TOM WARD - To repeat: Prudence needed with Google $$

TOM WARD - To repeat: Prudence needed with Google $$

The heated struggle between North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi and Council President Kristen Catanzaro over who should have authority over the spending of Google money for police is tiring. Lombardi wants absolute authority to spend the money with the direction of Police Chief Paul Martellini. Councilors who oppose the mayor want a say in the matter, too.

Along with three new SUV Ford Interceptors, "Other items approved...include 50 new semiautomatic rifles, ammunition, and 30 new tasers. All of that spending has to wait until after the authority issue is resolved," reported Ethan Shorey last week.

What does all of this tell me? As I suggested months ago, and as the mayor has asked for in a letter to the Department of Justice, much of the remaining Google money should be put into a foundation like the Rhode Island Foundation to make sure the money is grown over time, spent slowly and deliberately, and lasts forever. It should last well beyond the personalities or terms of office of Lombardi and Catanzaro. Filling the police pension fund was a very good start.

Look, I'm not a cop, but frankly, I don't think it's a good idea to have another $38 million floating out there burning holes in anyone's pockets. When I read "50 new semi-automatic rifles, ammunition, and 30 new tasers," I speculate on if those purchases would have been seen as a priority in North Providence if the Google money wasn't sitting out there. I wonder the same thing one of our online commentators, debilynnn, wrote: On top of millions already need 50 semiautomatics and 30 ISIS coming? Seriously, this is not East L.A., Boston or even Providence. When was the last time a cop even fired a weapon from his sidearm? Ridiculousness."

The increasing militarization of local police with Homeland Security leftovers is concerning enough. North Providence is certainly not Mayberry, and it's not the 1950s anymore. But really, how much is enough?

Well done, Woonsocket DPW

I had the chance Friday to observe Woonsocket's Highway Department workers at work "milling" the top coat of what was left of the asphalt along some of the city's most rutted streets. It was a pleasure to watch as the guys performed like a well-oiled machine. You see, the city had rented, for one day only, this grinder which "mills" and removes the top layer of asphalt. Earlier, with Public Works Director Steve D'Agostino, they had identified some of the city's worst stretches of streets, most in need of repair.

I was able to watch the milling of a particularly nasty stretch of road on Fairmount Street, and as soon as one city truck was filled, another was right there to take its place. Taxpayers can rest assured that the highway department workers got what they paid for as portions of South Main, Bernon, Sayles and Fairmount streets were ground down on one long, busy day.

D'Agostino told me Tuesday that, weather permitting, the new asphalt will be applied as you are reading this on Thursday or Friday, Oct. 2 and 3, along lower South Main Street first. While the Sayles Street bridge approach will need some extra manhole and curb work, paving elsewhere should last only about four days.

Obama's media enablers being outed

President Barack Obama's weakness was made glaring in Sunday's interview with Steve Croft for CBS's 60 Minutes. While President Harry Truman made famous the sign on his desk, "The Buck Stops Here," Obama may as well have a sign which says: "Hey, It Wasn't Me."

Finally, reporters who for six years looked the other way at this president's weakness are now beginning to report his shortcomings, if only to save their own sorry careers.

As for the rest of us out here in Realville, it may be a long and dangerous two years. Our enemies know that with Obama in the White House, their opportunities to act with malice will never be better.

Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze newspapers