Jorge Elorza

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The capital city is one step closer to a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Providence City Finance Committee approved the amended spending plan Monday.

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The Providence City Council begins public hearings Monday on the new proposed city budget, as the state’s largest city continues to struggle to close long-term deficits.

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Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has signed the Police-Community Relations Act, a major effort to address concerns about city police. It took more than three years to get the measure passed.

The Police-Community Relations Act took shape thanks in large part to a dedicated group of supporters who refused to let the measure die. They framed it as an effort to tamp down on police profiling based on race, gender, and sexuality.

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Banning smoking downtown would be an attack on the homeless and a waste of time for city police, who ought to be dealing with real crime, said Elorza.

In his veto message, Elorza said, while this “`ordinance is ostensibly about smoking, its true target is the homeless community. Homelessness is a serious problem in Providence, just as it is in cities across the country. As you are aware, the causes of homelessness are multi-faceted and include substance abuse, mental illness and, of course, economic challenges.”’

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The Providence City Council passed a controversial community policing ordinance Thursday night, known as the Providence Community-Police Relations Act. The measure, which increases protections against police profiling and codifies how police use body cameras, passed overwhelmingly with a 13-1 vote.

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Thursday the Providence City Council votes on a community policing ordinance intended to reduce police profiling. Advocates have been working on the Community Safety Act for several years, and they were disappointed last month, when the Providence City Council tabled the measure in response to opposition from the police officers’ union.

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Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is calling on Providence to halt plans to reroute traffic on a road near the Cranston border. Fung hosted a community forum on the proposed change Tuesday evening.

If you come to a fork in the road, take it. So said Yogi Berra, and the expression seems fitting given recent news. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week via the twitters. Here we go.

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Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the outlook for the PawSox; recent changes on the Providence City Council; and the next step for the Community Safety Act.

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Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joins Bonus Q&A to discuss the shadow of corruption; the impact of high taxes; the outlook for the city's pension fund; whether Crimetown is good for Providence; and much more.

Peter Franz / CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE VIA FLICKR

The push for the ordinance moves forward following an 8 to 5 Providence City Council vote in favor of the proposal, Wednesday – the second of two votes required for the ban to pass. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has said he plans to veto the ordinance, but that could be overridden if 10 councilors vote in favor of the ban.

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Advocates for stricter gun laws are scheduled to gather at the Statehouse Tuesday.

The event, organized by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, is part of a push for the passage of several bills, including a prohibition on guns in schools.  

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Providence City Councilors will consider changing their governing rules, during a special council meeting Monday night. It would allow for the removal of the council president any time during his or her term with a two-thirds majority vote.

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A majority of Providence city councilors have scheduled a special meeting to remove their President Luis Aponte from his post. In order to do so, the council must formally change their rules.

Currently, there appears to be no procedure to remove Aponte from his post. If the measure is adopted, this language would be added to the city council rules:

Stormy times in DC, and no shortage of news at home, a.k.a. Crimetown. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

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