To the Editor:
I attended a Cranston Planning Commission meeting on February 6th at Cranston East High School. The main business before the Commission at this monthly meeting was a proposal to change the City's Comprehensive Land Use Plan and zoning classifications for a handful of parcels in Edgewood. In a classic "38 Studios" move, the not insignificant changes were being proposed not for general economic development of the site, but for a specific project: a traffic choking, over-sized Cumberland Farms with gas pumps at the corner of Park and Warwick Avenues. I will not rehash the debate of that night (and early morning). What I do want to bring up is my shock at what I leaned the next day from golocalprov. The legal representative for Cumberland Farms, promoting their interests, is Mr. John Bolton. What I didn't know on Tuesday (and no one at the hearing bothered to mention) is that Mr. John Bolton is actually Judge John Bolton, Associate Municipal Court Judge for the City of Cranston. I also learned that Judge Bolton is a prolific campaign contributor to Mayor Fung and numerous Council members. He claims he turned off the donations spigot after his appointment to the Municipal Court bench in January of 2017. That's nice. It sounds like a classic example of Rhode Island "pay to play" to me. The politicians who have benefited from His Honor's largesse, need not fear. Here come da Judge's wife, Colleen Bolton, (who reportedly has never before donated in her name) to become an active donor to Cranston elected officials. And let's not forget that over the past decade Bolton's law firm's PAC has donated $100,000 to a range of politicians.
In his defense Judge John stated to golocalprov, "(for the record): I will say that in the past I have donated to nearly every member of the City Council, both past and present members. I fail to see what conflict issue [is being raised]." I don't know how to respond to that statement with language the paper would print.
If the zoning changes are approved, it moves on to the Council for their approval. I don't mind when an issue is debated on an even playing field, but when the deck is stacked in favor of one player it is just another example of "I know a guy"- Rhode Island style and I, as an unconnected citizen who doesn't "know a guy", wasted 5 hours of my time trying to be an involved citizen.
15 Hall Place