The Saturday Morning Post: Aug. 13


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Happy weekend! Ted will be back at the helm next Saturday, but you’re stuck with me this week. As always, send your takes, tips and trial balloons to or, and follow @danmcgowan and @tednesi on Twitter.

1. Let’s start off with an item from Ted Nesi: “Putting together our list of the 27 Rhode Island politicians with at least $50,000 in their campaign accounts yielded a few surprises. Some of the findings were obvious: Gina Raimondo is in a class by herself when it comes to fundraising, and while not in her league, Joe Shekarchi stands out as well. But it’s striking to see Stephen Ucci placing 10th, probably in no small part because he hasn’t had an opponent in 10 years. The same goes for Charlene Lima, one of only five women on the list and one of only two who don’t hold a major position (Sue Sosnowski is the other). Of course, candidates aren’t the only ones who spend big money on Rhode Island politics — political action committees (PACs) do, too, and 12 of those have more than $50,000 on hand. Only one of the dozen is business-backed, with the rest being unions or Democratic legislative leaders. The list: SEIU 1199, $470,000; the Realtors, $200,000; the Connecticut Laborers union, $155,000; the NEARI teachers’ union, $152,000; Speaker Mattiello’s PAC, $107,000; an arm of the Rhode Island Laborers union, $76,000; the Rhode Island carpenters’ union, $74,000; a second arm of the Rhode Island Laborers union, $71,000; AFSCME Council 94, $64,000; the Coventry teachers’ union, $60,000; the New England carpenters’ union, $58,000; and Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio’s PAC, $56,000.”

2. Three names who have left (or are leaving) office in disgrace and still have campaign funds: Former Speaker Gordon Fox: $80,442 plus another $52,871 from a leadership PAC he controlled; Rep. John Carnevale: $25,156; and former Rep. Ray Gallison: $9,105. Fox is in prison while Carnevale and Gallison have not been charged with any crimes to date. As a reminder, state law allows former elected officials and candidates to continue to use campaign funds for political purposes, donations to charity and in some cases, legal fees until the account is drawn down and dissolved, according to Richard Thornton, the R.I. Board of Elections’ director of campaign finance.

3. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Bill Malinowski, the legendary Providence Journal reporter who died this week after battling ALS. Ed Fitzpatrick reports visiting hours will be Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Watson Funeral Home in East Providence. A funeral mass will be held at St. Luke’s church in Barrington on Tuesday morning at 10.

4. Republican state Reps. Mike Chippendale and Patricia Morgan are widely viewed as the leading contenders to become House minority leader, but the two “never once” discussed their plans during a 90-minute meeting last week, Chippendale said during a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers. Chippendale said the two friends are focusing on first being re-elected to the House before they begin counting votes to succeed current Minority Leader Brian Newberry, who is stepping down from the post but will remain a state representative.

5. Rhode Island officials are still very early in the planning phase for the National Governors Association summer meeting next July, but they have already formed the organization that will lead the preparations. Ed Galvin, Governor Raimondo’s deputy campaign treasurer, Martha Sheridan from the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau; International Game Technology Chairman Donald Sweitzer and Jon Duffy from Duffy & Shanley filed incorporation papers for Rhode Island NGA 2017, Inc. on July 11. Meanwhile, Raimondo drummed up excitement for next year’s event by setting up a table filled with Rhode Island goodies at this year’s summer meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.

6. Speaking of Governor Raimondo, she’s taking two weeks off for a family vacation that will include a few days in Vermont and the rest of the time at the beaches here in Rhode Island. But first, she and her husband are slated to kayak across Narragansett Bay this morning.

7. The National Conference of State Legislatures held its 2016 summit in Chicago this week. On hand from Rhode Island were Reps. Brian Patrick Kennedy, Robert Phillips and Carlos Tobon, as well as Sens. Maryellen Goodwin and Roger Picard, per Assembly spokesmen.

