Q&A: Johnston Mayoral Candidate Karen E. Cappelli Chadwick addresses six hot town issues
Karen E. Cappelli Chadwick, candidate for Johnston Mayor
Candidate for Johnston Mayor, Karen E. Cappelli Chadwick's answers to six of Johnston's burning questions:
Are you worried about increased traffic in town? "Worrying about the increased traffic in Town is akin to closing the barn door once the horse gets out. The traffic in Johnston is of great concern to anyone who travels its roads. Anyone who travels Hartford Avenue can attest to that. The intersection of Hartford and Atwood Avenues are always congested. A lot has to do with the increase of businesses and construction. More and more traffic is now on secondary roads and still traffic stops. There are many places where two lanes suddenly become one. The good news is the Town Comprehensive Plan is finally being addressed, as the old one expired in 2007. There will be a presentation on November 1 before the Planning Board. This plan will create guidelines for future development and hopefully present ways to keep things moving more smoothly."
How do you balance business development in town with resident concerns? "Any city or town relies on business to thrive, but its residents are certainly the backbone of any community. Keeping businesses in the properly zoned areas is important to let residents know they can look forward to the peaceful existence and quiet enjoyment they were looking for when they moved into their neighborhoods. Recently there was a pitch for a larger than life solar field in the west end. The abutting landowners found themselves in the uncomfortable predicament of having to hire legal counsel to represent them. This just should not be."
How would you spend/invest the town’s growing reserve fund? "Johnston has a large reserve fund, but before any spending or investing is done we have to make sure every financial obligation is covered. The ARPA money is being put to good use, repaving roads and steel buildings for the Police Department, the Fire Department and the Department of Public Works. So this money is being invested in the community. Any outstanding obligations should be met before any other money gets used."
Do you support opening retail recreation cannabis shops in Johnston? "I support the idea of cannabis retail shops in Johnston as it is legal. A referendum has been placed on the ballot. Let the voters decide."
When Rhode Island’s landfill reaches capacity, how will you ensure the best deal for Johnston residents (and the rest of the Ocean State)? "I believe that when the landfill reaches capacity it should be capped and closed. From time to time there has been talk of an incinerator. I strongly opposes that idea. It would be very detrimental to an already compromised area. It is time for the Solid Waste Management and the State to make plans for the future and give Johnston a break."
Is Johnston heading in the right direction and why? "I love the sense of community that is here in Johnston. Balance is vitally important to keep Johnston the place it is. People move here to get away from city life. I am concerned abut the many for sale signs I see on residential properties in recent months. I am concerned about the plans for the future of our schools. I am concerned about people feeling like their voices are not heard. We need open meetings and dialog between the administration and the people who live and work in the town. Mostly, I would like people to be pleased with being here. Like the sign at the Town Hall used to say, 'Reside with Pride.'"
"You also asked why I would want to be elected. I hope for the opportunity to help change the culture of Johnston. All to often during this campaign I have heard the same things over and over again. I have asked people if they feel like they are "kept in the loop" so to speak. They feel like the information is difficult to find out, that when they are made aware they are not listened to, that decisions are made before hand. We are living in the information age. The next administration needs to be accessible. The door will always be open."