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

Friday, January 25, 2013


Who's Hot

House Speaker Gordon Fox made both this week's Who's Hot and Who's Not lists.

Former Representative Michael Pisaturo -> Way back in 1997, before Civil Unions in Vermont, before equal marriage in Massachusetts, Pisaturo called on the state to legalize same sex marriage, and recognize all committed, consenting adult couples as equal before the law. His idea was right in 1997, his idea was still right in 2007, but this vision has been ignored--until now. This week, in 2013, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted to legalize same sex marriage. The former Rep's campaign is finally one chamber away from victory - thanks to the leadership of current Rep Art Handy and the time and energy of thousands of supporters across the state.

Chanravy Proeung -> In 2008, budget cuts eliminated South East Asian translators in Providence schools. The Providence Youth Student Movement (PRYSM) organized a series of protests against these cuts, calling them "racist." In response, Governor Carcieri's wife compared the students to the terrorists who killed Pakistan's Prime Minister (!). PRSYM's new executive director, Proeung, is continuing the tradition of afflicting the comfortable by organizing large protests against the city's new " chronic nuisance" ordinance, which she feels is being used to unfairly target South East Asian households with police raids.

Steven Corrales -> This active, 23 year old Notre Dame alum will succeed newly elected Mayor James Diossa on the Central Falls City Council. Corrales, who also has a graduate degree from Brown, is an administrator at the high-performing, "no excuses" Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy. For better or worse, Corrales has no opponent in the election. Good for him, bad for democracy. But overall, best of luck to Corrales!

Principal Jeffrey Goss -> New to Providence from Portsmouth, Goss has been a force for positive change at Gilbert Stuart Middle School, one of the capital city's roughest. For his success, Goss was told he will be relocated to Mt. Pleasant High School in February. This past Monday, dozens of faculty and families marched in the cold weather to demand Goss stay. When a principal can inspire teachers to march in the cold on a holiday, he's done something right.

Speaker Gordon Fox -> Even marriage equality arch-rival Arthur Corvese praised the Speaker for keeping his word to constituents to bring marriage equality to a full vote in the House. Tonight, the Speaker can go back to his district and say he heard them, he acted, and things changed. Good job, Mr. Speaker!

Who's Not

Senator Frank Ciccone -> The "You think you got pension problems now?" Senator has introduced a bill asking voters to define marriage as between a man and a woman. All I can say is with a friend like this, "traditional marriage" supporters don't need enemies.

The Sales Tax -> Massachusetts is looking to reduce its sales tax from 6.25% to 4.5%, and earmark sales tax revenue for infrastructure projects. Along with the cut, the Bay State is looking at raising income taxes, and devoting additional revenue to education. Little Rhody is so far sticking with our "temporary" 7% sales tax - if the proposed Massachusetts changes go through, it will be worth sprucing up our own tax rules.

Rick McAuliffe -> McAuliffe is an uber-lobbyist, whose job is to convince the House and Senate leadership to pass certain laws and not others. McAuliffe has worked for Senator Reed, former Lt. Governor Fogarty, and former Congressman Kennedy. While I'm sure he's a perfectly friendly person, why is a walking conflict of interest on the Judicial Nominating Committee, which recommends to the House and Senate leadership who becomes a judge and who doesn't?

PPSD Central Office -> In the name of stability and student success, the district has initiated a mid-year shuffling of over half a dozen principals with little to no community input. Wasn't that whole "United Providence" program supposed to highlight collaboration among administrators, teachers, and families?

Speaker Gordon Fox -> As temperatures reach frigid levels and homelessness rises, what's the point of being a liberal with power if you're not going to use it to help the most vulnerable? Beyond last year's important, but low-cost, Homeless Bill of Rights, it is time for the State to get serious about job creation and affordable housing. Worcester has ended chronic homelessness, so can we. 


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