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 Issue No. 248  l   July 10, 2008   l   Providence, Rhode Island

Police & Community Celebrate Successful Lockwood Crime Fighting Initiative With Cookout
Law Enforcement officials from several cities throughout the country  [...]

Feature: My City

Providence Native and Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Chris Bizzacco, Heads to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government [more] 

Providence Sound Session '08
New England?s Most Exciting Music Festival [more]

Tonight at 5:30 pm, a Sound Session Youth Parade called "Carnival in the City" jumps off at Black Rep [more]

Visit Some of Providence's Best Restaurants in July!
Providence Restaurant Weeks allow diners to sample a variety of the city?s restaurants from a pre-selected, three-course, fixed-price menu. [more]

Police & Community Celebrate Successful Lockwood Crime Fighting Initiative With Cookout
Law Enforcement officials from several cities throughout the country including Chicago and Dallas, who are were Providence for a conference, joined Tuesday night's celebration of a drug-free community

Providence Police Colonel Dean M. Esserman and the men and women of the Providence Police Department joined neighborhood residents for the Lockwood Community Celebration Cookout and Block Party Tuesday, July 8 from 5:15pm ? 6:30pm between Prairie Avenue and Lockwood Street. 

The cookout was in celebration of the 2nd summer of a drug-free community as result of an innovative program that led to the arrest of dozens of drug dealers and caused a few criminals to change their ways.

The community celebration followed day one of a two-day training program at the Renaissance Hotel sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department?s Bureau of Justice Assistance.  The conference focused on the Drug Market Intervention Initiative (DMI), the same approach used in Lockwood Plaza to reduce drug trafficking in that neighborhood.  The purpose of the two-day training was to provide technical assistance to communities newly participating in the DMI initiative, a strategic, problem-solving approach that targets street dealers, open air drug trafficking and drug-related crime and violence.  The initiative acts as a deterrent by leaving offenders with little choice but to modify their behavior by participating in drug rehabilitation, job and educational training, and job placement. 

At the conference the Providence Police Command Staff in partnership with Teny Gross, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence, discussed how the DMI initiative has improved the quality of life in the Lockwood neighborhood. 

Participants in the conference included representatives from the following cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Cooks County, Dallas, High Point, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Haven, Ocala, and Rockford.   
Also participating in the conference were representatives from the National Urban League, the Urban League of Rhode Island and Professor David Kennedy from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.   Professor Kennedy was a facilitator and was assisted by colleagues from American University and Michigan State University. 

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Providence Youth Prepare For Their Own "Carnival in the City" as part of Sound Session Festivities
Youth Parade Jumps Off Tonight at 5:30 p.m. at Black Rep
Youth from Black Rep's Education Programs rehearse this afternoon at Burnside Park in preparation for their youth parade for Sound Session this evening. 
The parade is part of a three-week educational program called "Carnival in the City," which teaches participants ages 10-14 the art of mask-and-costume making.  The parade kicks off at 5:30 p.m. today, July 10, at Black Rep, 276 Westminster Street, and will end at Burnside Park in Kennedy Plaza.
The public is welcome to jump on the parade route, which starts at Black Rep, up to Westminster Street, left on Dorrance Street, and onto Burnside Park.  For more on Sound Session, go to www.providencesoundsession.com.

Feature: My City
Providence Native and Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Chris Bizzacco, Heads to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

This week, the City will bid a fond farewell to one of its brightest rising stars.  Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Christopher Bizzacco, 26, is a candidate for a Masters in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  He begins his pursuit of advanced studies this fall in Cambridge. 

At 21, when most new college grads typically battle for entry-level positions, Bizzacco took on a major leadership role in city government as Mayor Cicilline?s first deputy chief of staff six years ago.  He also served briefly as the chief of staff before taking on his current role as senior advisor to the Mayor.  Prior to joining city government, Bizzacco spent his college years at Brown serving under then State Rep Cicilline as an intern, before moving on to manage and win The Campaign to run for Mayor of Providence in 2002. 

City News is proud to feature Christopher Bizzacco, a truly phenomenal role model for all young people who strive to do extraordinary things, regardless of age or life experience.  He shares with us his reflections of the time he served his beloved home city of Providence and his hopes for what his generation will contribute to the future of politics and public service.

What about politics and government inspired you to get involved at such a young age?
There are enduring images of politicians that I remember from my childhood.  I was too young to understand the true meaning of politics and government at the time, but from these images I recognized the impact these individuals had on our society.  Whether it was Mayor Mancini visiting my kindergarten class, the book of Presidents in my father?s Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia collection, or Ronald Reagan walking across the South Lawn toward Marine One.  These images and moments piqued my interest as a young child.  As I matured, the poignant images I viewed in the past developed into a passion for learning all that came to comprise them ? the politics, the policy, and public service.  In college, I interned for the Rhode Island Public Defenders office for a class called ?Children and Public Policy.?  For the first time, my sheltered suburban state-of-mind was confronted with the challenges facing so many men, women and children in our state ? poverty, substance abuse, unemployment, the uninsured.  I realized that, for so many people, not just in Rhode Island, but throughout the nation, there was a need for public servants to not just hear the peoples? voices, but to actually listen to their stories, work toward change and improve their lives.  I wanted to be an agent of change, and that opportunity arrived when I met Mayor Cicilline.

