Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

13 responses to “South Providence resists Paolino’s plan for St. Joseph’s”

  1. Tom Hoffman

    As a resident of Elmwood, albeit a mile south of the hospital, I’m gonna say people need to chill.

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  2. cailin rua

    Putting aside the question of how this is about a megalomaniacal monopolist, who the forces behind GoLocal news want for mayor, dumping the natural result of neoliberal Democratic and neoconservative Republican social policy on the South Side, how is this proposal more than not similar to Trump’s wall? I suppose all the neolibs are waiting for Ray Rickman to weigh in on this.

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  3. cailin rua

    try this again:

    “Putting aside the question of how this is about a megalomaniacal monopolist, who the forces behind GoLocal news want for mayor, dumping the natural result of neoliberal Democratic and neoconservative Republican social policy on the South Side; how is this proposal not similar to Trump’s wall? I suppose all the neolibs are waiting for Ray Rickman to weigh in on this.

    I think that’s what I meant to say.

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  4. Johnnie

    “No good deed goes unpunished.” Does anyone honestly believe this is about taking care of the homeless? Taking care of the homeless means building affordable housing, not shelters. It means subsidizing housing that people can afford. It doesn’t mean giving billion-dollar corporations and multi-millionaires hundreds of millions in public subsidies and 30-year tax stabilizations to gentrify the city – and make housing even less affordable.

    Florida passed an ordinance recently directed at the organization “Food Not Bombs,” which makes it illegal for anyone to provide free food to over a certain number of people. The cops have arrested those who
    often feed the hungry and indigent. The statute was fashioned after those signs in the park that say: Please don’t feed the animals — or pigeons. Now there is an idea for you, Joey.

    Crossroads was once on Union St., but they had to get it out of there so Buff Chase could gentrify the area at taxpayer expense. They moved it to the YMCA on Broad St. Apparently that is not far enough for Joey, who owns the former Boy Scout building across the street. He approached the CEO of Crossroads recently and asked her if she wanted to move to the old St. Joseph’s Hospital complex complete “with hydroponic gardens where the residents can grow their own food.” Joey has agreed to provide the seeds. I can picture him now serving the residents their own kale, walnut and cranberry salads.

    The way this whole thing was handled is a window into the way these people view us and low-income neighborhoods. Would they have ever tried to pull this shit in any other place or community? They make the decision among themselves and never even bother to ask or seek any input from the residents of the area. They see this neighborhood as home to the deplorables, so why would they mind the disposables. What utter arrogance, entitlement and contempt they display for those beneath them and their station.

    Raimondo and Paolino both have Washington connections and are bigwigs in the Democratic party, the people’s tribunes. When you look beyond their public persona and posturing this is actually what they are about. How anyone believes a word they say or even wants to be around them is beyond me. These serial liars and finaglers make my skin crawl.

    Joey bought the building on the cheap; I suspect the public is bailing out the current owners. The “philanthropist” will get rid of his problem, the visual blight of the homeless, and turn a profit at the same time.— all on the public’s dime. Why else would the contract, the terms of the sale and details be kept confidential?

    I have a good idea. How about refurbishing the old Agawan Hunt Club that’s in bankruptcy? I’m sure they will be looking for subsidies. The tennis courts, the greens, the clubhouse and the riding stables would be perfect.

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  5. PinkHatLib

    “All on the South Side, right?”

    Kind of says it all. How about putting this facility on the East Side along with some oil tanks, scrap yards, asphalt plants, hazardous waste processing companies, and on, and on.

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    1. transportprovidence

      As someone who lives on the East Side, I’d be okay with that (although there actually is a housing project on my block– and by the way, the neighbors there are great, so there’s absolutely nothing to fear). But I don’t know if a bunch of South Side residents getting together to block homeless people from coming to the neighborhood is the best way to highlight to struggle for equality between the East Side and South Side. Fighting this is kind of selfish.

      Bring more affordable housing to my side of town! I’m all for it! Let’s start by getting rid of the zoning on the East Side that only allows single family housing with large plots in big parts of the neighborhood.

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  6. Tom Hoffman

    By definition it isn’t a plan to relocate the homeless if it is a plan to give the homeless homes.

    The devil, of course, is in the details, but if this ends up being affordable housing of reasonable quality for people who would otherwise be in the streets, how can we in good conscience oppose it?

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    1. transportprovidence

      I agree with Tom (although I feel like it would be better if these were permanent homes, and my understanding is that they’re just temporary shelters).

      I think the positiveness of this proposal doesn’t take away from the fact that Paolino *does* want to remove “bus people” from Kennedy Plaza (some but not all of whom are homeless). I think we can support the good things Paolino happens to be doing and also remain critical of his other policies.

