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

Friday, August 30, 2013


Kudos to Anna Cano Morales: Thanks to her report, RI may finally start addressing the alarming education gaps between white and Latino students.

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

Anna Cano Morales/Latino Policy Institute (LPI): The coordinator of the Roger Williams University Institute delivered a bombshell of a report with Jay Huguley's study on Latino students in Rhode Island. Sign up to receive the full report https://rwu.edu/about/partnerships-initiatives/lpi/publication-request" target="_blank">here. After reading the data, you might cry, but there are clear calls for next steps. It's worth your time.

Derek Hayes/Capitol TV: Good news from Smith Hill! Government Video magazine, yes such a publication exists, recently praised Rhode Island's own Capitol TV as "Website of the Week!" Government Video praised Capitol TV role of increasing transparency, and noted the "plethora of videos covering special events such as swearing-in ceremonies and press conferences."

Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein: Silverstein began, "The basic plot is well-known: 38 Studios, LLC (38 Studios) was induced to move its business to the Ocean State in exchange for a massive financial accommodation; less than two years later, 38 Studios went bankrupt." Silverstein's ruling found it possible for the EDC to seek "recover for (1) its liability for the General Assembly‘s appropriation of funds; (2) injury to its reputation and credit; and (3) the fees and salaries paid to the Defendants." Perhaps we're not as much on the hook as we thought.

Dr. Megan Ranney and Dr Esther Choo: These two doctors at RI Hospital recently stated in a Journal op-ed, "Rhode Island should make financial support of our anti-domestic-violence organizations a high priority. These organizations, which provide services to 10,000 Rhode Islanders each year, have suffered seven years of funding cuts, with additional losses of federal grants this year because of sequestration." Kudos for their advocacy!

Ray Sullivan: A key organizer behind the successful Rhode Islanders United for Marriage coalition, Sullivan has landed with Checkmate Consulting Group, joining the firm as a partner. Sullivan told Go Local, "I’m proud to be joining a firm that shares my progressive values and commitment to creating the right kind of change.”

Helen Glover: Helen Glover, a respected conservative commentator, is out as morning talk show host on WHJJ. Excepting Tara Granahan, Rhode Island talk radio has become a men's club (in a state that used to have Arlene Violet and Mary Ann Sorrentino as leads on the airwaves!). Thanks to Glover and best of luck going forward.

Dave Fisher: You might not know him now, but Fisher is aiming to be the next Mayor of Woonsocket. Some are saying Fisher has the potential to be Woonsocket's version of John Fetterman, the "hipster mayor" of Braddock, Pennsylvania, who has re-directed that Key Stone state mill town to a strong emphasis on local business, community work, and the arts.

The Forbes Street Project: Great problem solving over the bridge! http://www.ecori.org/renewable-energy/2013/8/19/former-landfill-to-receive-solar-makeover.html" target="_blank">According to Eco RI, East Providence can have pride in the soon to be largest solar panel outfit in the state, covering 14 acres with nearly 13,000 panels, producing energy to power nearly 500 homes.

Who's Not

Jim Langevin: Congressman Langevin supports the NSA spy program - a massive surveillance of electronic communications of Americans. Martin Luther King, Jr himself was subject to harassment and surveillance by the FBI in the 1960s. As William Lederer warned, often times "...official secrecy becomes a hiding place for public problems which officials are frightened to discuss; or legislation they wish to delay; or scandals they desire to hide. It becomes an unethical device for releasing only such public information as is convenient."

Dick Boer/ Ahold CEO, owner of Stop and Shop: Stop and Shop, the supermarket mammoth in these parts, has adopted a growing automatic check out lane policy. In communities from Fall River to Providence, fewer check out lanes are staffed by people - meaning fewer jobs. If New Jersey can require station attendants to pump gas, we can require people work in check-out lanes.

Eddie and Son Closing: What a wonderful diner, and what good memories. The last day, a couple who became engaged to one another at the eatery returned for a last meal.

ELL "Crisis": Among little Rhody's frequent low rankings, LPI's recent finding is heart-breaking,"English Language Learners (ELLs) in Rhode Island – 75% of which are Latino – are among some of the lowest performing ELLs in the nation. On 8th grade mathematics achievement, for example, ELLs in Rhode Island are dead last among ELLs across states, and Rhode Island ranks in the bottom 10 among states in other ELL performance measures as well."

Don Carcieri, Teresa Paiva-Weed, & Gordon Fox: 38 Studios haunts the state's leadership like some tentacled HP Lovecraft creature. While the EDC lawsuit puts the legal spotlight on 38 Studio's Curt Shilling, former EDC Executive Director Keith Stokes and EDC Deputy Director Michael Saul, surely the big chiefs, the former Governor, current Senate President, and current Speaker of the House, share some of the blame? Unfortunately, Paiva-Weed and Fox, like past legislative leaders, might be on track to a magistrate position or judgeship once they retire.

Chronic Absenteeism: A final, sobering stat from LPI's education report: Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing at least 18 days of school. In 2010-2011 Providence, among Middle Schools, the chronic absentee rate was 32%. Among high schoolers in Providence, the rate of chronic absenteeism was 56%


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