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Leave out the personal attack

We’d be first to argue for the rights afforded all Americans under the First Amendment to the Constitution. While it has fueled debates and caused deep rifts between people, freedom of speech has empowered us to criticize our government and hold in check those who would attempt to unfairly exert their influence and deprive us of our rights.

Therefore, we defend the right of Rob Cote and the Warwick Car Tax Revolt that he spawned to comment on City Council and Warwick proceedings.

We also see a line between commentary on the system or the actions of an individual and an attack based on personal bias. Does this mean the opinions of the openly bigoted should be censored? Does this mean they should be silenced, and who would decide that?

This is a slippery slope. Should attacks, whether contained in advertisements, published in newspapers, sent by email or shouted from the street corner be stopped, especially when they are of a demeaning and scurrilous nature?

Again, we defend the freedom of speech, but we also note the rights of others to counter such comments and to take steps to bring suit to defend their character and, if justified in court, be compensated for damages inflicted.

We would hope Mr. Cote recognizes this.

The right he is afforded to comment on people and events is also afforded others to say what they choose of his actions and opinions.

We find Mr. Cote’s attack of Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis particularly offensive, not because he would prefer to see Ward 9 Councilman Steve Merolla be elected City Council President – Mr. Cote is entitled to his opinion – but because his attack is premised on her education. Furthermore, he alleges “the fix is in” on the assumption that Mrs. Travis will follow the bidding of the administration.

In an ad appearing in today’s Beacon, Mr. Cote lines up Mrs. Travis’ qualifications, as he sets the parameters, against those of Mr. Merolla. (We should add that Mr. Merolla was not consulted about the ad and made a point to our reporters that he favors the debate of issues and ideas but not personal attacks.) Under Mrs. Travis’ qualifications, ranging from education to professional experience and her primary concerns, Mr. Cote places question marks while those of Mr. Merolla are carefully detailed.

Is this any worse than some of the negative advertising we saw in the last election on the local, state and federal levels? Certainly not. It may even be considered tame by that comparison. Mr. Cote has made his point. We know how he feels about Mrs. Travis. We also can infer he thinks that 18 years of experience on the City Council doesn’t count for much.

And we hope we have made our point: personal attacks don’t have a place in this debate. We wish Mrs. Travis every success should her fellow council members choose her to be their leader.

If Mr. Cote continues to be so moved by concern about what happens in Warwick, perhaps he should run for office himself.


Comments
47 comments on this item

What????? OK whomever wrote this, if you need heart surgery just let anyone do it no matter what education they dont have. When you get your taxes done next month, who needs a CPA just let anyone do it even if they never completed high school let alone accounting. This paper is looking pretty yellow here, for certain. Qualifications and track record DO count. Lets not forget Travis tried to silence the car tax protest as well. So when someone doesnt have the credentials to manage a 300 million dollar city, and disrespected the 1st Amendment badly when we have young soldiers dying right now to protect them, thats relevant. Dont we ant the best people in leadership? Have we learned nothing from the economic collapse and bankrupt cities, potentially bankrupt states and even possibly our federal government? I believe this piece is way off the mark. Mr Cote and anyone else is damn right to ask about qualifications of our next leaders.

"If Mr. Cote continues to be so moved by concern about what happens in Warwick, perhaps he should run for office himself." This is another peice of worthless drivel. Running for office is FAR from the only way to contribute to democracy. The 1SAt Amendment was written for just that reason, so people OUTSIDE of government can have a voice. But by that logic, whomever wrote this, if you dont like Cote asking about Travis qualifications, why dont YOU run for city council so you can vote for her. Why piddle around in the newspaper business if you care about democracy, you must run for office. Shut down the presses and run! Oh wait, the people wont be informed then. Isnt that what your REALLY saying here? YOU and YOURS get to speak but Cote doesnt. WOW WOW WOW Civics 101 stops at the Beacon's front door (while insider pols get right in). WOW

It is too bad John Howell has been the Mayor's cheerleader for years. Health care and pension costs out of control on Scottie's watch and the Beacon does nothing.

What a disgrace !!!!!!!!!!!!!

This story should have stopped at the end of the second paragraph.

Cote gave good reasons why Travis doesn't qualify for council president and quoted his sources.

Now he is being accused by a local paper of leading personal attacks. Really sad.

At minimum she is underqualified compared to other members on the council.

I am sickened and heartbroken seeing a newspaper smear one of it's residents for having a proper reaction to a bogus council appointment.

