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Archive | Election 2014

Mayor Elorza’s Inaugural Address

elorza-inauguration

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza Inaugural Address Monday, January 5, 2015 (as prepared for delivery)

Building the New Providence

Friends, family and guests – good afternoon, and welcome to Providence!

I want to begin by thanking some very special people in my life.

I want to recognize my mother and father. All I can say is thank you for everything you have done. You are my heroes and everything I do is to make sure that all your efforts were not in vain. Los quiero mucho y me siento tan orgulloso de ustedes.

Thank you to my sister, my brother-in-law and my nephew and niece. I love you so much and thank you for always being by my side.

Thank you, Stephanie, for being with me every step of the way and for inspiring me with your courage and your strength. I love you, baby.

A Proud Heritage

My parents came to this country to work in our factories and to strive for a better life. They chose Providence because this city offered the promise of steady work and it was a tolerant community that would embrace and welcome them. They came to work hard, and they made sacrifice upon sacrifice to build a life of even greater opportunity for my sister and me.

My family’s story is also Providence’s story. From its founding, Providence has been a city that offers the promise of a new beginning. And generations of families just like my mine have come here in search of that same promise, ready to make the same sacrifices.

Exactly four decades after my family arrived in this country in 1975 with little more than the shirts on their backs, we stand proudly as a family on the steps of City Hall as an example of what dedication, sacrifice, humility and industry can help us achieve. Ladies and gentlemen, the American Dream is still alive, and it is our responsibility to see to it that it endures for generations to come.

Most of the factory jobs that once existed slowly yet surely left our city, changing who we are in the We are no longer the industrial city we used to be; but that’s alright. We have to build the New Providence, along with a new economy, a new identity, and a new purpose. I stand before you with great optimism that by coming together and capitalizing on the many wonderful opportunities that our city offers, we will build this New Providence.

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We officially have a new Mayor!

I’m not sure I ever realized this was a thing before, but apparently new Mayors are traditionally officially sworn in at midnight on inauguration morning. And sticking with tradition, Providence’s 38th Mayor, Jorge Elorza was officially sworn-in very early this morning (or late last night) at his home.

Press release from the City with details on the official swearing-in earlier today and the ceremonial swearing-in today at 2pm and other inaugural events today:


Jorge O. Elorza Sworn in as 38th Mayor of Providence

JOE_Interfaith breakfast.inddPROVIDENCE, RI – Jorge O. Elorza was sworn in at 12 a.m. today as Providence’s 38th Mayor. The private ceremony, which marked the official transition of power in the City of Providence, was held at Mayor Elorza’s home with family and friends. Probate Court Judge John E. Martinelli administered the oath of office.

Elorza, 38, a former Housing Court Judge and professor at the Roger Williams University School of Law, is the son of Guatemalan immigrants who worked in factories and was raised in the city’s West End. He graduated from Classical High School before going on to the University of Rhode Island and Harvard Law School.

As a law professor at Roger Williams University, Mayor Elorza co-founded the Latino Policy Institute, a think-tank dedicated to research on Latino and minority communities in Rhode Island. While serving on Providence’s Housing Court, Mayor Elorza created a process to hold large banks accountable for abandoned properties in the city.

Mayor Elorza began his first morning as Mayor by joining with local faith leaders at an Interfaith Breakfast held at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.

Mayor Elorza’s public inauguration will take place today at 2 p.m. on the steps of City Hall, in front of an anticipated crowd of several hundred residents and dignitaries. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

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Mayor-Elect Elorza announces Inaugural Weekend events

From the Transition Providence website:


transition-providence-logo

Mayor-elect Elorza Announces One Providence Inaugural Weekend

Providence, RI – Mayor-elect Jorge O. Elorza today announced his One Providence Inaugural Weekend – an exciting program of inaugural events to showcase Providence, promote community service, and celebrate the occasion as Elorza takes the oath of office as Providence’s 38th Mayor on Monday, January 5, 2015.

“The One Providence Inaugural Weekend is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our capital city and to encourage giving back to our community through community service,” Mayor-elect Elorza said. “I look forward to joining with residents from across our city and state to celebrate the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the City of Providence.”

Inauguration Weekend kicks off on Saturday, January 3, as Mayor-elect Elorza asks residents to celebrate their civic pride and give back to our community through volunteerism by participating in his One Providence Day of Service. Canned goods and non-perishable food items will be collected for the Rhode Island Food Bank at venues across the city. Mayor- elect Elorza also encourages people of all ages to spend part of their day on Saturday, January 3 volunteering for their favorite organization or community group.

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Sim City writ large on the Providence Waterfront

cianci-waterfront

Screenshot from YouTube.

Today’s Providence Business News reports on the divergent visions of the Providence Mayoral Candidates for the Providence Waterfront.

As with many issues, Elorza wants to continue the Taveras position on Allens Avenue, which is to reserve the land there, through zoning restrictions, for industrial use only. Supported by the City Council under President Michael Solomon and existing Allens Avenue landowners, that position was a change from Cianci’s late 1990s plans and those of his successor, David N. Cicilline.

Elorza does want to increase exports from the working waterfront, through market studies and trade missions, activities normally handled by state economic-development officials.

Not to be overlooked, the people who currently own the land along the Allens Avenue waterfront support this direction.

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Yes On 6

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ProJo: R.I.’s Question 6 designed to fund reconnection of train, bus service in Providence

IMG_9667.JPG

A new transportation hub at Providence Station could be built in part over the tracks next to the station.

In a joint application for a federal grant to advance planning for the “Providence Station Transit Center,” RIPTA and RIDOT highlighted how 15 acres of undeveloped land sit right next to the train depot.

Following a news conference that the coalition organized in October to promote Question 6, transportation director Michael Lewis walked to the edge of Railroad Street to point out the largely vacant land. A covered station could be built, possibly in tandem with commercial real estate, he said.

He envisioned the possibility of putting decking over the railroad tracks to allow for development overhead, much like the construction of Providence Place mall and the train station.

“You could have pretty substantial development here,” he said.

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2014 Rhode Island Statewide Ballot Questions

election-2014

The Rhode Island Secretary of State’s Office has released the 2014 Voter Information Handbook . Below is the information about the seven statewide ballot questions which will appear on your November 4th ballot. There’s a lot of reading here to do before you head to the polls.

Question 1 – State Constitutional Approval

Approval of an Act authorizing state-operated casino gaming at Newport Grand in the city of Newport

(Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution)

Shall an act be approved which would authorize the facility known as “Newport Grand” in the city of Newport to add state-operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling it offers only and exclusively at the facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, Newport?

Explanation for Question 1

State Constitutional Approval
(Approval of an act authorizing state-operated casino gaming at Newport Grand in the city of Newport)

Purpose and Explanation: What would approval of this question do?

In order to reduce the potential adverse effects on State revenues from competition that may come from casino gaming facilities authorized in Southeast Massachusetts, the General Assembly has adopted Chapter 436 of the Public Laws of 2014 to amend Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws entitled “Video Lottery Terminal”. The amendment to Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws authorizes the licensed video lottery terminal retailer known as “Newport Grand” to engage in state-operated casino gaming at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport; provided, however, that such act for the expansion of gambling at the facility of Newport Grand shall take effect only if:

(i) this referendum question to approve the act authorizing such expansion of gambling at the facility of Newport Grand, which is being submitted for approval by the electors of the State and the City of Newport in accordance with the requirements of Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution at the general election to be held in November 2014, is approved by both a majority of the electors of the State and a majority of the electors of the City of Newport voting in the referendum; and

(ii) the proposed amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution that is set forth as Question 2 in the statewide referendum to be voted upon in the general election to be held in November 2014 is approved by a majority of the electors of the State voting in the referendum.

Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution provides that no act expanding the types of gambling permitted within any city or town in the State of Rhode Island shall take effect until it has been approved by a majority of those electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in a referendum in the municipality in which the proposed gambling would be allowed. The proposed amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution that is set forth as Question 2 in the statewide referendum to be voted upon in the general election to be held in November 2014 requires that prior to a change in location of gambling that has been permitted in any city or town by approval of a referendum in such city or town on or after November 4, 2014, there must be a referendum in such city or town and approval by the majority of those electors voting in the referendum on such proposed change in location in the city or town. For a further discussion of this proposed amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution, please review the “Explanation for Question 2” set forth in this Voter Information Handbook 2014.

Approval of the act authorizing Newport Grand to engage in state-operated casino gaming will result in Newport Grand being authorized to engage in state-operated casino gaming at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport in accordance with the legislation adopted by the General Assembly. However, even if a majority of the electors of the State vote to approve such authorization for Newport Grand to engage in state-operated casino gaming at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport, such authorization will not take effect unless: (a) a majority of the electors of the City of Newport voting also approve such referendum question; and (b) a majority of the electors of the State voting approve Question 2 in the statewide referendum being voted upon in the general election to be held in November 2014.

In connection with the general election in November 2012 and pursuant to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution, referendum questions were presented to the electors statewide and the electors in the Town of Lincoln to authorize an act to allow the licensed video lottery terminal retailer known as “Twin River” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the Town of Lincoln and referendum questions were presented to the electors statewide and in the City of Newport to authorize an act to allow the licensed video lottery terminal retailer known as “Newport Grand” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the City of Newport. Although a majority of the electors of the State voting approved such referenda questions and a majority of the electors in the Town of Lincoln voting approved the referendum question with respect to Twin River, a majority of the electors in the City of Newport voting on the referendum question with respect to Newport Grand did not approve the question. As a result, the act to authorize the licensed video retailer known as “Twin River” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the Town of Lincoln went into effect but the act to authorize the licensed video retailer known as “Newport Grand” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the City of Newport did not go into effect. The conditions for the act now being considered to take effect that would authorize the license video retailer “Newport Grand” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the City of Newport differ from the conditions for the prior act in 2012 to take effect in that this act is not only conditioned upon the satisfaction of the requirements of Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution but also a majority of the electors voting statewide having approved the amendment to Section 22 of Article VI provided for by Question 2 in the statewide referendum.

Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws, as amended, provides that the State of Rhode Island is authorized, subject to the restrictions of Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution, to operate, conduct and control casino gaming at Newport Grand to the extent Newport Grand is authorized to engage in casino gaming. It goes on to provide that the State of Rhode Island, through the Lottery Division and/or the Department of Business Regulation, shall have full operational control to operate the Newport Grand facility and the authority to make all decisions about all aspects of the functioning of the business enterprise, including, without limitation, the power and authority to:

(1) Determine the number, type, placement and arrangement of casino gaming games, tables and sites within the facility;
(2) Establish with respect to casino gaming one or more systems for linking, tracking, deposit and reporting of receipts, audits, annual reports, prohibitive conduct and other such matters determined from time to time;
(3) Collect all receipts from casino gaming, require that Newport Grand collect casino gaming gross receipts in trust for the State of Rhode Island through the Lottery Division, deposit such receipts into an account or accounts of its choice, allocate such receipts according to law, and otherwise maintain custody and control over all casino gaming receipts and funds;
(4) Hold and exercise sufficient powers over Newport Grand’s accounting and finances to allow for adequate oversight and verification of the financial aspects of casino gaming at the facility;
(5) Monitor all casino gaming operations and have the power to terminate or suspend any casino gaming activities in the event of an integrity concern or other threat to the public trust;
(6) Define and limit the rules of play and odds of authorized casino gaming games, including, without limitation, the minimum and maximum wagers for each casino gaming game;
(7) Have approval rights over matters relating to the employment of individuals to be involved, directly or indirectly, with the operation of casino gaming at Newport Grand;
(8) Establish compulsive gambling treatment programs;
(9) Promulgate, or propose for promulgation, any legislative, interpretive and procedural rules necessary for the successful implementation, administration and enforcement of Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws; and
(10) Hold all other powers necessary and proper to fully effectively execute and administer the provisions of Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws for its purpose of allowing the State of Rhode Island to operate a casino gaming facility through a licensed video lottery retailer hosting said casino gaming on behalf of the State of Rhode Island.

In order to further protect State gaming revenues and maintain the competitiveness of Newport Grand and the State’s other gaming facility, Twin River, in 2012 the General Assembly adopted legislation called the Revenue Protection Act to address, among other things, the share of net table game revenues to be received by the State if casino gaming is approved, the share of video lottery terminal revenue to be received by the City of Newport going forward, incentive gaming programs to protect market share and mitigate the potential impact of casino gaming in Massachusetts, and a regulatory framework to ensure oversight of casino gaming by the Lottery Division.

The Revenue Protection Act, as amended by Chapter 436 of the Public Laws of 2014, establishes the State of Rhode Island’s share of net table game revenues from Newport Grand to be 18 per cent of such revenues, which is consistent with the State’s percentage share of net table game revenues received from Twin River. The State received for fiscal year 2013 approximately 61.67% of net terminal income from video lottery terminals at Newport Grand. The State’s percentage share of revenues from table games at Newport Grand is significantly less than the State’s percentage share of revenues from video lottery terminals because the operational expenses relating to table games to be paid by Newport Grand, LLC are substantially higher than the operational expenses relating to video lottery terminals.

The Revenue Protection Act, as amended by Chapter 436 of the Public Laws of 2014, does not change the share of net terminal income received by Newport Grand, LLC from video lottery terminals at Newport Grand but it does provide for a change in the share of net terminal income to the City of Newport. The Revenue Protection Act, as amended, provides that, effective as of July 1, 2015, provided that this referendum question is approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide and in the City of Newport, and provided that Question 2 is approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide, the City of Newport’s allocation of net terminal income from authorized video lottery terminals at the Newport Grand shall increase from one and one hundredth percent (1.01%) to one and forty-five hundredths percent (1.45%) of such net terminal income. Furthermore, if, in addition to this referendum question being approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide and in the City of Newport and Question 2 being approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide, (i) Newport Grand, LLC or its successor has made an investment of no less than forty million dollars ($40,000,000) exclusive of acquisition costs within three (3) years, (ii) a certificate of completion and final approval from the city building inspector has been issued for the facility upgraded through this investment, (iii) the number of video lottery terminals in operation is no fewer than those in operation as of January 1, 2014 and (iv) table gaming has commenced in Newport, then the City of Newport’s allocation of net terminal income of authorized video lottery terminals at Newport Grand shall be the greater of one million dollars ($1,000,000) or one and forty-five hundredths percent (1.45%) of such net terminal income, except that for six (6) consecutive full fiscal years immediately thereafter, the allocation shall be the greater of one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) or one and forty-five hundredths percent (1.45%) of net terminal income of authorized video lottery terminals at Newport Grand. Such minimum distribution shall be distributed in twelve (12) equal payments during the fiscal year.

To review the provisions of the Revenue Protection Act in their entirety and their effect as it relates to table games and video lottery terminals at Newport Grand should this referendum question be approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide and in the City of Newport and should Question 2 be approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide, we refer you to the legislation enacted under Chapter 436 of the Public Laws of 2014 and Chapters 289 and 290 of the Public Laws of 2012.

A vote to “Approve” this question means you wish to approve the act authorizing Newport Grand to add state- operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling it offers only and exclusively at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport in accordance with the provisions of such act.

A vote to “Reject” this question means you do not approve the act authorizing Newport Grand to add state- operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gaming it offers only and exclusively at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport in accordance with the provisions of such act.

How much money will be borrowed?
The referendum would not authorize any borrowing.

Question 2 – Amendment to the Constitution of the State

Restriction on Gambling

(Section 1 of Article XIV of the Constitution)

Approval of the amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution set forth below will provide that no change in the location of gambling permitted in a municipality would occur without the further approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed location change in a referendum within said municipality:

Full text of amendment for Question 2:

Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution shall be amended to read as follows:

Section 22. Restriction on gambling.

No act expanding the types or locations of gambling which are permitted within the state or within any city or town therein or expanding municipalities in which a particular form of gambling is authorized shall take effect until it has been approved by the majority of those electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in said referendum in the municipality in which the proposed gambling would be allowed and, having been so approved in said referendum in any city or town on or after November 4, 2014, the location where the gambling is permitted in any city or town shall not be changed within said city or town without the approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed change in a referendum in said city or town.

