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

Friday, April 08, 2011


A look at who is on a roll and who is rolling downhill in the local political world.

Who’s Hot

Sheldon Whitehouse -> The state’s junior Senator (at right) stepped up to the plate with a huge fundraising number for Q1 and is saying Congress should not be paid if the government shuts down. He’s not Jack

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Reed-popular, but Rhode Island Republicans appear to know Sheldon Whitehouse won’t be nearly as easy to defeat as congressman Cicilline next year.

Local 1033 -> Managed to make Mayor Taveras look good while holding on to that precious second pension. Not to mention, they’ll always be able to gently remind the mayor that they were the first union to play ball when it comes time to negotiate again.

Michael Correia -> Kudos to this freshman Providence councilman for working to cut the use of take-home city vehicles in a number of departments, most notably the police department. It’s such a no-brainer (especially with these gas prices), but it was a practice that was overlooked for far too long.

Paul Fogarty -> The overwhelming majority of voters believe the state is heading in the wrong direction, so why not call a constitutional convention? Of course, if that 14-person preparatory commission is selected the same way our compassion centers were chosen, recommendations will just be coming from the brothers and sisters of the folks who drove the state into the ditch in the first place.

Joseph A.Montalbano -> Despite his previous mishaps, the RI Senate overwhelming approved their former leader as District Court magistrate. The $135k per year job proves one thing to all Rhode Island pols: There is life after an ethics violation.

Super Schoolhouses -> It’s time to stop talking about fixing education and actually start doing it. Nobody believes they’re the complete solution, but evidence proves high quality charter schools can help close the achievement gap.  Is there really any reason not to give these schools the same funding for school buildings as traditional schools?

Who’s Not

Congress -> Want to know why ordinary people have no faith in government? Because it can’t get simple things done like passing a budget that, you know, KEEPS THE COUNTRY RUNNING. It’s convenient (and

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oh so fun) to blame the Tea Party here, but it’s not all their fault. The lack of communication on both sides of the aisle would be laughable if it wasn’t about to really damage the lives of thousands and thousands of citizens in this country.

Lincoln Chafee -> Wasn’t he supposed to be a friend to mayors? Someone ask Mayor Grebien in Pawtucket how that’s working out. Let’s just hope the two cut a deal that will help the city out down the line.  Because right now, it looks like the governor cut millions of education dollars from a broke city with a failing school system.

Providence Biltmore -> Speaking of broke, has any business in the state gone belly-up more times than the Biltmore? Here’s hoping they turn that thing around. Or else snobby Brown parents might actually have to stay at the Westin when they visit their snobby children.

ACLU -> Three surefire ways to start a controversy in public schools: 1) Outlaw dodge ball; 2) Mandatory school uniforms; and 3) Ban God. Honestly, is a school prayer banner really worth making national headlines over? The ACLU does some incredibly important work in this state, but this is just silly.

Frank Lombardo -> Has the right idea, but going after kids under 21 is a total cop-out. The 16-21 year-old crowd has actually grown up with cell phones attached to their ears their entire lives. It’s the senior citizen attempting to use the MyFace while driving Rhode Islanders should be worrying about. Ban cell phones while driving for everyone, Frank.

Boston Red Sox-> Of course it’s too early to give up, but when 0-6 becomes 4-15, fans will have a reason to worry. It’s a long season, yes. But losing streaks should come when everyone is beat up in August, not April.

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