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

Friday, March 08, 2013


Who’s Hot 

Governor Lincoln Chafee's push to lower the state's corporate tax rate landed him a spot on this week's "Who's Hot?" list.

Susan Lusi-> It can't make up for some of the disruptions caused by her mid-year shuffle of principals, but Superintendent Lusi, backed by Mayor Taveras and the School Board, are making tremendous efforts to inform and engage high school families around the new NECAP graduation rules. The new junior year NECAP graduation rule isn't good policy, but hats off to the School Board, Mayor and PPSD for their "Graduate Providence" campaign.

Nick Garrison of Foolproof Brewery -> Garrison is another rising Rhody entrepreneur, kickstarting a rapidly growing Pawtucket brewery. Foolproof joins good company - Bucket Brewery and Ravenous, among others - working to make craft beer part of Rhode Island's economy. More Garrisons will empower the state. 

Fuerza Laboral-> This local activist group recently released a depressing report "Shortchanged: A Study of unpaid wages in Rhode Island." Illegal underpayment of workers undermines the economy and people's livelihood. According to the Department of Labor, "$2,967,230 was stolen from working people in RI between 2002 and 2011." 

Mark Smiley and Dan Harrop -> These two aspiring GOP party chairs, who don't necessarily see eye to eye, have been making the rounds to vie support from the GOP State Central Committee. Smiley represents a more grassroots, Tea party candidate, and Harrop represents a big-tent, digital savvy GOP. Whatever the outcome later this month, the state needs a functioning GOP. 

Achievement First -> The charter school, which is rehabbing the de-commissioned Oliver Hazard Perry Middle School in Hartford Park, recently accepted 180 kindergartners and first graders out of more than 1,100 applicants to its lottery for next year. For better or worse, the charter highlights a demand among Rhode Island families for more high quality options. 

Chris Blazejewski -> Representative Blazejewski introduced an Early Voting bill to allow people to vote up to three weeks before Election Day. Early voting is used in 32 states and DC, and is a great way to give voters more opportunities to participate. For a really far out idea, consider Washington and Oregon's model - all voting is done by mail. 

Lincoln Chafee -> The proposal to cut the corporate tax, if adopted, should help make the state more competitive for business. We just need to find a way to make the state competitive without gutting RIPTA or hiking college tuitions.

Who’s Not

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin found himself on the "Who's Not?" list this week.

William San Bento and Michael McCaffrey -> I did not know whether to laugh or cry. San Bento's "good government" package - which includes restricting recounts and weakening campaign donation limits - are only good for those with power. Shameful.


Angel Taveras -> Asking the legislature for a $40 million dollar special deal to make an Art Deco skyscraper into apartments to keep the city "vibrant"? Sounds a bit like a $75 million dollar deal to spark a video game industry. 

Hasbro Job Cuts-> The final round of Hasbro lay-offs is a reminder that we're far from turning around the economy. Our new 9.8% jobless rate is a bit too high to make the Hot List. 

Peter Kilmartin -> A lawsuit is in the courts now to determine if a notorious, scandal plagued group, the Legion of Christ, manipulated and misled the widow of a former Fleet Bank board member, Gabrielle Mee before her passing. Can the state AG also investigate this case to make sure that this $60 million RI fortune earmarked for charity doesn't unnecessarily end up in the hands of a cult?

Deborah Gist ->  Massachusetts offers a high stakes test to students sophomore year, giving plenty of time for interventions and tutoring supports. The Bay State is a national model in terms of public education. Why does the Commissioner want to give RI kids one year less of supports to pass a high stakes test than the most advanced state in the nation?

Sequester-> Will Rogers once said, "They are all good fellows at heart, and if if they wasn't in Congress, why, they would be doing something else against us that might be even worse."

Teresa Paiva-Weed -> The Senate President still ignores the advice of her own Newport County Chamber of Commerce, and refuses to call a vote for marriage equality.


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HELLO..Mr Fenton..new column title: Who's Hot BECAUSE GOLOCAL IS NOT..pathetic at best

Comment #1 by frank bentley on 2013 03 08

Dan, thanks for putting Dan and I in the Who's Hot list. I need to correct some misconceptions though. I'm the Chief Technical Officer of Insight Health Solutions, Inc. and extremely tech savvy. Also, I'm not a member of the Tea Party. I do know many of them though. As the former "President of the RI Republican Chair's Caucus" I will fully admit to being from the grassroots.