John Howell is the one making the personal attack. And clearly Travis is not qualified. I hope this story goes national as I know calls are being made. It's bad when we saw Travis stomp on the 1st amendment introducing a resoultion to ban signs in the chambers and it's worse when we see our local newspaper doing it too. It's a sad day.

Dear Mr. Howell,

I would like to address your hypocrisy in this matter. You have taken thousands of dollars of my money in advertisments, yet you continually try to slam me in your editorials for the sole purpose of not ruffling the mayors feathers who gives you about 60K per year in advertisments. If you had such an issue with my ad, why werent you man enough not to run it? Prostitutes take money from anyone, dont they John, and then they make excuses, or in your case editorials.

The bottom line Mr. Howell is that in the private sector, resumes are scrutinized and the candidate with the appropriate credentials gets the job. Its not a personal attack. But not in the case of Warwick city government, and you continue to protect the cancer for financial gain. WHAT A GUY! You, as well as I, am under the same scrutiny, I however, have no agenda, and no financial interest. How much money did I give you last year?? I forget. How many papers did I sell for you due to my movement?? I forget. Do you have the integrity to answer those questions? Probably not.

You criticize me and ask me why I didnt run for office when you know the answer to that as I have told you face to face several times in interviews. In case the Alzheimers is kicking in , let me tell you again. " I have no interest in seeking political office as I am self employed, happy, involved with my childrens activities, and further more, I couldnt afford the pay cut. Not with standing the fact that the mayor has stacked the deck by signing 3 year union contracts in an economic environment when no one is signing 3 year contracts with anyone. Additionally, what Warwick needs now is someone with a Masters Degree or PHD in economics, back ground in finance and /or banking, which I dont have". Have you forgotten that conversation John, or has your boss Scotty, ordered you to include that last inappropriate comment in an attempt to discredit me while I call him and his administration to the table.

I have delivered you video of theft in this city, you ignored it and said it wasnt news worthy, but channel 12 ran it. (several times) I handed you e-mails received from court proceedings of Donna Travis and Camile Wilkinson distributing untrue comments that I am a convicted felon, but you didnt write an editorial about personal attacks then, did you? When I demanded a public hearing for the residents, you called me a renegade and made an analogy to the Gabby Gifford shooting. And now, when I compare information which is obtained word for word from the city council web site, (http://www.warwickri.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=78%3Awarwick-city-council-main&id=804%3Award-6-councilwoman-travis&Itemid=39) you publish a garbage editorial, after you take my money, that I make personal attacks.

You should be ashamed of yourself John, and the residents see through your loyalty to protect the mayor and to not disrupt the scamming of the taxpayer. You Sir, are an integral part of the dysfunction in Warwick, and I am saddened that you have been bought off so cheaply.

Rob Cote

PS John, It seems that your readers and the social media agree with me.

I don't see where stating the FACTS as being a personal attack. Besides she choose to be in the public areana. She is NOT qualified for the position and thats a fact. I feel like living in Warwick is like living in the twlight zone. Is everyone asleep at the wheel? Wake the hell up.

How's the. Weather in Florida Rob?

For Mr. Howell to even mention the first amendment is sad. Of course Cote has the right to say what he wants. A reporter/newspaper owner should know that. If someone enters public office, they should have thick skin. It is widely known that the courts allow even more vitriol to be spewn at public figures as opposed to private citizens. Public figures have a limitation on suing for libel because they are public figures. To say that a citizen could not object to an elected public figures education level is beyond the pale for an editor of a newspaper. Kidding right? Perhaps John Howell should no longer mention a candidates education level when showcasing candidates for various positions during elections. Doesn't matter, right? Mr. Howell would have done the lady more justice if he cited her experiecne IN LIEU of her education level and left it at that.

Stevie D. more valid commentary from you eh?

Hey Cote....your screen name is the captain....what are you the captain of the good ship lollipop? You like to sling it but when someone calls you on something....your cry foul!!!...get a real job....leave RI...or just go away...you are insignificant!!!! This paper sees you for what you are....soon your radio flunkies will as well!!! GO AWAY! YOU ARE NOT WANTED OR NEEDED HERE!

Cantbelieveit,

You have yet to learn the things that I already forgot as it is clear by your post that you have an extremely limitid IQ. Which would even disqualify you to run the good ship lollipop. I think I'll stay for a while you make you and your dept. of thieves sweat a bit more.

