Sunday, December 30, 2007

SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Here it is December's SouthCoast Photo of the month!

A clear, cold afternoon turned out to be the perfect day for feeding some ducks in nearby Tiverton, Rhode Island.

The ducks swarmed around to get their share of bread with a persistent flock of seagulls swooping in to steal what they could.

_____________________________________________________________________Are you an avid picture taker? Do you have a shot you're particularly proud of? Perhaps just a shot that you'd like to share? Submit it here for the SouthCoast Photo of the Month! Send submissions to

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Years Resolutions - 10 things I'd like to see for 2008

So December has been a busy, crazy month and as I'm sure you've noticed the blog has suffered for it. So, with an eye toward the New Year here is my list of things I'd like to see for Fall River in 2008.

1. A cleaner city - Here's hoping that in 2008 more attention is paid to keeping our city streets, sidewalks and city entrances clean. A cleaner city is one that is more hospitable, more inviting to potential business and one that we could be more proud of.

2. A new face in the State House - Mayor-elect Correria is stepping down from his house seat and a special election scheduled to take place in early 2008. I would like to see Fall River residents vote for someone because of what they stand for and what they bring to the table and NOT because they have the most familiar name or the best spaghetti supper.

3. Clean, paint or polish - I understand the delays to fix the facade of Government Center but why does the INSIDE look so drab and rundown? Why did we spend a gazillion bucks on an athletic field at Durfee when the school itself looks like it needs some serious TLC? For 2008 I would like to see some investment in maintaining, repairing, and sprucing up of various city owned properties. Letting them get more run down, worn out, and dilapidated is depressing and is only going to cost us MORE money down the road.

4. The Community embracing the Studio Artists Project - The concept is simple take an empty storefront and allow it to be used by an artist as studio space. The concept is simple and so is the benefit. While the artist gets free studio space a vacant store front becomes a vibrant part of the community. Vibrant storefronts are certainly better to see than vacant one!

5. A new city website - There are those who will tell you that the city's website is just is far from cutting edge. I'm personally fine with that. I could live with the dated design if the site was kept up to date and actually fully functional but it's not. Here's hoping that in 2008 the mayor who didn't think much of a campaign website prioritizes a new city one. A fully functional website with an interactive calendar, a way to contact each department, and updated content would be quite a New Year's treat!

6. Forward progress - In 2008 I would like to see forward progress on at least one long overdue and talked about project. Can we have some real progress on Watuppa Heights or commuter rail? Could we see some groundwork on the Capitol Theater? Could someone daylight a PLAN for the Quequechan River? All I'm asking for is progress on just one!

7. Books - Is it too much to ask that a city of 90,000 have a book store? It depresses me that Baker Books couldn't make a go of it but with Strictly By The Book experiencing some growth maybe the city could convince them to open up a small retail outlet at one of the current locations or maybe out of a downtown storefront.

8. A Children's Museum - The long talked about Fall River Children's Museum is still looking for a home. Here's hoping that in 2008 our community leaders step to the plate and help put this project back on track.

9. More prominence for secondary media sources - It's my hope that in 2008 Fall Riverites will look to sources other than the Herald News and WSAR to get their news and opinions from. The folks at the Fall River Spirit, The South Coast Insider, and the Southcoast Tribune all have wonderful coverage of the various things going on in our community. Fall River Community Television has some very solid and interesting local programming and there is a growing community of local bloggers with interesting opinions of their own.

10. That we embrace the city motto - to often people scorn the city's motto of "We'll Try" but I think it's time we embrace it. In 1843 that was a terrific fire that devastated the then town of Fall River. Once the fire was out and the damage assessed the question of whether or not the town could come back from this was brought up and the answer was "we'll try." The citizens on that long ago day new that there would be struggles that it would require hard work and that there would be no guarantees. Today we need to embrace that same spirit. Today Fall River faces many serious issues, with no simple solutions, but if we want to make our city a better place to live, we need to role up our sleeves face the issues head on and say "we'll try!"

Saturday, December 01, 2007

BELATED - SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Here it is November's SouthCoast Photo of the month!

A busy day yesterday kept me from getting this posted last night, but I can think of no better way to close out November than with a picture of the recently vandalized toilet sculpture!

Although I disagree with the Herald that it was justifiable vandalism, it's good that it's gone.


Are you an avid picture taker? Do you have a shot you're particularly proud of? Perhaps just a shot that you'd like to share? Submit it here for the SouthCoast Photo of the Month! Send submissions to

Sunday, November 25, 2007

While you were eating...Some things you may have missed

The turkey dinner is over and we've all moved on to turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, and turkey surprise. With all the chaos of Thanksgiving and Black Friday here's a few things you may have missed.

Former Council Candidate stands firm against Weaver's Cove plan.
Mike Miozza warns in his recent letter to the editor that as long as Hess LNG is working to build its facility as Weaver's Cove, we must work to defeat it. Mike's letter isn't a rally cry but instead a well thought out voice of reason. Clearly leadership doesn't always come from our elected officials.

Good Review for Ugly American!
Think of a restaurant that specializes in hamburgers and visions of 'golden arches' dance in your head. Ugly American, located on New Boston Road isn't looking to compete with fast food giants instead its menu highlights quality and choices you won't find on the drive-thru menu. The menu sounds tempting and the good review from makes this a place I can't wait to visit.

Dig Deep and Donate!
The Herald News has kicked off it's holiday fund that will benefit both Citizens for Citizens and the Salvation Army. There is a tremendous need for the services provided by both these agencies. It's heart wrenching to think of a child going hungry, a family unable to heat their home and our elderly struggling to survive. Sadly this is a reality for far too many people. Where would they be without the helping hand that these organizations provide? Today's Herald News editorial perfectly states the case. The bottom line is no matter how much or how little you can afford to donate, it is a donation that is appreciated and a donation that is needed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Robert Correia elected in part due to Coalition for Marriage and Family Action!

Folks if you assume that Bob Correia defeated Dave Sullivan to become our next mayor because he had more experience, better vision, more campaign funds, more signs, better radio ads, or just did a better job convincing Fall River voters that he was the right man for the job you may be missing a key reason.

According to both and Bay Windows efforts by the Coalition for Marriage and Family Action may have made the difference in electing "pro-marriage and pro-life State Representative Robert Correia.." over "same-sex marriage supporter and fellow state representative, David Sullivan."

Interesting because the issue of same sex marriage vs. "traditional marriage" never popped up during the campaign. Silly of me not to realize it was even an issue in the Mayoral contest!

I wonder if Bob knows who he should be giving all the credit to?

"Through the grassroots activities of our Marriage and Family chapters as well
as our financial support for candidates, we are making a difference to elect
pro-family candidates at the local level."

