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Mayor: Your Free Speech Doesn't Include My Name

Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. has told a Web site developer that he can be as critical as he wants, but he can't use Cianci's name to do it.

The Rhode Island Citizens for Ethical Government, a small group of local residents, posted a Web site last week calling for Cianci's resignation at www.BuddyCianci.com. The site was created by Harold Meyer III.

"I respect his freedom of speech. I don't care what he says about me," Cianci said. "But one thing he can't use is my name. He'll hear from lawyers."

Meyer, a Wakefield-based Web site developer, said he created the site because he believes Cianci can no longer run the city effectively. The mayor has pleaded innocent to federal corruption charges and is scheduled to go on trial next month.

"There have been a lot of shenanigans in Providence," Meyer said. "It sets the whole tone for the state."

Meyer's site contains a picture of Cianci -- the same photograph that appears on a city-sponsored Web site -- and has links to newspaper accounts containing news of the mayor's indictment.

There is also an essay contest, where students can win $50 for tackling topics such as "How Buddy Cianci Can Be Lawfully Removed From Office."