Nesi’s Notes

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.

Read the rest of this story »

• 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.

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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


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.

Read the rest of this story »


Watch Executive Suite: NanoSteel; VETS Foundation

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


Watch Newsmakers: Political roundtable on mayor, gov races

September 28th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Poll: Raimondo has slim lead over Fung for gov

September 27th, 2014 at 12:41 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Gina Raimondo has a small lead over Republican Allan Fung in the race to become Rhode Island’s next governor, according to a new poll released Saturday by Rasmussen Reports that did not include Moderate Bob Healey.

The survey of 750 likely voters in Rhode Island shows Raimondo on top at 42%, with Fung a relatively close second at 37%. An additional 11% of voters said they were supporting a different candidate, while 11% said they were undecided.

Read the rest of this story »


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

September 27th, 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 »


Cianci and Elorza chasing undecided voters in race for Providence mayor

September 25th, 2014 at 5:08 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The candidates for Providence mayor will spend the six weeks between now and the election courting the 21% of voters who say they still haven’t picked a candidate in the race, according to several campaign experts, former city aides and political operatives.

That means independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. and Democrat Jorge Elorza will stop at nothing as they seek to define one another, a strategy that will likely include vicious television ads and brutal mailers in the coming weeks, political observers say.

Read the rest of this story »


WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Buddy Cianci on top for mayor

September 23rd, 2014 at 5:43 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. has a small lead over Jorge Elorza six weeks ahead of the election to replace Mayor Angel Taveras, but many voters are still undecided, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely voters in Providence shows independent Cianci on top at 38%, with Democrat Elorza in second place at 32% and Republican Daniel Harrop a distant third at 6%. Roughly one in five Providence voters – 21% – said they remain undecided about the Nov. 4 election for mayor.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Dig into complete results of the September WPRI 12/Journal poll

Coming at 10 p.m., more poll results on city voters’ mood; at 4:30 a.m., their take on Cianci’s convictions.


Police, fire unions endorse Cianci for Providence mayor

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:51 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence’s two public safety unions have both endorsed former Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. in his bid to return to City Hall.

Read the rest of this story »


Mayor Taveras: ‘Nothing left to negotiate’ on teachers pact

September 23rd, 2014 at 8:30 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Outgoing Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said Monday he refuses to saddle his successor with “an unreasonable labor contract” for city teachers, the latest shot across the bow in an escalating conflict between his administration and the union.

Read the rest of this story »


Six months later, Gordon Fox probe moving forward

September 22nd, 2014 at 6:01 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White, Dan McGowan and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Six months after state and federal law-enforcement agents triggered the resignation of former House Speaker Gordon Fox by raiding his home and office, Fox has yet to be identified as the target of their investigation, let alone charged with any crime.

But the Target 12 Investigators have learned the Fox probe is still extremely active. Sources tell Target 12 prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Peter Neronha are moving forward after spending months digging into the evidence they gathered in the raids.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: RI transplants Regunberg, Gyles vying to succeed Gordon Fox (Sept. 22)


RI transplants Regunberg, Gyles vying to succeed Fox

September 22nd, 2014 at 6:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Aaron Regunberg moved to Providence from Chicago in 2008 to attend Brown University and quickly became known as a progressive rabble-rouser who fought for healthier school lunches, helped elect Angel Taveras mayor and organized high-school students against standardized testing.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Six months later, Gordon Fox probe moving forward (Sept. 22)


Watch Executive Suite: UnitedHealthcare’s Stephen Farrell

September 22nd, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Watch Newsmakers: Buddy Cianci on his run and his record

September 21st, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


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

September 20th, 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 »


Former Solomon campaign manager tapped to lead anti-Cianci effort

September 19th, 2014 at 11:57 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The effort to prevent former Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. from winning back his old job is beginning to take shape.

Jake Bissaillon, who served as chief of staff to the City Council between 2011 and 2014 and led Michael Solmon’s unsuccessful mayoral campaign this summer, has been tapped to coordinate a third party group aimed at attacking Cianci’s independent run for mayor, according to Lorne Adrain, one of the group’s top organizers. Bissaillon confirmed he is working with the group.

Read the rest of this story »


Taveras: I’ll do ‘everything I can’ to help Elorza beat Cianci

September 18th, 2014 at 10:22 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said Wednesday he plans to do “everything I can” to ensure that city government remains “free of corruption” by helping Democrat Jorge Elorza defeat Buddy Cianci in the race to lead Rhode Island’s capital city.

Read the rest of this story »


Elorza, Harrop take aim at Cianci during mayoral forum

September 18th, 2014 at 10:21 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – This one got ugly in a hurry.

The first candidate forum between Providence mayoral hopefuls Jorge Elorza, Daniel Harrop and Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. quickly turned into a war of words Wednesday, as Elorza and Harrop took turns attacking Cianci over his indiscretions during his two prior tenures as mayor and Cianci fired back with criticism of his own.

