Legislators Talk Bills With ALN – April 8th, 2019

April 8_2019 ALN Annual Meeting Newport This Week

The Alliance for a Livable Newport (ALN) held its annual meeting on April 8, with the emphasis on “livable.”

By ohtadmin | on April 11, 2019By James Merolla

Mayor Jamie Bova, City Councilors Justin McLaughlin and Angela McCalla, School Committee member Louisa Boatwright, Sen. Dawn Euer (D-District 13 Jamestown/ Newport), Rep. Lauren Carlson (D-District 75/Newport) and Rep. Marvin Abney (D-District 73) spoke of their priorities and what they might mean for the city.

Topics ranged from short-term rentals to long-term economic school solutions. Although there were few real answers, some bills are coming to the fore on Smith Hill that may make a difference locally.

Carlson said she was introducing a bill on April 9 to regulate Airbnb, the site that lists short-term rentals nationally.

“The first step in requiring registration of Airbnb municipalities is recognizing them,” she said. “Then, once they are delineated, you can regulate them, tackling issues like parking, zoning, legality, and then taxing them appropriately.”

Of the other major issues facing Newport, she mentioned bridge realignment and Rogers High.

Euer said she is working on legislation that would create regional school districts. “How do we bring Middletown to the table?” she asked.

Her bill would essentially create a county-based school district, but it needs to be fully worked out, citing difficulties that faced Chariho and Bristol-Warren.

She is revisiting the funding formula for schools and how to make sure it is equitable, “across the state.” She is also championing a student loan regulation bill, rolled out two weeks ago.

“It’s a huge financial crisis in our country,” she said. “Students are left with a bill that they have no hope in paying off. This is an effort to allow us to really regulate this at a state level.”

She is also investigating the possible remapping of state flood zones, affected by climate change.

“There’s only one bill that I would be concerned with and that’s the state budget,” Abney said. “If a bill is passed, and there’s a cost tied to it, it is my responsibility to make sure it fits into the tax breakdown of this [budget].

“Right now, we are trying to work our way out of a $150 million-plus deficit,” he said. “We can’t continue to borrow money into the future. I have to take a keen interest in what the taxpayers have to say. What do Rhode Islanders really want? What will you tolerate?”

Boatwright asked how the legislature can help raise money for school bonds with limited Newport options like property tax revenue.

Carlson said she once introduced legislation “to raise our hotel and our meal tax.”

“The City Council did this, I introduced it, but it never happened,” she said. “They don’t want to see a higher meal tax in Newport, as they do in Middletown. They want a steady meal tax. This is basically where our money is coming from. People who are paying the meals tax are probably not from Newport. We should pursue that aggressively. Let them pay $1 on a $100 meal. I don’t see a big problem with that.”

Euer said Jamestown considers its schools, “a community project, [but] in Newport not so much.” She added, “I do see our schools as a community project.”

“It’s all about leadership,” said Abney. “At the state level, all the way down to the superintendent. If you don’t have good leadership, every other year, someone new is going to change the direction of the education system. Massachusetts chose their direction years ago and stuck to it. You have to have a plan and follow it through for a number of years. You can’t turn it around in a year.”

Carlson is introducing a bill to expand training for planning and zoning boards. She said she had HDCS in the original draft of the bill, but took it out, calling it too much at this time.

“We need to standardize how Historic District Commissions operate so they can understand the consequences of their decisions,” she said.


City Council ward candidates face off

By Sean Flynn |Daily News staff writer |  The Newport Daily News | Page A01 | Thursday, 25 October 2018 

NEWPORT – The two candidates for the Ward 1 seat and the two candidates for the Ward 2 seat on the City Council discussed local issues Tuesday night in a candidates forum at City Hall before an audience of about 75 people.

James Dring, a local Realtor, and Angela McCalla, a foster care recruiter and trainer for Child & Family, are running for the Ward 1 seat, while Valerie Larkin, a technology transfer manager at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, is challenging incumbent Ward 2 Councilwoman LynnUnderwood Ceglie, who has held the seat since 2014.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Kathryn Leonard is unchallenged in her run for re-election. The other four members on the City Council hold at-large seats. The seven candidates for those four seats were featured in a forum last Thursday.

