Steve Rackett held elected office as a Green Party representative on a district council in Watford, England (just north of London). He won 3 terms in office as well as winning a term on Hertfordshire County Council. He chaired various council committees and eventually became the first Green Party member to become Chairman of the council.

He has worked for various non-profits throughout his career and has a strong interest in politics in Rhode Island.

You can help support Steve's work financially by following this link:

10 responses to “Chaika, LaFortune, or Santow? What Ward 3 voters need to know for Wednesday primary”

  1. cailin rua

    As far as I am concerned, this election is nothing more than a continuation of the ongoing neoliberal project in this state. Not one has spoken out against the unelected non-profit hegemons who’ve hijacked democracy and public policy here. No one has spoken out about tax giveaways, TIFS or corporate welfare. The candidates are all tools ready to be bought, in one way or another, as far as I am concerned. In a just a few months at least half as much as Jackson is said to have “embezzled”, over a 10 year period, has been spent on this race. We’ll see real corruption like we’ve never known before now but it will be done the “legal” way. All this will be done by people who make false displays of piety who preach about “ethics”.

    I and, I would assume, many other people will not vote for any them. I will go to the polls, however, and maybe write someone in or just process a blank sheet. There really needs to be a “none of the above” category.

    I’ve followed what’s been going on at Dan McGowan’s Facebook page. A media hack and a Goldman-Sachs shill orchestrated this coup, with the aid of McGowan and right wing WPRI. The media, including R I Future, is the biggest problem we face today. It so obvious. What happened to those “Wingman” debates on Sinclair owned WJAR? Yeah, sure, what a bunch of “Progressive Democrats”. How soon will it be before they start lobbying the legislature for an end to the “Death Tax” on behalf of Alan Hassenfeld?

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    1. Deforest

      — “There really needs to be a “none of the above” category.”
      And every candidate who runs for office needs to be perfect.
      And every campaign needs to be operated without any money.
      And unicorns really need to exist.

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  2. Steve R

    I will be responding to comments on this article and about the ward 3 election over the next day or so. (Steve Rackett)

    In terms of this comment, In I think candidates in a city council ward election are more likely to respond to mostly local issues in the neighborhoods they seek to represent hence most comment does tend to be responding to those local concerns.

    However, there was a question on corporate welfare at one of the forums. You can find it on clip 10 here:

    Mark Santow also shows some awareness of tax giveaways here:

    Your point about “none of the above” is well made. As for election spending, I think certainly upper maximum spending limits would help in council races. My experience from the UK is with strict limits on spending. In the 4 elections I won, I only went close to the limit once and I think my average spend in those 4 contests was less than $1500, mainly because that was all the funds available to my party. The rules did mean however that opponents could only spend 2 or 3 times our budget and it is possible to compete with that. Here it may be much more difficult when coming up against someone with unlimited resources.

    Dan McGowan has a piece here on election spending in Providence races.

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    1. cailin rua

      You didn’t reply to me directly but I will overlook the direct reply I received with the comment about “unicorns” and respond to you directly.

      I was not able to attend the candidate forums. Mark Santow’s canvassing literature does not mention anything about what he discusses in the link you provided. He’s a policy expert, I realize. I cannot find fault w/ anything he presents. I agree with him on many of the points he makes.

      The problem for me is that this election is really unprecedented. It comes in a context of things that have happened over the last decade and one half. If this were a general election in 2010, I would be torn between Nirva and Mark but not this time around. Mark Santow enthusiastically offered himself up in 2016 until Marcus Mitchell entered the race against Jackson. That turned me off. I don’t see Nirva even discussing the things Mark seems to be tackling.

      I just spent some time hunting for a map of how Providence ward boundaries were redrawn, I believe in 2012. Sam Zurier offers a link that is broken, in one of his letters, to a map as they existed before they were redrawn. There is another link in the same letter that leads to something about his opposition to the Shark bar on Thayer St. that is still intact. I don’t know if this is coincidence, or not. The problem is, I think Ward 1 was extended into downtown and into what was called the Jewelry District, until its Orwellian name change into the “Knowledge District”. I think I am correct but can’t be sure because of the dearth of information on what went down, so, I can’t make the point that this is part of the context I am speaking of.

