Monday, March 28, 2016

League Day at the State House

At League Day, you’ll learn about the nitty-gritty of the important issues of the 2016 legislative session and what the League has been doing to push forward our agenda. Registration is $10.

The theme of this year’s League Day is Good Government: the Long View.” You’ll come away knowing more about open meetings, access to public records, the history of the Ethics Commission, the “speech in debate” clause in the Code of Ethics, and what the differences are between the major bills now being considered.

The social time will begin at 4:30 followed at 5 with presentations by League members. The panel discussion, which will begin at 6, will be moderated by Linda Levin, president, ACCESS RI. Panelists will include Channel 10’s investigative report Katie Davis, Providence-based journalist Philip Eil, and Common Cause RI Executive Director John Marion. They will provide background on the Access to Public Records Act, Open Meetings Act and amendments to these laws that are currently under consideration by the legislature.

Plan to bring a friend—or two—along, so they can see what we do.
 More information at

WPRI: 12 things to know about Providence’s rising property values

Dan McGowan, Reporter |
 Published: March 28, 2016, 12:02 am  |  Updated: March 28, 2016, 12:02 am

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – From the West End to Wayland Square, property values are increasing in neighborhoods throughout Rhode Island’s capital city.

An analysis of the state-mandated property revaluation shows values grew between 6% and 17% in each of Providence’s 15 wards, but it remains unclear how taxpayers will be affected by the assessment changes.

Full Story

Gov. budget bill for education hearing 3/31‏

If people are interested in the governor's budget proposal for Education, there is a hearing on 3/31 (Agenda). The Rise is approximately 4:10pm.

Governor's Budget - Article 11
KidsCount Gov Budget Analysis-FY2017

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

WPRI: Study: $100M needed to make Cranston Street Armory worth $25M

By Walt Buteau
 Published: March 21, 2016, 6:09 pm  |  Updated: March 22, 2016, 3:46 pm

No easy options to redevelop Providence's massive 'Castle for the People,' built in 1907

Full WPRI Story
Redevelopment Feasibility Assessment by the Peregrine Group LLC 

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea Reminds Residents of March 27 Voter Registration Deadline

PROVIDENCE, RI- Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea is reminding Rhode Islanders that they have until Sunday, March 27, to register to vote in the April 26 Presidential Preference Primary.

For more information

LWVRI Legislative Update for March 22

Voting and Gun Safety

On March 22, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees will each consider the other body’s bills to approve electronic voter registration in Rhode Island...

At this week's hearings the League will focus  on gun safety. Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on a variety of bills related to gun safety. The League is opposing some of these and opposing others. Go to the League in Action blog and get details, bill numbers, and a list of the Judiciary Committee members...

Full Post

Monday, March 21, 2016

Lifelong Learning Collaborative: Questions and Answers with the Mayor

Lifelong Learning Collaborative
Questions and Answers with the Mayor
Wed. Mar. 30, 2016
12-1 PM
Temple Beth-El

Mayor Jorge Elorza has agreed to attend a Brown Bag lunch to answer any questions that the citizens of Providence might have for him.  First, he'll give us an update on what he has accomplished since taking office in 2015 and what he plans to do in the next year.  That will take about 20 minutes.  The rest of the time he will be speaking directly to some of our more pressing issues and answering as many questions as possible.

The event is free and open to the community.  Please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.  Registration is not required.  Temple Beth-El is located at 70 Orchard Ave. in Providence.  Please come early as parking is limited.

Lippitt House Museum's second Community Discussion Series in partnership with the Providence League of Women Voters.

Community Discussion Series

Dates: Tuesdays, April 5, 12 and 19 at 199 Hope Street in Providence.
Place: Lippitt House Museum, 100 Hope St, Providence

Doors open at 6:30 pm with a short reception, followed
 by discussion at 7:00 pm.
Admission is free.
This series is part of the Pell Humanities Initiative in Rhode Island to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tuesday, April 5: Becoming Americans: Immigration, Citizenship & Civic Engagement

Tuesday, April 12: Every Voice Counts: Voter Participation & Engagement

Tuesday, April 19: Money in Politics

More Details

Note: Attendees with limited mobility can park in the drive at the entrance off Angell Street.  That entrance has 6 steps with handrails. Once inside, the doorways can accommodate wheel chairs. To park in the drive,
please notify the Museum in advance (453-0688).