Read the rest of this story »


A handful of RI cities powered Raimondo and Fung victories

September 17th, 2014 at 11:59 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Raimondo Fung primary night 2014Rhode Island may have 39 cities and towns, but the state doesn’t have an Electoral College, so it doesn’t matter how many different municipalities a candidate wins – run up the score enough in a few and you could conceivably win an election while losing a majority of the 39.

That’s not what happened in last week’s Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries; both Gina Raimondo and Allan Fung came out on top in a majority of the 39 cities and towns, with Raimondo winning 36 of them and Fung winning 28 of them.

But a closer look at the results shows a majority of Raimondo’s votes came from just seven cities and towns, while a majority of Fung’s votes came from only eight.

Raimondo’s top three cities for votes matched the state’s top three cities for population precisely: Providence (9,738 votes), Warwick (4,387) and Cranston (3,593). Her fourth-best community was Cumberland, only the eighth-biggest by population, which gave her 3,150 votes. Add in Pawtucket (2,912), North Providence (2,599) and East Providence (2,527), and you have a majority of Raimondo’s 54,041 accounted for. Her biggest outlier was probably Central Falls, which ranks 19th by population but was 30th for Raimondo votes. (Angel Taveras won the city with help from Mayor James Diossa.)

Raimondo got 50,041 votes total; here are the rankings with cumulative percentages:

  1. Providence: 9,738 (18%)
  2. Warwick: 4,387 (26%)
  3. Cranston: 3,593 (33%)
  4. Cumberland: 3,150 (39%)
  5. Pawtucket: 2,912 (44%)
  6. North Providence: 2,599 (49%)
  7. East Providence: 2,527 (54%)

Fung’s vote totals don’t match up as precisely with population centers. His top cities were his hometown of Cranston (3,040 votes) and Warwick (2,428), which together contributed almost one in three Fung votes. But his third-best town was North Kingstown (834), which ranks 13th by population, whereas the state’s biggest city, Providence, gave him only 616 votes, even fewer than Coventry (734). Another town with outsized impact was East Greenwich (512 votes), 26th by population but sixth for Fung votes. The rest of his majority came from South Kingstown (506) and East Providence (477).

Fung got 17,531 votes total; here are the rankings with cumulative percentages:

  1. Cranston: 3,040 (17%)
  2. Warwick: 2,428 (31%)
  3. North Kingstown: 834 (36%)
  4. Coventry: 734 (40%)
  5. Providence: 616 (44%)
  6. East Greenwich: 512 (47%)
  7. South Kingstown: 506 (49.5%)
  8. East Providence: 477 (52%)

The results in Central Falls were even more striking for Fung than for Raimondo. He won more votes on Block Island (36) than he did in Central Falls (26), even though the latter has 18 times more residents.

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


Mayoral candidates Cianci, Elorza spar over religion

September 16th, 2014 at 4:24 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – God has entered the race for Providence mayor.

Independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. and Democrat Jorge Elorza are entangled in a battle over religion, with Cianci questioning a 2010 law review article in which Elorza argued that it may be constitutional to teach the “non-existence of a theist God” in schools. Elorza is accusing Cianci of attempting to “distort the facts and mislead the voters.”

Read the rest of this story »


38 Studios lobby hearing decision expected Wednesday

September 16th, 2014 at 2:08 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A decision in the 38 Studios lobby violation hearings is expected to be released Wednesday, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Read the rest of this story »


Ken Block: I didn’t recruit Bob Healey to run for gov

September 16th, 2014 at 11:40 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block said Tuesday he’s not yet ready to endorse his former opponent Allan Fung, but emphasized he had nothing to do with Robert Healey becoming the candidate of the fledgling Moderate Party that Block founded.

“I literally haven’t spoken to [Healey], and I won’t, because I just don’t want to,” Block told WPRI.com on Tuesday morning in his first interview since the primary.

Read the rest of this story »


GOP’s Harrop facing pressure to drop mayoral bid, block Buddy Cianci

September 15th, 2014 at 4:58 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Republican Daniel Harrop said Monday he is “fairly confident” he will remain in the race for Providence mayor, despite mounting pressure to end his campaign in an effort to block independent Buddy Cianci from returning to City Hall.

Harrop said he has multiple factors to consider before he makes a final decision, including whether his presence in the race would actually create an easier path to victory for Cianci, the former mayor who served 4 ½ years in prison following a corruption conviction in 2002.

Read the rest of this story »


Aponte, Jackson want new City Council leadership team

September 15th, 2014 at 9:52 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – That didn’t take long.

Less than a week after the Democratic primary, several Providence City Council members are already lining up the votes to overhaul the council’s leadership team beginning in January, WPRI.com has learned.

Read the rest of this story »


Watch Executive Suite: Defense industry; Alashan Cashmere

September 15th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes