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

Friday, April 19, 2013


Senate president Teresa Paiva Weed is hot this week for committing $3.25 million to fun housing vouchers for homeless Rhode Islanders.

Every Friday, Dan Lawlor breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Rhode Island politics. Check out who made the lists this week.


People of Boston -> Paraphrasing Fred Rogers, there are those who cause pain, and those who help. Let us recall and honor the regular people who reached out to strangers, healed the wounded, and inspired us all. We're better because of them.

Anthony DeQuattro and Erik Wallin -> Over 4,800 Rhode Islanders have no home - among them many veterans. DeQuattro and Wallin are, respectively, the President and Executive Director of Operation Stand Down RI, which has worked diligently to build affordable housing for homeless vets throughout the state—and just this week opened a new site in Johnston. Thank you!

Mayor James Diossa -> Finally, bankruptcy is nearly over. The city of Central Falls is on track to be fully run by an elected government once again. Democracy is precious—use it.

Teresa Paiva Weed -> Faced with a 10% increase in homelessness, the Senate President has committed to allocating $3.25 million to fund housing vouchers so that no one has to live on the street. Will Speaker Fox follow her lead?

Angel Taveras -> Good news for the city! Superior Court Judge Taft-Carter approved a pension settlement that reduces the city's liability. As the Mayor said, "I feel a lot of relief and gratitude to all the employees and retirees especially who have agreed to help the city." Kudos! 

Adrienne Gagnon and Lynn Taylor -> Taylor's proposal to eliminate Hepatitis C in the state, and Gagnon's vision for a new generation of architects and designers won each a 2013 Innovation Fellowship from the RI Foundation! Forward!


Senator Juan Pichardo -> Senator Pichardo sponsored a bill last year (which became law) making it illegal for new schools to be located on sites where there is a potential for toxic vapors to seep into classrooms. Now, Senator Pichardo is sponsoring a bill to allow school buildings on such sites. What gives, Senator?

Parking Lot Proposals -> Next week's City Plan Commission agenda is full of requests for more parking lots! We can't pave our way to paradise—or if we do, can we at least use permeable surfaces?

David A. Darlington -> The Chair of our Rhode Island Bridge and Transit Authority Board voted to create tolls for the new Sakonnet Bridge to help ensure the bridge's maintenance and upkeep. A nice thought, but does Massachusetts have a toll on the Braga Bridge for its maintenance and upkeep?

Board of Elections -> The House Committee on Oversight, chaired by Michael Marcello, found that to avoid the long lines and mishaps of last November's election, the Board of Elections should, among other things, improve training and recruitment of staff, establish clear guidelines to select polling places, and train more technicians to repair machines. As Marcello said, "Every registered voter should have the opportunity to cast a ballot without any unreasonable barriers, no matter where they live in the state." Here's the report.

Senator Michael McCaffrey -> What is the hold-up on Rhode Island's Marriage Equality legislation? In the past week, Uruguay voted to give equal rights to all consenting adult couples. As Robert Acosta of Uruguay told the AP, "I have all the rights and obligations of everyone else. I pay my taxes and fulfill my responsibilities, why would I be discriminated against?"

Crumbling Infrastructure -> Based on the state's recent School House Assessment, 53 school buildings need moderate or major repairs. Over $400 million dollars is needed to repair these facilities. What exactly did generations of RI city and town leaders spend the general revenue on?  


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