The April 17, 2017 Middletown Public Hearing about the Polo Center expansion played out like a political humorist’s dream. Unfortunately drawing is not my forte, but here is what the picture would look like.
President Robert Sylvia admiring a box of shiny new shells that Bob Silva and David Bazarski presented him at the meeting, with a receipt on the back showing that the shells were purchased on March 20, 2017, the date of the first council meeting.
Councilman Harry “Rick” Lombardi “mansplaining” to a woman business-person representing the residents, about how children are a huge tax burden to the town of Middletown, because he thinks he knows more then she does.
Councilwoman Barbara VonVillas sleeping.
Councilwoman Teresa Santos crying and complaining that one of her women constituents called her and was mean to her, to which she hung up on the constituent.
With a thought bubble over Sylvia, Lobardi, VonVillas, and Santos saying, “I really wish these stupid residents would just shut up – we’ve decided on this already and just need to formalize it with an official vote.”
For those of you who are saddened by Ringling Brothers Circus discontinuing their act, there’s no need to fret. Grab yourself a seat at a Middletown town council public hearing.
Welcome to Middletown politics, a place no more progressive than any other city or town in the union. Middletown has the same back door deals, flexible morality, and the “I know more than you because I’m on the council” mentality that you’d find elsewhere.
What was clearly demonstrated last night is that a public hearing is a joke. I was under the impression that a public hearing is a place for people to present new ideas, share their concerns, and come together as a community to make a better plan. Instead I watched a cheap circus act. An act where President Sylvia heard virtually the same information from Bob Silva and David Bazarsky that was presented at the first meeting, but this time they labeled it fresh and new. An act where Councilwoman VonVillas looked like a teenager in class who could barely keep her eyes open because she was so disinterested in the conversation, and already knew the outcome. An act where Councilman Lobardi “mansplained” Susan Kelly on facts she presented about children in the school system, something she researched and is well qualified to answer. An act where Councilwoman Santos cried because she got a phone call from a woman who used foul language, and she was shocked because it came from a woman.
During the meeting new ideas were presented. New suggestions were given to the town about improving the current Middletown Comprehensive Community Plan. Four of the six council members did not listen, nor welcomed the information. Instead they deflected, and in some cases became combative.
We are new to Rhode Island and local politics, but we probably should have listened to our neighbors when they said the town council is going to do what they want, and they are going to definitely going to vote where they think the money is.
Just goes to show, government really isn’t that transparent, opaque is a much better descriptor.