Why I’m Running

This September 1st marks 40 years since my wife Denise and I moved into our home on Holden Street. The next day our second child was born. We raised our family here on Smith Hill. Now the kids are all grown with their own families, some close by and some spread out.

We have been fortunate in many, many ways. I’ve always been able to find work in Providence. Denise was able to be a homemaker and mom to our four children, volunteer, and artist. 

I work as an architect, RI License 1513. Many of my projects are on Smith Hill. Let’s just say they blend. Getting construction projects done in the City is one area of city government I know well.

So why run for City Council? Why now? I am 73 for heaven’s sake. When the thought of running kept recurring it would throw me into a panic. I thought of the squirrel in the middle of the road. “What am I thinking!! Go back! Go back!” I told the kids it was like trying to make a decision to go skydiving. But decades of comfortable armchair reading about the state of the world are over. I can no longer sit still. There are duties to citizenship. In my case the duty is to speak my mind. I will never know if my ideas about government are valid if I don’t present them.

About a year ago I started listing what I believe are common sense solutions to overcome the morass that divides and alienates in the world of politics. At the national level it is all vitriol and hostility. But as the rings of authority from nation to state to city come down to the council ward the dialogue can become more civil. Here in our neighborhood the range of all the warring political alignments exists but common decency prevails among neighbors. We are all bound by mutual respect and the peaceful enjoyment of our homes and community. It is the face to face communication that makes civility possible. As you move up the levels of government to city, state, and nation the face to face communication is now replaced by all forms of social media. Communication has become blurred and distorted.

Common sense solutions to political life all revolve around strengthening council wards. Unfortunately this most democratic, face to face political unit, the council ward, is in a weakened state. I created what I call 7+2, seven ordinance proposals and 2 city charter amendments all of which are aimed at council ward life.

When I pitched these ideas to people active in political life they received them politely but not enthusiastically. That’s understandable. However, to friends and acquaintances outside the ring of politics these received a hearty welcome. This inspired me. The only way to pitch this was to run for a seat on the city council representing Ward 12.