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Former Councilman Offers to Pay for Banner Removal

Former councilman Jeffrey P. Barone is asking the school district to let him pay for the removal of the prayer banner at Cranston High School West so he can donate to the class of 1963.

The controversial prayer banner at remains covered and has yet to be removed.

Former Cranston City Councilman Jeffrey P. Barone has written Superintendent Peter Nero with an offer to pay for the banner's removal so it can be donated to the class of 1963, the schools first graduating class, which gave the banner to the school as its class gift.

"I am again requesting that I absorb the cost of the removal of the banner and in return, I am allowed to take possession of the banner. Upon my possession, I will then donate it back to the class that originally donated it to [the school]," Barone wrote.

Barone said that he believes the banner's fate isn't up to the School Committee to decide. clearly ordered the banner to be removed, he said, "and it is not theirs to do as they wish."

"The court order has determined the banner be removed and there is no reason to wait," Barone said.

Nero said today that the banner has not been taken down yet. The district is waiting for word from its lawyers, who have been discussing the matter with the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit last year and proved victorious.

The School Committee has already received a number of offers to house the banner once it comes down including , a business owner in Pawtuxet Village and the .

Want to read more about the prayer banner issue? Probe our extensive archives by clicking HERE.

Paul Auger March 02, 2012 at 06:37 PM
OK Bill I could be wrong here. Unlike other people Ed, Cranston Resident I am willing to admit it if I am wrong. I looked up The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 62 on http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_62. Explain this to me it is well after 14 days from the release of the Judge’s decision. I don’t see how contesting the ACLU’s fees are in any way connected to the removal of the banner. Even if the fees are reduced I don’t see how the 2 are connected. If they are show me and I will admit my error just as publicly as I made it. My reading of this is that it is 14 days after the judge’s decision we are well beyond that. Furthermore section( C) states (c) INJUNCTION PENDING AN APPEAL. WHILE AN APPEAL IS PENDING from an interlocutory order or final judgment that grants, dissolves, or denies an injunction, THE COURT may suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction on terms for bond or other terms that secure the opposing party's rights. If the judgment appealed from is rendered by a statutory three-judge district court, the order must be made either: (1) by that court sitting in open session; or (2) by the assent of all its judges, as evidenced by their signatures. There is NO Appeal pending—so this would not apply
Paul Auger March 02, 2012 at 07:09 PM
That said my other points still stand it is clear that Mr. Lombardi's $1000 offer was a political stunt. It was completely inappropriate of him to make it as part of his statement as an elected official. By doing so he connected his offer to his position, clearly this was an attempt to get votes from the radical religious right who attended to meeting and the small percentage of those who agree with them and did not attend. To address the concerns that others may raise, I am aware that the state of RI is largely Catholic. Being Catholic does not mean that you agree with the uneducated mob that demanded that there be an appeal even though there were no grounds for an appeal. So when I speak of a small minority of religious extremist I am not commenting on the religious community in RI as a whole. I am speaking of the small fraction of those who try to usurp the voice of other people in the religious community claiming that they are the voice of every religious person in the state.(think Lori Fish, Chris Young, and Kara Rosso)Those that Mr. Lombardi aligned himself with at both the meeting where the school committee first chose to take this matter to court where Lombard made it clear that his decision was based on his religious beliefs rather than law, and the last meeting where he tried to buy the votes of these religious terrorist.
Paul Auger March 02, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Finally, I am still waiting for Ms. Ruggieri to defend going to court in the first place. Going to court at a time when the school and city was and still is undergoing such a financial hardship was just foolish. This too is an example of how the school committee lack a spine and could not stand up to the group of carnival freaks who wanted to “save the banner” over a year ago and the group of nut jobs who wanted to appeal last month. This whole thing could have been avoided if the school committee’s choice was based on law rather than emotion. It was clear from day one that they had no chance of winning, yet they went to court any way, KNOWING that if they lost the city would be on the hook for the ACLUs fees. By the ways folks this was a matter of LAW not something randomly imposed by the ACLU the loser pays the winner fee. They went into this with their eyes WIDE OPEN. I am still waiting for Ms. Ruggieri or any other member of the school committee to defend such an asinine action. I doubt she or any other member of the committee will—because they CAN’T!
Ed March 02, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Told you he never admits when he is wrong.... which is about all the time!
Ed March 02, 2012 at 07:31 PM
See, he's still wrong, but loves to showcase his ignorance.. gotta love it!
Janice Ruggieri March 02, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Mr. Auger, I did not vote to go to court either time so I have nothing to defend. I defend my decision and my decision only...I made it clear during the first meeting and have not changed my decision since that time. I did not want to spend money we did not have on anything that was not directly related to education...the end. There were three of us who voted not to leave the banner in place during the first vote and there were 5 of us who voted not to pursue an appeal. Once again, I ask that you check your facts before you make your statements.
