scott mackay

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has filed a petition requesting that the city licensing board declare that all licenses held by the Shark Bar & Grille on Thayer Street near Brown University be declared void.

The mayor’s reasoning comes as no surprise because owners of the Shark paid a $52,000 in bribe in 2008 to former House Speaker Gordon Fox, who at the time was vice-chair of the Providence Board of Licenses. After the bribe was paid, the Shark obtained a liquor license despite opposition from East Side residents and Brown officials.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed her first state budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay looks at the politics of our new governor’s taxing and spending plan.

It’s difficult to argue with the rhetoric behind our new governor’s $8.6 billion budget plan. In her televised address from the Statehouse last Thursday evening, Raimondo outlined her goals in a convincing fashion, hitting all the high notes.  Her smorgasbord of ideas provides a little something for everyone.

RI Road Deaths Decline

Mar 11, 2015
thisisbossi / flickr

Some good news for Ocean State motorists: Driving fatalities are at an all  time low in Rhode Island.

That’s the word from Atty. Gen. Peter Kilmartin, who announced today that road deaths dropped from 65 in 2013 to 52 in 2014. That’s a continuation of the decline in fatalities, from a high of 104 in 2003. The 2014 numbers are the lowest number of road fatalities since 1994.

Most encouraging, perhaps, is the drop in deaths of young drivers aged 16 to 24. Deaths for this age group have dropped from 22 in 2009 to eight in 2014.

The 12th annual remembrance service for the 100 people who lost their lives in the tragic West Warwick Station nightclub fire on February 20, 2003 has been rescheduled for March 22 at 1 p.m. in the city council chambers at Warwick City Hall.

The service was originally slated for February 15, but was postponed because of a snowstorm. On Sunday, March 22 fire survivor Gina Russo will speak about the progress of the Station Memorial campaign and announce the campaign leadership committee.

Keven A. McKenna, the former state representative, Providence Municipal Court judge and unsuccessful mayoral candidate in the capital city, is in trouble again with the Rhode Island court system.

McKenna, whose law license was recently suspended for one year by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in a long-running professional conduct dispute, was slapped by Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst in as unusual decision that found McKenna responsible for unprofessional conduct as a lawyer.

Sick of the myth of greedy union members? Here’s some fodder. Turns out that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority  is  thanking members of the international bricklayers union for clearing snow from Providence streets along 40 high-use RIPTA bus stops.

According to a new release, leaders of Local 3 of the International Bricklayers and allied Craftsworkers Union worked with the Rhode Island AFL-CIO to put together the effort to help RIPTA and the public deal with bus stops and shelters that have been covered with ice and snow during this harsh winter.

Don Borman

  If the state gives financial incentives to Providence to move the Pawtucket Red Sox from McCoy Stadium to a new stadium to be built on the Providence waterfront, Pawtucket plans to seek state money to raze and redevelop McCoy.

That’s the word from Tony Pires, administration director for Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, after a meeting today with members of the Pawtucket City Council and the General Assembly’s Pawtucket delegation.

In the never ending casino legal joust between the state and the Narragansett Indian Tribe, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of the state Casino Act.

John Bender / RIPR

Former House Speaker Gordon Fox has admitted that he violated the law by converting campaign money to personal use and accepting a bribe to wire a liquor license for a Thayer Street bar that the neighbors weren’t  too keen on having near their homes.

But in Rhode Island political circles, the biggest rule he broke was the iron, if unofficial, Statehouse cliché: Don’t take a dime while you are serving in the General Assembly. Then cash in for as much as you can make later.

A report from Worcester brings this unsurprising news: Members of the Worcester City Council want to study whether the city can lure the Pawtucket Red Sox to the central Massachusetts city.

Two city council members in Worcester have requested that the city work with the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and other groups to try to get the PawSox to move to Worcester. The plan is scheduled to be debated at a council meeting tomorrow evening, according to a report from

Don Borman

The Providence City Council is putting together an advisory commission to study the impact of moving the Pawtucket Red Sox from McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket to a new stadium in downtown Providence,  Council President Luis Aponte told Rhode Island Public Radio.

Aponte said the commission would be charged with examining the proposal advanced by the new owners of the top Boston Red Sox farm club, who announced last week their intent to shift the team from historic McCoy to a new ballpark to be built on open land along the downtown waterfront that was cleared when Route 195 was razed.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

J. Michael Lenihan, the East Greenwich Democratic state senator and tireless advocate for open government causes, died at his home yesterday after a battle with cancer. He was 71.

Lenihan was a leader of government reform forces in the aftermath of the credit union collapse of the early 1990s. A burly high school history teacher, he played a crucial role in crafting legislation on lobbyist disclosure, open government records laws and increasing transparency in a state government not known for always being accountable to voters.

RIP Minnie Minoso, who helped integrate major league baseball in the 1950s as a player for the Chicago White Sox, has died.

The speedy Gold Glove left fielder was a native of Cuba and didn’t speak much English when he came to the White Sox from the Negro League. ``For South Siders and Sox fans all across the country, including me, Minnie Minoso is and will always be `Mr. White Sox,’’ said President Barack Obama in a statement.


The Pawtucket Red Sox have been sold to a group of familiar Rhode Island business leaders and Boston Red Sox executives who are intent on moving the team from McCoy Stadium to a new ballpark that would be built in downtown Providence.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien was briefed last night by one of the new owners, Providence lawyer James Skeffington, said Antonio Pires, Pawtucket administration director. Skeffington told the Pawtucket mayor that the new group wants to move to a privately-financed stadium on the Providence downtown waterfront.