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

Friday, December 06, 2013


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.


Nelson Mandela - What a great man, and great example. When elected President of South Africa, breaking walls of racism and oppression, Mandela vowed, "We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all." As fellow citizens let's do our part to make a better state and world.

Lisa Baldelli-Hunt - Baldelli-Hunt became Woonsocket's second woman (and second Baldelli) to be sworn into office as Mayor this week. As the Woonsocket Call reports, Baldelli-Hunt announced a roster of appointments, including Representative Michael 'No Master Lever' Marcello as City Solicitor,and Joel Matthews as Acting Planning Director, who "gained a reputation as a special projects manager and all-around problem-solver during the era of former Mayor Susan D. Menard." Best of luck to Baldelli-Hunt's struggle "to get Woonsocket back on its feet again."

John Maeda - John, we hardly knew you! Best of luck to the outgoing Rhode Island School of Design President. Maeda's tenure was notable for his vigorous promotion of " STEAM" in education conversations - that is, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. As Maeda put it, "Steve Jobs’s work is the best example out there of a STEAM approach—the fact that technology and business and art and design intertwined to create something more human. I believe that art can help the economy the same way that Apple has helped the economy: by showing that making things more human makes them more desirable."

Rebecca Boxx/Children and Youth Cabinet - The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation has selected Providence as one of 20 cities to receive up to $200,000 to help more people go to college. Lumina writes, "Since Latinos comprise 64 percent of Providence Public School students, and only 13 percent of Providence Latinos over 25 years old hold an associate's degree or higher -- compared with 34 percent of total Providence adults -- gap-closing efforts will focus on Latino youth and adults." The funding will support partners in the city's Children and Youth Cabinet via "technical and planning assistance", data supports, and "flexible funding."

Fast Food Workers- Fast food workers in over one hundred cities staged a one day walk out for higher wages this past Thursday. Locally, a team of workers have been supported by RI Jobs with Justice to organize for a union and higher wages at Wendy's on Warwick Ave. in Warwick. RI Jobs with Justice writes, "For too long the working people who make this industry work have been disregarded." Best of luck!

Providence Community Libraries - In a season of giving, consider the Providence Community Library. In a city haunted by the murders of teens like Eric Cuesta, we need to support organizations that affirm what is good. Consider supporting PCL's great work in the neighborhoods.

Pleshette Mitchell - Kudos to the head of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services. Mitchell is the go-to point person for many people and their city government, and she and her team do a notable job problem-solving for residents.


Angel Taveras - The Mayor cancelled an appearance at URI's Honors Colloquium for a campaign trip in Florida. Maybe he's fundraising to clean the mold from our city schools.

Steven Pare/Public Safety Commissioner- The city still struggles with overtime pay and short staffing for firefighters. As Go Local reported, "City Internal Auditor Matthew Clarkin's first quarter report for fiscal year 2014 projected that the city's $4.7 million fire callback budget is likely on pace to cost more than $1 million over budget for the year." City Councilor Sam Zurier noted, "There are some savings to realize in terms of making ambulance runs more efficient, reducing the number of non-emergency rides (such as for “frequent customer” alcoholics), but the bulk of the cost is related to contractual minimum staffing levels."

Andrew Annaldo/Board of Licenses - Why doesn't the city Board of Licenses post their agendas on the city's Open Meeting Portal?

Ray Di Pasquale/CCRI- As Go Local Prov reported , Di Pasquale's "most recent contract is solely for his duties at CCRI -- at the same pay level as when Di Pasquale was serving as [interim higher education] commissioner as well. " His current salary is $265,000. The national median salary for leaders of Community Colleges is $167,000. In 2010-2011, CCRI was 48th in the country for graduation rates from two year colleges.

Automated Check-Outs - In a world where Amazon and Domino's Pizza are plotting delivery drones, Oregon and New Jersey mandate full service gas stations with human attendants. Maybe Rhode Island should pull a Garden State, and mandate human attendants at check out counters before those jobs too are gone with the wind.

AH Belo - The Texas newspaper firm essentially did everything possible to destroy the Providence Journal. As Go Local reported, "The Journal’s circulation declined 45 percent from 1999 to 2012, from about 165,000 to 89,000. Over this same time, the newspaper circulation nationally dipped by 20 percent." Let's hope the next owner has a vision for a Journal that hires reporters, engages every town and city, and brings back the spelling bee!

Justice or Just Us? - The DC-based Center for Public Integrity highlights, Rhode Island Supreme Court "Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg is married to Robert Goldberg, former Republican state Senate minority leader and one of the state’s top lobbyists. Robert Goldberg reported lobbying fees of at least $765,000 in 2012, according to Rhode Island Secretary of State filings." What are the potential financial conflict of interests of judges on the State Supreme Court? Rhode Island, along with 43 other states, earned an F from the Center for our financial disclosure laws for judges, particularly criticizing that "no description or specific value of a judge’s investments need be disclosed — only the name of the business."

Related Slideshow:
Rhode Island’s Most and Least Popular Politicians

The statewide poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University in October 2013 is the latest public opinion survey by the Ivy League institution.  

See how elected officials fared in Brown polls in years past BELOW.  

