Dr. Dan Harrop Announces Mayoral Bid
|College Republican Supporters
Says current mayor is isolating the city from the support it needs to
PROVIDENCE, RI - This evening at the Providence Knights of Columbus Hall,
Dr. Dan Harrop announced that he is throwing his hat in the ring as a
Republican candidate for mayor of Providence. Harrop made his announcement
to a room filled with Providence-area Republicans.
In his speech, Harrop criticized City Hall for failing to act on the
problems confronting the city, and for failing to work with the Governor, a
heavily Democratic City Council, and a heavily Democratic state legislature.
"Our current mayor," Harrop said, "is isolating the city from the support it
needs to address the long-term problems Providence faces. A new mayor is
needed to bring together both Republicans and Democrats to make real
progress in Providence."
Harrop also said he would work to solve the city's fiscal and education
crises. "The city deficit is over one billion dollars," Harrop said. "Our
pension fund is under funded by $600 million, by conservative estimates." On
education, Harrop said we need to address the fact that the Providence high
school dropout rate is higher than the statewide average, lift the cap on
charter schools, and ensure that schools have the funding they need.
"Studies show that our city schools are so outdated that it would cost
almost as much to renovate them as to build them from scratch," Harrop said.
"One in four high school kids do not graduate."
In closing, Harrop told listeners, "If you agree with me that Providence
needs a strong leader, a change in direction, and a future that our children
deserve, then elect me, Dan Harrop, as your next mayor of Providence."
Dr. Dan Harrop to Announce Mayoral Bid
Seeks to bring responsibility and inclusiveness to City Hall.
PROVIDENCE, RI - Dr. Dan Harrop, a faculty member of Brown Medical School,
will announce his candidacy for Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, on
Thursday, June 15th, at 6:00 PM, at the Providence Knights of Columbus Hall.
Harrop recently filed his candidacy for mayor on the Republican ticket.
"For nearly four years," Harrop said, "I have watched City Hall close its
doors on Providence firefighters, who risk their lives for my neighbors. I
have watched City Hall close its doors on a City Council which is working to
improve this city. I have watched City Hall close its doors on the Governor,
with whom a working relationship is critical to the success of this city. I
fear that I am watching City Hall close its doors on a bright future, and I
cannot, no, I will not, sit idly by and watch this unfold. It is time for
new leadership in City Hall. It is time for the great city of Providence to
open its doors to a bright new future, and that is why I, Dr. Dan Harrop, am
running for mayor of Providence. I hope you will join me this Thursday, as
together, we launch a campaign to bring responsibility and inclusiveness to
City Hall, and to restore a bright future to Providence."
Harrop announced his candidacy to fellow Providence Republicans in a June 9
letter to members of the Providence Republican City Committee. In that
letter Harrop promised, "a respectable and organized campaign effort,
restoring the Party's position in both city and state politics." Continuing,
Harrop said, "Although there is opposition on the Republican ticket for
mayor, many have already encouraged me to undertake this campaign and have
supported me both personally and financially." He also announced that he has
retained Sarah Highland as a full-time campaign manager, and Ethan
Wingfield's Providence-based consulting firm, Elan, to handle media and
Dozens are expected to be in attendance at the announcement, including
members of the Providence Republican City Committee, active Providence-area
Republicans, and friends and neighbors throughout the community.
Dr. Dan Harrop is a 35-year resident of Providence, treasurer of the
Providence Republican City Committee, and a psychiatrist on faculty at Brown
Daniel Harrop: My Rx for Providence
The Providence Journal on Friday, July 14, 2006
Providence mayor Cicilline has announced the kick-off of his re-election campaign. The mayor spoke of fulfilled campaign promises. Asserting that he had cleaned up City Hall and restored our faith in government, the mayor asked the people of Providence to re-elect him as a mayor who keeps his promises. Unfortunately, a closer look at Mayor Cicilline's record shows that he has not kept his promises. When Cicilline opened his campaign of 2002, he spoke of "recognizing and respecting all of the people in this great city." He said that the only way we could move our city forward was through collective action.
But since the day he took office, in 2003, Mayor Cicilline has made a mockery of those promises. His record shows that he has exchanged recognizing and respecting for ignoring, stonewalling, attacking and denigrating the very people with whom he promised to work.
We can do better. I am running for mayor. and as a resident of Providence for 35 years, I am eager to bring collaboration, accountability, responsibility, and competent leadership back to City Hall. In my mind's eye, I see the great strides this city could make, the improvements we would see, the great growth and confidence this city would experience, if only we would work together. Mayor Cicilline's promise of recognizing and respecting all of the people in this great city could have brought about a great renaissance, if only he had followed through.
But instead, what have we seen? I ask the firefighters, who daily put their lives on the line for my neighbors' safety: Have you been recognized and respected by Mayor Cicilline? I ask Governor Carcieri, whose office the mayor stormed out of just weeks ago: Have you been recognized and respected by Mayor Cicilline? I ask the overwhelmingly Democratic City Council, now that the mayor has hand-picked your opponents in an effort to oust you from office: Have you been recognized and respected by Mayor Cicilline? I ask our children, who languish in crumbling, underfunded and mismanaged schools: Have you been recognized and respected by Mayor Cicilline?
Mayor Cicilline, I ask you: Where is the collective action of which you spoke with such grandeur a few short years ago? Are not our firefighters, the governor, the City Council, and our very own children each critical for our great renaissance?
I have a plan for improving our students' opportunities, and it starts with our local communities and the state to improve our education in the arts, our special-education programs and our transportation needs, and it continues by removing the caps on charter schools and building on their strong successes. I strongly believe that any viable plan for education reform fundamentally requires partnering with our neighboring communities. Is Mayor Cicilline in a position to partner with anybody?
How has Mayor Cicilline recognized and respected his city and its workers by leaving a pension system that is underfunded by over $600 million and completely untouched?
What has the mayor done to respect the future of the city by continuing to sign budgets that do nothing but exacerbate what amounts to a $1 billion deficit?
n the past four years, the mayor has dismissed these issues as "national problems." He has offered no concrete plan for addressing these crises.
As a candidate for mayor, I have firm plans for my administration. My administration will work together with City Hall and state officials to create real solutions to the very real problems our city faces.
For example, my administration will draft a comprehensive education-reform plan, in collaboration with the governor and officials of surrounding municipalities, which includes lifting the ban on charter schools and upgrading the physical conditions of our schools. The goal of this plan will be to raise grades and scores and boost our graduation rate.
My administration will give a full review and audit of the city's financial situation, and develop a plan to reduce unnecessary expenditures, fulfill the city's pension obligations, and ensure that our tax structure is reasonable and fair.
Further, my administration will generate additional revenue by shedding any unnecessary assets, such as unused or under-used city-owned land. Putting these tracts back into the hands of private citizens will generate short-term revenue for the city, while expanding the property-tax base.
Providence is a city bursting with potential, if only we had a mayor who would build broad coalitions across party lines to craft real solutions to the problems and crises facing our city. Working together, we can move Providence forward.
Daniel Harrop, M.D., is the Republican candidate for mayor of Providence.
I believe in the importance of public schools. Unfortunately, 29% of the
city's 44 schools are classified as poorly performing under federal
criteria, and just two are classified as high performing under the same
criteria. So, why have we not seen a plan for comprehensive school reform
from City Hall?
I have a plan for improving our schools, and it starts with increasing
cooperation among local school districts, consolidating statewide and area
purchasing, and collaborating with professional organizations.
We also must give parents a stronger foothold in our schools. The more the
parents of our students are involved, the more successful our students will
be. To do this, I will explore implementing a "small school initiative"
similar to what raised New York City's high school graduation rates from 50%
to 73%, the highest in 20 years.
Part of this plan would entail lifting the moratorium on the establishment
of new charter schools. Charter schools in our city are highly successful,
and carry lengthy waiting lists year to year.
I would support a "Voluntary Pilot School Choice Program," first proposed by
Mayor Laffey, that would allow Providence residents to legally attend public
schools in other districts. The criteria for the program are as follows:
Children must come from failing districts in Providence. Accepting school
districts can reject students due to a lack of capacity or prior
disciplinary problems. Accepting school systems will be compensated in full
and upfront for the cost of education in accordance with three cost
categories: regular student, English as a second language, and special
education. Accepting school districts will not be penalized under the No
Child Left Behind Act for a reduction in scores for at least two years.
Finally, I support implementing the recommendations of the Governor's Blue
Ribbon Panel on Math and Science Education to aggressively improve math and
science education. I support proposals and recommendations for more rigorous
academic content standards and assessments and calls for higher
proficiency-based graduation requirements
Our Neighborhoods and Our Economy
Today, Providence has a dwindling middle class and an increasing number of
both poor and wealthy people. Forty-three percent of the city's residents
now speak a language other than English at home.
In the city's public schools, 87 percent of students are black, Hispanic or
Asian-American. Forty percent of the city's children live in poverty. These
figures may sound improbable to Rhode Islanders who come to Providence only
to work, shop, or attend WaterFire, but is easily confirmed by a stroll down
any of the city's neighborhood business lifelines: Broad Street, Pocasset
Avenue, or Smith Street.
