Town Council Update June 13, 2022
Updated: Jun 17, 2022
On Monday, 6/13, the Town Council reviewed 63 items over three hours. Rather than an exhaustive summary of a lengthy and complex meeting, I would invite you to view the full agenda here. Note that all items on the consent agenda passed unanimously.
I'd like to focus a bit on three items that may be of particular interest to our community:
1) On a 3-2 vote (Anderson, Mancini, and Page in favor; Brimer, McKay opposed), we passed my resolution that proclaimed June “Gun Violence Awareness Month” in North Kingstown. This follows what other cities and towns have done, state- and nation-wide, to voice their support for victims of gun violence and build awareness about its scope and impact.
Incidentally, it just so happened that we had some very big business to cover at this meeting — but as it was our only June meeting, this was our only opportunity to raise this issue. [Full resolution text can be found at the end of this post].
Mr. McKay voiced his opposition on the grounds that he found the resolution to be hypocritical, in that it was against violence but, in his view, my support of BLM, President Biden, the mainstream media, and "illegals" means I support of murder, destruction, assault, burning cities to the ground, and more.
Ms. Brimer voiced her opposition on the grounds that a more effective approach would entail a targeted, public health-based awareness campaign. (Perhaps I can look forward to her supporting a broader gun violence prevention campaign in NK next year?). She then outlined a litany of views and concerns about the proclamation. While sprawling and broad in scope, these included, in part:
Women abuse men at higher rates than men abuse women. [I cannot find a single citation to support this, and I want to note that this resolution made no mention of men as perpetrators - sole or otherwise.]
Women buy guns for their abusive partners
Women visit men in prison
In response to Mr. McKay and Ms. Brimer's concerns, Dr. Page expressed her dismay and sorrow that we could not find consensus on something as simple and essential as building awareness of gun violence. During the break, a community member said to me, "if you aren't against gun violence, then you are…?"
Despite tense moments, Mr. Mancini commended the Council and our constituents for keeping discussion civil and productive. Indeed, a number of constituents wrote in and shared public comment on ending gun violence.
2) We received and filed the report the Council commissioned from Judge McGuirl regarding the allegations of sexual misconduct against a former coach. I cannot overstate the importance and seriousness of this issue. All 5 Councilors agreed the report was extremely thorough in analyzing not just what happened, but also in identifying root causes and proposing solutions.
As a community, before we can heal, we must fully understand what happened and take necessary steps to ensure it never happens again. I would therefore urge all members of the public to read it in its entirety by clicking here.
We voted unanimously to send the report to the School Committee and asked that they respond to the findings and recommendations the report contains. It is my hope that we, as a community, will further address the recommendations Judge McGuirl and others have made.
3) While we made several appointments to boards and commissions, I am particularly pleased to announce that we appointed Meg Kerr to the Planning Commission. Meg recently won an award for her sterling accomplishments in the field of environmental protection and conservation. I have received an overwhelming amount of correspondence from residents regarding the need to consider environmental protection, town character, and climate change in planning and development. I’m thrilled that Ms. Kerr will bring her expertise in these areas to this endeavor.
The Council meets next on July 18, 2022.
DECLARING JUNE GUN VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH IN NORTH KINGSTOWN
This proclamation declares the month of June to be National Gun Violence Awareness Month in the town of North Kingstown.
WHEREAS, the North Kingstown Town Charter entrusts the authority to our town council to promulgate ordinances and resolutions to preserve the public peace, health, safety, comfort and welfare of the inhabitants of the town for the protection of persons and property located within our community;
WHEREAS, protecting public safety in our community is our highest and most important responsibility;
WHEREAS, according to the Washington Post, since 1999 there have been 311,000 children who have experienced acts of gun violence in 331 schools across America;
WHEREAS, in 2021 alone there were 42 acts of gun violence in schools, which is more than any year since 1999;
WHEREAS, at least 185 children, educators and others have been killed in assaults in our schools and another 369 injured;
WHEREAS, in 2022 to date there have been 232 mass shootings in the United States;
WHEREAS, just past this Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - only ten (10) days after a racially-motivated attack in Buffalo, NY left ten (10) dead and three (3) wounded - a young adult who legally purchased a firearm and body armor allegedly walked into a school in Uvalde, Texas and killed nineteen (19) elementary students and two (2) teachers;
WHEREAS, the threat of gun violence in our schools across our nation is too often, too random, and too unpredictable such that it adversely affects all children’s safety and ability to learn, and the security of all school personnel;
WHEREAS, parents of children in North Kingstown schools, students of our schools, and school personnel that work in our schools are all adversely affected by these challenging educational and workplace settings;
WHEREAS, we call upon the general assembly to pass legislation to assist our town in ensuring our kids, school personnel, and other town inhabitants are safe from gun violence and/or give our town and all municipalities the authority to do so;
WHEREAS, in recognition of adverse effects our gun violence to our nation June is National Gun Violence Awareness month;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, in recognition of the threat of gun violence to our nation, our state, our community, and in particular our schools, the Town Council of North Kingstown, RI declares June to be Gun Violence Awareness Month in North Kingstown. The town council encourages all citizens to support efforts to prevent the tragic effects of gun violence and to honor and value human lives. The town council further encourages all citizens to contact the general assembly legislators to encourage them to pass legislation that will ensure our community and our schools in particular are safe from the potential of gun violence.
June 13, 2022