Thursday night’s last minute cancellation of the Providence City Council’s Ordinance Committee remains unexplained. Both the mayor’s office and members of the city council remain silent about the cancellation that left more than a hundred hotel workers and supporters, mostly women and working mothers, to arrive at an empty and unresponsive City Hall.
Two Democratic primary mayoral candidates did respond to my request for a comment on the cancellation, however. While not going so far as to support the $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance the hotel workers have brought before the City Council, the two candidates did champion the idea of open government and were critical of the decision to cancel the meeting without taking into account the sacrifices made by the workers to attend.
“This cancellation was an unnecessary and avoidable problem for those who planned on attending,” said Elorza, “As I made clear in my proposal on Revitalizing and Revamping City Hall, I believe that creating a friendly, customer service oriented atmosphere in City Hall is vital to maintaining the healthy functions of our government.”
Josh Block, Communications Director for the Smiley campaign, relayed the following statement to the hotel workers, “Brett shares your frustrations. He believes that, whatever decision is reached, it must be done in an open and transparent process. Brett is disappointed in the City Council leadership for playing politics and canceling the vote at the 11th hour without notifying the many hardworking men and women who made significant sacrifices and arrangements in order to show up and make sure their voices were heard.”
It is the right of every American that government be open and accessible. One might hope that the hotel workers be someday given an explanation and apology.