      The last mayoral election was a circus, however. How did we end up with a CEO, of all things? A lot of wheeling and dealing took place and there was a very professional writer at this blog, a denizen of Ward 3, who led the charge. The coalition behind the two combined campaigns is very neoliberal. Joe Paolino just announced plans for his new upscale hotel(another one after all the other ones. don’t we sure treat the wealthy tourists well?) in Providence, rambling about how all the tax breaks will be so good for somebody. Don’t we have to beg the state just to get back some of the hotel money?

      Then there was the Gordon Fox election where Gordon was endorsed on these pages, as was Gina Raimondo, a Ward 3 resident, in 2014. Goldman-Sachs now has an office at CCRI and her college tuition plan is slowly revealing itself to be an industrial training program to shift the costs of training employees from businesses to the taxpayers.

      There is more context. The 2014 election where Alan Hassenfeld asserted his influence over the seemingly very mercenary Progressive Democrats, paying out $87,000, a fact never mentioned on these pages but a fact that one has search for in the writings of center right (whatever “center right” means in the age of Trump, Cruz and even Kasich) news reporter, Ted Nesi.

      Sorry, but I have been rapidly losing my enthusiasm for self proclaimed progressives. Their integral involvement with the Non-Profit Industrial Complex makes any talk of “getting money out of politics” take on a very hollow ring.

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  3. cailin rua

    “The 2014 election where Alan Hassenfeld asserted his influence . . .” – 2016, sorry.

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  4. cailin rua

    So, this is what “democracy” smells like in Ward 3:

    In 2014, there were 3855 votes cast.

    Jackson received 1955 votes

    On May 2 of this year a recall vote was called, I think the recall election was unprecedented.

    There was a total of 1930 votes cast both for and against. That’s just half the votes cast in the general election and still 25 votes short of the # of votes cast for Jackson in 2014.

    Yesterday, 18% of eligible voters participated. There was a total of only 1709 votes – 221 votes less than those cast in the recall election. Nirva LaFortune won with a total of 1147 votes – just a little more than half the votes recorded for Jackson in 2014 –

    Only 18% of eligible voters participated and Nirva LaFortune received 64% of that vote which means she was elected by less than 12% of eligible voters in the district.

    I don’t believe Lallier will be a threat. Nirva LaFortune will be such a favorite that I think even fewer people will participate in the upcoming election than did in the primary. So, essentially, LaFortune will win with less than 12% support from her constituents. Donald Trump took around 25%, which seems scandalous to me. We’re talking half that in Ward 3.

    What a triumph for democracy and open government, not!

    We can expect Nirva LaFortune to lean hard on her employer – the real estate development company known as Brown University run by people like Brian Moynihan, Steve Cohen, et al??? I think not. And those downtown boys? I’m not talking a local punk rock band . . . . good luck dreamers.

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  5. cailin rua

    for old time sake:

    The Santorum smear, not quite buccal, I guess . . .

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  6. leftyrite


    how are you?

    my virtual ions have been

    peacefully co-existing with yours for years now.

    I have no idea of what you look like

    or who you are.

    Isn’t that wonderful?

    I think so,

    Ours is an interesting relationship.

    Plus, I can’t recall you speaking directly to me,

    except for the time when I wanted

    reassurance about Carl’s Diggins.

    At any rate, Sanctum Santorum– how soon they forget. Oy! Say, can you see…

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    1. cailin rua

      Oh, Lefty, I would bet we’ve met, somewhere, maybe many more places than that. “Rua” means red in Irish. That’s the color my hair used to be . . . and . . . Carl’s Diggins! Oh, yeah, remember it well – gone like so many of the other good things in the era of “New Urbanism” but , yes, I’ve been around like the flu or a red haired fly on the wall, for that long.

      I should make myself scarce here, though. Nothing seems to go anywhere but to the top – The R I Foundation and the Downtown Neighborhood Association(DNA – buccal smear anyone? Do you have the lineage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ) are our de facto government. Ya can’t fight city hall, or Union Station, or whatever it is, here in R I Foundation and Hasbro Plantations.

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  7. leftyrite

    OK, signing out now.

    I know that my singing in the living room gets on your nerves.

    Caitlin, darlin’:

    Baby, you’re for real.

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