As mayor, I will recognize that the elected leaders of the city's
communities need an active role in the development of their wards and
districts. As Mayor, I will give appropriate deference to the City Council
officials, as well as State Representatives and State Senators, and will
rely on their advice and direction in approving the areas in which they
Affordable housing is a problem in Providence, and as your mayor I will
fight to ease construction by speeding permits and by streamlining the
zoning exceptions these housing units almost always need. In a city of
175,000, there are only 125 affordable housing units built each year. With
hundreds on waitlists, Providence residents have to fight too hard to find
Providence also has many multiple family homes, which
can maximize its utility and efficiency allocation with the right policies.
I would propose that owner occupied three-decker homes receive increase tax
The removal of the old interstate Route 195 hands the city a unique
opportunity to reclaim its waterfront. As the capital of the Ocean State,
situated at the head of the Narragansett Bay, Providence should do all in
its power to facilitate public access to and use of its waterfront.
Waterfront attractions are important - and that means more than narrow
linear access and walkways. Boating and fishing, which are rarely seen
today, should be the norm, as they are in other cities that have such
expansive waterfronts. Providence is a historically and architecturally
beautiful city. The waterfront developments will highlight this and bring
greater attention to the city.
Future development must not be out of character and scale, so as not to ruin
what makes Providence unlike any other destination. Any and all development
must not displace the working people of the community. I will propose
inclusionary zoning in order to addresses this potential problem. A
percentage of the development and a percentage of money spent in development
will be invested into creating affordable housing. This ensures a diverse
community and minimizes displacement. The heart of the discussion regarding
our city future are the zoning laws that will be changed to match the
proposed vision. Accordingly, members of the communities affected should
have the opportunity to put any proposed zoning law changes to a vote.
Despite taxpayer outcry, city spending continues to spiral upward, and tax
bills continue to grow. I am pro-business and realize that development
broadens the tax base and brings revenue to the city.
Unfortunately, our city has relied too heavily on property taxes to do the
job business expansion should be doing. In 1993, Providence ranked as having
the third highest property taxes in the nation, after Newark and Bridgeport,
CT. Within the last three and a half years, taxes have increased 14.1%,
therefore hindering development.
Currently, between underfunded pension plans, deteriorated schools and
rotting infra-structure, the city of Providence is in a deficit of over one
billion dollars. The Mayor has failed to address this problem. In the past
four years, issues such as the pension fund have been dismissed as "national
problems" with no plan in sight to solve this problem.
I propose the following ideas to increase city revenue:
Sell large portions of the Scituate Reservoir watershed no longer needed to
protect the water supply. Because new technology has diminished the need for
the full watershed, huge tracts could be sold for development.
Sell underused but remarkable city property. Many areas in Providence are
simply unused but possess high property values that could be sold for
development, generating long-term profit and taxable property for the city
and private developers, such as River Road on the East Side.
Privatize Triggs Memorial Golf Course with a restricted deed sale.
Develop Private concessions at Roger Williams Park.
In addition to those proposals, I support measures to improve community
trust in the city:
--A constitutional amendment restricting the annual increase in state spending
to the rate of inflation plus 1.5% and limiting increases in local taxes to
4% of the total levy
--Freezing the tax rate on owner occupied dwellings for the next two years.
--A requirement that a fiscal impact statement be developed and communicated
widely, with a public comment opportunity provided, before ratification of
all school, municipal and state employee contracts.
Republicans endorse Harrop for mayor
01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, June 21, 2006
PROVIDENCE -- The Republican City Committee last night endorsed Dr. Daniel S. Harrop as the Republican candidate to take on Democratic Mayor David N. Cicilline in the general election this November.
By a vote of 12 to 10, the committee opted for Harrop, its treasurer, over David B. Talan, its chairman. Cicilline defeated Talan and a Green Party candidate in the mayoral election four years ago.
"I'm a little bit disappointed, but I'm staying in the race right until the end," Talan said. He said he had been too busy recruiting GOP candidates for General Assembly and City Council to take the time to turn out his own supporters to the endorsement meeting.
With two men now aspiring for the party nomination, the confrontation sets up a rare Republican primary election in September in Providence. Talan predicted "a friendly primary."
Ethan Wingfield, Harrop's press secretary, said Harrop is pleased by the committee's support and he looks forward to highlighting for voters in the general election the fact that the public schools are in a shambles physically and educationally, and that the city has a serious debt problem and a huge unfunded liability in its pension system, among other issues.
Talan announced his candidacy well before Harrop did, and Talan had complained that supporters of Sen. Lincoln Chafee prevailed on Harrop to run to oppose Talan, who supports Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey as the Republican candidate for the seat Chafee now holds.
Chafee adherents, Harrop has acknowledged, were among those who urged him to go for mayor.
Earlier yesterday, before the endorsement vote, Talan said he is not sure if the party endorsement makes any difference in a primary election. But he noted that the state Republican Party has said that it will provide technical assistance only to endorsed candidates.
About 40 people attended last night's city Republican convention at the Hi-Hat nightclub at Davol Square.
firstname.lastname@example.org / (401) 277-7334
Dr. Dan Harrop Unveils Contract With Providence
This afternoon, Dr. Dan Harrop unveiled the Contract With Providence, an
outline of policies that will be supported and enacted for the City of
Providence, should Republicans gain enough support in the November election.
PROVIDENCE, RI - While introducing the Contract, Harrop was flanked by GOP
City Council and Rhode Island House and Senate candidates from districts
within the City of Providence. 16 candidates signed onto the agreement.
Also in attendance at the press conference was the Republican candidate for
Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor, Reggie Centracchio.
"Providence needs to know that things can be better," Harrop told the crowd
gathered on the south steps of the Rhode Island state house. "We do not have
to live with sharply increasing taxes, broken down schools, and a staggering
debt. These are government problems, and the way to end these problems is to
put new people in government. That's why I and the others joining me here
today are running. The people of Providence deserve some changes in how
things are done around here, with your support in November, we are going to
make that happen."
The Contract With Providence includes tax deductions and capped tax
increases for renters, seniors, veterans, and freezes residential property
taxes in Providence for the next two years. The plan also includes changes
to the City's approach to hiring and firing in schools, charter schools, and
regionalized administrative school services.
Dr. Dan Harrop is the Republican candidate challenging Democrat David
Cicilline for Mayor of Providence. A native of Rhode Island and 30-year
resident of Providence, Dr. Dan Harrop is on faculty at Brown Medical
|Anchor Rising Blog
August 15, 2006, Posted by Justin Katz
Rhode Island Politics
Interview: Dan Harrop, Republican Candidate for Mayor of Providence
Anchor Rising recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Dan Harrop -
Republican candidate for mayor of Providence - about his candidacy and
matters of political philosophy arising from his unique personal standing.
Anchor Rising: On your Web site, you list several problems that you intend
to remedy as mayor. Is there a specific image or realization that made you
decide to run?
Dan Harrop: It's become clear to me over the last year that our current
mayor is a pretty good politician, but not so good an administrator. He has
consistently failed to deliver. In the last election he promised to settle
the contract with firemen within thirty days of taking office. So far,
nothing. He continues to take credit for the accomplishments of the state
government: the GTECH deal and Masonic Temple renovation were brokered by
the governor's Office, not city hall. Four years into his term, he is still
developing an education plan, and every one of our middle schools has
failed; every single middle school principal is being replaced. He has
failed to even address the $610 million deficit in our city's pension fund,
or the $250 million needed in deferred maintenance in our schools (yet
somehow, the good politician he is, he got the Journal to headline $4
million put into school repair just before the election, and to talk about a
partial pension reform plan, which seems to have no backing with the city
unions or city council). He has consistently fought with the city council -
witness the ten Democrat primary elections. He has raised taxes nearly 15%
in three years but, with his fellow Democrats, put off a further tax raise
(which the city auditor estimates will be 11% next year) until next year, so
they can tell constituents the taxes were not raised this year. He has
created a Providence "after schools" activities program with a five million
dollar five-year grant from private foundations, which serves only a few
hundred kids and provides some nice patronage jobs for the administrators.
And let's not even get into Gordon Fox on the licensing board...
In contrast, I have proposed moving to a K-8 educational system, lifting the
cap on charter schools, working with surrounding communities to develop
regional schools (which is NOT regionalizing the school systems, but
nevertheless regionalizing magnet schools for art, music, math and science,
etc.), and working with state and local cities to regionalize
transportation, teacher training, etc., all of which will save money (but
reduce political patronage in the city, I understand). I have proposed
stepping up the sale of unneeded city properties (do we really need to own
half of Scituate, since recent advances in water purification don't require
as large watershed); this would include sale, rather than rehabilitation, of
some existing school buildings, and using the funds received to build
smaller community-based schools. I do not argue with national standards for
the number of firemen and rescue personnel we need in the city. I believe
this mayor has burned his bridges with other state and local politicians
(witness his walking out on the governor and his getting opposition
candidates to run for city council elections) and the city has to have a
So the difference: I have concrete proposals - a good starting point for
discussion, compromise, and collaboration. Four years into his term, the
mayor is still "planning."
AR: How do you intend to break the "Rhode apathy" that perpetuates our
state's cycle of inadvisably elected officials?
