EDITORIAL

Warwick's mayor has arrived

Posted

Only time will tell if Mayor Joseph Solomon will be able to deliver on his promise for “an even better Warwick,” but there is certainly no denying that he put his best foot forward during Tuesday evening’s city inauguration.

Warwick’s head executive came off polished in rehearsed (in a good way) in his first major speech as the duly-elected mayor, appearing to be relaxed and excited about the possibilities that now lie before him. At a time of great transition in the city, Solomon’s demeanor and playful candor with those on stage with him was a welcome sign – it felt mayoral.

This isn’t to say that Solomon hasn’t been performing mayoral duties since he was thrust into the position in May. He has responded to crises, inter-departmental overturn and been the one to answer for numerous reports of fiscally suspicious behavior on the part of the Warwick Fire Department. Through these challenges Solomon has so far displayed an ability to make hard decisions and, in situations where the decisions require more thought, he has sought information from others in order to make an informed decision.

On Tuesday Solomon showed a willingness to commit to certain endeavors, like implementing LED lights in Warwick city-wide, reinvigorating public spaces and making it easier for businesses to succeed. He has dedicated himself to one-on-one business visits throughout his tenure, an admirable feat to get to know those who live and work in the city he now oversees. His idea to include Warwick restaurateurs at the inauguration was an especially thoughtful and considerate move.

All told, Solomon appeared to not only be prepared for his first term, but happy to be in the position. We consider this a very welcome sight, and look forward to working with him in the months ahead.

But many challenges are on the horizon. One, in particular, looms large. There are murmurings of serious fiscal unrest bubbling underneath the apparently calm surface of the city’s budget – one that is rooted in unsustainable pension packages and lifetime healthcare benefits for city retirees and the fact that we now have more retired workers in the city than we do workers currently punching a time clock.

It’s a crisis that could jeopardize not only the city’s rainy-day fund – which Solomon, himself, has warned is significantly smaller in reality than what had been previously reported – but the city’s future itself.

It’s a simple math equation. Costs of healthcare continuously go up, and people are living longer than ever after they retire. More workers must cycle in to fill these positions following retirements, and all rightfully want the same pension and healthcare benefits as their predecessors. Without exponentially increasing the amount of revenue the city can create, and even with maximum tax increases every year – which we can think of no faster way to drive people away, which only extenuates the problem – the balloon can only get so big before it pops.

So far, the city has not released a comprehensive assessment of where these obligations will lead in five or 10 years down the road, but considering that the schools have now officially brought suit in order to get more money out of a city that, literally, could not give what they needed even if 100 percent of new tax dollars were dedicated their way, the outlook doesn’t look fantastic.

This isn’t to say Warwick is doomed to go down the path of Central Falls, but it does mean that the city will need to take a good hard look at itself and figure out ways to cut down on legacy costs – a problem that doesn’t have a clear solution at this time. The aforementioned fire department, for example, went all the way to an arbitration decision when the city tried to put new firefighters on a less lucrative pension plan. The results of that arbitration decision have not been publicized at this time.

As advocates for this city and its people, we sincerely hope that there is a long-term solution possible for this issue, and the others – such as large-scale infrastructure problems – that will challenge this administration. We can say with confidence that Solomon has given us hope that he will give it his very best shot. 

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WwkVoter

"Without exponentially increasing the amount of revenue the city can create, and even with maximum tax increases every year – which we can think of no faster way to drive people away, which only extenuates the problem – the balloon can only get so big before it pops.

So far, the city has not released a comprehensive assessment of where these obligations will lead in five or 10 years down the road..."

Well that pretty much says it all, doesnt it? Here's a thought, after a few "max tax hikes" and people find Warwick less desirable, and it gets harder to sell homes, which leads to price drops, property values will drop. That could actually collapse tax revenue... just when the expense line passes the revenue line. And... we're also due for a recession!

I hope Joe Solomon is really really smart and creative!

Thursday, January 10
richard corrente

Dear WwkVoter,

You continue to harass and attack my views about my pledge to "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending" and you are practically quoting the exact same concerns that I brought up time after time throughout my campaign.

So what do you support? Raising taxes or cutting them. You complain about both. Or do you just want to complain?

Happy Valentines everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Monday, January 14
CrickeeRaven

WwkVoter, I didn't see where you spoke about the two-time election reject's false claims and empty slogans in your earlier comment; this is another example of his pathetic need for attention and his delusional belief that any attention is good attention.

He's wrong, as usual.

I also didn't see where you "complain" about anything; it seems to me you were simply and accurately pointing out the challenges that Mayor Solomon and the other actual elected officials in Warwick face.

Of course, this is the kind of behavior we've seen so often from the two-time election reject -- twisting others' words and trying to promote his twice-failed candidacy.

We and our honest, taxpaying, intelligent neighbors know that the two-time election reject's campaign slogan failed because, on closer inspection, it was nothing more than tax giveaways and delusional ideas.

