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NirvaWard3@gmail.com   |   401-680-0252  |   ElectNirva.com

SEASON OF THANKS AND ACTION

These past few months have been an incredible journey, both challenging and rewarding. As I have mentioned, serving as your city councilperson is truly a privilege and I am honored and thankful to represent such a diverse and engaged community.
 
On average, there are nearly 12,000 gun homicides a year in the U.S. America’s gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average of other high-income countries. Gun violence continues to plague our country and our local communities. On Halloween there was a fatal shooting in Ward 3.

Gun violence is a community concern, and we can play a role in supporting legislation for stronger sensible gun laws. This holiday season, let’s remember the many families that have been affected by gun violence and think about what actions each of us can take to address this epidemic.

Nirva LaFortune
City Councilor, Ward 3
NEWS FROM THE CITY COUNCIL
The City Council held two meetings on November 16th.  You can review agendas and related documents here and herePolicy highlights include:

Tax Stabilization Agreements  
An ordinance was introduced to create an administrative Tax Stabilization Agreement (TSA) for businesses and developers seeking to undertake new development projects in Providence. A majority of City Council members, including myself, support this legislation to standardize TSAs, as does the Mayor. The City’s commercial tax rate is high, particularly when compared with other major U.S. cities, and it continues to be a barrier for development. Most cities have some sort of tax incentive to attract new development, and TSAs provide developers with a “stabilization period” to raise the valuation from the pre-construction to the new level and an incentive to build in Providence. Currently, developers receive these agreements on a case-by-case basis through the City Council’s Finance Committee. The new ordinance introduced this month seeks to make the process more uniform with established criteria.
 
The legislation has been assigned to the Finance Committee for review. Many constituents have reached out with questions and concerns. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this ordinance, and if you would like to provide feedback you can fill out the survey here: Administrative TSA survey (https://goo.gl/forms/hm6tBbASF3IduveR2) Thank you for your interest in this important issue!

Firefighter Agreement
The city administration recently announced an agreement with the firefighters’ union to settle a series of legal claims made regarding overtime pay. The agreement is a chapter in a dispute stretching over years. The combined settlement will cost the City of Providence approximately $6 million, but the Internal Auditor had estimated a potentially higher number ($9 million). The City Council approved a resolution endorsing the terms of the agreement, the union’s membership will now vote on the agreement in the coming weeks.

Police Department Protocols
Many of us have seen images or watched the video of the November 9th fatal shooting on I-95. A person was killed and another was left in critical condition. Any time there is a fatality in our community – particularly one which garnered so much attention – questions will be raised. At the last council meeting I introduced my first resolution, requesting a detailed evaluation of the Providence Police Department’s policies regarding pursuit/high-speed chases and de-escalation practices and training. I proposed the resolution because it benefits everyone when we understand the procedures we have in place to keep one another safe, and we must together strive for strong and transparent policies. It is typical for first responders to review any such case, and I want to ensure that the public also understands the current protocols of our community’s police department.

The resolution has been sent to the special Committee on Municipal Operations and Oversight. Some of you have contacted the city council President and the Mayor’s Office in support of the resolution. As a mother, citizen and elected official I believe in transparency and accountability. It is our job to ask questions.

The next council meeting is December 7 at 7 pm. For more details: 
 http://providenceri.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx
Follow the Providence City Council 
The Providence City Council meets twice a month.  Click here to see the full calendar of upcoming meetings and agendas. The City Council is also active on social media.  Follow the council on twitter here: https://twitter.com/provcitycouncil  Follow the council on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/provcitycouncil/
NEWS FROM OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Ward 3 Community Forum 
Last month I held my first Ward 3 Community Meeting at MLK Elementary.  Thank you to everyone who attended and participated! The agenda included presentations by various city departments. Some of the key themes that neighbors raised included: diversity and inclusion, infrastructure, education, safety and services for youth and elderly residents.
 
Questions included:
  • How can local businesses and organizations make themselves more accessible/comfortable to all members of the community? How to cross class, economic, cultural lines?
  • What is the long-term thinking with regard to infrastructure improvements?
  • How can we improve communication between families and schools and schools and the city? How can parents/community members play a more active role in schools?
  • How can we improve connections to public libraries?
  • How can each of us work to building trust between police officers and residents?
  • What are our long-term strategies for breaking the cycle of violence?
What happens next? I want to bring the ward's community groups together to begin to consider how we, as a community, can tackle these issues.  

Coffee Hour
I welcome all Ward 3 residents to stop in at one of my Community Coffee Hours.  Stop by with a question or just to say hello!  The next one is: Saturday, December 2nd, 8-9:00am at Seven Stars Bakery at 820 Hope Street.  See you there!
 
YOUTH RECREATION PROGRAMS
At the Ward 3 Community Forum, many people asked about more programs for youth. Here are a few highlights from local organizations. Look for other organizations on the Ward 3 Community Resources page on my web site. Please let us know of others so we can share!  
  • Vincent Brown Recreation Center: After school programs for boys and girls 6-14. activities include computer lab, arts and crafts, gym games, homework help and dinner program. Vincent Brown Rec. Center, 438 Hope St. tspann@providenceri.gov Phone: 401-680-7362
  • Olney Street Baptist Church: REV UP tutoring Program Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays 3 - 5 p.m. for grades K-8.
  • Everett School for Performing Arts, 9 Duncan Avenue, programs for ages 10-18.
  • Providence Recreation Department offers:
  1. Youth Basketball League for boys and girls 9-14. Practice starts November 27th.
  2. Indoor Track and Field for boys and girls 7-14, practice starts December 4th 6-7pm at The Moses Brown School Field House.
  3. Swimming at Pleasant View Recreation Center, 10 Obediah Brown in Providence - Saturdays 9am-1pm
WARD 3 COMMUNITY EVENTS
Thursday, Nov 30
6:30-8pm
Listen & Thrive
Short films created by Mount Hope youth and discussion about empowering youth and improving our schools! 
Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope
>> more details 
Sunday, Dec 3
12-6pm
Hope Street Fire & Ice Holiday Stroll 
Stroll Hope Street for food trucks, live performers, crafts for kids, demos, and more. 
On Hope, Rochambeau & 5th 
>> more details
Friday, Dec 1
5-9pm
PVD Winter Lights Market and Tree Lighting
Tree lighting ceremonies, figure skating demonstrations, an artist marketplace & more!
Alex & Ani Skating Center, Downtown Providence
>> more details
Thursday, Dec 7
7pm
Providence City Council Meeting 
City Hall, 25 Dorrance Street, 3rd Floor

>> more details
 
Saturday, Dec 2
8-9am
Community Coffee Hour With Nirva
Stop by with a question or comment or just to say hello your city councilor!
Seven Stars Bakery, 820 Hope

 
Sunday, Dec 17
4pm
Caroling for a Cause
Join SNA and Miriam Hospital to sing and solicit contributions for the St. Raymond’s food pantry. 

>> more details
 
WARD 3 COMMUNITY RESOURCES LIST
Please visit the new Ward 3 Resources page of my web site for links to emergency and city services, Ward 3 neighborhood groups and more!
 
FOLLOW NIRVA


Web: www.ElectNirva.com

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