Power play

By IAN DONNIS  |  February 9, 2006

Running for the Ward Two council seat would not be without some potential personal sacrifice for Cliff Wood, who has two young daughters with his wife, peace activist Karina Holyoak Wood. Although being a council candidate would not legally obligate Wood to leave his city job, doing so would pose a conflict, Cicilline says, and the mayor says he would expect Wood to relinquish the post.

Besides the drama shaping up in Ward Two, Ward Eight promises to be a major battleground since councilor Ronald W. Allen, who has represented Reservoir and West Elmwood since winning election in 1994, is leaning against seeking reelection. Vivian Moreno, an ACORN member active in efforts to fight the establishment of a school on a toxic site in the neighborhood, is expected to run for the seat. Contractor Maryelyn Acevedo, whose relationship with Cicilline has reportedly been bumpy since she helped to rally Latino support for him in 2002, says she is considering a run, and hopes to make a decision by the end of March.

In Ward One (College Hill and Fox Point), councilor David Segal, 26, the only Green to be elected in Rhode Island, hopes to run for the House seat being vacated by Paul Moura’s move to a different district in East Providence, provided that Segal’s preferred successor, Seth Yurdin, an organizer with Democracy for America, develops a sufficient following. Two Democrats, Ethan Ris and Richard Pacheco, have also announced campaigns for the Ward One seat.

In Ward Ten (Lower South Providence and Washington Park), Pedro Espinal is a rumored possible challenger to Luis Aponte, although the word is that Espinal, who has lost two campaigns, including a 2002 run for the seat won by state Senator Harold Metts, wants to avoid a third losing effort. (Espinal did not return a call seeking comment.)

In Ward Seven (Silver Lake), Doris M. De Los Santos, who works for the Rhode Island Housing Resources Commission and was recently elected as the executive vice president of the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee, says she is “in an exploratory level” considering a possible run. John J. Igliozzi, a member of a politically active family from the neighborhood, has represented the ward since winning election in 1997.

Council President Lombardi, who says he is considering running for reelection, running for mayor, and not running at all, poses a wild card in Ward 13 (Federal Hill, West Broadway, and the Armory District). Not coincidentally, there’s little love lost between Cicilline and Lombardi, in part because of how Lombardi supported Joseph R. Paolino Jr.’s 2002 mayoral campaign, and because of subsequent tensions between Lombardi, who served as interim mayor after Cianci left office, and his elected successor.

An article published last year in Providence Monthly left some with the impression that Cicilline had encouraged banker Jim DeRentis to challenge Lombardi. DeRentis, though, says, the mayor “was encouraging anyone who was civic-minded and inclined to run for council. It was more about [more people] getting involved in the political process.” Although he was considering a Ward 13 run, DeRentis says, he decided against it because of the increased responsibility that came with a promotion at Bank Rhode Island.

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