Ted Nesi

Taveras loses campaign field director

August 20th, 2014 at 4:14 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With less than three weeks before the Democratic primary, Providence mayor and gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras has lost his campaign field director.

Taveras campaign manager Danny Kedem confirmed that Whitney Larsen, who was in charge of overseeing all campaign volunteers, resigned. He declined to give a reason for her departure or say if a new field director has been hired.

Read the rest of this story »


WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Raimondo takes the lead; Pell rises

August 20th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has overtaken Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in the Democratic primary for governor and political newcomer Clay Pell is closing in on him from behind, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Wednesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters shows Raimondo in the lead at 32%, Taveras slipping to second place at 27% and Pell close behind him at 26%. The number of voters who are undecided has fallen to 13% ahead of the Sept. 9 primary.

Read the rest of this story »


WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Magaziner takes big lead over Caprio

August 19th, 2014 at 5:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Seth Magaziner has jumped out to a double-digit lead over his rival Frank Caprio in the primary for Rhode Island general treasurer, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The poll also shows A. Ralph Mollis leading in the race for lieutenant governor and Guillaume de Ramel leading in the primary for secretary of state.

Read the rest of this story »


Realtors spend $75K to help Chris Wall defeat Goldin

August 19th, 2014 at 11:54 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Chris Wall, a Democratic candidate running an aggressive primary campaign for Rhode Island Senate, is getting some deep-pocketed help from the National Association of Realtors.

Read the rest of this story »


Ethics Commission to investigate Palumbo, Solomon

August 19th, 2014 at 11:32 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State Rep. Peter Palumbo and Providence City Council President Michael Solomon will be the subject of separate state Ethics Commission investigations after complaints were filed against both men earlier this month.

Read the rest of this story »


Magaziner’s old boss defends him after Caprio attack

August 18th, 2014 at 5:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic general-treasurer candidate Seth Magaziner’s former boss is strongly defending his ex-employee’s investment credentials after they came under heavy criticism from his rival Frank Caprio.

“I was absolutely appalled and disgusted for a number of reasons, one of which is Seth is obviously qualified as an investment professional – otherwise I wouldn’t have hired him,” Trillium Asset Management CEO Matthew Patsky told WPRI.com in an interview.

Read the rest of this story »


Major city unions won’t endorse mayoral candidate before primary

August 18th, 2014 at 9:32 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The four major public employee unions in Rhode Island’s capital city are unlikely to endorse a candidate for mayor before next month’s Democratic primary, a sign they are willing to give independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. a second look before making a decision.

The heads of the Providence Fraternal Order of Police, firefighters union Local 799, Providence Teachers Union and Local 1033 of the Laborers’ International Union all told WPRI.com last week they don’t expect their members to throw their support behind Michael Solomon, Jorge Elorza or Brett Smiley before primary voters head to the polls Sept. 9.

Read the rest of this story »


Watch Executive Suite: Bananagrams CEO Rena Nathanson

August 18th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Watch Newsmakers: Frank Ferri; Matt Fecteau

August 17th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


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

August 16th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post

Happy Saturday! Here’s another edition of my weekend column here on WPRI.com – as always, send your takes, tips and trial balloons to tnesi@wpri.com, and follow @tednesi on Twitter.

1. Mark your calendars: WPRI 12 and The Providence Journal will release a new exclusive Campaign 2014 poll next week. We asked Democratic primary voters whether they support Angel Taveras, Gina Raimondo, Clay Pell or Todd Giroux for governor, whether they could still change their minds, and how they plan to vote in the other statewide primary races. We’ll release the first results live on WPRI 12 and WPRI.com Tuesday at 5 p.m. Tune in!

2. It’s safe to say this was not the best week of the campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung. Filming a TV ad in Ohio is a rational decision even if it opens you up to attacks; refusing to answer a reporter’s phone calls for 48 hours after he finds out you did so is just silly. Also interesting is the controversial Ohio consulting firm Fung is using: Strategy Group for Media, which BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins described in 2013 as “a campaign and strategy clearing house for the uncompromisingly conservative wing” of the House GOP. Indeed, nine Strategy Group employees – including founder Rex Elsass – donated a combined $6,850 to Fung’s campaign between May 29 and June 3, which will boost the candidate’s state matching funds if he makes it to the general election. (Fung allies were quick to point out that his rival Ken Block is using New Jersey-based Jamestown Associates, another controversial firm in Republican circles, but they’ve filmed Block’s ads locally.) Block criticized Fung as well for backing out of a cable-access debate scheduled for this week, which Fung’s campaign attributed to the candidate’s initial plans to attend the Asian American Journalists Association conference in Washington. (In the end, though, Fung decided to stay in Rhode Island.) These sorts of stories are hardly fatal to Fung’s campaign in and of themselves – few if any voters are going to pick a candidate based on his TV ad locations. But the negative headlines are an unwelcome distraction just three weeks before the primary. Plenty of Republicans seem open to Block despite his previous apostasies – he is, after all, a fiscally conservative businessman who rails against the Democratic General Assembly and played an instrumental role in killing the master lever. The result could come down to how high Fung can drive his vote totals in Cranston and Warwick.

