Joseph Paolino Jr.

The South Providence Recreation Center will be renamed tomorrow for the late John H. Rollins, a former Providence City Council member, civil rights activist and football star at both La Salle Academy and the University of Rhode Island.

Retired Rhode Island Superior Court  Judge Edward C. Clifton has joined the faculty of Roger Williams University Law School, where he will work with students to conduct research on ethnic and racial fairness in the court system.

Clifton, who retired after more than 20 years on the Superior Court  bench, has wide legal experience in Rhode Island. Before his appointment to Superior Court, Clifton served as Providence city solicitor, and as a judge on both the Providence Municipal Court and on the Rhode Island District Court.

R.I.P. John Rollins

May 11, 2015

John Rollins, a former Providence city council member, civil rights activist and football star at La Salle Academy and the University of Rhode Island, has died. He was 77.

A witty, warm and friendly man with a wide smile, Rollins surprised Providence’s political community in 1986 when in an upset he defeated City Councilman Lloyd Griffin to win a Democratic primary in the 10th Ward on the city’s South Side.

The pit of winter has settled over Rhode Island, judging by the combination of snow and sub-freezing temperatures. The governor used the recent blizzard to remind us we're supposed to be hardy, so no mewling here. Instead, we offer thanks for your visit here, welcome your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (org), and invite you to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Big changes are in the offing for Rhode Island public education policy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what’s at stake.

After six years as Rhode Island’s top education guru, education commissioner Deborah Gist is headed to her native Tulsa to become school superintendent. Eva-Marie Mancuso, chairwoman of the state education board, is out. Barbara Cottam is slated to become the new leader of the board as Gov. Gina Raimondo puts her stamp on arguably the most important mission of government, educating  the young.

Developer and former Providence mayor Joseph Paolino joins Bonus Q&A to discuss snow removal; how Providence can cultivate more tax revenue; what's next for the Superman Building; and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Developer, real estate owner and former mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr. joins Political Roundtable to discuss his contingent agreement to buy Newport Grand; the pending exit of Education Commissioner Deborah Gist; and Governor Gina Raimondo's moves to remake the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission.

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo is considering Citizens Bank executive Barbara Cottam for a top position in her new administration, according to Statehouse sources.

Cottam, who has vast experience in both the private and political sectors in Rhode Island, is under consideration for chief of staff, one of the most important positions in any gubernatorial administration.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Newport) on Wednesday night said she opposes the addition of table games at Newport Grand, after the Newport City Council voted 4-3 to reject the host agreement for a transformation of the slot parlor into a full-fledged casino.

"In light of the council's decision to not approve the host agreement, I can not support the referendum," Paiva Weed told RIPR.


Street crime is once again a political topic in Providence. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time for nightclub owners to better control their rowdy customers.

Federal Hill is more restaurant theme park than Little Italy these days. While the Providence neighborhood is dear to older generations of Italian-Americans, it is no longer the fulcrum of such revered up-from-poverty Rhode Islanders as former Sen. John Pastore, who grew up there.

In December, 1991 Bill Clinton swooped into Providence for a University Club fund-raiser for his nascent presidential campaign. He arrived at Green Airport in a small  private plane and was met by former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino, Suzanne Magaziner and her young son.

As Clinton got off the plane, he reached out and patted the young boy on the head. ``Hey Seth, how areyah?, said the Arkansas governor in the drawl that would become known around the world after his 1992 election as president.

State Rep. Edie Ajello, D-Providence, a veteran Democratic East Side lawmaker, says that former Democratic Mayor Joseph Paolino Jr., was behind recruiting a candidate to run against her in the September 9 Democratic primary.

He puffed on the Monte Cristo in his right hand, sipped Cognac with his left and regaled a table of cronies and hangers-on with jokes and florid commentary.

It was vintage Buddy Cianci, perched at an outdoor table on a balmy evening at the Capital Grille late last Tuesday night, entertaining the crowd long after the thick sirloins and fancy wines had been devoured.

The Newport City council has approved a resolution that could put table games back on the ballot. The council will ask the General Assembly to put the question to Newport voters.


Love him or loathe him, Vincent A. `Buddy’ Cianci Jr., has long been Rhode Island ‘s political Rascal King. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay ponders the talk about another Cianci comeback.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said famously that there are no second acts in American life. The Jazz Age novelist never met Buddy Cianci.