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

Friday, February 24, 2012


Who's Hot

Angel Taveras -> Next week may be difficult as Mayor Taveras prepares for what could turn into an ugly conversation with retirees on March 3, but for now, he is easily the most popular politician in the state according to the latest Brown poll. People continue to find his honesty throughout his first 13 months in office to be refreshing and it's giving him plenty of leverage in his battles with both the retirees and the nonprofits.

Gina Raimondo -> The Treasurer again comes away looking strong in that same Brown poll and unless pension reform hits some unforeseen road block, it's difficult to see how her fortunes will change. Like Taveras, Raimondo gets kudos from voters who like that she was open and honest when attempting to address pensions last year.

Seth Yurdin -> The Providence Council Majority Leader is taking a lot of heat for a redistricting move that allows him to represent downtown, but it looks like the Council will vote in favor of that map. This will make Yurdin the most powerful Council member in the city as anyone hoping to purchase 195 land will likely have to place nice with him.

Sheldon Whitehouse -> The Senator's plan to raise taxes on millionaires got a boost this week when Warren Buffett endorsed the bill. That was no surprise considering the legislation is known as the "Buffett rule," but it certainly doesn't hurt anytime you pick up support from one of the world's richest men.

Hanna Gallo -> The State Senator's plan to make all-day kindergarten available to more students is a homerun for Rhode Island. All signs point to kindergarten playing a vital role in the development of children and while it may cost more money, this is the kind of investment Rhode Island should be making.

Susan Wynne -> Congratulations are in order for the new head of the Rhode Island Tea Party. It's still difficult to sell some of the Tea Party's ideals to everyday Rhode Islanders, but with 95 percent of voters are unhappy with the state's economy, there might not be a better chance than now to turn some heads.

Who's Not

David Cicilline -> Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it did for the first-term Congressman. At 15 percent in the polls, one question has to be asked: At what point will the national Democratic Party step in and suggest that Ed Pacheco and company start searching for a new candidate?

Lincoln Chafee -> Governor Chafee's numbers aren't much higher, although he at least has a couple of years to turn things around. One of the biggest question marks about the Governor has been his messaging, which his team struggled with in his first year. Other than YouTube videos the majority of Rhode Islanders will never see, he doesn't appear to be doing a strong enough job pushing his agenda on the state.

Joe Biden -> Forget the "Road Island" gaffe. How about not allowing press other than the Journal into the high-priced fundraiser for Senator Whitehouse Thursday night? The Obama administration has had a frosty relationship with the media in general and this is no different. The Senator's team should have stepped in, however.

     Bill & Patrick Lynch -> It is unclear just how far this Sport Institute scandal will go, but the Lynch brothers keep finding their names being thrown into the conversation; something that will not help either of their political futures.

Robert Phillips -> There are few taxes anyone is okay with, but why would you pick the cigarette tax as the one to lower? The tobacco industry may be pleased, but that can't be a great sell for families or people under 40, can it?

Civil Unions -> The ACLU put out another brief this week about the tiny number of couples that have gotten civil unions over the last year. You have to wonder how much this will play a role in pushing same-sex marriage on Smith Hill this year.

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Well this poll was done on Taveras before he endorsed the crook cicilline,I already here people jumping the Taveras ship because of it!

Comment #1 by anthony sionni on 2012 02 24

what is it w/this guy Sionni?? posts everywhere all day... is a wannabe..slams everyone all day.never says 1 thing positive.....why doesnt he run? put up or shut up....

Comment #2 by louis rizzo on 2012 02 24

lol somebody has to be involved, I do plan to run,stay tuned! Funny I see your posts everywhere to. We didnt have this type of forum years ago,to bad lol

Comment #3 by anthony sionni on 2012 02 24

Come on Dan! Raimondo is hot "....unless pension reform hits some unforseen road block." What is so unforseen about a judge ruling that her brand of pension reform (stripping vested workers and retirees of their legally contracted benefits) is unconstitutional?

