A different perspective

Posted 9/20/23

I don’t dare to have an opinion on the purchase of the Park Theatre.

I don’t live in Cranston. I don’t put my tax dollars into the city’s pocket. I don’t meddle in …

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A different perspective


I don’t dare to have an opinion on the purchase of the Park Theatre.

I don’t live in Cranston. I don’t put my tax dollars into the city’s pocket. I don’t meddle in the party based politics that are so powerfully enforced by the climate of today’s world.

I am not privy to the exact math or the factual data that may or may not indicate whether city purchase of the theatre is a good move for the taxpayers.

I do know that I have received a lot of opinions about what the right choice is. I have seen press releases that address this from both economic perspectives and political ones. Yet, I don’t see any reflecting the personal perspective.

In my time as editor of The Herald, no one person has shown up more around the city doing good than Ed Brady.

In my seven, almost eight, months of editing this paper I have seen Brady donate his time, money and property to help the less fortunate more than any city official. He consistently comes up performing hands on work to help the less fortunate.

I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to know more about whom he is and what he does. What has motivated him to consistently put himself in a position to help others and do so much good for the community?

I didn’t get to. After weeks of having a call with Brady on my list, the news of Park Theatre being in debt and the city possibly buying it came to light, and there was no longer an easy chance to talk. I called him last Friday hoping for a little chance to find out what was happening.

Unfortunately, Brady had plans to release a statement regarding the situation and asked that we move our conversation back. This was understandable. He has a lot going on.

I’m told that a story was published in the Providence Journal on Tuesday about the whole situation. As of that morning, when I put together our weekly issue, I have finally had a chance to read it. I have also read half a dozen press releases and half a dozen personal emails regarding what people think the city should do.

There are some really good points to be made about why this is financially a bad idea. There is a lot of opposition to the idea of the city purchasing the property. I can see why. The Democratic Party even made comments about how purchasing the property is wrong because Brady has donated money to the Mayor’s campaign. I assume the problem there to be one of bias and transparency. Which, let’s be honest, is a good point. After all, the government shouldn’t be bailing out their friends.

However, beyond the idea of bailing Brady out, I have to ask who helps those who help. I don’t know about the political factions or ethical dilemma of the Mayor’s plans to buy the theatre. I’m trying to see the forest through the trees, but I can’t.

Every time I try to look at the different sides of the issue, all I can see are the smiling faces of Ed Brady and his wife piling food on plates for the homeless. I see smiling faces in The Historic Park Theatre as the venue is used for one charity event after another to raise money for those in need.

It is hard to deny that The Historic Park Theatre has been having a hard time making it as a successful business, with the Journal reporting a whopping $34,000 in debt and taxes having accrued. However, the quickness of how this has been turned into a blame game between political parties is astounding.

Any time all the Democrats want one thing and all the Republicans want another I start to question whether anyone is thinking of the humans involved.

I’ve always been one to ignore politics. I find the very idea of Democrats and Republicans to be foolish and childish. I mean, all that should matter are the way a person holds themselves and what they believe in. It’s times like this, when everyone is arguing that I simply begin losing interest. In all the press releases about budgets, taxes, bail outs and political leanings that I’ve seen, I don’t see any thoughts about the humans involved.

I’m not arguing for purchase of the theatre. Again, I personally don’t care what happens to it. What I am saying is that this is about a person from Cranston. I’ve had my life torn out from under me by debt. It’s hard. There are ways of handling this situation without it having to become a political battle.

I don’t know how politics so easily gets in the way of looking at the people. I can’t help but feel like the real conversation should be about a Cranston business owner and philanthropist being so close to losing his shirt that he is asking the city for help. I’m not saying that the answer is to save him, but maybe take a moment to think about the human being and not just the theatre.

I’ve never met Brady directly, or if we have it was quick and then over, but I have watched him from afar as an objective member of the press. It surprises me that the people of Cranston only see him from a distance as well. Let’s start the debate at how we help another member of the Cranston community not fall into even more devastating debt and then worry about how the city spends, or does not spend, its money.

Funds for education should be spent on education and not a theatre, but for a city so focused on protecting its history and where it comes from, there must be other ways that the theatre can be saved. Of course, that’s only a course of action that should matter if the people of Cranston think it’s worth saving.

Obviously, the people of Cranston don’t support the theatre now, so why should their tax dollars be spent to buy it. On the other hand, Brady has spent his own money making this city into a better place.

Instead of arguing amongst each other about whether or not to buy the theatre, we should talk about who Ed Brady is, why the theatre is in trouble and how the people of the city feel about that. The answer may not change, but at least the problem would be approached from a perspective of humanity and not one of political debate.

editorial, Park, theatre