Sunday, October 29, 2006

Thoughts on the Governor's Race

With the election less than two weeks away I am not only wondering who to vote for but how to even make a decision!

For me the problem is that I believe that you should vote for the person, not the party. I want to vote for who I feel best represents my views and beliefs. I want to vote for someone who I feel will lead the state, who has vision. I want to know what a candidate stands for. I want them to explain their positions so I can understand.

Instead I see negative ads and soundbite-politics. Where are the facts, explanations?, and analysis? How come in the "information age" I can't get any information!?

For me, the choice is between Kerry Healy and Christy Mihos.

It's not that I dismiss the other two out of hand, Grace Ross has impressed me from what I've seen of the debates or from reading in press coverage and Deval Patrick carries himself very well, has several platform issues I agree with, (and some I don't like his stance on immigration) but overall I find myself more inline with Healy and Mihos.

I've read Kerry Healy's 50 point plan on her campaign website. It's good, and I agree with a lot of it but have doubts about how much she could get implemented and what the costs would be. Likewise I'm intrigued by Mihos' proposition One, but have the same questions about whether he could get it implemented and what the long term costs might be.

Mihos is more moderate than Healy, and I find myself much more in agreement with his stances on the tax rollback, the value of the MCAS test and property tax. Still the big issue I have with Mihos is as an Independent he will a tough time getting support by people who feel they need to vote for one of the 2-party candidates. In short he won't get votes because people feel he can't win. In fact I know several people who have told me that they don't like Healy and PREFER Mihos but fear "a vote for Mihos is a vote for Patrick."

My problem with voting for Kerry Healy, is aside from her 50 point plan she has run and aggressive and negative campaign. Too often she is telling me why I shouldn't vote for Deval Patrick instead of telling me why I should vote for Kerry Healy! This is a big point for me because as I've already stated I'm not considering voting for Patrick. She has also called time and time again to debate JUST Deval Patrick, something that infuriates me because if all 4 candidates are on the ballot, I have a right to hear all of them in any debate. Kerry Healy has been our Lt. Governor for the last 4 years, during a period time where the state weathered a tough economic climate on the backs of city's and towns, will things improve if she's Governor?

When it comes to the issues, their plans, and the future of the state, there are more questions than answers but sometimes I think you have to put aside the party politics and vote for the person you feel deserves to win.

For me, I think that's Christy Mihos.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Who Should be Mayor?

To no surprise the announcement by Mayor Lambert on Thursday evening that he would not be running for a 7th term in 2007 has set the political wheels in motion.

By 8 a.m. Friday morning WSAR was announcing that City Councilor Al Alves had thrown his had into the ring and that there were at least 2 other potential candidates. By the end of the day that number had grown from 3 to 6 and this morning the Herald News had the list up to 11 and with WSAR announcing that School committeeman Mark Costa was considering a run the list is up to 12!

Let's take a look at who could be our next mayor!

Alfredo Alves is our first confirmed candidate for mayor in 2007. A veteran city councilor, he is serving his 7th term on the city council. He also has the distinction of being the council's only Republican.

Bill Whitty is another veteran councilor who has been elected to the city council 8 times in three different decades! He has often served and currently does serve as council president. Whitty has also run for mayor on 3 separate occasions and lost to Carlton Viveros, John Mitchell, and current Mayor Ed Lambert. He also served as director of Rep. Barney Frank's local office.

F. George Jacome is probably best known as the man who almost beat Ed Lambert back in 2003, losing by just under 1,000 votes. Jacome also lost to Lambert in 2005 and had a failed City Council bid in 2001. Still while it may seem odd for a three time loser to consider mounting another bid at public office, Jacome has constantly been praised as being a thoughtful candidate and certainly has motivated supporters.

Henry Gillet reintroduced himself to Fall River and Fall River politics with a mayoral run in 2005. Gillet promoted himself as a man of experience and with a background as a state legislator, lobbyist, and Special Assistant to former Fall River mayor Wilfred Driscoll. He criticized Mayor Lambert for concentrating too much on LNG while ignoring other issues. Gillet's call for an independent audit was seen as a 'gimmick' by Ed Lambert but gained momentum and support. This support, however, didn't apply to the candidate himself and although the city seemed wallpapered by Gillet campaign signs he failed to get past the primary.

Brad Kilby continues the cycle of city councilors looking for promotion! Kilby is serving his second term on the city council and had previously served 8 years on the school committee. Mr. Kilby has earned a reputation as someone who puts in the hard work, asks the tough questions and looks for answers.

Representative David Sullivan is a former city councilor and currently a state representative for the 6th Bristol district. When I heard Sullivan's name mentioned I was surprised, not that he would be interested in the office, but that I had forgotten him! Rep. Sullivan works tirelessly and passionately for what he believes in. Although he is usually in agreement with the rest of the delegation he is not afraid to express a difference of opinion.

Anthony Cordeiro is a prominent businessman. His belief and forward vision for Fall River is evident with a look at downtown. Cordeiro has built several new building and rehabbed several others. The big question is whether or not this business prowess translates into someone who could successfully run the city. Cordeiro has been rumored as a candidate since he had a falling out with the Mayor several months ago. In fact some say it is his support and ability to fundraise that have kept Ed Lambert in office. If Cordeiro does decide to run his reputation as a builder and his experience as a fundraiser will make him a viable candidate.

Joseph Camara is yet another councilor who is considering making a run for mayor. Camara is serving his 6th council term. It is said that he is not afraid to go against the status quo or to explore every available option. He has served at Council President and is active as a coach and on the board of Fall River Youth Soccer. Councilor Camara ran for State Representative in 2003 and lost to incumbent David Sullivan.