With funds from the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island Education Fund

Friday, March 18, 2016

PBN: Which way forward for city's embattled licensing board?

Posted:  Friday, March 18, 2016 12:05 am 
By Eli Sherman |
Providence Business News

On a hot, sunny day in the fall of 2008, two Providence businessmen met at the office of the vice chairman of Providence's Board of Licenses to pay him $52,500 in bribes.

Gordon D. Fox, then an East Side lawyer and state representative who later became House speaker, accepted the money in exchange for pushing a controversial liquor-license application through the city's vetting process...

One year after the charges Fox agreed to plead guilty to were first made public, the board is still wrestling with the public relations fallout. And despite Mayor Jorge O. Elorza's ongoing efforts to streamline licensing and permitting in the city, complaints from license holders of inefficiency and inconsistency continue to hound the board, whose members are appointed by the mayor and paid between $19,000 and $25,000 a year.

Full Story

By NBC 10 NEWS: Rhode Island to provide free voter I.D. cards in March, April

By NBC 10 NEWS |Friday, March 18th 2016

The Rhode Island Department of State announced it will be providing voters without a valid photo I.D. free voter cards ahead of the election season.

List of dates and locations to pick up a free voter I.D.

Documents required to get Voter ID

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Johanna Harris: Did Providence inspectors really inspect?

Providence Journal Opinion
By Johanna Harris
Posted Mar. 16, 2016 at 2:01 AM

Johanna Harris, a lawyer, is a commissioner of the Providence Board of Licenses and blogs at

If the Elorza administration is serious about saving money, then it should start with the two civilian inspectors who work for the Providence Board of Licenses. The documentation of their work is so flimsy and implausible that there is a serious question as to whether they actually conducted the vast majority of inspections that they logged.

During the 22-month period from Jan. 1, 2014 through Nov. 1, 2015, according to their activity logs, the two inspectors reported over 2,000 taxi driver inspections and 2,000 peddler inspections. Yet during the past two months, the board discovered two unlicensed establishments within the scope of the inspectors’ responsibilities. One had remained unlicensed for over four years, while the other had had no license for at least a year. The combined compensation of the two civilian inspectors, including wages and fringe benefits, is $105,000 annually...

As of mid-January of this year, the city’s database showed 58 licensed taxi drivers. Of the 2,201 taxi driver inspections reported by the two inspectors during the 22-month period, the logs show that 1,819 were reported as duly licensed while 382 were reported as violations. That means each duly licensed taxi driver was purportedly inspected an average of 31 times. There are no records of the names, license plates or taxi companies of the supposed violators...

Full Story

Big business benefits the most from state economic development spending, study finds

The Business Journals
Kent Hoover
Washington Bureau Chief

Two-thirds of state economic development spending benefits big businesses, according to a sample of three states analyzed by Good Jobs First...

“State economic development resources are skewed to create a ‘winner-take-all’ economy where large corporations win the lion’s share of job subsidy spending,” Good Jobs First’s study concludes.

“There’s a galling mismatch between how governors and other state officials characterize their support for small businesses and what they actually spend,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization promotes accountability in economic development.

Full Story
Study Report

The Worst Part of the Legislative Grant Leading to Stokes

The Ocean State Current
by Justin Katz on March 14, 2016
in General Assembly, Politics

However, the most disturbing part of the whole story is this one:

Asked how the money got into this year’s budget, [Finance Committee chairman, Democrat Raymond Gallison (Bristol, Portsmouth)] said: “It’s just been in the budget since 2002, and we just continued it.”

Fourteen or 15 years ago, some legislator slipped this money for the Newport Chamber of Commerce into the budget... How many grants and other expenditures are simply renewed every year even though they no longer go to anything like their original purpose?

Full Article

Monday, March 14, 2016

WPRI: Report: RI has a lot to consider if it wants a statewide teachers contract

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – If Rhode Island wants to enact a statewide contract for all public school teachers, it would need to change “a variety of laws and procedures,” according to a report released Wednesday.

The 28-page report, prepared by Boston-based District Management Council, breaks down a slew of factors lawmakers should consider as they explore a statewide contract, but does not offer a recommendation on whether the state should adopt one agreement for all teachers.

Read: The full report

GoLocal Prov: Rhode Island's pension fund today

Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Russell J. Moore, GoLocal Contributor

It's been five years since the state of Rhode Island enacted its monumental pension reform. Afterwards, there were at least three bull market years. Despite that, the state of Rhode Island's pension fund today finds itself exactly where it was five years ago...

