Sometimes wonders never cease. I never, imagined that I’d see the day when my thinking would be on the same page as Edward Achorn, Deputy editorial page editor at the Providence Journal. But there it was – staring me right in the eye – Mr. Achorn’s word affirming my decades long belief in the doctrine of “Checks and Balance” in our government. (See Op-ED August 14, 2012).
As authority for his position, Mr. Achorn cites our 4th President James Madison, quoting from federalist 47:
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary
In the same hands. . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny”.
Mr. Achorn goes on further to state that “our system of government was designed to require persuasive leadership, vigorous debate, consideration of a range of ideas and a balancing of competing interest which all ultimately create a better society than unrestrained executive power”.
Our City of Cranston is on the threshold of a city-wide election in which the incumbent Mayor is running unopposed. The Mayor in his remarks at the opening of his campaign headquarters asked Cranston’s voters to elect a veto-proof Republican City Council. Just imagine the result of that outcome. Clearly Mr. Achorn would be opposed to that, and you should too.
First, with a veto-proof City Council the mayor can call for a property tax increase and the veto-proof City Council will rubber stamp it. Oh sure, they’ll probably go through the motions but will there be an opportunity for alternatives? Will there be debate? Who will speak for the homeowners? Second, with a veto-proof city council, Mayor Fung will no doubt re-introduce his charter school proposal and with the full weight of his Republican Council members charter schools will become the law in Cranston. Say goodbye to the great public education as we now know it in our City. Third, land use development changes in our city will be railroaded into law. Public debate will be stifled. The concerns of long-time homeowners will fall at the feet of developers whose interest is only measured in profit.
A future with a Republican Mayor and a Republican veto-proof city council in Cranston presents an ominous forecast for Democracy in our city government. One needs only pause for a moment to recall some of the major scandals and embarrassments of the past which enveloped our City and the circumstances under which they were created, in each case the common thread of a mayor with a veto-proof council.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6th Cranston’s voters can avoid the loss of democracy and due process in our city government. A vote for a Democrat City Council will preserve vigorous debate in the important decisions of our city government which affect our daily lives. A vote for a Democrat City Council will assure that a strong system of checks and balances exist to keep property taxes as low as possible, to maintain good public services like police protection, fire protection, rescue, public schools and sound land use and zoning decisions to preserve our neighborhoods.
Michael J. Sepe
Cranston Democratic City Chair