Dave Richards for July 31st…………….
--The summertime fun rolls right along every Friday night at the River Island Art Park with the Levitt/AMP Woonsocket Concert Series. Last week’s crowds were the largest yet, as the series seems to be hitting its stride.
This Friday they’ll have a little competition as the final Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Carnival gets under way tomorrow night and continues each night (plus a Saturday matinee) until the big drawings at the close on Saturday evening. While the Our Lady Queen of Martyrs parish has been merged to become Holy Trinity Parish, they’re keeping the O.L.Q.M. name for one more year because all the contracts had been signed before Holy Trinity became official. So, in a way, it’s the last “Queen-a-Mahtahz” Carnival, but I’m told to expect another carnival next year under the Holy Trinity banner.
Ahhh, the memories that have been made over the past decades on that little corner of land at Park Square! I don’t care what they call it, it’s great and I’ll be there having a whale of a great time, I hope you will, too.
--So we now have our answer to why nobody wanted to debate the question of an elected or appointed school committee in Woonsocket’s charter referendum question, decided a week ago. Virtually everyone seemed to have their mind made up and the advocates for the appointed version were soundly defeated by a 4 to 1 margin.
I still would have liked to see a debate on the issue, but most everyone had their minds made up. Now that the method is decided, we will need to decide who gets elected.
I spoke with present School Committee Vice-Chair (and newly-minted Autumnfest Grand Marshal) Paul Bourget yesterday when he visited our Coffee An’ program. Paul described the time at the Rotary Charter Night when he was named and how he actually didn’t hear them name him the first time. Still “stunned”, he’s looking very much forward to Autumnfest in October and riding in the parade with his wife and some family members.
I took the chance to ask Paul about his take on the recent referendum question which will essentially take him off the school committee when it ceases to be an appointed body. He told me that he is planning on running to be an elected school committee member in the November election and mentioned also that current school committee chair Soren Seale will run for an elected seat, former appointed school committee member Donald Burke whose lack of re-appointment precipitated, in large part, the referendum switching back to an elected school committee will run for an elected seat also, and Lynn Bouvier-Kapiskas, the Chair of the Special Education Local Advisory Committee has also told Paul she will run for an elected seat this November. That makes 4 people committed to run already and it’s still weeks before the declaration window will open at the city board of canvassers to make it official.
I’m delighted there is so much interest right out of the gate. Of course, I’m really not surprised at these four names, either. Plus, I imagine there are others, perhaps those appointed but not confirmed by the city council in the past, who might want to throw their hats into the political ring. Or maybe not. It’s quite a different thing to be appointed to a job compared to running in a public election to get it. That’s a point that Paul Bourget made on the air yesterday. He told me he would never have thought he would ever run for an elected office. But things are different now. His work as an appointed school committee member has been so rewarding to him that, even though he never thought he’d do it, he will commit himself to the electoral process in order to continue his hard but rewarding work.
So, we now have a diverse field of citizens who have offered themselves for elected office which, I think, sets the stage for a lively debate on the issues Woonsocket faces and possible solutions to the problems at hand. No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Just the fact that voters can change the charter which governs them and later, deciding the change is no longer needed, change the charter back as it once was proves to me that our system of government is working, and working well.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: email@example.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading.