Read all about it - a productive 24 hours for the mayor, with a balanced budget now suddenly within reach.
Below is one of our high resolution computer models. The green represents widespread rain moving in by early Tuesday morning. Even though we had a rainstorm last week (3+ inches), we still need more to make up for our deficit. Currently running about 6-7 inches below average since Jan 1st, 2012. We are expecting about 1″ of rain Tuesday, Mostly during morning and early afternoon……Chief Meteorologist Tony Petrarca
The only change was an amendment that allows a review of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) freeze every five years until the pension system is 70% funded, a city official said. Three members of the council – Michael Correia, Nicholas Narducci and Davian Sanchez – were absent for Monday’s second vote.
The all-Democratic council voted unanimously to approve the changes last Thursday, but its rules required a second affirmative vote to send the ordinance to the mayor’s desk. Taveras is expected to sign it soon.
Update: Taveras signed the pension ordinance Monday evening at Beneficent Church on Weybosset Street, his office said. He was joined at a youth event there by Council President Michael Solomon, Council Majority Leader Seth Yurdin and Councilman David Salvatore, who oversaw the review that led to the changes.
Kathryn Sotnik contributed to this report.
(photo: Angel Taveras)
It looks safe to say Gina Raimondo will keep her crown as Rhode Island’s best-funded politician.
The treasurer received $101,965 worth of political contributions during the first three months of this year, according to a filing with the R.I. Board of Elections. That’s a big bump from the fourth quarter of 2011, when Raimondo raised a relatively modest $35,130.
Raimondo’s campaign war chest totaled $617,922 as of March 31, up from $528,095 on hand as of Dec. 31. Among those who donated to her was Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., a rising star in the Democratic Party who roomed with Raimondo’s husband at Yale Law School. Booker gave Raimondo $1,000 on March 8.
Raimondo recently hired Jackie Baginski as her new fundraiser. Barring a monster quarter by one of her fellow state politicians, she’ll still have a big lead in the money race. Raimondo’s closest competitor is former Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who had $335,711 on hand as of March 31.
Another Democrat who raised plenty of cash from January through March was House Speaker Gordon Fox. He received $96,280 worth of contributions, boosting his war chest to $231,593 as of March 31. Fox held his major fundraiser of the year on Jan. 26 at the Providence Marriott Downtown.
Among the familiar faces who gave money to Fox were Ernie Almonte, Frank Anzeveno, Larry Berman, George Caruolo, Patrick T. Conley, Joseph DeAngelis, Mark Dingley,Charlie Fogarty, Doug Gablinske, Christopher Gasbarro, Bob Goldberg, Alan Hassenfeld, Diane Hurley, Dennis Keefe, Ned Levine, Bill Lynch, A. Ralph Mollis, Francis X. McMahon, Bill Murphy, M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Dominick Ruggerio, Joe Shekarchi, Neil Steinberg, John Taylor, Joseph Walsh, John Hazen White, Tim Williamson and Gayle Wolf.
Fox also received $800 from the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund political action committee.
This post has been updated and expanded.
That’s probably a stretch. But it appears the statewide debate over public-sector retirement benefits did play a role in convincing municipal-finance consultancy PFM Group to open an office in Providence.
“I’ve noticed, particularly in Rhode Island, a bigger recognition of the severity of the problem,” Vijay Kapoor, a senior managing consultant at the Philadelphia-based firm, told Bond Buyer. “The emphasis has gone from ‘How big is the problem?’ to ‘What do we do about it?’ ”
Here’s some advice for Rhode Island’s delegates to the Republican National Convention: fill your iPod with plenty of long playlists for the rides back and forth to the hall.
The Rhode Island and Virginia delegates are both assigned to the Marriott Suites on Sand Key, a beachfront hotel in Clearwater Beach, Fla., according to a list released Monday by the RNC Committee on Assignments.
The Marriott Suites is a 26.6-mile drive away from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention will be held in August, across the Courtney Campbell Causeway bridge. Mitt Romney’s home state delegation from Massachusetts got the best assignment, a hotel next to the Forum, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The Rhode Island delegation’s location isn’t the most distant. The Florida delegation, which is being punished for holding its primary earlier than party rules allowed, will be housed roughly 30 miles away in Palm Harbor.
The Republican delegates elected last week include Don and Suzanne Carcieri, Scott Avedisian, Allan Fung, John Robitaille,Gio Cicione, Daniel P. Riley and Doreen Costa.
