Greater City Providence sent surveys to all candidates for Mayor of Providence who qualified to be on the ballot. Below is the survey submitted by John Lombardi.
Candidate photo courtesy of the Lombardi campaign
1. Other Cities
It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to best practices. Across the globe small cities like Providence are doing amazing things to make their cities more livable, increase their tax base, and improve services. What city (or cities) do you look to for inspiration of what you would like Providence to be like or to strive for? What are the characteristics of those cities that you think Providence should emulate?
Prior to identifying inspirational cities, I respectfully propose the following vision that would guide and measure the success of my administration if elected mayor of Providence, RI.
Our Vision of Providence, RI
Providence will become one of the top ten U.S. cities in terms of jobs, economic growth, public safety, education, and commitment to environmental sustainability, and overall livability by the year 2018.
Our city will attract people with great ideas to create a collaborative network that expands the economic base, resulting in a desirable and vibrant city where we will live in harmony, learn together, work together, and where our children play together and grow together.
Providence will build a small business-friendly environment by establishing the Providence Main Street Business Exchange. We will use our city’s many resources to develop and offer programs that help entrepreneurs build their businesses by establishing Providence as an Innovation Zone. Our businesses, non-profit organizations, communities, and city government will work closely to create a thriving economy that provides livable wages, creates widespread job opportunities, and empowers people to prosper and live dignified lives.
Residents in all of our communities will be safe. Each community will be an inviting place where we know and help our neighbors. Our diverse communities will be empowered to interact in quality activities that make a difference in people’s lives, improve their communities, and live in healthy environments, including life-long learning opportunities, high quality schools, the best network of hospitals and universities, and decent, affordable housing.
Providence will be a national Destination of the Arts by further developing its Downtown Arts & Entertainment District, and by offering ready-access to great shopping, recreation, food and world-class entertainment.
Providence city government will be more accessible, accountable, available, effective, reliable, responsive, and transparent to the needs of our community.
The cities that I look to for inspiration will be cities that contain characteristics and/or best practices in the pursuit and realization of our vision of Providence, RI.
- The City of Portland, Oregon, serves as a model in developing collaboration between city government and the public through its creation of the Public Involvement Advisory Council, a standing City board comprised of volunteer community members and City bureaus committed to improving citywide public involvement in planning, decision-making and implementation. Portland is also distinctive in its commitment to environmental sustainability; quality of living; well-developed intermodal commuting options, and its regional government.
- Austin, Texas, rated number 3 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine in 2009 is a city to emulate in pursuing our vision. Known as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, Austin has a robust arts and entertainment industry with the televised music program called “Austin City Limits” and the annual Austin City Limits Music and Arts Festival. Moreover, the University of Texas is central to Austin’s economy as well as providing a high quality workforce to local businesses.
- Boston, Massachusetts, is a knowledge-based economy model that draws and retains young talented and creative people because of its rich community amenities and quality of life. Boston’s 65 colleges and universities, 35 hospitals, and 3 preeminent medical schools strongly attract the brightest people to Boston’s knowledge industry. These educational and research institutions direct the high quality, high demand and high paying workforce to create and transform ideas into solutions for customers. This in turn draws federal government and industrial research dollars to Boston. This infusion of capital helps Boston to provide capital for start-ups and to help sustain the growth of small companies. Boston retains talented people through its system of high quality education, cultural events, and the facilitation of business entrepreneurship.
- Miami, Florida, is a city that transformed itself by connecting the city with the world through international trade; that is, Miami developed an export industry that provides value added services. The people’s strong cultural ties to Latin America, the Caribbean and Western Europe led to an external strategy of connecting Miami through trade, particularly with its modern infrastructure and intermodal transportation and logistics system. With Providence and its port strategically located in the Ocean State, Providence can use Miami’s best practices in connecting with the world through international trade.
- Finally, Charlotte, North Carolina, serves as a paradigm in governance through its groundbreaking use of the Balanced Scorecard. Developed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, the Balanced Scorecard is a relatively new framework for managing the performance of an organization. With the Balanced Scorecard, the City of Charlotte had a management system that integrated departments, focused on high-impact programs, and actions designed to contribute towards achieving the city’s mission and vision.
Our city’s infrastructure has been poorly maintained for decades. Streets, sidewalks, parks… all are in dire straights across the city. The city needs a comprehensive plan to fix what is broken and properly maintain our infrastructure going forward so that we do not return to the sad state of our current conditions. How will your administration address our infrastructure crisis managerially and financially?
My administration, in close collaboration with a Providence Public Involvement Advisory Committee, will develop a succinct and concise grand strategy designed to pursue, achieve and sustain our mission and vision.
Second, we will develop a strategy map that presents a pictorial image of the goals we will pursue in accomplishing our grand strategy. There will be the following seven goals: 1) Safe Communities; 2) Connect Our Communities; 3) Transform Government; 4) Lifelong Education; 5) Reduce Poverty; 6) Expand the Economic Base; and 7) Healthy Living.
Third, we will develop a Balanced Scorecard that translates our goals into an integrated set of objectives, performance measures, initiatives, budgets, designated agencies and/or persons accountable. We will present these objectives under the following five perspectives: 1) constituency; 2) internal process; 3) learning & growth; 4) information systems and 5) financial. The constituency perspective identifies the objectives required to meet the needs of our constituency. The internal process identifies the internal process we must use to meet the needs of our constituency. The learning & growth perspective identifies the objectives that are required to develop the capabilities that our city government workforce needs to perform the internal process. The information system perspective identifies the objectives that will achieve and facilitate building and expanding the capacity of our department workforce to perform its functions well. And the financial perspective identifies the objectives and costs associated in accomplishing all the objectives.
The financial perspective will present six objectives: 1) present an outcome based budget that fully supports the Balanced Scorecard and provides the resources needed to achieve the grand strategy; 2) grow revenues to sustain aligned programs; 3) disclose the long term costs of programs and legislative initiatives beyond 10 years of major spending (what are the long-term costs?); 4) secure and strategically align funding partners; 5) develop and implement a transparent contracting and procurement system; and 6) aggressively pursue, collect, and reduce collectable account evaders.
This goes hand in hand with infrastructure, but specifically tell us, how your administration will ensure that all of our city parks in all neighborhoods are properly maintained?
According to the Providence Home Rule Charter, the Board of Park Commissioners has . . . “jurisdiction over all green spaces of the city,” and “shall . . . develop and maintain the areas and facilities under its charge.” Four of the seven members of this board are appointed by the mayor, and two by the city council, the mayor also sits on this board as an ex officio member. As mayor of the city of Providence it will be my responsibility to see to it this board complies with the mandates of the Providence Home Rule Charter, and takes very seriously its responsibility and answerability to the people of the city of Providence.
During the boom years in the middle of the last decade we saw a substantial amount of development, but what we also saw, especially Downcity, is a substantial number of buildings demolished for projects that never came to fruition. How will your administration hold developers accountable for not following through on projects? How will your administration focus development on lots that are currently vacant (such as surface parking lots) and discourage or ban the demolition of existing buildings?
The city of Providence, like so many other American cities in the 21st century, has experienced a devastating economic decline. This decline has given rise to new problems, such as buildings that were bought up and razed for future development, as well as boarded up foreclosed homes peppered throughout the city’s neighborhoods, which are left abandoned and neglected to be overtaken by vandalism and the elements.
This decline is being is being felt citywide in all of the neighborhoods of Providence, and not just in Downtown. Providence has to become more resilient and innovative in order to adapt to these changes. We need to look to such ideas as the model program currently taking place in Flint Michigan, which involves the razing of abandoned properties and turning the land back to nature.
As mayor, I will ensure the owners of abandoned properties and forgotten, half-completed developments will be held accountable. If the taxes are not, or cannot be paid, and those properties are not being improved or maintained, the city may purchase the properties in exchange for the unpaid taxes, and either resell for development, or selectively revert the properties to environmentally safe and friendly green spaces. Any profits realized from properties that are resold, will be used to develop the green spaces of those properties chosen for a Country-In-The-City designation. Urban green spaces are one of the most important factors in creating more livable communities.
