Not for Nothing will be taking a little New Year's hiatus for the next few days. Back in action on Tuesday, January 3. Happy New Year to you, dear reader. You're much appreciated.
Providence city officials and some homeless advocates are voicing skepticism about the wisdom of opening a daytime homeless shelter, casting doubt on whether the Taveras Administration will agree to Occupy Providence's demand for such a shelter in exchange for leaving Burnside Park.
But the city appears to be taking the thrust of the Occupiers' demands - better care for the homeless this winter - seriously.
As Occupy Providence heads toward a transition - out of Burnside Park and onto the street - one of the most critical questions it faces is this: will the movement shift from protest to politics?
I'll tackle that question and more in a piece in the Phoenix this week on the future of the movement. But one thing that struck me in talking with Occupiers over the last few weeks: a sharp disdain for traditional politics.
As the year comes to a close, the media is filled with the inevitable retrospectives. And Lincoln Chafee gets the full treatment in the Wall Street Journal today with a piece titled "Gov. Chafee Learns the Price of Independence."
The only political independent serving as a governor could use a few friends.Rhode Island Gov.
The only political independent serving as a governor could use a few friends.
Rhode Island Gov.
Some of Occupy Providence's core members are upset with how the group's General Assembly vote yesterday to leave Burnside Park - in exchange for a city-sponsored daytime shelter for the homeless - played out.
I just spoke with Jared Paul, a performance artist and writer who has been a central figure in the movement. "Myself and other people are not fucking happy," he said.
Huddled in a tunnel not far from Burnside Park, which they've held since October 15, members of Occupy Providence voted 36-11 tonight to leave the park if the city of Providence opens a daytime shelter for the homeless.
The vote, which came at the end of an emotional and at times tense meeting of nearly three hours, just cleared the 75 percent threshhold required for approval and pushes the movement into a new and uncertain phase.
Lincoln Chafee's new choice for chief of staff, George Zainyeh, is a well-regarded figure in Rhode Island political circles. And the selection underscores one of the governor's strengths: a willingness to reach across the aisle, to make peace.
Chafee, after all, did battle with Zainyeh for the Warwick mayoralty years ago.
There are no reporters or columnists among the nine Providence Journal staffers who took buyouts on Friday, according to John Hill, a reporter and president of the Providence Newspaper Guild.
Hill did not have a complete list in front of him when we spoke this afternoon and declined to release any names because the employees had not yet given him permission to do so.
Nine Providence Journal employees have taken buyouts offered by the newspaper. The official announcement is to come Monday.
The paper was looking to shed eight employees - one reporter, one copy editor, one photographer, one editorial assistant, and four advertising representatives. If fewer than eight had taken the buyouts, the Journal was prepared to lay off staffers.
Our sister paper, the Boston Phoenix, gets a shout-out:
OK, warning. This post is for the real redistricting nerds.
I've taken a look at the relatively small sliver of Providence Congressman David Cicilline would transfer to Congressman James Langevin under the most recent redistricting plan - a plan which, on the whole, moves voters in the other direction for the most part.
The controversy over Congressional redistricting has been particularly sharp this year. But Rhode Island's redistricting process - particularly when it comes to General Assembly seats - is always divisive.
Hence, calls in some quarters for a depoliticized redistricting process. But moving in that direction could be difficult in Rhode Island.
Hanging over the Congressional redistricting clash that has dominated the news in recent days is this political reality (and I'm not the first to note it): Rhode Island could very well lose one of its two House seats after the next census.
An analysis by state redistricting consultant Kimball Brace shows that Rhode Island barely avoided the fate this time around.
The parade of witnesses at the state redistricting commission's meetings grew predictable after awhile: a state representative complaining about gerrymandering here, a good-government type arguing for fairness there.
But on the night of December 7, an unusual break: four Latino citizens testified; one had her remarks translated by a Latina state representative on the panel.
Congressman James Langevin's office is sharply criticizing Congressman David Cicilline tonight after the release of a new redistricting map that would shift large swaths of the conservative Blackstone Valley into Langevin's district and push a sizable section of liberal south Providence into Cicilline's district.