McKee says McLaughlin's stance on school 'will not be forgotten'

McKee says McLaughlin's stance on school 'will not be forgotten'

CUMBERLAND - Mayor Daniel McKee is accusing state Rep. Jim McLaughlin of reveling in the disruption created by the shutdown of the construction site of the new Blackstone Valley Prep charter school on Broad Street.

McKee says McLaughlin was distributing multiple copies of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management letter that orders a review of a petroleum spill - likely from 50-year-old home heating oil - found buried on the site that's been a paved playground for more than four decades.

Said McKee, "It is a shame the we have a representative who finds pleasure in seeing the children and families that he represents hurt. His celebration is premature and will not be forgotten."

For months now, McLaughlin has irritated McKee by repeating his message of worry about the 19th-century coal mining industry in the general vicinity of the school. McLaughlin has pointed to cave-ins of the past and suggested the new school could be built over a lost mining shaft.

But McKee is saying that the charter school community has many friends who will be voting against McLaughlin in his District 57 race come November.

McLaughlin, who last week was speculating about whether the oil spill might actually be related to the coal mining industry, said he's "not ruling anything out."

About McKee's criticism, he said, "He can say what he wants but I'm just doing my job. I shouldn't be holding my seat if I don't do the due diligence and make sure it's safe for kids.

"He can rant and rave, but it's not nonsense."

The flare-up comes during the first full week of the shutdown of the new Blackstone Valley Prep's charter school construction site pending a RIDEM review of the contaminant.

Idled is what was an aggressive construction schedule aimed at finishing the three-story school in time for the first bell in September.

Civic Builders of New York, the firm putting up the $15 million school at 52 Broad St., specializes in building charter schools. It had secured the lot from Cumberland last fall and - after a series of time-consuming public meetings - won the rezoning it needed to begin the work that began almost immediately.

Even as BVP was engaged by a neighborhood concerned about traffic and parking issues, McLaughlin began talking about a 19th-century coal mining history near the site and the documented cave-ins of several decades past.

Prompted by his concerns, Cumberland engaged an outside geologist who did 14 test borings, some 25 feet deep, to declare the site safe for the school.

The petroleum spill, discovered 8 feet down and attributed to the oil tank that belonged to the Currier mansion razed on the site in 1968, wasn't spotted by any of the several environmentalists who tested the 1.3 acre site in advance of building.

The town of Cumberland had taken ownership of the land in the late 1960s, and according to Town Council minutes, solicited bids to raze it in March of 1968. The low bidder was H.B. Building Wrecking of Providence at $3,900.

Forty-five years later, contractors found the buried oil tank contents in late December, prompting the DEM's letter of Jan. 24 demanding a halt to operations.

Construction continued, however, for another week.

Equipment was finally halted last Thursday after The Breeze inquired about continuing work. RIDEM reiterated its order to shut down.

Said McKee later, "I am not pleased that Civic misunderstood. The focus should be on the fact that the site is safe and the problem was self reported and correctable."


Keep up the great work Jim! As long as you continue to run for office you will have my vote. We need individuals to stand up to mayor McMee (no, that is not a typo) and his "Boys Club" at the town hall. Remember Dan, you are in an election too this year. Your years of mismanagement, insiders deals, and promotion of your own agenda as mayor (as you say) "Will not be forgotten". Good luck in November. You are going to need it more than Jim!

Lets face it, this project was rammed through. We took a playground away from the Valley and the deal was done fast. Blame it on an oil tank. Last I knew mercury is not in oil. I will support Rep. McLaughlin if he chooses to run again. The only nonsense here is that the land sale and the building of a three story school without parking was an injustice to the Cumberland residents.

Maybe the part time planning director should have been doing her job.

Rep. McLaughlin should be lauded for his work,here, not vilified. Does Mayor McKee think that he is Gov. Christie and he is going to silence his critics, and he wants to be Lt. Governor? There are not enough people in government watching out for the taxpayer and the public interest. We should be supporting those that do. This school should not be built there, period. We do not need a bully in public office. It has been my experience that Mayor McKee does what he wishes regardless of what the citizens want.
Keep up the good work Rep. McLaughlin.

