OPINION/LETTERS: Thanking the many that make Middletown a better place

Thanks for hosting Aquidneck Growers Market

On behalf of the board, staff, vendors, and customers of the Saturday Aquidneck Growers Market we would like to thank Embrace Home Loans and their employees for hosting our market this summer at their office headquarters in Middletown. Embrace provided a lovely, safe and welcoming home for us. There was always ample parking and an attractive grassy open space for children to play and grown-ups to relax and enjoy market fare.

We also appreciate their support of Aquidneck Community Table – parent organization of the farmers markets- and look forward to returning in May. Thank you.

We invite everyone to visit our winter market on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon at Stoneacre Garden in the Brick Market Place in Newport.

Susan Wells, Aquidneck Community Table Board chair

Beware climate effects on lobsters

Climate change is a growing threat to both the economy and nature, a threat that is already on our doorstep and inside the house. One victim of our warming world is the humble lobster. As the ocean temperature increases worldwide, lobsters become increasingly susceptible to disease and health issues. Once the water reaches more than 68 degrees, populations start to experience massive die-offs. Ocean acidification, a consequence of higher carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere, also makes lobsters smaller and more vulnerable to predation.

These factors cause lobster populations to move deeper and further north, away from Rhode Island and out of American fishing water. Rhode Island will face a future of declining lobster populations, something that will hurt the livelihoods of fishermen, and the wallets of consumers. Fishermen now have to drive further and further out to sea for the same catch year to year. After lobster is no longer commercially viable, once locally sourced lobsters will have to be imported, increasing the price of iconic New England cuisine.

The only way to solve this issue is to reduce carbon output. Otherwise, fisheries will continue to experience a decline in output and biodiversity. The damage has already been done. Yields have already seen large declines as lobsters move further into Maine and Canada. What we need now is a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions in order to stop the losses we have already experienced. Otherwise, we will have to deal with the loss of our beloved lobsters in Rhode Island.

Chase Forch, Portsmouth

A suggestion for new Middletown Town Council

I urge you, to adopt and instruct the Administration to implement a Zero Base Budgeting system for Middletown, for the 2023/2024 budget year.

In the past, ZBB made budgeting a chore due the large volume of data and information to be managed. Using spreadsheet software made the process even more troublesome due to its lack of scalability and susceptibility to errors.

Today’s budgeting software that is dynamic and cloud-based can take away the challenges companies previously faced implementing ZBB. Budgeting software replaces multiple offline spreadsheets by providing a central location for data that can help your government agency calculate expenses and understand cost drivers. In particular, Questica Budget’s: Transform our budgeting cycle from end-to-end with a single source of truth. Enable data-driven budgeting and decision-making, while increasing data accuracy, saving time and improving transparency. Run this year's operating, salary and capital budgets with accuracy and efficiency with Questica Budget, their comprehensive multi-user budgeting … multi-user software allows us to manage the budget, as well as forecast, analyze, report and create what-if scenarios. Furthermore, we can produce accurate staff compensation budgets including salaries, benefits and increases. With Questica Performance, we can also monitor our performance measures and make decisions faster with a system that provides us with meaningful insight into your budget data. If your government agency wants to reduce costs and reinvest potential savings, zero-based budgeting is a real possibility by using a comprehensive, streamlined system like Questica Budget.

Questica Budget is a powerful, multi-user budget preparation and management software suite that helps your public sector organization run operating, salary and capital budgets with accuracy and efficiency.

Integrating with dozens of financial systems, Questica Budget has everything we need in one place to develop, track, monitor and adjust your budget, plus generate custom reports and create what-if scenarios. Imagine no longer having to enter data into error-prone Excel spreadsheets, and having time to analyze and plan for the budget. In addition, Questica’s OpenBook transparency and data visualization software makes sharing financial information effortless. Our taxpayers will have a better understanding of our budgeting goals when the budget is brilliantly visualized with descriptive text, informational pop-ups, charts and tables. To learn more about Questica’s products and how their software solutions can help us manage the budget with confidence – watch a product video, read one of there case studies/whitepapers or request a demo today!

