Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - January 26, 2018

Friday, January 26, 2018

 

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Every Friday, GoLocalProv breaks down who is rising and who is falling in Rhode Island politics, business, and sports. 

Now, we are expanding the list, the political perspectives, and we are going to a GoLocal team approach while encouraging readers to suggest nominees for who is "HOT" and who is "NOT." 

Email GoLocal by midday on Thursday anyone you think should be tapped as "HOT" or "NOT."  Email us HERE.

 

Related Slideshow: Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? - January 26, 2018

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HOT

Navyn Salem and Carolyn Rafaelian

Super powers join together for good.

On Wednesday, Alex and Ani CEO Carolyn Rafaelian joined Edesia’s founder and CEO Navyn Salem to name the robot Lucy which was purchased with the funding by Alex and Ani.

Lucy is the critical tool that allows Edesia to produce millions of RUFs and then ship them to countries Syria, Tanzania, Nigeria, Chad, South Sudan. The production efficiency at the state-of-the-art facility helped produce 104,000 cases of RUFs in the month of December.

Edesia is RI's largest international exporter.

Salem thanked Rafaelian for the funding and said, “literally this is critical to our efforts — it's as simple as life or death."

Rafaelian thanked Salem for the partnership and for naming the robot after her mother. “When I tell my mother about this she is going to make us help you guys with four more," said Rafaelian. 

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HOT

Congressman Joe Kennedy

The Boston Globe reported that MA Representative Joseph. Kennedy III, “one of the Democratic Party’s rising political stars, has been tapped by top party leaders to deliver the official Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address next week.

The choice thrusts the 37-year-old, three-term congressman from Brookline into the national spotlight more squarely than he has ever been before. The job will put him on national television as the face of the Democratic Party and the voice of chief Trump critic at an extraordinary moment in the country’s politics. For many Americans, it will be their first introduction to the latest Kennedy on the political scene.”

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HOT

RI's Pension Fund

Two things made the difference —Seth Magaziner launched the "Back to Basics" investment strategy in September 2016 and the stock market is rocketing.

Rhode Island’s pension fund earned over $1.09 billion from investments in 2017, bringing the fund’s value to $8,420,929,978, the highest in over a decade.

"In 2017 we took our investment strategy Back to Basics and delivered strong returns that are helping the pension fund get stronger," said Treasurer Magaziner.

The fund earned 1.10 percent in December of 2017, bringing its 12-month performance to 14.48 percent, outperforming the plan's own benchmark of 14.39 percent for the same period.

As of December 31, the Rhode Island pension fund outperformed its annual 7 percent average investment target over the past one, three and five years.

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HOT

Allan Fung

The Mayor of Cranston Allan Fung, who lost to Gina Raimondo in 2014, has shown little life as a candidate for Governor since announcing in the fall of 2017.

But, he announced on Thursday that he will top a respectable $175,000 in fundraising for the 4th quarter of 2017.

Certainly, this is not Raimondo type of numbers, but still a strong quarter.

Let the games begin.

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HOT

Speaker Nick Mattiello

The Cranston Speaker and the members of the House seem to be the only ones on the side of the taxpayer up at the State House of the PawSox question.

Despite overwhelming public opposition to the proposal -- according to John Della Volpe at Harvard --  some continue to push.

SEE SPEAKER MATTIELLO ON GOLOCAL LIVE ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 26 AT 4:00 PM. HE IS ON AFTER GOVERNOR GINA RAIMONDO AT 2:30 PM.

There simply is little support to give "millions to billionaire owners" and to put Rhode Islanders on the hook for about $40 million in subsidies. Ultimately, the deal places the moral obligation for the entire $82 million.  

Mattiello is building a resume - ethics legislation, an improved RoadWorks financing structure, the elimination of the car tax, and now leadership on the PawSox. 

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NOT

Projo Follies

The slow and painful decline of the Providence Journal is tough to watch. The announcement by John Hill, head of the Newspaper Guild and one of the classiest people in Rhode Island, that this year would be the final year of the Follies may be the most poignant indication of the endless hits that the once proud paper continues to absorb.

It was one of the few events in which everyone put down their swords and enjoyed each other's company regardless of political party.

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NOT

Brady Sullivan

A lawsuit filed in Rhode Island Superior Court alleges that one of the largest developers in the state has failed to take proper care of its property and refused to respond to repeated complaints about the conditions at one of their apartment buildings. The suit, moreover, claims the environmental conditions -- mold -- contamination have made Jeffrey Mastrobuono terribly ill.

The developer — Brady Sullivan —  is tied to numerous environmental complaints, lawsuits, and fines by regulatory agencies throughout New England. The suit is asking for a total of $60 million in damages --  $10 million in compensatory damages and $50 million of punitive damages. 

The NH-based company has six major projects in RI and has received tens of millions in RI Historic Tax Credits.

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NOT

Bienvenido "Alex" Peralta Martinez

It takes a special kind of person to profit off exploiting the most vulnerable.

A GoLocalProv.com investigation has revealed a tie between locally registered non-profit and Carlos Davila, a convicted child molester and murderer from New York who was barred from representing immigrants in 2017 and fined $1.3 million. Now, a leading immigration attorney is claiming fraud by the organization in Rhode Island. 

Davila and Central Falls' Bienvenido "Alex" Peralta Martinez are listed by the State of Rhode Island as being the President and Vice-President of "A New Beginning for Immigrants' Rights," which a Venezuelan national told GoLocal he paid over $1,000 to help obtain a work permit, only to receive what he said was fraudulent paperwork.

The fraud victim then contacted attorney Joseph Molina Flynn, the President of the Rhode Island Latino PAC, for help. 

“You could certainly call this immigration based extortion,” said Flynn, after the victim, who has lived and worked in Rhode Island for decades, reached out "A New Beginning" to obtain a proper work permit. The victim thought he was going through a legal process.

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NOT

Peter Kilmartin

The failed 38 Studios investigation, failure to protect the pensions of the workers at St. Joseph during the merger of CharterCARE, and now refusing to investigate the exploitation of undocumented immigrants — the legacy of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin continues to grow.

Kilmartin said he will not look into accusations of immigration extortion.  A GoLocal investigation revealed that undocumented immigrants were defrauded by both a Rhode Island and New York-based scheme, which saw the NY Attorney General take action in 2017 ($1.3 million fine) and shuttering the nonprofit "A New Beginning for Immigrants' Rights."

Despite the same entity operating in Rhode Island, Kilmartin's office said that it would only investigate if undocumented immigrants -- fearing deportation -- contacted police to report a crime. 

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NOT

Mayor Jorge Elorza

He describes the shooter in Providence Place Mall as a "knucklehead" and we wonder why there are five shootings in four days in Providence.

Elorza fails to understand how to lead. He and public safety commissioner Steven Pare's laissez-faire approach to crime are taking its toll on residents' confidence, victims, and the rank and file police.

 
 

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