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  Anchor Rising Article
This article appeared in the September 3, 2006 blog, a summary of Dave Talan's appearance on Channel 12
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Population: 176,862
Elevation: 115 feet
Land area: 18.5 square miles
Anchor Rising
September 3, 2006

Dave Talan and Dan Harrop on Newsmakers
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 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.

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.

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