We also know that we were 100% correct to reject his candidacy twice based on this, and the many other examples of his behavior that made him completely unfit to hold office.

Monday, January 14
Cat

Who in the world is against tax cuts? Who is cheering for more taxes? You didn't think up a new idea RC! Your plan had more holes in it than a golf course. It wasn't the concept that was off, just your solutions. After everything that has gone on in the past you still cannot see why you failed? You keep trying to tout the "Corrente Plan" without a single tweak, change or upgrade. If it didn't work for two election seasons, what makes you think it will work now without any significant changes?

First you think you are the mayor of a nonexistent number of taxpayers and now you think you came up with the grand plan of cutting taxes. What's next? You automatically become Governor without ever winning an election?

Tuesday, January 15
WwkVoter

I shouldnt even address this but let me explain my position on taxes, they should be spent as effectively as possible within a policy structure that takes into account future obligations, and doesnt over-promise.

as to the town clown candidate's "plan", it involved giving people money to buy houses in warwick which is as unaffordable as it is unneeded since homes sell very quickly in warwick, and also "buy outs" for pension holders which is simply totally unaffordable. the election joke then uses - over and over again- demonstrably false statistics to make his - if you can call his childish drivel this - case. when told the facts were wrong, conflated, and sometimes plain made up, the two time election blowout-loss artist either ignores the corrected information, or spews even more BS. not to mention his eviction for nonpayment of taxes, and a pattern of lawsuits and court losses as shown here by rob cote's research.

despite the severe challenges we face, and they are severe, the last thing we needed was someone hollering "cut taxes" who is in fact, ignorant, dishonest, self-contradictory, and when he feels like it, verbally abusive. not to mention utterly lacking in experience or even basic understanding of how the government operates. (and yet calls himself "mayor" anyway!)

I think most people would rather leave the mayors office EMPTY than put such a clown in that important job.

fortunately, because joe solomon chose to run, we didnt have to make that choice. hopefully he will be strong and do the right things that he needs to do as difficult as the job will be. joe has double duty to make up for to some extent having ignored some alarm bells for years as we descended to this critical point.

and finally, while we see criticism on all manner of public workers, the vast majority of our city employees show up everyday and do a great job and are dedicated. they make this city run every day. we need fiscal stability and integrity of operation for them as much as for the tax base.

Tuesday, January 15
richard corrente

Dear Cat,

Who "is against tax cuts?" Who is "cheering for more taxes?" I'll tell you who. Everyone who benefits from the increase of tax revenue! All the political insiders. All the people who get a raise or money added to their budget or funding for their pet-project, that's who. Every Political Action Committee who gave thousands of dollars to Solomon's campaign in return for future "favors", that's who! You will recall Cat, that I refused any PAC donations in BOTH of my elections. They come with just too many strings attached.

There are only two groups of people in Warwick Cat. Those that pay tax dollars and those who receive them. I'm believing you are one of the "receivers". Being anonymous almost prove that doesn't it Cat?

You're RIGHT Cat. I didn't come up with a new idea, but you're wrong when you say that my "plan has more holes than a golf course". I'll prove it to you. Come up with a better plan. I'll check back. Go ahead Cat. Give it a try! I'll wait. Today is 1-15-2019.

Happy Valentines Cat. I'll bet you are a political insider. Why else are you afraid to identify yourself.

Happy Valentines everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, January 15
richard corrente

Dear WwkVoter,

I have been in real estate sales (ten years) followed by real estate financing (41 years) here in R.I. so I think I have a pretty good view about how to attract more buyers to Warwick, as in my "Tax Rebate Check" plan. If you have a better one let's hear it. No? OK. Then please don't criticize mine if you can't think of a better one.

As far as my "Pension Buyout Plan" it's working to the tune of almost a billion dollars in annual savings for Texas but maybe it won't work at all in Warwick. I think it will. If you don't, please tell the readers why. If not, then once again, please don't criticize me if you can't think of a better plan than mine. Maybe you're just not as smart as I am. Maybe you are. Maybe you don't have as much experience as me. Maybe you do. Let's hear all about YOUR credentials. (you know; if you have any). (any at all).

You see readers, anyone can criticize. It actually takes effort to come up with a better idea. WwkVoter doesn't even have the credibility to identify his qualifications or even his name, and he has never once come up with a better plan. If the guy he calls a "clown" has ideas and he doesn't, what does that say about whoever he is?

Happy Valentines everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, January 15
WwkVoter

and I might not be a "him"... lol

Tuesday, January 15
Cat

RC, I stated once before that I have no political aspirations nor do I wish to enter the arena. I am, however, a struggling young woman trying to survive with a mound of student loan debt and rent. Sign me up as a political insider if it can save me money. Is there an application process?

I didn't put myself out in public as a candidate. I am not running for office. I don't have to provide you with a plan. That is for people who are running. You put your plan out there for all to see. You have opened yourself up to criticism. This isn't a fantasy world, this is real life. The people have spoken. You just refused to listen.