(more…)


Judge: RI cities, towns must join pension lawsuit

August 14th, 2014 at 7:08 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island judge handling organized labor’s sprawling challenge to the state’s landmark 2011 pension law has ordered that an unknown number of municipalities be added as defendants in the case.

Read the rest of this story »


Festival gets taxpayer-funded grants; still owes Providence $17K

August 14th, 2014 at 6:26 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan and Walt Buteau

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The head of the Providence police union is criticizing the city’s decision to help fund a weekend festival despite its organizers owing the city more than $17,000 from previous events.

The Puerto Rican Cultural Festival, which begins this weekend in Roger Williams Park, has received at least $10,000 in taxpayer-funded grants from city officials this year even though it carries a past-due balance of $17,588 for police details, according to records reviewed by Target 12.

Read the rest of this story »


Mayoral candidates Elorza, Smiley rip Solomon over car tax plan

August 14th, 2014 at 5:18 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The swipes keep coming in the Providence mayor’s race.

A day after City Council President Michael Solomon released a plan to raise the city’s car tax exemption from $1,000 to $2,000, Democratic opponents Jorge Elorza and Brett Smiley took Solomon to task for voting to reduce the exemption in 2010.

Read the rest of this story »


Taveras knocks Pell again for lack of experience

August 13th, 2014 at 6:34 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras doubled down on his criticism of rival Clay Pell on Wednesday, citing a newly published WPRI.com examination of Pell’s background to suggest the 32-year-old isn’t ready to lead Rhode Island.

Read the rest of this story »


$3.5M spent by RI governor candidates since July 1

August 13th, 2014 at 1:25 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The top five candidates for Rhode Island governor spent a whopping $3.5 million on their campaigns in the six weeks since the start of July, with Democrats Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell shelling out well over $1 million each.

Here’s how the money race played out through Monday for statewide offices on the ballot this year in Rhode Island.

Read the rest of this story »


Mayoral candidates spend big on consultants, mailers

August 13th, 2014 at 12:21 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The three leading Democratic candidates for mayor of Providence spent more than $330,000 between July 1 and Aug. 11, mostly on consultants and direct mail as they near the finish line of next month’s primary.

All told, City Council President Michael Solomon, Jorge Elorza and Brett Smiley reported spending $333,279 over the last six weeks, according to a WPRI.com review of campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the Rhode Island Board of Elections. Only candidates running in the Sept. 9 primaries were required to submit reports.

Read the rest of this story »


Elorza wants school contracts tied to performance

August 13th, 2014 at 12:15 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Contracts awarded by the Providence school department would be tied to performance and the city would move quickly to turn over control of hiring, budgets and instruction to school principals, under a proposal released Tuesday by mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza.

The Democrat making his first run for public office also pledged to improve professional development for teachers and have the school department focus more on grant writing so it can “aggressively pursue” outside funding to support many of the initiatives he has proposed.

Read the rest of this story »


Clay Pell’s résumé comes under closer scrutiny

August 12th, 2014 at 10:40 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Clay Pell has compiled a lengthy résumé in the nine years since he received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an employment history that is drawing more scrutiny as it comes under fire from one of his rivals.

Pell has actually had only two full-time permanent jobs since finishing law school, according to a WPRI.com review of public information, statements made by Pell and details provided by his campaign.

Read the rest of this story »


Watch Executive Suite: Blount Fine Foods; Lisa Ranglin

August 11th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


It’s Victory Day, an only-in-Rhode Island institution since 1975

August 11th, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Like Del’s, Victory Day is a uniquely Rhode Island tradition.

Rhode Island is the only state that still observes an official holiday marking Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. It’s been that way since 1975, when Arkansas dropped the holiday – having already rechristened it “World War II Memorial Day” – and reportedly gave state workers their birthdays off as a consolation.

Read the rest of this story »


De Ramel mostly mum on why he hired Gordon Fox

August 10th, 2014 at 12:57 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Guillaume de Ramel, a Democratic candidate for secretary of state, isn’t saying much when it comes to why a business he helped to start briefly employed former House Speaker Gordon Fox to do legal work back in 2011.

Read the rest of this story »


Watch Newsmakers: Catherine Taylor; John Carlevale

August 10th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


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

August 9th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post

I’m back! Happy Saturday. Here’s another edition of the weekend column here on WPRI.com - thank you to Dan McGowan for ably manning it in my absence. As always, send your takes, tips and trial balloons to tnesi@wpri.com, and follow @tednesi on Twitter.

