Ted Nesi

Everything you need to know about Providence’s two new high schools

November 20th, 2014 at 10:22 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Eighth-grade students in Providence will have more options when they begin the high school selection process early next year as the city prepares to open two new schools beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

The startup costs for the new schools will be funded by a $3-million grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a 103-year-old foundation whose current president is former Brown University President Vartan Gregorian.

So what are these new schools going to look like? Here’s an overview.

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Chart: Food stamp use finally stops rising in RI after surge

November 19th, 2014 at 1:49 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s food-stamp enrollment has finally stopped growing after it soared during and after the Great Recession.

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Nellie Gorbea seeks public’s input before taking office

November 19th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Secretary of State-elect Nellie Gorbea wants to hear from you before she takes office.

Gorbea on Wednesday unveiled a website for her transition effort, GorbeaTransition.com, as she prepares to take over from term-limited incumbent Ralph Mollis on Jan. 6. The site offers citizens ways to share ideas for the office, apply for jobs there, and sign up for updates.

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RI pension law still in legal jeopardy, 3 years later

November 18th, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Three years ago today, Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed what remains the most sweeping overhaul of a state pension system ever seen in the U.S., saving taxpayers billions but angering many government workers and retirees in the process.

Three years later Chafee is set to leave office after a single term, to be succeeded by the architect of the pension overhaul, General Treasurer and Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo. But with a suit challenging the law still in pretrial limbo, there is growing momentum in favor of reaching a deal to resolve the issue once and for all.

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Watch Newsmakers: Providence Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza

November 16th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


The Saturday Morning Post: Quick hits on politics & more in RI

November 15th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post

Click here to read this week’s Saturday Morning Post on the new WPRI.com website »


Providence repays $1.9M for bad loans, improper expenses

November 14th, 2014 at 5:35 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan & Walt Buteau

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The troubled taxpayer-funded loan program run by the city of Providence is finally turning the page after years of scrutiny from the federal government.

The city repaid $1.92 million in August to cover a slew of loans and other expenditures the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ruled never should have been authorized, according to HUD spokeswoman Rhonda Siciliano.

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Mayor-elect Elorza promises no tax increase next year

November 14th, 2014 at 1:58 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan & Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza said Friday he will not seek to raise taxes in order to cover a projected shortfall when he begins to craft his first budget early next year.

The incoming mayor said he’s heard the budget gap for the 2015-16 fiscal year could be between $15 million and $24 million, but indicated he won’t know the true figure until his administration conducts a full review of the budget.

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Providence has crowded race for City Council president

November 13th, 2014 at 4:07 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – If you aren’t running for president of the Providence City Council, chances are you aren’t a member of the Providence City Council.

Ward 15 Councilwoman Sabina Matos confirmed Thursday she is now considering running for the council’s top job, joining a field that already includes Ward 10 Councilman Luis Aponte, Ward 12 Councilman Terry Hassett and Ward 14 Councilman David Salvatore.

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Gov.-elect Raimondo names 13 to her transition team

November 13th, 2014 at 2:35 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo on Thursday announced she has appointed 13 Rhode Islanders to her transition team, including a top State House Republican, as she prepares to succeed Gov. Lincoln Chafee in January.

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RI ranks No. 4 in US for student loan debt

November 13th, 2014 at 12:31 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Students earning their bachelor’s degrees from colleges in Rhode Island are graduating with some of the highest levels of debt in the country, according to a study released Thursday by Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS).

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Central Coventry Fire District set to file for bankruptcy

November 12th, 2014 at 10:20 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) – The cash-strapped Central Coventry Fire District is preparing to file for bankruptcy after months of unsuccessful negotiations between state officials and the local firefighters’ union, WPRI.com has confirmed.

Stephen Hartford, the state-appointed receiver overseeing the fire district’s finances, on Wednesday night told WPRI.com he has hired Robert Flanders to prepare a Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy filing with the authorization of Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

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Gorbea names secretary of state transition team

November 12th, 2014 at 4:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Secretary of State-elect Nellie Gorbea on Wednesday announced she’s tapped 12 Rhode Islanders to serve on her transition team, as she prepares to take over from Ralph Mollis, the term-limited current officeholder.

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Magaziner taps business, union leaders for transition team

November 12th, 2014 at 11:52 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. General Treasurer-elect Seth Magaziner on Tuesday announced he’s tapped eight Rhode Islanders from the business community and organized labor to serve on his transition team, as he prepares to take over the job from Governor-elect Gina Raimondo.

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Here are the key city jobs Mayor-elect Elorza must fill

November 11th, 2014 at 11:59 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A week after winning the race for Providence mayor, Democrat Jorge Elorza is already staffing up as he prepares to take office in January.

Elorza announced Tuesday the hiring of former mayoral candidate Brett Smiley and Tony Simon, a top aide to U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, as his chief operating officer and chief of staff, respectively.

So who else will the mayor-elect hire in the coming weeks? Here’s a breakdown of the key positions any new mayor has to fill. (Note: Elorza said he plans to require all new directors to live in the city.)

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Former mayoral candidate Smiley to join Elorza’s staff

November 11th, 2014 at 9:48 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brett Smiley, whose decision in August to drop out of the race for Providence mayor paved the way for Jorge Elorza to win the Democratic primary, will serve as the city’s chief operating officer beginning in January, the mayor-elect announced Tuesday.

Elorza also announced Tony Simon, the deputy district director for U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, will be his chief of staff and state Rep. Grace Diaz will work as his senior advisor on community relations.

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City Council leadership hopefuls owe state $59K in campaign fines

November 10th, 2014 at 2:46 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The two men poised to become the top ranking members of the Providence City Council owe the state more than $59,000 in campaign fines, but both say they intend to correct “mistakes” they’ve made in recent years.

The R.I. Board of Elections confirmed Monday that City Councilman Luis Aponte, Ward 10, currently owes the state $48,688 for his failure to file more than two dozen campaign finance reports and Councilman Kevin Jackson, Ward 3, owes $10,754 from a settlement he reached with the board in 2014 as well as six delinquent campaign reports.

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Mayor-elect Elorza names transition team

November 10th, 2014 at 12:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor-elect Jorge Elorza on Monday appointed three influential city residents to co-chair his transition team, as he prepares to succeed incumbent Mayor Angel Taveras in January.

Elorza said his team will include Bank of America vice president Lisa Ranglin, education reformer Victor Capellan and Sally Lapides, the president and chief executive officer of Residential Properties Ltd. Marisa O’Gara, who served as Elorza’s campaign manager, will be Elorza’s spokesperson.

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Watch Newsmakers: Election 2014 political roundtable

November 9th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


The Saturday Morning Post: Quick hits on politics & more in RI

November 8th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post

Click here to read this week’s Saturday Morning Post on the new WPRI.com website »


How Jorge Elorza beat Buddy Cianci to become Providence mayor

November 7th, 2014 at 1:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

While a 5,200-vote blowout of Cianci on the East Side would bring Elorza near the end zone Tuesday, his campaign says it was the effort in others parts of the city that pushed them over the goal line, from doubling their primary vote tally in Ward 4 near Charles Street to breaking even at the Parenti Villa and Dominica Manor high-rises on Federal Hill and then running close on the South Side.

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RI Democrats’ 2014 victory was most sweeping since 1960

November 7th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Projo_JFK_1960_RI_SOSJust how sweeping was Rhode Island Democrats’ election victory on Tuesday night? As it turns out, it was their biggest set of wins since the year John F. Kennedy was elected president.

On Tuesday, for the first time since 1960, Rhode Island Democrats managed to win all nine major offices on the ballot: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, general treasurer, U.S. senator, 1st District congressman, 2nd District congressman, and Providence mayor, according to a WPRI.com review of past election results.

Democrats have had big years before – Republicans won no federal races in 2012, 2008, 2004 or 1996, for example – but it’s been 54 years since the party won all nine of those top offices in a single November election.

(more…)


Raimondo names three to chair her transition team

November 6th, 2014 at 3:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic Gov.-elect Gina Raimondo on Thursday announced the appointment of three prominent Rhode Islanders to serve as co-chairs of her transition team, as she prepares to succeed Gov. Lincoln Chafee in January.

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After losing mayor’s race, Cianci returns to radio

November 6th, 2014 at 2:16 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Buddy’s back.

A day after losing what was likely his final race for political office, Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. made his return to the airwaves Wednesday, thanking listeners for their support and declaring that he was not sorry for taking one “last shot” at running for mayor of Providence.

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Write-in candidate for Providence City Council falls just short of upset

November 6th, 2014 at 1:07 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The longest-serving member of the Providence City Council breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday as he apparently fended off an extraordinary write-in challenge to save his seat.

After absentee ballots were counted, Ward 3 City Councilman Kevin Jackson, a Democrat, led write-in opponent Marcus Mitchell by 48 votes. Jackson went to bed Tuesday trailing the write-in opponent – although not every voter wrote in Mitchell’s name – but he more than made up the difference once mail ballots were factored in.

