Should you call 911? Well, maybe.
There is a crime in progress in Providence: Vincent Cianci is running for mayor, and, as of last week, he was winning. So call 911? Maybe not, if you live in Providence or you just happen to be passing through. That’s because the union representing the police officers who might be coming to help wants the Providence police force to be controlled by a twice-convicted criminal.
In fact, both the police and firefighters unions in Providence have endorsed Cianci in the three-way race for mayor of the capital city. It sounds like another Rhode Island bad joke, but it’s not. The men and women who enforce the law in Providence are recommending that a crook be the mayor of their city. The officers of the law want to be led by a lawbreaker. The man with the badge is backing the man who’s been in the can. People with arrest powers want a twice-convicted felon calling the shots. They want a felon to appoint their chief; they’re hoping a crook will name a city solicitor and run the law department.
The cops’ Most Wanted Man is one with a record. Cianci is not funny anymore; he’s leading in the polls. Whom should you call instead of 911?
Call AAA. Call the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. Call the Democratic State Committee. Call your parish priest and the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, the bishop of Providence, the Rhode Island Board of Rabbis, the Providence Rotary, the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Call the AFL-CIO, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the Service Employees International Union and the United Nurses and Allied Professionals. Call the Rhode Island Boys and Girls Clubs, Trinity Repertory, Gamm Theatre, 2nd Story Theatre, the Unitarians, the Tea Party, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, the Lions Club, the Kiwanis, the League of Women Voters, the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, the Republican Party, House of Hope, Crossroads, Channel 12, Leadership Rhode Island, the Young Democrats, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Rhode Island Public Radio and talk radio.
Call Verizon, Cox and Sprint. Call Lifespan and Care New England and all of the hospitals. Call the Visiting Nurses, the Ironworkers, the Steelworkers and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Call Gov. Lincoln Chafee, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed. Call the Providence Bruins, The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island State Police. Call the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts.
Call the presidents of Brown University, Providence College, Moses Brown, the Wheeler School, Rhode Island College, Bryant, Roger Williams, Salve Regina, and Johnson and Wales universities and the University of Rhode Island. Call your neighbors. Call the next governor, Gina Raimondo or Allan Fung. And don’t forget to call your mother.
In fact, call the Fraternal Order of Police and the Firefighters Union, and tell them it’s not too late to go straight. But do something.
Whether you live in Providence or not, Rhode Island’s capital is too important for its residents, as well as for the rest of Rhode Island, to stay silent. It’s time to speak up. Tell everyone to stand up and to be counted, to raise a chorus that can be heard in every precinct and ward in the city of Providence, in every city and town hall in Rhode Island, that we do not want Vincent Cianci ever again to operate our capital city as a criminal enterprise.
Should you call 911 in the event of an emergency? Maybe. But if a Providence policeman or a Providence policewoman answers the call, tell him or her not to bring in the man their union wants as the next mayor. Then call the Rhode Island Expenditure Council, Operation Clean Government and Common Cause.
And all of us, let’s call on our own common sense.
Brian C. Jones is a book author, freelance writer and former Providence Journal reporter.