Whether you agree or disagree with the Coalition for Marriage and Family Action on their definition of "pro-family" there is one thing you'll have to concede.

"We're also building our grassroots network, an effort that is vital to
recruiting pro-family legislative candidates in the future to defeat anti-family
incumbent legislators."

If getting more "pro-family" legislative candidates in office is truly vital to this group then supporting Bob Correia for Mayor makes no sense. His victory means removing him for the State Legislature and losing his vote and voice. it also means leaving Dave Sullivan who supports same-sex marriage up at the State House! This irony did not go unnoticed by Bay Windows.

Lefty's view: Groups like this may think that they wield a great deal of power and influence but what I see here is mostly backwards thinking.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Daylighting the Quequechan Falls - an electric idea

Before the construction of Route 195 the Quequechan's abused but still majestic falls cascaded down the 132 foot drop to the meet up with the Taunton River below.

Today there is much talk about 'daylighting the Quequechan River and recreating the falls that give this city its name. Realizing this goal will require a major investment and not the type of investment that will result in economic growth or a boost in tourism. Instead this project speaks more to improving the quality of life, enhancing the city, and doing ecologically what is right.

Daylighting the river will improve the atmosphere of the city but can the river that once helped power the industrial revolution still be utilized to help power the city?

That was the comment made to me recently and it has me curious. Could a hydroelectric generator be incorporated into plans to recreate the falls and daylight the river? Obviously any such plan would have to find a way to aesthetically combine the goals of visually enhancing the city with utilizing it for the generation of electrical power. Assuming that such a plan could be achieved might such a plan be eligible for state and federal funding that the daylighting plan alone is not?

There is so much interest in being ecologically responsible by cleaning up and daylighting the river. Doesn't it make sense to consider taking that concept to the next level. Imagine restoring the falls to Fall River, enhancing our environment and providing a 'green', renewable energy source!

Friday, November 09, 2007

City Council by Ward - or - Where do Fall River's Newly Elected Councilors live?

View Larger Map

I have the idea that Fall River should have a City Council by Ward.

It's not a perfect - there are 9 councilors and 9 wards, but some could argue that there should be some 'Councilors at large'.

Regardless, I think having a Council by Ward would allow each area of the city to have representation. Also Ward representation would allow for that Councilor to be more accountable. After all a Councilor who isn't serving the needs of the people could be much more easily challenged. Neighborhood issues that were not being addressed would certainly become very prominent in a Ward election and it's very possible to for a challenger to mount a campaign and meet the people and get the message out in one Ward. I also believe there should be local campaign finance laws in place but that's a topic for another post.

The map above isn't broken down by Ward - (mostly because I don't have a Ward map - any former candidates want to donate one?) but it does show where are newly elected City Council reside (stop laughing you Lund nay-sayers!)

Surprisingly the representation seems pretty even between the North and South ends of the city. Also surprisingly the representation is spread out pretty well around the city. The only exception is Mike Lund and Cathy Ann Viveiros who both live on Shore Drive (I'm asking you to please stop laughing.)

It would be interesting to be able to break this down by Wards and then see what Ward races would have developed and speculate if we would have wound up with mostly the same council.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Election Observations

Rainy, cold and windy Fall River residents trudged to the ballot box to place their votes for leadership for the next two years.

What I should say is that the small percentage of people who felt it was important enough to vote trudged out in the inclement weather. Honestly, I'm disappointed

Less than 18,000 people cast votes for a city of 92,000. Roughly 30,000 people didn't vote.

I congratulate the winners. After a long a campaign trail they have managed to come out on top. I also congratulate those who didn't win, because they had the bravery to subject themselves to public scrutiny and the belief that they could be part of positive change.

However I do feel great sympathy to those who didn't make it because with so many voters staying home there is the realization that if only they took part the results might have been much different.

Let's get to some observations!

Our new Mayor is Bob Correia. Bob talks about unifying the city and to do that he is going to need to reach out to all people and prove that he is not cold and arrogant as he sometimes has appeared. I hope he can do this because to move the city forward you do need unification. Oh, and look for School Committeeman Kevin Aguiar to make a run for Bob's vacated Rep. seat!

For Dave Sullivan the vultures are circling over head as wannabe State Rep candidates plot their campaigns. My advice to Dave is to better promote himself, remind the people of what he has worked to accomplish. Also with Bob no longer in the state house we've lost a lot of influence that we've had (which I agree doesn't seem like much.) I would urge Dave to lobby hard to get into a leadership role which would give him more influence in which to help the people he represents. I would think that a State Representative who has a good relationship with the Governor would be valuable in a leadership role.

I am perhaps most disappointed in the City Council race because I feel there were some excellent candidates out there who were running for the first time that deserved consideration and we failed to elect a single one of them. I'm not going to comment on all 18 candidates but let's highlight a few.

Mike Miozza - Mike remains my biggest disappointment for this election season. People will talk about what a great candidate Eric Poulin was and I would agree, but Eric was facing an uphill battle from the start. Mike on the other hand was running for a council with 3 open seats, he in my opinion, probably worked the hardest of any City Council candidate to get his message out there. In plainer terms he worked the hardest so you would know who you were voting for. He laid out good, well thought out plans and easily ran a more vigorous campaign than half of the elected council. Yet, he still fell more than 2000 votes short of being elected to the council. That's a crime. Often we blame candidates for not telling us where they stand, well Mike Miozza did. Were you listening?

Nathan Amaral - Like Mike, another Herald News endorsee who didn't make the cut but what he did do was go from a 'skin-of-his-teeth' 18 place finish to a solid 13th place finish. Nathan really surprised me with some campaign savvy down the stretch. I've had a few people tell me about this guy or that who would be part of our political future and I shake my head, but I think Nathan Amaral could be someone we're going to see again.

Mike Lund - I've never met Mike and I hope he turns out to be one hell of a City Councilor, but I have doubts. I hear talking about the great ideas he has but I haven't seen them. What I did see is a guy who outspent every other council candidate. His total of 16,263.32 in the last reported quarter really could be more than most other candidates spent on the entire race. On top of that there have been rumors about Lund's reasons for running and even about if he really lives in Fall River. Like I said when it comes to Lund, I have my doubts and it is up to him to prove me wrong.

The School Committee race had one single change, the addition of Joe Martins.

Joe Martins- Joe was a candidate with solid experience and firm ideas of what he wants to accomplish. On top of that he resume includes very real results in the success at Diman. You have 6 people that help play a role in shaping the future of our school department. I think if your concerned about education Joe Martins is someone you really considered voting for. Based on the results, (an incredibly strong second place finish) people not only gave Joe their consideration they also gave him their vote.

Shawn Cadime - Cadime, and really most of the School Committee never ran a particularly good campaign. To much reliance on name recognition and not enough effort in making the case of why you deserve reelection could have cost Cadime who ended up being the only candidate for reelection not to secure a Herald News endorsement. I hope he questions why and it makes him a works to prove the Herald wrong.

Final thoughts: Now that the political season is over I wonder what I'm going to blog about! The last couple of months have provided me with lots of posts and lots new readers. I hope that going forward you'll continue to stop by and that they'll be plenty to talk about.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Vote Today!

Today is voting day. Today is the day that we vote for the change we want to see. The experiment we call Democracy here in America requires that we all get out and vote. If citizens continue on the path of low voter turnout and high voter apathy, we will be heading down a path to lose our rights.

Democracy use it or lose it!

So get out today and vote. If you are reading this, you probably already know enough about who you want to see elected. One only has to look at the last election on September 11th to see that your vote counts. The spread for the second place in the Mayoral race was less than 300 votes. 300 people could have swayed the election in any number of directions. Looking at the last place finishers Amaral and Canuel, the spread was within less than 100 votes. Your vote really does count! So get out and make change happen!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Endorse your candidate for Mayor!

I'm sick of the rhetoric, the uninspiring statements! Who should be our next mayor? Dave Sullivan or Bob Correia?

Here's your chance to make the case why the candidate YOU support deserves the top job!

Here's how it will work. Simply send me and email at making the case why your candidate deserves to be our next mayor. I'll select what I think is the best made case for each candidate and feature each in their own blog post.

Submissions should focus on the qualities the candidate you endorse brings to office. It should focus on his platform, ideas, vision, and character. In other words I'm not interested in submissions that say I should vote for one guy because the other one sucks.

Each submitter will remain anonymous, although those wishing to include a pen name may include one.

I'll publish the best endorsement of each candidate on Monday November 5, 2007.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Here it is October's SouthCoast Photo of the month!

What symbolizes October better than ghouls, ghosts, witches, and Halloween! And does anything symbolize Halloween better than a carved pumpkin illuminated with the flickering light of a candle?


Are you an avid picture taker? Do you have a shot you're particularly proud of? Perhaps just a shot that you'd like to share? Submit it here for the SouthCoast Photo of the Month! Send submissions to

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Herald News Endorsement for Mayor...and why I think they're wrong

The Herald News endorsed Representative Robert Correia for Mayor of Fall River. The endorsement, which was in Sunday's edition credits Correia with being a tough but fair leader. They believe that his plans offer more specifics and are more "actionable".

I think the Herald News might be wrong, not in endorsing Bob Correia but in endorsing anyone at all.

This is an opinion that a few people have expressed to me, that perhaps that paper shouldn't make endorsements. My first thought was this was a silly opinion, newspapers have long endorsed political candidates. It is something that I think most of us have come to expect and use and even use as a guide to validate our own opinions.

However, I think over the course of this weekend my opinion on this has changed. The problem with these endorsements is that in telling you who they endorse they don't tell you why they don't endorse someone else.

Why didn't the Herald endorse 5 Council incumbents? Why was Shawn Cadime the only School Committee candidate running for reelection not to get the nod? Maybe you don't care, but you should!

These endorsements do exactly what they are meant to. They highlight the endorsed candidate and that candidates views, goals, and accomplishments. It's an unfair advantage at a critical time. At a point where you should be looking to educate yourself as much as possible you're being spoon fed information on specific candidates by an entity that many believe to be more knowledgeable than they are.

No where is this more of a concern than in the race for Mayor. By endorsing one candidate you are not endorsing the ONLY other choice.

Reading the Herald's endorsement I am made to believe that Bob Correia is the choice for strong leadership and bold ideas, and I won't disagree with that. Bob's ideas for redeveloping downtown, and creating community learning centers are good ones that I believe any Mayor should consider.

However, looking at Dave Sullivan's platform, I see plans that I think are specific and "actionable". Sullivan has proposed expanding Diman, which would open up more oppurtunities for vocational learning and help lower the classroom size at Durfee High. Sullivan also proposes expanding the Alternative High School, which can only help lower our drop out rates and increase educational attainment levels. Dave also proposes implementing a 311 call system to route city concerns and complaints to get them more efficiently addressed. As Mayor, Sullivan promises to have 'meet the Mayor nights' at every school in the city. He proposes making board positions open to every citizen in the city, as well as making the city budget a more easy to understand document. Sullivan advocates quarterly reporting, and he advocates a regional approach to solving our solid waste issues. This is just some of the content I've gotten from his website.

Does this mean that he's a better candidate than Bob Correia? I'm not going to decide that for you. What it says to me is that Dave Sullivan is a credible candidate worthy of consideration but too many people will read what is spoon fed to them and won't get all the information they should have.

Congratulations to Bob Correia for getting the Herald's endorsement. As for me, I'm not going to endorse either candidate. Instead I'm endorsing an informed vote and urge you to go out there and find as much as you can about all your choices and then vote for the candidates who you feel will best serve the city.

Dave Sullivan's website
Bob Correia's website

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Herald News endorsements for City Council

The Herald News has published their endorsements for the City Council race. Their choices are:
Nathan Amaral
Tim Bennett
Steve Camara
Pat Casey
Brian Dias
Ray Hague
Mike Miozza
Gus Suneson
Cathy Ann Viveiros

Lefty's view: I'm not sure what I find more interesting, the Herald's selections and reasoning, or the fact they chose 7 challengers, and 5 of them are the 5 I highlighted on Monday. Obviously endorsing 7 challengers means they endorsed 2 incumbents and I have stated that I would not vote for more than 2 incumbents.

I really didn't expect to agree so closely with the Herald's choices, nor did I expect the Herald to make such a clear choice for new faces and new ideas on the Council. I also find myself in agreement with the many of the reasons the Herald provides for their choices. I almost have to wonder is the Herald News reading my blog??!

The reality is our next City Council is not going to resemble the list of Herald endorsees, which is a shame. While there are a few candidates that I would really need to think about voting for, overall I think it's a mix of experience, new ideas, proven leadership, and activism. I would welcome such a City Council.

Herald News endorsements for School Committee

Yesterday the Herald News published their endorsements for the school committee race. They have endorsed:

Kevin Aguiar
Mark Costa
Tim McCoy
Michael Ramos
Marilyn Roderick
Ronald Silva

Lefty's view: I personally find who the Herald didn't endorse more interesting than who they did. The Herald has endorsed 4 out of the 5 incumbents that are seeking reelection. The only candidate seeking reelection that the Herald didn't endorse was Shawn Cadime. I have to wonder why. Was Cadime's first term that much of a disappointment?