Update: The Rhode Island delegation to the Democratic National Convention will also be a considerable distance away from the hall in Charlotte, N.C., RIPR’s Scott MacKay reports.
Engage Rhode Island, the deep-pocketed group that successfully pushed passage of the new pension law, raised $12,650 for its new political action committee and made no contributions during the first three months of this year.
EngageRI PAC had $14,069 on hand as of March 31, according to a report filed with the R.I. Board of Elections. The group donated $6,000 to the General Assembly’s top six Democrats last year and organizers have said it will provide support for legislators who voted for the pension overhaul.
EngageRI PAC’s first-quarter donors included Bernard Buonanno Jr., a senior partner at Riparian Partners, which was purchased last year by Oppenheimer & Co.; Ted Long, a lawyer and former top aide to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed; Terrence Murray, the former chairman of FleetBoston bank; and a number of others who supported Engage RI’s original 501(c)4.
• Related: EngageRI donates $1,000 each to top six in General Assembly (Feb. 1)
An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the EngageRI PAC donor is Bernard Buonanno III, a managing director at private-equity firm Nautic Partners; his father, Bernard Buonanno Jr., is the donor.
Here’s my story from Saturday, in case you missed it. The meeting is at 5 p.m.
It was another very cold start this morning—the 3rd morning in a row with freeze warnings/frost advisories for southern New England. Just like the weekend, though, abundant sunshine and dry air will lead to a pleasant afternoon. Winds will be lighter and the temperatures should make it into the low 60s away from the coast for afternoon highs.
We’ll wrap up April with cooler than average temperatures (“normal” high is 64)… but the month overall, will be remembered for dry, breezy conditions and the summer-like warmth mid-Month. Our warmest April days were April 16 and 17 when we hit highs of 83! While rainfall for the month was only a little over a half inch below normal, most of the rain fell over a 2 day period when we picked up more than 3″ of rain April 22-23. We’re still heading into May with a significant rainfall deficit and in what the Drought Monitor considers a “Moderate” to “Severe” Drought.
Looking ahead to the 1st half of May–summer weather lovers may be disappointed. Cooler than average temperatures are being forecasted through May 13 by the Climate Prediction Center.
Even though the cooler air may win out to begin May… there will still be some milder stretches… including the late part of this week, when I’m forecasting highs around 70.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s family may be in the so-called one percent, but they still pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett.
Raimondo and her husband, Andrew Moffit, paid $107,764 in federal income tax and $31,765 in state income taxes last year on their total income of $440,722, according to tax returns disclosed by the treasurer’s office to WPRI.com. Their federal effective tax rate was 24.5%, higher than the 17.7% Buffett paid.
Their state income tax payments included $24,300 to Rhode Island, $5,791 to Massachusetts and $1,674 to New York, due to rules requiring individuals to also pay tax in states where they work but do not live. The figures do not include other payments such as property taxes.
The bulk of the couple’s earnings was made up of Moffit’s $341,336 income from the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, which he joined in 2000 and where he is currently a senior practice expert in education. Raimondo, a former venture capitalist, reported a $79,261 income as treasurer in 2011.
Raimondo is one of only two general officers who agreed to disclose their 2011 tax bills; the other, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, has not released his yet but says he will. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin all refused to release theirs.
• Related: It takes $331,181 a year to be in the one percent in Providence (Jan. 15)
We have all the ingredients in place for the temperatures to drop very quickly tonight. The process of radiational cooling will allow the temps to drop into the upper 20′s and lower 30′s by dawn.
Last night, we had a lot of clouds around and only a few inland locations of Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts saw the temps drop to freezing. Tonight, with the lack of cloud cover, the very dry air and light winds, the temps will drop quickly. We ARE waiting on the winds though. They remain somewhat busy at the time I’m typing…from the northwest at 10mph. Once they quiet down some more, the temps will drop more quickly.
Again, if you have vegetation which would not like a freeze or frost, you should protect those plants.
This will probably be the last frost or freeze of the season.
Have a great week!
-T.J. Del Santo
- The really cool thing about being the in TV business is all the different people that you get to meet along the way. I haven’t done much reporting the last couple of years but I still enjoy getting out into the community and telling a story or two. This morning I caught up with local surfer Zack Bastain who’ll be a Cardi’s Hometown Hero in the coming weeks. I won’t give away the story but let’s just say that I came away inspired and I won’t be complaining about anything in my life for the foreseeable future.
- I hate the White Sox. Let me rephrase that, I really hate the White Sox. Growing up a Twins fan I was preconditioned to hate the southsiders but the late 90’s through the mid 2000’s really ramped things up. Ozzie Guillen, 1,700 different uniforms ( they wore red today against… the Red Sox. Come on man!), three true fans in the Chicagoland area, A. J. Pierzynski, and Hawk Harrelson. It was tough to see Boston beat up on Minnesota but I felt better when they followed with a beat down of the ChiSox.
- Day Three of my body cleanse program. I have to admit that I feel better already. The hardest part will be giving up most sugars, alcohol, pizza, and pasta for the next 24 days. My goal is to one day see at least one of my abs again but losing the double chin would be a nice consolation prize. When you start looking like Jiminy Glick it’s time to pick up some better dieting habits.
Rhode Island politicians are getting some media attention outside the state’s borders this Sunday.
The risk of admitting a major mistake is too much for most pols to chance, so when you see a public apology, you know the blunder had to be a whopper. And Washington — and the citizens of Rhode Island — just saw one from freshman Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who recently swallowed hard and apologized for making a highly misleading statement about the finances of the city of Providence on his way to Congress.
On a lighter note, Gov. Lincoln Chafee recalls his days shoeing Canadian horses in a Boston Globe column by Kevin Paul Dupont:
The job, said Chafee, gave him many skills, the direct ones he sometimes uses when his daughter’s horse needs a change of shoes. He is 59 now, and though not as quick with the rasp and hammer, he still feels he has a good touch with the tools and the clients.
“I could always get along with the horse, that’s key,” he said. “I could get under there and not have them go nuts on me.”
As for the fast and potted track of politics, his work long ago with hammer and hoof often helps there, too. Since putting his tools in storage, Chafee has been mayor of Warwick, R.I., a US Senator and, since January 2011, the governor.
“What’s similar is that it’s hard work,” he said. “If a trainer wanted me on Saturday or Sunday to shoe a horse because of a race, you had to do it, to keep your business. If you want to stay in politics, and they say there is a wake you should go to – and maybe you have other plans – you should really go to the wake. It’s what you do.”
Sick of freeze watches and warnings yet? A Freeze Watch has been issued for tonight (Sunday night) into early Monday morning. This should be the last night for a while in which we have to worry about the plants and vegetation. Overnight temperatures should be milder for most of the work week.
Another cold night is expected tonight, but clouds that are streaming overhead could keep us from getting into hard freeze.
Cloudiness from an area of low pressure well to our south will break apart well after midnight. Once the skies clear, the temperatures will fall quickly….falling well into the 30′s by dawn. Areas away from the south coast could fall into the upper 20′s. If you have any plants outside which wouldn’t like a frost or freeze, bring them inside or cover them up!
The Providence City Council is wasting no time in pushing through its plan to fix the pension system.
The council will hold a special meeting Monday at 5 p.m. at City Hall to take a second vote on the far-reaching overhaul, according to a notice filed with the secretary of state’s office. The proposal would freeze retirees’ pensions for about 24 years and shave at least $236 million off the city’s unfunded pension liability.
The council’s 15 Democrats already voted unanimously on Thursday to enact the pension changes, but the chamber’s rules require a second vote on all ordinances. If it passes again, the measure will go to the desk of Mayor Angel Taveras, who has said he will sign it.
Officials emphasized Thursday that negotiations with retirees to craft an alternative compromise deal on pension cuts can continue even if the ordinance is enacted, but firefighters union president Paul Doughty dismissed that idea, warning that approving the changes unilaterally would poison the city’s relations with his members for “a generation.”
Monday’s meeting agenda says the council will also vote on a resolution authorizing the city “to take all necessary actions to challenge consent decree on cost-of-living [adjustment] (COLA) allowances” and on changes to zoning regulations for downtown and the former Interstate 195 land.
• Related: Council votes 15-0 to OK pension cuts; Local 1033 backs move (April 26)
Here are some lows from this morning: Smithfield 32, Providence 35, Taunton 30.
We had the freeze warning last night, and a freeze watch has been issued for tonight (Saturday night). The source of air moving in tonight is not as cold, but the winds will probably be a little lighter which may create sub-freezing temps in areas away from Narragansett Bay. It doesn’t hurt to bring in those plants again tonight just to be safe!