Tuesday night’s forum was the third and final organized by the Alliance for a Livable Newport, a neighborhood advocacy group. Questions were posed by Jill Kassis, first vice president of the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island.

Among the issues Ward 1 candidates talked about was the state project to redesign the Pell Bridge approach and exit ramps. The project, now in its design phase, is expected to free up close to 40 acres of land in the North End of the city, within Ward 1, for economic development.

“The state says they are doing it because the traffic backs up on the Pell Bridge,” said Dring, a former chairman of the city Planning Board. “I’d rather have it back up on the bridge than have an adverse impact on our neighborhoods. I’m in favor of the proposal that is the least disruptive.”

The state Department of  Transportation has developed four major alternatives for the new bridge ramp design. One of those alternatives has three variations and another alternative has two variations, so the process of coming up with a final design is still very much in flux. 

The Alliance for a Livable Newport sponsored a public forum Tuesday night at City Hall for Newport Ward 1 and Ward 2 City Council candidates. From left are Ward 1 candidates James Dring and Angela McCalla, and Ward 2 candidates Valerie Larkin and Lynn Underwood Ceglie. [PETER SILVIA PHOTO]

“There has to be more transparency in the plans and we need to hear from our constituents about what they want,” McCalla said. “The community needs to come together to make a decision. It is the community that should have the final say.”

Dring called the Pell ramp project “the biggest redevelopment project in the city since the late 1960s and 1970s,” when many buildings were torn down to make way for America’s Cup Avenue, Brick Market Place and Long Wharf Mall.

“That in my opinion was a disaster, putting a fourlane highway through the downtown and cutting off sections of the city from each other,” he said. “I don’t want that to happen again.”

“We are a city of neighborhoods,” McCalla said. “We must stay that way.”

On making streets safer

The Ward 2 candidates addressed the pending pedestrian and other safety improvements the state is planning for Memorial Boulevard, since much of the thoroughfare is within their ward.

“The addition of bicycle lanes along part of Memorial Boulevard was a positive step, but we do have a traffic problem that is dangerous for people crossing the street,” Larkin said. “We are a colonial city with narrow streets. We need to find ways to keep traffic out of the city.”

Ceglie said she has been working with the DOT and residents on the plans to make Memorial Boulevard safer.

“I am particularly concerned about the crossing used by many elderly residents of Chapel Terrace and Donovan Manor,” she said.

The Ward 2 candidates also were asked about commercial development of Broadway, which seems to be expanding north.

“When you have a vibrant downtown business zone, that is one of the consequences,” Larkin said. “We need to look at the Cranston-Calvert [former school] development. We need a holistic approach and we need more engagement by the community.”

“I see the development of Broadway as a positive,” Ceglie said. “While on the council, I have addressed problems of parking, speeding and not stopping at stop signs, which we see in many of our neighborhoods. But Broadway is a shining light in our city now. We see that in the annual Broadway Street Fair.”

“The younger population count in the city is going down, which is why the Cranston-Calvert project is so important,” Ceglie said. “It would become workforce housing that is not subsidized, but is appealing to younger people.”

Moderator Kassis asked five questions with the request that the candidates answer with a “yes” or “no.” The candidates were given a chance at the end of the series to briefly explain their answers.

On term limits, Rogers High School

The two candidates who would be new to city government – McCalla and Larkin – said they would favor term limits for city councilors. That would ensure fresh faces periodically join the council, they said.

The two candidates with experience in city government – Ceglie, who has also served on the city’s Zoning Board of Review, and Dring – opposed term limits. They said the position already has a two-year term limit, when the voters decide whether incumbents should be returned to the council. Veteran council members with experience and institutional knowledge are important contributors to council deliberations, Ceglie said.

McCalla was the only candidate to answer “yes” when asked whether she “would support moving Rogers High School to the North End, closer to where two-thirds of the students reside.”

It is an important goal to explore, McCalla said.

Dring, Ceglie and Larkin all abstained from the Rogers vote. They said afterward that they would support having a high school in the North End if possible, but they believe there is no available large parcel of land in that section of the city where a high school could be built. If that changed, they would be on board with a North End high school, they said.