"The significant factors are the level of contributions and calculation of ARC and the cost of benefits. The state is in a negative cash flow condition. If there were zero investment returns the fund would decline, because they are paying out more than they are taking in," said Riley.[Michael Riley, a finance professional from Narragansett who is a partner at Beach Street Financial Services and also writes MINDSETTER columns for]

"Just because they made a return doesn't mean there will be more money in the fund over time..."

That doesn't mean Riley agrees with the management of the Rhode Island pension.

Full Story

PBN: Report: R.I. eighth out of 18 states for charter public school movement momentum

Posted:  Monday, March 7, 2016 12:01 am
By Patricia Daddona
Providence Business News Staff Writer
Twitter: @pdaddona
PROVIDENCE - Rhode Island ranks eighth out of 18 states evaluated for the health of their charter public school movements, according to a report by the Washington, D.C.-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

PBN Article
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Report

Join The League of Women Voters RI and Common Cause RI at the State House for Lobby Day 2016

Finally, join us for Lobby Day on March 16 from 3:00-6:00 pm.  Members of the League and Common Cause RI will meet on the 2nd Floor of the State House at 3:00pm. There will be a briefing with talking points and other materials to prepare you to meet your legislators. We'll go in groups to talk to legislators about our position on voting and elections.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Unsettled: The Refugee in the Hyperghetto - Eric Tang, University of Texas at Austin

Unsettled: The Refugee in the Hyperghetto
Eric Tang, University of Texas at Austin
An Urban Studies Co-Sponsored Event

Public Lecture and Book Signing: "Unsettled: The Refugee in the Hyperghetto"
Thursday, March 17, 2016 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Petteruti Lounge (Room 201), Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center

Research Seminar: "From Camps to Ghettos: Thinking in Refugee Time"
Friday, March 18, 2016 10:00am - 11:00am
CSREA Conference Room, Hillel 303
Please RSVP to Location of seminar may change if RSVPs exceed capacity of our conference room.

More information

The Truven Report on Rhode Island Behavioral Health Project: Supply Report


Motivation. Rhode Island’s vision is to ensure that all of its residents have the opportunity to achieve the best possible mental health and well-being within healthy local communities that promote empowerment, inclusion, and shared responsibility. To meet this vision, Rhode Island must have a complete view of its behavioral health system. This must include information on Rhode Islanders’ service needs, how services are financed, where services are used, the quantity and costs of services, and the societal cost of untreated or undertreated behavioral illness. This report describes the supply of behavioral health providers and behavioral health service capacity. It is one of four main reports of the Behavioral Health Project: (1) Demand Report, (2) Cost Report, (3) Supply Report, and (4) Summary Report.

Full Report

CNBC: Why the jobs report is more important than usual

Jeff Cox | @JeffCoxCNBCcom
Thursday, 3 Mar 2016 | 2:57 PM ET

The Fed's more than seven-year quest to generate inflation has started to bear some fruits, but likely too few to spur an imminent policy change.

Recent indications provide at least some hope that inflation is edging toward the U.S. central bank's 2 percent goal. That's the level Fed Chair Janet Yellen and the Federal Open Market Committee believe the economy should hit or least be on course toward.

Full Story

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Providence Journal: David Spencer and Ruth Feder: R.I. mental health system in shambles

Posted Mar. 3, 2016 at 2:01 AM

The system for delivering behavioral health services in Rhode Island is seriously ill. Actually, one could describe it as being on life support. If it is to survive, intensive care is required.

Last year, the Raimondo administration initiated an ambitious cost-saving project, entitled "Reinventing Medicaid." Advocates and consumers in the world of behavioral health care often refer to this plan as "Decimating Medicaid."

The new Reinventing Medicaid effort has been officially described as setting out to curb costs while improving the quality of health care for the state’s neediest. It is time to stop describing these cuts as improving care. It’s just not the case.

The Truven Report, a study commissioned by the state, found that from 2007 to 2014, state funding for behavioral health care was cut by $30 million.

Mental Health America recently ranked all the states in quality of and access to services. In the overall ranking, Rhode Island ranked number 48 out of all the states, nearly the worst. A low overall ranking such as Rhode Island’s indicates “higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates on access to care.”