Ed March 02, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Present Score... Intelligent Cranston People 1,792,103 Paul Auger "0" There is a story here folks....
Joe The Plumber March 03, 2012 at 03:35 AM
HEY!!!!! Where did all the carpet bagging lunatic cult of atheists go???? They all left town and left poor Paul all alone again. Now he and Jessica once again truly represent the 0.5% of the Cranston population that are atheists.
Ross Stapleton-Gray March 03, 2012 at 08:03 AM
He and Jessica are among the 100% of the population who enjoy Consitutional protections, thankfully. The whole "banner affair" has resembled nothing so much as a sort of tribal chest-beating exercise. I don't think it was really a religion thing, so much as outrage that "our way" was trumped by the law. Certainly I saw none of the sentiments in the banner's message reflected in the words and actions of those who demanded it remain.
Paul Auger March 03, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Ms. Ruggieri Lets get some things strait I have check my facts, in fact I was at both meetings and testified at the meeting where you, meaning the school committee chose to take the matter to court. My invitation to defend this foolish decision was not extended just to you it extended to any member of the school committee, As a member of the group however you should be able to explain the groups stand on this issue even if you dont agree. I find It strange that you wont speak to the groups decision saying that "I defend my decision and my decision only...I made it clear during the first meeting and have not changed my decision since that time." yet you are more than willing to speak for Mr.Mr. Lombard. Whats the difference here? Why wont Mr. Lombardi come on here and explain how his offer was not political theater or and attempt to garner votes, as it clearly was. I question the man's ethics. By the way if you or any member of the school committee would like to discuss this face to face I would be more than willing to do so. I would even be more than willing to attend the next School committee meeting where the school committee likes to whine about what people say about them on social media. Keep im mind more then one person criticized, you myself included not just the one individual that was called out by name at the appeal meeting, The one thing I will say I LOVED the comment about how Chris Young "knows how to loose an election"
Paul Auger March 03, 2012 at 05:42 PM
So Ed find it strange that you would post this comment on under this posting as apposed to the one above it where I ask for clarification and said if I was wrong "show me and I will admit my error just as publicly as I made it" You chose to ignore all together and post his under a comment where it has no meaning in the context of my comments. I also think that It speaks volumes about you are a person and a representative of the Christ you claim to serve that you choose to attack me as a person but really comment on the content of my posting, I would love for you to actually address my points but the truth is the facts are against you and like most religious folks you are more concerned with promoting your ideology and mythology rather that dealing with data. Evey time I read your post it makes me glad to know I am no longer numbered among you, I also think if your god does exist what a real embarrassment you and people like you must be to him. If he does exist I am sure you will be one of many who will hear ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’Matthew 7:23.
Ed March 03, 2012 at 09:17 PM
JTP... You hit the nail on the head my friend...
Ed March 03, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Janice... I think that you got to him, he is now spelling every other word wrong... Good Job!!! All he is looking for is someone to argue with... He still brings up and is proud of the time he was at a church service and flipped off the pastor.... That's why I say that if you look up the defination of Paul Auger in "Webster" is says "idiot..." The moral to the story here is simple... If you want to win an election here in Cranston simply take the opposite position of him and people vote you in by a landslide...
Joe The Plumber March 04, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Nor in the insults made by the atheists on this website!
Janice Ruggieri March 04, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Mr. Auger, I was speaking to the fact that you asked me to defend going to court in the first place. I cannot defend it because I don't think it should have happened. Each person on the committee made their decision and stated their reasons why. I would only be able to repeat what their reasons were but I would not be able to defend a decision that I did not agree with. I can; however, defend my colleagues when I feel they are being wrongly judged if I feel that I know the reasoning behind their decision better than someone who has not even spoken directly to them. When I made my commentary at the end of the appeal meeting I called out two people by name from each side of the issue to make a point that there were people on either side of the issue who could not seem to control their insults rather than focus on the issue. I did not whine about it ...I was just presenting my experience during this process. As for meeting face to face regarding this issue; I will have to politely decline. I work two jobs, have two kids and a house to run...and that does not include the School Committee and subcommittee work that I do so my spare time is very limited and I think I have stated how I feel about this issue quite plainly. I cannot speak for anyone else on the committee; nor can I make anyone come on the Patch and reply. Our emails are public as are our phone numbers. Feel free to contact any member you wish to arrange a meeting.
Ross Stapleton-Gray March 04, 2012 at 05:53 AM
You have a tendency to make things up, including the fiction that you've been wounded by insults hurled by atheists. The worst I've read here is that atheists believe that your theology is based on ancient tribal myths that don't stand up to any scrutiny. I think they're right. What they haven't been doing is proposing that believers be "curb stomped," or any of the worse threats that were leveled at Jessica Ahlquist. But that's actually beside the immediate point; when I noted that you and many others have failed to live up to the laudable goals that the banner proposes (alas, also dressed up in theology, and hence illegal in the whole, for a public school), your only reaction is to accuse others of worse. I'm reminded of when Mary Magdalen was called a whore, and Jesus urged her to claim that her accusers practiced bestiality, tax-evasion and the ripping of tags from mattresses. At least I think it was in there.