The comments section of this weekly is a riot. Let's just make things up and be mad about it. If you agree with McKee or not is not the issue...that is YOUR opinion and entitled to that. What you NOT entitled to is making things up or just twisting things. these are the facts:
The Mayor had NO vote or say on the sale of the land.
The land was sold by the Town Council by a 7-0 vote.
I may have missed it but I read the article again and I can see anything about mercury in this issue...
Lastly the planning director didn't vote. (And shame on the town government for going with a part-time position to save money...said tongue in cheek...)
Take your hate out on the Mayor, but please do so with he correct facts.

Sorry Dan, you lost my vote for Lt. Gov. (a position that should be eliminated in RI anyway.)

If you listen to the 9/18/13 Town Council meeting discussions, and review the information available at the time of approval of sale and re-zoning, this project should NOT have been approved for many reasons (including the ones that Representative McLaughlin has raised).

The Town Council approved the re-zoning and sale 4 to 2 (with DeCosta and Lambi casting the 2 no votes). Councilor Schmitt had to recuse himself from the vote, but stated later that he was against it (so, it was really 4 to 3). CumberlandFacts, it was NOT a 7 to 0 vote.

The ordinance voted on was about ZONING.

My fact pointed out was about the sale of the land, not the zoning. Also Mr DaCosta so quickly pulled a "I was for it before I was against it" political re-positioning.

From the 9/18/13 meeting minutes, approved and recorded:
(Search for them, these comments are near the end.)

“Councilor Murray stated that he wanted it on the record that the Council agreed to market this property, it was discussed at great lengths, and there was an article in the Valley Breeze regarding the listing of Currier Park for $249,000. This was placed in the budget and voted 7/0 to accept this line item.”

“Councilor DaCosta responded that Councilor Murray was correct that the vote was 7/0 to balance a vote to balance the budget, which was in need. He apologized to the residents of District 1 for that vote; he wished he had vote against it.”

So you can see as it was a separate vote from the 9/18 meeting; and it was 7/0. When they put the money from the sale of the land in the budget...that is selling it, or have a deficient.

mayor McKee has been getting to big for his britches, he's lost my vote for whatever he's running for in next election but you got my vote Mac we got the same problem in Washington they all know everything but they don't know nothing that's is why this country is in the shape its in to many know it alls. We need more like Mac common sense works ! try using it Mayor it's also what the people want!I thought this was a Democratic society where majority rules but it isn't being followed to that rule ? Keep up the good work Jim!

CumberlandFacts you are spinning your comment from above. The land was sold by the Council vote on 9/18/13, Ordinance 13-21, by a 4 to 2 vote (DeCosta and Lambi the two no votes). How could Mr. Decosta have known all of the information that was reviewed and discussed in August and September when the budget was approved back in May. I give him a lot of credit for having the courage to cast what was the right vote on this one.

Quote "The Mayor had NO vote or say on the sale of the land."
You are right. The mayor had no vote but, the sale of this parcel of land didn't fall from the sky. It was Dan's direction to put the property up for sale so his pet peeve charter school could have a place to build. It was well thought out shady plan on his behalf. That's just the way he works. So yes, he did have something to do with the sale!

You are reading what you want to into what I am saying. I am merely bringing up the FACT that when the COUNCIL voted 7/0 to put the not yet received proceeds of the sale of that land into the budget THAT WAS THE VOTE TO SELL THE LAND. THAT IS ALL I AM SAYING. Don't read into the facts to meet your OPINION. Which by the way you are entitled to have...and Mr. DaCosta was not so courageous on the budget vote, nor every time he voted to raise taxes...BUT SAYS HE IS AGAINST DOING SO!! Do not get fooled by his johnny come lately, which way is the wind blowing stand. When the council votes on the budget it is the most deliberated and most important vote the Council had better know the effects of the vote!

"Dan" doesn't have the power to direct give him way to much power. Just how do you know that "Dan's" "Shady" plan was put into action WHILE SUPPORTED BY ALL SEVEN Councilors????? Even the 3 from the opposite party???