DH: Personal example. No one person can change that attitude. Every
politician of every stripe needs to emphasize that politics and elections is
one of the ways we move ahead in this democracy. I have been, and will
continued to be, involved in various community organizations throughout my
adult life. I will continue to emphasize to those organizations and people
involved the need for more people to pick a candidate, any candidate, and
get behind them with hard work and money.
AR: Not to push you into the third rail of RI Republican politics, but:
Chafee or Laffee?
DH: Chafee, although this has nothing to do with the mayor's race.
AR: I've long thought that the next major political divide, once modern
liberalism burns out or fades away, will be between libertarians and social
conservatives. You appear to stand on that line. As Libertarian candidate
for the General Assembly in 2002, you explained, "I cannot ascribe to the
moralizing of the Republican Party." Yet, you are very active in religious
circles, including with the Knights of Columbus, on whose local page a
significant requirement for membership is stated as living "up to the
Commandments of God and the precepts of the [Catholic] Church." How do you
reconcile these two aspects of your beliefs?
DH: While, again, I don't believe this has anything to do with the mayor's
race, I know your readers like a good debate, so here it is:
This is a great question, and debated hotly within my Catholic Church now.
While this has really nothing to do with the mayor's race, since topics like
abortion, stem cells, and the like just do not reach the mayor's desk, my
beliefs on these topics are well known because of my past races (my
opponents in the 2002 and 2004 General Assembly races made much of them),
and yes, my active membership in both the K of C and the Ancient Order of
Hibernians, as well as other Catholic religious groups.
There is a difference between being active, and moralizing, as a private
citizen and doing so as a public official. Bishops of all faiths, for
example, should moralize: that is their job. While this fact really rankles
some in the pro-life crowd, in fact the Catholic Church has never actively
campaigned that its position on abortion (that it is morally wrong in all
circumstances including rape and incest) be turned into law. Even the
bishops realize that this position would have zero chance of passing into
law. The bishops have yet to take any action against Catholic politicians
who support liberal abortion laws. The bishops strongly encourage Catholic
politicians to support pro-life legislation, although none of this
legislation really completely supports the Catholic position on abortion.
I've actually been very vocal within Catholic circles that the Church should
give up its tax credits and become much more active politically if it really
wants to achieve its aims (see my answer to Question 2). That's not likely
to happen, but it's a very libertarian idea. Public officials have a
responsibility to lead by example: I believe the governor (and others) do
this quite well, and I would follow the same path.
AR: As mayor, how would you address the social problems - such as drug
abuse, teenage pregnancy, and single-parent households - that face any large
DH: There are in city (state, nation) multiple sources of power and
influence, not just city hall. This means not just the churches (a huge
force) but community centers, as an example here in Providence. Take the
DaVinci Community Center on Charles Street, or any of the other community
centers in the city, and the fine work they do. I believe the current
administration in the city has failed to properly utilize these grass-roots
level (street level, I suppose) centers to address these problems. I'm not
afraid of having city hall work with other organizations and groups: if they
can get the job done, great. Providence has tended to think of itself in
isolation, with power coming from City Hall, a legacy of the Cianci years,
but carried over into the Cicilline administration. Increasing the ability
of these groups to intervene, through city support, moral and financial and
structural, can go a long way to helping these problems.
Dave Talan and Dan Harrop on Newsmakers, Part 1
Posted by Carroll Andrew Morse
For those Providence residents who haven't made a decision on who they will be voting for in tommorow�s Maoyral primary, here's a quick summary of Part 1 of Dan Harrop's and Dave Talan's appearance on WPRI-TV Channel 12's Newmakers program from September 3. Both gentleman gave articulate and detailed answers to each question that was asked. If you have the time, the original video (segments 2 and 3) is worth watching...
Steve Aveson asks Dan Harrop what the biggest issues facing Providence are.
Harrop answers failing schools and higher taxes. Every middle school is failing, as are 10 of 25 elementary schools. There has been a 14% tax increase in 2 years, with another 11% planned for next year.
Aveson suggests that Providence Mayor David Cicilline would say that his removal of principals form middle schools shows that he is serious about education reform.
Harrop questions the value of removing principals after one year. Since Providence has an appointed school committee, the Mayor has ultimate responsibility for failing schools.
Aveson asks Dave Talan about his sense of the biggest problems facing Providence.
Talan says he agrees with Harrop; the biggest problems are education, taxes and spending. 8,000 of 36,000 Providence students have left the public school system. A $4000-per-year school voucher would allow another 10,000 the freedom to leave. A voucher system would reduce overcrowding, end "musical chairs forced busing", improve public education, restore neighborhood schools and save between 25-50 million dollars. Talan says he would also work at reducing spending, eliminating unfunded mandates and reforming the pension system.
Ian Donnis asks why Mayor Ciciline lacks a primary opponent, if he's done such a bad job.
Harrop says he's not sure about Democratic intra-party politics, but respected city council members like John Lombardi and Rita Williams are on record opposing the Mayor.
Donnis suggests that Cicilline would say he faces resistance because he is more forward thinking than his opponents.
Harrop: John Lombardi and Rita Willams have been excellent reps.
Donnis asks Talan why Cicilline has no primary opponent.
Talan answers that Cicilline he has two credible opponents on the Republican side. Talan adds that Cicilline is good on ethical issues, and the Providence has seen some economic growth because the businesses confident they don't need to pay bribes or make campaign contributions to operate in Providence.
Aveson: You're saying Cicilline is a good politican but a bad administrator?
Harrop replies that Cicilline has shown he can't collaborate with people. He walked out after just 5 minutes of a meeting with the Governor on education funding, which did not serve the interests of the people of Providence.
Dan Harrop and Dave Talan and on Newsmakers, Part 2
Posted by Carroll Andrew Morse
For those Providence residents who haven't made a decision on who they will be voting for in tommorow's Maoyral primary, here's a quick summary of Part 2 of Dan Harrop's and Dave Talan's appearance on WPRI-TV Channel 12's Newmakers program from September 3. Both gentleman gave articulate and detailed answers to each question that was asked. If you have the time, the original video (segments 2 and 3) is worth watching...
Steve Aveson asks Dave Talan why Dan Harrop shouldn't be the Republican candidate for mayor of Providence?
Talan says he'd prefer to make the case for himself instead. He has 35 years as a neighborhood activist, has worked on crime watch, traffic and open space issues in Providence, is President of the Elmwood little league, was an assistant to a state representative, and served 12 years on Providence board of park commissioners. If he is elected Mayor, "there will be no learning curve".
Aveson notes that, despite his admirable record, Talan has not been elected in the past, then asks Harrop what he will do to get elected.
Harrop: Cicilline can lose this election, if people realize that another 4 years of Cicilline will mean more failing schools and higher taxes. Harrop cites his experience in on the workers compensation commission and in developing programs to keep drunk drivers of the roads through the DOT and says his background in education and administration has given him skills that the current mayor lacks. Harrop goes on to criticize Talan's voucher plan, saying $4,000 is too small an amount and private schools do not have excess capacity. "The voucher system is useless".
Talan rebuts that $4,000 is an actual figure for the cost of a parochial school elementary education. He worked with an administrator from Saint Pius and the finance chair of the Diocese of Providence to determine the number. Obviously $4,000 doesn't cover schools like LaSalle or Moses Brown, but it would make a difference in areas like the South Side. Since a public school education costs $12,600-per-pupil, the voucher plan will save $8,600 per student. Multiply by 10,000 students, and that's a huge savings.
Ian Donnis asks why there are so many city council races in Providence.
Harrop says Mayor Cicilline has encouraged primaries because he can't work with his own city council. He wants "rubber stamp surrogates" elected to the city council.
Aveson asks (skeptically) if a Republican could be expected to do a better job with a Democratic city council.
Harrop: Yes, I can collaborate and work with people.
Donnis asks Talan about the Democratic primaries.
Talan says he can't speak for Democrats, but can take credit for recruiting candidates for 23 different races on the Republican side. The competition will result in better government for the city of Providence
Mayoral hopefuls face off Sept. 12
The race between Daniel F. Harrop and David B. Talan marks the first GOP primary contest for mayor of Providence in three decades.
01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, September 5, 2006
PROVIDENCE -- In a city where the Democrats have long dominated local politics, there is a Republican primary for mayor -- the first in 28 years.
Dr. Daniel F. Harrop, a psychiatrist, has the party's endorsement. His opponent, David B. Talan, a computer systems analyst, ran for mayor four years ago. Harrop has twice run for state representative in Providence.
Both men offer similar reasons for their decisions to mount a primary challenge: the city's struggling school system and the city's finances.
Talan, 57, of 25 Santiago St., wants to give parents the opportunity to send their children to a private or parochial school, which would be partially subsidized by a $4,000 voucher.
"Eight thousand children have already left the public schools," Talan said. "My estimate is that another 10,000 would do so if they had vouchers."
Talan claims that the city would save at least $25 million if public school enrollment was drastically reduced.
"We can balance the city's budget by reducing spending on public education," he said.
Harrop, 52, of 204 Tabor Ave., also thinks the city's schools need to be fixed, but he proposes regionalizing certain functions, such as busing and the purchasing of supplies, to curb costs.