Having someone like you call me a coward isn't an insult. Call me a coward as much as you like. It won't help you land on the right side of the argument. It just makes you look like you can't win the argument with facts so you try insults.

Wednesday, January 16
WwkVoter

Cat you are an inspiration, you are really together! :)

5 days ago
richard corrente

Dear Cat,

I did not call you a coward. I don't think I ever have.

I did however, challenge you to offer a better plan than mine or admit that there isn't one. That was 1-15-2019 and so far you haven't. Today is 1-17, and I still feel that the Corrente Plan is the best plan for the interests of the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab. Those are the people that I am committed to. Not the political insiders. The problem is that in a primary, the political insiders vote in great numbers and very few others do. Cut into my votes with a second "political outsider" candidate in nice-guy Carbone; make it downpour all day on the primary, and my chances were ultra-slim. Warwick decided the primary with just over 10,000 votes, predominantly from political insiders. What a poor voter turnout. That's entirely my fault for not reaching enough of them.

But, back to you. I'm glad to learn that you don't consider yourself a "political insider". As for "signing up" as one, I doubt you would be willing to pay the price of admission. (it involves your soul). You appear to have far too much integrity and self respect.

A firefighter friend of mine had his wife offered a political job. He refused it because, as he said to me, "I don't want to have that much political debt." Cat, it's far worse than ANY student debt! In NEVER gets paid off and the interest rate is 3 or 4 times whatever you are paying.

You are right about me "putting my plan out there for everyone to see ". I don't mind. It does open me up to criticism, but if you can't think of a better plan, maybe you should agree with mine, or at least give me credit for presenting one. When you say "how" you plan on making Warwick a better city, your opponents (or their henchmen) will obviously attack you. Did any other candidate answer the question "How"? They didn't did they. You said "The people have spoken", but you have to admit, it wasn't many.

In either event I will also agree (just this once) with WwkVoter. You really ARE an inspiration.

Happy Valentines Cat.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

5 days ago
Cat

There you go again, totally "forgetting" what you have put in writing. Yes, RC, you have called me a coward, or COWARD as you like to say it because I use a screen name.

Your plan never address HOW either! There are no details - just bullet points without any specifics. Stop blaming the rain and other competitors for not winning the election. The numbers didn't support the possibility of you winning. You created your plan because you were running for elected office. You stand behind your plan even after not being elected. You use your plan as affirmation that you are indeed a better citizen because you have a plan and the average citizen does not. If the plan presented doesn't provide details or has glaring issues, then having a plan is no better than no plan.

Average citizens can make a change in this city without ever running for office. They volunteer at shelters, they put money into charities, they bake for a bake sale, they help their neighbors, they pick up a beach, they pay for someone else's coffee behind them and they do it all without being in the public eye. Stop criticizing people who don't want to be in politics. It is shortsighted, ignorant and doesn't bring anything positive to the table.

4 days ago
richard corrente

Dear Cat,

I don't ever remember calling you a coward, and you didn't mention when I did, but if I ever said that, I apologize. I don't consider you a coward.

Cat, EVERY part of The Corrente Plan has the question "How" answered. I answered those questions at the mayoral debate and I stated the specifics repeatedly in every article in the beacon, and on thousands of fliers. If there is any part you want further explained, just ask, but please don't say I didn't because that's just not true.

I do want to correct you on one other issue.

You said I "created your plan because you were running for elected office." Actually, it was the other way around. I ran for office because it was the best way to promote my plan, and it worked. The 2017 budget had 29 tax increasing amendments that Avedisian wanted (he had NEVER been told "No" before!), that were CUT because of my 700 day $40,000 campaign to "Cut Taxes - Cut Spending". That saved taxpayers a fortune and every City Council member told me that my campaign had "something" to do with it.

Now, the City Council is renegotiating the Airport Agreement. (that was number 14 of the Corrente Plan) . I have said, on many occasions that the message was far more important than the man.

I meant it.

I also set out to remove Avedisian. I totally disagreed with him on many issues. I see no reason to discuss it here, but if you want to call me at 338-9900, I'll be glad to repeat them for you. My critics predicted I would get "no more than 3,000 votes." I got over 14,000, way more than any previous opponent. I believe that was the writing on the wall for Avedisian.

There is more coming, like voluntary pension buyouts and a home rule charter. I'll keep you posted.

By the way, I'm STILL waiting for you to mention a "better plan". Or are you willing to admit that The Corrente Plan does have some merit? You say to me "stop criticizing people". Shouldn't you?

Got any ideas? That would be "positive!"

Or are you just wanting to trash mine? That would be "shortsighted, ignorant, and doesn't bring anything positive to the table." (your words exactly)

By the way, if you call, ask me about all the good deeds in your last paragraph. I've done them all except bake. Tried it a dozen times. Wasn't pretty.

Happy Valentines Cat.

Happy Valentines everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

3 days ago