By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The news that two-time former Providence mayor and convicted felon Buddy Cianci is running for a third term as head of Rhode Island’s capital city brings to mind the last time I interviewed Cianci.

It was a slow news day back in the 1990’s, and Cianci was raising money for the city schools by peddling jars of MOMS Marinara Sauce, which he told me stood for “mayor’s own marinara sauce,” although it was actually his mother’s recipe with a few tweaks of his own.

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After our interview, armed with a jar of MOMS, I headed over to Federal Hill to try it out and shoot some video of the sauce in action.

We pulled into the first restaurant we saw, and sampled the sauce, which was quite tasty. Chatting with the owner as we were packing up, he made a stunning assertion – that MOMS was actually his marinara recipe, donated to the mayor to help with the fundraising drive.

Who was lying their bucatini off?

Hey, it’s Providence, who knows?

But the point is, Cianci’s blend of altruism and ethical ambivalence has been a winning combination for that city’s voters twice before.

Who’s to say they won’t forgive and forget the two previous felony convictions and give him a third chance to spread the sauce around?

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Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez can only hope the international soccer authorities are also forgiving, after his personal psychosis – an inability to refrain from biting his opponents – manifested itself for a third time on the field the other day.

He’s almost surely gone from the tournament, but down the road, who knows?

Short of the most egregious crimes, we humans tend to be a forgiving bunch.

Like Cianci, maybe even Suarez will get another bite at the apple.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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Jon Keller