Full Story

Mayor Elorza Launches 3-1-1 Hotline, Mobile App For Service Requests

Residents can dial 3-1-1 from their landline or mobile phone to reach the Mayor's Center for City Services. Representatives will tend to non-emergency calls during business hours and residents will be able to leave a message during off-hours. Calls will be tracked 24 hours a day through a comprehensive database, which will allow the city to monitor the incoming flow and types of requests, and follow up with residents with updates.

The PVD311 mobile application is available to download now on iOS through the Apple App Store and for Android on Google Play...

In addition to the mobile app, the City of Providence also offers 24-hour online assistance at

Full Story

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Wickenden Street Merchants Try to Block Parking Meters - Push Effort

Thursday, March 03, 2016
GoLocalProv News Team

For nearly 100 years Adler’s Hardware has operated on Wickenden in Providence through a depression, a couple World Wars, a great recession, but what has activated the hardware store’s boss Harry Adler is Providence City Hall’s effort to expand parking meters to the Fox Point area. He thinks it is a a small business killer.

Full Story

When 4,000 Jobs Disappear and Nobody Cares

by Justin Katz on March 1, 2016
in Economy - Research

A funny thing happens every January or February.  During most of the year, journalists and politicians trumpet relatively small gains in employment or drops in the unemployment rate.  The governor repeatedly proclaims, for example, that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dropped faster over the year than any other state.

But then, come the beginning of the year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revises its numbers, generally smoothing things out and reducing Rhode Island’s numbers. (Some states go up, but Rhode Island’s never do, at least in recent years.)  As a consequence, this time around 4,278 Rhode Islanders who were supposedly working simply disappeared, dropping employment by nearly one percentage point.

Full Story

RINPR: Q&A: James Kennedy On Remaking The 6/10 Connector As A Boulevard

By IAN DONNIS • MAR 2, 2016

Transportation activist James Kennedy is one of the leaders of the movement calling for remaking the 6/10 Connector as a boulevard. He stopped by our studio to talk about the concept and why he considers it a smart idea.

To Listen

Providence Budget at Risk Due to Fire, Questions Over Tax Base

Tuesday, March 01, 2016
GoLocalProv News Team and Kate Nagle

The City of Providence must submit its Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal in less than two months, and the city’s internal auditor and council members are questioning projections based on uncertainties surround fire litigation — and assertions by the city that the tax base is expanding.

Full Story

Thursday, March 3, 2016

NBC 10 I-Team: Rhode Island 911 fees don't fund 911 services


SCITUATE, R.I. — Every month, Rhode Islanders pay 911 fees on their cell phone and home phone bills, totaling more than $17 million in revenue last year. But the NBC 10 I-Team learned most of that money never makes it to 911 services.

The Federal Communications Commission found in a 2015 report that Rhode Island is one of just three states that don't restrict 911 fees to 911 services or public safety.

Full Story

WPRI: Study: RI infrastructure spending consistently among the lowest

By Ted Nesi
Published: February 24, 2016, 12:49 pm  Updated: February 24, 2016, 1:03 pm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island consistently spends less on infrastructure than the vast majority of states, sometimes ranking dead last in recent years, according to a new study.

Full Story

Public Education Finances: 2013

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the Census of Governments and the Annual Surveys of State and Local Government Finances as authorized by law under Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 161 and 182. The Census of Governments has been conducted every 5 years since 1957, while the annual survey has been conducted annually since 1977 in years when the Census of Governments is not conducted. The 2013 Annual Survey of School System Finances, similar to previous annual surveys and censuses of governments, covers the entire range of government finance activities—revenue, expenditure, debt, and assets (cash and security holdings).

This report contains financial statistics relating to public elementary-secondary prekindergarten through grade 12 education. It includes national and state financial aggregates and displays data for the 100 largest school systems by enrollment in the United States.

Full Report

The Providence Village

The Providence Village is a non-profit organization formed and directed by members of the community, in order to provide services and programs that will enable us to live rich, full lives in our homes and neighborhoods as we age. The Providence Village will provide a single access point, via telephone or website, to a growing network of mutually supportive services and social opportunities made possible by a large pool of members/volunteers and a small paid staff.

Service Area
The service area of The Providence Village currently includes the neighborhoods of Providence and Pawtucket between India Point Park to the South and the tip of East Avenue in the north, and between the Seekonk River on the East and South and North Main Streets and Pawtucket Avenue on the West.  As the Village develops we expect in the future to extend our services to additional areas.

For more information click here