How bright will her political light shine when the state is forced to pay back all the money that is owed (with interest) to those who served in good faith and had their money stolen from them?

Comment #4 by William Berube on 2012 02 24

What endorsement Anthony? I asked on facebook yesterday...where is this? How did I miss it?

Comment #5 by christine spaziano on 2012 02 24

The unions are the ones who spent 70 years buying off elections so those elected officials could sign off ton the unaffordable bloated sweetheart union contracts, so if anyone has had anything stolen from them, it's the taxpayers of Rhode Island. That pension system should have been ended a decade ago like they've been doing in the private sector.

As far as Whitehouse, he's a pathetic joke. He sucked as an AG (just pull up his record), and now he's pulling this "fair share" garbage out for his "Buffet Rule" bill, which tries to compare investment income cap gains tax from someone risking their money in the market to the income tax bracket of his "secretary" who makes several hundred thousand per year sitting behind a desk taking no chances and no risks. The people of RI must be completely insane to keep voting for these lunatics! Keep drinking the kool-aid RI, CF and Providence are just the tip of the iceberg if these clowns keep getting re-elected.

Comment #6 by Russ Hryzan on 2012 02 24

Just to be clear - as of this month- this was the answer. There has been no endorsement. Unless you can show me otherwise. I have no issues with you and the posts. I do take issue when you cannot back up your accustaions.

Brendan Doherty, the Republican former state police superintendent who is trying to win Cicilline’s House seat, has not commented yet on the latest headlines about Providence’s financial crisis. Taveras is one of the only prominent Rhode Island Democrats who has declined to endorse Cicilline for reelection.


Comment #7 by christine spaziano on 2012 02 24

Russ - Since unionized workers make up only 13% of the electorate in RI, the politicians you speak of were voted into office primarily by non-union residents. As far as the taxpayers being the ones that had money stolen from them - I agree, every single union worker is a taxpayer.

Comment #8 by William Berube on 2012 02 24

I posted it on facebook for you, it was on newsmakers this past weekend and has been all the talk on dan yorke at the beginning of the week. Taveras supports the 14.8 percent approval of cicilline,imagine!!!

Comment #9 by anthony sionni on 2012 02 24

Oh you can go to wpri and look for newsmakers video of Taveras!

Comment #10 by anthony sionni on 2012 02 24

I think it's unfortunate that Mayor Taveras won't call out Cicilline for his lies about the state of the city-Cicilline wasn't 100% responsible for the economic shambles,but he was 100% untruthful about the situation.
I wasn't aware Taveras exactly endorsed Cicilline-it was more like he was disposed to endorse the Democratic nominee.
He needs to re-think this.
Christine-nice to hear from you on this blog-how're you doing?

Comment #11 by Joseph Bernstein on 2012 02 24

Anthony - it has been confirmed - no endorsement. He wants a dem in office - which makes sense since that is what he is!

Hi Joe!!! Nice to hear from you as well. Hope you and the family are in good health and spirits. Looks like we will be chatting via Facebook!!

Comment #12 by christine spaziano on 2012 02 24

Well if you want to play word games christine, thats fine. Call dan yorke or go look at the newsmakers tape again. Listen to the part where he says I will be supporting cicilline for congress and he goes on to say its important to have a democrat and how he needs to work with the congressman for providence. So you dont call that an endorsement lol. Wait until they start touring providence together, it will come.
Its unfortunate Taveras cant come clean of cicilline who gave him a judgeship,politics as usual!

Comment #13 by anthony sionni on 2012 02 24

You are a fan of his I am not,didnt he put you on that pro cap board to?

Comment #14 by anthony sionni on 2012 02 24

No word games - I asked Ted Nesi - who was there and confirmed no such endorsement. Just playing your game...

Yes, I am on the ProCap board. Your point?

