Welcome to TIVERTON 1st!

Tiverton 1st is a grassroots community organization open to all who support preserving our quality of life in Tiverton by maintaining both our community and school services in a fiscally-responsible way, and promoting cooperation, compromise and community pride.
Membership is open to all Tiverton residents who are at least 18 years old & support Tiverton 1st's principles & goals (non-residents or those under 18 years old are welcome to join as non-voting members). There's no membership fee.Just email your name, address, phone # and email address to: Tiverton1st@cox.net.
You can also request to become a "Tiverton 1st Friend"& join our confidential email list.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


The following is my Letter to the Editor on the current process concerning Tiverton Glen. These are my personal views and not those of Tiverton 1st, which has not taken a position on this issue.
The proposed Tiverton Glen development presents a number of concerns for many, especially those who value Tiverton's small-town nature. More troubling is the process attempting to circumvent the town's defining Comprehensive Plan to permit this specific development.
The facts are clear. Tiverton Glen is a 60-plus-acre development that indisputably runs counter to the Town's Comp Plan and current zoning laws. The Planning Board is charged with determining if a planned development conforms to the current zoning and Comp Plan.

By this standard, the Planning Board should reject Tiverton Glen as being in violation of current zoning and counter to the Comp Plan. Some on the Planning Board seem intent on ignoring this to give “conditional approval” to this development. The conditions? That the Town Council create a huge loophole in the Comprehensive Plan to accommodate this type of development.
Rather than make the development fit the town, the developers are trying to make the town change to fit the development. They seek to bypass the very committee charged with reviewing the Comp Plan and essentially be made exempt from many of the Comp Plan’s provisions, to build the type of big-box retail stores the town has repeatedly rejected.
The Planning Board could put the town in legal jeopardy by making decisions based not on the law as it stands, but on changes beyond its control. There is a legal deadline to make a decision on this plan, and the only responsible course is to reject this plan as clearly not in keeping with current law. They are then free to suggest that the Town Council make the Comp Plan and zoning changes necessary to permit this type of development.
Some are attempting to use financial concerns to convince us that we are in desperate straits and must be willing to sell out the very small-town character that many of us see as Tiverton’s greatest asset. Recently-opened new businesses that adhere to our Comp Plan show that we can broaden our commercial tax-base without surrendering our very nature to mega-developments that ultimately cause more harm than good.
Hopefully, our appointed Planning Board recognizes that legal decisions should be based on the law as it stands, not wishful thinking. If they fail to do so, it will fall to our Town Council to decide what our town’s character is worth, and demonstrate to those who elected them that they put the well-being of the people of Tiverton before that of developers.

Brian Medeiros
Tiverton, RI

Sunday, December 21, 2014


On Monday, the TC has a choice between two candidates to appoint to an open seat on the Budget Committee. The seat is open because BC member Dave Perry was elected to the TC, having been supported by T1 in both elections. Given this fact, and that voters in Nov overwhelmingly chose candidates who shared Tiverton 1st's vision over those from Clean Up Tiverton Cavalry, the choice is clear. 

Louise Durfee has extensive knowledge and experience in town finances, and has been supportive of T1's community-based goals. 

The other candidate, James O'Dell, represents the opposite perspective of T1 and Mr. Perry. He was a CUT candidate for TC, losing by over 1000 votes. He was a prime driver of TCC and its efforts to gut the school budget. He is currently part of a lawsuit against the Town aiming to give the Town Council the ability to override the voters' decisions on the budget & taxes. He's repeatedly filed baseless Charter complaints that demonstrate a basic lack of understanding of the Charter. And his wife Madeline is already a member of the Budget Cmte. 

For these and many more reasons, Ms. Durfee is clearly the better choice for our community, and Mr O'Dell would be a destructive option for the goals and principles Tiverton 1st represents and voters have overwhelmingly supported in the past two elections.