Comment #2 by Mark Smiley on 2013 03 08

We dont need anymore apartments downtown, especially ones funded by tax credits, let them use their own money!

Comment #3 by anthony sionni on 2013 03 08

billions of pending liabilities and towns and cities across Rhode Island in "critical status" Pawtucket housholds each owe 17000 to pay for public employees guaranteed retirement....
this is what people like Mr Harrop and Mr Smiley care about and is the proper focus....Teresa Paiva Weed is focused on the economy and that makes sense as well

Comment #4 by michael riley on 2013 03 08

Susan Lusi!! HAHAHA. Why don't you do a little investigating GoWacko, I'm hearing that the Principalship shuffle is having a great affect on morale. No shows, confusion, scheduled evaluations all screwed up. Whew red-hot!!!

Comment #5 by tom brady on 2013 03 08

Patrick... point taken, I should not have given her such expansive credit. However, I do applaud her for not being scared into rushing Homosexual Marriage to a vote.

Thank you for civil criticism.

Comment #6 by Ronald Syper on 2013 03 08

Dan Lawlor Correction

Comment #7 by Stephen DeNuccio on 2013 03 08

Dan, there is now a pattern of you not doing your homework before putting your finger on the keyboard. Perhaps you should pick up the phone and make several phone calls beforehand. I also sense a rush to judgment (or a bias) too, from many of your writings. You may find if you pick up the telephone and actually call Mark Smiley you will see that he is a pretty intelligent, reasonable guy. The fact that you utilize “Tea Party” in your description of him, is a tell all. Mark is not a member, and has never been a member of the Tea Party. Given that the liberal media has worked hard to discredit the Tea Party, many see them as a negative. I am not going to have that discussion here but I feel that you have a responsibility to your readers (yes some of us are Republicans) to do your homework. Both candidates for RIGOP Chair should be recognized for stepping up to the plate especially in this state, but they do have differences. Perhaps you should write an article on what those are and contacting them would be a good start.

The media in RI must take some responsibility for how poorly our state is doing right now, as there is a clear pattern of a left-leaning bias and support for similar candidates that helped get us to where we are. We are last for business and first for unemployment yet there is no focus on changing this on Smith Hill.

Comment #8 by Michael Napolitano on 2013 03 08

dan mcgowan no longer works at go local

Comment #9 by anthony sionni on 2013 03 08

Steve..as the self appointed James Carville/Mary Matalin of RI political circles, you should at least HAVE A CLUE as to who you are ridiculing..you are a once in a lifetime experience..THANK GOD..you ran 1 lousy campaign against Kenny Carter who was "dead in place"at his 19th hole & seems to qualify you as judge, jury & executioner..it was better when you were just the tooth fairy!!..

Comment #10 by frank bentley on 2013 03 08

Dan is a progressive's progressive and will use any chance he can to label republicans unfairly and hang the Tea Party anchor off the necks as many GOP members as he can. However, I agree that we do need a functioning GOP.

Congratulations to Sen. Piava Weed for doing the people's business and not getting caught up in these waste of time 'Social Engineering' bills. Homosexual Marriage is not a priority and should be tabled for the session.

Comment #11 by Ronald Syper on 2013 03 08

The marriage equality question has once again been held up by the Senate President? This issue needs to be placed on the ballot and let the people voice their preference. This yearly introduction of this bill and the continued refusal of the Senate to even consider it, is just too divisive. The question needs to be put behind us.

Comment #12 by Steve Rawson on 2013 03 08

Just for the record I was addressing Dan Lawlor when I made my comments. Dan McGowan would have at least picked up the phone and gotten his facts correct. He is now at WPRI channel 12 and was always a pleasure to work with while at GoLocalProv.

Comment #13 by Michael Napolitano on 2013 03 08

Late entry to the "Who's NOT HOT", Met Life and the jobs they're axing in Rhode Island. Of course we know that they didn't exist to be a jobs program.

Comment #14 by David Beagle on 2013 03 08

@Ronald Syper don't rush to give Paiva Weed congratulations yet. They haven't done a damned thing to improve the economy in this session. As a matter of fact the ONLY thing they've done recently is to pass the Pension Reform bill and that is mostly due to Raimondo's work. No, Paiva Weed is not due any congratualtions at all. She and Gordon Fox are two of the biggest problems this state has right now and they both need to go!