The Herald has endorsed two newcomers, Michael Ramos and Ronald Silva. My first impression is who are these guys? I'm not sure if I've seen them out on the trail. I'm not sure what they bring to the table. After reading the write up on Ramos I'm interested and I have to agree that he might make a good addition to the committee. However after reading the endorsement for Ronald Silva, I'm just confused.

The Herald speaks highly of Mr. Silva's background in vocational education and believes that he should be given the chance to infuse some of that background in the Fall River School Department. However, another candidate, Joe Martins, is the former superintendent and director of Diman. The concepts, strategies, and policies that Mr. Silva touts are all things that Mr. Martins had a hand in putting in place. If, like Mr. Silva believes, the success that Diman has had can be applied to the Fall River school system then I think we should want to elect the man that was key to that success. Wouldn't that be Joe Martins?

Although I think some of the candidates the Herald endorsed are excellent choices, I think overall they may have missed the mark.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Support our Troops

The First Congregational Church is celebrating "Make A Difference Day" this Saturday by assembling care packages for our troops in the middle east.

Our men and women in uniform stand the test of courage everyday that they serve. Despite the risks they perform their duty with great bravery and dignity.

If you have wanted to show your support to the troops here is your chance. The First Congregational Church is looking for assistance to help touch the lives of our dedicated soldiers. They will gratefully except donations of requested items or monetary donations. They will do the work of packing and shipping them to our soldiers serving so very far from home.

Check out the "Make A Difference Day" page on the church website or contact Jennifer at the church office, (508) 672-5862 or email her at

Please consider supporting this worthy cause.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Challengers deserve a look in the Fall River City Council Race

Lefty said...

well we may not agree on everything but chances are I'll be voting for 7 or more new faces on the council.

I made that statement in the comments of another post and while I realize that voting for "7 or more new faces" might prove too much of a challenge I can tell you now that there are only one or two incumbents who are going to receive my vote.

Yes, 90% of the people reading this just shouted out 'Pat Casey'. After all the back and forth discussion in the last post about Pat I know somebody is going to focus on which incumbents but that's not the purpose of this post. What I want to do here is focus on some of the challengers that so far have made a positive impact on me. These are not candidates that I endorse, merely candidates that I myself want to know more about and would consider voting for.

In order of preliminary finish

Cathy Ann Viveiros - Cathy Ann finished second in total votes for the council in the preliminary election. While most of us were discouraged that the screams for change turned out to be a whisper, the one thing that was heard perfectly clear was that the people want Cathy Ann back on the council. It's no surprise that she did so well. With high energy, charisma, experience and a detailed platform Cathy Ann really is ready to "get it started"

Steve Camara - Steve ran a very low key campaign leading up to the preliminary election but still managed to finish 9th, which would be good enough to win a seat in the general election. For those who remember a time before Ed Lambert was Mayor, Steve is a familiar face someone with considerable experience on the City Council, even serving as Council President. What I think makes Steve such an interesting candidate is his dedication to the community outside of elected office. His proven track record of working to improve our neighborhoods it seems to me to be a quality we need back on the City Council.

Gus Suneson - Why would I consider returning 11th place finisher, Gus Suneson to the City Council? Gus is probably best known for his ranting and raving theatrics on his own cable show. He's a character, an eccentric, and has been called a lunatic and a crackpot. However, listen closely to the rants and raves and often you'll find at its core is a thoughtful, insightful viewpoint. Gus is loud and entertaining but make no mistake about it he's also blunt and not afraid to speak his mind. If you think our current council hasn't discussed, debated and challenged the Mayor enough you want to consider bringing Suneson back to the council. Suneson does not have a website but you can view an episode of his show here.

Mike Miozza - Finishing 12th, Mike is personally my biggest preliminary disappointment. Miozza is a Fall River success story, the boy from the projects who goes on to get a PH.D.! As an activist against the Weaver's Cove LNG project Mike Miozza has become a familiar name to the people of Fall River, but in his run for a council seat Mike isn't cashing in on the recognition. Mike has developed a solid campaign platform of intelligent, well thought out points and he was one of the first to do so! With a guarantee of three new faces on the next council I really felt Miozza would crack the top 9. I'm terribly disappointed that the voters didn't see his potential and hope they take a good long look for Nov. 6th.

Tim Bennett - Finishing 13th is the president of Green Futures, Tim Bennett. Tim is someone who has been on my radar for the same reason as Miozza and Steve Camara. He is someone who has dedicated a great deal of his time to make our city a better place. Too many people dismiss him as the ecological candidate but the reality is good municipal planning includes responsible preservation of natural resources. I like the idea of having a city councilor who is going to view various projects from the perspective of is this going to harm our city, preserve it, or help restore it. Tim doesn't have a website but was a guest on the Fall River Show, which you can watch here.

As I stated before these are the candidates for City Council that have so far made a positive impression on me. I would like to know more about them and would consider giving them my vote. Perhaps there is a challenger I didn't list that YOU think I should. If so leave a comment tell me and everyone else why. Be specific and fair because I will delete any comments that I feel don't further good healthy discussion.

Correia vs. Sullivan Round One

More than a week has passed since the first debate between Fall River's mayoral contenders Bob Correia and Dave Sullivan.

Certainly there is an expectation that in any debate one person will be declared the winner. In this debate there is no doubt in my mind that Bob Correia won the evening. He won it by being more polished and perhaps more skillful that Dave Sullivan. He won it not on merit, vision, or sheer knowledge of the issues, but by timing and rhetoric. This was an ugly debate.

The night's format was billed as a "Lincoln-Douglas" style of debate with each candidate directly questioning the other and being allowed time for rebuttal. The format allowed the candidates to go back exchanging barbs. Correia accused Sullivan of being ineffectual as a representative while Sullivan accused Correia of being more interested in headlines than results. Sullivan accused Correia of working for special interest groups while Correia accused him of accomplishing nothing of note in his 10 years in office. Back and forth it went with each man trying point out what they have achieved for Fall River as a state rep while discrediting the other.

While there might have been some entertainment to watching each man attempt to beat down the other and perhaps a smidgen of relevancy it came at the cost of not truly discussing how either man would effect positive change if elected.

What came across loud and clear is there is an extreme dislike for one another between these two men and that concerns me because one man will be our next mayor and have to work with the other man as one of our state reps.

It's interesting that I walked away thinking that both men needed to work on the image they presented that night. Sullivan needs to work on polishing his delivery. There are key points that he must articulate with passion and conviction, too often he seemed to be searching for the words that he should know by heart. Correia on the other hand is polished and didn't suffer from Sullivan's habit of referencing his text. Correia even delivered his points with conviction, but he comes off as uninspiring and extremely arrogant. It's a stark contrast after 12 years of affable, charismatic Ed Lambert. Perhaps Bob was just trying to play 'tough guy' against Dave Sullivan but it was extremely off putting.