In a 2007 article in LiveScience, Corey Binns stated that research shows, “A little bit of greenery in urban areas can cool off the hotter and stickier summers that city residents face as a result of global warming . . . an additional 10% of green space could reduce surface temperatures by 7 degrees Fahrenheit.”
A Country-In-The-City program can erase the pall of abandoned, boarded up buildings, or empty lots filled with trash and rubble, plaguing our city, and help to create the proud, thriving communities I envision for the city of Providence.
5. I-195 Land
Though there is interest from the Universities to build on some of the land being vacated by the old Route 195, the current state of our economy means that it will likely be years, perhaps decades before that land is fully developed. How would you like to see that land used in the interim with an eye toward the long term, between when the highway is removed in 2012 and when development finally takes place?
My administration will use the land vacated by the old I-195 to perform three major functions: 1) to develop a “Complete Street” incubator project that will serve as a model for the entire city of Providence; 2) to develop and operate an intermodal network hub as a complement to the “Complete Street” incubator project, which will connect and facilitate the movement of people from AroundTown to Downtown and to the Knowledge District; and 3) to develop an exercise park area, which will begin to reconnect the people of Fox Point back with that part of their community that was severed during the 1960’s Urban Renewal program.
Providence is home to a large number of tax-exempt non-profits, schools, hospitals, the state, etc. The inability of the city to assess taxes on this exempt property is a perennial issue. Many of the tax-exempt institutions provide a large number of jobs for city residents and spin off economic activity throughout the city and region. What will the city’s relationship be with these non-profits under your administration?
In the early 1990’s, the city of Providence aggressively pursued the RI General Assembly to enact a payment in lieu of taxes, or P.I.L.O.T program. This program pays the city of Providence a percentage of what it would otherwise earn in property taxes from tax exempt, government buildings located within the city. Providence has also aggressively pursued P.I.L.O.T payments from the local colleges and universities, and is now receiving a percentage from them annually as well, but it isn’t enough. As mayor, I will implore the general assembly to increase the percentage of P.I.L.O.T funding, and I will engage the colleges and universities in new and additional collaborative programs to benefit the people of the city of Providence.
The state of Alabama has a student service initiative entitled Impact Alabama, founded in 2004, by Stephen Black. According to their mission statement, “Impact presents a vision of Alabama in which its young citizens understand, appreciate, and engage actively in civic and public life|contributing their diverse talents to solve local and state problems, influence public policy, pursue the common good.”
It is imperative that the city of Providence work collaboratively with the exemplary higher learning institutions we are fortunate to have on our doorstep, and create such positive, innovative programs, together, in order to stem the slow creeping miasma that will become our children’s futures otherwise.
Late last year RIPTA and the Transit 2020 working group released the Metro Transit Study looking at mass-transit in an area that basically covers everything inside Route 295 (more or less). Among the recommendations of the Metro Transit Study were a starter streetcar line for Downtown Providence. At the Metro Transit Study press conference, Mayor Cicilline acknowledges that the city may need to contribute some money to funding this streetcar. Do you agree that the city will need to contribute some funding to the construction of a streetcar line, and if so, where will the city get money for this? What other sources of revenue do you see being tapped to create a Providence Streetcar line?
The City of Providence is experiencing a crisis of monumental proportions. We confront a fiscal crisis; a unprecedented high unemployment rate; a property tax levy burden; an expensive education system manifesting low graduation and proficiency rates; and a service delivery system that is deficient and not equitable. While transportation is an important infrastructure element to create a thriving economy, we must confront and ameliorate our city’s crises prior to investing in a starter streetcar line. We must have clean water; the trash must be picked-up; the snow must be plowed; the streetlights must work in all neighborhoods; we must control our pest & vermin issue; the police and fire departments must respond in a timely manner in all neighborhoods; we must fill the potholes; and we must design and construct Ã¢â‚¬ËœComplete Streets’ to provide safe and accessible means of varied transportation for all users and commuters. These are the first priorities in my administration. If the City of Providence is to implement a starter streetcar line, then federal and state funding should be used for this transportation infrastructure.
8. Public Transit
Assuming you have reviewed the Metro Transit Study, please speak about your thoughts about some of the study’s other findings and your personal views of transportation issues in the city and metro area.“¯
Providence requires a good, robust, and integrated public transportation system designed to facilitate easy access and movement for all commuters throughout the entire city, from Downtown to “AroundTown.” Designing a good transportation system means creating an intermodal transportation system that is custom tailored to meet the varied needs of Providence constituencies. Easy access signifies that Providence requires multiple transit hubs throughout the entire city; that is, we need more than just Kennedy Plaza as the hub. Taxi service should be available throughout the city similar to major cities for ease of transportation. Bus service must provide a good customer experience in order to increase ridership. Moreover, Providence should provide Rapid Lines that feature long, train-like high tech hybrid buses to reduce congestion. And, Providence should offer car-sharing programs and provide a park and ride system in the city to decrease traffic flow.
9. Complete Streets
Cities and states across the country are enacting Complete Street legislation.”¯
Complete Streets are”¯designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities must be able to safely move along and across a Complete Street.
Are you familiar with the Complete Streets movement and what will you do to ensure Providence’s streets are safe and functional for all users?
Complete Streets is a program that offers multiple well-developed options for commuters and pedestrians to have safe and accessible movement through the City of Providence. My administration will aggressively move to design and construct complete streets when feasible to improve safety, make neighborhoods more livable and encourage stronger community ties, facilitate multiple modes of transportation and physical movement, make transportation more affordable, and to increase the convenience of different modes of transportation.
10. Snow Removal
The city has an ordinance, which states that the abutting property owner must remove snow from sidewalks. This ordinance has gone un-enforced for years creating a major public safety issue for the city’s residents every time it snows. The city and the state are notable offenders in not clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property (sidewalks abutting parks, public buildings, on overpasses, etc.) How will you hold private property owners, the state and the city itself accountable for removing snow in a timely fashion, and how will you ensure that snow removal ordinances are enforced?
The city of Providence has many non-owner occupied, densely packed, multi family houses which are populated by tenants; and in many cases the owners of these properties leave the snow removal responsibilities up to the tenants, resulting in sporadic, and unsuccessful snow removal. s mayor I will see to it that the snow removal ordinance and the accompanying fines are thoroughly enforced in these and in other cases of negligence.
On the other hand, Providence also has a large percentage of owner-occupied homes, occupied by elderly or infirm residents who are unable to remove snow themselves, and who cannot afford to have it removed professionally. In the past a citizen who was unable to remove snow due to an infirmity could contact the mayor’s office and snow shovelers would be dispatched, sometimes by personnel on the mayor’s own staff. In recent times, however, this has not been the case, and snow removal citywide has become a contentious issue.
As mayor, I will establish a Neighbor Helping Neighbor Program, which will help to re-create a strong sense of community in the neighborhoods of Providence. During winter months I will personally utilize my office to make regular television and radio appearances, reminding the citizens of Providence to regularly check on their elderly and infirm neighbors, to ensure their basic health and safety needs are being met, with regard to heat, electricity, proper medications and enough food to eat. I will also ask neighbors to band together to assist those neighbors who are unable to shovel or otherwise have their snow removed. I will have a designated 24/7 emergency hotline made available for responding to such situations that cannot be handled by neighbors, and I will relate the positive stories of true neighborliness that occur on the snowy streets of the city to the people of Providence.
As mayor I will enforce the abutting property snow removal ordinance for all city-owned and state-owned property without exception.
Our city’s diminutive size makes it ideal for cycling. Cities such as New York, Boston, and Portland have been implementing more bike friendly street plans that offer an alternative to bringing more cars into the city. How will you work to improve bicycle infrastructure within the city of Providence?
Improving the bicycle infrastructure will be an element of our Complete Streets initiative. We want to make Providence a more bicycle friendly and safe city for transportation rather than simply for recreational purposes. The City, in collaboration with community leaders and bicycle transportation experts, will develop a Bicycle Master Plan to create a comprehensive network of safe and efficient bicycle lanes and routes.
12. Climate Change
Boston, New York, and other cities are formally researching how their communities will need to respond to growing issues regarding climate change. Environmental challenges include rising sea levels, heavy rains or snow from more intense storms, potentially deadly heat waves, and impacts on the electrical grid due to higher demand during heat waves, all complicated by our built environment–heat island effect and stormwater runoff. How will you ensure that Providence is looking forward and prepared for a changing climate, and what are some of the issues you anticipate the city facing in regards to climate change?
Environmental challenges reveal themselves as a slow accumulation of deep unseen pressures beneath the surface of our day-to-day affairs and society. They release their accumulated energy with catastrophic effect in an abrupt manner; that is, we are shocked, surprised, or caught off guard because events are slowly and quietly occurring, and we become blind to them through our day-to-day living. When the shocking event occurs, we experience a sudden massive failure in our system with a devastating effect to our society.
Some politicians respond to environmental challenges by denying the challenge poses a threat. Other politicians react by managing the challenge as a problem, taking a compartmental approach, taking incremental steps while attempting to mitigate the seriousness and consequences of the challenge.
I will use a systems thinking approach to all of our challenges. I will focus on building resilience in all of the systems that are crucial to the well-being of our city, including energy, economic, population, environmental and climate. I intend to begin building a resilient system in Providence by restructuring in a way that increases our city’s capacity to absorb and recover from shocks; to continue performing well the functions that underpin the city; and to adapt to a constantly changing environment in order to meet our future needs on a sustained basis.
Previous administrations introduced a mandatory recycling program which was plagued by a confusing launch and still does not have full compliance. Reducing the amount of refuse we send to the Central Landfill is not only good for the environment, it is good for the bottom line. How will you get more people (residents, businesses, schools, government) to recycle more items?
The people of the city of Providence have been confused by the city’s new recycling mandates. As mayor I will institute a simple public service, citizen education program, lead by me – as the mayor, where the rationale behind recycling, the gains for the city, as well as the environmental gains, are clearly explained to the people of the city, and their questions are answered and their concerns addressed.
My plan is to make space available at Roger Williams Park to create a Sustainable Living Center. The Center will be a fully participatory environmental lab, workshop, and classroom facility in which the people of the city, especially public school students of all ages, can learn new and different ways to save money, decrease their carbon foot print, become more environmentally friendly, as well as ways to retrieve, recycle, and re-circulate back into the environment, items that would ordinarily end up in the state’s land fill. I will ask businesses and the local colleges and universities to form a partnership in this venture, whereby for example, architecture students interested in sustainable structures can assist in the design and building of the Center; science students can assist with the design and structure of the programming, vocational training students can assist with the Center’s building, infrastructure design including solar heating, hot water, rain water and gray water collection, etc., and art students can teach sustainable design, including what can be done to recycle that old lamp, chair, table or dresser that would otherwise find its way out to the sidewalk on trash day.
In some U.S. cities there are no longer options for recycling. For example, in Portland, Oregon, home demolition and renovation projects where a permit exceeds the amount of $50,000, requires on site sorting and recycling of construction debris. The salvage of reusable items can often lower the cost of new materials through reuse, and can reduce unnecessary dumping. Environmentally aware builders and remodelers are beginning to become more environmental and recycle savvy, and reusable construction parts centers are popping up all over the United States. Deconstruction may take a bit longer than demolition, but can be worth it in the long run in materials cost and environmental savings alone.
As mayor, I will encourage new entrepreneurs interested in opening salvage or recycling businesses to take advantage of the Providence Main Street Business Exchange program, and I will encourage city contractors to consider deconstruction in place of demolition as often as is practicable.
14. Health & Wellness
Obesity and related illnesses pose serious risks to many in our community. In a world where a big Mac costs less than a salad, how will your administration ensure that all residents have ready access to affordable healthy food choices in their neighborhoods? In addition to diet, children and adults need safe places for exercise and other recreational activities year-round throughout the city. What programs can you point to that promote exercise and how will your administration expand those programs and increase residents ability to live healthy lives?
