On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

We also have PODCASTS of regular politics coverage, too!

Pre-2013 archives of the On Politics​ blog can be found here.

Enjoy summer while you can. Happy Friday, and thanks for stopping by. As always, your tips and comments remain welcome via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Former Cranston police chief Marco Polombo Jr. wants the city to pay for his own legal representation to defend against two pending lawsuits.

A lawyer for Polombo said the ex-chief plans to rebut the 182-page State Police report that has roiled Cranston, and will take action against anyone who harms him or violates his rights.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Residents and some city councilors said Tuesday the findings of a lacerating State Police report have eroded their trust in Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

During an almost four-hour meeting at City Hall, a few residents called on Fung to resign. Carol Myron described herself as a longtime acquaintance of the mayor, and said she had spent most of the afternoon reading the 182-page report.

File photo / RIPR

After months of speculation about a possible move to Johnston or another suburban location, Rhode Island's statewide newspaper appears to be consolidating its operations within the historic Providence Journal Building at 75 Fountain Street.

"Staffers have been told to anticipate a move within the building," John Hill, president of the Providence Newspaper Guild, said Tuesday. "Every message we have gotten is that we are staying here."

The political pot keeps simmering as the calendar turns to August. Thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to send me a tip or comment at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The state Commerce Corporation has agreed to a $12.5 million dollar settlement with four defendants over the collapse of video-game maker 38 Studios, including Keith Stokes, the former head of the state's economic development agency.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung apologized to city residents Tuesday for a host of problems related to the Cranston Police Department. 

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien wants Governor Gina Raimondo to commission a feasibility study examining the cost of modernizing McCoy Stadium, so the figure can be weighed against the Providence stadium concept backed by the ownership of the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Elisabeth Harrison

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.  are introducing legislation that would repeal government subsidies that are given to large oil companies via large tax loopholes and tax breaks.

Notes from Iowa: Chafee Plugs On, Despite a Lack of Support

Aug 4, 2015
Chafee campaign

Antonia Noori Farzan, a Rhode Island-based freelancer writer, recently caught up with Lincoln Chafee as he campaigned in Iowa. Here's her guest report for On Politics:

At Milio’s Sandwiches, next to the convention center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lincoln Chafee’s name drew a blank.

“I don’t even know who that is,” Dustin Heller, who was working the register as a steady stream of campaign staffers, reporters, and off-duty Secret Service agents wandered in, said.

Kristin Gourlay

Update: Fung says he will address the report tomorrow:

  The state police report  released Monday on the Cranston police department portrays a law-enforcement  force in disarray and infected with dysfunction and political favoritism, including serious failures by Mayor Alan Fung, the Republican candidate for governor in 2014, and members of his administration.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Providence firefighters’ union said it plans on Monday to ask a judge to vacate the city’s landmark 2013 pension settlement with public safety unions.

Paul Doughty, president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 799, said the request is a response to a legal maneuver last week in which the city argued Local 799's current contract is void and unenforceable.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Larry Lucchino's role in seeking a new Providence ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox "remains unchanged," a team spokeswoman said Saturday, even though Lucchino is winding down his impactful role as CEO of the Boston Red Sox.

"Larry's role remains unchanged with respect to the PawSox ownership group," Patti Doyle said via e-mail. "He remains focused on achieving a renegotiated agreement with the state on relocating the team to a new ballpark on lands within the I-195 District [area] in Providence."

Happy Friday, and thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. There's plenty of news, even in the peak of summer, so we're ready to dive in. Your tips and thoughts remain welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The City of Providence plans to increase firefighters' base pay by eight percent as part of the slated Sunday implementation of a different platoon structure meant to reduce overtime spending by millions of dollars a year.

During a Friday afternoon news conference, Mayor Jorge Elorza said firefighters can get a more generous pay increase -- 33 percent --- if they agree to a plan to increase their average weekly hours, from 42 to 56.