Tomorrow is the next debate between these two men. Let's hope that they focus more a being Mayor of Fall River and less on being State Representative. Let's hope they spend less time telling me why not to vote for their opponent and more time telling me why I should vote for them.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mayor Whitty, may I make a suggestion....

In 11 short days Mayor Ed Lambert will step down and City Council President Bill Whitty will serve as the acting mayor until a newly elected mayor is sworn in next January.

Because key people have left the Lambert administration for new employment, Whitty inherits an office being run on a skeleton crew. As brief as his tenure will be, Mayor Whitty will be expected to perform the duties of his office seamlessly and has already stated his will fill some critical spots, chief of staff among them.

Where can Bill Whitty find someone to serve as chief of staff who has the right experience and is immediately available? Whitty needs someone who is not just qualified but someone who has specific knowledge of the day to day operations of Fall River's government.

My suggestion is Eric Poulin.

With six years experience in the Mayor's office, Eric has the qualifications needed. He understands the specifics of Fall River's day to day operations. He also has specific knowledge of the Lambert administration that could prove essential to issues that Mayor Whitty may have to face. Eric's experience with the LNG fight should also prove a valuable asset to our acting mayor as well as his knowledge of public housing.

In short I doubt that there is a more suitable candidate that has the experience, the knowledge, and the qualifications of Eric Poulin. Certainly none that could be immediately available. When you consider that Whitty can only appoint someone for up to 60 days, finding anyone else that of Eric's stature does seems impossible.

While it would be unique to have to former mayoral candidates serving in that office, I have no idea if Eric Poulin would be willing to serve the city in this capacity. I also have no idea if Bill Whitty would offer it. However I would urge both men to consider it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sympathy for Maureen Glisson

This morning I picked up the paper and read an editorial roasting Maureen Glisson. Later I turned on the TV to see a replay of last Tuesday's council meeting where they roasted Maureen Glisson. Now I'm listening to WSAR and guess what? They're roasting Maureen Glisson

In fact, since the fiasco of Fall River's preliminary election it doesn't seem like a day goes by where someone isn't roasting Maureen Glisson.

For those who don't know, Maureen Glisson heads up the Elections Office here in Fall River and as such presided over the preliminary election. As we all know now, the election was riddled with errors, from issues with the ballots, candidates being told they won, lost, and won again and nobody seeming to know what had happened.

Obviously, Ms. Glisson needs to be held accountable but for God's sake let's stop flogging this woman in public for what I think is political gain, media gain, and pure entertainment.

People seem to be crucifying Maureen Glisson just for the sake of having something to be outraged about. It's ridiculous and I think it needs to stop.

What needs to be done is a quiet impartial investigation. It needs to be determined if Maureen Glission is capable of doing her job or not. Is she competent or incompetent. While I believe this needs to be conducted in the public eye, it doesn't need to be a public circus.

Honestly, watching what is going on, I have great deal of sympathy for Maureen Glisson, while all the while realizing she brought most of this on herself. Perhaps I'm being too charitable but when most people make a mistake at work it doesn't result in public embarrassment.

I would urge the city council to conduct a thorough investigation and then make a public recommendation to the Mayor. It should be fair, procedural and non-political. Anything less is just a reactionary attempt to appeal to the voters.

Lefty's view: Personally? I could forgive the errors on the ballot, mistakes happen and I would think that proofreading the ballot was done by more than one party and if so, everyone missed the error. I would also that the printer would know that the ballot was supposed to be alphabetized and could have caught the error as well. What I can't forgive is a the half-ass effort to shift the blame. Even worse is the mistakes and mishandling following the preliminary election. At a time when Ms. Glisson needed to be taking steps to assure the voters of the integrity of the election she instead brought about more concerns. I'm not convinced she can undo the damage that she has done to her office or her reputation. So, I would say Maureen if you think there is a way that you can assure me as a voter that I can rely on you and your leadership please do so, otherwise please step down.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is there anybody out there?

If I was confused before September 11th about who is running, I'm even more confused now. Here it is almost one month after the preliminary election, and you could hear a pin drop in the city of Fall River. I've yet to hear any candidate for office define themselves, or their opponents. I have seen a few things come from the Sullivan campaign, but nothing more than a few press conferences. I've yet to see any candidates at my door explaining who they are, and why I should vote for them.

The city seems to be content with the way things are going. The top 9 vote getters are going to ease their way into office. Out with the old... in with the older seems to be the policy. Change in this city apparently means that you elect candidates based on longevity, and not vision. Don't get me wrong. I like many of the top vote getters, I just wish that there would be more debate. Something to sink your teeth into. I thought after the September 11th preliminary we would get to finally see what some of these newcomers are about. You made it through, you have your shot. Who are you, why are you running? Tell me something about yourself! Is it just me, or would most of these candidates fail in a job interview? Kudos to the few candidates with websites. I'm glad to see some of you have the decency to introduce yourselves.

I'll say it.. Who is running? Who is even IN this race still? I haven't seen any of you. Are you content to just sit pretty and let the council ease their way back into power?

It is hard to know for certain, with the huge debacle that occurred at Government Center this past month, but I am fairly certain these are the candidates that are running:


Robert Correia
David Sullivan

I'll give David Sullivan some credit for staging a few press rallies. He seems to at least be running a campaign this time. As for Bob Correia, I guess he pretty much showed us what he was made of in the preliminary. Show up late to a few debates, stop by a few candidates times, and that's good enough for Mayor of Fall River...

There are a couple debates coming up. Let's hope these debates define these candidates. It would be a shame if we eased on through the election without getting to know more about these candidates. Sure, they've been our Reps for 30 some odd years, but what have you done for me lately?

Leo Pelletier
Cathy Ann Viveiros
Linda M. Pereira
Patricia Casey
Thomas Kozak
Brian Bigelow
Joseph Camara
Raymond E. Hague
Steven Camara
Michael Lund
Gus Suneson
Americo Miranda
Michael L. Miozza
Timothy Bennett
Brian M. Dias
Paul R. Viveros
Patrick A. Richards
Nathaniel Amaral

Out of the candidates for Council, I see a few glimmers of hope. I'm not going to hit on each one, but there are a few that catch my immediate attention.

Leo, Cathy, Linda, Pat, are pretty much cemented in my opinion. I don't see any of them moving too much in either direction.

Kozak I think could really take a hit on this election. I just don't see him out there telling me how great a councilor he was. Besides that, what are you going to do for me now? I've only even seen a few signs for Kozak around town. Granted they are probably the biggest signs I've seen around town...

Joe Camara, I see pretty much the same way I see Kozak. Good councilors, but what are you planning on doing once you are re-elected?