1. The Senate is widely seen as a bulwark of opposition to Governor Chafee’s municipal aid package. Local leaders, the thinking goes, need to solve their own problems without pawning them off on state lawmakers. The Senate’s affinity for local control, however, appears a tad selective: In 2006, when Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed sponsored a state law capping property tax increases, she declared: “With enactment of this bill, we can promise local taxpayers that we are beginning a sure and steady move toward lower property taxes and more fiscal accountability by their municipal officials.” Cynics might note that capping tax bills has political upside, while there’s plenty of downside to tackling the cost drivers Chafee targeted. And it does seem irrational to order others to pay for things, cap their incomes and refuse to alter their expenses, then scold them for a lack of fiscal responsibility.
2. Chafee raised nearly $50,000 during the first three months of this year, giving him a $208,566 war chest. Among his better-known donors: past and present lawmakers J. Patrick O’Neill, John Tassoni and Stephen Alves; high-powered lobbyists Robert Goldberg and Joe Walsh; Governor Carcieri’s former chief of staff Jeff Grybowski, now with Deepwater Wind; and a number of union PACs, most of them private-sector.
By Tim White
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - General Treasurer Gina Raimondo says it would be “devastating” if the Rhode Island courts strike down the landmark pension reform legislation that was passed last year.
By Ted Nesi
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) – Central Falls is being carefully and painfully nursed back to health.
The city could be out of bankruptcy within three months, but the situation is bittersweet because of the people who have been impacted, according to Rosemary Booth Gallogly, the Chafee administration’s director of revenue.
Those people include Paul Gagnon, a retired Central Falls firefighter who’s battling stage four prostate cancer. Gagnon, whose story will be told Monday night on Eyewitness News at 11 on WPRI 12, saw his accidental disability pension cut by almost a third after the city filed for bankruptcy.
(photo: Ted Nesi/WPRI)
There seems to be some confusion about the state of Rhode Island’s unfunded liability for retiree health care.
The shortfalls are $774.8 million for state employees; $80.3 million for state police; $50.6 million for the board of governors; $9.5 million for teachers; $1.8 million for judges; and about $1,000 for the General Assembly. Those numbers come from the latest draft valuation by actuaries Gabriel, Roeder, Smith & Co.
Put it all together and the total unfunded liability for all six groups combined is $916.8 million as of June 30, 2011, up from $822.3 million last time. Again, that’s the state-level shortfall for OPEB (“other post-employment benefits”), which is separate from pensions. (The municipal OPEB shortfall is more than $3 billion.)
• Related: RI taxpayers to pony up $48m for retiree health in 2011 (April 28, 2011)
The “freeze watch” that was issued last night has been upgraded to a “freeze warning” and extended to include most areas away from the immediate coast and around Narragansett Bay. Temperatures by dawn tomorrow will likely range from the upper 20s to low 30s in most areas. If you’ve already put out your potted plants, you’ll want to bring them inside, and, if you can, cover up the tender vegetation on your property.
Saturday and Sunday night will also be quite chilly, though not as cold as tonight. After that, there are signs of some milder temps returning for the middle of next week. Have a great weekend!
Turnout for Rhode Island’s presidential primary was anemic on Tuesday, but Ron Paul’s supporters showed up.
Paul won 24% of the vote among the state’s Republican primary voters, up from just 7% back in 2008. That means Paul will have four of the 16 pledged delegates Rhode Island Republicans are sending to the party convention in Tampa.
Compared with 2008 Paul nearly doubled his Rhode Island harvest to 3,462 votes this week, even as total turnout dropped by nearly half to 14,525. Four years ago Paul got 1,777 of 26,996 votes, coming in third behind John McCain and Mike Huckabee.
By Ted Nesi
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence City Council on Thursday night unanimously and quickly approved a far-reaching overhaul of the cash-strapped capital’s pension system that would freeze the size of retirees’ pensions for about 24 years. Union leaders split over the measure.