When asked whether they would support a citywide survey of residents’ concerns and priorities, such as took place in 2005 and 2015, Ceglie and Dring answered “no.” They said such surveys are expensive. If a third-party organization or individuals were willing to carry those costs, they would support the survey, they said.

McCalla and Larkin said they would support such a survey, but Larkin qualified her answer afterward by saying a high-cost survey could be a deterrent.

Dring, Ceglie and Larkin said they would support a homestead property-tax exemption for permanent residents of Newport, while McCalla abstained. She said she would like to research the impact of such an exemption before committing to it. The candidates were unanimous on only one of the five questions. They all rejected the idea of having the voters of the city popularly elect a mayor. They all supported the current City Council-city manager form of government that has council members choose a mayor, who also serves as council chairperson, and a city manager who serves as the city’s chief administrative officer.


The audience listens during Tuesday night’s forum for Newport Ward 1 and Ward 2 City Council candidates, sponsored by Alliance for a Livable Newport at City Hall. The red flag indicates the allotted time is up for responding to a question. [PETER SILVIA PHOTO]

SPECIAL 2018 Newport Elections Home Page

Newport City Council and School Committee Candidates Address the Tough Questions

September 27, 2018 – The Alliance for a Livable Newport (ALN) announced that candidates for both the Newport City Council and School Committee have now posted their responses to numerous questions posed by the Alliance and the community in advance of the public forums that the Alliance will hold in October. *see dates/times/locations below

All twenty-one candidates in contested races have diligently taken time and effort to address how they would deal with many of these challenges.

Click the LINKS below to VIEW the survey responses:

  • View #1 – ALL of the Candidates responses to each question…
  • View #2 – INDIVIDUAL CANDIDATE RESPONSES to each question
    • – see screenshot example

(School Committee Responses) 


(City Council Responses) 

“This is a pivotal election for Newport. Our newly elected city council and school committee will be dealing with critical issues affecting all of Newport, including the development of the north end, the bridge re-alignment, parking, taxes, short-term rentals, etc.,” said John Hirschboeck, co-president of the Alliance.

“Likewise, the new school committee must contend with the overcrowding at Pell, the repairs or replacement of Rogers, academic performance, finances, and other critical issues.”

In addition to reviewing the written responses, citizens are encouraged to attend the three public forums in October where the candidates will address additional questions posed by ALN in person.


School Committee Candidates

  • Tuesday, October 16 |  6-7: 30 pm
  • Pell School Auditorium | 35 Dexter St, Newport, RI 02840

At-Large City Council Candidates

  • Thursday, October 18 | 6-7: 30 pm
  • Newport City Hall | 43 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840

1st and 2nd Ward City Council Candidates

  • Tuesday, October 23 | 6-7:30 pm
  • Newport City Hall | 43 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840

The non-partisan Alliance has been holding election year forums since 2010 to assist Newporters in learning more about the candidates and to help make informed decisions for whom to vote.

Contact:  John Hirschboeck, Office of the President | Alliance for a Livable Newport


Commissioner Wagner & the Rhode Island Department of Education invite YOU to participate in a community conversation to inform RHODE ISLAND’S DIPLOMA SYSTEM & RI STATE GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS   DiplomaSystemPoster-2016Conv

Newport County Community Conversation
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Middletown High School

Auditorium on the lower level
We Hope to See You There!


The Rhode Island Diploma System Preparing all students for success in college, careers, and life

Rhode Island has implemented a statewide diploma system to ensure access for all middle and high school students to rigorous, high quality, personalized learning opportunities and pathways.



We hope to engage a broad group of community members including representatives from elementary schools as well as secondary schools This is a timely opportunity with the recent adoption of our state’s most innovative & collaborative strategic plan to date.

RIDE has continued that collaborative process by convening a series of meetings with school based leadership groups and these community conversations will enhance that work.

The community conversations will include a brief presentation and a community response panel with opportunities for attendees to ask questions and provide feedback.


ALN Public Forum – City of Newport – Department of Finance Dec 3, 2015 – 5:30-7PM – Newport Public Library Program Room

DATE: Thursday, December 3
TIME: 5:30-7PM
LOCATION: Newport Public Library Program Room
300 Spring St, Newport, RI 02840
WHAT: The Alliance for a Livable Newport, in another in its series of public forums on the workings of our municipal government, will feature The City of Newport’s award winning Department of Finance.