The secretary of state shall certify the results of the statewide referendum and the local board of canvassers of the city or town where the gambling is to be allowed shall certify the results of the local referendum to the secretary of state.

Explanation for Question 2

Amendment to the Constitution of the State
(Restriction on Gambling)

Purpose and Explanation: What would approval of this question do?

In 1994 the Constitution of Rhode Island was amended to add Section 22 of Article VI to provide that no act expanding the types of gambling permitted within the State or within any city or town therein or expanding the municipalities in which a particular form of gambling is authorized can take effect until it has been approved by a majority of statewide electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in a referendum in the municipality where the proposed gambling would be allowed.

The General Assembly has proposed by joint resolution an amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution in accordance with the provisions of Section 1 of Article XIV of the Constitution for approval by the State’s electors. If approved, the proposed amendment to the Constitution referenced below will have the effect of providing that no change in the location of gambling permitted in a municipality would occur without the further approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed location change in a referendum within said municipality.

Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution shall be amended to read as follows:

Section 22. Restriction on gambling.
No act expanding the types or locations of gambling which are permitted within the state or within any city or town therein or expanding municipalities in which a particular form of gambling is authorized shall take effect until it has been approved by the majority of those electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in a said referendum in the municipality in which the proposed gambling would be allowed and, having been so approved in said referendum in any city or town on or after November 4, 2014, the location where the gambling is permitted in any city or town shall not be changed within said city or town without approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed change in a referendum in said city or town.

The secretary of state shall certify the results of the statewide referendum and the local board of canvassers of the city or town where the gambling is to be allowed shall certify the results of the local referendum to the secretary of state.

The words and phrases in the proposed amendment to the Constitution set forth above that have been crossed- out are words and phrases currently found in Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution that would be removed by the amendment. The words and phrases in the proposed amendment to the Constitution set forth above that have been underlined are words and phrases that are not currently found in Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution that would be added by the amendment.

The approval of the act authorizing the facility known as “Newport Grand” in the City of Newport to add state- operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling offered as provided for by Question 1 in the statewide referendum can only take place if, in addition to approval of such Question 1 by a majority of those electors voting statewide and those electors voting in the City of Newport, a majority of those electors voting statewide also approve this Question 2 in the statewide referendum being voted upon in the general election to be held in November 2014.

A vote to “Approve” means that no change in location of gambling permitted in a city or town by approval of a referendum in such city or town on or after November 4, 2014 would occur without the further approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed location change in a referendum within said city or town.

A vote to “Reject” means that a change in location of gambling permitted in a city or town would occur without the further approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed location change in a referendum within said city or town.

How much money will be borrowed?
The referendum would not authorize any borrowing.

Question 3 – Constitutional Convention

(Section 2 of Article XIV of the Constitution)

Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the Constitution?

Explanation for Question 3

Constitutional Convention

Purpose and Explanation: What would approval of this question do?

The General Assembly has submitted the following question to the State’s electors:

Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the Constitution?
A Constitutional Convention is an assembly of delegates or representatives of the people of the State for the purpose of amending or revising the Rhode Island Constitution. A Constitutional Convention, if held, could propose an entirely new Constitution for adoption or rejection by the State’s electors; it could propose individual amendments to the Constitution; or it could re-write the basic document while presenting what appears to be the most controversial issues to the electors in the form of supplemental amendments, thus allowing individual decisions on each.

No amendment or revision to the Constitution agreed upon by a Constitutional Convention shall take effect until the amendments or revisions have been submitted to the electors of the State and approved by a majority of those electors voting.

In accordance with Section 2 of Article XIV of the Rhode Island Constitution, a bi-partisan preparatory commission has been created by the General Assembly to assemble information on constitutional questions
for the electors of the State. The preparatory commission made use of such sources and gathered information pertinent to the fulfillment of its charge as it deemed appropriate. The preparatory commission, after gathering information on particular issues that the State’s electors may consider, reported its findings to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and to the public, through the news media.

If a majority of the State’s electors vote to hold a Constitutional Convention, then it will be the responsibility of the 2015 General Assembly to enact legislation determining the method of election of delegates, setting forth an election schedule, and appropriating funds. The number of delegates shall be equal to the number of members of the House of Representatives and shall be apportioned in the same manner as the members of the House of Representatives. The parameters of a Constitutional Convention would be decided by the General Assembly and the elected delegates to the Convention. The last Constitutional Convention was held in 1986.

The actual cost to the taxpayers of conducting a Convention in 2016 is unknown. However, the bi-partisan preparatory commission for the proposed Constitutional Convention that met in July and August 2014, reported that the projected cost to the taxpayers of holding a Constitutional Convention in 2016 would be approximately Two and One-half Million Dollars, ($2.5M), after adjusting 1986 costs for inflation and in anticipation of numerous factors that could increase the cost of a convention to include the total number and location of convention meetings, the expense of hired experts, as well as the cost of a staff necessary to assist delegates in carrying out their duties.

A copy of the complete report issued by the bi-partisan preparatory commission presenting its findings, including information on issues that may be considered by the Constitutional Convention and the projected costs to taxpayers of holding a Constitutional Convention in 2016, may be viewed on the website of the Rhode Island General Assembly (www.rilin.state.ri.us) or a copy of the report may be obtained from the Rhode Island Library, State House Room 208, Providence, RI 02903.

