I believe the most important issue facing the First Ward is the potential for development of the major projects in the north end, including the Innovation Hub, the Navy Hospital property, and the Sheffield School. The City has invested funds to get these projects launched, but we have very little information about the current plans, and are told that in the negotiations of a public-private partnership many details must be withheld until agreement is reached. Of course this is understandable, but only to a point. The citizens have a right to fully review and to consent, or not, to an agreement which may affect the City’s tax revenues and increase expenditures connected with schools and infrastructure, particularly while this development will have such a direct impact on the quality of daily life for the city’s First Ward residents.
As an attorney, I am trained to advocate for my client’s interests, and will treat the city of Newport and the First Ward residents as I would a client, a strong negotiating partner. I believe we should have our own independent evaluations of the economic and jobs projections that are made by the private partners in these negotiations so that we can consider the proposals from an informed perspective. I want to make sure the public is well-represented in any public-private partnership.