Comment #15 by Patrick Boyd on 2013 03 08

Dan McGowan, you offer some good efforts on important stories, but as Mike Napolitano indicated, in this column you have a tendency to bloviate and spew nonsense with no research or some "half " of the story is once again evident. You are often chilling for one side without disclosing why or why you didn't to get the other side. I can't speak to whether Dan Harrop is "Tech savvy" or not but I know for a fact Mark Smiley is. Moreover, Mark Smiley may be a grass roots sort of Republican, and he most certainly embraces fiscal conservatism, as does Dan Harrop, but his mission is all about the Republican party. You get a Pants on Fire for talking out of the wrong end.

Comment #16 by Michael Gardiner on 2013 03 08

Dan McGowan, I sit here wondering when reporters in this State and nationally are going to take their job seriously and not allow one’s personal opinion to get in the way of FACTS. Mark Smiley is a Computer Tech Guy, as that is his business. Also Mark Smiley is not a member of the Tea Party. He is however, a fiscal conservative and has had his sleeves rolled up for this party for several years. He attends many meeting and has chaired the Republican Chair Caucus, as well as Chair in Warren where he resides. In conclusion, when the Media messes up what is the recourse? Oh Wait…. There is none because their agenda driven reporting helps the Democrats get elected. Oh Dan….. Met Life is pulling out of our 75 plus year Democrat ruled State along with many others. A few months ago we lost RI Novelty who left Cumberland for Fall River MA. Many thousands of folks left this State as well. So tell me Dan, when will you say you have reached your liberal “Happy Spot,” how much more destruction and misreporting is it going to take place before you and others say…. “Ah……… I feel sooooo good now.”

Comment #17 by Stephen DeNuccio on 2013 03 08

Dan Lawlor,correction

Comment #18 by Stephen DeNuccio on 2013 03 08

Dan McGowan, Uhh...

Comment #19 by tom brady on 2013 03 08

Just for the record I was addressing Dan Lawlor when I made my comments. He is the author of this column. Dan McGowan would have at least picked up the phone and gotten his facts correct. He is now at WPRI channel 12. McGowan was also a pleasure to work with while at GoLocalProv.

Comment #20 by Michael Napolitano on 2013 03 09

Gardiner..McGowan left this dump site 2 months ago...check your facts not your fax

Comment #21 by frank bentley on 2013 03 09

San Bento's "good government" package - which includes restricting recounts and weakening campaign donation limits - are only good for those with power. Shameful.

This says it all. San Bento is a cheap trick politician who runs a small insurance business. His little stunt with the board of elections by "winning" by one vote just shows the depths of corruption in this state. I caught his wink to the chairman once the decision was announced. The fix was in.

It may already be too late to save this state from the corruption as many are starting to leave the state. It seems the biggest growth business in RI is the moving companies.

Comment #22 by Gov- stench on 2013 03 09

The Governot seems to have a semi-permanent spot on the "Hot" list. This is odd, coming from an organization that purports to be in the News business. Did you consider that the Governot has also refused to release a Welfare study, on EBT Card usage, that has been conducted. This is OUR money, he is OUR employee, and we deserve to see this goernment work product that WE paid for. This is the most secretive Chief Officer we have had in my lifetime. Shame on you for feeding into it.

Comment #23 by Michael Trenn on 2013 03 09

If anyone saw Chafee's obnoxious performance on Ten News Conference they could not possibly call him "Hot"except maybe the way a fresh cow pie is "Hot".Taricani and Rappelye asked cogent,appropriate questions in the public interest and got met with a dismissive,arrogant attitude,obfuscation and a refusal to acknowledge the right of the public to know relevant information about how their money is spent.He whined about "media heckling"-there was none of that whatsoever-just two professionals doing their job.Chafee is unfit for office.

Comment #24 by Joseph Bernstein on 2013 03 11

I saw that ten news conference with chafee, unreal, talking about manequins and accusing the reporters of heckling him. Release the ken block report chafee!!!

Comment #25 by anthony sionni on 2013 03 11

Thanks Bentley. My mistake. I see the next Dan carrying on the traditions of the last Dan.

Comment #26 by Michael Gardiner on 2013 03 13

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