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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in RI Politics?

Friday, March 29, 2013


Who’s Hot

David Taveras-> This Central High School teacher rescued a woman involved in a fight downtown - and suffered a severe stab wound. He deserves kudos for taking a risk to help someone. 

The Marriage Equality Six -> What a cast! The Renaissance City's Angel Taveras, Pawtucket's Don Grebien, Cumberland's Dan McKee, Central Fall's James Diossa, Warwick's Scott Avedisian and North Providence's own Charles Lombardi all have called on the General Assembly to pass marriage equality. Let's hope the Senate listens.

Patrick O'Neill -> Representative O'Neill, formerly of House Leadership, recently deposed from House Judiciary for attempting to pass an ethics bill, has been criticizing the tax credit proposal to rehab the Superman building as apartments. As O'Neill says, "It seems clear [High Rock developers are] paying the guys with the right ties to make this happen, and having conversations the rest of the General Assembly isn't privy to." Good job for calling out insider dealings!

Central Falls Chess Team-> Kudos to this hardworking group of scholars who will be competing in a national tournament! Support their trips here.

Patrick Mara-> This Rhody Ex-pat is a good government Republican vying for an At-Large Seat on Washington, DC's City Council. Mara recently won endorsements from the Sierra Club AND the DC Chamber of Commerce. He supports marriage equality and a voucher program popular among many families in DC. Would that our local GOP follow Mara's lead - or at least, Scott Avedesian's.

First Focus -> Speaking of DC, this capital-based research group came out with some depressing data showing that 1 in 5 children in Rhody live with unemployed parents. Good research - hopefully a call to action.

Angel Taveras-> Among several economic initiatives, the Mayor is proposing a 7 year freeze in the commercial property tax rate, pending Council approval. This is a good start, and finding a creative way to further reduce property taxes will be a big key to supporting the small businesses that make the neighborhoods run.

Who’s Not

Larry J. Merlo-> The CVS CEO, who earned more than $18 million dollars in 2012, is threatening that if state tax credits are removed as part of a deal to reduce the overall corporate tax rate, the number of corporate jobs the company locates in Rhode Island will be re-evaluated. Meanwhile, Woonsocket crumbles. Civic pride at its finest.

Gordon Fox -> Another week, and ethics reform is still held hostage. Imitating Boss Daley is not a way to win friends and influence people.

RIGOP - > Last week, I was intending to put on the Hot list the winner of the GOP chairmanship. The race is still being contested. With friends like this, the local GOP doesn't need enemies.

Rep Joseph McNamara -> Calamari as the State Appetizer? A nice tribute - but a better tribute would be to craft actual policies to better support our fishing industry. In a state with thousands homeless, was the cooking demonstration really necessary?

Lincoln Chafee -> To be fair, we do need to pay money to attract talent. Yet, still, with over 9% of the state out of work, and most regular state employees stretched, salary raises to Cabinet Directors doesn't sit well.

RIPTA-> From a weak funding stream to overcrowded buses on Broad St, RIPTA desperately needs reform. On the one hand, the agency is looking to further cut service, on the other, an international firm -which hired five lobbyists- is trying to woo the state to privatize. Rhode Island deserves an effective, well-funded public transit network, not an inefficient, poorly funded service, or private transit that will likely ignore rural Rhode Island.

MetLife Managaement -> As the insurance giant begins shifting several hundred jobs out of the Ocean State, workers have been left with more questions than answers. Transparency is good for business, too.  


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