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Mail ballot numbers pad Gina Raimondo’s victory

November 5th, 2014 at 11:01 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Democrat Gina Raimondo won the governor’s race by a slightly wider margin than first thought.

The R.I. Board of Elections updated its count on Wednesday to include the results from roughly 15,000 voters who used mail ballots. Those mail ballots increased Raimondo’s total number of votes to 131,452, a jump of about 8,000 from the preliminary results.

Republican Allan Fung’s total votes rose to 117,106 and Moderate Bob Healey’s rose to 69,070 with mail ballots included. Raimondo received more than half the votes for governor cast by mail ballot. Fung received about 2,000 more votes than John Robitaille did in 2010, a 2% increase. Robitaille was running in a four-way against a former Republican U.S. senator (Lincoln Chafee) and two other candidates with moderate policy priorities (Frank Caprio and Ken Block).

The results in the governor’s race now round to Raimondo 41%, Fung 36% and Healey 21%.

Overall Raimondo defeated Fung by a decisive 4.5 percentage points, or more than 14,000 votes, the biggest vote margin in a governor’s race since Don Carcieri’s first election in 2002.

Raimondo’s victory was entirely thanks to the city of Providence, which she took by a plurality of about 16,000 votes; in Rhode Island’s other 38 cities and towns, Fung beat her by nearly 2,000 votes combined. Turnout in Providence was higher than four years ago as voters decided the high-profile mayoral race.

Raimondo won with more votes than Lincoln Chafee, who received 123,571 in 2010. Excluding Chafee, however, Raimondo received the smallest number of votes for a victorious gubernatorial candidate in Rhode Island since 1930, when Republican Norman Case won with 112,070, historical records show.

Here are the margins in all the big races with mail ballots included:

  • Governor: Raimondo 41%, Fung 36%, Healey 21%
  • Providence Mayor: Elorza 52%, Cianci 45%, Harrop 3%
  • Lt. Governor: McKee 54%, Taylor 34%, Gilbert 8%, Jones 3%
  • Secretary of State: Gorbea 60%, Carlevale 39%
  • Attorney General: Kilmartin 57%, Hodgson 43%
  • General Treasurer: Magaziner 57%, Almonte 43%
  • U.S. Senate: Reed 71%, Zaccaria 29%
  • 1st District: Cicilline 60%, Lynch 40%
  • 2nd District: Langevin 62%, Reis 38%

In Cranston, despite the presence of the city’s mayor on the ballot, turnout this year was the lowest in the past four gubernatorial elections, with only 26,935 ballots cast for governor there. Fung won Cranston with 14,820 votes or 55% of the total, above Lincoln Chafee’s 9,499 (35%) in 2010 but lower than Don Carcieri’s 16,938 (52%) in 2006 or Carcieri’s 16,959 (58%) in 2002.

Eight Rhode Island communities have voted Republican in the last four gubernatorial elections: Coventry, Exeter, Foster, Hopkinton, Lincoln, Narragansett, Richmond and Scituate.

Only one community voted Democratic for governor all four times: Central Falls. Three others voted in 2010 for Lincoln Chafee (then an independent, now a Democrat) and for Democrats the other three times: East Providence, Pawtucket and Providence.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

This post has been updated and expanded.


Bob Healey spent $0.0005 for every vote he got

November 5th, 2014 at 5:36 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Moderate Party gubernatorial nominee Bob Healey may have set a new record when it comes to how little money a candidate has to spend to win piles of votes.

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Big East Side victory helped Elorza beat Buddy Cianci

November 5th, 2014 at 9:37 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The East Side has spoken. Democrat Jorge Elorza will be the next mayor of the city of Providence.

Elorza won a convincing victory over independent former Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. Tuesday, riding a tidal wave of support to capture every precinct from Fox Point to the Pawtucket line on the vote-rich East Side. Republican Daniel Harrop, who said he was voting for Elorza, placed third.

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Analysis: 18 takeaways from the 2014 election in RI

November 5th, 2014 at 3:25 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gina Raimondo will be the next governor of Rhode Island and Jorge Elorza will be the next mayor of Providence.

Those are the big headlines from Tuesday’s election in Rhode Island. Here are 18 other takeaways from the election, what it means for the state and what it tells us about local politics going forward.

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Republicans pick up seats in RI General Assembly

November 5th, 2014 at 1:10 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – On an otherwise tough night for local Republicans, the party could find a silver lining in the results for Rhode Island House elections, as six incumbent House Democrats went down to defeat.

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