Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in RI Politics
Friday, June 17, 2011
Every week GoLocalProv lets you know who is on the boil and who is cooling off quickly in the world of Rhode Island politics.
Lincoln Chafee & Gina Raimondo -> Kudos to the Governor and the woman many want to be his challenger in 2014 for getting serious on pension reform. They’ve put together a panel that is balanced and (hopefully) committed to helping getting the state’s finances back in order while not completely screwing over union workers that have worked their entire careers and deserves pensions. That needs to be the message going forward. Pensions are not evil. But an unsuitable system hurts everyone.
Don Grebien -> The Pawtucket Mayor, who was supported by a number of local unions during his campaign, is catching heat for wanting to outsource rescue services to a private company. Their criticism is understandable, but Grebien inherited a city in fiscal crisis (just like Providence) and has been able to handle it in a way that hasn’t come at the expense of education or public safety. If privatized rescue service is as bad as it gets for Pawtucket, residents ought to be happy.
Cranston Local 217 -> Great job standing up to JP Morgan Chase in Cranston this week. The state’s contract with JP Morgan allows the bank to charge unfair transaction fees on the state's unemployment and insurance card program. Why are we letting this happen to people in already difficult situations? Anyone?
Grace Diaz -> It’s amazing that in 2012 our state still needs to pass laws on racial profiling, but Rep. Diaz deserves credit for fighting against unfair policies to target some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Susan Lusi -> Is there a more unenviable task than being Superintendent of Providence Public Schools? For some reason, Lusi thinks she’s up to the task for at least a year (and possibly longer). She comes with a sterling resume and has experience in both Providence and Rhode Island. Hopefully the district won’t chew her up and spit her out, as it sometimes tends to do with its superintendents.
Geoffrey Canada -> One of the most inspirational, game-changing people in the country is coming to Rhode Island for the Family Services RI event in October. The goal is help create something in Providence similar to what Canada has created in Harlem. His wraparound model that includes supporting children in virtually every aspect of their lives (education, health, afterschool) has literally saved a generation of vulnerable young people in New York. We can only hope the same will happen here.
Boston -> Honestly, is there really a better sports city in all of America?
Paul Fogarty, Dominick Ruggerio & Frank Ciccone -> C’mon guys. With all eyes on you, do you really have to attempt to squeeze every last dime out of a retirement system that everyone knows is in shambles? Kudos to Treasurer Raimondo for expressing her concern with a bill that speaks to every reason so many folks are fed up with the state.
National Popular Vote -> It’s not all that hot of a topic, but the idea that the National Popular Vote will somehow bring more Presidential Candidates to Rhode Island is way out there. And not for nothing, it’s kind of pointless. The winner of the popular vote has only not been elected President four times, and only once in more than 100 years. The system (generally) works.
Coventry, Johnston & Warren -> Did anyone that isn’t an elected official in any of these towns realize how underfunded their pensions systems are? This is just a start. Don’t be surprised if the story over the next year quickly becomes about the large number of small towns in our state teetering on the verge of collapse.
RI Board Of Regents -> Maybe they’re just putting on a show to make sure everyone thinks they really considered voting against Achievement First, but right now it sounds like not opening this Mayoral Academy in Cranston is actually an option. And just like that, the next round of Race to the Top money will not involve us.
The 195 Situation -> It’s difficult to tell who’s right and who’s wrong, meaning the city of Providence or the state. But both sides really need to get together and figure this out, because everyone considered this area the crown jewel of economic development and it sounds like everyone will suffer if they can’t figure this out.
Vancouver -> If you thought Vancouver residents were bad, come see Rhode Island later today if the House Finance Committee decides raising taxes is the only way to get out of this mess.
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