Brian Medeiros
Tiverton RI

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


With an election over, most people accept the results and look to moving their town forward. Unfortunately, some who have no positive agenda cling to the same tactics and misinformation rejected by voters.
Justin Katz, leader of the political group Clean Up Tiverton Cavalry, has written letters claiming that the Town Council is bound by past precedent to appoint the next-highest-votegetter to an open Budget Committee seat. His group failed in the election, with just four of its ten candidates elected (while fourteen of sixteen Tiverton 1st-supported candidates won, and the two unsuccessful T1 candidates were within 31 votes of election), so now he offers twisted logic and inaccurate "facts" to claim entitlement to this seat.
Tiverton voters changed the Charter to give the Town Council authority to fill a vacant seat and not have the next-highest-votegetter automatically appointed. Yet Katz falsely claims appointing this next-highest-vote-getter remains the precedent. Why? Because that unsuccessful candidate is part of his group. In fact, the Council led by TCC, Katz's previous group, several times declined to appoint the next-highest-votegetter. 
Katz claims automatically giving a seat to an unsuccessful candidate is the will of voters, despite voters having made the Charter change and having not elected that candidate. This isn’t Miss America, where voters choose a first-runner-up. The Council respects voters by carefully considering who will best serve the town. And remember that not only did voters choose Tiverton 1st-backed candidates for the majority of seats, but the seat being filled is that of a successful Tiverton 1st candidate. 
Katz states the Council must appoint a CUT candidate to show "unity". By this theory, the Council majority elected by voters to lead the town should ignore voters and Charter alike to appoint a person voters didn't elect who wants to take the town in a direction it chose not to go. If Katz and friends truly want to bring the town together, they'll accept the decisions of voters instead of suing the town (over $25,000 in taxpayer money wasted on their nuisance lawsuit that seeks to overturn voters’ decisions), filing frivolous Charter complaints, and concocting schemes such as this. Apparently Katz and his allies continue to suffer from SLS (Sore Loser Syndrome). 
It's time to move past self-serving political agendas and work for the good of our community. That's what the voters chose, it's what Tiverton needs to move forward, and it's what Tiverton 1st stands for. For more information, visit Tiverton 1st on Facebook or at www.tiverton1st.blogspot.com

Brian Medeiros
Tiverton 1st


Congratulations to Denise deMedeiros, elected last night by the newly-elected Town Council to be the new Council President, and to Joan Chabot, elected as the new Council Vice-President.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


The new Town Council will be sworn in and elect a Council President and VP on Monday. There have been a number of questions & comments about how this works, so here are the facts. 

The President of the Council is elected by the majority of the seven Councilors. He/she is the President of the Council, not of the town, and carries only minimal additional authority, and his/her vote is equal to the other six Councilors. There are no legal requirements as to whom the Councilors elect. While they can consider any criteria they choose, there is nothing in the Charter giving special consideration to the number of votes any candidate received. 

Historically, in both Tiverton and most communities, the party/group winning the majority of seats elects one of its own to be President, regardless of the order of finish. While the highest vote-getter among the prevailing group often is given preference, even that has not always been the practice. 

The bottom line is that the new Councilors can elect whomever they choose, but in every previous election, the President has been a member of the party/group that won the majority of seats. 

Given that Tiverton 1st / TDTC candidates won five of seven seats, it would be surprising and disappointing to many of us if the President was not a member of that majority. But that decision rests with the newly-elected Councilors.

Brian Medeiros
Tiverton 1st Co-Coordinator

Friday, November 21, 2014


Great job here by Mike Silvia of laying out the facts about the history of the Town Council's appointment process, and the cynical hypocrisy of the same people who rejected appointing the next-highest-votegetter a few years back now proclaiming that the new Council must do so.
In our lastest installment of Fact or Fiction (mostly fiction as it turns out), Justin Katz has a letter on-line at EastbayRI attempting to bully the new Town Council into appointing his failed CUT candidate to an empty budget committee seat.
His justification? He insists that it is established past practice that the next top vote getter in the election get that seat and that doing anything else would set a dangerous precedent and "divide the town." He once again warns us to beware of people he opposes and watch what they do.....
However, the people of Tiverton actually changed the charter specifically striking that provision so that would NOT be the practice. Instead the new changes allowed the sitting Council members to appoint for vacancies between elections.
Undaunted by the will of the people, Katz goes on to state that his research proves that this is in fact past practice and other Councils have appointed the next top vote getter, extolling the virtuous choices of past council members with which he is aligned.
EXCEPT....yeah it is not past practice! Many past councils have taken various approaches to filling these vacancies, INCLUDING his TCC and CUT cohorts Coulter and Nelson and Chabot who in 2011, due to two budget committee vacancies, TWICE ignored this "past practice."
Actual facts are not optional, Mr Katz:
EXHIBIT #1 From the April 11. 2011 minutes:
Appointment for Budget Committee Vacancy
a. Councilor Roderick – Appointment to Fill Vacancy on Budget Committee
Councilor Roderick requested the Council appoint the next highest vote getter, similar to the last Budget Committee appointment, to show consistency. Next highest vote getter was Louise Durfee.
Made as a form of a motion, seconded by Councilor Pelletier. Discussion followed. Councilor Coulter questioned if there was a policy in place to reflect the past practice. Councilor Leonard could not recall one, have generally followed the Charter similar to a Council filling with the next highest vote getter. Councilor Coulter noted this did not happen with the recent Treasurer vacancy, did not automatically go to next highest vote getter. The motion failed, Councilors Roderick, Leonard and Pelletier voting in favor of Ms. Durfee’s appointment, Councilors Nelson, Coulter, Chabot and Lambert opposed.
b. Councilor Coulter – Request Appointment of J. Belli to Budget Committee
Councilor Coulter noted Mr. Belli’s expressed interest, had received a substantial number of votes in the last election, need to continue to involve new people, veteran. Councilor Coulter made a motion, seconded by Councilor Nelson to appoint Jeffrey Belli to the Budget Committee. Motion passed on a vote of 5-2, Councilors Roderick and Pelletier oppose
EXHIBIT #2: when one of the BC members passed away months later in 2011, the Coulter/Nelson TC put forward a process to have people apply and be interviewed, once AGAIN ignoring the next top vote getter. Ultimately they appointed Jeff Caron.
November 14, 2011 minutes:
Councilor Coulter noted the Vacancy on the Budget Committee. The Town Clerk had placed two separate ads several weeks ago, one just for the Budget Committee vacancy, applications due November 9th and one for vacancies on Boards and Commissions, which included the Budget Committee, due November 16th. Interviews could be scheduled for November 28th and appoint at the December 12th meeting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I normally try to ignore Justin Katz’s writings as they are usually filled with opinions not supported by data and fail to persuade.  However, the statements made by Mr. Katz in his recent Letter to the Editor (“Council to Divide Tiverton Over Budget Committee Appointment, EastBayRI.com, November 18, 2014) are too egregious to ignore.  

