Jorge Elorza

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Opponents of a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium in Providence say they have gathered enough signatures to ask the City Council to effectively block the proposal. They plan to pursue that approach when the council returns from its August recess next month.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Lawyer, commentator and former attorney general Arlene Violet joins Political Roundtable this week 

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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.

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.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave ask Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza about the city's decision to remove pension investments from a group of greenhouse gas-producing companies.

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.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The City of Providence is arguing that the Providence firefighters' union can't use arbitration to fight the looming implementation of a money-saving shift-change plan 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Paul J. Thomas, who was fired in 2012 as Providence's director of public works, is suing Mayor Jorge Elorza, his predecessor, Angel Taveras, and City Council President Luis Aponte -- among others -- in a claim alleging he was let go because he refused to hire or promote two unqualified individuals.

After six months in office, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has finally appointed an economic development director: Mark Huang, a San Francisco energy developer who also has a military background and worked for General Electric and was involved with start-up firms in sustainability-related sectors.

``I am pleased to welcome Mark to Providence and excited to work with him to craft new economic development opportunities,’’ said Elorza in a statement.


The City of Providence has rolled out a new initiative to implement the city’s sustainability plan, aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. The initiative has a strong focus on community outreach.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Buddy Cianci withdrew more than $200,000 in contributions and interest from his Providence pension fund last November. The move means Cianci will forgo his city pension.

Cianci took roughly $209,000 in contributions and interest out of his retirement account last November. The move came shortly after he lost his attempt to return to City Hall to Democrat Jorge Elorza. Cianci has repeatedly said he would not apply for a Providence pension.

Thanks for stopping by. The legislative year is almost over -- the traditional part, anyway -- but the political world always keeps spinning. I welcome your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.


Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza wants to convince more college graduates to stay in the capital city. He’s launched a new initiative to reach out to young people.

He said the goal is to make living in Providence desirable to millennials.

“Per capita, we have the largest number of college graduates of any state in the country,” said Elorza. “These are the entrepreneurs, the civic leaders and they’re the employees of the future. So it’s a priority of mine to make sure that we retain them here.”

The first Providence International Arts Festival, held last weekend, was such a success that Mayor Jorge Elorza is moving ahead with plans for another such celebration next year, said mayoral spokesman David Ortiz.

Thousands thronged a downtown transformed into a giant music stage and pedestrian arts mall last Saturday and Sunday. ``It met our expectations and we’re looking to grow it in the future,’’ said Ortiz.

The weather cooperated both days as the sun washed over downtown. ``We did get lucky,’’ acknowledged Ortiz.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is embarking on his first major arts and tourism initiative since taking office in January. The first annual Providence International Arts Festival goes on all this weekend. City officials have grand plans for the event.

Days before -- and a mile from the festival site -- a group of local artists and musicians are busy sawing away at two-by-fours, and nailing them together at the Columbus Theater. They’re building a stage. Alternating wood stains create a red and brown striped pattern.