Not all Newport short-term rental owners are the same
I hate sitting on the fence.
I maintain my lavish lifestyle by offering opinions (whether they make sense or not). And fences lead to splinters.
So, I remain undecided on the city council’s vote to restrict short-term rentals in certain parts of the city.
As I’ve written before, I lived in the Fifth Ward in the early 1990s, during the holiday days when absentee landlords sardinated 10 or 12 weekends into homes and apartments.
Some could leave their rental units empty the rest of the year depending on the transport of money from Memorial to Labor Day.
Continued:Short-term rentals are no longer permitted in sections of Newport. Not everyone is happy with it.
So I see the concern of the city.
But I attended last week’s board meeting (things I’ll do to get a column). And I was moved by the testimonies of people who were renting accommodation to continue living in Newport.
People like Brandon Pico and Meg Nelson made strong points. But the council remained unmoved, voting 6-0 (council member Angela McCalla was absent) to clamp down on most short-term rentals,
Newport was a gig economy before anyone coined the term. In the 1980s, I remember meeting people who had three jobs. They wanted to stay in Newport and that’s how they did.
Short-term rentals are one of them.
Unfortunately, not all owners are like Nelson and Pico. Some are buying houses in order to clean up financially and probably haven’t been to Newport in a year or two. And they don’t care what the mayor or the neighbors think. As long as the check is cashed.
Spare change:A total ban on short-term rentals in Newport is not the way forward
The city can’t afford to hire 20 assistant zoning officers to enforce codes and behaviors.
Newport is in a perpetual housing crisis. And I’m still far from convinced that this is a solution.
ODDZNENDZ: Glad to see the party bike proposal went off the rails quickly.
The council quickly shut that down. Two Cranston lawmakers supported this, but luckily it required local approval.
Where would they take those bikes in Cranston? The Garden City mall?
The bikes hold 16 people and in some cases would serve alcohol. Even without alcohol on board, this could be a pub crawl on wheels.
Continued:Party bikes would make Newport ‘less attractive’ as City Council votes to ban them
I would love to see these vehicles scaling the streets of Historic Hill or clogging Thames Street. Council member Charlie Holder said he didn’t want to see Newport look like a circus.
Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. But the point is well taken. The purpose of this business would be to go around town and drink and drink and drink. Keep that circus in Florida.
Good to see the council veto the bike.
• Will Smith won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the sometimes bellicose and brash Richard Williams, father of Serena and Venus Williams.
Now I wonder if Smith was playing.
• By the way, how do you support either guy in the Oscars “slapstick” routine.
• And best wishes to Miki Ohlsen, who is retiring after 40 years as artistic director of the Island Moving Company. How many towns the size of Newport have their own dance company, especially one that’s been around for 40 years?
Miki, Dominique Alfadre and Shauna Maguire have always been the cement of the troupe. It will be hard to imagine the moving company without Miki.
Continued:Island Moving Company founder Miki Ohlsen looks back on 40 years before retirement
Young people in the region have turned to careers in dance, choreography or teaching. It would seem unlikely without Miki’s vision
• I once performed in an Island Moving Company ballet. OK, I know you read the previous sentence twice.
Well, calm down. Nobody let me dance.
I was in the final scene of a very good ballet called “The Tender Land” by Aaron Copland.
I dressed like a farmer (like other extras). We joined a few family children celebrating the harvest, raising our arms to the sky. It was awesome.
It was 1986. I’m still working on my pirouette in case someone calls back.
• A heartbreaking RIP: Luke Randall. As an artist, Luke always seemed to be two steps ahead…perhaps even ahead of his own imagination.
Spare change:The soon to be demolished auditorium at Rogers High had its moments
A Middletowner, Luke rented a studio on Broadway years ago. A free thinker, he had opinions, usually well-formed, on a variety of subjects. He was as naturally curious as a detective or a journalist. Luke spent a good number of years in Saunderstown, but was an Aquidneck Islander at heart.
His old studio in Newport was sometimes a meeting place for the people of Broadway. But when he worked, he worked… on paintings, photos, prints, collages. You name it.
I hope 57 year old Luke has realized how much he and his talents are admired and respected (I would say the same for current local artists Sue McNally and Sasha).
I guess Luke dreamed up new projects in his final months. Unfortunately, we will not see them.
But what an incredible job he left us.
Jim Gillis is a columnist for the Daily News. Email him at [email protected]