This question has been proposed by the General Assembly of the State pursuant to Section 2 of Article XIV of the Rhode Island Constitution, which gives the General Assembly the right to submit to the electors at any election the question, “Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the Constitution?” If the General Assembly fails to submit the question to the electors of the State during any ten year period, then the Secretary of State shall submit it at the next general election following such period.

A vote to “Approve” means you would like to see a Constitutional Convention called to amend or revise the Constitution.

A vote to “Reject” means that you are opposed to a Constitutional Convention called to amend or revise the Constitution at this time.

How much money will be borrowed?
The referendum would not authorize any borrowing.

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WPRI: Providence mayoral candidates spar in first TV debate

wpri-debate

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.

The debate between Democrat Jorge Elorza, Republican Daniel Harrop and independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. was held at Rhode Island College was sponsored by WPRI 12 and The Providence Journal.

The candidates are running to replace outgoing Mayor Angel Taveras, who is leaving City Hall after one term in office following his loss in the Democratic primary for governor Sept. 9.

Watch the full debate on WPRI.com
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2014 Mayoral Candidate Survey – Michael Solomon (D)

Michael Solomon’s survey was returned to us this morning a week late, we’ve decided to post it for the benefit of the voters.

Michael Solomon (D)

solomonWebsite: solomonforpvd.com
Facebook: SolomonForPVD
Twitter: @solomonforpvd

Survey

1. Other Cities
It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to best practices. Across the globe small cities like Providence are doing amazing things to make their cities more livable, increase their tax base, and improve services. What city (or cities) do you look to for inspiration of what you would like Providence to be like or to strive for? What are the characteristics of those cities that you think Providence should emulate?

Close to home, I think there are things to learn from Boston. While a much larger city, Boston has created partnerships with its universities and health care institutions that we should seek to emulate here. Whether negotiating payments in lieu of taxes, community investments, or infrastructure improvements, Boston is an excellent model of good relations with its tax exempts. These positive partnerships are also reflected in the success Boston has in retaining college graduates, as so much innovation and job development is connected to its educational and health care institutions.

Portland, Oregon is always cited as a model of good planning, because of its think-outside-the-box approach to transportation, land use, and urban revitalization. In fact, Portland’s streetcar, which transformed the city’s Pearl District, was used as reference as we considered our own streetcar system in Providence. The relationship between fixed rail lines, and economic investment and development along those lines is well-documented, and something Providence hopes to emulate. By connecting the city’s largest employment areas–from the hospitals through the Jewelry District, and to Thayer Street–Providence seeks to replicate Portland’s success in spurring economic growth along the proposed streetcar corridor. Portland is definitely a city we can look to for continued inspiration to reduce our dependency on cars, and to embrace a bike-friendly, pedestrian-friendly city.

Denver, Colorado has invested substantially in transit-oriented development, and has transformed a historic area of its Downtown, including the creation of an inter-modal transportation hub at its renovated Union Station. This public-private investment is impressive, and while the scale is vast, Providence can learn from the focused vision, intent, and good planning tools Denver has employed to attract young people, become more walkable and livable, spur economic growth, reinvest in neglected areas, and build on its cultural and creative strengths. Denver also has started a pilot program to ensure that affordable housing is created/maintained when the city expands or develops mass transit. They created an acquisition fund for this purpose, which could become a model for other cities.


2. Snow Removal
The city has an ordinance that states that the abutting property owner must remove snow from sidewalks. This ordinance has gone under-enforced for years creating a major public safety issue for the city’s residents every time it snows. The city and the state are notable offenders in not clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property (sidewalks abutting parks, public buildings, on overpasses, etc.). How will you hold private property owners, the state, and the City itself accountable for removing snow in a timely fashion, and how will you ensure that snow removal ordinances are enforced?

We constantly encountered this issue in the City Council office, particularly along our main streets. I quickly discovered that when it was a residential or commercial property adjacent to the sidewalk, most property owners were unaware of their responsibilities. As a result, the City Council office sent seasonal communications to property owners to inform them of their responsibilities. Stronger communication and greater access to information is always the first choice. Our inspectors should also be on the lookout for repeat offenders, who again, may not realize it is their responsibility to clear the sidewalk. In the end, public safety cannot be jeopardized, so I would support a measure to have DPW clear the sidewalk and then charge the property owner for the cost associated with clearing the sidewalk.

As far as State and City property is concerned, we are talking about accountability and management. Our first priority is to clear city streets, but snow covered sidewalks pose an equally dangerous threat to pedestrians following a snowstorm. We cannot have our pedestrians–especially students–forced into the road because the City and State have failed to clear an overpass. Through better management of our Department of Public Works we can have cleaner, safer sidewalks in the winter. Similarly, the Department of Public Works should enter into an agreement to clear the snow from sidewalks adjacent to State roads–for example, highway overpasses and bump outs at on and off ramps. It is simply unrealistic to expect the State to clear the snow, and someone should shoulder the responsibility and make sure the job gets done.


3. Street Parking Permits and Snow
The City recently ended its longtime ban on overnight parking introducing a permit system for City residents to park on the street overnight. Allowing residents to park on the street relieves the need to provide off-street parking in paved lots and yards. Reducing this paved area has numerous environmental and quality of life benefits. Unfortunately the City bans parking during heavy snow with no options for people parking on the street, forcing the need for off-street spaces during these storms. Other cities, including Boston, allow street parking during storms, banning parking only on designated emergency snow routes. Would you support allowing people with permits to park on designated streets during snowstorms?