"There is no reason why Providence and Pawtucket each need an arts school," Harrop said.
Last winter, Governor Carcieri suggested consolidating several urban school districts, including Providence, but the idea floundered after Mayor David N. Cicilline walked out of a meeting with Carcieri and two other urban mayors.
Harrop said he would also sell some of the city's aging school buildings, which are ill-suited to meet today's educational needs, and use that revenue to build smaller, modern school buildings.
He also said that the state needs to pick up a larger share of the city's tax burden because the state's future depends on the quality of Providence's public school graduates.
"There is no education plan now," Harrop said. "I'd move to a K-8 system right away because every middle school in the city is failing."
Supt. Donnie Evans has a plan, called Realizing the Dream, that spells out the changes he hopes to implement over the next two years. Among them is a move to K-8 schools, which would be piloted in the fall of 2007.
Harrop also supports lifting the moratorium on charter schools -- public schools that are freed of many of the regulations imposed on traditional public schools. He would also put aspiring principals on a separate education track because, he said, they require different skills than classroom teachers. And he would give principals greater authority over hiring and firing teachers because that is one of the most effective ways to improve instruction.
The two candidates offer vastly different methods of bringing spending under control. Talan supports Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey's unsuccessful taxpayer relief plan, which would allow cities to refuse to implement unfunded mandates.
"Providence has an unfunded pension liability of $630 million," he said. "We need to remove pensions from the collective bargaining system."
According to City Hall, the latest pension liability figure is $616 million.
Harrop said high property taxes will continue to squeeze the middle class until the city can find fresh sources of revenue. One possibility, he said, would be to increase the tax on business and industry. As a one-time-only measure, Harrop supports selling huge tracts of city-owned land around the Scituate Reservoir, land that he says is no longer needed for watershed protection.
Although only 4 percent of the city's voters are registered Republicans, Harrop thinks that Cicilline is vulnerable:
"There is a lot of anger at the mayor," he said. "People are unhappy with his style of leadership. It's imperial. If you disagree with him, he gets very angry."
The Republican primary, he said, is an opportunity to get alternative points of view before the public.
Talan thinks that there is strength in numbers. A total of 23 candidates are running for City Council or state representative in the Republican primary -- the largest number in years.
"I think a lot of people are looking for alternatives," he said. "It's a long shot but someone has to do it."
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Harrop easily defeats Talan in GOP race
Daniel F. Harrop was helped significantly by the support of Sen. Lincoln Chafee during the campaign against David B. Talan.
01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, September 13, 2006
PROVIDENCE -- The popularity of Sen. Lincoln Chafee in Providence helped Republican mayoral candidate Dr. Daniel F. Harrop trounce David B. Talan by a nearly two to one margin in the city's first GOP primary in 28 years.
Harrop, a psychiatrist, campaigned with Chafee and had the party's endorsement while Talan, a computer systems analyst, aligned himself with Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey, who made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Chafee in yesterday's primary.
With all of the precincts tabulated, Harrop won with 1,306 votes to Talan's 752.
Harrop now faces Democratic Mayor David N. Cicilline in the general election in November.
"I'm delighted to be the nominee of the party and looking forward to taking on the mayor," Harrop said last night. Chafee's campaign help was "obviously a great benefit."
Contacted by phone earlier in the night, Talan said he knew that Chafee would poll strongly in Providence and carry Harrop with him.
Both men sounded similar complaints about the current administration: the city's financial health and its low-performing schools.
Talan, 57, of 25 Santiago St., was a big fan of vouchers, pledging to give parents $4,000 toward a private or parochial school tuition. He claimed the city would save at least $25 million because public school enrollment would be reduced once parents had the opportunity to send their children to private schools.
He said that the city could balance the budget by reducing spending on public education.
Harrop, 52, of 204 Tabor Ave., also thinks that the city's schools need to be fixed but he favors regionalizing some functions, such as purchasing and supplies.
Harrop also supports selling some of the city's dilapidated school buildings; those revenues could be used to build smaller, more modern schools.
He supports lifting the moratorium on new charter schools because he thinks that they are models of innovation and offer parents choice. He would also give principals greater control over hiring and firing staff because he believes that this is one of the best ways to change school culture.
The two candidates offered vastly different solutions to bringing spending under control. Talan supported Laffey's taxpayer relief plan, which would permit cities to refuse to implement unfunded mandates. Harrop supports selling huge tracts of city land around the Scituate reservoir, land that he says is no longer needed for watershed protection.
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01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, September 17, 2006
In the end the Rhode Island Republican primary race between U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee and Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey seems to have come down to lots of people still liking Mr. Chafee and the Chafee family. Mr. Chafee, of course, had tons of help from the National Republican Party, especially in the form of attack ads against Mr. Laffey that raised concerns about Mr. Laffey's sometimes strident -- like the ads against him -- personality. (From the commercials, you'd never know that Mr. Laffey was re-elected to the mayor's office with almost two-thirds of the vote, or that national Republicans consider Mr. Chafee a Republican in Name Only, aka RINO (pronounced "rhino").
Anyway, barring scandal, Americans, while complaining about the political class in general, tend to support their own incumbent legislators. Low voter turnouts in mid-term elections often intensify incumbents' advantage.
And while the public likes to say it doesn't like negative advertising, it seems to eat it up, even when it comes from supporters of a person, such as Mr. Chafee, who is almost always presented as a "nice guy." (Ads by a Laffey supporter, the Club for Growth, got pretty nasty, too.) But then, we're still trying to figure out the demographics of who voted in the Republican primary.
Mr. Chafee will now take on a formidable Democratic challenger, former state Atty. Gen. Sheldon Whitehouse, whose privileged and WASP background, replete with large quantities of well-aged family money, is similar to Mr. Chafee's. Mr. Chafee's father, of course, was a famous U.S. senator, and Mr. Whitehouse's a distinguished ambassador. But then federal elected office is increasingly reserved for the rich folk who can pay the vast organizational and advertising costs of campaigning.
Now that Mr. Chafee is safely through the primary, he and Mr. Whitehouse may try to outdo themselves in complaining about the real and purported evils of the Bush administration. And we'd be surprised if their contest were not considerably more civil than the one between Mr. Laffey and Mr. Chafee. Both men, are, after all, in pretty much the same club.
* * *
There were, of course, some other interesting races. The most interesting to us was the victory in the Democratic primary contest for secretary of state of North Providence Mayor Ralph Mollis over Newport businessman Guillaume de Ramel (another aristocrat; his father is a French count, his mother a well-known Newport socialite). It seems to have come down to the impression that the 32-year-old Mr. de Ramel was still too much the callow youth, and that Mr. Mollis, 44, whose city is known for having good municipal services, had earned a shot at state general office after a decade as mayor. But it was a fairly close race, 53-47, and Mr. de Ramel will probably be back.
Mr. Mollis will run against Republican Sue Stenhouse, an articulate and effective Warwick city councilwoman and deputy director of community relations for Governor Carcieri, in what might be a close race.
Then there was the hefty victory by former state Adjutant Gen. Reginald Centracchio over Kerry King in the GOP race for lieutenant governor, a rather vague job that we have advocated abolishing -- or at least changing, so that the governor and lieutenant governor run as a team. The general has been a courtly and, so to speak, commanding presence in the state for a long time, especially compared with Mr. King, a retired insurance executive, and his triumph in what became a surprisingly fierce contest was itself no surprise.
The general will face the well-spoken Democratic state Sen. Elizabeth Roberts in the general election, in a race that might become a better show than the gubernatorial one between Governor Carcieri and Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty, which so far has been rather soporific.
There was no contest in the primary for attorney general, but the general-election race, between incumbent Democrat Patrick Lynch and his well-known GOP foe, William Harsch, a lawyer, former state and federal official -- and ex-Democrat -- should be energetic, as the latter tries to get traction on ethics issues.
Finally, there was the defeat of Providence City Councilor Rita Williams by Cliff Wood, Mayor Cicilline's arts czar. Ms. Williams, a Cicilline foe, was one of three incumbents on the council to fall. Things on the council are still sorting themselves out, but the Wood victory might suggest that the mayor will have smoother sailing with the council in his next term, assuming that he defeats the Republican candidate Daniel Harrop, a psychiatrist, in the November election. In any case, political campaigns can always use a psychiatrist.
|Taubman Center for Public Policy Survey
Ciccilline Leads Harrop by Wide Margin in Providence Mayor's Race
A citywide survey of 403 Providence residents conducted October 14-17, 2006
also finds 62 percent think Mayor Cicilline is doing a good job and 64
percent feel the city is headed in the right direction.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Providence Mayor David Cicilline leads his Republican
opponent Daniel Harrop by 66 to 13 percent with 21 percent undecided,
according to a new citywide survey conducted by researchers at Brown
The survey was conducted October 14-17, 2006, at Brown University by Darrell
M. West, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy and the John Hazen
White Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory, and Marion Orr, the Frederick Lippitt
Chair of Public Policy, Political Science, and Urban Studies. It is based on
a citywide random sample of 403 Providence residents. Overall, the poll had
a margin of error of about plus or minus 5 percentage points. The election
question is based on the 317 voters who said they were very likely to vote
in this November's election. The likely voter part of the sample had a
margin of error of about plus or minus 6 percentage points
Sixty-four percent believe the city is headed in the right direction, while
23 percent think it is off on the wrong track. Sixty-two percent believe
that Mayor Cicilline is doing a good job handling his position, while 21
percent rate him only fair, and six percent say he is doing a poor job.
