The Scoop - EngageRI Folds - RI News and Politics at 4 pm

Friday, September 06, 2013


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EngageRI is No More

The board of Engage Rhode Island, a nonprofit advocacy group, has voted to dissolve the organization. John Galvin, Chair of EngageRI, issued the following statement today on behalf of the Board of Directors for EngageRI:

“After witnessing the devastating bankruptcy in Central Falls and several budget cycles that slashed key government services, a group of Rhode Islanders founded EngageRI to advocate for comprehensive pension reform. We ran a public education campaign that disseminated information about Rhode Island’s $7 billion unfunded liability and the importance of ensuring that our retirees could expect a secure retirement.

“The passage of the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011 (RIRSA) secured the retirement of our hard-working teachers and state employees while preserving funds for education, infrastructure and the developmentally disabled and providing certainty and security to our taxpayers.

“We will always be grateful to Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and Speaker Gordon Fox for their leadership, for focusing the General Assembly on the issue in a special session and for facilitating an open process and encouraging vigorous debate on this critical issue.

“We continue to believe that RIRSA is an appropriate and constitutional solution to our state’s pension crisis and were mystified when a lawsuit challenging reform was referred by a Rhode Island Superior Court Judge to a mediator. We are still unclear as to why the state is incurring the time and expense it takes to mediate a constitutional question. Nonetheless, we have confidence that the judicial process will demonstrate the proper respect for its prior precedent as well as the proper deference to the legislative and executive functions that enacted and have implemented RIRSA.

“Given that there is no further role for public debate in the process and that we have fulfilled our mission, the Board of EngageRI has elected to dissolve the organization.

“We want to thank the thousands of Rhode Islanders who supported EngageRI, particularly the small businesses, social service agencies and local Chambers of Commerce. We were proud to work with you to reach our common goal of achieving retirement security. The Board of EngageRI encourages all our supporters to remain engaged in the issues that make a difference to our quality of life. As pension reform demonstrated, our democracy works best when we are all engaged.”

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Block Explains His Problem with Taveras Billboard

As we reported on Wednesday, 2014 Moderate Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Block was none too pleased with the new Providence Performing Arts Center billboard for Evita, which features the face of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. In fact, Block took to Twitter to voice his displeasure—issuing several tweets.

Although he’s tweeted about it, GoLocal wanted Block to expand on his statement. Here’s what he had to say:

“The PPAC billboard is troubling. While it supposedly advertises the show Evita, the only thing you can make out on the billboard is Mayor Taveras—the show itself is clearly an afterthought. From a campaign finance perspective, the Mayor should have paid for this advertising. I am paying $9,500/month for my billboards. My campaign provides the funding and we document the expenditures with the Board of Elections. That’s how the system is meant to work. It is difficult to understand how the Mayor claims to represent reform-minded leadership when he misuses taxpayer dollars in this way. All candidates should pay for their campaign out of their campaign finance accounts.”

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Providence Mayoral Candidate Elorza Talks Fundraising

Newly announced Providence Democratic mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza has some catching up to do in terms of fundraising. According to campaign finance reports filed with the Rhode Island Board of Elections, two of his opponents— Democrat Michael Solomon and Republican Daniel Harrop—have banked $491,848.51 and $102,427.88 respectively. Although he may trail in terms of campaign dollars, Elorza—a former professor at Roger Williams University—has a strategy in place.

"My goal is to run a well-funded grass-roots campaign," said Elorza to GoLocal. "I am reaching out to my networks throughout the country and state in the legal and business communities. In addition, every contribution is important to me and no amount is too small. I have a vision for the city that is resonating with people from all walks of life and we are engaging them in our campaign. So long as I stay focused and continue communicating directly with people, I believe things will turn out well."

New Candidate for Woonsocket City Council

Garrett Mancieri has announced that he will be a candidate in the upcoming 2013 Woonsocket City Council Election. Mancieri, who lost a city council bid in 2011, issued the following statement declaring his candidacy:

"I am both very happy and excited to announce that I will be a candidate for the Woonsocket City Council in the upcoming 2013 election. This is my 2nd attempt running for this position after a very close election in 2011 where I was unsuccessful by a few hundred votes. I decided to run for this position because I feel that Woonsocket is a great City that deserves a new start. I focused on three main areas in my last campaign; economic development, property values, and the image/reputation of the City. All of these areas have continued to decline and I would like an opportunity to submit my ideas as legislation to turn Woonsocket around."

Mancieri was a GoLocalProv Guest Mindsetter in 2012.

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Cicilline’s Congressional Opponent Weighs in on Syria

Independent candidate for the 1st District Congressional District Jonathan Maciel has issued a statement on the possibility of a military strike in Syria.

“I'm staunchly against strikes on Syria,” said Maciel to GoLocal. There was never any back and forth on my part. For over a decade, the US has been involved in military action in the Middle East. We're viewed as "conquerors and terrorists" to the people there. How would you feel if a foreign nation were destroying your homes, women, and children thru military strikes? Probably not favorably. The Syrian people feel that US intervention will mean US control of their country. After what's happened with the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, they have every right not to trust US intentions. On top of that, we have people suffering every day in our own country.”

As we reported earlier this week, Maciel’s opponent U.S. Rep. David Cicilline expressed that he still needed to be convinced whether military intervention in Syria would be in the best national security interest of the United States.

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How PAC Money is Affecting the RI Governor’s Race

General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras were the big winner in terms of campaign fundraising last quarter amongst the expected 2014 gubernatorial candidates, according to the latest reports filed with the Rhode Island Board of Elections.

Although the bulk on their money raised comes from individual contributions, both candidates also received PAC money. With this in mind, we have decided to examine the PAC donations that each expected gubernatorial candidate received during the last quarterly period, which ended June 30, 2013.

Here’s how much each candidate received in PAC money:

  • Angel Taveras: $6,550.00 (4.2% of total money raised last period)
  • Gina Raimondo: $4,440.00 (1.1% of total money raised last period)
  • Allan Fung: $1,600.00 (1.4% of total money raised last period)
  • Ken Block: Did not receive any PAC money during this period.


Stay tuned to see how PAC money influences the 2014 governor’s race.

Source of data:

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