PROVIDENCE, RI – City Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) issued the following statement regarding ongoing gun violence in the city:
“Yet again we are experiencing another outbreak of gun violence in our city this weekend. This intensifying violent crime is devastating for the victims and their families, city residents and visitors, and also threatens the economic well-being of our city.
“Last night in my neighborhood, a fight started within AJ’s bar on Academy Avenue, and spilled out onto the street, where a gun was fired multiple times. Thankfully, no one was shot, but an individual was taken to the hospital with injuries from the altercation. The Providence licensing board held an emergency meeting today and has ordered AJ’s closed until a hearing is held on Monday to determine next steps. Unfortunately, multiple shootings across Providence have occurred in the last two days, killing one person and leaving several others hospitalized.
“These incidents once again highlight the urgency for Providence to fully restore community policing. Unfortunately, under the current Mayor’s administration, our police ranks have dropped to a historic low, and as a result, community policing has not been feasible, our residents have been placed at risk, and police officer morale has suffered. Thankfully, the current police academy will complete in November; as Chairwoman of the Finance Committee, I will work in earnest to find funds to start a new academy immediately after this class graduates. I also will continue to collaborate with my Council colleagues, Providence residents and business owners, and the police department to ensure that the City adds the necessary resources we need to restore safety to our streets and neighborhoods, including additional officers and diversion and intervention services.”
“Congratulations to Dr. Javier Montañez on being named Acting Superintendent of the Providence Public School District for the upcoming school year. This is the time for us as a city and state to collectively support the district, and I want to thank Governor McKee for guiding this phase of the state turnaround of Providence schools towards stability and success. Dr. Montañez’s relationships and depth of understanding of Providence schools — both as an educator and a former student — make him uniquely suited to provide a steady and firm foundation, as well as to be an agent of change who can to lead our school district in a positive direction and give our students the excellent education they deserve.”
Early this morning, my neighbors and I were alerted to a shelter-in-place order due to a domestic abuse situation that led to the assailant firing gunshots at a police officer, and then barricading himself inside a house.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Providence Police Department, who worked diligently to keep residents in my neighborhood safe, and apprehended this armed and dangerous individual without any injuries or loss of life. Officers demonstrated their professionalism and training, and effectively protected the public’s safety. They secured the scene, kept residents safe in their homes, and arrested the suspect without firing a single shot. I commend their great work. I also want to thank our partners in state law enforcement who provided the additional equipment necessary to bring the standoff to a safe resolution.
This was a terrifying situation for my neighbors, as well as for everyone involved in the incident, and it highlights the urgency of our city’s current crime crisis. I am beyond grateful that nobody was injured, including the officer who was shot at while in the line of duty. I will continue collaborating with the Providence Police to put a stop to the current crime wave and to provide them with the resources necessary to protect the public.
Statement from City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan:
Providence, RI (October 31, 2019)… Earlier this week, electric rental scooters reappeared overnight on our streets. This past summer e-transportation devices made headlines for all of the wrong reasons: they were left littered on public and private property, they were hacked and used for criminal activity, and in some cases reckless operation led to collisions with pedestrians and drivers creating serious public safety concerns.
In July, I sponsored, and the Council passed, a resolution asking that the administration provide the Council an Audit of e-bike and e-scooter pilot programs in the City to ensure that informed decisions could guide our agreements moving forward. The resolution asked that the report be provided 30 days after passage and as of today, we still have not been provided with this report. The City Council, or members of our Council staff, were not briefed prior to the arrival of e-scooters on Sunday.
I am troubled that after our bad experience with e-devices this past Summer that a roll-out happened without warning and without going through a full review requested by the Council.
I support alternate modes of transportation. These companies provide our residents an environmentally-friendlier transportation option, something I believe is important. However, we should not move forward without taking the time to review and vet our programs publicly and ensure that implementation is executed in a way that supports public safety, holds businesses accountable, and makes sense for our city.
PROVIDENCE, RI — Following an investigation by a local media outlet early this month, Councilman David A. Salvatore has uncovered discrepancies related to fines issued to homeowners for trash violations.
Media outlet NBC10 alerted Salvatore to a $50 fine being assessed to homeowners leaving trash bins curbside after midnight of their assigned trash day.
“During my conversation with the reporter, I recalled an amendment that was approved by the City Council which reduced first time trash violation fines,” said Councilman Salvatore. “After some research of Providence’s Code of Ordinances, it was confirmed that the City Council had amended the Code to set a more equitable fine structure in 2011.”
Those amended fines were set at $25 for a first offense and $50 for a second offense, with all subsequent fines to be levied at $100 and not to exceed $1,500 per calendar year. Despite the 2011 ordinance change, Salvatore’s research concludes that residents have been receiving first-time violation citations at the $50 fine level – with no $25 fine listed on the citations.
Councilman Salvatore immediately asked for a comprehensive audit of trash fines, and the city put all fines on hold while working to determine whether any improper fines had been assessed. The city’s Internal Auditor is still reviewing more than 1,000 citations related to early storage and/or late removal of trash containers. From the information analyzed thus far, it is estimated that 60 percent of the citations reflect an overcharge.
“Many of our constituents are working two or even three jobs just to put food on their table. Any overcharge is unacceptable, but especially when so many of our residents are already struggling to get by,” said Salvatore. “While I believe that this was an honest mistake, this is an example of extreme carelessness and lack of clear policy and protocol. In addition to ensuring that technology reflects correct information, we need to ensure that our inspectors are trained properly on changes to municipal ordinances they are tasked with enforcing.”
Salvatore noted that the audit of trash fines is still underway; however, as with any thorough review, this audit is a long and cumbersome process that involves culling through physical tickets and other related documentation. He pledged to provide full details of the audit when it is completed and to ensure that any overcharged homeowners receive restitution.
“As elected officials, we have a duty to keep our streets clean and safe. However, we also have a duty to protect our residents, and we owe it to them to follow the rules that we ourselves have set forth,” said Salvatore.