providence politics

UNITE HERE, Local 217, the hotel workers' union, is poised to support the Fogarty Building hotel project slated for a vote Tuesday by the Providence City Council's Finance Committee, if the committee backs an amendment ensuring a higher wage for workers at the hotel.

However, the Procaccianti Group, which is seeking a 13-year tax stabilization agreement to build a nine-story extended stay hotel on the site of the vacant Fogarty Building, questions whether requiring certain wages as part of the deal is legal.

How's that presidential campaign working out for you? Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and feedback are welcome via email, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Providence City Council President Luis Aponte joins Bonus Q+A this week to discuss his views on how to improve the city's economy, his working relationship with Mayor Jorge Elorza, his fines from the state Board of Elections, and other subjects.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The newly elected president of the Providence City Council, Luis Aponte, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the use of tax stabilization agreements; the budget outlook in the capital city; Governor Gina Raimondo's early moves on the economy, and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new era in Providence politics began with the inauguration of Jorge Elorza Monday as the city’s mayor. Elorza offered a mostly upbeat message before an audience about 200 people, while acknowledging how Providence still faces some tough fiscal challenges.

Elorza’s mid-day inaugural in front of City Hall had a little bit of everything, from the National Anthem to a rap song by an independent Christian hip-hop artist celebrating his Guatemalan roots.

Ian Donnis

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is getting ready to leave City Hall after a tumultuous few years. Taveras lost his bid to become governor, but he takes credit for helping to stabilize Providence's finances. The mayor talked about his record and what's next during a wide-ranging exit interview.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Ward 14 City Councilor David Salvatore, chairman of the council's Ways and Means Committee, joins Political Roundtable to discuss the emergence of Providence's finances as a campaign issue; the impact of a "People's Pledge" in the Democratic primary; the soaring cost of growing state Medicaid enrollment; and the possible effect of eliminating the master lever.

Ward 14 Providence Councilor David Salvatore, chairman of the city's Ways and Means Committee, joins Bonus Q+A this week to discuss the city's long-term obligations; barriers to economic growth; the vacant Superman Building; and other issues.

On occasion the best way to pick up Rhode Island political tidbits is to head to Boston, specifically to Fenway Park on the afternoon of the home opener, aka the Big Papi show.

As usual, former Providence Democratic state and devout Sawx fan Rep. Peter Wasylyk was in his seat near the first base line cheering on the team. During a brief conversation, he confirmed that he is going back to the Statehouse to become legal counsel to the new House Majority Leader, Rep. John DeSimone, D-North Providence.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence mayoral candidate Lorne Adrain joins the Roundtable this week to discuss his campaign; third-party spending in the race for governor; a proposal to offer a different kind of driver's license to undocumented immigrants; and John Robitaille's call for a wait-and-see approach to the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former Providence mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr. sat down at his Dorrance Street real estate office earlier this week to talk about his recent property acquisitions; downtown Providence; the city's economic challenges; the Superman Building; a possible mayoral run by Buddy Cianci; and the future of the Providence Journal.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Democratic businessman and lobbyist Brett Smiley formally launched his Providence mayoral campaign Tuesday morning, vowing to make Rhode Island's capital city a more equitable place. He also called for a supplemental tax on statewide gun and ammunition sales to fund expanded anti-violence efforts.

Speaking before an enthusiastic group of supporters at the Mount Hope Community Center on Camp Street, Smiley touted his progressive credentials while pledging progress in creating jobs and improving schools.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras continues to enjoy strong support from Providence voters, but most of them also consider city's economy to be rough shape, according to a new Brown University poll.

The poll shows that 59 percent of respondents think Taveras is doing a good or excellent job, down from 60 percent last year. About 40 percent don't think Taveras is doing a good job.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

After progressives won mayoral races in New York City and Boston, does Jorge Elorza hope to become Providence's equivalent of Bill de Blasio and Martin Walsh next year?

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Pablo Rodriguez joins the Political Roundtable this week as we discuss the troubled rollout of Obamacare; back and forth over pensions; the merits of tax stabilization in Providence; and the Democratic race for lieutenant governor.