Friday's political short takes


-- Speaking of Costantino:

-- He said Governor Carcieri needs to put forward a budget -- preferably in January -- before the General Assembly can move ahead with the process. In terms of economic development, Costantino says more needs to done to capitalize on existing state resources, such as the ports in Providence and at Quonset.

-- The Providence representative seemed caught off-guard when Tim White asked him about the perception of how he spent almost $4000 from his campaign fund at Venda Ravioli and another family-owned business this year (As Tim explained it to me, using campaign funds to buy things from relatives is not a violation, provided that the money is spent to further a campaign). Costantino noted that he doesn't work at the businesses in question, which he called convenient places for food purchases. He said he spent money as other eateries as well.

In other political news:

-- Senators Reed and Whitehouse have released details about the selection process for US attorney and US marshal:

All interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to Senator Reed’s office (1000 Chapel View Boulevard, Suite 290, Cranston, RI 02920) by December 19, 2008.  The goal is a merit-based process that identifies highly-qualified and experienced candidates for U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal who will serve the people of Rhode Island with professionalism, integrity, and distinction.

-- Reed's annual holiday gathering takes place this Sunday at the Carousel, Roger Williams Park, 4-6 pm. Attendees are asked to bring a donation of canned goods to benefit the RI Community Food Bank.

-- Congrats to Tom Coderre:

STATE HOUSE, Providence – Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva-Weed (D – Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) today announced the appointment of Thomas R. Coderre of Pawtucket as the Senate’s Chief of Staff and Peter M. Marino of Coventry as Senate Fiscal Advisor.

Mr. Coderre, 39, is currently the National Field Director of the Washington-based advocacy group Faces & Voices of Recovery, where he has worked since 2006 and has helped to build grassroots addiction recovery efforts around the country. He heads the Faces & Voices 2008 Recovery Voices Count program, a nationwide nonpartisan civic engagement campaign.

-- Matt has some sharp words regarding big payments to some top members of the Providence Police Department.

Mayor David N. Cicilline is facing criticism this week for a one-time payment of retroactive raises to five current and former high-ranking police officers...

...[T]he additional pay will wind up costing the city pension system nearly $250,000 as the raises essentially boost the pensions each officer is receiving or stands to receive.

With property taxes soaring, city workers facing health care cuts and city schoolchildren facing cuts in arts, computer and gym classes, why is the Cicilline Administration giving out fat raises that will mean fat pension checks?

-- We all know that RI's infrastructure is crumbling, but seeking to fix the situation through increased taxes and fees generally seems counter-productive for the state's economic development efforts.

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