You'd be better off propping up Horace Hobbs in his casket...Council President Travis...You've got to be kidding!

Cote stands against political favoritism and waste in government.

It's no wonder he gets comments such as "Go away" and all the other comments from the lowest IQ.

Cote.. thanks for your efforts, all of us Joe Publics, we DO appreciate it.

Mr tax revolt shouldn't be allowed to comment on anything - he is unemployed, lives off his wife; pretends he is a Captain (6-pack license -- anyone can get that); Calls himself "the captain" (maybe cptn morgan) and he seems to be spending a lot of time before the judge explaining his activities. Crackpot for sure.

Mr. Tax revolt can comment on anything he wants.- He used to captain boats and he still gets offers all the time [you dumb ass]. - You don't know him at all. - Judges throw out bogus cases against him and it's pretty funny stuff. Prosecution used all the scare tactics in the world to scare him into a plea bargain. Something that would have a normal guy pleading down on the first day. Cote has bigger brass balls than anyone when he said "prosecute me, go ahead, bring it to trial, I want you to bring me to trial." Cote said that and won. The judge didn't even want to hear the trumped up false allegation case in his court room and made the prosecution let it go. A stupid case from stupid people. Stupid like you. You are spinning facts on a good man that you simply don't like his finger pointing at people that deserve to have attention brought on them. You are a hater and think telling your buddies what you write is cool. You are an idiot. You prove so every time to sit at your keyboard. You are the one that should go away. Clearly.

Just because someone has the right to do something doesn't make it right. A newspaper in NY published the names and addresses of licensed gun owners in a county. It was pubic information but why, to what end? They had the right to do it but I think that was a terrible invasion of privacy.

I saw the ad, read the article and heard a radio interview. They were personal attacks and I think we deserve better whether it be the the Congress or the City Council in Warwick. There was a time when the motto was reasonable people can agree to disagree. Now it's if you disagree with me your a lapdog, bump and the like. There are two sides to every story. Politics today at all levels is so disrespectful I can't imagine why anyone would want to run for office.

If the taxpayers really appreciated Rob, more than three people would show up to help him. I don't disagree with a lot of his concerns but his approach is much more negative than positive. And he wonders why people stay away from him....

Dear Gordian.

N.Y. was a bad analogy. It is an incorrect spin on the subject of the Donna Travis' situation.

You should be bold enough to say you don't think the city council should take Donna Travis' education, her attack on the 1st amendment, her inability to present articulated arguements on a variety of subjects as other members do, or even her personal life into consideration when they vote the next council president. Period.

It's Rob Cote's position that it matters.

It's yours that it doesn't.

That doesn't make Cote wrong for doing it.

What Donna Travis brings or doesn't bring to the table should be considered but the powers that want her on the seat don't want any - speed bumps or snags.

People should make up their own mind if they agree or disagree with Rob's presentation of details. And if they have anything to do with her 'qualifications" for council president.

In the political world it matters.

If Travis was put side by side with others on the city council she would lose. That's what Rob did. That's Rob's point. He compared her for purpose of the election.

If you want to argue some of the details were too personal, I am unsympathetic,- she stonewalls Joe Public on the Mayor's behalf and she VOTED THE TAXPAYER DOWN when they clearly wanted to be heard!

So no, I don't think he was too personal.

SteveD,

The public doesn't even turn out for the Mayor denying the new actuatrial report to be released to the public. At the last council meeting, the council allowed the Mayor's veto to stand by voting just for that. A vote said let his veto stand that the financial actuarial report stay hidden.

The taxpayers have been stonewalled enough times that they don't turn out for anything.

What Cote did to get people into the chambers was unblievable and you have no clue much less care of that achievement.

Not only can the public not see the report for themself, YOU can't as well. And if the city finances get worse, the opportunity to make the corrections pass by just like central Falls. The years before they went belly up nothing was done. The taxpayers are always kept at bay away from the truth. Corrections have to be made early but if corrections create snags in a Mayors political career they are kept secret.. If I'm wrong the actuatiral reports would surely shut me up right?

I wouldn't trust him to pilot a dinghy . . .and he pled out "just because" i'm sure.

Got to the web site, look at the facts, there was no plea. Not guilty non plea. Why was that?? Because the "complaintants" story just didnt add up. What we call falsification of a police report.

