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Rep. Mattiello, Sen. Gallo Accused of “Spreading Misinformation” About Sex Offenders and Homeless Service Centers

Rep. Mattiello, Sen. Gallo Accused of “Spreading Misinformation” About Sex Offenders and Homeless Service Centers

ELECTION time indeed!!  I found this article to capture exactly what went on at the Press Conference on Monday. 

The Ocean State Current reported on Monday's Press Conference

Rep. Mattiello, Sen. Gallo Accused of “Spreading Misinformation” About Sex Offenders and Homeless Service Centers* 

 

Now that they are up for re-election, RI House Democratic Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello and his close ally Sen. Hanna Gallo, also a Democrat, are posturing as forceful advocates for neighborhood safety in Cranston. But according to local advocates, they are spreading misinformation about sex offenders at the expense of sound public policy.

This was the central message of a press conference Carolyn Medeiros, Executive Director of the Alliance for Safe Communities (http://asc-ri.org/)**, held yesterday (Monday) in front of the Cranston City Hall building. She was joined by Jean Johnson, executive director of House of Hope, and the Republican candidates running to unseat Mattiello and Gallo in the General Assembly.

At issue, are some of the remarks Rep. Mattiello made during a Sept. 19 meeting of the Glen Woods Crime Prevention and Improvement organization. Instead of advancing meaningful reforms that would provide necessary services to the homeless and safeguard community interests, Rep. Mattiello fell back on incendiary and irresponsible rhetoric, Medeiros told listeners.

“This was a disgusting and obvious attempt to appeal to voters by preying upon the fears in our neighborhoods,” she said. “We are now faced with a lose-lose situation. Any discussion of moving sex offenders to a non-residential area has now ceased. Re-entry is coming, re-entry is happening, but it needs to be done in the right way.”

The Sept. 19 meeting included a “dual presentation” about crime in Cranston and the conditions within Harrington Hall, a homeless shelter for men located at the ACI prison facility, according to a press release from the Alliance.

“It is in the opinion of the Alliance that addressing crime rates in conjunction with sex offender issues and Harrington Hall were not synonymous but separate issues and should have been addressed accordingly,” the release said. “The obvious impact to the audience was heightened anxiety, worry, and stress. The separate issues blended together, causing only more animosity toward Harrington Hall’s current status.”

The Coalition for the Homeless attempted to make their case over “an angry and outspoken audience,” Medieros explained, but Rep. Mattiello “ran the meeting” and told residents that he was working with Sen. Gallo to prevent sex offenders, and other homeless individuals in Harrington, from being moved to the Gloria McDonald building, a nearby empty women’s prison.

House of Hope, which is based in Massachusetts, provides case management for hundreds of men each year at Harrington Hall. With 88 beds, it is the largest overflow shelter in Rhode Island, but the number beds are often not sufficient for the number of individuals who stay each night. The population within Harrington includes former inmates charged with sex offenses.

Jean Johnson, executive director of House of Hope, was sharply critical of Rep. Mattiello’s comments and ardently supports the idea of moving current residents of Harrington into the Gloria McDonald building. Harrington recently failed a state inspection and can no longer accommodate homeless individuals in need of service, she said.

“Harrington is an old gymnasium,” she explained. “We have no private space for the people who are part of our caseload, the Gloria McDonald building is much more suitable. But because of what Rep. Mattiello said at the meeting, we cannot expect to have any movement on this right now.”

Robert Lancia, a former Navy chaplain, is running as a Republican for the state Senate seat now occupied by Sen. Gallo in District 27. He recently did a tour of Harrington and agrees that it is in a “terrible condition” and views the Gloria McDonald House as a viable alternative.

Harrington failed inspection in part because of a leaky roof. The state has offered up $150,000 for repairs to the facility, but Lancia doubts that those funds will be sufficient to cover the necessary expenses.

