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

Friday, February 15, 2013

 

Who’s Hot

Jim Langevin's movement to have members of Congress invite victims of gun violence as their guests at the State of the Union landed him on this week's Who's Hot list.

Pope Benedict XVI -> It is a rare thing for someone to walk away from power.

Lincoln Chafee-> While not a generation inspiring Garrahy moment, Governor Chafee was active throughout the storm crisis, touring sites, meeting with people, and helping out where he could.

Jim Langevin-> Kudos to US Representative Langevin for successfully encouraging several dozen members of Congress to bring as guests to the recent State of Union people who have suffered from gun violence in the US. Langevin brought as his guest Jim Tyrell, whose sister, Deborah, was killed at the market she owned in Providence in 2004.

Jan Malik-> State Representative Malik has been getting press for proposing to abolish the state's "temporary" seven-percent sales tax. Malik doesn't have clear answers for how to make up lost revenue, but good for him for getting the conversation started on how to put more money back into the hands of regular Rhode Islanders.

Scott Slater, Harold Metts, Michael W. Chippendale-> These three General Assembly members—two Democrats and a Republican—are aiming to empower local communities by giving ex-convicts a foot in the door. Their legislation would remove from job applications questions such as “Have you ever been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor?” Chippendale notes, ’"some of my best employees had criminal records. They worked hard because they valued their jobs. We need to pass ‘Ban the Box’ so people can get a foot in the door and present themselves as a whole package.”

High School Zombies -> It's not every day a flock of Zombies wander to protest the Commissioner of Education's new graduation requirements. Students and teachers certainly need assessments, but as the undead remind us, they also need support. Next Week? Physics Teachers from the Waterplace Lagoon.

Who’s Not

Former Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau was sentenced to two years in federal prison this week. Not surprisingly, the news landed him a spot on this week's "Who's Not" list.

Charles D. Moreau -> The former Central Falls Mayor, a major cheerleader for the infamous Wyatt Detention Center, now joins a long line of local elected officials in trouble with the law. From multiple former Mayors to State Supreme Court Chief Justices, from past Speakers of the House to State Senators, from former Town Councilors to State Representatives, various former officials (not most, but too many) have been involved in criminal actions. Would you believe there are states that don't have a State House to Prison Pipeline?

Winter Storm Nemo-> This deadly storm blanketed the region—cutting powers for hundreds of thousands, clogging streets, closing schools for days, and leaving many cold. For some the memories will be pleasant, but some lost a great deal through the storm.

Angel Taveras -> On the plus side, the capital city's schools were back in business before Woonsocket's, Pawtucket's, and Boston's (even as over a dozen school buses were stuck in the snow, including one the Mayor helped dig out). On the negative, numerous side streets were left unplowed or under plowed as many lost power. Especially in the dense neighborhoods, returns to work or the doctor’s office were difficult.

Elizabeth Roberts -> Roberts was away during the winter storm on a family vacation in Europe. While the weather is certainly not under her control, it does beg the question, "Why do we have a Lt. Governor again?"

Woonsocket -> When a municipal Public Works Department needs to send out an SOS for private contractors to come and help dig out the city, you know things are bad. At least they say the food is good at Vintage Restaurant.

The Board of Elections and the General Assembly -> Remember the long lines, mixed up ballots and computer issues on election day? Contrary to last week's prediction this would look particularly bad for the Secretary of State, recent testimonies at the House Oversight committee actually highlight problems from the GA and Board of Elections: law changes to allow larger precincts, poor recruitment and training of poll workers, less money for oversight, and shorter hours to go vote all contributed to the mess. Here's hoping the folks in charge respect the voters enough to listen and problem solve. As Common Cause argued, "We went from having five states with shorter average wait times to 32 states with shorter average lines in the course of a single presidential cycle."

Teresa Paiva Weed -> Call for a vote on Marriage Equality already!

 

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