactly what they want.

Here are the facts: Developers have a right to propose plans to the town.  This Town Council has an open-agenda policy that allows anybody to request time to make a presentation.  (That’s another thing that McLaughlin is spreading falsehoods about.)  Carpionato requested some time, and we have no justification for treating them differently than anybody else.

To my knowledge, nobody on the council had seen the development plans until we received our backup materials to prepare for our last meeting.  The presentation couldn’t go forward because too many people attended, so it is rescheduled for Wednesday, September 4, in the high school auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

At that meeting, the developer will present the plan, and then people will be able to offer their opinions on it.  My opinion, and Rob’s, is that the town should not change its zoning regulations in that part of town.  Anybody who says differently is saying something that isn’t true.

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Justin Katz

Justin Katz is a writer and researcher focusing on Rhode Island policy and politics. For more about Justin, see our About page. justin@justinkatz.com (401) 835-7156.

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