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


What’s in…


Several hundred school students marched to the State House to protest for stronger gun laws in Rhode Island. Students across the state walked out of school on Wednesday to make their voices heard for stronger gun legislation. The young of today are certainly more active and vocal then we have seen in decades. They are studying the issues, staying involved and voicing their opinions. They will register to vote and they could change the course of future elections. Incumbents who are used to doing things the same old way will no longer be able to dodge them. A new dawn has begun and new ideas are emerging. Get ready for the change!


Snow, snow, and maybe more snow…

New England has certainly had its share of snow. Just when you think it’s going to end, we are hearing maybe more will come next week in another storm. Seniors, disabled and even young people have a hard time getting around in these weather conditions. Not to mention shoveling all that heavy snow. Loss of power and heat has been no stranger this year to the many Rhode Islanders who have weathered these storms.  Enough is enough! National Grid has to look at better ways to preserve power and restore power in this state.

Brainstorm and get it right because it is only getting worse. Let’s get our act together on power lines and tree trimming – spring is right around the corner – the time to work on this is – now.

Providence College Friars…

We are certainly proud that PC did extremely well in last week’s Northeast basketball conference. They played their hearts out and made Villanova work for that win in a thriller overtime game. Make no mistake about it, PC is good under pressure and knows how to navigate it’s talent.  Coach Ed Cooley leads his team with class and experience to the NCAA basketball championships. This Friday night PC will play Texas. Let’s go, Friars!

University of Rhode Island…

Also doing a fantastic job, URI dances its way into the NCAA championships – as I write his on Thursday. They will take on Oklahoma in the Midwest division.  Let’s show them all our Rhody pride!

What’s out…

Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us filing bankruptcy… Sad news for all. The big toy chain/baby merchandise chain is claiming bankruptcy and closing all of their 800 stores. Over 33,000 workers ??? will be left without jobs. What a shame! This is such a disappointment to their employees, customers and distributors across the nation and worldwide. Not to mention our own local HASBRO toy company who will feel its sting! Online sales, the internet, and the economy all contributed to this announcement day. Christmas shopping will never feel the same without a trip to Toys “R” Us.  Who can’t remember feeling the excitement as we shopped for our little ones for Christmas and then lugged home the toys to assemble on Christmas Eve? It’s the end of an era in holiday shopping.

Traffic cameras… While I certainly agree with school safety and protecting our school children by reducing speeding near schools, I also think there are better ways to accomplish this. Just putting up cameras at various locations without notice or postings is not the answer. More than 20,000 violations in two months have been issued and the municipal court is overcrowded with drivers who have been ticketed – some with more than one ticket given out within seconds of each other. This new program, implemented by the Providence City Council and Mayor of Providence has caused confusion and upset on so many levels.

Residents were unaware they had even violated the law until they received a notice in the mail. Some were issued $95 fines with a notice to appear in court. One resident told me that he did not receive his ticket until past the due date because he had a rental car, so he missed the deadline but paid it through mail. He then received a notice to appear in court anyway and he was, understandably, not happy. He has to take a day out of work to straighten this violation out. This is just one of the many complaints I heard. One women told news media she was going one mile over the posted speed limit of 20 mph but never saw a sign or warning. Many felt this was like an ambush to raise city revenue in a city that desperately needs the money. But why is it always the taxpayers who feel the sting? Now there are amendments which will change the law being proposed at the RI State House. A warning will be issued for first offense and proper signage will he posted near cameras.

This is the new proposed state law providing changes to the speed camera legislation. My question is why wasn’t this done before the implementation of such a controversial program? Programs like this can certainly be a deterrent to people from visiting Providence. Also, I saw a traffic camera on Daniel Avenue in Providence near a playground. No school there!

So my question is, are we putting these cameras near playgrounds, too? If so, they are destined to pop up everywhere in our city considering they have already raised an estimated $600,000 in revenue. This money should go to fixing our deteriorating schools. One can only hope.

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