Letter To The Editor: Politics Trumps Questions – Approval of Fire Boat Expected



The following Letter To The Editor was written and submitted by Mike Cullen, a resident of Newport. The views and opinions expressed within this piece may not be those of What’sUpNewp’s staff, advertisers or sponsors. 

“While many community members have raised solid questions that should have been prepared by city staff weeks ago, it’s dawned on me that local politics effectively trumps the many “due diligence” questions and that the outcome is clear.   I’m confident that the current city council will be approving this questionable capital purchase on Wednesday because mayor/at-large councilor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano has no real choice but to vote “YES” in her race for votes against well-known former mayor/at-large councilor  Harry Winthrop.

With any Napolitano “NO” vote,  one would expect Winthrop —  known for law and order bluster and billing himself as “fair, firm, and consistent” — to vilify Napolitano as someone jeopardizing city public safety and regional security by not accepting the federal grant.  No doubt, Winthrop would rally his Fifth Ward power base to withhold any votes for Napolitano and all other councilors voting “NO.”

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To help cement Wednesday’s outcome, Napolitano has likely collected an easy “YES” vote from 2nd Ward councilor Lynn Underwood Ceglie who is connected to the Connerton family, long associated with Newport Fire Department.  In turn, Ceglie has likely secured the vote of at-large councilor Naomi Neville since they are close friends.  Neville, who is not running for re-election,  did accept a rare Newport fire union political action committee donation in the 2010 race and certainly wouldn’t be expected to burn any political bridges with a “NO” vote ahead of future civic service.

The fourth  “YES” vote is expected from 1st Ward councilor Marco Camacho who also serves as council vice chair and has been generally loyal to Napolitano. Wednesday will likely have drama flowing from the council dais, but I think we already know the outcome.  Newport’s own Moose Boat M2-37 will be here soon!”

Mike Cullen


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