This survey was undertaken in conjunction with the 7th annual Thomas J.
Anton/Frederick Lippitt Urban Affairs conference on "Sex and the City".
Scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 24 at Leung Gallery in Faunce House on
the Campus Green, this year's conference examines the moral, economic, and
regulatory aspects of the city's adult entertainment industry.
Forty-six percent of city residents think there are too many adult
entertainment clubs in Providence, while 24 percent feel the city has the
right number, and 4 percent believe there are too few adult entertainment
clubs in Providence.
Fifty-seven percent believe the adult entertainment industry gives the city
a negative reputation, 54 percent think that it contributes to crime, 40
percent believe it keeps businesses from locating here, and 39 percent feel
it encourages young families with children to move out of the city.
When asked what they think the city should do about adult entertainment, 10
percent say the industry should be outlawed, 65 percent feel the industry
should be regulated by government, and 14 percent think the industry should
be allowed to operate openly.
Eighty-one percent feel adult entertainment should be restricted to certain
parts of the city, 57 percent believe that zoning rules restricting adult
entertainment need to be strengthened, 53 percent support adding a 25
percent adult entertainment club tax, and 34 percent favor unannounced
police raids on these establishments.
Nine percent believe adult entertainment clubs make a very important
contribution to the local economy, 25 percent say its economic contribution
is somewhat important, and 52 percent believe its contribution to the local
economy is not very important.
Thirty-six percent say they are very worried about sexual permissiveness in
society, 30 percent are somewhat worried, and 28 percent are not very
Mayoral candidate visits PC
The Providence College Cowl, 10/26/06
by Joe Miller '10
When the Providence College Republicans welcomed mayoral candidate Dr.
Daniel Harrop to campus on Wednesday, Oct. 18, it was just one example of
students getting involved in the political process.
With Election Day less than two weeks away and several significant races in
progress locally, students have taken advantage of the opportunity to not
only become informed citizens, but politically active ones as well.
Voters who go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7, will participate in a highly
anticipated midterm election that has both local and national implications.
In Providence, ballots will be cast for a governor, lieutenant governor,
mayor, U.S. senator and representatives, and state senators and
representatives, as well as state attorney general, secretary of state, and
Additionally, voters will decide three ballot initiatives, among them the
controversial Question 1, which addresses ownership and financing of a
casino in West Warwick.
In a society in which the low turnout of college-aged citizens has fallen
under much scrutiny, Providence College students are making an effort to
play an active role through groups such as the College Republicans and PC
Harrop, a psychiatrist and member of the faculty at Brown University, shared
with students both his personal background and positions on the issues
during his presentation last week. A native of West Warwick, he is running
as the nominee of the Republican Party, a fact that he acknowledges makes
victory an unlikely possibility.
"I understand the chance of pulling off a victory is slim," he said. "I'm
running because I have not been happy with many of the things the mayor has
The incumbent mayor, David N. Cicilline, is seeking reelection to the office
he has held since 2002.
Harrop is no stranger to local politics, as he ran unsuccessfully in House
District 3 in both 2002 and 2004. He highlighted the difficulty of winning
an election as a Republican in the heavily Democratic city of Providence,
which he said has not elected a Republican official in 12 years.
During his speech, Harrop emphasized the need for cooperation with the state
and federal governments and his commitment to improving the city's school
system if elected.
"[Cicilline] wants things run his way, and it's been difficult. He's not
willing to work with them, not willing to negotiate with them, and it
shows," he commented.
Harrop said he also believes that while the current casino proposal would
not be beneficial to Providence, approval for the ideal is inevitable.
"Do I see it as a good idea? No. Do I think it's coming? Yes. Providence, if
it does not prepare correctly, will be badly hurt," he said.
Harrop described his campaign as "a great deal of fun" and added, "I would
do it all again in a minute." He explained that his job as the Republican
candidate is "to organize Republicans in the city, run a decent campaign,
and to try to get Republicans in this city organized and ready to help play
a role as leaders in this city."
One Providence College student who has become very familiar with the mayoral
race is Sarah Highland '08. In May, she was asked to manage the Harrop
campaign, a job that she accepted and says she has enjoyed tremendously.
"It's been very rewarding. I've been able to meet a lot of people I wouldn't
have [otherwise], and I've been able to see the background logistics of the
campaign," she said.
Highland was approached by Harrop for the job as a result of extensive
volunteer work she had done with the state Republican Party. As campaign
manager, her duties include overseeing the campaign staff, coordination of
volunteers and advertising, and aiding Harrop at various events.
"It's one thing to come to school here at PC, but this way I really feel a
strong connection to the city of Providence," she explained.
Highland is also the president of the College Republicans, who have been
actively supporting several local candidates as they prepare for Election
Day. Meetings generally include a presentation by a candidate or member of
"That allows students to feel connected to the campaign, and feel that the
campaign is for real," she said.
The group has also attended debates in support of Govenor Donald L. Carcieri
and Senator Lincoln D. Chafee.
"I think it is a civic responsibility to get involved," said Highland. "It's
not a partisan thing, along party lines." She urged students to "align
yourself with one idea or candidate" and participate in any way possible.
"That's the only way it's going to function correctly," she added in
reference to government.
Harrop had similar words for the students attending his speech, advising
them to "pick a candidate you really believe in and work for that
As the pivotal date of Nov. 7 draws nearer, Providence College students are
taking this advice and turning it into action.
01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, October 22, 2006
David Cicilline has done a highly competent job cleaning up and managing Providence municipal government and moving the city forward in several key areas. He merits re-election.
At the same time, we commend his Republican foe, Dr. Daniel Harrop, for running a spirited race (more on Dr. Harrop below).
While Mr. Cicilline's most famous predecessor, the egomaniacal Vincent Cianci, was a genius at drawing attention to the city, and especially to himself, he too often put his own interests ahead of Providence's. This most dramatically included leading a corrupt municipal administration, which, of course, resulted in his taking up residence in a federal prison. Further, while mayor, he barely administered anything except his speaking schedule. Much of city government was in administrative chaos.
The very low-key David Cicilline could not be more different. He has not only led an open and ethical government; he has also managed city government efficiently. And he has campaigned with some success for improvements in economic development, public education, infrastructure, urban design, social welfare and other areas.
The mayor has also shown the courage to take on the City Council, some of whose members have a depressingly parochial, patronage-ridden, special-interest political style, in which the overall good of the city sometimes gets short shrift. The mayor has truly tried to consider the general welfare in his decisions.
Thus it is not surprising that the city has drawn much economic activity since he took over. Under the Cianci administration, many companies did not want to pay the price for dealing with the mayor's office. (Pfizer, anyone?) Now, however, honest city government, coupled with the city's many other attractions, has fueled an extraordinary revival -- spectacularly visible downtown but also seen in the neighborhoods. This finally looks like a major city again!
Much more needs to be done, especially in improving education, making municipal government more efficient and facing such scary challenges as runaway pension obligations. But consider how much better things are than a mere four years ago.
As for Dr. Harrop: He has tended too often to speak in generalities about the need for more "collective action" between the mayor's office and such power centers as the City Council, and has strongly suggested that the mayor has been too confrontational. We'd call it being principled.
Still, we like Dr. Harrop's proposal for a comprehensive education-reform plan, with collaboration with the governor and officials of surrounding municipalities. We also like his plan for a full "review and audit" of the city's finances, including its alarming pension obligations, and of a tax structure that is oppressive both for many individuals and for many businesses.
And government is almost always improved when there are competitive elections to keep politicians, especially incumbent officials, on their toes. One of Rhode Island's biggest problems has been the lack of a healthy two-party system to ensure that government operations are well monitored.
Still, all in all, David Cicilline has been a very good mayor, and richly deserves re-election.
Schools, taxes at center stage in mayor’s race
Providence Journal, Tuesday, October 24, 2006
PROVIDENCE — Dr. Daniel S. Harrop isn’t fazed by the fact that Republicans are an endangered species in local politics. Or that Mayor David N. Cicilline has built a political base that straddles the wealthy East Side and the primarily poor and Latino West End and South Side.
But a recent telephone poll of 317 city residents who said they were likely to vote next month shows Cicilline leading Harrop by 66 to 13 percent, with 21 percent undecided. The poll, announced yesterday, was conducted Oct. 14-17 by Darrell M. West, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy and the John Hazen White Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory at Brown University, and Marion Orr, the Frederick Lippitt Chair of public policy, political science and urban studies at the university. It had a 6 percentage point margin of error.
Harrop is challenging a popular incumbent because, he says, the city is staggering under a heavy property tax burden, an unfunded pension liability and a school system that he says is failing most of its students.
“We have no plan for repairing the school system,” he says. “I understand that we have extreme poverty. I understand that 40 percent of the children don’t speak English as their primary language.”