What are some of the accomplishments you?re most proud of during the time you served Providence under Mayor Cicilline?s administration?
I believe our greatest accomplishment is the collective hard work and commitment of the men and women of this city government.  I am not speaking just of the Mayor?s Office, but all of the hardworking employees who help bring crime rates to their lowest levels in three decades and install a state-of-the-art public safety communications system, manage the city?s first-ever after school program for middle school children, breathe new life into Providence?s arts and culture scene, and help restore residents? confidence in their government. 

How will your experience with the City impact your studies at Harvard Kennedy School of Government? In other words, are there any important lessons you learned here that you plan to take with you?
I spent four years at Brown University studying politics, government, and public policy.  Not to diminish all that I learned in the classroom, I must say that the nearly six years of service in the City has taught me far more about life, negotiation, coalition building, the art of compromise, the operation of government, and the impact each decision can make on the people we serve.  Sure, I take with me an improved set of skills in certain areas, but, more importantly, from this experience I developed a stronger passion for public service, a better understanding of the human condition, and the knowledge that progress and honesty in government are not mutually exclusive.  I owe most of this to Mayor Cicilline.  His leadership, his devotion to our city, and the honesty, integrity, and passion he brings to his work are qualities I will never forget and always seek to emulate.

In your opinion, what are some of the greater political issues that your generation will face in the next decade? And how do you believe you and your peers will change or improve the way government runs in this country?
We live in a time with 47 million uninsured Americans, rising fuel costs, stagnant wages and declining job security, an ailing environment, and millions of young Americans unable to afford the costs of higher education or ill-equipped to enter the 21st Century workforce.  These are just a few of the challenges my generation faces, and will continue to confront in the next decade.  To borrow a thought from Newsweek contributor Fareed Zakaria, as nations throughout the world continue to broaden their economic, political, and cultural ties, the United States must be in a position to integrate itself and make a commitment to this global system.  In other words, the world is opening up, and the stakes are higher.  If we cannot begin to address the policy problems we face as a nation, not only will more Americans suffer, but the United States will lose its place in the global order.  All of this is a bit out of my league at the moment, especially as I sit in my office in the smallest state in the union, but I like a challenge, and so does my generation.

What do you aspire to do after grad school?
My service to Providence and my experience serving in the Cicilline Administration were entirely unexpected and unanticipated events in my life.  To set a specific aspiration is not quite in my makeup.  With that said, more generally, I aspire to continue to live by a set of principles that guide my mode of thinking, my behavior, and ultimately my future:  never compromise my integrity or force others to compromise their own; in public service, always place the interests of those you serve above your own; be the voice of reason and compromise as long as you are not compromising your honor or the dignity of others; and never forget from where you came.  With each new opportunity that may arise after graduate school and beyond, I will be well-served to live by these principles, seek to add more, and ultimately, no matter how large or small a role I get to play, to leave the world in a better condition than when I first arrived.

What are your hopes and expectations for the future of the City?
For over three centuries, Providence has been a ?lively experiment.?  Providence became a home for seekers of religious liberty, and later entrepreneurs and industry transformed the city into an economic power.  Providence, from its infancy to present day, has been a place where its residents and visitors feel free to create, to shape their lives and influence the lives of others in unique ways, to innovate and think boldly.  We are a city of great resources ? unique history and architecture, world-renowned centers of education, and rich diversity.  Given the lessons, individuals, and events that have shaped the history of this City, I expect Providence will continue to reinvent itself, to be a center of creativity and innovation, and to translate our many resources into prosperity for our residents. 

City News and the Mayor?s Office congratulates Chris Bizzacco on his acceptance to Harvard Kennedy School. He has done extraordinary work and has made his home city proud!
City of Providence
Office of Mayor David N. Cicilline
25 Dorrance Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 421-2489
This Week in the City
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At Roger Williams Park
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__  Botanical Center 
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__  Roger Williams Park Casino 
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Bank of America City Skating Center [more]
At the Colleges
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__  Brown University
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__  Rhode Island Convention Center

Features Archives
It All Comes Together at Sound Session  [more]

Oh My! What  Cutie Pie! [more]

As the Duck Tours Sailed Away, the Providence Trolley Has Landed [more]

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Catch the Mayor

"The City"

Featuring ...

Transforming Kennedy Plaza
Alix Ogden
Operations Director, City of Providence
Buff Chace
President & CEO, Cornish Associates

Summer In The City
Donald King
Artistic/Executive Director,
Providence Black Repertory Company
David Gonzalez
Performance Director,
AS220 Broad Street Studio

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Providence/Kent County area
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