• Related: COLA means $796,871 pension for ex-fire chief if he lives to 100 (April 26)
- I don’t like to bring politics, religion or race into my sports shows but the Twitter firestorm brought on by Joel Ward’s game winning goal in game seven is too appalling to ignore. I heard about the tweets and sadly was not surprised. I still kind of shrugged it off until the Bruins got involved and released a statement. At that point I decided to see for myself the ugly ignorance that still plagues a small part of our society. (see for yourself if your interested http://chirpstory.com/li/6781) Keep in mind these tweets are not coming from the good ole boy connection in the deep south, most are from young people right here in the northeast. The late great Joe Paterno used to say “youth is a disease, but it can be cured.” I’m not sure we’ll ever find a magic potion strong enough to cure the deep hatred and complete lack of human compassion that took over Twitter last night. In fact one of the most shocking tweets comes from a local student athlete who is so sure of themselves and their ignorant point of view that their picture, name and jersey number are up for all to see. Sadly that person isn’t the only one that completely exposed him/herself as a bigot. (Good luck in future job interviews, this internet thing is not going away anytime soon) I understand being young, ignorant and in some cases sheltered, but when me and my friends were stumbling through our youth we stayed out too late, drove too fast, and thought we were smarter than everyone. The thought, let alone the action of calling someone out for their skin color never crossed our minds. Again, it’s a small sample from a large fan base but a great hockey series has forever been sullied by the voices of those soulless morons.
- On a lighter note my grandma called me fat and I’ve now gone into full blown diet mode. True story, I walked into her house last week and she said “oh, you’ve put on some weight” I mean can’t a guy put on a little man poundage in the face? Anyway, I’ve also once again made the gym my second home. This leads to the lesson of the week. Do not under any circumstances put a $10 bill into a vending machine. I became light headed in the middle of my workout last night and in full desperation mode coughed up a ten spot for $2 protein nuts. All well and fine until I found out the machine didn’t have $8 worth of change in the reserve bin. So if you’re looking for $3 in nickels and dimes, I’m your guy
The marquee lefty confab Netroots Nation will hold its annual gathering at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence from June 7 to 10. And while last year’s Netroots was ground zero for liberal disenchantment with the Obama administration, this year’s is likely to be a more harmonious affair. Here’s Evan McMorris-Santoro reporting for TPM:
“People are definitely in more of an electoral mode,” said Raven Brooks, executive director of Netroots. …
Netroots organizers said they’re in talks with the White House to get someone from the administration to appear at the Providence conference.
“We don’t know what that will look like yet,” Rickles said. “I think it’s fair to say that we expect someone will be there because they come every year.”
Whomever attends from the White House will face a much warmer reception, the organizers said. …
The next Netroots will be focused on building on those victories as well as expanding the Netroots base to include activists focused on areas like criminal justice by tapping into the outrage over the Trayvon Martin shooting.
It will be interesting to see which high-profile speakers, including but not limited to White House officials, will make their way to Rhode Island for Netroots.
Good Evening….A Freeze Watch….really??!!….Actually it is not unusually to get temps near freezing this time of year (at night that is). It does not occur often, but it does happen from time to time. The map below shows the average dates of last frost-freeze…..Tony R Petrarca
Ezra Klein makes a good point in his Bloomberg View column:
Money is least useful in contests where news coverage is most intense and opinions are most entrenched. How many people do you know who still aren’t sure what they think of Obama? Or are undecided about Romney? Probably not many. But how many people do you know with a strong opinion on their congressman? Or on his or her challenger? Do you even have a strong opinion on your congressman? That’s the kind of low-information race where money can have a big impact. … That’s where an airdrop of a million dollars in negative ads in the waning weeks of a campaign can completely change the result.
Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District race would seem like a prime target for a super PAC like the pro-Republican Congressional Leadership Fund, which just got $5 million from Sheldon Adelson. There’ll be no lack of Providence-themed fodder to use in attack ads against Congressman Cicilline. (If the Democratic nominee is Anthony Gemma, the situation will be different.) U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse argued on Newsmakers he’s raising so much money in case he becomes a super PAC’s target.
On a related note, Mother Jones argues “a new breed of super-PACs is taking aim at state and local campaigns – elections where they may get even more bang for their buck.”
Whitehouse will donate to charity the $2,000 his campaign received last year from Shervin Neman, a Los Angeles hedge-fund manager, a spokesman told WPRI.com on Wednesday night.
The Securities and Exchange Commission accuses Neman of taking more than $7.5 million from investors as part of “an ongoing Ponzi scheme that targeted members of the Persian-Jewish community in Los Angeles.”
Neman contributed the $2,000 to Whitehouse on May 9, 2011, the same month he gave $35,800 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. An Obama spokesman told Politico that money will be refunded and held in escrow to compensate victims of Neman’s alleged fraud.
(photo: Whitehouse campaign)