Again, what does any of this has to do with an 8th grader getting appointed behind closed doors as the council president. And for the StevieD fans. If you havent looked lately, your pension plan this year which was based on a 7.5 % return (that was promised to you at the taxpayer expense) returned 1.4%. So, cummulatively, over the past 10 years the rate of return according to the Treasures Dept., is 2.28%. A far cry from the 8 % in past years as promised by the people you continue to elect, and not even close to the 7.5 that your mayor boasts about, that due to his correction, all your pensions will be just fine.

So lets look at it in perspective. This year, due to the actual return rate of 1.4 % and not 7.5, that means that next year the return has to be 13.6, just to break even. If you dont get that return rate, what does it do to the unfunded liabilities. Now StevieDboy, here is where you get to exemplify your post secondary education, extrapolate the numbers and educate us morons that can actually do math. So whats the verdict? Happy with your financial managers or not? Oh I know, now the excuse will be that return rates arent measured year to year. I already gave you the numbers for the past 10 years as was discussed at the budget hearings, but since your hero Scotty boy (by the way are you related) refuses to bring in the actuaries to testify, and has failed to present a 5 year plan, how's your confidence level??

are you sure? Really? The only one thing we can be sure of is - YOU WERE LIED TO.

It was Not Guilty, No plea, to be held for dismissal. The judge didn't want to hear nonsense from a rediculous prosecution attempt in his court.

As Cote said from the beginning with brass balls, "Make my day, bring it to trial" - Cote poked a hole in every part of thier case from the beginning.

Cote subpoenaed phone records cooberating every lie he found on contradicting police reports and crammed them down the prosecutions neck.

Again, - Not guilty, No plea, held for dismissal.,- You were lied to and someone is saving face. - Pled? Hahaha, that's funny.

Captain, you are too generous informing people that slumber and also they persecute you.

They don't comprehend anything you just wrote, let them find out the hard way.

nolo contendre . . . .and previously

http://www.dem.ri.gov/news/1998/pr/0605981.htm

I'm not one to kick a man when he's down but, That's not the court of law website, thats DEM.

That case ended in lack of evidence.

It was a witch hunt against Cote for his tangle with the Fire Dept., Cote was vindicated.

Read the disclaimer on the DEM website, it reads,

- In providing information on this site, we have attempted to be as accurate as possible. However, we make no claims, guarantees or promises about the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the information provided and are not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for results obtained from the use of the information. Every possible effort is made to keep the content of this site accurate and current, but that may not always be the case. We will make an effort to correct errors brought to our attention. Distribution of the information does not constitute any warranty. The user assumes the risk of verifying any materials used or relied on.

-Although it was nice research on your behalf Inspector Clusaeu ..hahaha

If the Beacon started doing its job i.e. exposing the mismanagement of the Avedisian administration, taxpayers wouldn't have to show up to council meetings etc.

When Scottie leaves, Warwick will be in the same position Providence was when Dave Cicillne left.

The Beacon could have stopped the financial calamity facing Warwick by asking the arduous questions of Scottie and company but it failed to do so. What a disgrace. The state press in Syria is more aggresive in uncovering the truth than is the Beacon under John Howell.

If the Beacon started doing its job i.e. exposing the mismanagement of the Avedisian administration, taxpayers wouldn't have to show up to council meetings etc.

When Scottie leaves, Warwick will be in the same position Providence was when Dave Cicillne left.

The Beacon could have stopped the financial calamity facing Warwick by asking the arduous questions of Scottie and company but it failed to do so. What a disgrace. The state press in Syria is more aggresive in uncovering the truth than is the Beacon under John Howell.

Media failure..

Politicians have something over everyone. Either money or clout what have you. Taxpayers simply pay taxes. Where is the clout in that unless we unionize as public workers do.

We expect someone to represent us. Scotty Boy has an R next to his name. He is supposed to stand up for taxpayers not stonewall us from serious facts. Typical politicians.

Dear bobsuksrogersmore,

First, what an obvious moron you are with a name like that. It shows you as a failure of the Warwick Public School system. Secondly, can you point to anywhere in your article that indicates nolo- condendre?? No you cannot as that did not happen and you are spewing falsehoods. You must be related to Wikinson and Travis. The facts of the matter are that it never went to court. You could have found that out if you had an ounce of brains. The reason that it never went to court? After the Warwick Fire trumped up that 30 gal. of gas was dumped in a drain they immediately pumped the system. Samples went to Cyn environmental and RI anylitical labs. The result?? (go ahead you can say it) NO EVIDENCE PETROLEUM PRODUCTS OR DISTILATES. Never got into a courtroom. Guess you never saw the vindication article in the paper either. So instead of continuing to try to slander me with non facts, do some homework. Also, for $5 anyone can pull a BCI background, so why dont you do that before you make comment that could put you and SteveD in the same court of slander.