This all comes down to public safety and street width. When the City enacted overnight parking, it designated parking based upon street width because of public safety concerns that arose from congestion. I would want to have a similar conversation with the Traffic Engineer and public safety officials to determine what streets could accommodate such a program. It is certainly counter productive to have an on-street parking program that cannot sustain itself through the winter.


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Election News & Information

election-2014

  • The Providence Phoenix is out with their Primary Endorsements
  • ProJo reports on who does and who does not face a Primary challenger among the Providence City Councilors
  • The Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition has their candidate statements from the Gubernatorial and Providence Mayoral Candidates
  • And in case you missed it, we have surveys returned from three Mayoral Candidates
When and where do you vote (hint, the Primary is September 9th)? the Secretary of State’s Office has you covered.
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2014 Mayoral Candidate Survey – Jorge Elorza (D)

Jorge Elorza (D)

ElorzaPhotoWebsite: elorzaformayor.com
Phone: 401-400-2430
Email: info@elorzaformayor.com
Facebook: JorgeElorzaforMayor
Twitter: @ElorzaForMayor

Bio

Jorge Elorza is a Providence native, former Housing Court Judge, law professor, accountant, and community activist. He grew up on the West End, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, and graduated Classical High School before going on to URI and Harvard Law. The murder of a childhood friend brought him back to Providence from a promising career on Wall Street, and he has dedicated his life to serving the community ever since. He is running for Mayor to make sure that the opportunities that gave him a pathway out of poverty are passed on to the next generation of Providence kids.

Survey

1. Other Cities
It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to best practices. Across the globe small cities like Providence are doing amazing things to make their cities more livable, increase their tax base, and improve services. What city (or cities) do you look to for inspiration of what you would like Providence to be like or to strive for? What are the characteristics of those cities that you think Providence should emulate?

I look to many cities around the country as models for what Providence can and should do. One of the reasons why I want to be mayor in the first place is because I believe that the innovative leadership and substantive changes happening around the world right now are happening at the municipal level, and mayors are at the forefront of this.

Throughout this campaign, I have often referenced other cities as models for best practices and big ideas. In my plan for full service community schools, I looked to Cincinnati’s community schools model as an example for both engaging community partners, and management through its Local School Decision Making Committees. In that same plan, I also pointed to Chicago’s “Grow Your Own Teachers” Initiative as a model for encouraging diversity in our teaching force. Portland, Oregon was truly the model for my Export Providence Plan, which calls for doubling our export economy in the next five years; the Greater Portland Export Initiative was launched to achieve the same goal for that city, and there is much we can learn from it. I have often called for more police to live in the city, and Atlanta’s Secure Neighborhoods Initiative provides some great ideas for incentivizing officers to do so. My arts and culture platform calls for the creation of a weeklong festival in Providence that is directly inspired by Austin, Texas’ South By Southwest festival and the major impact it has made on that city’s economy. If I have the privilege of being elected, I have pledged to accept applications for my transition committees just as Pittsburgh, PA Mayor Bill Peduto has done. Even here in Rhode Island there are cities that inspire me: for instance, to address school funding, the City of Central Falls hired a part time grant writer for its school department at an annual salary of $30,000. In his first year, he brought in $600,000 in outside funding. I would like to add more grant writing staff across Providence’s many departments to help close funding gaps.


2. Snow Removal
The city has an ordinance that states that the abutting property owner must remove snow from sidewalks. This ordinance has gone under-enforced for years creating a major public safety issue for the city’s residents every time it snows. The city and the state are notable offenders in not clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property (sidewalks abutting parks, public buildings, on overpasses, etc.). How will you hold private property owners, the state, and the City itself accountable for removing snow in a timely fashion, and how will you ensure that snow removal ordinances are enforced?

For private property owners, I will copy the successful example of other cities that maintain a “carrot and stick” approach to enforcing our snow removal ordinance. Exemplary businesses will be rewarded with certificates and neighborhood appreciation events. Businesses that frequently fail to comply with the law will be fined. And, as Mayor, I will ask the General Assembly to enact enabling legislation allowing the City to clear snow on pedestrian sidewalks and lien non- compliant property owners.

At the City level, I believe that many of the enforcement problems are due to the fact that the Department of Public Works has not had a permanent director for over two years. As Mayor, I would commit to hiring a permanent director in my first 90 days.

In general, we need to leverage better tracking and reporting technologies to identify problems, then empower the new Director of Public Works to track response times and manage workflow accordingly.


3. Street Parking Permits and Snow
The City recently ended its longtime ban on overnight parking introducing a permit system for City residents to park on the street overnight. Allowing residents to park on the street relieves the need to provide off-street parking in paved lots and yards. Reducing this paved area has numerous environmental and quality of life benefits. Unfortunately the City bans parking during heavy snow with no options for people parking on the street, forcing the need for off-street spaces during these storms. Other cities, including Boston, allow street parking during storms, banning parking only on designated emergency snow routes. Would you support allowing people with permits to park on designated streets during snow storms?

I am supportive of the idea. I would need to talk more with Public Works, and public safety agencies like the Police and Fire Departments, before committing to making this happen. I would want to know more about the potential problems that might arise and how this would impact efforts to clear snow. If this can be done in a manageable way, I will support it.