Speakers: Laura Sitrin, Director of Finance, along with panelists

  • Nancy Lalli – Controller
  • Carolyn Cleary – Accounting Supervisor
  • Elizabeth Sceppa – Budget & Finance Analyst
  • Jim Nolan – Senior Accountant
  • Erin Mulligan – Purchasing Agent
  • Bill Sindt – MIS Manager
  • Laurie Kenney – Tax Collector

Following a presentation, members of the department will answer questions from the audience.

Please JOIN US – and bring your questions about our city’s finances

ALN forum – RIPTA/City proposal Newport Gateway Visitor’s Center Oct. 15th 6:30pm

DATE: Thursday, October 15
TIME: 6:30-8PM
LOCATION: Newport Gateway Visitor’s Center | 23 America's Cup Ave, Newport, RI 02840
WHAT: The Alliance for a Livable Newport is hosting a public forum to review and provide feedback on the RIPTA/City proposal for repairs and resiliency improvement to the exterior of the Newport Gateway and Visitors’ Center. Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments to planning@ripta.com 
Gateway October 2015 web
* Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, Mayor, City of Newport
* Evan Smith - Discover Newport CEO
* Lillian Shuey Picchione - RIPTA, Director of Capital Development

General Project Goals:
* Restore overhead passenger protection
* Reduce surface runoff from the site in order to minimize the impact on Newport’s sewer system and also to mitigate flooding in future storms
* Bring the facility up to industry standards for an intermodal hub  –  including improvements in lighting, signage and other features that will make it easier for the public to make their transit connections
* Respect the facility’s importance to the State’s tourism industry and its local impact by giving special attention to design and aesthetics

Project information available can be found here:  www.ripta.com/newport-gateway-center (http://www.ripta.com/newport-gateway-center )  Background - General Project Goals - Funding - Progress to Date

City of Newport – Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update Kick-Off Meeting, October 13th


WHEN: Tuesday October 13th  6:30-8:30pm

WHERE: Pell School | 35 Dexter St., Newport RI

Comprehensive Land Use Plan

The City of Newport and the Planning Board are in process of updating the Newport Comprehensive Land Use Plan. This update includes only the updating of data and statistics to keep the document that was adopted in 2004 in compliance with current State requirements.

The State of Rhode Island has issued new requirements for municipalities to include in their next Comprehensive Plan. After the data revisions are complete and adopted, Newport will begin the process of reviewing and revising the entire document to bring it in compliance with the new State regulations that go into effect as of June 1st, 2016.

The following links contain the 2004 Comprehensive Land Use Plan as adopted in 2004 by the City Council. This document forms the legal basis for all land use decisions made by the City as well as Zoning Ordinances and Land Development – Subdivision Regulations. All Zoning and Land Development Amendments enacted must be in compliance with the adopted Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Details of Newport RI 2014 Local Election BALLOT QUESTIONS 10-20

BALLOT QUESTIONS 10-20 November 4, 2014


(Resolutions of the Newport City Council adopted July 23, 2014)

vote vote vote 

(Resolutions of the Newport City Council adopted July 23, 2014)


Shall the following sections of

the City of Newport Home Rule Charter be amended to read:


  1. Section 2-2 of Chapter II THE COUNCIL entitled “TERMS OF OFFICE”

“The terms of office of the members of the Council shall be for two years and shall begin on the first day of December next following their election.”


Currently, council members continue to serve approximately 60 days following the election from the day of the election until the second day of January. This provision would decrease that time period while still allowing for any ballot issues to be resolved.



  1. Section 2-3 of Chapter II THE COUNCIL entitled “VACANCIES”

“Any vacancies arising from death, resignation or any reason in the membership of the Council shall be filled by four affirmative votes of the remaining members of the Council within thirty (30) days after the Council learns of the vacancy or, in the event of a tie or inability to elect, the vacancy shall be filled as soon thereafter as possible by a majority vote of all the remaining members of the Council; provided, however, the Council shall provide for the public solicitation of applicants.