I have to say Brian Bigelow was the biggest surprise to me. I thought he'd break high into the top 18, but I didn't see him pulling off a top 9 spot, much less number 6. I think Brian has a good chance at solidifying his lead if he comes out and shows people what he is made of. I'll be watching Bigelow intently.

Props to Ray Hague who has been out showing us what he is made of. The Herald recently spotlighted him bringing his public safety subcommittee out to the voters in Borden East. Shame on the councilors that didn't show up to make it a quorum This shows me he is active and wants to involve the people in the decision making. Hopefully, voters see this and give him a more impressive spot than he garnered in the preliminary.

Steve Camara came in 9th. Not bad for a guy who we didn't see too much of during the preliminary race. He apparently has a disdain for signage, so I guess the old adage "Signs don't vote" works for Mr. Camara. He has a potential to go either way. If he is smart he improves his vote count, if he runs the same lackluster campaign, I think he moves down below the top 9.

Mike Lund. What can you say about Mike Lund that hasn't already been said in his full page ads in the local newspapers? Oh, you could say that he also has radio ads on WSAR. To me this goes to show you that money counts. Money may not be able to buy love, but it sure can buy votes.

Gus Suneson. We all pretty much know where Gus stands. Watch his weekly television show if you don't already know.

Americo Miranda? What, you made it through? I thought for sure you were gone? Oh well, I guess you didn't just forget to take your signs down. So where are you? What do you want to be Councilor for? Why should I vote for you?!

Michael L. Miozza. This guy is on public access more than Gus Suneson! He even has a website. Of all the candidates for council I know where you stand. Get out there tell the rest of the voters!

Timothy Bennett? I've seen him a few places, but not really gotten to see what his platform is. Are you running on your Green Futures platform? If so let us know about it.

Brian M. Dias - I think you have a website... But it disgusted me too much to look at past the first impression. What exactly were you going for here, worst political website design ever?

Paul R. Viveros - The toilet guy... 'nuff said.

Patrick A. Richards - Wow, I thought you were gone too? I guess I should have checked the ballot one more time. Maybe this time they won't screw it up too much and we will actually know who is on it. Hopefully the seniors aren't too afraid to go out and vote this time.

Nathaniel Amaral - Good luck, you're going to need it. Coming in dead last.. er not at all, er dead last, er not going to be on the ballot, ok you did get on... Isn't going to help you get elected. I want to see more of your platform.

Michael Canuel. It's too bad you didn't make the top 18. You've got the best website of the lot! Keep this up and you might just be councilor next time around.

Kevin Aguiar
Marilyn Morin Roderick
Shawn E. Cadime
Mark Costa
Joseph Martins
Timothy P. McCoy
John F. Picard
Robert Maynard
Helena Teresa Fonseca
Ronald R. Silvia
Michael D. Ramos
Rachael B. Gettys

Kevin Aguiar, Marilyn Roderick (didn't she run for Mayor or something), Shawn Cadime, Mark Costa. You are golden. Sit on your ass and don't bother lifting a finger to run. The people love you, why not bask in it for a while?

Joseph Martins? Where did this guy come from? Oh, Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School is where. He seems to have picked the right time to run. Diman keeps getting good press at least once a week. People must have seen his work at Diman and figure he is going to bring that experience to the City of Fall River Public Schools. I think not only is this guy a sure bet to be on the committee next year, I think the city will be better off for it.

Tim Mccoy. I think you have a good chance of getting bumped off this year. I'm not saying you will, and you probably won't. But, if ever there was a year for it, this is it. If I were you I'd be out at everything I possibly could. Tell people who you are, and why you want the job again. You don't get to rest on your laurels this year.

Picard I've definitely seen around town. He's been at a lot of events, I've even heard of him before. He's run for the position a few times, this could be the year. Let's see more of Picard out there in the streets talking it up.

Robert Maynard - Who?
Helena Teresa Fonseca - Might have heard of you once...
Ronald R. Silvia - Who?
Michael D. Ramos - Oh, I've seen your signs.. who are you?
Rachael B. Gettys - I buy gas at Getty because I can't go to Hess... oh wait, I'm sure you're not related.. Who would know? I haven't seen you anywhere.

In summary... I'm calling you all out! Get your arse out there and knock on doors. I want to see you work for it! Go door to door, tell us why you want it, and what you can do for us. Because, in the end, that's all we care about. What's in it for us? How will you make my city a better place to live?

Fear and Loathing in Fall River

Guest Bloggers

The great thing about blogging is that it gives me an outlet to express my opinion and share my point of view. The tough thing about blogging is trying to find the time to research and write about all the things that interest me and all the things that I think I will interest you.

I also realize as more and more people discover the blog that there is an expectation for me to provide new content and to provide opinion on an ever more frequent basis.

At the same time I realize that there are people out there who have wonderful opinions and incredible insight but might not have the time to devote to maintaining an active blog.

One person is someone that I've been lucky enough to converse with on multiple occasions and after much discussion I've decided to provide him space here to share his perspective with you.

He'll be using the pen name 'Fear and Loathing in Fall River' and I hope you'll enjoy his contribution as much I have.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Welcome Mayor Whitty

Speaking of Whitty, would anything be worst for him than to lose the election and have Lambert resign so that he had to fill in as acting mayor until the next mayor was sworn in? - A View From Battleship Cove "Preliminary Observations" 9/8/07

The carpet probably needs to be cleaned and the walls probably need paint but for a tenure of just about 10 weeks Bill Whitty will be able to look around the office on the 6th floor and call it his.

With Mayor Ed Lambert stepping down on October 26th, the 27th will be Whitty's first full day on the job. It has got to be a bittersweet moment to inherit a role that you've worked so hard to win on more than one occasion. It has got to be cruel to inherit the mantle of responsibility, to take the helm no matter what the weather but not have the opportunity to put forth your platform, to share your vision, to set the course.

Bill Whitty will certainly place a few a photos on his desk and hang some pictures on the walls. They'll be to few to make him forget whose office it was, and not enough to really make it his own.

When a the new mayor is sworn into office come next January Bill Whitty has stated that will be the end of his political career and although I didn't support him, I think Bill Whitty probably deserves better.

From Mayor to UMass: Lambert leaves early

By now, most of Fall River knows that Mayor Ed Lambert has excepted a position at UMass Dartmouth, his last day as mayor will be October 26th.

The position, as a director and research associate for the newly created Urban Issues Initiative will allow the Mayor to utilize his experience "gained in public service, senior leadership and management". The position will pay the Mayor $85,000, plus a $35,000 stipend a year.

Now already people are saying that this is pretty much a political gift, a position created specifically for the Mayor. I'm not blind to why people would think that, but I also have no proof of it. People are wondering what qualifications Ed Lambert has for a position that may include teaching public policy. Well, obviously he has plenty of political experience. The Mayor also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a Masters Degree in Education from Bridgewater State College. Does this mean he's qualified? I don't know. Does this mean that $120,000 a year is reasonable, again I don't know. What do these positions usually pay? It does seem rather high.