The fragmentation of our health care system in Providence presents an opportunity to improve health and wellness through public policy. I will focus public policy on developing an integrated and improved health care delivery system in Providence in order to reduce disparities in good public health. Second, I will focus on specific afflictions that cause chronic distress in many people that can be ameliorated through public policy. And third, my administration will focus on the importance of exercise.
I believe that one of the roles of a mayor is to convene the people knowledgeable in health-care with the expressed goal to improve the effectiveness, quality, responsiveness, reliability, and resilience of the health-care delivery system in Providence. Although I may not have the medical expertise, I do know that convening people with expertise and first hand knowledge will lead to greater understanding, accountability, affordability, accessibility and improvement in our health-care system. Moreover, my administration will make greater use of the Providence Community Health Center as the delivery system for primary health care as well as preventive medicine. The Providence Community Health Center will be a partner in the integrated health care delivery system in Providence. This will provide greater access to health care for low-income people as well as assist in aiding and maintaining healthy living.
Our public policy will focus on, among other things, low income and uneducated sufferers of undiagnosed vision problems, chronic sleep disorders, depression, obesity, diabetes, human papiloma virus (HPV), HIV/AIDS, and heart disease. These diseases disable employees, spouses, students, children, and senior citizens. As a genuine medical condition that can be successfully treated, sleep disorders place a heavy toll on the performance of adults and children, and are correlated with hypertension, diabetes, and heart attacks. Depression is a condition that afflicts and debilitates many people from performing well in day-to-day living. HPV is correlated with cervical cancer and men are carriers of the disease. Moreover, there are no tests currently available on the market to test men as carriers of HPV. HIV/AIDS is a disease that does not discriminate, and heart disease greatly impacts low-income people. According to Impact Alabama, thousands of the poorest children begin school unprepared to read due to undiagnosed vision problems.
Our public policy would mount an education and community outreach program to inform the public about these diseases and the possible effective treatments available to the public. We will meet with the Brown University Medical School to encourage better training for medical students and residents as well as offering continuing education courses to physicians to know more about these diseases, learn how to diagnose the disease, and to offer effective treatment.
Finally, my administration will direct the Providence School Department to collaborate with a network of partners such as the Department of Parks and Recreation, the YMCA and YWCA, and the Providence Police Department to develop and offer a comprehensive and integrated exercise program for the youth of the city of Providence.
The foreclosure crisis has hit Providence hard, resulting in many vacant buildings throughout the city and forcing renters out of foreclosed homes. How will you curb the foreclosure crisis, reduce the number of boarded up homes, and ensure that renters can stay in their homes? Furthermore, as we climb out of the recession ad build our economy, how will your administration counter the effects of gentrification and ensure that the city maintains attractive affordable housing stock for all? Affordable housing not only for those families living in poverty but also work force housing for the middle class.
Foreclosed homes are plaguing our community.”¯ In some Providence neighborhoods, at least one house on every block is boarded up.”¯ This results in the loss of housing stock, loss of personal assets, increased child mobility, increased crime, and lower value for the surrounding houses.”¯ The worst part about this particular foreclosure crisis is that innocent people are losing their homes.
We have learned that educating homebuyers is the best way to prevent foreclosures. Therefore, the City of Providence must do a better job of educating homebuyers.
The people of Providence are fortunate to have free foreclosure prevention counseling provided by RI Housing, the Housing Network, and NeighborWorks America supported Community Development Corporations such as West Elmwood Housing, and OMNI Development Corporation. We need to conduct more grassroots outreach to inform struggling homeowners where they can receive free HUD Certified assistance. Our city cannot afford to have another dislocated family and another boarded up home.
Those citizens, whose property value remained stable or did not significantly decline, must bear the burden of paying the higher taxes in order for the city to maintain its financial stability. The issue of property taxes becomes an issue of shared burdens and fairness. The city must provide necessary services to residents. Yet, it must levy property taxes to pay for those services. I pledge that I will protect the weakest, seek fair sacrifice from the strongest, and preserve the gains of the middle class.
