Ted Nesi

Elorza pitches citywide arts festival for Providence

August 28th, 2014 at 8:12 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza said Thursday he wants Providence to host a week-long arts and cultural festival modeled after the popular South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas.

Read the rest of this story »


Bill Clinton: Seth Magaziner is ready to be RI treasurer

August 27th, 2014 at 5:55 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former President Bill Clinton gave a full-throated endorsement of Democrat Seth Magaziner in the race for Rhode Island general treasurer on Wednesday, telling a campaign rally that the 31-year-old political newcomer is ready to do the job.

Read the rest of this story »


Analysis: 5 takeaways from the Democratic gov debate

August 26th, 2014 at 11:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

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


Democrats for RI gov battle in aggressive TV debate

August 26th, 2014 at 8:01 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With two weeks until the primary, the three leading Democratic candidates for Rhode Island governor questioned each other’s records while laying out their plans for job creation and education during a fiery debate Tuesday.

Read the rest of this story »

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


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

August 23rd, 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 »


Brett Smiley to leave mayor’s race, support Jorge Elorza

August 22nd, 2014 at 2:07 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With just 18 days before the primary, Brett Smiley will drop out of the race for Providence mayor and endorse fellow Democrat Jorge Elorza.

Smiley, a 35-year-old East Side resident, plans to make a formal announcement at an 11 a.m. press conference Friday, but campaign co-chairman Ray Hull confirmed he was leaving the race Thursday evening. Smiley informed most of his staff of the decision during a conference call around 10 p.m. Thursday.

Read the rest of this story »


Smiley wants to be the ‘best pothole filler’ ever in city

August 21st, 2014 at 5:34 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence mayoral candidate Brett Smiley says he wants to be the “best chief pothole filler the city has ever seen.”

Smiley, a Democrat, unveiled a plan Thursday to create a cabinet-level position that would oversee road repairs and prevent utility companies from cutting into newly surfaced roads, a chronic complaint from City Council members and residents.

Read the rest of this story »


83% of Providence police employees don’t live in the city

August 21st, 2014 at 12:55 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It has become one of mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza’s favorite talking points on the campaign trail.

Elorza tells a story about a friend who couldn’t get rid of a drug dealer hanging out near his house. Then a police officer moved upstairs and advised the dealer to leave the neighborhood. “Problem solved,” Elorza jokes.

That scenario is far from common.

Nine years after state lawmakers scrapped what was left of Providence’s residency requirement, fewer than 20% of police department members – from trainees to the chief – call the city home, according to WPRI.com review of payroll records.

Read the rest of this story »


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