Harrop favors moving the entire school district to a kindergarten through eighth grade system, something that Supt. Donnie Evans plans on piloting next fall. Harrop also says that the city could save millions by purchasing goods and services with other school districts.
Cicilline, however, says that his administration does have a plan to reform the city’s aging school buildings. A private consulting group has recently completed a study that looks at the city’s changing demographic patterns and recommends which schools should be closed and which should be renovated. And Evans, who arrived a little more than a year ago, has developed a vision, called Realizing the Dream, for reforming the city’s 50-plus schools. Cicilline says he is willing to explore sharing certain costs with other cities and towns, but cautions that this isn’t the answer to the high cost of public education. The problem, Cicilline says, isn’t regionalization; it’s that Rhode Island lacks a fair and predictable financing formula to pay for public education.
Harrrop, who has twice run for the General Assembly in District 3, says that he would be a more collaborative leader, faulting the mayor for walking out on a meeting with Governor Carcieri last year. Carcieri called the meeting to discuss his proposal to regionalize several urban school districts, including Providence.
Cicilline, however, says he is proud of the relationships he has forged with the School Department, the City Council and universities. He pointed to his creation of the Providence After School Alliance, which brings together dozens of arts groups, recreation centers and the Boys & Girls Club to provide a network of afterschool activities for hundreds of middle school children.
Cicilline also points out that he brokered a deal with the city’s private colleges in which they pay $4 million in lieu of property taxes. “I’ve demonstrated a great ability to collaborate,” Cicilline says. “But there are times when you have to advocate for the [taxpayers].”
Harrop also says that Cicilline has no plans to stabilize the city’s property taxes. Harrop says he would freeze residential rates and create more revenue by speeding up the sale of unused city property. He also says that the city should ask the state for permission to raise its business tax rate.
Cicilline agrees that property taxes are too high, but says he is working on a number of fronts to reduce that burden. Since he took office in 2002, Cicilline says his administration has cut 125 city jobs, increased the tax base for two consecutive years and raised fees. Cicilline also persuaded the General Assembly to return 1 percent of the beverage tax to the city.
“But the real source of the problem is that Rhode Island has the second-highest reliance on the property tax to fund public education,” he says. “Until we fix that, this issue will remain.”
There is one issue on which both candidates agree: charter schools. Both Cicilline and Harrop say that there is a place in public education for innovative schools that can serve as models of excellence for the school district. The General Assembly imposed a moratorium on new charter schools two years ago; Providence has four such schools, which receive public money but are free from many of the restrictions that govern traditional public schools.
Since he took office, Cicilline says he has restored public confidence in city government, cleaned up the deeply troubled Police Department, and helped bring in over $3 billion in new development, including the city’s first office building since 1988. He says he has improved neighborhoods by organizing a graffiti squad, repaving streets and bringing the performing arts to the neighborhoods.
“Our biggest challenge is accelerating student achievement,” Cicilline says. “The second challenge is making sure that people can afford to raise their families here.”
The two candidates will debate at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Gregorian Elementary School in Fox Point.
Mayor, challenger spar over schools
01:00 AM EDT on Friday, October 27, 2006
Dr. Daniel S. Harrop, left, and Mayor David N. Cicilline.
The Providence Journal / Andrew Dickerman
PROVIDENCE — Mayor David N. Cicilline last night criticized Brown University’s decision to buy seven buildings in the city’s Jewelry District, saying that the university could have used its considerable resources to invest in distressed neighborhoods such as South Providence.
“What disappoints me about Brown’s decision is that it’s a lost opportunity to help transform another part of the city,” the mayor said during a candidate’s forum at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School in Fox Point. “It’s not the best way for Brown to grow.”
Cicilline cited the University of Pennsylvania’s $1-billion investment in retail, commercial and residential development in West Philadelphia, a commitment that helped transform an impoverished inner-city neighborhood.
Brown University President Ruth Simmons announced the proposed acquisition earlier this week, saying that the buildings will allow the university to expand its life sciences and medical programs. The purchase will eventually erode the city’s tax base because property used for academic purposes is tax-exempt.
Cicilline, however, is the first mayor to persuade the city’s four private colleges to make payments in lieu of taxes. The agreement keeps any property that Brown purchases on the tax rolls for a minimum of 15 years, but the taxes decline in stages over that time.
Dr. Daniel S. Harrop, the mayor’s Republican challenger, said he would have pressured the colleges to pay taxes over a longer period of time.
Earlier, Harrop blasted Cicilline for what he called the sorry state of the city’s public schools, noting that all of the middle schools and 10 of its 25 elementary schools are failing.
“There is no plan to fix the schools,” Harrop told the gathering. “Monday night, the mayor handed me a plan. Have you seen it? It comes with certain timelines. Whenever you see the status of things, it says pending, pending, pending.
“This is four years into the mayor’s term. We need an active discussion of the failings of this School Department,” he said. “This is the only city in the state where the School Board is appointed by the mayor. He is responsible for the state of our schools.”
Cicilline said he has the utmost respect for Supt Donnie Evans, praising the work he did in Tampa, Fla., where he raised the number of top-performing schools from 7 to 87. Evans, he said, has developed a detailed plan, called Realizing the Dream, for transforming the city’s schools. He pointed to the Providence After School Alliance, which has led to the creation of after-school activities for middle school children.
The city’s economic health was another bone of contention last night. Harrop accused Cicilline of failing to have a plan to stabilize the tax rate. Harrop promised to freeze the residential rate for two years, although he didn’t say how he would achieve that.
Cicilline, however, said the city’s economy is in better shape than it’s been in years. For the first time since 1998, Providence has an A bond rating, the tax base has grown for two consecutive years and investments have topped $3 billion during his first term in office. Cicilline also took credit for restoring the public’s faith in city government, for cleaning up a rogue police department and for reducing crime by 20 percent.
Cicilline for mayor of Providence
The Providence Phoenix, 11-1-07
Republican candidate Daniel Harrop has done Providence voters a favor by
offering a choice in this year's mayoral election, while also bringing
attention to some of the difficult issues facing the city.
Yet Mayor DAVID N. CICILLINE has largely pursued the course that he pledged
to set when he ran in 2002, and he merits another term to build on the
accomplishments of his first one. The city's development boom, although it
presents its own challenges, represents a vote of confidence in Providence's
future. Cicilline's other successes include delivering long-overdue reform
in the police department and attracting an impressive school superintendent
with a long-term commitment to the city.
The Phoenix endorses David N. Cicilline.
|The Brown Daily Herald, 11/3/06
Alums offer competing plans for Providence in mayoral bids
This year, Mayor David Cicilline '83 is making his first bid for re-election since he became mayor in 2002 in the wake of former Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr.'s conviction for racketeering conspiracy.
Cicilline, a Democrat, faces a challenge in Tuesday's mayoral election from Republican Daniel Harrop '76 MD'79, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry.
Inheriting a city government plagued by corruption, Cicilline said his principal responsibility for his first term was to "restore honesty and integrity" to Providence politics, knowing this would ultimately lead to further improvements. Four years later, he points to better fiscal practices, increased accountability and renewed public confidence in local government as his major accomplishments as mayor.
A psychiatrist by trade - he has a private practice on Waterman Street - Harrop touts his administrative experience as his main qualification for the mayor's job. "A city is essentially a much larger form of administration," he said. The current mayor is "not much of an administrator," Harrop added, though he conceded that Cicilline has succeeded in his efforts to clean up city government.
"We did that by … hiring people on their qualifications and not who they knew," Cicilline said at an Oct. 26 candidates' night held at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School.
Development downtown and in the neighborhoods
Cicilline said the improvements Providence has seen in the last four years are "linked to people understanding that city government is honest."
"It affects the quality of city services" and attracts investors, he said.
Public confidence in elected officials has created a "trust dividend," Cicilline said, citing the $3 billion in invested in the city over the past four years, a tax base that has been growing for two consecutive years for the first time in over a decade and, perhaps most tellingly, the number of companies now willing to do business in Providence for the first time.
The GTECH headquarters downtown is the first office building to be erected in the city in 16 years, and Cicilline said he had to do more than just root out corruption to attract the corporation to Providence.
"I went to their board, I made a presentation … and ultimately persuaded them to build the headquarters here," he said. "I personally brought them to the city."
The rapidly increasing number of office buildings and condominium towers downtown signals economic growth, but Cicilline said he is cognizant of the dramatic contrast between multi-million dollar condos downtown and the condition of many of Providence's other neighborhoods.
Still, outlying neighborhoods have also experienced progress, he said.
"Some of the most exciting stuff is the housing happening in the neighborhoods," Cicilline said, emphasizing the need for commercial growth to be "balanced against (communities') interests."
"We want the city to grow in a way that's healthy for communities, healthy for families in Providence," Cicilline said.
Zoning ordinances are one way to control city development. Fulfilling a campaign promise made four years ago, Cicilline recently proposed an inclusionary development ordinance that would require developers of residential units to designate a certain portion of those units as affordable.
Cicilline has also created a housing trust to which developers who receive special consideration from the city must contribute.
Harrop said he is less than pleased with the mayor's accomplishments.