“The Council shall fill any vacancy arising from death, resignation or any reason in the membership of the School Committee within thirty (30) days after learning of the vacancy or as soon thereafter as may be possible by a majority vote of all members of the Council; provided, however, the Council shall provide for the public solicitation of applicants. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the School Committee by the Council shall serve only until a person is elected and qualified at the next City election under this charter.


Currently, the Charter reads in part: Any vacancy arising from death, resignation or any reason in the membership of the Council shall be filled by the last election candidate who received the next highest number of votes for the ward or at-large seat.


The current charter has the same provision for members of the School Committee.

With this change in the Charter the Council would instead solicit applicants from the public for these offices and select the replacement from among the applicants.



  1. Section 2-12 of Chapter II Action by Resident or Taxpayer

“If the Manager shall fail to perform any act required of him or her by the preceding section of this Chapter, any resident or taxpayer may require him or her to perform such act by filing with the City Clerk a demand in writing signed by such resident or taxpayer for such performance, which shall contain a recital of the facts upon which demand is based.


This change adds the words “resident or” in three instances in the section where only “taxpayer” appears currently.


  1. Section 2-17 of Chapter II THE COUNCIL entitled “ORGANIZATION OF COUNCIL”

“The Council shall meet on the first day of December following each regular election under this Charter and regularly thereafter at such time as the Council may determine, but not less frequently than once each month. Until the election of a Chairman or Chairwoman, the Presiding Officer shall be the City Clerk. Special meetings of the Council shall be held upon written request to the Mayor by three members of the Council. All meetings of the Council shall be open to the public (as required by law) and the record of the proceedings shall be kept by the City Clerk and shall be open to public inspection. All votes for the approval and election of officers shall be by written ballot and all votes for the passage of resolutions and ordinances shall be by roll call vote upon the request of any member.


If the measure to begin the terms of office on the first day of December passes, then this change would set the organization of the council so it was in line with when council members took office.


  1. Section 4-6 of Chapter IV POWERS OF COUNCIL entitled “CANVASSING AUTHORITY”

“There shall be a Canvassing Authority as provided by the provisions of the Constitution and laws of the state. The Council shall elect one member for a term of two years, one member for a term of four years and one member for a term of six years. On the first day in November following all subsequent elections the Council shall elect a member of the Canvassing Authority for a term of six years. All powers and duties now vested in the Board of Canvassers and Registration shall vest in the Canvassing Authority. The Council may designate one member to be Clerk.”


Changing the word shall to may in the last line would give the city the option in the future of combining the duties of the Canvassing Clerk and the City Clerk.


  1. Section 4-14 of Chapter IV POWERS OF COUNCIL,


“Notwithstanding any other provision of this Chapter to the contrary, the City Council shall have the authority to merge common duties, functions and/or services of any agency or department of the City and another department or agency of the City, including but not limited to any department or agency established by or enumerated in this Charter or by the Constitution and state laws.”


Section 4-14 gives a new power to the council. If passed, it gives the council the authority to merge the duties, functions and/or services departments and agencies. This would permit the merging of the city Financial Department with that of the School Committee.





“The director of each department, and the head of each authority, division, board, committee, commission and bureau shall render to the City Manager an annual report in writing of the operations of their respective authorities, departments, divisions, boards, committees, commissions and bureaus, and a copy of such report shall be furnished to each member of the Council and to the City Clerk. All copies filed with the City Clerk shall be public records.


This change requires that City Authorities as well as each division, board, committee, commission and bureau submit an annual report.



  1. Section 9-1 of Chapter IX FINANCE entitled “FISCAL YEAR AND STRATEGIC PLAN”

“The Council shall provide by ordinance for the fiscal year of the City.”

“The Council is responsible for having, approving and adhering to a five-year strategic plan for the City and scheduling progress review workshops. The strategic plan should be updated and approved each year no later than the first council meeting in March. Implementation should be managed by the City Manager. The strategic plan will include:

* Vision and Mission Statements

* Long-term goals projecting forward at least five years

* Short-term goals with two-year projections

* Corresponding revenue and expense projections

* Milestones and individuals/departments accountable

  • Performance measurements”
  • “The City’s Strategic Plan will be reviewed periodically and progress reported no less often than annually at a public hearing.