1. With less than a month left before voters go to the polls, the Democratic primary for governor shifted to a new phase this week as Angel Taveras went on the attack against Clay Pell, a major strategic shift by a candidate who spent the last month decrying negative campaigning by Gina Raimondo. It’s the strongest evidence yet that Pell’s largely self-funded campaign is indeed getting traction and becoming a real problem for the mayor. Taveras now has to put forward three messages at once: the case against Raimondo, the case against Pell, and the case for himself. That’s not easy to do, especially with the smallest budget of the three – perhaps Taveras needs a signature issue that will set him apart. (On Friday his campaign highlighted education, also a key focus for Pell.) To the extent it reinforces the idea that he’s a viable candidate, Pell supporters actually seemed pleased to see their candidate taking fire; Pell booster Bob Walsh of NEARI went so far as to suggest Taveras is now the spoiler, which surely made Taveras backers’ heads explode. The question of spoilers, though, isn’t going to go away as Gina Raimondo floats above the Taveras-Pell fight with her new positive ad. If Pell overtakes Taveras as Raimondo’s main rival, how high is he ceiling of support? Could he actually woo enough voters to win outright – or only enough to help the treasurer secure victory?

2. One reason Clay Pell has become a force in the Democratic primary: his spending on TV and radio advertising through mid-August will total $1.4 million, slightly more than the $1.3 million that Gina Raimondo will spend and way more than the $641,000 that Angel Taveras has booked, according to tracking figures from one of the campaigns. Taveras has also already booked another $255,000 between Aug. 19 and Sept. 9. All told the three Democrats have booked $3.6 million in commercial time on broadcast TV, cable and radio so far – and that’s before Pell or Raimondo buy anything after Aug. 18, as they surely will. Those dollar figures don’t tell the whole story, though, because the candidates are paying different amounts for the ads. By another metric – gross rating points – Raimondo is tops with 11,654 points through Aug. 18, compared with 8,534 points for Pell and 6,589 points for Taveras.

(more…)


Elorza eyes end to social promotion in Providence schools

August 8th, 2014 at 6:57 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza said Friday he wants Providence schools to put an end to social promotion, the commonly used but rarely acknowledged practice of allowing struggling students to advance to the next grade to keep them on track with their peers.

Elorza’s plan to build a “competency-based educational system” is part of a larger vision for city schools that also includes offering dual enrollment to students who wish to take college courses in high school; increasing the number of Advance Placement courses; expanding outside-the-classroom learning opportunities; and giving teachers “more freedom and flexibility.”

Read the rest of this story »


Taveras wants to spend $42M on new education programs by 2019

August 8th, 2014 at 6:54 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras wants to spend $42 million on new education programs by 2019, including creating a college fund for all newborn babies, expanding the widely-acclaimed Providence Talks initiative and providing “last dollar” scholarships to college students.

Taveras, who is leaving Providence after one term as mayor, said his 10-point “Rhode Island Achieves” proposal seeks to map out how “we can give our children a chance at a better life.” He kicked off his campaign for governor last fall by calling for universal pre-K for Rhode Island children.

Read the rest of this story »


Clay Pell launching new ad to blunt Taveras attack

August 7th, 2014 at 10:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell is moving quickly to try and blunt a TV attack ad that’s being aired in heavy rotation by his rival, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, with his own spot arguing the campaign should stay policy-focused.

Read the rest of this story »


CVS has mulled moving its HQ overseas due to taxes

August 7th, 2014 at 5:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – Drugstore giant CVS Caremark Corp., Rhode Island’s largest for-profit company, confirmed Thursday that it has examined moving its corporate headquarters overseas to avoid the nation’s high corporate tax rate.

“We have an obligation to our employees, our shareholders and our customers to understand all of our potential options,” Carolyn Castel, CVS Caremark’s vice president of corporate communications, told WPRI.com in an email.

Read the rest of this story »


Bill Clinton to campaign in Providence for Seth Magaziner

August 6th, 2014 at 10:30 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former President Bill Clinton is set to visit Rhode Island later this month to campaign for Democratic general-treasurer candidate Seth Magaziner, WPRI.com has learned.

Read the rest of this story »


Angel Taveras slams Clay Pell in new TV attack ad

August 5th, 2014 at 10:36 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras late Tuesday launched a frontal assault against his Democratic gubernatorial rival Clay Pell, debuting a new TV ad that criticizes the political newcomer as “inexperienced and out of touch.”

Read the rest of this story »


At fundraiser, Buddy Cianci warns of ‘negative campaign’

August 5th, 2014 at 5:54 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. told a group of supporters Monday that he’s expecting a long, “negative campaign” from well-funded opponents in the coming months as he seeks a return to City Hall.

Cianci’s comments came during a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at Al Forno Restaurant on South Main Street. The 73-year-old independent drew applause from several dozen donors and supporters as he laid out his vision for Providence during an 11-minute speech, but he also warned that an independent expenditure group is preparing to “go against us big time.”

Read the rest of this story »