A Rhode Island No-Brainer

In what sort of environment could anyone possibly find it acceptable to place the faces of two local (and living!) officials on a monument to others who died heroically in a distant city?

A decision by Mayor Charles Lombardi to remove the likenesses of two of the town’s former public safety officials from the town’s 9/11 Memorial has drawn outcries from several members of the Town Council, who want the mayor to restore the engravings at his own expense.
The 7-foot-high monument in Evans Field was installed and dedicated two years ago by the town’s then-mayor, A. Ralph Mollis, who is now the secretary of state. Until a week or so ago, the granite slab included, among other things, the likenesses of then-Fire Chief Stephen Catanzaro and Frank Bursie, who was serving under Mollis as a police commissioner.

Call the two men “models” if you like, but the New Yorkers who told Mayor Lombardi that “so many people died [that] it would be wrong to have them represented by two individuals” would be right to suggest that the necessity for models ought to have alerted those involved in the project that even giving faces to the representations — let alone faces of acting officials — might be inappropriate.

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15 years ago

a complete disgrace and embarrassment.. absolutely no shame.
i don’t know who is worse…mollis who put the pics on the monument, catanzaro and the other jerk that posed for it, or the people like guisti and caranci that are on the radio trying to defend it.
i wish the national media got a hold of this…and then they could realize what an embarrasment they are and what fools they look like.

15 years ago

There are two factors that matter here: the vision of the artist and the intent of the monument.
The artist strongly disagreed with the addition of the two faces. And the monument was to commemorate the 9/11 attacks.
It was seriously offensive that the faces of two living, local officials who had no hand in the 9/11 rescue efforts in New York were added to this monument. I haven’t seen the statue prior to Mayor Lombardi’s “correction” but I have an image of these two guys grinning and putting rabbit ears behind each other.
Mayor Lombardi’s action might well have been politically motivated. Who cares? He did the right thing.

15 years ago

Ralph Mollis sitting in the secretary of state’s office is the best argument in the world for getting rid of straight-ticket voting. A lot of Democrats who should know better put this cretin in power.

15 years ago

I often wonder why we let people who win popularity contests lead us. Every now and then we manage to elect a winner, for the most part it a dismal failure.
I was humbled when asked to give a speech at a 911 memorial last week and almost declined the offer, felt kind of unworthy of the honor. I’m glad I decided to do it after thinking about it for a long while. I can’t imagine the guys on the monument put any thought into what they did, and what it represented.

Tom W
Tom W
15 years ago

>>I often wonder why we let people who win popularity contests lead us. Every now and then we manage to elect a winner, for the most part it a dismal failure.
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Sir Winston Churchill

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