Unfortunately, Harrington will continue to exist “inclusive of the vilified sex offender population placed there” Medeiros wrote in her press release. What is often overlooked, is that sex offenders are placed in the facility not by House of Hope, but by the State of Rhode Island, she added.

“If Mattiello is so concerned about sex offenders, why did he never introduce any legislation during the entire time he has been in office?” Medeiros asked during the press conference. “Where has he been all this time? And where is the news media on this? Why are they not here? Is Mattiello really that powerful?”

Medeiros also accused Rep. Mattiello and Sen. Gallo of “spreading misinformation” about sex offenders and the living conditions in Harrington Hall.

“Our political leaders are suppose to look out for our safety, but instead they are misinforming the community,” she said. “There should be accountability for this kind of miscommunication about Harrington Hall’s future.  The accountability lies within those who were entrusted to represent their constituents with honesty and integrity. Rep. Mattiello and Sen. Gallo fell short of meeting this obligation and instead have used these issues as a platform for re-election.”

Other Republican candidates in attendance included Donald Gendron who is running for House seat in District 18. If elected, Gendron said he would be willing to favor legislation modeled after the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.

* http://oceanstatecurrent.com/interview/rep-mattiello-sen-gallo-accused-of-spreading-misinformation-about-sex-offenders-and-homeless-service-centers/

**The Alliance for Safe Communities was Founded to Assist neighborhoods with their Representation in Government, Media, and the Public Eye.

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Jesse James October 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Mattiello and Gallo are doing their job. This sort of political theatrics by their opponents does nothing to benefit the constituents of these Districts.
cranston taxpayer October 24, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Mattiello & Gallo are not doing their jobs when taxes are up & house values are down.They need to be voted out and replaced. They're two GA sheeple who do the bidding of Fox. Majority leader Mattiello particularly could have introduced legislation all the years he's been in the GA but he didn't. It seems the MO is not being pro active-they wait for the problem and then fight back. This is what's going on with the Phenix Lodge situation. They wait until the development is almost built, then fight back. As for accountability, there isn't any. They were not straightforward & honest with the pension, with 38 studios and with the International Institute. There's no transparency. You don't see them unless it's election year. Mattiello knew about Harrington Hall for years. Only now you see him fight because he has an opponent. The same for Gallo. They should have had laws on the books early in their GA careers to protect Cranston in safety, rural character, & in issues dealing with the prisons.Instead Mattiello, the republican wearing democrat lawyer suits attends Fung dinners endorsing him. Mattiello had arrogance & a lot of nerve taking it upon himself to say on behalf of all Cranston people that Mayor Fung is a beloved mayor.He doesn't speak for me & for the many Cranstonians like me. The arrogance came through with those words & again at that 9/19 mtg. We need integrity in our politicians. If they don't have it, vote them out this
Suzanne Arena October 24, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Cranston taxpayer - Great points! Voting records, after viewing many of the Bills that I am interested in like Adam Walsh (SORNA Act) Bill that Rep. Peter Palumbo has been trying to get in the House for the last 8 years....Rep. Mattiello has blocked it. This is a bill that would bring a lot of Federal $$$$ to the State and Districts, along with its most important role - PROTECTING CHILDREN! I have worked for lawfirms for most of my life and have had several friends that are attorneys, and I have found most to be confident/arrogant and self-righteous. I hate being preached to when I know its not even true. The problem in the State House is that we have too many lawyers creating a House of Political quagmire often choking the channeling of Bills that should be written clearly vs. vague/broad (which always benefits attorneys). This is not meant to insult "all" attorneys, but certainly the majority have this mindset. As far as Sen. Gallo, I must say I am very disappointed at the recent flyer of Aram Garabedian. I was very disturbed with the politicking this year. Vote out those that have not represented your Ward. The Wards overall opinions should have representation. Senators, Representative and ALL elected officials (including the Governor who's staff claims he gets too many emails to respond to any) need to respond to their constituents and we need to hold them accountable.

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