Too much litigation?

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 10:00am

To the Editor,
Losing, losing, losing.
You would think that with a new Block Island Town Council and including now a lawyer as a member that they would understand the island is not a sovereign nation. Somehow their decisions to file lawsuits seems to give them extreme power to govern without any outside interference. However the state of Rhode Island and its legal system may disagree and they have.
Within the last year we have watched the council go to litigation with issues that most knowledgeable individuals would strongly question. Whether you like the presence of mopeds on the island or not, making new rules that restrict a business that has a long history on the island is reprehensible. Threatening to remove their licensing, imposing impositions that would be hard to comply with, making motor-vehicle regulations opposed to state regulations and going to court to enforce these is just plain ridiculous. Once the problem was adjudicated and found in favor of moped operators with a temporary restraining order against the town, that should have been it, over. At a cost of almost $350,000.00 fighting this, The Town of Block Island lost again. That wasn’t the end, oh no, it was then appealed. At another $150,000.00 with new lawyers and the town again pursuing a lost cause, they lost again, the court essentially allowing a preliminary injunction giving moped owners business as usual except for a few pittance exceptions.

Just a few weeks ago, the Block Island Power Company (that’s us folks), lost litigation giving the McGinnes family a large financial settlement. This was the second law suit in recent years lost at our rate payers expense. Do I need to tell you what those legal fees and the settlements will do to your power bill?
The legal battle to prevent Champlin’s Marina from expanding has gone on for years and at what cost? Who knows? What we know is we keep losing. Is there a point where we tell the lawyers enough is enough? I understand the well-intentioned efforts to save this island from over-development but the use of reason must be in place. Throwing ten million dollars down to protect a small piece of land from being gobbled up by new owners of Champlin’s Marina is also in question. The part-time residents here are most vocal about the preservation efforts. However it’s the fulltime tax payers that are paying the bills.

There is a bit of irony here. Our former Chief of Police Vincent Carlone was forced to resign over his refusal to implement most of the new regulations, which he deemed unlawful. Now the Superior Court of Rhode Island has basically agreed with him. We need an apology from the Town Council to him since Chief Carlone was right all along. The Council then gave the new chief almost double Chief Carlone’s salary. Well oh well let’s be fair minded, our new Chief Moynihan, according to Second Warden Risom, does now direct traffic at the ferry.

John Willis
Beacon Hollow Farm