To the Editor,
In response to the article “Residents continue to speak out against the Cranston Police Academy Training Complex” — and after reading the letters submitted by my …
To the Editor,
In response to the article “Residents continue to speak out against the Cranston Police Academy Training Complex” — and after reading the letters submitted by my neighbors — I’m writing to add my voice to the conversation. My home is in Meshanticut; I experience the daily barrage of gunfire that is the backdrop to our existence.
Every reasonable person who listens to the videos — first responders, lawyers, medical doctors, psychologists, social workers and a few Council members — unanimously agree it is horrible, unacceptable and disgraceful that gunfire is allowed in a densely populated civilian neighborhood, next to our public schools.
I have spent years investigating and researching the effects of noise pollution. Just in the last year, three Rhode Island doctors have informed Mayor Hopkins of the irreparable health consequences — heart disease, immune disorders, trauma — and have called for the range to be shut down immediately. Yet, the Cranston Police department representative Major Todd Patalano was quoted as saying the medical facts are fake; that the doctors are lying, and that Dr. Patricia Ricci, who testified before the City Council was a plant; a suspect witness.
I was at the Oct. 24, 2022, City Council meeting where Dr. Ricci presented the medical facts. Myself and four other members of the community also testified. The Council President Chris Paplauskas used his power to muzzle the conversation. First, he moved the testimony from the docketed agenda to the un-docketed portion of the meeting. Next, he tried to limit our comments to three minutes rather than the four minutes that is allocated at sub-committee hearings. Then, he did the most egregious, undemocratic maneuver he could make — the floor was not opened to the Council.
The Council members were not given the opportunity to ask questions about the medical facts or the environmental issues (lead run-off flowing into abutting properties, the Providence Water Supply, Meshanticut Lake, and the sewer) presented. The Council was not given the opportunity to discuss the testimony of the bullet casings found around the schools, and as far away as Oaklawn Ave.
The only comment that was allowed came from Mr. Paplauskas. After hearing Dr. Ricci’s damning testimony about the harm being inflicted on the constituents in his ward, he had nothing to say other than to compliment the doctor on hitting the four-minute mark exactly.
Mayor Hopkins needs to abandon the ‘wait and see’ position of enclosing the range if grants come through and taxpayers approve a bond referendum. Three to five years is far too long to wait for the chaos to stop. The facts are irrefutable. Hundreds of Cranston residents — and thousands of children — are being harmed daily now.
The Mayor’s first priority should be the health of his constituents and the protection of our property. Not, what is most convenient for the CPD.
The shooting needs to stop immediately and the 70 years of lead run-off contaminating the air, water, and soil needs to be tested immediately. The children, residents, and taxpayers of Meshanticut deserve no less.
Alfred W. Schoeninger