Policies of the NSPD
To the Editor:
On May 25, George Floyd was murdered at the hands of Minneapolis Police officers. Floyd’s death was the most high-profile of several recent murders of Black people by police officers, including Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many more.
After ongoing and widespread protests, many police departments around Rhode Island (and the U.S.) have issued public statements denouncing police brutality, banning choke holds in some states, and requiring specific training to de-escalate situations to avoid future violence. As of writing this letter, no statement has been issued by the New Shoreham Police Department.
We emailed the New Shoreham Police Department asking the following:
Does the department condemn the violent and aggressive actions taken by the officers in the cases of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many others? What actions does the department take to hold violent officers accountable? What is the policy for officers who stand by and don’t intervene when violent action is taken by other officers?
Vin Carlone responded and refused to answer these questions or make a public statement. The essential question is not complicated: Either the NSPD condemns police brutality against Black people, or it doesn’t. Their refusal and subsequent silence is telling.
Block Island, this is your police department. They are currently requesting $1,128,350 (a 10.6 percent increase) for the 2021 fiscal year. As taxpayers who fund this department, and as human beings, we deserve better.
Bethany and Mike Petrik
Graces Cove Road
BLM Signs: Thank you
To the Editor:
Whoever has put up all the Black Lives Matter signs: thank you, thank you.
Solar Initiative clarifications
To the Editor:
Some questions have been raised about the Solar Initiative and the solar system donations that have been made available to the fi ve affordable houses known as Cherry Hill. Let me, as Director of the Solar Initiative, attempt to clarify the situation with the following facts:
* The solar equipment at Cherry Hill is indeed a gift from a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The donor is giving the equipment and its installation and is covering the associated fees as an outright donation. As a gift, this solar equipment is categorically different from a purchase. Gifts to public bodies can be accepted or rejected. If the recipient finds the conditions acceptable, no further process is necessary. This was the response from the R.I. Public Utilities Commission when this issue was raised against the Block Island Power Co. Gifts do not require a bidding process.
* Secondly, affordable housing created through the Block Island Housing Board is financed by means of the one percent tax on seasonal rentals, donations from individuals and foundations, and the sale of the finished houses to their new owners. General property taxes are not involved in the provision of these homes.
* Thirdly, to my knowledge, all town and state requirements regarding these solar installations have been or are in the process of being fully met. Town officials have been very conscientious in fulfilling their duties.
* Fourthly, these solar subsidies are an outright gift only to affordable homeowners, co-ops and non-profits. To my knowledge none of these recipients would have installed a solar system without this subsidy because the capitalization costs are beyond their means. This program is a win-win; some folk are a lot better off, and the rest of us are no worse off.
It is my sincere hope that other potential donors will not be deterred from making Block Island a better place to live on the basis of misunderstandings.
In the meantime, the Solar Initiative will continue to provide sustainable, efficient energy to those in our community who would not otherwise be able to attain it.
Director, the Solar Initiative