Angel Taveras

Beacon Atop Superman Building Won't Go Out

May 2, 2013
RIPR

The beacon light atop the tallest building in Rhode Island will remain on for the time being. But the owner of the so-called “Superman Building” says that could change if state leaders don’t approve a $39 million package of tax credits. State leaders are decidedly lukewarm to the idea.

If Providence City Council President Mike Solomon doesn’t win an expected Democratic primary for mayor in 2014, it won’t be for lack of trying.

Solomon has worked in synch with Mayor Angel Taveras, who is widely expected to run for the Democratic nomination for governor.  Solomon, has arguably been the most effective council president since Elmwood's Nick Easton, who held the post under Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr., in the mid-1980s.

Fundraising specialist and lobbyist Brett Smiley is joining those looking at a run for mayor of Providence if Angel Taveras moves on next year.

"I am seriously exploring a race for mayor in 2014," Smiley tells RIPR. He says he has started meeting with people to talk about a possible run and plans to make a decision this summer about whether to move forward.

HR&A Advisors of New York is out with its economic-impact report on the now-vacant Superman Building, which was prepared for Cornish Associates.

With the aftermath of this week's Boston Marathon attack remaining in the forefront of headlines, we're keeping the focus on politics in my Friday column. Thanks for stopping by; as always, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung joins Bonus Q+A to talk about why he's a Republican, his potential race for governor next year, and what Rhode Island should do to improve its economy, among other issues.

Happy Friday and welcome back. Your tips and thoughts are always appreciated in my inbox at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's dive in.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In what Providence Mayor Angel Taveras calls a historic day, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter gave final approval Friday for a deal that will reduce the capital city's $900 million+ unfunded pension liability by $178 million. The agreement followed negotiations between the city and police and fire unions and municipal retirees.

"Today is the end of a long, long road that we've traveled," Taveras said in an interview. "I feel a lot of relief and gratitude to all the employees and retirees especially who have agreed to help the city."

Ian Donnis

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras released a 20-point plan Wednesday intended to bring more jobs to the capital city. 

Taveras also previewed part of a message for a potential run for governor next year.

The five priority actions in the mayor’s plan include creating online permits, making Kennedy Plaza more pedestrian-friendly, and freezing the city’s commercial real estate tax for seven years. Taveras also wants to use tax incentives to redevelop vacant lots and remove barriers to new development. The mayor says there’s a common theme to his proposals.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras unveiled a 20-point economic plan Wednesday morning during a meeting of the Providence Foundation. The mayor's repeated rhetorical emphasis -- how Providence has bounced back from the financial abyss thanks to collaboration and shared sacrifice -- sounded like one message he'll wield next year during an expected Democratic run for governor.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A group of mayors from around Rhode Island called Monday for the state Senate to legalize same-sex marriage. It remains unclear when the Senate will take up two competing same-sex marriage bills.

The advocacy group Rhode Islanders United for Marriage says the mayors of six communities support same-sex marriage: Providence, Warwick, Pawtucket, North Providence, Central Falls and Cumberland. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras calls same-sex marriage a matter of equality and something that will give Rhode Island an economic boost.

Welcome back to my weekly column. A 12-hour legislative committee meeting on the same night when the RI GOP invalidates a vote for chairman? Just another day in the Biggest Little. Your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's get to it.

RIPR File

In another sign that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is serious about running for governor in 2014: sources close to the mayor say he has hired a leading Washington, D.C.-based political consulting firm and top Rhode Island campaign strategist J.B. Poersch, a longtime aide to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.

Taveras has retained SKDKnickerbocker as his campaign consultants. Poersch and veteran consultant Bill Knapp will lead the team advising Taveras as he plans his campaign.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island's roads and bridges have been crumbling for years. So why did the most powerful pol in the state, House Speaker Gordon Fox, team up Thursday with one of Rhode Island's top-two emerging political stars, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, to unveil a new plan for funding road and bridge improvements during a well-attended Statehouse news conference?

Gold star if you guessed "2014."

RIPR file photo

In the best of all possible worlds, Providence's iconic Superman Building would be revived as housing that would add downtown residents and reduce the amount of prime office space. Yet Providence Mayor Angel Taveras isn't ruling out the possibility that the structure might have to be leveled.

During an appearance last weekend on WJAR-TV's 10 News Conference, Taveras said:

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