OP-ED: Fain and Triedman’s Naughty and Nice List

Hot takes on city issues to wrap up 2023


‘Twas the month of the holidays, and all through the city, some things were good and others were gritty. The stockings were hung. The weather was cold and some people got coal while others got gold.


To the PILOT – payment in lieu of taxes – negotiations with Brown: Coal

The city showed up to a gunfight with a butter knife. PILOT is a payment made to compensate a host city for some or all of the property tax revenue lost due to tax exempt ownership; it couldn’t be more clear or well defined. Brown has made it a give-get situation and now Mayor Smiley, ignoring all of the counsel to the contrary, pushed through a deal showing big numbers, but with more gives and too many outs. We really wish that Brown negotiated with the city the way they play football!


To the PILOT negotiators for Lifespan: A very large lump of coal

C’mon guys, let’s be fair here. Lifespan has stiffed us for the past two years by refusing to pay the city what they promised in the last PILOT, and until very recently, wouldn’t even sit down with the mayor to discuss. Meanwhile, they’re discussing changing their name to Brown Medical, perhaps affiliating with the university to pursue those lucrative life science research grants? Exciting prospect. Keep the distinction between doctors’ office rents and commercial offices very clear (and this should be done before all parties move forward).  


To the leadership in charge of educating our children: An empty sock

At a recent Rotary fundraising gala for literacy
programs to help the Providence Preservation Society, attended by the mayor, the governor, the house speaker, and prominent members of the community, education commissioner Infante-Green promised that test scores she would be announcing the next day “would really surprise everyone and that we are on the right track.” The scores are still below 2019! Time’s up for patting everyone on the back. It’s time for the governor to step up and show some real leadership.


To the awaited return of Neil Steinberg: Gold

The exciting news that the state is about to launch a full-blown, all-hands-on-deck initiative to build on the effort led by Brown, Lifespan, and the state to go after research dollars… and we already have money in this business led by Amgen. We have the built-in infrastructure and with someone of Steinberg’s reputation and background, this time the concept might fly. More importantly, getting him out of the house will give his lovely wife, Genie, a chance to get things done.


To the RI Department of Transportation: Coal (with a helmet)

How can you spend $250 million on the new Route 95 connection to Route 146 and create one of the most dangerous driving situations possible? Trying to one-up the Pawtucket S-curve? Drivers have an extremely tight window to take 146 or the State House exit and the number of accidents is increasing, and it’s creating rather than reducing backups through the city as drivers struggle to stay on the right road. 


To the Providence Bus Hub: Could be gold

Everybody wants a new bus hub to replace Kennedy Plaza with a covered loading area, a parking garage, a temperature-controlled seating area, shops, and apartments, and the Eddy Street site built by a blue ribbon five-firm consortium was a great answer. Now there’s talk of using a 195 parcel near Coro Center and Route 95. Stop talking and build!


To WaterFire: Gold

The fires are still keeping tourism hot!


To Helen Anthony’s Return: Gold

And, of course, with a stocking overflowing with best wishes on Providence City Councilwoman Anthony’s return, a true Christmas miracle.


Op-eds express the authors’ opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of Providence Media. Readers are welcome to send responses or letters to the editor to be considered for print publication in a future issue or posted online. Letters can be emailed to Abbie@providenceonline.com



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