Providence City Councilor John Igliozzi (Ward 7) interrupted the reading of the proposed ordinance to override Mayor Jorge Elorza‘s veto of the zoning change for the proposed Hope Point Tower. Igliozzi moved to table the ordinance and continue the proceedings until 6pm on December 13. City Councilor JoAnn Ryan (Ward 5) immediately seconded Igliozzi’s motion.
“I’d like to understand from the proponents why this is being continued at this time,” said City Councilor Samuel Zurier (Ward 2), rising from his seat.
“It’s pretty simple,” said Igliozzi. “As you can see we don’t have the full council here this evening and I thought it important that all of us, the full council, should have an opportunity to weigh in on such a serious issue.”
City Councilors Seth Yurdin (Ward 1) and Wilbur Jennings (Ward 8) were not in attendance.
“So we want to give deference to our Council colleagues and the people they represent,” continued Igliozzi. “So continuing it for two days will not impact that and they will have an opportunity. It’s all about Democracy.”
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Laughter broke out in the audience at this.
“Quiet please!” ordered City Sergeant David Tassoni.
A person in attendance who declined to be identified told me afterwards that Igliozzi’s statement was “deeply cynical” and “an insult to Democratic values.”
After the Providence City Council voted 8 -5, with two abstentions, to grant a zoning variance to the Fane Organization for their proposed Hope Point Tower on November 20, Mayor Elorza vetoed the measure on November 30. To overturn the veto the City Council would need ten votes.
All eyes had been on City Councilor Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11), who signaled that she may be open to changing her vote. But apparently that was not the case, because if the proponents of the plan had the ten votes they needed to override the veto, they most assuredly would have proceeded with the vote, no matter who was absent.
After the vote to continue the meeting was passed, Zurier rose for a point of “personal expression.”
“That is one of the lamest excuses I’ve ever heard,” said Zurier, refering to Igliozzi’s explanation. “This was called as a special meeting by eight members of the City Council. They set the date without regard as to how many people would or wouldn’t come. That makes no sense.”
Councilor Bryan Principe (Ward 13) rose.
“I too find it unfortunate that we have to delay and continue this meeting,” said Principe. “It’s really to me a lack of regard…”
“Point of order, Mr President!” interrupted Councilor Luis Aponte (Ward 11). “Is this a matter of personal expression or is he, the councilman, speaking on the matter before us?”
“I’m speaking on a matter of personal expression,” said Principe.
“Please proceed,” said Council president David Salvatore (Ward 14).
“That matter is no longer before us,” continued Aponte, still trying to shut Principe down. “That conversation is out of order.”
Salvatore banged his gavel. “Mr Principe, please proceed.”
“This is a complete disregard for the time and effort that the public is putting in for this matter,” said Principe. “It’s a complete disregard of the people we represent. And I’m embarrassed by this today.”
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