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

Friday, September 27, 2013


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It isn't every week that an individual makes both the 'hot' and 'not' list, but Providence Mayor Angel Taveras managed to do exactly that.

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.


Angel Taveras: Good news from Moody's Investor Services. The City's financial outlook was upgraded from Negative to Stable. Moody's report notes, "The stable outlook reflects the recent progress toward obtaining structural balance... It also reflects the significant expenditure cuts obtained through agreements with retirees and bargaining groups over changes to health and benefits."

Ross Cheit, Chair/ RI Ethics Commission: Kudos to Cheit, a Brown Professor, and the Ethics Commission for voting to authorize an investigation to see if "Mr. Speaker" violated ethics rules by not reporting income he earned from his legal work between 2005 and 2009 for the Providence Economic Development Partnership.

Kira Weidner Greene: Weidner Greene has been a leader in organizing families to stand up to poor leadership at the district: "Combine closed schools, student population increase and a transportation budget cut - how could anyone in charge of this not realize it would in the end result in poor and erratic bus service?"

Victoria A. Gailliard-Garrick (Davies), Ed Ferrario (Stony Lane): These two school leaders deserve praise. The US Department of Education gave National Blue Ribbon Awards to William Davies Career & Technical High School and Stony Lane Elementary for their high achievement with students. As Go Local reported, "No Rhode Island schools were named Blue Ribbon Award Schools in 2012."

GOP Recruitment: Good job to the local party for harkening to its glory days of Schneider, Farmer, Mayer, and Violet. Marlinda Garcia, a NH State Representative, is the keynote speaker at a free workshop Saturday at the Marriott, "Getting ready to Run," being held for committed and potential female GOP candidates for office. Not sure how many are interested, but we need more voices in politics.

Dr. Fred Drogula: When faced with the prospect of a pro- marriage equality speaker being banned from campus, members of the Providence College community organized. Kudos to Dr. Fred Drogula, President of PC's faculty Senate, and the broader community of students and alums for defending academic freedom in Elmhurst.

John O'Flaherty/Community Boating Center: In the spirit of the America's Cup, kudos to Community Boating Center for bringing the "joy, freedom, and responsibility of sailing" to all people in the city, from the East Side to South Side. Through partnerships with Providence schools and individual classes, new generations are exposed to the beautiful Narragansett Bay - and called to safeguard it. 


Kent County Water Authority: The Authority alerted the public to potential dangers of E. Coli contamination in the water - however, in some cases, even elected officials did not learn of the danger until the evening news. No one has been hurt or reported illness, but we need to re-evaluate how to better communicate with the public - fast.

Gordon Fox: The ghosts of the State House have returned, if they ever left. The split personality speaker (the marriage equality Motown lover and 38 Studios smooth operator) is being investigated in yet another conflict of interest scandal. Stop channeling Harwood.

First Student: The private bus company has a monopoly, and its supervisors are delivering poor service to Providence's kids. In Boston alone, the company received over $800,000 in fines for chronic tardiness.

Angel Taveras and Susan Lusi: As a recent "Student Transportation Assessment" flatly stated, "The present method of enrolling students is both inconvenient and confusing for parents." This is after several generations of supposedly rock-star, reform Superintendents. Maybe Mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza's plan to decentralize the central office isn't half bad.

Jobless Rate: Officially, Rhode Island's jobless rate is back to 9.1%. Neighboring Massachusetts is at 7.2%. New Hampshire is at 5%. Which reminds me...

David Caprio: The Caprio family's political stars are rising again, from Frank's interest in returning as General Treasurer to David's nomination as Democratic Party Chair. Who says we need new faces and new ideas?

Jim Langevin:  From Sam Bell to Don Roach, Barry Hinckley to Cathy Orloff, Rhode Islanders of all stripes have asked the Congressman to reconsider his support for domestic surveillance. Will he?


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