Prev Next

Mayor Angel Taveras


October 2013: 63.9%

October 2012: 65.6%

December 2011: 51.7%

Prev Next

Treasurer Gina Raimondo


October 2013: 54.2%

October 2012: 58.7%

December 2011: 52%

Prev Next

Senator Jack Reed


October 2013: 51.6%

October 2012: 58.5%

December 2011: 46.4%

July 2010: 55.6%

December 2009: 56.3%

September 2008: 68%

September 2007: 61%

September 2006: 70%

September 2005: 65%

June 2004: 63%

September 2003: 62%

Prev Next

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse


October 2013: 39.4%

October 2012: 45.4%

December 2011: 33.6%

July 2010: 42.8%

December 2009: 43.7%

September 2008: 46.2%

September 2007: 41%

Prev Next

Rep. Jim Langevin


October 2013: 38.7%

October 2012: 41%

December 2011: 41.9%

July 2010: 54.6%

December 2009: 46%

September 2008: 51.2%

September 2007: 55%

September 2006: 56%

September 2005: 62%

June 2004: 56%

September 2003: 56%

Prev Next

AG Peter Kilmartin



October 2013: 35.6%

October 2012: 35.8%

December 2011: 34.5%

July 2010: 20.2%

Prev Next

Sec. of State Mollis


October 2013: 35.6%

October 2012: 28.6%

December 2011: 25.6%

July 2010: 32.6%

December 2009: 22.6%

September 2008: 24.1%

September 2007: 23%

Prev Next

Lt. Governor Roberts


October 2013: 32.9%

October 2012: 37.5%

December 2011: 32.8%

July 2010: 33.5%

December 2009: 22.4%

September 2008: 24%

September 2007: 37%

Prev Next

Rep. David Cicilline


October 2013: 26.6%

October 2012: 29.7%

December 2011: 24.3%

*July 2010: 40.3%

*December 2009: 40.8%

*September 2008: 46%

*September 2007: 64%

*September 2006: 58%

*September 2005: 60%

*June 2004: 61%

*September 2003: 67%

* As Mayor of Providence

Prev Next

Sen. President Paiva-Weed

October 2013: 23.5%

October 2012: 26.2%

December 2011: 24.1%

July 2010: 21.4%

December 2009: 19%


Prev Next

Governor Lincoln Chafee

October 2013: 23%

October 2012: 28.5%

December 2011: 27.4%

*September 2006: 51%

*September 2005: 54%

*June 2004: 56%

*September 2003: 50%

* As U.S. Senator

Prev Next

Speaker Fox


October 2013: 20.5%

October 2012: 18.3%

December 2011: 25.9%

July 2010: 20.2%


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David Beagle

Arguably, anyone serving under former mayor Susan Menard, could be referred to as a problem "CREATOR". Bringing back recycled political hacks can't be viewed as a positive step can it?

lupe fiasco

steven pare is a double dipping whore.

Killary Klinton

Fast food workers? Hot?

Dan, your Woodstock, communist roots are showing through. If the "minimum wage" for a "minimum experience" job is not clear enough for you, maybe you should open up a small sandwich shop, unionized of course, and see how easy it is to make a buck with these demands.

You see Dan, businesses are in business to make a profit, not provide a job to the masses. As soon as you Marxists realize this, this country can start to return to prosperity.


Remember Benghazi 2012 when four Americans died and Hillary Clinton told congress, What difference does it make?

john paycheck

raise the minimum wage?

25% of the businesses that pay minimum wage will close.

another piece of the workforce will be replaced by machines.

when you buy a machine, you pay for it once. an employee costs a business wages, payroll taxes, workers comp, health insurance...every year...

so is raising the minimum wage a solution which causes job loss?

Redd Ratt

Nelson Mandela was possibly the greatest man of century. Not just for his leadership in ending whites only rule. No his greatest achievement was keeping South Africa together after the switch to open elections. Many blacks wanted revenge for the decades of suppression (understandably so). Without his steady and wise leadership an incredible civil war would have erupted. The whites still ran the military.
FW de Klerk was the last white president and the man in power that brokered the end of apartheid. I don't know what most white South Africans think of him. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela, but has been largely forgotten by history. I wanted to thank both of these brave and heroic men for their roles in changing South Africa and returning it to the world stage.

Rest in Peace Madibo.

Redd Ratt

Peter Cassels

I heartily agree with putting automated checkouts on the "Not Hot" list. There are too many examples of jobs being taken away from Americans, from China's cheap labor to corporations placing customer service telephone operations in foreign countries like India and the Philippines. The down side of free trade agreements.

Redd Ratt

Dan & Peter,
Companies hire you to make money off your labor. If labor costs are too high off-shoring innovation and technology will find a way to do it cheaper. And as many people have said at $15/hr these people will be replaced by far more able people. Do you think UPS and Fedex drivers are happy to see the Amazon drones. That's technology moving society forward (someday). The next time society pays for your education don't squander it. Rather look at the education society invests in you as an obligation to be the best you can be.

Odd Job

Maybe we should bring back elevator attendants, switchboard operators and typesetters.
How about pinsetters at the bowling alley or the milkman?
Maybe manual cotton pickers as well or even the Pony Express.

Peter Cassels

I wouldn't go that far. grin But something needs to be done to put unemployed Americans back to work. Perhaps technology can help. Of course, one problem is that many unemployed are technological illiterates.

Redd Ratt

Peter, The best advice I can give you is to prepare yourself with the best skill set you can. Robots are coming for a lot of jobs. Unless you make Rolls Royce's or Lamborghini's your assembly line is full of robots. BTW, those two awesome car manufacturers are habitually in economic distress. Sheffield England produces the same amount of steel it did in the 80's. It just does it with 20% of the workers.

Companies cannot try to protect workers jobs because their competition will bury them. Progress ain't all its made up to be.

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