As long as she has the vote she is the BOSS. you can cry you can yell that it .As for John this goes back to LINK. Some people from the beacon even got a job. That how it goes . warwick . Just like the state. because a long time ago i was the only 1 people in the city holding the mic over and over. JUST DON,T HAVE THE TIME. BUT HELP IS ON THE WAY SOON.

I dont have a dog in this fight, but it seems to John Howell has some explaining to do when a key Warwick reformer is TWICE arrested on charges that are so obviously trumped up that the court wont even look seriously at it. The false gasoline charges followed whistleblowing by Rob Cote, and the false yelling back at someone charges followed, thats right, whistleblowing by Cote. See the pattern? John Howell apparently doesnt. The newspaper is supposed to be the fourth estate of democracy, the fourth pillar and one which is clear and unbiased. This paper looks more like its office is in city hall. Thats something you see in North Korea and I'm not joking. Mr Howell, please, we need you to step up here.

To those who compalin about the Beacon why do read it and comment on the its website?

You are most definitely worth $5 . . .

Not!

Gordian,

All that your statement does is profess you lost the arguement.

This is a place to complain or commend a story. I am sad for you that you needed that explained. I really am.

Normally my advise would tell someone like you with such a moronic statement to quit while you are ahead, but that moment appears to have passed years ago.

Not to mention it's immature reasoning.

You should try starting over by posting on the Disney website.

Mr Howell just does Scott'ys bidding. He is a spineless sham of a man that silenced the mayors biggest critic when he cancelled Bob Cushman's column. Why would anyone expect any good out of such a fraud. More people lived in Warwick in 1970 than do today. The reason is current and past politicians, public unions and John Howell.

look like we are all sohappy

Sorry Mr. Howell, but Mr. Cote is spot-on and doing the taxpayers a service......one that you certainly dropped the ball on this time. Education and qualifications are of the UTMOST importance and have NOTHING to do with "character". Perhaps you should look the words up yourself. You are definitely in the wrong here!!!!!

Mr "captain" is an uneducated buffoon

Same old story! Every time mr cote is backed into corner he crys foul. Let get some facts straight! If he is so innocent with his latest run in with the law why did mr cote and his lawyer take the plea bargin? A no plea is a no plea entered but still a guilty. Case is filed for one year.

Same old story! Every time mr cote is backed into corner he crys foul. Let get some facts straight! If he is so innocent with his latest run in with the law why did mr cote and his lawyer take the plea bargin? A no plea is a no plea entered but still a guilty. Case is filed for one year.

Mr. bobsucksrogersmoore, you are clearly a moron. Arogers, do some research and at least try to be factual as you are 100% incorect. Or should I just call both of you Mr. typical DPW?

Moron? That is in fact 100% correct! You can lie and hide from the truth all you want. I'm not going to sit here and call you names, obviously that's your job. I'm a little more mature and have more intelligence than that . I just want people to know the facts . People don't mind knocking on city halls doors , sometimes that is what keeps our system in check! But when someone starts making personel attacks and try's to manipulate the press to make people look bad well that's just not fair. Maybee you should try changing your approach and be a half way decent human and maybee people with common sense and intelligence will pay attention to you. Best of luck!

Boy the comment were better then the article. I enjoyed the back and forth from all. We all knew that Donna was going to be Council President someone new to do the Mayors bidding. Place has been replaced by Travis. Taxes will go up, Crap will get passed and self serving people get voted back in to run our city into the ground, only 3 that are for the the people that pay the bills.

Ok (the captain) so I took your advice and did do some research today so I can be 100% correct! You and your lawyer took the plea bargin that was offered to you because you wanted to avoid trial . 100% true because if you where innocent you certainly wouldn't plea bargin, I know I wouldn't! Ok so they offered you a no plea which by law is guilty without admission ! The court filed it for a year but gave you 6 months retro from the date you where arrested so that still leaves you on the hook for six months from now. So now if you be a good boy for six months the court will dispose of the case at that time! Only if your a good boy ! So folks case was not disposed but filed for one year still guilty. And that is 100% correct that comes district court.

His second tour through court system . .how many normal people get charged with crimes?

He has no education, no life and no job . . .

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