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Rhode Island Tip Sheet: Whole lot of pension prologue

September 6, 2011

STATE OF THE STATE: It was tempting to call today’s Tip Sheet: Welcome to the (pension) jungle. Just think — we could cue up the signature Guns n Roses song as a scene-setter for tonight’s pension overview session (5-8 pm) at the Renaissance Providence Hotel, just like they do for big-time sporting events. But the string of related events plotted this week by state Treasurer Gina Raimondo signal the need for more public awareness (at least as far as the treasurer is concerned). And today is just another day before pension push becomes pension shove. With three joint Finance Committee meetings set to start next week, the main course still won’t come until the special legislative session in October.

BOTH ENDS AGAINST THE MIDDLE: Ted Nesi reported that tonight’s guest speakers are not exactly known for shaking the pension boat. But the state chapter of AARP has joined the pension fight, as Kathy Gregg reports, expressing concern about benefit cuts. Furious lobbying? A taste of things to come.

WHO’S PAYING, AND WHY’S IT AT A HOTEL? Tonight’s pension meeting comes courtesy of the campaign funds of Gordon Fox and Teresa Paiva Weed. It’s taking place at a hotel, rather than the Statehouse, to provide a more comfortable setting for a post-discussion chicken dinner.

I-195 COMMISSION: Colin Kane, Governor Chafee‘s choice to chair the I-195 Redevelopment Commission, sat down for an interview with me last week. You can hear it here.

MUST-READ: Congress is back in session this week, and NYT columnist Joe Nocera uses “the last Moderate” — Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee to tell us this about our federal government: “This is not a collegial body anymore,” [Cooper] said. “It is more like gang behavior. Members walk into the chamber full of hatred. They believe the worst lies about the other side. Two senators stopped by my office just a few hours ago. Why? They had a plot to nail somebody on the other side. That’s what Congress has come to.”

TEA TIME: Dan McGowan broke the news that Sharron Angle will be in North Kingstown tomorrow, part of a Tea Party Express bus stop . . . . Marriage Equality RI is calling on Representative Doreen Costa of NK to disavow what MERI calls “bigoted” positions by Angle on LGBT issues. Costa told me she’s not aware of Angle having taken such positions.

DOREEN TIMES TWO: Costa says she’s planning to seek reelection to the RI House in November 2012. One rumor had her possibly challenging US Representative Jim Langevin.

TICKET TO RIDE: The Massachusetts legislature is planning to do . . . . uh, something . . . . about that state’s unenforced prohibition against running up the price of Red Sox and other tickets in the secondary market.

MEDIA: Via Romenesko, Politico’s Ben Smith says the breakneck pace of Twitter is altering his employer’s approach to the blogosphere.

THE PRESIDENCY, HALF-FULL: A Politico/GWU poll shows nearly three out of four voters saying the US is headed in the wrong direction, but . . . TPM points to that poll and others in saying O remains personally popular, “and the jury is still out on who can actually beat him.”

BIRTHDAY: Dean Esserman; Emily Rochon.

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