"Most of the development going on downtown has been state-brokered," he said, citing the renovation of the Masonic Temple and relocation of the GTECH headquarters to downtown Providence as examples.
Harrop said creating more affordable housing is "tied to property tax income," adding that the city must work with developers and residents during the re-zoning process to address this issue. "Providence made a big mistake under the mayor's regime of basically re-zoning things before the (recent) major neighborhood charrettes," Harrop said. "It's perfectly fine to have large-scale (development) as long as the neighborhood has a say in it and it responds to their needs."
Harrop cited the relocation of Interstate 195 as an important opportunity for the application of this principle and said he is against any further tax credits for developers.
Plans for public schools
At a forum last week, Harrop blamed Cicilline for the poor performance of Providence's public schools. Providence is one of few cities where the mayor appoints the school board directly.
Harrop emphasized the failure of every Providence middle school to meet performance minimums as well as the designation of 29 percent of the city's schools as "poorly performing" under federal criteria.
Harrop said he supports the Providence Republican Party's plan to fix the school system, which entails a speedy transition to a K-8 system, replacing old school buildings with smaller schools, lifting the current moratorium on new charter schools and giving principals more jurisdiction over their personnel.
He said that, if elected, he would also create advisory boards that include parents as members.
Cicilline's plan to improve education, which he called "the most important responsibility that we have as a city," was created by Superintendent Donnie Evans, whom Cicilline hired after Evans implemented a similar program in Florida.
A major component of the plan is to implement "whole school effectiveness," which values parent and community involvement, high expectations, a clear vision and mission, principals as leaders and professional development. "Realizing the Dream," as the plan is titled, also entails modernizing schools and transitioning to K-8 schools.
Cicilline said the plan's implementation has already begun. An after-school program is underway for "hundreds and hundreds of middle school students who used to just go home unsupervised," he said.
"We've seen improvements in every year I've been mayor … but they're modest," Cicilline said. "We're going to see real improvements over the next couple years."
Harrop criticized Cicilline for only releasing the plan recently and not having implemented much of it yet. "This is four years into the mayor's term," he said.
The 800-pound gorilla
Early in his first term, Cicilline negotiated an agreement with the four private colleges and universities in Providence under which each of the tax-exempt institutions makes payments in lieu of property taxes to the city. The PILOT program, as it is called, also stipulates that these institutions pay a regularly declining property tax on new purchases for 15 years after their acquisition.
The PILOT program "generates about $50 million over 20 years," Cicilline said. In addition, the 15-year transition period creates a cushion for the tax rolls until the economic benefits that come with institutional expansion kick in, he said.
One audience member criticized the PILOT program at last week's candidates' night for "mortgaging the next generation."
"Brown University has always been the 800-pound gorilla in Fox Point," the audience member said, pointing out that the University's recent agreement to purchase seven buildings and other properties in the Jewelry District will "eventually take hundreds of thousands of dollars off the tax rolls."
Though Cicilline pointed out that the University creates economic development as it expands, he said he is disappointed by Brown's choice of location.
"The Jewelry District is a natural place for them to be. (But) it's a lost opportunity (to) transform other parts of the city," Cicilline said, adding, "It's not the best way for Brown to grow."
In an interview with The Herald, Harrop agreed that the University's expansion could boost Providence's economy. However, he said, expansion off College Hill only benefits the city "if the University brings in industry, research and the like." Buying new property for administrative use does not have the same economic benefit for Providence, Harrop said.
"I think (Brown) got off easy on the PILOT program," Harrop said at the forum. "Fifteen years means nothing (for an institution that) thinks in centuries," he added.
Harrop called the PILOT program a "cop-out" and suggested alternative methods of collecting revenue from Brown in particular, such as a student activities or service fee.
Both candidates agreed that Brown should make larger non-financial contributions to the city.
"The University needs to be a lot more involved in the city, as (do) all the other colleges," Harrop said. Brown should do more to improve public education and should eventually be the "principal element in a charter school," he said.
In an interview with The Herald, Cicilline reiterated the potential impact of Brown's investment in a needy neighborhood by undertaking "substantial developments through a for-profit real estate corporation."
By developing with the city's interests and not just its own, Brown could "transform an entire neighborhood," Cicilline said.
Cicilline outspends Harrop 10 to 1
Providence Journal, Friday, November 3, 2006 By Linda Borg
PROVIDENCE — By Tuesday, Mayor David N. Cicilline will have outspent his Republican opponent by a 10 to 1 margin. Cicilline, who is running for his second term, said he has raised $500,000, whereas Dr. Daniel S. Harrop, a psychiatrist, said he has raised only about $50,000. Although a recent Brown University poll of those most likely to vote showed Cicilline leading Harrop by 66 percent to 13 percent, Cicilline is still running like a first-time candidate.
“I’ve visited more than 25 coffee hours in the past two weeks,” he said yesterday. “I’m visiting senior citizens centers and I’m phone banking and canvassing. I just walked the East Side with Councilman Kevin Jackson.” Cicilline also plans to run a final round of print advertisements before Election Day. As the incumbent, Cicilline has a built-in advantage over his Republican challenger: he’s meeting the public every day at a variety of public forums: “In a way, I’m always campaigning.”
Harrop said he has marshaled a dozen volunteers to knock on doors in the West End and the South Side and plans on running several newspaper ads before Tuesday. He said that he’s polling strongest in Wards 2 and 5 on the East Side, which have always been traditional Republican bastions.
Although he concedes that he is the longest of long shots, Harrop said that he has accomplished his goals: to uncover what he calls a looming crisis in the city’s schools and in its financial future. “I’ve gotten my message across,” he said. “People are talking.” After the polls close, Harrop will watch the returns come in at Republican headquarters at the Inn at the Crossing in Warwick, while Cicilline will join fellow Democrats at the Providence Biltmore.
The Brown Daily Herald, 11/7/06
Mayor David Cicilline '83
Mayor David Cicilline '83 has said his most important goal during his first term was to "restore honesty and integrity to city government." He counts better fiscal practices, increased accountability and renewed public confidence in local government among his successes in that area.
Public confidence has created a "trust dividend," Cicilline said, attracting $3 billion worth of investment since he became mayor. Cicilline said he personally persuaded GTECH to build its new headquarters in downtown Providence.
New condo towers and office buildings clearly manifest development downtown, but "some of the most exciting stuff is the housing happening in the neighborhoods," he said. Furthermore, Providence's tax base has grown for two years in a row for the first time in over a decade.
Cicilline's administration recently unveiled a plan to improve Providence public schools and has already implemented an after-school program used by "hundreds of middle school students who used to just go home unsupervised," the mayor said.
Early in his term Cicilline negotiated an agreement with the four private colleges and universities in Providence under which each of the property tax-exempt institutions makes payments in lieu of taxes to the city and pays a regularly declining property tax on new purchases for 15 years after they are acquired.
Cicilline said his administration has done everything it can to streamline government in the face of budget shortfalls, including cutting over 400 city jobs and taking advantage of new technologies to maximize municipal resources.
Republican Daniel Harrop '76 MD'79 is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown and practicing psychiatrist.
Harrop touts his administrative experience as his main qualification for the mayor's job. "A city is essentially a much larger form of administration," he said.
Harrop is less than pleased with Cicilline's accomplishments thus far as mayor. "Most of the development going on downtown has been state-brokered," Harrop said, citing the renovation of the Masonic Temple and relocation of the GTECH headquarters as two examples.
Harrop said the city should work with developers during the re-zoning process to build more affordable housing. "Providence made a big mistake under the mayor's regime of basically rezoning things before the major neighborhood charrettes," Harrop said. He added that he "would be against further tax credits for developers."
At a debate with the mayor, Harrop criticized Cicilline for the poor performance of Providence's public education system. "He is responsible directly for the state of the schools in this city," Harrop said, pointing out that Providence is one of few cities where the mayor appoints the school board directly and that Cicilline has had four years in office to improve the schools.
Every middle school in the city has failed, and 29 percent of the city's schools are classified as poorly performing under federal criteria, Harrop said.
Harrop calls for a speedy transition to a K-8 system, replacing old school buildings with smaller schools, lifting the cap on charter schools and giving principals more jurisdiction over their personnel.
Harrop also criticized the mayor's payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the universities, calling it a "cop-out" at the debate.
The mayor has no plan to cover the pension deficit or stabilize the city budget or the tax rate, Harrop said, pointing out that taxes have increased by almost 15 percent in the last four years.
Cicilline takes easy victory
Providence Journal, Wednesday, November 8, 2006,
PROVIDENCE — Mayor David N. Cicilline handily won a second term last night, beating Republican Dr. Daniel S. Harrop by a five to one margin.
Cicilline outspent his opponent 10 to 1 in the days leading up to the election, spending nearly $500,000 to Harrop’s $50,000. Speaking last night from the state’s Democratic headquarters in the Biltmore Hotel, Cicilline said his most important accomplishment was restoring integrity to City Hall.