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2014 Mayoral Candidate Survey – Chris Young (D)

Chris Young (D)

youngPhone: 401-477-6178
Facebook: Chris Young

Survey

1. Other Cities
It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to best practices. Across the globe small cities like Providence are doing amazing things to make their cities more livable, increase their tax base, and improve services. What city (or cities) do you look to for inspiration of what you would like Providence to be like or to strive for? What are the characteristics of those cities that you think Providence should emulate?

I have the highest aspirations for Providence and this is one of the core reasons I can keep running for public office. I have run now 4 times for Mayor of Providence receiving 26% of the vote in 2006. Our campaign has incorporated ideas for economic development from cities all over the world. I as a candidate believe in taking the best of other cities successes and using them for the benefit of Providence residents. Life is both the physical and spiritual, for what would life mean without both of these? We must not forget God has a role in our success for with God all things are possible.

The first thing we can do for economic development In Providence is we can offer tax incentives like repealing the car tax and also offering businesses, the Universities, hospitals and non-profits the ability to participate in a zero tax program, much like New York state is offering. New York state is offering a zero tax for businesses willing to locate in certain areas when they do co-ventures with the Universities.

The city of Providence will develop and adopt a comprehensive, long-term (at least ten years) fiscal program and vision for the city’s future so that its current and prospective residents, businesses, and institutions will have the confidence to invest in and grow within the city. This program must take into account expenses, revenues, capital and infrastructure needs, the benefits of regionalization and privatization, and future growth. The plan will also establish a strategy for bringing real estate and other taxes in line with comparable regional cities. A residential and commercial property tax reduction will occur. Hospitals and Universities that offer job and business development opportunities for companies who are willing to locate to Providence and bring with them 500 new jobs would get tax abatement opportunities.


2. Snow Removal
The city has an ordinance that states that the abutting property owner must remove snow from sidewalks. This ordinance has gone under-enforced for years creating a major public safety issue for the city’s residents every time it snows. The city and the state are notable offenders in not clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property (sidewalks abutting parks, public buildings, on overpasses, etc.). How will you hold private property owners, the state, and the City itself accountable for removing snow in a timely fashion, and how will you ensure that snow removal ordinances are enforced?

The state can be fined and cleanup costs can be issued for intentional neglect and the state’s sovereign immunity would not protect the state on intentional neglect.

The city will plow streets and sidewalks in the future much like what is done in New York state. A fee will be assessed on private or public property that has received 3 or more warnings in one season. The fee will act as a lien after three years of non payment but will be waived for good cause. We will have citywide sidewalk plowing after the city is solvent.

The City of Rochester provides supplemental service to help property owners clear their sidewalks during a substantial winter storm and we can adopt some of it’s practices. Rochester is one of the few cities in the United States to provide this service to its residents and it is outlined as follows from Rochester city government.

Sidewalk Snow Plowing Facts

  • The City begins plowing sidewalks once new snowfall exceeds 3″.
  • The City plows all sidewalks that are at least five feet in width.
  • Each sidewalk plow run takes about five hours to complete.
  • The City plows 878 miles of sidewalks. These miles are divided into distinct sidewalk plow runs of approximately 15 miles.
  • Depending on the severity of a storm, sidewalk snow plowing policies must sometimes be altered meet the needs of the situation.
  • The City uses private contractors to plow sidewalks.
  • Sidewalk plowing usually happens in the evening and early morning when pedestrian traffic is lowest, but this schedule is modified to respond to actual storm conditions.

Fees

  • Sidewalk snow plowing is financed by an embellishment fee on your property tax bill that is based on the front footage of a property.
  • Embellishment fees, charges for specific services, are included on the annual property tax bill. The fees are based on a property’s front footage. To figure out an embellishment charge, the embellishment rate is multiplied by the property’s front footage. For corner properties, the front footage comprises 1/3 of the longer side’s footage plus the full footage of the lot’s shorter side.

3. Street Parking Permits and Snow
The City recently ended its longtime ban on overnight parking introducing a permit system for City residents to park on the street overnight. Allowing residents to park on the street relieves the need to provide off-street parking in paved lots and yards. Reducing this paved area has numerous environmental and quality of life benefits. Unfortunately the City bans parking during heavy snow with no options for people parking on the street, forcing the need for off-street spaces during these storms. Other cities, including Boston, allow street parking during storms, banning parking only on designated emergency snow routes. Would you support allowing people with permits to park on designated streets during snow storms?

Yes, our campaign would adopt the Boston parking policy during snow storms and we support allowing people with permits to park on designated streets during snow storms. I lived in Boston during my college years at Boston University and found the parking program easy and effective.


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2014 Mayoral Candidate Survey – Daniel S. Harrop, M.D. (R)

Daniel S. Harrop, M.D. (R)

harropWebsite: Harrop.org
Phone: 401-390-2790
Email: HarropVictory@gmail.com
Facebook: Dr. Daniel Harrop
Twitter: @DanHarrop

Bio

Dr. Dan Harrop is a native of West Warwick, RI. He received his B.A., M.D. and post-doctoral training in Psychiatry at Brown University, and his M.B.A. from Heriott-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Retired from nearly 30 years as a faculty member at both the Harvard and Brown University Medical Schools, he is currently a consultant for several major insurance organizations, including ValueOptions, BHM Healthcare, and Focus Behavioral Health. Dr. Harrop is Chairman of the R.I. Center for Freedom and Prosperity, a 501c3 research policy institute, and President of the Roosevelt Society, a 501c4 social welfare advocacy organization.