The City Charter currently includes a provision for establishing and carrying out a fiscal strategic plan. This question if passed would change the elements of a strategic plan including the addition of a vision statement, simplifies the definition of long-term and short-term goals and performance measures, and increases the number of years projected for long-term and short-term goals.   Finally it requires that the plan shall be reviewed annually at least once a year at a public hearing.



“If at the termination of any fiscal year the appropriations necessary for the support of the City for the ensuing fiscal year shall not be made, the several amounts appropriated in the last appropriation ordinance for the objects and purposes therein specified shall be deemed to be re-appropriated for the ensuing fiscal year. However, if a decrease in revenue for the next fiscal year is anticipated, all such appropriations shall be reduced in proportion to the anticipated revenue decrease.


The last sentence is an addition to this section. This section of the charter applies to budget appropriations. If the budget is not passed, then the charter specifies that the same amount will be re-appropriated in the following year. The last sentence specifies that if the city anticipates a decrease in income from revenue for the year that all appropriations will be reduced in proportion. In effect, if there is no budget passed and the city anticipates that revenue will be decreased, spending must decrease by a proportional amount.



  1. Section 10-1 of Chapter X MISCELLANEOUS entitled “TERMS OF OFFICE”

“Except for the Canvassing Authority, all elected and appointive officers elected or appointed for a definite term shall enter upon their term of office on the first day of December next following a City election, or as soon thereafter as may be practical, and shall serve until their successors are elected or appointed and qualified. All appointive officers appointed for an indefinite term shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified.”


Currently, officials take office on the first day of January following a City election. This change moves that date to December, approximately thirty days after the election.



“If any elective or appointive officer of the City or of a ward thereof shall cease to be a resident of the City or their respective ward, the office held by said elective or appointive officer shall be declared vacant. After a public hearing and for due cause, the Council shall have the power to remove any appointive officer.”


The only changes to this section are the addition of the words “or of a ward” and “or their respective ward.” This change would update the charter to ensure that elected representatives of wards remain residents of the ward during their term of office.


Newport – “Learn about the ballot issues and hear from the Candidates.”

Brought to you by the Alliance for a Livable Newport. “Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.”

election 2014


Learn about the ballot issues and from the candidates….BEFORE voting on November 4th

Go on-line to view videos of ALN’s 5 Public Forums:


– Newport City Council 2 & 3rd Ward Candidates

– Newport City Council at Large Candidates

– Newport School Committee Candidates

– Ballot Questions #1 & 2 (Casino)

– Ballot Questions #3-20 (State & Local)

Then read Council and School Committee candidates’ written responses to questions posed by the voters. You will also find a mini-guide to the 20 state and local ballot questions.



Improving the quality of life in Newport by being an unbiased resource for information on the issues of importance to our Community

Won’t you join ALN and help support our efforts?


Alliance for a Livable Newport Announces At-Large City Council Candidates Forum

Alliance for a Livable Newport Announces At-Large City Council Candidates Forum

Seven Candidates are running for four at-large City Council seats

The Alliance for a Livable Newport (ALN) will hold the second public candidate forum of the 2014 election season featuring your candidates for City Councilor at-large.

The forum will be held on Wednesday, October 1, from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm. at the Pell School Cafetorium, 35 Dexter Street.

NOTE: This is a change in location.

Seven candidates will introduce themselves and answer questions on the key issues facing Newport.  The forum will provide an opportunity for voters to hear the candidates’ positions on these issues and their answers to the tough questions you want to ask.

The following candidates will participate:

  •        Mike Farley
  •        John Florez
  •        Andy Lavarre
  •        Justin McLaughlin
  •        Jeanne Marie Napolitano
  •        Naomi Neville
  •        Harry Winthrop

James M. Ludes, Executive Director of the Pell Center; will moderate the Forum;

ALN will also be holding forums with the candidates for Newport School Committee (Oct. 15th) and the voting Ballot Issues  (Oct. 28th).  Locations to be announced. All forums are videotaped.
ALN urges all interested citizens to attend these forums to learn more about the candidates. Know the candidates; make your vote count!

For additional information, contact ALN at www.newportalliance.org/

September 25, 2014
Contact:  Isabel Griffith 401-849-6444

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