So is this a job that just happened to come along at the right time for our departing mayor, or a
'hack' job, I'll let you decide.

Why did HUD investigate?

A few weeks ago Keri Rodrigues broke a story on her show about the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) investigating the city of Fall River for misuse of funds provided by community block grants to pay for staff in the Mayor's office.

It was the next day when I was able to blog about it and I was surprised that none of the local papers seemed to be covering this. To my amazement WSAR seemed to be the only media source interested in the story.

Now, the investigation is over and although some of the duties performed by the employees hired by these grants were outside of the scope of which the grant money was used for the city is in the clear. Because the city provides rent free space to the Community Development agency it was deemed “reasonable and comparable" in other words a fair trade off.

Great! So the city is in the clear and we don't have to pay back any money.


Why were we investigated? This sounds like we did something wrong and found a justifiable reason for doing it. If the city ever thought that providing rent free space offset the salaries of those employees they would have said so. You and I would have seen the story about the investigation and the city would have responded that they were able to do because they provided free rent to the CDA. They didn't say that and I think it's because they didn't know it, that all came about in the negotiations after the investigation.

Lefty's view: So, why is the issue to me? Simply because the city should have known if it was permissible to use the grant money the way it did. The city should have made sure of it and there never have need for an investigation. The fact there was an investigation leads me to believe that the head of the CDA failed to advise the city properly. The fact that there was no response for Mayor's office when this story leads me to believe that the Mayor failed to advise the citizens.

Good end result despite the mishandling by everyone involved.

For some other views on the HUD see Keri's blog and Fall River Community's

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pssst......she's back!

For those of you who haven't stumbled upon it yourselves talk show host, Keri Rodrigues has started a new blog.

Keri is quick to stress that this blog is her own personal endeavor and is not affiliated with the radio station. However the blog will be a home of sorts to material that she will use on the show as well as a place to discuss topics that she doesn't find the time to discuss on radio.

Keri's perspective is often pointed and passionate and whether you agree or disagree with her it always makes for a great read.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Here it is September's SouthCoast Photo of the month!

One of my favorite Fall River landmarks is the Iwo Jima memorial in Bicentennial Park. It's a fabulous memorial and walking strolling through the park and walking the boardwalk is an incredibly nice way to spend part of the day.

This is one of a series of photos that I took the weekend of the memorial's dedication. I got there mid-afternoon and remember thinking just how nice it would be if I could get a photo with the sun setting behind it.

After taking several pictures and walking the boardwalk, I came back to the statue and took some photos with the river at my back. I saw an elderly couple standing, holding hands, and taking in the majestic view in front of them. It was incredibly poignant, for he certainly could have been a WWII veteran but as I moved to get into a position to photograph them from behind they moved.

The moment gone, I decided to call it a day and started walking to the parking lot, as I passed by the statue I looked back and was rewarded with a view of the memorial in silhouette a brilliant golden setting behind it.

Amazingly I was able to get this picture that perfectly captured the moment.


Are you an avid picture taker? Do you have a shot you're particularly proud of? Perhaps just a shot that you'd like to share? Submit it here for the SouthCoast Photo of the Month! Send submissions to

Some Fall River news worth sharing

Here's a few news stories that I wanted to bring to your attention.

First is a story in the Boston Globe (Registration Required) about designer Joseph Abboud's purchase of Fall River shirt and his latest endeavor in men's fashions. We talked a little bit about this before. Abboud's former company is successful and prosperous in New Bedford, can he do the same here?

But the article of clothing Abboud is most jazzed about today is his
impeccable houndstooth dress shirt of polished Italian cotton. You see, it was
made just a few feet from where he's standing at the moment, right in the middle
of a Fall River textile mill.

The second story is the second part of a feature on SouthCoast Today featuring an interview with both Mayor Lang of New Bedford and Fall River's Mayor Lambert. I brought the first part to your attention last week and wanted to make sure to highlight the second part.

"I think in many instances being mayor is about managing change, which is
inevitably going to happen. You want to create change," Lambert said, "But
change is always going to happen outside your influence and you want to be able
to manage it in the best way you can."

Lastly we have another Boston Globe article, this time discussing efforts to secure 'wild and scenic designation' for the lower part of the Taunton River. The upper part received such designation in 2000. If the lower portion receives 'wild and scenic' designation it could effectively kill the Weaver's Cove LNG proposal. The spokesman for Weaver's Cove, says this is the real intent, but Congressman Barney Frank says that it's merely happy coincidence.

"Weaver's Cove was not on our minds when we started this," he said.
"It's a beneficial, unintended consequence. The only reason it's going to help
kill the project is that it shows how bad the project is." - Congressman Barney

Friday, September 28, 2007

Of Maps and Men, breaking down the vote totals in Fall River's 2007 Preliminary Election.

View Larger Map

With the preliminary election over and the dust settling there has been much speculation about what the results of the general election will be and who will be the next mayor of Fall River.

The top two vote getters are Representative Bob Correia and Representative David Sullivan both with square of in the general election.

I've heard various theories of why it will be one candidate over the other and thought it might be fun to look at these numbers and see what can make of them.

Robert Correia 4271
David Sullivan 2516
Alfredo Alves 2260
Brad Kilby 2207
Eric Poulin 2165
William Whitty 2054
Manny Alves 106
Ken Medeiros 74
Total 15653

Clearly Bob Correia took the majority of the vote 41% more people voted for Bob Correia than for Dave Sullivan and I've heard many people say that such a large difference will be impossible for Sullivan to make up.
But wait!
Correia's 4271 votes is only 27% of the total votes cast. In other words more than 2/3 of the voters voted for someone other than Bob Correia. True, Sullivan only received 16% of the vote. Neither man has anywhere close to a majority and so a key question becomes which way will the remaining 57% vote in the general election.

Now looking at the map above, there are red pins that represent precincts that Correia won, blue pins for the precincts Sullivan one and green for the precincts that were won by one of the candidates that didn't make it past the preliminary.

So, looking at the map we can see the Correia dominated the south end of the city winning every precinct he represents and even taking two that are in Sullivan's district.

That seems pretty ominous, should Correia declare victory? Not just yet.

Geographically, Correia is said to represent the south end and Sullivan is said to represent the north. Again, looking at the map we see that while Bob Correia certainly dominated the south ending voting and a close look at the vote totals show that Sullivan didn't dominate the precincts he won in any comparable way. (As we get into this we'll define the north end as north of I-195 and the south end as south of it.)

It's looking good for Bob, or is it?