Survey

1. Other Cities
It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to best practices. Across the globe small cities like Providence are doing amazing things to make their cities more livable, increase their tax base, and improve services. What city (or cities) do you look to for inspiration of what you would like Providence to be like or to strive for? What are the characteristics of those cities that you think Providence should emulate?

At this time, Providence should be looking to Detroit for inspiration. Just months after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit’s leaders unveiled detailed plans for the city’s recovery, which laid out a blueprint for future spending and ways the city could pay back its creditors. The plans look optimistically toward a Detroit with renewed city services — a draw for developers and new businesses. Business leaders, corporations and foundations are committing funds to help revitalization. Even locally, Central Falls can provide a model on how to “re-boot” the city after years of mismanagement and stabilize finances. We be laser-focused on the three crucial issues in the city: saving the collapsing pension fund, reducing the near national-record high property taxes.


2. Snow Removal
The city has an ordinance that states that the abutting property owner must remove snow from sidewalks. This ordinance has gone under-enforced for years creating a major public safety issue for the city’s residents every time it snows. The city and the state are notable offenders in not clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property (sidewalks abutting parks, public buildings, on overpasses, etc.). How will you hold private property owners, the state, and the City itself accountable for removing snow in a timely fashion, and how will you ensure that snow removal ordinances are enforced?

Private Property owners should be appropriately ticketed (fined) after a brief public relations campaign as a warning this is coming – essentially the same as for those who do not recycle. The city’s failure to clear its own sidewalks is a failure of administration in the City Hall, and the appropriate officer charged with seeing this is done needs to be called to task. As to the State? Being sovereign there is little we can do but try to work with state officials to remind them of their responsibilities.


3. Street Parking Permits and Snow
The City recently ended its longtime ban on overnight parking introducing a permit system for City residents to park on the street overnight. Allowing residents to park on the street relieves the need to provide off-street parking in paved lots and yards. Reducing this paved area has numerous environmental and quality of life benefits. Unfortunately the City bans parking during heavy snow with no options for people parking on the street, forcing the need for off-street spaces during these storms. Other cities, including Boston, allow street parking during storms, banning parking only on designated emergency snow routes. Would you support allowing people with permits to park on designated streets during snow storms?

I would support alternative parking areas when a storm is coming, which may not be on the street – for safety reasons the streets need to be plowed, and some of our small and older streets can barely get cars down. There would be some streets designated as OK to park, but not all, during a storm.


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Election 2014: Mayoral Candidates Surveys

election-2014

Back in 2010 we did Mayoral Candidate Surveys (Angel Taveras, John Lombardi); with 50 days left until the Primary, it is time for us to do it again.

As in 2010, this year we are seeking your input on those surveys. We will be sending surveys to the candidates for Providence Mayor by the end of the month; please use the comments section (or email us) the questions you’d like the candidates to answer. When the candidates return the surveys, we will be posting the results here on Greater City Providence.

We do need to make a note about comments on Election posts. We have a wonderful mix of people who comment here and are pleased that the comments are civil and intelligent. Elections and the discussions that surround them can be highly emotionally charged. We trust that the level of discourse here will remain high, but we will be editing and/or removing comments if the discourse degrades.

As always, Greater City Providence will not be endorsing a candidate.

We thank you in advance for maintaining civil discourse.

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Upcoming Mayoral Candidate Forums at the Providence Community Libraries

Providence Community Library Friends Groups To Host Three Mayoral Forums

Knight Memorial, Rochambeau and Wanskuck Branches Provide Q&A Sessions with Candidates

pcl-mayoral-forumsPROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – Providence Community Library (PCL) will host “Meet the Candidates” forums where candidates for Mayor of Providence will respond to questions about neighborhood issues. Planned for April, May, and June, people will have an opportunity to question all candidates at the sessions and tell them what they think about schools, libraries, safety, jobs and many other issues of concern to their communities.

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WPRI: Raimondo proposes more RI infrastructure spending

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo on Monday put forward the second piece of what she says will be her campaign’s comprehensive jobs plan, proposing a significant increase in state spending on infrastructure.

Raimondo proposed the creation of a Rhode Island Municipal Infrastructure Bank, a new government entity to help municipalities, businesses and homeowners upgrade their facilities at lower cost. Within the Municipal Infrastructure Bank, she suggested expanding the new Municipal Road and Bridge Revolving Fund; establishing a funding formula for road and bridge repairs at the state and local levels; creating a Green Bank; and launching a School Building Authority.

WPRI has a link to the full proposal on their webpage.

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Mayoral Candidate Jorge Elorza statement on Providence Public School’s busing policies

Following an article posted yesterday on Rhode Island’s Future, Candidate for Providence Mayor, Jorge Elorza released the following statement on the matter.

Jorge Elorza, Democratic candidate for Mayor of Providence, issued the following statement on Providence Public School Department’s busing policy.

jorge-elorza-002Our city’s public high school students are not eligible for bus passes unless they live more than three miles from school. Students that fall into the far end of that range could be walking for as long as 45 minutes to an hour just to make it to their first period classes.

As a community, we have to do everything in our power to make sure our students are in their classrooms and learning. Our students face too many challenges for us to be creating additional institutional barriers for them. Denying students who live between 2-3 miles away from school bus passes impacts learning, impacts health, and impacts safety, and our low-income communities are disproportionately affected.

When I was a child growing up on Cranston Street, my Mother acted as the school bus for many kids in the neighborhood. Although we were lucky to have her there to bring us to school, not every student is as lucky as we were.

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