Comment #15 by christine spaziano on 2012 02 24

Actually the point is irreverent. I was appointed to a non paying non pension board. I am a volunteer. And qualified to be there. Oh wait - free bottled water. No he doesn't comment - if he did he would be whiner like the other one was. For 8 plus years all we heard was "blame cianci" now you expect him to do the same and chastise him for not?

FYI - common knowledge - I was NOT a supporter until after the primary and public ally called him out. I changed my mind after he made it a point to listen to my issues, as those of my families regarding the city and our neighborhood. Not many elected officials would ever do that - ESP for a former Republican.

Comment #16 by christine spaziano on 2012 02 24

Unionized workers themselves actually made up 17.4% of the RI population in 2011 according to the RI Department of Labor & Training (should always check your facts before throwing out false information), but when you add in their spouses, voting-age children and extended families, and then tack on all the union retirees, it's not such a small percentage anymore. With all of those union-bought votes, you are probably closer to 35%, and the proof is clear as glass...we end up with people like Lincoln Chafee in the governor's seat who campaigned on doing nothing to fix the financial crisis except to raise taxes to perpetuate the problem even further.

Whitehouse is the same way; has no clue nor concept of balancing a budget, and won't even admit that his "Buffet Rule" doesn't hold water as it wouldn't raise nearly close to enough money to offset the excessive defecit spending that has continued under Obama (despite his promises to have the budget deficit halved in 4 years which didn't even come close to happening), and the fact is that investors would just divert a good portion of their investments into tax-free bonds and other investments that wouldn't be subject to the higher tax rate, which would essentially cause less revenue to flow in, not more. It happened in the past, and it'll happen again. The answer is to lower taxes for everyone across the board and get everyone to pay in, not just 50.5% of the country. The population had rapidly increased over the past decades, and yet the percentage of people paying income taxes continues to steadily decline (down over 20% in the last decade). Want to talk about everyone paying their fair share? Well a good start would be getting everybody collecting an income to pay some amount of income taxes. That's a better start to achieving fairness.

Comment #17 by Russ Hryzan on 2012 02 24


Comment #18 by RI WILL BE SAVED on 2012 02 24

Weldon is in the wrong section, after the monumental traffic jam his fundraiser caused last night. And now that we have this fable from Biden about Weldon being on the "short list" for the Supreme Court, it's high time we laughed Weldon out of town. I think Biden meant to say a different list, also beginning with "sh". That's where Weldon is for me.

Comment #19 by Michael Trenn on 2012 02 24

Russ - While I concede that the number is probably closer to 17% than the 13% that I mentioned, we are still in the same ballpark - a relatively small number of the population are unionized, while the vast majority of voters are non-union. And I can tell you from personal experience... all family members do not vote the same. Of the three people in my immediate family, two voted Republican. Seems like you used some type of Drake equation to arrive at your 35% guesstimate.

Comment #20 by William Berube on 2012 02 25

One last thing. You mentioned votes being 'paid for' by unions, but the only payoff that I'm aware of is the money that was promised by Treasurer Raimondo (through EngageRI) to all GA members who voted for her grand plan. They were each given $1000 (at least that's how much we know of at this time) after they came through for their big business buddies. If Paiva Weed, Fox, et al., were so worried about not receiving union votes, they wouldn't have voted in the treasurers favor, but we know that they are all about staying in power and don't dive a damn about the average citizen of this state.

Comment #21 by William Berube on 2012 02 25

The 35% was an estimate based on who voted for Chafee, and I'm willing to bet that the spouses of the union members usually vote to support the people who back the union give-aways. There's also a lot of union retirees and their spouses in that mix too.

The pension reform was one thing that was actually done for the majority of the taxpayer base, and I don't think anyone can deny that the return rates were incredibly over-estimated for years (and still are quite a bit overrated given the current economy). Overall, I agree that most of them (especially the career politicians)don't give a damn about the average citizen taxpayer.

Comment #22 by Russ Hryzan on 2012 02 26

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