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

Friday, October 11, 2013


Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is 'hot' this week following a solid showing in Wednesday's Brown University gubernatorial poll.

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.


Claudierre McKay/Providence Student Union: Claudierre McKay is a current Classical high school student involved with the Providence Student Union who was featured on a nationally televised MSNBC education panel. McKay argued, "We will keep doing creative actions until we ensure that students have a voice in the education debate."

Allan Fung: Mayor Taveras and Treasurer Raimondo will disagree about the methodology of Brown's recent polling (Raimondo came out ahead, but screening for Democratic Primary voters is difficult). Either way, Cranston Mayor Fung did well in the polling, coming within 9% of Taveras, and within the margin of error against Raimondo.

Lisa Baldelli-Hunt: Change in Woonsocket! Rep Baldelli-Hunt finished a decisive first in this week's non-partisan mayoral primary, defeating incumbent Mayor Leo Fontaine and neighborhood advocate Dave Fisher . She told the Call, “The people of Woonsocket have spoken. They’re looking for a strong and effective leader and I will be that strong and effective leader." Let's hope so.

Roberta Aronson/ Childhood Lead Action Project: CLAP held its 21st anniversary fundraiser this week, with a host committee including community activists like Doris De Los Santos and elected officials like State Representatives Art Handy and Scott Slater. Kudos to Aronson for founding and growing the only statewide organization "working to eliminate lead poisoning through education, advocacy and parent support." Consider supporting them!

Gerald Guralnik: Kudos to Guralnik! The 77-year-old Brown University professor was on the shortlist for this week's Nobel Prize in Physics. While not the ultimate winner, Guralnik told the Washington Post, “We are amazed and delighted that our mathematical exercise turned out to play a huge part in describing how nature works."

Pip's Garden: A mystery gardener has created a flowery plot opposite the corner of Benefit and Wickenden St. "Pip" writes, "Join Me - it is your garden too. Come by and plant or decorate."


Congress: Stop bickering, and start leading.

Belo Corp: The latest round of Texas mandated lay-offs at the Journal depresses. As GoLocal's Dean Starkman has stated, "From 1999, newspapers’ heyday, to 2012, newspaper circulation nationally was off 20 percent.The ProJo’s meanwhile is off a stunning 45 percent, from about 165,000 to 89,000."

Sue Pegden: After one year, Pegden is out as Speaker Fox's chief legal counsel. She had a tough job - best of luck to her!

David Igliozzi: As the Valley Breeze reported in June, while a private attorney, Igliozzi, Mayor Taveras' Housing Court nominee, argued against affordable units in Smithfield while representing a client. Igliozzi said that because the housing development was made "with high quality materials and luxury features," it should not be used for affordable housing. Is this the kind of leadership we want on the city's housing court?

Richard Licht: Speaking of judges, former State Senator, Lt. Governor, and current Director of Administration Richard Licht has received the go-ahead to apply to be a Superior Court Judge. Whatever Licht's individual merits as an applicant to be a judge, we really need to move away from having our well paying judicial system be the General Assembly Alumni Association.

Angel Taveras and Gordon Fox: By the state's own rubric, at least twelve schools need moderate to extreme renovations and upgrades (from Mt. Pleasant High School to Classical). From mold to asbestos, waiting to solve the problems will only make costs higher - in health and dollars. We need a city bond—or more state funding—to solve this problem...yesterday.

Teacher Absenteeism: Last year, the Center for American Progress found that in Rhode Island about 50.2% of teachers were absent 10 days or more, number 1 nationwide. For comparison, Connecticut ranked 21st and had 38.3% teachers absent 10 days or more. A year later, what has happened to build positive school work cultures in schools?


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