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

Friday, June 14, 2013


Mayor Scott Avedisian is setting the bar for all RI Mayors on managing the budget.

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.

Who's Hot

Scott Avedisian: If all state-wide leaders were as focused on effective budget management and quality public services as Warwick's Mayor, we wouldn't have among the worst unemployment rates in the country. Cheers to the Mayor for his leadership on RIPTA's new rapid bus lines from Cranston to Pawtucket.

Nellie Gorbea: 4,868 people are homeless in our state, 10% more than last year. Gorbea, ED of Housing Works RI, and potential Secretary of State contender, is calling on the General Assembly to fund rental vouchers for the chronically homeless (at an annual cost of $3.25 million). Massachusetts already does a version of this. Why haven't we?

RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence: The Coalition is working to restore state funding to the Domestic Violence Court Advocacy program, which helped over 8,000 Rhode Islanders last year. To save the state barely $300,000, hundreds of Rhode Islanders now face even more stress at a time when they need the most help. Call Gordon Fox and Teresa Paiva Weed to restore funding!

Ana Santana: For the first time since 2008, a Republican will be challenging political powerhouse Rep. Anastasia Williams. Santana is a 21-year-old college graduate who is hoping to eliminate the state's sales tax. Voter choice is always great!

The Dorrance: The Lester family (Jean, Michael, Regina) and manager Lindsay Houle have worked with their team to create a hub of downcity nightlife and one of the top 100 restaurants in the United States. Hats off to The Dorrance this past week for hosting the kick-off college fundraiser for graduates of Central Falls High School's Chess Team!

RI Pride Parade: This year's Pride Parade will bring a chance to celebrate New England's status as a welcome space for marriage equality! A reminder to sustain organizations like Youth Pride and PRYSM which provide safe spaces for LGBT Rhode Island teens, some who experience homelessness or abandonment because of who they are.

Who's Not

Providence Public School District: A federal Department of Justice investigation has found that the civil rights of disabled students at the Birch Vocational Program, housed at Mt. Pleasant High School, were grossly violated. How did the use of disabled students as low-wage workers go undetected by several generations of School Superintendents and central administrators? The historic chaos at the top is clearly hurting kids at the bottom.

Angel Taveras: While the $114 million street car might seem fun, essentially spending roughly 1/10th of a billion dollars to make commuting easier between Brown and Rhode Island Hospital seems a bit ridiculous. The goal should be city-wide success and city-wide transit for all students (including high schoolers!), not just a shiny downtown for a latter-day Gatsby.

Polluted Ponds: As GoLocal reported, the DEM has identified 28 ponds, reservoirs and lakes "impaired" from pollution due to our industrial past and present storm water run-off. The health risks and damage to our environment are great–we need to clean up, not let things slide further.

Po Gallery Closing: This local painting and craftwork gallery, founded by Anne Huntington and Steve Palumbo in 1986, was given notice to leave its Westminster St. site by June 30th. Po is the second gallery to leave Westminster St. in the last two years.

Louis Rainone: Really? The Secretary of NEA-RI resigned following arrest for punching another man at a union meeting at the Harborside Restaurant in East Greenwich.

Death by Study Commission: Gordon Fox and Teresa Paiva Weed have determined that the solution to any controversial bill is to hold it for further study, a legislative never-never land. Master lever, school choice, ethics reform...Show some chutzpah–up or down votes!


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David Beagle

How can Scott Avedisian be hot? RIPTA, where he is the top guy is always crying poverty and asking more for more money. He rearranges the deck chairs and now he's hot? How about living within your budget?

frank bentley

Finally, you can admit that "Governor" Taveras is NOT HOT..he's not even luke warm..scandal after scandal, shooting after shooting, vacancy after vacancy....and I agree w/DB above, Scotty is not hot..he's a smiler w/no bal*z to run statwide

anthony sionni

Council president Solomon should have suspected something, Birch school is in ward, yet he praised Larry Roberti at the school board meeting in april. This guy wants to be mayor? Wasn't he aware of the investigation? The Taveras administration knew in January!

Redd Ratt

Mayor Avedisian, should be considered hot because he is finally admitting that Warwick has real problems with our pensions and other post retirement benefits. He has continually dismissed the whistle blowers that have been screaming Warwick has real problems. His administration is having internal discussions about negotiating with retirees about amending benefits. Every year the taxpayers see the tax rate go up, no increased funding for the schools, and no money for the city workers. He should have gotten ahead of this as his friend Mayor Fung has in Cranston. He's late, but he would rather lose retiree support than the current unions.
As far as RIPTA is concerned he should be increasing the rates of commuters. It should cost more than $2.00 to go from Westerly to Providence.

christine spaziano

Very happy to see The Dorrance doing well. I was there the night it opened. I sat at the bar and had a great drink and chatted with the staff and owners. They have kept their promise, not making it a young "Providence" club. You can find a big band playing Sinatra or sit upstairs on the couches and hear the person you are out with talk. Did I mention the food is fantastic??

They are an asset to the city and it is great to see them thrive!

Nancy Thomas

Kudos for calling for the restoring of funds to the Domestic Violence program - some are stepping up to volunteer to help for this crucial program, but you can't run a program dependent upon volunteers as your mainstream workforce - call your legislative leaders....

PO Taxpayer

RE: Nellie and Housing Vouchers ... MA does it why can't we? Welllll let's see ... Massachusetts has a dynamic growing economy ... Massachusetts, while not without problems, is far less corrupt ... Massachusetts is not chronically destitute .... Massachusetts, proportionally, wastes far less money running government ... Massachusetts has amongst the finest school systems in the nation, ours is amongst the worst ... Massachusetts is not facing default amongst most of its major cities ... Should I keep going?

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