Mayor Cianci Names New Liaisons to Providence Community
Pride Co-Chair Alex Gorriaran, The Castro’s Lorianne Green Tapped
After Himmelsbach Resignation
February 28, 2002
By Fred Kuhr, news editor
PROVIDENCE—Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
announced this week that he has appointed a man and a woman to serve as his
liaisons to the gay and lesbian community.
Alex Gorriaran, best known as co-chair of the Rhode Island Pride Committee,
and Lorianne Green, co-owner of what was The Castro coffeehouse, will begin in
their new positions on Feb. 25.
They will replace Fitzgerald Himmelsbach, who recently resigned from the
position following controversy over his involvement with The Gay Mega-Plex, a
At a press conference at Providence City Hall Feb. 19, Mayor Cianci praised
Himmelsbach for his work as the city’s first such liaison. Himmelsbach was
named to the post in 1997.
"Fitzgerald went above and beyond the call of duty," said Cianci.
"… He did a wonderful job and accomplished a great deal during his
tenure. It’s not easy being the first. Fitzgerald met the challenges of the
position and gave us a rock solid foundation on which to continue to
Cianci also credited Himmelsbach with a number of accomplishments in the
city, including the flying of the rainbow pride flag atop City Hall during
annual Pride celebrations, bringing the International Network of Lesbian and
Gay Officials conference to Providence, playing a leading role in the Rhode
Island Violence Recovery Program, and working with the Providence Police
Department to better handle hate crime incidents.
Cianci then praised Gorriaran and Green, who will become part-time city
employees earning $20,000 each annually.
"With Alex and Lorianne leading the way, we are able to do twice as
much within the community," said Cianci. "Our accessibility to the
lesbian community will assuredly improve even further with Lorianne’s help,
while both Alex and Lorianne build upon what has already been established.
"Our city is proud of the progress we have made in making government
more accessible to all segments of our diverse population," Cianci
continued. "We are dedicated to furthering our mission to unite all
people of our city, to heighten awareness and sensitivity of all city
employees, to better coordinate the vast number of service providers to the
gay and lesbian community, and to meeting the needs of all of our cherished
residents." Gorriaran has been director of marketing for Hook-Fast
Specialties Inc., a manufacturer of emblematic jewelry, since 1991. He is also
owner of Pride Promotions, a Providence-based mail order company. He is a 1995
graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where he majored in marketing,
minored in Spanish. Gorriaran is bilingual. He has been co-chair and president
of the Rhode Island Pride Committee since 1996.
Green is the co-owner of The Castro Café, which closed last year after a
devastating fire. Green is also a former East Greenwich police officer. She
has an associates degree in science from Dean College. She is a longtime
fundraiser and volunteer with such organizations as Rhode Island Youth Pride,
AIDS Project Rhode Island, the Providence Gay Men’s Chorus and the Rhode
Island Feminist Choir.
While Himmelsbach has already resigned, he has agreed to stay on for a few
weeks to help in the transition, said Cianci.
When asked about the circumstances concerning Himmelsbach’s resignation,
Cianci talked frankly about Himmelsbach’s ties to the Mega-Plex bathhouse,
which were revealed to the general public on WJAR-TV/Channel 10 in a report
that has been called salacious by activists.
Even Cianci called the Channel 10 report "unfair."
He said that he resented that the report made it seem as if the city has
regulatory control over such a business, which it does not. "Not even the
state does," he said.
Cianci added that while the report made allegations of illegal drug use and
prostitution at the Mega-Plex—a legal business—the city has received no
reports of any such illegal behavior there.
In addition, he told a room full of reporters,
"Sodomy is legal in the state of Rhode Island."
Cianci also said that Himmelsbach’s resignation was a mutual decision
made by both Cianci and Himmelsbach, in part because of Himmelsbach’s plans
to expand his various Providence businesses, taking up more of his time.
When Gorriaran was asked about taking on a position within an
administration that is being challenged by an openly gay candidate—state
Rep. David Cicilline—Gorriaran simply praised Cianci’s work on behalf of
the gay and lesbian community.
"The Mayor has been there since Day 1," said Gorriaran.
Cianci then added that the timing of his announcement, coming a little over
a week after Cicilline’s official declaration, was merely coincidence.
"This [press conference] was not called to say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re
doing for the community,’" said Cianci. "We are simply continuing
to do the same thing we’ve done for years."
On the subject of his role with the Pride Committee, Gorriaran said that he
sees no conflict of interest in taking the job with Cianci’s office.
"In fact, it will probably make the process [of putting on Pride Day
events] easier," said Gorriaran. "And I look forward to it."
Both Gorriaran and Green acknowledged that they have big shoes to fill in
light of Himmelsbach’s resignation, but they say they are ready for the
"Fitzgerald has built the foundation," said Gorriaran. "And
Lori and I are prepared to work hard to move the community forward."
This editorial appeared in the same issue:
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