OP-ED

Taking the pledge

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I want to talk about a pledge. Not our Pledge of Allegiance, which seems to have confounded National Football League team owners and their commissioner, but a pledge by a public official to for fill a promise to perform a legal duty.

Last year, Allan W. Fung and I were locked in an election campaign for the mayor’s seat in the City of Cranston. During the campaign I had heard from several reliable sources that Mr. Fung’s campaign was just a subterfuge as a preview to his ultimate goal of running for governor.

On October 22, 2016 Mr. Fung and I were invited to participate in a debate at the Cranston Public Library sponsored by the Cranston Herald. At the debate before an overflow crowd I presented a written pledge to Mr. Fung, which I had signed. It stated in no uncertain terms that, if elected, each of us would pledge and commit to serve a full term of four years as the Cranston mayor. Mr. Fung was stunned. He tap-danced around the issue and called the pledge a political gimmick. It was obvious to me that his team of spin doctors and handlers were totally unprepared to address Fung’s long-term political ambitions. Despite refusing to join me in signing the pledge, Mr. Fung promised that he would serve a full four-year term if re-elected mayor.

Later in the campaign, Mr. Fung and I were invited to another debate sponsored by WPRI-TV, which was broadcast on Channel 12. The four-year issue was raised again – and once again Mr. Fung refused to enter into a written agreement to assure Cranston’s voters that he would serve a four-year term.

On Tuesday, October 24, 2017 Allan Fung announced his candidacy for governor of our state. Now we all know why his refusal to sign the pledge document. If he had signed, there would now be evidence of a solemn promise to do something. It is obvious Mr. Fung did not want to leave a paper trail. He’s relying on Rhode Island voters to forget his empty verbal assurances, his breach of promise to serve the City of Cranston for four years. I don’t want to say I told you so, but…

Mayor Fung’s inability to level with the public was also clearly demonstrated throughout the Ticket Gate scandal and ensuing crisis that unfolded in the Cranston Police Department under his authority. I was one of the first to publicly reveal this embarrassment in 2015, which ultimately resulted in a Rhode Island State Police takeover of the entire Cranston Police Department and which will end up costing the taxpayer some $8 million.

Mayor Fung’s proclivity to speak half-truths, distortions of fact and outright untruths boggles the mind. Allan Fung is hoping we forget about his broken promises. I know I won’t. Have you?

Mike Sepe is chair of the Cranston Democratic City Committee.

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