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  7. Coalition for the Homeless praises Paolino’s idea, but pans his delivery

    […] Darryl Kosciak, the brand new executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, had an interesting welcome to his new job, and state, earlier this week when Joe Paolino formally announced his idea to transform part of St. Joseph’s Hospital in South Providence int…. […]

  8. Barry Schiller

    I agree with Tom too. Saying build it on the East Side may be a good sound bite but won’t result in housing any real homeless people as Joe Paolino is trying to do. Calling him a “megalomaniac” is not helpful, that kind of name-calling usually reflects more badly on the writer. That said, I’m surprised an experienced politician such as Paolino did not touch base with south side community leaders earlier on.
    Tom is right,
    There is nothing wrong with downtown property owners wanting housing provided to the homeless so they are not hanging around their property deterring redevelopment. But I don’t think this will work. Our high rents, low wages, inadequate treatment of substance abusers and the mentally ill will keep a supply of homeless coming even if some get housing at St Joseph’s.

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  9. cailin rua

    This seems to be an assertion worth examining:

    “There is nothing wrong with downtown property owners wanting housing provided to the homeless so they are not hanging around their property . . . ”

    Really? “Their property”? Since when is Kennedy Plaza “their property”?

    The real estate tycoons who have bought property around Kennedy Plaza with expectations of huge returns delivered by taxpayer subsidy? How are they any different than someone who bought a home next to the airport in Warwick? What are those people told? Isn’t it always, “if you didn’t want to deal with the noise and air pollution you shouldn’t have bought there.” Pages and pages have been written about the impact that the violence of environmental injustice has had on the people who live there have had to endure here at R I Future and Eco R I?

    We have one man’s vision involved here. Lots and lots of people don’t share his visions of grandeur, even if the engageri club members and the groups they bankroll are on board. How is this not a plan to warehouse the inconvenient products of neoliberalism into a stack and pack warehouse which will be nothing more than a reservation for the poor with a police substation on the first floor to catch anyone who would so much light up a cigarette, not to mention anything else?

    Are we to expect Laborers International to mob the next hearing, leaving any dissenters in the hall? Maybe Joe will set up a free speech zone for them.

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  10. Barry Schiller

    Cailin, did you deliberately misread what I said? Paolino and others, including smaller businesses, are literally concerned with their own property, entranceways and vestibules, and right outside on the sidewalk. The reality is that it is much harder to attract tenants, customers, clients, despite plenty of vacant space. Kennedy Plaza and Burnside Park are NOT the issue, almost all agree all people have a right to be there as long as they are not doing anything illegal (vandalism, drug deals, disturbances being the usual.)

    And downtown interests, which include a lot of bus riders, have a right to try to improve conditions there, just as airport neighbors try to do with curfews, runoff controls, buffer zones, insulation and the like, just as 6-10 neighbors try to soften the impact of the suburban oriented expressways that encircle them.

    By the way, why don’t homeless hang around airports? The reasons include that is where the big shots really want them to be gone, most of the big-shots don’t care abut downtown, they abandoned Providence years ago.

    Not just because I am a city person, I think we all have an interest in a successful downtown, for reasons of quality of life, preservation of some beautiful buildings, its environmental advantage of compact, transit-walk-bike-friendly energy efficiency, its public health benefit of encouraging more walking and social interaction of diverse communities (as opposed to the sprawl one-in-a-car lifestyle preferred by companies like Citizens, Fidelity, and Neighborhood Health Plan that move out to the woods)

    Since no plausible alternatives are suggested, it seems to me you and others objecting to Paolino’s proposal would rather leave those people without housing just so he in no way gets any benefit.

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    1. cailin rua

      I didn’t misread you at all, Barry. Were you here in 1986? Do you remember the A G’s race that year? I’ll never forget it or why the particular Democratic challenger was chosen by Fleet and Gilbane. I remember being told about the 4 locomotives the MBTA was going to dedicate for the new Boston/Providence run. The developers have been salivating ever since.

      The other little bit of info that was circulating at the time was how interstate banking deregulation was really going to “change things”. My question, Barry, what do you think? Did it change things? Bank of America w/ the help of Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts played Pac Man, did they not? Kennedy Plaza was surrounded by banks. It was far from an ideal situation but now what is left of them is down in Charlottsville and the country is still fighting a losing battle trying to recover from the crash all this wheeling and dealing cost us. I believe those banks paid taxes on those buildings now occupied by Brown and RISD. Johnson and Wales must have some, too.

      I could elaborate. I tried but to apprehend the problems left behind by big finance and the people from big finance who sit on the boards of the so called non profits around here – Brown: Steven Cohen and Brian Moynihan, just to mention a couple – one has to depart far from the subject of the homeless people that are the immediate issue being discussed here. Let’s just say New Years, 1991 was the Night of the Long Knives in Providence and Rhode Island Foundation.

      Now the taxpayers of Providence are being saddled with the burdens of people arriving at Kennedy Plaza from other communities into what is the ghost town that the hegemonic private colleges and arrogant corporate interests have appropriated without any or far reduced financial obligations for public safety and infrastructure maintenance. They’re so arrogant they expect all of us to pay for a plan to remove “undesirables” and probably provide more tax credits for the design and remodeling job of what will amount to another “detention center dumped on the South Side. All this so that on parents’ weekend or when the Convention Center hosts a Land Trust Alliance convention the people who come into town are fooled into believing Providence is as squeaky clean as Rio de Janero was made for the Olympics? Das neoliberalism, if you were wondering what it neoliberalism is.

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