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Rhode Island Tip Sheet: Ascent of the Pragmatics

April 11, 2011

STATE OF THE STATE: As Rhode Island tries clawing its way back from a brutal economy, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras are setting the perceptual pace in civic leadership. Not for nothing, but we previously dubbed this duo “pragmatic progressives” because of their shared profiles as traditional-value Democrats tasked with solving difficult, leftover economic problems . . . . Raimondo got the Mike Stanton treatment over the weekend, and about the toughest thing in his story was how she faces a potential political hurdle in pursuing “robust” pension reform. Even conservative Marc Comtois voted for Gina, calling her “the right person at the right time” (although he’s still holding his breath “to see what she actually does.”) . . . . At 9 am Wednesday, actuaries are due to present to the state Retirement Board a report on the difference between recent pench expectations and actual performance . . . . The recent Brown poll shined on Raimondo and Taveras . . . . Taveras tells Ed Fitzpatrick he’s thinking about how he’ll be remembered. For now, the mayor — not to be confused with Charlie Sheen — continues his “Fiscal Honesty” tour with a 7 pm stop tonight at the Elmwood Community Center.

ON THE MOVE: Raimondo has named Melba Depena, executive director of the Providence Human Relations Commission, and previously executive director of the state Democratic Party, as administrator of the state’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

THE NEXT BUDGET BATTLE: The New York Times on the looming fight over the debt ceiling: “What makes this year different, people in both parties say, is the large number of Congressional Republicans, including the many newcomers who gave the party a House majority, who are strenuously opposed to government spending, and egged on by the activist Tea Party movement to use the leverage of the debt-limit vote to make their stand. ‘We want to see real structural, cultural-type changes tied to this debt ceiling. We’re not interested in a one-off kind of savings, or anything small,’ said Representative Mick Mulvaney, a first-term Republican from South Carolina. ‘There has got to be game-changing kinds of changes to get us to vote for it.’ ” . . . . 538 sees risks for Speaker Boehner in debt ceiling-brinksmanship.

THE STATE: RI GOP activist Travis Rowley, in the subject line of an e-mail blast for his latest GoLocal column, calls Governor Chafee, administration director Richard Licht, and budget officer Thomas Mullaney “oblivious fascists.”

TWITTER WARS: The communications’ chief for Florida Governor Rick Scott (whose campaign tapped RI’s current GOP chief Ken McKay as an adviser) is using Twitter to fight with Sunshine State reporters . . . . Legal support for tweeting in the workplace.

LONGEST GAME: Former ProJo scribe Dan Barry, now ensconced at the New York Times, will be celebrated in the PawSox visitors clubhouse this Friday, from 6-8, to tout his new book, Bottom of the 33rd.

BASEBALL BRICKBATS: Where was the game story in today’s dead-tree ProJo on Josh Beckett’s gem last night? And how about the Sunday section-front story, courtesy of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, indicating how Sox tickets have become scarcer due to the team’s popularity? This is an old story, and not much of a surprise. How about something on Brookline’s new Red Sox parking policy?

NESI: Ted talks with local guy-made-good Joe Nocera.

STAYIN’ ALIVE: Bouncing back from stress is the best way to live to a ripe old age.

GEEKS: Providence Geeks have their monthly get together this Wednesday, featuring Charlie Kroll of Andera.

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