8. It didn’t get a lot of coverage, but state officials marked a milestone Thursday in the transformation of the quasi-public Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency into the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, which was authorized in the state budget passed last year. Treasurer Magaziner, who’d made the proposal a key campaign pledge in 2014, pitched the effort as a taxpayer-savings measure, saying it’s “providing new opportunities for cities and towns to save money on energy costs.” A news conference was held at City Hall in Pawtucket, which is using the agency to finance the $3.9-million cost of switching its streetlights to LEDs, for an estimated future savings of $750,000 a year. The infrastructure bank’s leaders have scheduled a Sept. 7 informational meeting for municipalities and other government entities that want to learn more.

9. How “Cadillac Frank” Salemme got his mob nickname, by Tim White.

10. Remember RhodeWorks? Governor Raimondo signed the truck-toll plan into law six months ago this week. Ted Nesi offers a status update on the RhodeWorks rollout here.

11. With New Haven Mayor Toni Harp facing pressure to fire former Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman from the same job in her city, his former deputy in Providence took to the New Haven Register to call him a “complex man, who at most times exhibits a caring and empathetic personality, but who on occasion will turn into a boor, lambasting someone who he perceives has slighted him in some way.” Although Esserman ultimately left Providence after a high school graduation party at his home included underage drinking, his experience in New Haven has been similar to the one he had here. Supporters point to a reduction in crime and increased professionalism in the police department while critics have labeled him a bully with a short temper.

12. There isn’t a mayoral candidate in the country who doesn’t make community policing a central theme of his public safety plan, but does that strategy actually make a difference? Citing a new book from George Mason University professors David Weisburd and Charlotte Gill and Cambridge University David Farrington, an article published in The Trace argues there is little evidence that community policing leads to a drop in crime. Among the strategies considered more effective are the “ceasefire model,” which involves bringing the most violent criminals together for a sit down; “hot spots policing,” which involves using technology to target high-crime areas; the well-known “broken windows” strategy that focuses on addressing minor crimes like vandalism in order to prevent more violent crimes down the line; and “gun squads,” which involves police focusing predominately on getting guns off the streets.

13. From Ted Nesi: “The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein took a look at the 1964 GOP civil war over Barry Goldwater this week, with an eye on comparisons to Donald Trump’s situation today. Rhode Island’s experience that year could give some hope, however, to endangered Republican incumbents hoping anti-Trump voters will split their tickets. In November 1964, first-term GOP Gov. John Chafee managed to win an easy re-election victory with 61% of the vote — from the same voters who gave his party’s standard-bearer, Goldwater, just 19% against LBJ. You read that right: Johnson got an incredible 81% of the vote in the Ocean State that year.”

14. To no surprise, Rhode Island’s leading proponent for legalizing marijuana was not pleased with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s announcement this week that pot will remain a Schedule I drug. “Not everyone agrees marijuana should be legal, but few will deny that it is less harmful than alcohol and many prescription drugs,” Jared Moffat, who heads up Regulate Rhode Island, wrote in an email. Moffat said his strategy on the local level in 2017 will be to “highlight the harmful effects of marijuana prohibition while pointing out the benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol.”

15. Moses Brown School graduate Sue Minter is the Democratic nominee for governor in Vermont. Fun fact about Minter: in 1979, she was the female president of the student Senate at Moses Brown.

16. At least four mayors from around the country consider Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza someone to keep an eye on, according to a survey of 71 city leaders released this week by Politico. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler each received 12% of the vote to top the list in that category.

17. Introducing the definitive oral history of the lobster roll.

18. I can only think of two baseball players that I’ve seen intentionally walked with the bases loaded in my life: Barry Bonds and Warwick North Little League’s Colin Lemieux. Make sure you get to a TV today at 1 p.m. to root for the boys from Warwick as they play for a spot in the Little League World Series.

19. Set your DVRs: This week on Newsmakers– New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and state Rep. Mike Chippendale. Watch Sunday at 10 a.m. on Fox Providence. This week on Executive Suite – L.L. Bean CEO Stephen Smith. Watch Saturday at 10:30 p.m. or Sunday at 6 p.m. on myRITV (or Sunday at 6 a.m. on Fox). You can catch both shows back-to-back on your radio, too: Sunday nights at 6 on WPRO-AM 630 and WEAN-FM 99.7. And you can subscribe to both shows as iTunes podcasts – click here for Executive Suite and click here for Newsmakers. See you back here next Saturday morning.Dan McGowan ( ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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