Carole Fiola is certainly a known name in Fall River. She is an area realtor and a former employee at WSAR. For the last 6 years she has been the District 1 representative on the Governor's Council a position she is currently campaigning for re-election of. If Carole Fiola decides to make a run for mayor is her position on the Governor's Council and name recognition enough?

Raymond Hague first served on the City Council in 1997 when he finished the term of David Sullivan upon Sullivan's election as State Representative. He was elected in his own right in 1999 and has served ever since. He was instrumental in the lawsuit against BFI that resulted in an 11 million dollar award and called for an independent financial and performance audit 2 full years before Henry Gillet used it as part of his 2005 mayoral campaign. He is often credited for his constituency service.

Kevin Aguiar was elected to the Fall River School committee in 2001. In 2002 it was alleged that Aguiar had assisted in an illegal gambling operation, which he denied. He was re-elected to the School committee in 2003 and again in 2005. In 2006 he announced plans to challenge Representative Bob Correia but lost the primary race getting only 21% of the vote.

Mark Costa was elected to the School committee for the first time in 2005. The fact that Costa is already being mentioned as a possible candidate for mayor says a lot about the impression he has made as both a candidate for school committee in 2003 and 2005 and now as a school committeeman.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lambert Not Running for Re-election!

I was shocked to learn from this morning's Herald News that Fall River's mayor, Ed Lambert, held a late press conference last night to announce he would not be running for re-election in 2007.

Mayor Lambert said the decision wasn't based on another job opportunity, or the loss of his wife, just that this was the right time personally and professionally to step down.

Although the Mayor, like any incumbent, has his share of critics, I am not among them.

I think Ed Lambert has brought to his office and to this city a passion, and optimism that will not only be missed, but is still greatly needed.

In his 11 years as mayor I have not always agreed with every decision, with every plan, with every action. However I think Ed Lambert has honestly had the best intentions to do what he thought was right for the city and not just in the short term but for generations to come.

It has been said that his legacy will be the fight against LNG and the building of new schools but I think his legacy will be that he was a mayor who believed in Fall River and worked to build the foundation for its future.

During his administration new roads and schools have been built, water lines replaced and parks restored. Some will argue that Lambert had no choice that it had to be done, others will say he did too much too fast and has burdened the city with the debt of paying it off. The truth is the city's buildings and roads, parks, water lines had all been ignored for decades. It was this administration that moved forward to repair, replace, and maintain. Yes this costs money but the option is to pay now or pay even more later.

In the time that Ed Lambert has served as mayor he has accomplished much, yet there is still so much more that needs to be done. We can only hope that Fall River's next mayor brings the same passion and energy to the office. We can only hope that like Ed Lambert, the next mayor believes in the future of this city.

I wish Mayor Lambert the best of luck and success in whatever he decides to do after leaving office and can only wish that in 2007 his name was on the ballot.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Brightman Street Bridge Takes The Cake

The Brightman Street Bridge turned 98 the other day. I know this because a group of people calling themselves "The Friends of the Historic Brightman Street Bridge" assembled on the bridge itself, sang happy birthday, and served cake.

I'm sure the bridge was touched.

Of course the reason these people were celebrating the "birth" of a rusting bascule bridge has more to do with its role as an obstacle in the proposed Weaver's Cover LNG facility than any true fondness for the bridge itself or any of the 'proposed' uses for it now that we're committed to seeing it NOT torn down.

I'm not going to spend a great deal of time going over the LNG battle, but for those who haven't kept up, it comes down to the old bridge is too small for standard size LNG tankers to fit through. This little fact is something that the folks at Weaver's Cove didn't consider an issue because the new replacement bridge with a wider opening is in the process of being built. However in an effort to stop the proposed facility Rep. Jim McGovern inserted legislation to stop the old bridge from being torn down. Weaver's Cove in turn said they would just use smaller ships, but while they insist the old bridge isn't an issue there have been at least two attempts to undo McGovern's legislation. So while this may not have 'stopped' the LNG facility from moving forward it would appear to be more of thorn in the site of Weaver's Cove than they have let on.

I too am against this facility being built in Fall River. I believe that the area is too congested and that Fall River has suffered enough from these types of projects. The type that are good for the state or the region, or the area, but NOT good for Fall River. So, I understand the motivation of this 'Friendship' and appreciate their efforts but at the same time I think to profess such affection for this bridge is just a little too absurd.

Historic? Friends? Let's be honest here! Does the simple fact that the Brightman Street Bridge is old also make it historic? If there were no LNG would anyone want to be its friend? Why can't we just say we don't want LNG at Weaver's Cove and if keeping the Brightman Street bridge helps prevent that, well then we want to keep the bridge?

Let's not forget that all of our professed love comes with a price tag. Keeping the roadblock, um, eh, I mean bridge will cost us several hundred thousand dollars a year in maintenance costs and any proposed reuse has been projected to be in the 20-40 million dollar range. Talk about the price of friendship! Whew!

Well anyway, Happy Birthday Brightman Street it too late to get a piece of that cake?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Camera, key, chain...

Have problems with blurry photos when taking photos in low light situations? Don't have or don't want to carry around a tripod or monopod? Dr. Momentum, a Fall River area blogger may have the answer for you, a chainpod!

I'm really intrigued with this little do-it-yourself gizmo and hope I can blog about using one soon! Read more about a chainpod here and here.

If you don't take pictures or if your camera has image stabilization check out the Aces Full of Links blog anyway. It's pretty broad in scope, offers something for everyone and is a pretty good read.