“Four years ago, city government was characterized by chronyism,” he said. “The residents took a chance that an open government would lead to a more prosperous city. We have demonstrated that good government works.” Cicilline said that his administration brought in more than $3 billion in new investments, reduced major crime and reached new contracts with the majority of the city’s unions. “I’m incredibly grateful for the response from the voters,” he said. “We have a great administrative team and great community partners.” But, Cicilline said, the city can’t rest on its laurels: “We have to continue to create jobs and affordable housing,” he said. “And we have to continue to focus on improving the quality of public education.”
Harrop, who ran a Quixotic race against a popular incumbent, said he accomplished his primary objective, which was to publicize what he called deep-seated weaknesses in the city’s finances and public school system. Throughout his campaign, Harrop, a psychiatrist, said that Providence was being crippled by a heavy property tax burden, an unfunded pension liability and a school system that is failing its students. Last night, Harrop said he was proud that he ran a “reputable campaign,” adding that he forced the mayor to address these issues: “You don’t want anyone to run unopposed. And you don’t want anyone to get elected without discussing the issues.”
The campaign was surprisingly civil, with Harrop crediting the mayor for cleaning up a scandal-plagued police department and restoring the public’s faith in a City Hall, an image that was tarnished by former Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, who is now serving time on federal racketeering charges.
Cicilline ran on his record. Among his achievements, he said he increased the amount of affordable housing sixfold since the 1990s, and improved neighborhoods by organizing a graffiti squad, repaving streets and bringing the performing arts to areas like the West End. Cicilline also said that he is proud of his relationships with the School Department, the City Council and local colleges. He pointed to the creation of the Providence After School Alliance, a network of arts groups, recreation centers and Boys & Girls Clubs that offer after-school activities to hundreds of middle school students.
And he said he forged a historic agreement with the city’s private colleges in which they agreed to pay $4 million in lieu of property taxes. Under the terms of the agreement, any property purchased by the colleges remains on the tax rolls for a minimum of 15 years, then declines over time.
Harrop repeatedly slammed the mayor for allowing the city’s public schools to flounder, noting that all of the city’s middle schools and 10 of its 25 elementary schools are listed as being in need of improvement under the federal Leave No Child Behind law.
“There is no plan to fix the schools,” Harrop said during a public candidates’ forum last month. “Have you seen the [superintendent’s] plan? It comes with certain timelines. Whenever you see the status of things, it says, pending, pending, pending.” Harrop said one of his biggest successes was getting the mayor to release details of the superintendent’s vision for turning around the city’s 50-plus schools.
Cicilline, however, praised Supt. Donnie Evans for setting a new mood in the city with Realizing the Dream, his blueprint for raising student achievement. He praised the work that Evans did in Tampa, Fla., where he raised the number of top-performing schools from 7 to 87.
The mayor also pointed to the work done by a private consulting group, which recently completed a study that analyzes the city’s aging school buildings and shifting demographics. The report, which has not been released publicly, will recommend which schools should be renovated and which should be closed.
Although Harrop urged school districts to save money by consolidating purchasing, Cicilline said the real problem is the lack of a fair and predictable school funding formula, something that several urban mayors have been advocating for years.
Harrop also criticized Cicilline for failing to stabilize the city’s property taxes, adding that he would freeze residential rates and generate fresh revenues by selling off excess city property. Cicilline, however, argued that he is working to solve this problem. Since he took office in 2002, he said that his administration has cut more than 125 city jobs, increased the tax base for two consecutive years and raised fees. The mayor also said that the city has an A bond rating for the first time since 1998.
Finally, Harrop, who has twice run for the General Assembly in District 3, said he would be a more collaborative leader than Cicilline, but the mayor stressed that he has reached out to many organizations, from the unions to the nonprofit Education Partnership.
I wanted to thank you all for all the support I received during my campaign for Mayor of Providence. In a city where only 4% of the voters are registered Republicans (and 59% are registered Democrats), our campaign made quite and impression. We brought up issues that needed to be discussed, and we let the city now that the Republican Party in Providence has something to say. Both city-wide newspapers, the Journal and the Phoenix, commended us
for our campaign; the Journal actually said it preferred our economic and school plans. We got the Mayor to finally release a plan to fix our failing schools, this some six months after we first called for it and just barely
before the election, but at least we now have a road map. We raised more money and had more publicity and more attention than any city candidate has in over a decade. Our campaign worked cooperatively with the other city
Republican candidates, and our "Contract with Providence" can now serve as a basis for a city party platform, which we have not had before. State and Federal candidates routinely made campaign appearances with us,
re-establishing a working relationship with the state-wide party that had fallen away in recent years, and reminding state-wide candidates that they need significant Providence vote totals to pull off state-wide wins.
I especially want to thank my campaign staff. Campaign Manager Sarah Highland worked tirelessly from June through election day to help me get the city committee endorsement, get enough signatures to get on the ballot, and to get volunteers out for the primary and general election campaigns. Campaign Consultant Ethan Wingfield handled the public relations: the banner headlines we got at our announcement, our primary win and during our
debates, and oversaw the web site, brochures and Journal ads which gave the campaign the professional look it needed.
I need to thank the members of the city committee and fellow candidates who pushed me along: Yvon Chancy, Mark Harriman, Jim Kelly Don Sennott, Dr Bob Berrillo, Jeff Szymanski, Don Izzo, Lou Dimanni, Gary Jerejain, and others.
And I need to thank the volunteers, too numerous to mention here (if I try, I know I'll forget someone). Whether stuffing envelopes or distributing palm cards or putting up signs, you volunteers provided breadth to the campaign
that let us be known city-wide.
Finally, we'll be back... I intend to continue to work with the city committee, and to monitor the Mayor (see letter below). It's been a great experience; I would encourage everyone to try politics, if not as a
candidate then at least on their campaign staff. You meet great people, you do really useful work, and you have great fun with it.
Daniel Harrop: The GOP’s plan for Providence
Friday, July 27, 2007, The Providence Journal
DURING the last election campaign, when I was the mayor’s Republican opponent, Mayor David Cicilline was quite clear that he expected the state and federal government to come to the city’s aid with increased funding, even though it was quite clear the state was about to face its own budget crisis, and the federal government had long since abandoned the city.
In both of our debates, the first at Classical High School, in September, and the second at the Gregorian School, in October, the mayor rejected the proposals put forth by me and the city’s Republican Party to budget without further outside aid.
I challenged him to “fix our own house” without outside aid and challenged him on the effectiveness of our Democratic General Assembly representatives in getting aid he said we needed; he said he could count on our General Assembly members “if only the governor” would support him. But our Democratic representatives have not been able to get us any increased outside aid. So perhaps now is the time to again look at the Republican proposals to close the nearly $20 million budget gap.
In the last election, we Republicans supported generating additional revenue by shedding unnecessary assets, such as unused or under-used city-owned land. Putting these tracts back into the hands of private citizens would generate short-term revenue and expand the property-tax base. We favor selling large portions of the Scituate Reservoir watershed no longer needed to protect the water supply. Because new technology has diminished the need for the full watershed, huge tracts could be sold for development.
Many areas in Providence are simply unused but possess high property values and could be sold for development, generating long-term profit and taxable property for the city and private developers. One example is River Road, on the East Side. We can privatize Triggs Memorial Golf Course with a restricted deed sale, and develop private concessions at Roger Williams Park.
We Republicans supported lifting the moratorium on charter schools — public schools freed of many of the regulations imposed on traditional public schools. We would give principals greater authority over hiring and firing teachers. That is one of the most effective ways to improve instruction without more money.
We Republicans supported regionalized administrative school services, such as transportation or meal services, and regionalized specialty schools in the arts and sciences.
We Republicans supported a “Voluntary Pilot School Choice Program,” first proposed by former Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, which would let Providence residents legally attend public schools in other districts. The criteria for the program would be as follows: Children must come from failing districts in Providence.
Accepting school districts could reject students because of a lack of capacity or prior disciplinary problems. Accepting school systems would be compensated in full and up front for the cost of education in accordance with three cost categories: regular student, English as a second language, and special education. Accepting school districts would not be penalized under the No Child Left Behind Act for lower scores for at least two years.
We Republicans supported means-tested vouchers to let students attend private schools if their parents so chose. Even small vouchers ($2,500) would give families the incentive to move their children to private academies and relieve the city schools of costs that now run over $10,000 per high-school student per year.
We Republicans supported fulfilling the city’s pension obligations through bond issues that would have immediate short-term savings, while fully funding our obligations.
We supported immediate changes in the ongoing pension system, moving to a pay-as-you-go system, something the all-Democratic City Council has refused to move on. We supported plans for a full review and audit of the city’s finances, including its alarming pension obligations, and of a tax structure oppressive for many individuals and businesses.
We Republicans have supported affordable housing with plans to ease construction by speeding permits and by streamlining the zoning exceptions these housing units almost always need. In a city of 180,000, there are only 125 affordable-housing units built each year. With hundreds on wait lists, Providence residents have to fight too hard to find affordable housing.
As it becomes clear that the city is not going to have the state and federal money that the mayor talked about for his budget, now is the time to re-evaluate the Republican proposals from the last election, and begin putting our own house in order with our own resources.
Daniel S. Harrop, M.D., is a psychiatrist and was the 2006 Republican candidate for mayor.
|Dr. Daniel Harrop Mayor of Providence 2010 Election