Today, when a tax rate increase is necessary to finance a bond and that bond is paid, the tax rate increase remains, and that money becomes a win-fall for the town, ZBB budgeting would prevent this, and the taxpayer would reap the benefits.

Antone Viveiros, Middletown

Thanking the many that make Middletown a better place

With the Inauguration of the Middletown Town Council, it’s official: I’m a citizen, again (and top of the organizational chart). Since this is the season of thanks, there are a number of people I would like to thank publicly. First, my campaign team family, for their on-call support and their love of Middletown. They all know who they are. Hats off to Middletown staff and administration for the enormous amount of work they do. Thank you to those who run for an elected office, particularly those who step up and run for the first time, and heartfelt thanks to the voters for giving me and other new candidates the opportunity to serve them. Along these lines, thanks to Councilor Logan for hanging in there and bringing a young-family perspective to the council, and to Councilor Welch for your boots-on-the-ground research and for being able to pivot on the dais when new and relevant information is introduced, to be sure it is made part of the conversation and decision-making. A not-so-new counselor (but not long-standing, either), thank you Councilor Turano for your vision and for putting the time and effort into realizing it while working a full-time tech job and having to travel. Given your engagement in town issues, the vote results baffle me. You have championed: Keep Middletown Clean, all the senior tax exemption increases, education for all Middletown citizens-not just students, and you have been chairman for all three affordable housing committees. You are ahead of your time for innovative tax reform and how technology could be used to better Middletown. Thank you for continually bringing these issues to the council agenda.

The new council gives me great hope: hope for similar council initiative and engagement, hope for more public conversation, and hope for more citizen participation. Middletown citizens, please attend council and/or school committee meetings to support your neighbors who have stepped up and been elected to be your voice. Let your elected officials know how you want them to vote so they can continue to earn your support.

Thank you past Town Councilor Antone Viveiros for staying engaged, for being my mentor, and for reminding us of the words of Justice Robert H. Jackson, who said “it is not the function of government to keep the citizens from falling into error; it is the function of the citizens to keep the government from falling into error.” Finally, I can’t thank my family enough: our children for their acceptance, their understanding, and their tolerance; and my husband for his unwavering commitment: to me, to doing your best, and to doing what’s right, always. Best wishes to the 2022 council and thank you in advance for all the great things the citizens, with the council, are going to do for Middletown.

Terri Flynn, Middletown

Democrats display hypocrisy

Forgive me if I'm a little confused. For over a year now, Joe Biden, his fellow Democrats, and their acolytes in the liberal media have been clutching their pearls and wringing their hands over the dangers of so-called "election deniers." We have been told breathlessly, repeatedly, and maniacally that such people are "threats to democracy" who should not be allowed to either hold office or even seek it. Mr. Biden even delivered two fiery national addresses on the menace posed by election deniers. The message was unmistakable. Election deniers are bad actors who should be banished from the political arena.

Yet, when Nancy Pelosi stepped down from her leadership role in Congress and Democrats had to elect someone to fill her shoes, they decided to elevate New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to the position of House Democratic leader. Not surprisingly, the election of Jeffries was met with great media fanfare, as he will be the first Black American to lead a major political party in Congress. There's only one problem - and it's a big one. Mr. Jeffries is himself a well-known election denier. That's right, Democrats have chosen as their leader a person who has exhibited the very behavior they've spent the past year condemning. But to Democrats, even democracy takes a back seat to identity politics.

By all accounts, Democrats are grotesquely uneven in their application of political principles, and aren't quite the champions of American democracy that they claim to be. In witnessing this latest display of rank hypocrisy, I am reminded of an apt quote from famed British educator John Clarke, who over 300 years ago quipped: "They play one tune and dance to another." Indeed.

Michael J. DiStefano, Jamestown

This article originally appeared on Newport Daily News: LETTERS: Thanking the many that make Middletown a better place