Ted Nesi

Providence Phoenix to publish last issue next week

October 9th, 2014 at 4:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Alt-weekly local newspaper the Providence Phoenix will cease publication next week after more than three decades in Rhode Island, its parent company announced Thursday.

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Cianci rolls out Democratic endorsements for mayor

October 9th, 2014 at 3:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The wide tent that covers Rhode Island’s Democratic Party was on full display Thursday when a group of veteran lawmakers endorsed Buddy Cianci over party standard-bearer Jorge Elorza in the race for Providence mayor.

Cianci, running as an independent, held a press conference on Neutaconkanut Hill in the city’s Silver Lake neighborhood to roll out two dozen endorsements from current and former Democratic city councilmen and state lawmakers, including Deputy House Speaker Charlene Lima, a Cranston resident.

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Providence fire union attacks Elorza, praises Cianci in mailer

October 8th, 2014 at 10:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Two weeks after endorsing mayoral candidate Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr., the Providence firefighters’ union is taking the fight to Democrat Jorge Elorza.

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Super PAC aiding Gina Raimondo after ban ruled out

October 8th, 2014 at 3:24 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A “super PAC” formed to support Democrat Gina Raimondo announced Wednesday it’s going on the air with a TV ad attacking Republican Allan Fung, just weeks after Raimondo’s campaign refused to discuss a ban on outside spending in the race.

John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, told WPRI.com he was asked by Fung campaign manager Patrick Sweeney to set up a meeting to discuss the possibility of a so-called “People’s Pledge” agreement between the two sides to limit outside spending in the gubernatorial race, but Raimondo campaign manager Eric Hyers refused to discuss the idea when Marion approached him.

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Fung has financial edge over Raimondo in gov race

October 8th, 2014 at 11:12 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung is entering the final four weeks of the campaign with a sizable financial advantage over his Democratic rival Gina Raimondo, according to R.I. Board of Elections disclosures filed Tuesday.

Here’s how the money race is playing out for statewide offices on the ballot this year in Rhode Island.

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Cianci has cash lead over Elorza in race for Providence mayor

October 8th, 2014 at 10:28 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. has raised more than $480,000 and loaned his campaign another $200,000 in his quest to return to his old job, according to a R.I. Board of Elections disclosure filed Tuesday.

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Elorza pitches $5M loan program to rehab vacant homes

October 7th, 2014 at 4:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza pledged Tuesday to create a $5 million revolving loan fund aimed at rehabilitating most of the city’s vacant properties within four years, a strategy he argues would improve neighborhoods and boost homeownership in Providence.

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Cianci unveils plan to develop Providence waterfront

October 7th, 2014 at 4:33 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Dusting off a plan he pitched 14 years ago, independent mayoral candidate Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. unveiled Tuesday an ambitious vision for mixed-use development along the city’s waterfront that could include a hotel, sports facilities and a marina along Allens Avenue.

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Clay Pell spent $3.45M of his own cash to run for gov

October 7th, 2014 at 4:16 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Clay Pell loaned his losing campaign for governor a grand total of $3.45 million by the time all was said and done, according to a R.I. Board of Elections disclosure filed Tuesday.

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NJ Gov. Chris Christie to campaign for Fung in RI

October 7th, 2014 at 10:42 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – One of the nation’s most prominent Republican governors, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, will swing through Rhode Island later this week to campaign for GOP gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung in Johnston and Providence.

Separately, The New York Times reported Tuesday that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC will air TV ads to support Raimondo’s campaign as part of a $25-million push on behalf of centrist candidates nationwide.

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Next Providence mayor expected to face big budget gap

October 6th, 2014 at 5:43 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The next mayor of Rhode Island’s capital city will enter office facing a shortfall of between $15 million and $24 million in his first budget, according to the City Council Ways and Means Committee’s chairman and vice-chairman.

