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NirvaWard3@gmail.com   |   401-680-0252  |   ElectNirva.com
Dear Ward 3 Residents,

In 1976, President Gerald Ford declared February a national month to celebrate the achievements of Black/African Americans. But the roots of Black History Month began fifty years earlier when Carter G. Woodson, a black historian, launched Negro History Week because he believed that appreciating a people’s history was a prerequisite to equality. Black History Month reminds us of the distinctive role black people have played in building and sustaining the United States and the contributions they have made throughout the world. Most importantly, it focuses us on recognizing Black people as equal, a concept that, sadly, still requires our attention. 

I hope everyone in our diverse and vibrant city can take time this month to consider the work we all need to do to make our communities more equitable.  

I love this passage from Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator, activist and champion of equality:  “I leave you love. I leave you hope. I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. I leave you a thirst for education. I leave you a respect for the use of power. I leave you faith. I leave you racial dignity. I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow men. I leave you finally, a responsibility to our young people.” 

I believe that young people are our most precious resource and our most important responsibility. Let’s all make a special point this month to consider what action we can take in the coming year to make our community more equitable for all young people, and for black and brown young people in particular. How can we stoke their thirst for education? How can we build a future of racial dignity for them? These are the questions that drive my interest in public service, and I am grateful to live in a community where I know many of you are motivated by similar questions. 

Sincerely,
Nirva R. LaFortune
Proud graduate, Providence Public Schools
Proud parent, Providence Public Schools
Providence City Councilor, Ward 3

NEWS FROM THE CITY COUNCIL

New Council Leadership
Sabina Matos was recently elected to serve as Council President, Michael Correria as Council Pro-Temp and Jo-ann Ryan as Majority Leader. I welcome opportunities to work with the new leadership and other council members to move our city forward.

My Priorities
The fiscal health of our city has been and will continue to be a primary priority. 
Last year, I served as the Vice Chair of the Special Committee on Education, where we explored the finances of the Providence Public School Department (PPSD) which is approximately half of the city’s budget. I also worked with some of my council colleagues on an initiative to reform the Tax Stabilization Agreement (TSA) process to increase transparency and develop a structure that not only generates development and jobs for our residents but that also benefits our most vulnerable communities. Although I was not assigned to the finance committee, I do understand that attention to our our fiscal health is paramount and will continue to work with you and others on creative ways forward. 
 

Unfunded Pension Obligation
I co-sponsored, with four other council members, a resolution urging the City Council to work with the Elorza administration and stakeholders to develop a realistic and sustainable plan to manage Providence’s pension obligations. The resolution was voted down, but tackling this issue is one of the most important challenges we face as a community. Last year, I was a part of a working group that presented a report providing historical context on this matter and proposes recommendations to help mitigate the situation. Please join me in encouraging our city to seek solutions to the unfunded pension liability.  

 

Providence Water Legislation
Last week the city again proposed state legislation to allow the Providence Water Supply Board to partner with outside water authorities to provide oversight of the water treatment plants that deliver water to our residents. Currently, Providence oversees approximately 60% of the water supply for our state. While this is a significant load, I am concerned that relinquishing any oversight may diminish Providence’s control over our water, a critical and valuable asset.

The city is holding a series of community conversations about the Water Authority State Legislation. I hope that you can join me on March 4th in the Nathan Bishop Middle School auditorium from 6-7:30pm for this important conversation. This will be an opportunity to hear more about the proposed legislation, provide input and voice your concerns. Click here for more details.  
 
Reproductive Rights

On January 17th the City Council passed a resolution I co-sponsored in support of H5127 The Reproductive Health Care Act. I later testified before members of the House Judiciary Committee in support of this bill that would codify reproductive rights in Rhode Island and repeal unconstitutional and unenforceable laws that restrict women from accessing reproductive health care.
 

Infrastructure Bond
The City Council approved a $30 million bond from the Providence Public Building Authority to repair school and municipal buildings. $20 million will be allocated for schools and $10 million for city buildings and recreation centers. 82% of the bond for school repairs qualifies for reimbursement from the Rhode Island Department of Education. Funds will be distributed for projects in schools across the district for essential infrastructure and safety concerns. The plan includes allocations for Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Vartan Gregorian Elementary, and Hope High School as well as the Vincent Brown Recreation Center.  For more information click here.
Follow the Providence City Council
The Providence City Council meets twice a month and we welcome the public to attend our meetings!  Click here to see the full calendar 

The City Council is active on social media. Follow the council on Twitter: twitter.com/provcitycouncil  Follow the council on Facebook: facebook.com/provcitycouncil/

NEWS FROM WARD 3

Ward 3 Community Meetings
Last month, I hosted the first Ward 3 Community Potluck Dinner. It was great to see so many neighbors! We collected boxes of food for Camp Street Ministries. If you want to learn more about community potlucks, please check out this wonderful guide and if you interested in helping to host the next one please fill out the google form here.

The next Ward 3 Community Meeting will be at the Vincent Brown Recreation Center on Thursday, February 28th. We'll discuss neighborhood non-profits, neighborhood safety, road and sidewalk infrastructure, snow removal, and education. Please join us and bring a neighbor!

Sidewalks and Roads
It is pothole season in Providence! I have had multiple conversations with the Department of Public Works about streets and sidewalks in the ward, and have driven around with members of DPW to show them areas in need of repair. Many of our Ward 3 roads are in horrible condition, and I continue to voice my concern that the city’s road repair docket identifies only a fraction of the problem. I welcome your help in advocating for our ward. Please continue to submit inquiries with photos via the 311 app on your mobile device or simply dial 311 to submit an inquiry.  To learn how to access 311 please click here.

Public Safety
While District Commander Lt. Donnelly is on administrative leave, Major Correia is our point of contact for police matters. I have reached out to him to discuss recent break-ins and to urge action to address our concerns. Please remember to report all theft incidents, even if it is a failed attempt.

New Public School Parent Groups
Parents have been meeting to discuss ways to advocate for our public schools. Parents Leading for Educational Equity (PLEE) (www.pleeri.org) and Providence Parents (www.provparents.org) held a joint meeting this month to talk about the funding formula and diversity in the teaching workforce. Please check out their web sites and get involved!

I am also planning an Education Forum for April. Stay tuned!

EVENTS

Please join us and bring a neighbor!
Thursday, Feb 28, 2019
6:00-8:00pm
Vincent Brown Recreation Center
438 Hope Street
Ward 3 Coffee Hour
I welcome all Ward 3 residents to stop in at my Community Coffee Hour. Please stop by with questions or just to say hello!
Saturday, March 2
8:30-9:30 am
Three Sisters
1074 Hope Street
Water Authority State Legislation Community Conversation
Monday, March 4, 2019
6:00pm – 7:30pm
Nathan Bishop Middle School, Auditorium
101 Sessions Street
The Great Streets Initiative
The city is holding community meetings to gather input about making our streets safer and healthier. Raise your voice about traffic, bike lanes, trail connections, and other improvements.
Monday, March 11
6:00 – 8:00pm

Church of the Redeemer
655 Hope Street



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