The Phoenix’s Phillipe and Jorge are correct in labeling the Angel Taveras campaign as representative of the “New Providence” in their latest column out on Friday. These secret scribes always have the pulse on the latest in Providence politics:
The ‘New Providence’?
WRNI political reporter and Casa Diablo regular Scott MacKay was the first pundit to make the observation to your superior correspondents in the summer of 2002 that we were “about to witness either the last election of the ‘old Providence’ or the first election of the ‘new Providence.’ ” As you’ll recall, this was the special election to replace the Bud-I, who had recently been sent to New Jersey for five years for what the federal government calls racketeering conspiracy. For the Bud-I’s somewhat different inter-pretation of this episode, tune in to 630 WPRO weekdays at 2 pm (disclosure: P+J chat with Cianci on a biweekly basis).
MacKay was referencing the demographic changes in Providence that have occurred in the past 25 years. The candidate representing the “new Providence” in 2002 was clearly the current mayor, David “Little Chi Chi” Cicilline. Candidates of the “old Providence” included former Mayor “Boy” Joe Paolino and Keven “Kenny McKeven” McKenna. Chi Chi blew them all out of the water.
Hard as it might be for some very prominent Providence political pros to swallow, P+J are convinced that the 2010 mayoral election will be another “new Providence” election because, well, it is the new Providence and there’s no turning back. And the new Providence candidate this time around is Angel Taveras.
While P+J know, like, and respect candidates John Lombardi and Steve Costantino, somebody ought to dig up the rotting corpse of Rod “Charlie” Steiger to tell them, a la Terry Malloy, “Kid, this ain’t your night.”
Take a quick look at the Taveras campaign, his supporters and contributors, his inspiring story, the fact that he is a Latino candidate in an urban city with a substantial Latino population yearning for strong leadership from one of their own. He’ll be using the same strategy that propelled Chi Chi: take the East Side and the South Side and West End and let the other candidates slug it out in the old white ethnic enclaves like Federal Hill, Elmhurst, and Mount Pleasant.
Whatever stank attaches to Chi Chi is not transferable to Angel and Councilman Lombardi and Representative Costantino look decidedly old school in comparison. From Casa Diablo it looks like Angel is going to be very tough to beat. We anxiously await the first legitimate polling results (though it won’t count for much until people start focusing on this race and that is months away) and what we believe will be the subsequent dropping out of a few of candidates.
I have been so impressed at Angel Taveras’ ability to build a strong and diverse team so quickly.
He has leaders from all across the City supporting him including those who have been strongly aligned with David Cicilline such as Councilman Cliff Wood and Myrth York to those who have been critical of the Mayor such as Councilman Kevin Jackson and waterfront advocate Chris Hunter to those who are known for their independent voice for open and clean government like former US Attorney Meg Curran and former Common Cause director Phil West.
In addition, Angel’s hiring of Lauren Nocera, a Providence-based leader of progressive causes, demonstrates his commitment to both recruiting local talent and running a real progressive, grassroots campaign.
Finally, he has a solid grasp on the important issues facing Providence: from bringing our diverse communities together to work together to solve our city’s problems together to his campaign kickoff at an abandoned supermarket expressing a clear vision for job creation and neigborhood-based economic development to his call for swift passage of a long overdue education funding formula for the sake of our children’s education and the rising property taxes affecting Providence residents to his letter to House Finance chairman Stephen Costantino over the treacherous impact that the Supplemental Budget will have on Providence children and taxpayers to his letter to the Water Supply Board expressing outrage over the potential environmental and health hazards of replacing water pipes in the city.