Just who are you to know that "Dan" directed this just so the charter school could buy it??????

If that is fact then please have the guts to pick up the phone and call the State Police, because he would have broken the law. But wait you can't because THIS IS JUST YOUR MIS-GUIDED HATE FILLED OPINION.

By the way if that was a FACT you had better vote out the 3 councilors from the opposite party because as they supported selling the land either they were in on the "Shady" deal or just really really bad councilmen.

You have the right to hate "Dan" all you want...go ahead and live with that hatred in your heart, kind of sad IN MY OPINION...but please at least spread the hatred with FACTS.

The 3-Republican members (the other party) DID NOT support this McKee FIASCO! (Another in a long, long line of them)

Art Lambi voted NO and Scott who was against 1t 110%, said he would have voted NO....but unfortunately he could not vote because of a pending, possibly conflict of interest ruling....the decision at the time still pending!

This whole FIASCO, more-so McKee's 'Vile Threats' is a very sad commentary on the political process we are supposed to have in this country.

It is behavior like McKee's, which I personally am also more then most aware of, is why people are so disgusted and don't want to get involved.

And this BOZO wants to be Lt. he can what???? Cause even more harm. Dictate his own Personal Agenda as he has here in Cumberland since the day he was crowned???

I hope not!

Hopefully....this incident will finally wake people up as to what McKee really is, all about and how he conducts business!

Tom Letourneau

PS: For what it worth....all of your doubters; contact Rep. Jim and make an appointment to see the paperwork and documentation he has come up with....especially the most recent documentation on building over former mines, etc. that just came in from the dept. of Interior's Bureau of Mines....that McKee is pooh-Pooh and trying to sweep under the rug!

Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

George Orwell

you are right. Take your hate elsewhere.

Why can't people read what I am writing....I know what the vote was on 9/18...I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THIS...I am talking about the 7/0 vote to put 250K into the budget from yet to be sold land......that was when the REAL DECISION WAS MADE. If this land was not sold, and one buyer (NOT BVP) back down, the town would have had a 250K deficit.

So yes those 3 did support the very idea you are hating on the Mayor for. WHICH YOU CAN DO ALL YOU WANT...HAVE AT IT THAT IS NOT MY ISSUE. I just want everyone to know that the approval to sell the land was EVERYONE'S idea. Not the Mayor's.

Why does everyone let their hate filled black hearts blur their judgment..oh wait...I know why.

PS: all the darn paper work is worthless if the engineers did all the appropriate test boring.

The oil tank the contractor discovered AND REPORTED ON THEIR OWN, has nothing to do with Rep Jim's fight...though now he is walking around town blabbing that it was HIM who discovered this. Get real., as experienced as you say, know how easy it would have been to hide the oil tank and small amount of heating oil....THAT EVERY HOUSE THAT USES OIL HAS.

Hate on people hate on...

No hate here. It's more funny to hear your ignorance. Keep commenting. You are the only one fighting this. It's hilarious.

Best to you and your team in November.

This “comments’ section is a microcosm of what has gone wrong with our great country. Divisiveness has become the preferred approach for Americans dealing with community business across the land, from state to state, in every small town. Instead of collaborating on a common goal, two sides start by drawing a line in the sand and then square off on each side against each other’s ideals. Too many of us have decided that we will no longer take part in a never-ending pissing contest. All of us will never agree on everything. Meanwhile, our country, our state, and our town are being taken over by special interest groups that see this as their opportunity to gain power and further their pointed and narrow-minded agendas. This was their contrived plan all along. While the rational business people bicker with the established locals, the seemingly un-threatening power mongers methodically align their unsuspecting forces to legally take all of the decision-making away from those who financially support the system. This truly is the epitome of “dividing and conquering”…all without a shot fired or a drop of blood shed. I’m convinced that the “American way of life” is over and the endless and meaningless bickering amongst those who have been rendered powerless…the taxpayer…will keep Americans divided until the end…nothing lasts forever.