Q&A: Johnston Mayoral Candidate Brenda Lynn Leone addresses six hot town issues
Brenda Lynn Leone, candidate for Johnston Mayor
Brenda Lynn Leone's answers to six of Johnston's burning questions:
Are you worried about increased traffic in town? Traffic in the center of the town has always been a concern. There is a cluster of businesses including Dunkin Donuts that contribute traffic jams all hours of the day. We have addressed the occupancy problems in the strip malls but never address the need for better entrance, and exit and better- timed traffic lights along these properties extending down to the home Depot- BJ'S shopping center. As for the most recent projects there is the expectation that when Amazon is up and running and Citizens employees all working there will be a number of residential neighborhoods that will be adversely affected by substantial increased traffic due to the placing of these business.
How do you balance business development in town with resident concerns? Balancing business development in town with resident concern is deciding weather the benefits of a new business outweigh the negative impact that it has on property values and quality of life. Some residents moved to the West End of Johnston and paid a higher price for Real Estate because of its rural attributes. The Amazon Building, which is chock full of insider deals with the present administration, the labor unions, the attorneys for the developer and the governor's office have turned the entire area in to an industrial zone that will plaque the affected neighborhoods for years to come; and is already driving homeowners to sell.
How would you spend/invest the town’s growing reserve fund? With the American Rescue Plan (ARPA Funds) money being distributed to every city and town, it is virtually impossible for anyone outside this administration to know how the money was disbursed and what holes it may have plugged. By definition, a reserve fund is accumulated over a period of time with the expressed use of paying indebtedness incurred by the town. We need to be clear on these two very different sources of funding. According to GoLocal.com, a very reliable source Johnston is second only to Providence for per capita unfunded pension liability and only recently has this administration chosen to address it. All that being said, I would certainly entertain suggestions from residents as to what they would like to see. In my day to day walking and meeting the voters, suggestions have included more retail similar to our neighbors in Cranston and Smithfield, developing some open space for family activities and even a dog park. Lastly, it is election time and selected roads are being repaved. I will be proactive and create a comprehensive plan with Johnston DPW and RI DOT that addresses all of the needed road repairs in our town.
Do you support opening retail recreation cannabis shops in Johnston? I support opening retail recreation cannabis shops in Johnston as long as they are issued a legal business license by our town council and are subjected to all rules and regulations from the RI Department of Health and RI department of Business Regulations.
When Rhode Island’s landfill reaches capacity, how will you ensure the best deal for Johnston residents (and the rest of the Ocean State)? As a lifelong resident of this town I don't foresee the closing of the RI Central landfill in the near future. If that day, however, should come to fruition, I would work to attract a company that is in the clean energy business or perhaps trucking or distribution. Neighboring residents have lived with that land fill much to long and deserve better.
Is Johnston heading in the right direction and why? Johnston is not heading in the right direction. in order for any city or town to move forward, there must be a balance of power and that has been nonexistent under this administration. The town council and the boards are set up to be nothing more then a rubber stamp for this administration. If I am elected Mayor, I will encourage the town council and all the members of the boards in the town to make decisions on what is good for the town and its residents.