Who has ever heard of PVA’s in Providence. Oh, excuse me, that’s Public Viewing Areas. This is an area where people can be assured that their 1st Amendment right to free speech will be honored and protected.
These areas are where the Cicilline administration would like the citizens to gather to voice their protests. This way they can guarantee your safety – and the safety of the rest of the citizens and visitors in Providence. Imagine if protesters were actually allowed to picket on the public sidewalks in front of the RI Convention Center. Fire trucks, Rescues and Police cars would be totally unable to negotiate around the city. Traffic would be snarled, pedestrians would be confused and planes would be stacked up at the airport.
How thoughtful of Mayor Cicilline. He would never want to have it said that he wasn’t allowing the firefighters of Providence (or other concerned yet frustrated citizens) to exercise their right to free speech. That would be unconstitutional.
Doesn’t it seem just a little suspicious that there was never any talk of a plan to limit access of protesters at the Mayor’s Convention until the day before the event and immediately after the Providence firefighter’s union announced plans to picket the mayor. This so-called liberal mayor is fine with protesters exercising their right to gather and march until the target of their complaints is the mayor himself.
Constitutional protection as long as it’s convenient!
In addition to trampling on the firefighter’s rights by corralling them into designated pens away from the Convention Center, this mayor also used his authority to use taxpayer’s money to pay firefighters to stay away from the picket line. He ordered over 50 firefighters each day of the convention to walk through designated areas (away from the Convention Center of course) monitoring for biological weapons! These firefighters were ordered to work – they had no choice. They were told to wear casual clothes – no uniforms. They were paid overtime rates to do this.
Funny thing about these firefighters monitoring for biological weapons…they only monitored during the hours of the pickets! Maybe Cicilline was concerned about the safety of the firefighters who were picketing!
Mayor Cicilline clearly has no problem with abusing the powers of his office for his own selfish motives. This week his political muscles were flexed against the firefighters. Next week he will be trampling over the rights of another group who disagree with his policies. Every week, however, he betrays the taxpayers of the City of Providence. He reminds me of the spoiled little brat who owns the ball and will take it and go home unless he gets his way. How surprising!