Buddy Cianci touched the lives of many people in RI including some of the 990WBOB writers and personalities. In fact most people do not realize that, his words of inspiration and encouragement helped WBOB founder Adam "Pal" Palazio persevere through the early days of the organizations existence. In that spirit we remember the truly larger than life man, politician, and friend.
Michael Parente (WBOB Sports)
Love him or hate him, you can't deny Buddy Cianci is the most polarizing, larger-than-life figure -- both socially and politically -- to emerge from Rhode Island in our, or any, generation. From the infidelity to the marinara sauce to the cigars allegedly extinguished where the sun don't shine, Cianci, whether right or wrong, channeled his inner Frank Sinatra as Providence's most recognized two-term mayor. Without question, Cianci did it his way.
Aside from the racketeering, the whole Operation Plunder Dome fiasco and the fact he had to resign from office not once, but twice, for felony convictions, Cianci is more affectionately known for cleaning up the city and making it more tourist-friendly. The Providence Bruins, the mall, the WaterFires, all those lists you see online (you know, the links you click when you're not surfing porn) ranking Providence among the country's most underrated or "coolest" cities -- that's all Buddy. None of us here -- cough, cough -- condone violence or criminal mischief, but if a few cuckolding local contractors didn't get their genitals set aflame, your hipster kids in their $200 joggers wouldn't have a place to skate downtown. If you want shit done, you call Buddy, not Pat McCarthy, and if you enjoy the Cheesecake Factory in the wintertime and those greasy gyros on a warm summer night in Waterplace Park, fly your Federal Hill flag at half mast tonight in honor of Providence's most beloved paisan.
Scott Rotondo (The Rotunda)
To say that Buddy Cianci was a legend in RI politics is an understatement. His vision transformed Providence from just a spot between NYC and Boston into a destination.
I will never forget back in 1997, my senior year at U Maine, my pride at Providence being selected over Boston as the Patriots host city for the AFC championship game. That, to me, was the day that Providence showed that it belongs in the big leagues.
John Davidson (Geek Cred)
Buddy Cianci, a Rhode Island fixture, honestly never really entered my mind all that much. I never followed the man's political career, I never listened to him on the radio and I never even tried his marinara sauce. As such, my only real impression of the man came from a single chance meeting I had with him while working. Finding myself on the opposite side of a counter from the former mayor of Providence, I had to assist Mr. Cianci with a phone issue. No doubt a busy man, he never rushed me nor impressed upon me his importance. Instead, he calmly waited his turn in line and, while I interacted with him and went over his phone with him, he was personable, talkative and even overtly friendly. And it was not 'friendly' in the way most people are when dealing with employees of a company they're forced to interact with for some reason. He wasn't polite, he was friendly. As I went through troubleshooting with him he asked me about myself and engaged me as a person, not as a gate-keeper. Truth be told, that is uncommon in customer service especially from those that are 'celebrities' of any caliber, local or otherwise.
So, after his recent passing, the memory I am left with of Buddy Cianci is not of a trail-blazing mayor, a visionary leader, a corrupt criminal, an outspoken blowhard or any of the other numerous pictures that have been painted of him through time & tide. Instead, he was just a friendly, genuinely nice guy that treated someone well without cameras or attention on him when he didn't have to and, for me, that goes further than any spin good or bad that might be applied to him in the media. Rest in peace, Mr. Cianci.John Davidson(Geek Cred)
Tony Jones (WBOB Corespondent)
This is truly the end of an era. Long before hoards of hipsters migrated to Providence with thoughts of improving the blighted neighborhoods they would call home, Buddy Cianci was working toward a positive vision for the capital city. Like most, I'm not saying he was a saint, but his heart was in the right place; filled with an agape love for Providence, Rhode Island and his Federal Hill. His support of the arts helped to make Providence a true Renaissance city. Buddy did for Providence and Rhode Island what only a few people could, push it toward progress. He is a major reason that the capitol city is livable today, as we all remember too well what Providence was like "back in the day."
During the 2014 election cycle while I was a 3rd party, upstart candidate for Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor, Buddy invited me to appear on his show. While other media personalities and outlets largely ignore independent and 3rd party politics, Buddy gave everyone a chance, he gave everyone time.
I can't believe he is gone. Thank you for your service, sir.