There’s Already A Street Named For Buddy

The Providence Journal editorial board has called into question the need for taxpayers to further honor twice-convicted former mayor Buddy Cianci. As reported earlier in the week the City Council is considering naming the sidewalks on either side of the Gateway Arch on Atwells Avenue after Cianci.

The proposal is pending before the council’s Urban Redevelopment, Renewal and Planning, council President Luis Aponte said. That committee reviews all street or other naming proposals, he said, and passes on a recommendation to the council for final action.

The editorial board (Let’s Move On 2.26.16) takes issue not only with the project but also with how City Council President Luis Aponte has downplayed the nature of Cianci’s crimes,

None of us, of course, is perfect. But Cianci’s crimes were not limited to minor “human flaws,” as Mr. Aponte’s language suggests.

Rather, Cianci was a twice-convicted felon. He went to federal prison for more than four years for running City Hall as a criminal enterprise. The historical record is painfully clear — indeed, he boasted of it in his autobiography — that he abused the public’s power to benefit himself, shaking down and manipulating those who were forced to deal with city government in daily life. This is not an approach to governing that Rhode Island can afford to honor if it ever hopes to attract jobs and economic activity.

Providence voters made clear in 2014 that they were ready to move forward to a more modern, more inclusive and less corrupt approach to government when they firmly rejected Cianci’s candidacy for mayor. That is a message that public leaders should take to heart.

So let’s keep an eye on Mr. Aponte. Some of his flaws are already on the radar.

(I’m assuming the sign in this image was supposed to say Crimea Street. More meticulous sign-making courtesy of the Department of Public Works.)

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