ALD March 04, 2012 at 02:57 PM
We're still here; we're just trying not to rub it in, while we wait for you to follow the law. Please don't think we have forgotton you, or Ms. Ahlquist's bravery.
Joe The Plumber March 04, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Save it Ross. An atheist quoting the Bible has no credibility here.
Joe The Plumber March 04, 2012 at 04:22 PM
ALD you are not here, you are not even in our state!
Bill Santagata March 05, 2012 at 08:09 AM
Releasing a decision and entering judgement are two separate events. The 14-day clock starts ticking once judgement has been entered, meaning the judge makes a formal written declaration that the order of the court is now in effect. Per the order itself (at the end of the court's decision) no portion of the order goes into effect until all matters regarding attorneys fees are resolved. The section you cite of the FRCP is not applicable here because there is no pending appeal. A pending appeal is when an appeal has been filed but the appellate court has not yet rendered a decision. The School Committee voted that they will not be appealing this decision.
Bill Santagata March 05, 2012 at 08:12 AM
Mr. Lombardi could still put that $1,000 towards the initial cost of the trial. I have a feeling all this "fundraising" everyone was promising for the appeal would fizzle out just like for the trial: as soon as they found out they lost, they'd lose interest and the City would have to pick up the bill. Where's all the fundraising to cover the initial trial the "appealers" were crying for?
Bill Santagata March 05, 2012 at 08:13 AM
Ms. Ruggieri voted against going to court in the first place! Don't blame people who were on your side to begin with!
Bill Santagata March 05, 2012 at 08:15 AM
Paul...it's time to let things go. We won. Calm down. There is nothing to bring up regarding this at the next committee meeting as the matter is settled.
KodakMan March 05, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I do not believe in atheists.
Bill Santagata March 06, 2012 at 11:12 AM
I do not believe in School Prayer Banners. And hey look! It's gone! Whether or not Cranston can move on now it's entirely in the hands of the School Committee and Bain Middle School. If Bain insists on including Catholic sermons and prayers at its Memorial Day celebration, there will be another messy lawsuit for the City that they will have no hope of winning. I have sent school officials an e-mail and CC'ed my representative, Ms. Ruggieri, and hopefully I will get a positive response.
KodakMan March 06, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I am not a Cranstonite but have an idea. Maybe somebody can run with this? How about designing a replacement plaque with the words IN GOD WE TRUST. Design it so it is just like the inscription above the House Speaker's seat in the U.S. Capitol. Use the same font and relative size etc. This is the national motto of our Republic. Put it up at Cranston West as a beautiful reminder of who we are and what we stand for. How about it? Good idea or not?
Bill Santagata March 06, 2012 at 02:53 PM
This would probably be legal. The Supreme Court has never definitively ruled on whether or not "In God We Trust" is Constitutional, but I think Justice O'Connor's concurring opinion in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow best explains why "In God We Trust" and "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are not violative of the Establishment Clause. Becuase they are 1) brief (2 or 4 words as opposed to a whole prayer), 2) refer to a general concept of God (rather than a "Heavenly Father") and 3) Do not endorse a religious activity like praying ("Any statement that has as its purpose placing the speaker or listener in a penitent state of mind, or that is intended to create a spiritual communion or invoke divine aid, strays from the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing an event and recognizing a shared religious history," Elk Grove, O'Connor, concurring). However, the religious residents of Cranston should really watch how the invoke God's holy name. Is it out of sincere piety, or rather to use God's name to thumb their nose at a 16-year-old girl and a federal court? God's name shouldn't be a taunt. After all, part of why "In God We Trust" is upheld is "because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content" (Lynch v. Donnelly, Brennan, dissenting).
KodakMan March 06, 2012 at 03:03 PM
A studied response, Bill. I am sure we would disagree on many points but I am also confident that disagreements do not stop us from honoring opposing views, even when the opposing views disgust and revolt us. Know thy enemies, as the saying goes.
Robin Lionheart March 08, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Here we go again. Joe The Liar here has been waging a disinformation campaign, repeating his 0.5% false statistic (and earlier, 0.7%), over and over, ad nauseam, week after week. He sourced his 0.5% figure by dishonestly quote-mining part of a sentence from Adherents.com (http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html), “People who specify atheism as their religious preference actually make up less than one-half of one percent of the population...”, not including the rest which contradicts him, “...in many countries where much large numbers claim no religious preference, such as the United States (13.2% nonreligious according to ARIS study of 2001) and Australia (15% nonreligious).” Although we’ve exposed this distortion several times, Joe persists in posting comments with this false statistic, perhaps hoping we’ll get tired of correcting him. Joe sanctimoniously calls atheists “denizens of immorality”, but his campaign of lies and deception shows how Christianity has not instilled good morals in him. Of course, percentages don’t matter; even if a minority did comprise only 0.5% of our population, we must always respect their civil rights.
Robin Lionheart March 08, 2012 at 04:55 PM
@Arthur C writes “I do not believe in atheists.” Hello! I’m an atheist. Now you’ve met one.


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