The projection is much higher than one published last spring by the Taveras administration, which said the city’s budget shortfall was expected to be only $2.2 million in 2015-16. At the time, a spokeswoman said the deficit projection amounted to “essentially a balanced budget as it represents less than 0.5% of the budget.”

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• Related: Providence’s troubled city pension fund, in three charts (Oct. 1)


Chafee hails Moody’s upgrade on Rhode Island’s finances

October 6th, 2014 at 5:36 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island got a positive report card about its finances on Monday from Moody’s Investors Service, with the Wall Street rating agency praising local leaders for taking steps they said have improved state government’s fiscal health.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee hailed the news in a statement. “I am pleased that Moody’s is acknowledging our strong fiscal management and my leadership to ensure that we are moving in the right direction through investments in education, infrastructure and workforce development,” he told WPRI.com.

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Providence posts 2nd-biggest jump in advanced degrees

October 6th, 2014 at 12:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The share of workers in the Providence metropolitan area who have an advanced degree increased by more than in almost any other region in the country over the past eight years, a new study shows.

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Poll: Jack Reed leads by 42 points in re-election bid

October 5th, 2014 at 12:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Jack Reed appears on track to coast to a fourth six-year term in the U.S. Senate next month, according to a new online-only poll released Sunday by The New York Times, CBS News and YouGov, which has Reed at 64% and Republican Mark Zaccaria at 22%.

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Watch Newsmakers: The Providence mayoral debate

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

• Related: Cianci was right: his final budget funded pensions at 80% (Sept. 30)


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

October 4th, 2014 at 9:29 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 »


Anti-Cianci group collapses; Lorne Adrain to support Elorza

October 3rd, 2014 at 3:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A third-party group aimed at blocking Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr. from winning back City Hall has collapsed before ever getting off the ground, WPRI.com has learned.

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• Related: RI delegation holds fundraiser to help Elorza beat Cianci (Oct. 2)


Cianci wants more cops, community policing in Providence

October 3rd, 2014 at 1:49 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Independent mayoral candidate Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr. said Friday he wants to expand the city’s police force, pledging to find the money to add cops by conducting an audit of the city budget aimed at identifying “waste, fraud and abuse” if he defeats Democrat Jorge Elorza on Nov. 4.

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RI delegation holds fundraiser to help Elorza beat Cianci

October 3rd, 2014 at 11:10 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A who’s who list of Rhode Island’s political establishment turned out to support Democrat Jorge Elorza at a fundraiser Thursday, pledging to do whatever it takes to help the 37-year-old former Housing Court judge defeat Buddy Cianci in the race for Providence mayor.

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Cianci, Elorza differ on Providence waterfront plans

October 2nd, 2014 at 7:49 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The future of Providence’s waterfront has re-emerged as a campaign talking point in the city’s mayoral race, with independent Buddy Cianci calling for mixed-use development along part of Allens Avenue near the Providence River and Democrat Jorge Elorza maintaining the area should be used strictly for industrial purposes.

The candidates’ conflicting views on the land – which stretches from the Sprague Energy complex near the Providence River Bridge down to Fields Point, and hugs a large chunk of the Port of Providence – is likely to reignite a years-long battle over how best to utilize the waterfront, a flashpoint during Cianci’s previous tenure as mayor in the 1990s.

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Providence takes beating in mayoral debate

October 1st, 2014 at 7:10 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Who was the biggest loser in last night’s mayoral debate? The city of Providence.

Democrat Jorge Elorza, Republican Daniel Harrop and independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. took turns battering the city they hope to lead Tuesday evening, decrying Providence’s struggles with crime, schools and finances.

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Providence’s troubled city pension fund, in three charts

October 1st, 2014 at 3:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The sizable shortfall in Providence’s pension system for retired city workers has become a major topic of discussion in this year’s race for mayor, with facts and figures flying fast and furious.

To help you sort out facts from fiction, here are three charts that give an overview of the city pension fund’s finances over the last two decades under three mayors: Buddy Cianci (1991-2002), David Cicilline (2003-2011) and Angel Taveras (2011-present). The numbers come from the annual city audit.

First off, here’s a look at what’s called the “unfunded liability” in the pension fund – the official shortfall between how much the city has socked away and how much it would need to pay out promised benefits in full, as reported by the city’s actuary. For a variety of reasons, the shortfall grew from $137 million in 1991 to $759 million in 2012. (The latest audit isn’t out yet, but the shortfall rose to $832 million in 2013.)

Providence unfunded pension liability 1991 2012

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Analysis: 5 takeaways from the Providence mayor debate

October 1st, 2014 at 12:51 am by under Nesi's Notes

Click here to read my five takeaways from the debate on the new WPRI.com website »


Providence mayoral candidates spar in first TV debate

October 1st, 2014 at 12:48 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The three candidates for mayor of Providence promised to spur economic development, improve schools and add police officers during their first televised debate Tuesday, making the case that the city is plagued by poor finances and crime.

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• Related: Watch the full debate on WPRI.com | Analysis: 5 takeaways from the debate


Cianci was right: his final budget funded pensions at 80%

September 30th, 2014 at 9:10 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

I owe Buddy Cianci a correction.

Numbers were flying fast and furious during Tuesday evening’s Providence mayoral debate, and I got mixed up during the section on pensions when Cianci was talking in calendar years as I was looking at city audits that are in fiscal years.

It happened when Cianci said the city “finally got up to 80% funded in 2002,” meaning that the city made 80% of its annual required contribution (ARC) to the pension fund that year. Knowing the numbers somewhat (and recalling that Cianci incorrectly said on a recent Newsmakers that he made 100% contributions in his final years), I said the city’s contribution was actually around 60% that year.

Cianci then clarified that the final budget he put together before his September 2002 resignation was for the fiscal year that ran from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003. And indeed, the city audit shows Providence did make 80.25% of its annual required contribution to the pension fund in the 2002-03 fiscal year, which is the budget Cianci was putting together in the spring of 2002.

(To compound things, as I tried to separate calendar from fiscal years on the fly I misread the 2002 and 2003 numbers when I looked down at the pension page from the city audit, and incorrectly said he only made a 60.6% contribution in 2002 and a 64.18% contribution in 2003; that was in fiscal 2001 and fiscal 2002.)

On this point Cianci was right, and I was wrong: the Cianci administration did indeed increase Providence’s annual required contribution (ARC) to the pension fund from 60.6% in the 2000-01 fiscal year to 64.18% in the 2001-02 fiscal year and 80.25% in the 2002-03 fiscal year, his final budget.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

• Related: Providence’s troubled city pension fund, in four charts (Oct. 1)

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


Tonight at 7 on Fox Providence – Cianci vs. Elorza vs. Harrop

September 30th, 2014 at 1:11 pm by under Nesi's Notes


City Council split on Elorza, Cianci in race for mayor

September 30th, 2014 at 9:16 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – What, you thought they’d vote as a bloc?

Providence’s all-Democratic City Council is divided when it comes to the race for mayor, with six members backing Jorge Elorza, five breaking party ranks to endorse independent Buddy Cianci and four saying they still have haven’t made a decision on whom they’ll support on Nov. 4.

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Fung attacks Raimondo on 38 Studios in new TV ad

September 29th, 2014 at 5:16 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung released the first TV attack ad of the fall campaign on Monday, criticizing his Democratic rival Gina Raimondo for supporting repayment of the 38 Studios bonds. The campaign is putting $93,000 behind the ad over 10 days.

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First Raimondo TV spot ties her to Jack Reed

September 28th, 2014 at 8:40 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gina Raimondo is leaning on party elder statesman U.S. Sen. Jack Reed to give her a boost as she launches her first television commercial of the fall campaign. The state party is spending $90,000 on the ad this week.

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Watch Executive Suite: NanoSteel; VETS Foundation

September 28th, 2014 at 8:30 pm by under Nesi's Notes