Providence city councilors often hold the view that if a policy affects another councilor's ward, the City Council should vote to support that councilor's autonomy, as if the ward is an individual fiefdom to be ruled by one city councilor alone. This view was expressed in the recent Projo article covering exclusionary zoning provisions introduced by Ward 5 Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan:
Ward 7 Councilman John J. Igliozzi said he didn't have many student tenants in his ward, but if Ryan said her ward needed the amendments, council members should extend her that courtesy. He said if enforcement became a problem the council should review the changes in the future and adjust them as necessary.
The most articulate City Council voice against the exclusionary zoning thus far has been Seth Yurdin, whose ward borders Brown and RISD. Yurdin has emphasized that similar problems in his ward were solved with less extreme means, and that limiting student housing would be an inequitable way of resolving student noise.
Yurdin has spoken in the past at events I've attended about the need for the City Council to consider the whole of the city's health, rather than giving too much authority to individual councilpersons.
|Just Say Maybe.|
I tend to agree with Yurdin, but why not propose a compromise? Abstain.
If you're a councilperson like Igliozzi, and you wish to show courtesy to your fellow councilor on an issue that you don't necessarily support one way or another, sit that vote out. Sitting out from voting does exactly what councilors say they want to do: it gives some room to the other councilor. But by abstaining, councilors can keep a vote open to veto from the mayor if an aspect of the policy affects the entire city in a negative way (as this proposal does). If there's nothing citywide to object to, the measure passes.
Just. Say. errr. .. um... Maybe.
Who thought I'd ever advocate for abstinence-only in matters of student housing?
One abstaining vote this Thursday that had been a yes means that Mayor Elorza has the option to veto the exclusionary zoning provision. See if your councilperson needs a call.