Giannini: What’s in? What’s out this week?


What’s in…

The Newport Jazz Festival

The Jazz Fest returns to Fort Adams Park in Newport this weekend. Get ready for a star studded event which never disappoints the crowd! Gates open at 10:00AM  and the festival runtil until 7:30PM. The festival begins Friday and ends Sunday. Another great thing about this event is that boaters can also enjoy the music from the water, as Fort Adams is right on the ocean.

Free Education

In an announcement this week, Governor Raimondo said she is planning to expand her free college tuition program to other colleges besides CCRI. It’s no surprise that her original plan failed to make it into the budget this year, as it was significantly cut to include just Community College of RI. Already some of the opposition is lining up. They’re stating that it will be difficult for the state to afford. Maybe she plans to take it out of the Rhode Works (tolls) money? They sure seem to be raking that money in. A new development may be that there is no age requirement for this free tuition. Well, let’s get ready everyone, we can always use some more education, right? 

Electric Scooters

Two weeks ago a company named “ Bird” announced the beginning of a new program to bring electric scooters for rent in Downtown Providence. They cost $1.00 to rent and 15 cents a minute. I worked in downtown Providence over 35 years and I cannot picture the city with rented scooters, rented bicycles and pedestrians and cars – but hey, who am I to say? This could be the start of something huge. Let’s be careful out there, please… Helmets, people! (Maybe pedestrians should wear them, too.)

What’s Out

Gubernatorial Candidate Polls

Allan Fung and Campaign Spokesman Andrew Augustus at the RI State GOP Convention earlier this summer.

Alan Fung claims to have a 40% lead over his Republican opponents in the race for Governor according to his poll. Yet, at the same time, GOP candidate Patricia Morgan claims to be only 4% away from Fung after taking her own poll. Both candidates seem to feel they have this primary all sewn up. But it is still only the beginning of August and many people are not paying attention to these races yet. I’ve always believed it is very hard to take a Republican poll because of the amount of independent voters in this state.

One does not know if the independents will vote in the Republican or Democratic Primary, thus leaving a wide gap of error.  The other factor about polls is that not everyone tells the truth when polled. Some people have told me they actually lie or say undecided because they don’t want it known who they support. All in all, the only poll that counts is Election Day, and even then it sometimes needs a recount. We will see who prevails soon enough. 

Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

It’s that time of year again, folks… campaign signs are starting to turn up at businesses, buildings, lawns, and even on homes. As I read social media, I see many are being stolen or disappearing into thin air. This is nothing new. When I was a candidate, I remember my signs floating down a stream. A neighbor actually saw a worker of one of my opponents stealing them, reported him to police. Nothing happened. This is the dirty phenomenon of politics.

I hope you like campaign signs, because even if you don’t, you’ll be seeing them a lot for the next few months.

Then there is the saga of some complaining of signs too big, such as the case of Gubernatorial Candidate Joe Trillo. The ACLU says it’s his constitutional right to have a sign and the town of Narragansett is fining the owner of the property ( his sister) $500.00 a day.  Some have even complained about his boat having a sign! Come on folks, this is ridiculous. 

Let’s stick to the issues and not sweat the small stuff.

The shame is that signs cost so much and take time to be put up and replaced. So should we ban them from being put up at all, like other cities do in some states. There certainly would be a lot less fighting and campaigns would be less costly.  

The biggest plus would be not having to see these signs up for the next seven years because some candidates never remove them. They become a permanent fixture on poles and abandoned buildings. And that’s a violation, too. Is it time to put in a city ordinance to get rid of political signs? Now, let’s see if anyone will to do so. Nah, I don’t think so!

Joanne Giannini
Joanne Giannini is a former State Representative from Providence. A freelance journalist, consultant and writer, she has previously written commentary for The Providence journal, GolocalProv and WPRO radio. Contact her at