During this “Great Recession” there has been a lot of talk about regionalism as a way for municipalities to reduce costs though not much of anything has been done”¯past the talking stage. Do you support regionalism? If so, what functions/services do you envision being regionalized, and how will you get surrounding municipalities on-board with a regionalism scheme? “¯
The City of Providence and other neighboring Rhode Island cities confront two complex and seemingly conflicting issues: 1) the increasing demand for services without the sufficient funding to provide the services; and 2) reducing the costs of services while adequately meeting the needs of the constituents. Regionalism is one solution that enables city government to focus on its mission and vision by creating and offering a platform to share expenses, resources, and intangible knowledge of trained and talented people among all clients in multiple jurisdictions while jointly purchasing the level of services needed.
Regionalism offers multiple city clients the distinct capabilities of staffing, shared services, and short and long-term project management funded by grants. The regionalism functions envisioned for Providence are logistics, supply chain management, water and waste treatment, human resource functions, strategic planning, strategy management, process improvement, information systems, transportation, health and human services, parks and recreational services, and emergency management services to name a few.
I would convene neighboring mayors and city managers to discuss and form a Regional Government Service Agency to perform distinct functions and provide specific services that will generate greater efficiency and effectiveness while decreasing costs, rather than each city separately performing the functions and/or offering the same individual services. The cities would sign a joint agreement to create an entity in order to provide these functions and services. Moreover, I will work very closely with the General Assembly and the Governor to create legislation enabling the creation of a Regional Government Service Agency.
17. Mega Project
Providence has a recent history of large-scale public works projects, moving the rivers and now moving Route 195. Pretending for a moment that money is no object, what do you think should be the next mega project Providence should tackle?
The next mega project Providence should tackle, given that funding is available would be the creation of a comprehensive intermodal network that offers safe, easy access, and rapid movement of people and goods and services from “AroundTown” to “Downtown.”
Please write a short statement for the readers of Greater City: Providence about why you should be Providence’s next mayor.
The question that will be before the voters of the city of Providence on September 14th is, what’s next for the city of Providence?
In these troubled economic times we are working much harder for smaller paychecks. It’s more difficult to save and it’s impossible to retire. The American Dream – to do better that our parents and grandparents did, is rapidly slipping away.
Now we have the opportunity to bring the city together in a new way, to solve our problems and work towards a new beginning, together. The old way just doesn’t work anymore. We need modern, innovative, out-of-the-box solutions, and I have programs ready to go that will provide those solutions.
I am running for mayor of the city of Providence to make certain that every child receives the best possible education we can offer. I am running for mayor of Providence to reduce the disparities of good quality and affordable healthcare for all of our residents. I am running for mayor to ensure that each and every citizen of Providence has a good and decent home to live in and raise a family. I am running for mayor to ensure there are job opportunities for those graduating from college, and for those struggling to make it off the unemployment rolls. I am running for mayor to make sure that the small business owner who wants to stay and grow in Providence has the opportunity to do just that. I am running for mayor to create an economic climate that will burden no one and will enrich everyone.
Providence is a city in crisis. Small businesses and working families are not mutually exclusive elements in solving our crisis. As an experienced leader, I can hit the ground running on day one to make the tough decisions with modern solutions that are in the best interest of Providence’s taxpayers.
Together we can fix Providence, and together we must thrive and not merely survive as a city. I have a platform of innovative policies and programs ready to be implemented immediately. Once I am elected, on November 3rd, I will utilize my transition to ensure my 2011 legislative package is ready to go to the General Assembly in the beginning of January, and I will ensure that my administration is ready to begin implementing my policies on day one.
I am an accomplished, proven leader. For over 26 years I have fought for the underdog and I have struggled to lift the unfair burdens from the backs of the taxpayers.
As a leader I embrace the entire city of Providence and everyone in it, in all of their beautiful cultural diversity. As the mayor of Providence I will continue to protect the weakest, demand fair sacrifice from the strongest, and safeguard the gains of all those in the middle.
It will be my honor to continue my lifelong vocation of public service to the people of the city of Providence, and to serve as your next mayor.
Together, we will fix Providence!
John J. Lombardi
2 August 2010