Rather than accept that the political action committee he formed, Clean Up Tiverton, failed to resonate with the voters, he resorts to the same tactics of labeling and attacking others with no facts to support his statements. One would hope that this would have ended after the people of Tiverton made their choices in the election. Unfortunately, this is not the case so I wish to provide some fact checking to correct the statements that Mr. Katz so haphazardly presents.  

Mr. Katz suggests that the new Town Council members who were supported by the Tiverton Democratic Town Committee (TDTC) will be “dividing the town” if they fill a now vacant budget committee position in a manner other than the one which he deems fair.  Since they have yet to be sworn in, he bases this not on any votes they have taken or discussion they have held in public meetings, but only on statements attributed to them in the Sakonnet Times.  

Mr. Katz insists that “past practice” be followed in appointing the next top vote getter from the election.  This individual, John Martin, is affiliated with Clean Up Tiverton and failed to garner enough votes to be elected to one of the five open positions on the ballot.  Mr. Katz  recognizes that the voters changed the Charter to grant the Town Council the authority to fill such vacancies yet warns that it will set a divisive precedent if his identified “past practice” is not followed.

However, his facts are incorrect and this is not past practice. A simple review of Town Council minutes will show past Councils have taken varying approaches to appointing vacant positions, including those members with which Mr. Katz aligns himself. Katz-aligned Council members Coulter, Nelson and Chabot in 2011 twice passed over the next-highest voter getter for budget committee. In fact, the April 2011 minutes will show that they specifically voted against a motion to appoint the next-top vote getter and instead appointed a resident who voters had rejected in that election for a Town Council seat.

Just months later, to fill a second unanticipated vacancy, these same Councilors again ignored the next-highest vote getter and instead put in place a process to ask for people to apply and then be interviewed. In November 2011, they ultimately appointed another resident aligned with their past positions. As elected officials, that was their right and prerogative to choose an appointee who they felt would support their values and beliefs in regard to town governance. 

Mr. Katz also suggests that not appointing the next highest vote getter thwarts the will of the voters.  It seems to me that the voters clearly chose five individuals to fill the five vacant Budget positions – they did not vote on a potential sixth candidate should a vacancy happen to occur in the future.  In fact, I would argue that the voters knowingly changed the Charter to allow the Council to appoint to vacant positions in recognition that those candidates who voters reject in an election should not automatically be appointed to fill vacancies.

Mr. Katz ends by saying “Watch what they do, not what they say.”  I suggest you do both and you will realize that you need to always question Mr. Katz’s data and his logic.  He has been very clear that he does not believe that government should play a role in the lives of its citizens and simply twists data to support his beliefs, regardless of whether what he presents is factual.  He relies heavily on hoping that voters will not question his logic and his “facts” and will simply take his statements at face value.  Please question him at every step and you will find that the emperor has no clothes.

Mike Burk
Chairman, Tiverton Democratic Town Committee