A look at the top 6 candidates show that 5 of them, Sullivan, Alves, Kilby, Poulin, and Whitty all received roughly between 2-2,500 votes. Of course Bob received 4271 but Sullivan, Kilby, Poulin, and Whitty are all north end residents. Which very well could mean that they were splitting the same base.

Bob may well have dominated the south end simply because a.) he is the 'south end' rep. and b.) because he spent a tremendous amount of money, which translated into more dollars spent getting the vote out. We'll get into the money part a bit later.

If you look at the totals Correia received 30% or more of the vote in 11 precincts all of them in the south end. In those 11 precincts only 3 times did a challenger receive over 20% of the vote, in each case it was Al Alves. A look at the north end votes shows a much tighter cluster, Sullivan never achieves 30% of the vote and the vote totals seem to be much closer together.

While I don't claim to have a crystal ball it would seem to me that Bob Correia will have a tough time improving much on his south end totals. Simply the Correia turnout was so strong in the south end that I have to believe that those who didn't vote for Bob, are just not going to vote for him.

However, in the north end where you had several candidates drawing from the same base things could be quite different. You can assume that Sullivan will gain the majority of the votes here now that he is not competing against other north end candidates.

Okay, so let's play around with the numbers a bit, keep in mind that I'm using the precinct totals so they won't include absentee ballots, etc.

So for our first scenario we'll simply take the total votes (15151) subtract Dave's total (2411) and Bob's (4125) to see that 8615 people voted for one of the other candidates. Now doing the math and looking at the map, we see that Bob got 27% of the vote and won the majority of the precincts. Let's assume that the remaining for (8615) splits with Bob still getting 27% and Dave getting 73%. Yes, I agree that's not very likely, but just to have some fun with the numbers and because Dave probably will gain more in the general than Bob because Dave will no longer face several north end opponents.

So for Scenario 1 our totals look like this:
Sullivan 8,700
Correia 6,106

Scaling the mix back to 60/40 mix (again the advantage to Sullivan who will no longer face several north end opponents) gives us these results.
Sullivan 7,580
Correia 7,571

What if instead of trying to figure out where the 'remaining' votes will go,.we just assume that each man will carry 60% of his own turf? Using I-195 as the boundary between north and south our results look like this.
Sullivan 7,665
Correia 7,485

Maybe Bob hasn't won it yet after all!

Lefty's view: Now, this all just having some fun with the numbers, and I could surely change the criteria around and have Bob Correia come out on top each time. In fact pretty much any calculation that doesn't try to adjust for all the north end candidates in the preliminary will just about automatically have Correia come out on top.

If there is a point to all this, I guess it would be too say don't consider this a decided race because it's not. 57% of the vote went to other candidates and there is no telling how they will vote in the general election. Some will speculate that the 'Alves vote' will go to Bob Correia an the 'Poulin vote' will go to Sullivan and so on and so forth but nobody knows for sure.

What is very telling is that Correia was able to dominate the south end in a way that Sullivan was unable to do in the north. A large part of that is because Bob Correia spent more than twice as much as anyone else raised, (He raised $151,215, and spent nearly all of it.) to get out his vote. Also Correia didn't face off against a host of south end candidates, the way Dave Sullivan did in the north part of the city.

Now that we're heading toward the general election the playing field may be a little more even and of the three scenarios I threw out I think it's very likely that Sullivan could get 60% of the north end vote, and that might be enough to win.

*A special thanks to Fall River Community for providing me with the voting totals

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Impropriety at last night's city council meeting?

Sources have informed me that Cable Access Television personality, Jason Caminiti, was banned from taping a PUBLIC meeting of the Fall River City Council meeting last night.

Caminiti was informed by city police that he would not be allowed to tape the meeting. However open meeting laws clearly show that it is within his legal rights to do so. (see page 3 of this linked document)

Although I am still working on getting all the details, I have learned that Caminiti is scheduled to appear on The Gus Suneson Hour (7:30-8:30 on Ch.95) tonight. The show is broadcast live and I'd be very surprised if Suneson doesn't question Mr. Caminiti about it. So tune in!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mayors featured on SouthCoast Today

SouthCoast Today has a great interview with Mayor Ed Lambert and New Bedford's Mayor Scott Lang.

Really enjoyable read and I wanted to point it out to those who might have missed it.

A vote for cable access

Today's Herald News has an article about how candidates for office are utilizing local access cable to get their message out.

This is something I believe I've referenced a few times over the last several months. I guess over the last several years I've known that if you wanted to see something local that you couldn't attend live, local access was the first place you'd look. However, I think this year local access has really begun to come into its own.

Now, my knowledge of local access has been pretty much limited to just knowing that there are some local access channels on the dial, but it seems that in Fall River local access is an underutilized resource. In many ways a medium in its infancy.

What local access has needed, other than perhaps more funding, is better programming. This isn't to say that the programming out there isn't good but much of it has too narrow a focus and if it doesn't apply to you why watch it? All the election season programming has had a broad appeal and has really opened my eyes to the possibilities that local access can play in the community.

Perhaps the most promising example of this is The Fall River Show, (which I just mentioned in another post). The show features in its first episode, producer and host, Jason Caminiti interviewing Green Futures president, Tim Bennett. In a half an hour format Caminiti holds the type of casual, thoughtful conversation that could take place around your kitchen table. It's interesting, entertaining and intelligent and he's having a discussion with someone who really has something to talk about that's worth listening to and that I normally wouldn't have the opportunity to hear. I really have great expectations for this show and hope that to see many more like it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Celebrating the Taunton River

Today I had the opportunity to to spend some time down at Heritage State Park and attend "Celebrating the Taunton River" a free event to the public put together by The Coalition for Responsible Sighting of LNG.

The weather couldn't have been nicer and I was able to mingle amongst the crowd enjoying the perfect day, some very good live music and the picturesque surroundings of Heritage State Park and Battleship Cove.

To no surprise there were several candidates for office in attendance, including candidates for city council and both mayoral candidates, Bob Correia and Dave Sullivan. Perhaps the highlight of the festivities was when the band played "LNG Blues" calling out to the crowd to come in front of the stage to participate. Representative Bob Correia had left the event fairly early but Dave Sullivan was still in attendance and was called on to take the stage and participate, which to his credit he did. Various people in attendance were quite vocal in appreciation for all the effort Dave Sullivan has put into fighting the Weaver's Cove proposal and at the end of the number he was asked to address the crowd, which he did to an enthusiastic response. It really was the point where everyone seemed to be having a tremendous amount of fun.

A great day, a great event and congratulations to all the people who made it possible.

Lefty's view: just wanted to make the some observations that really don't fit into the blog post. First, it was interesting to hear various people talk about the LNG fight and how much effort different elected officials have put into this. There was a lot of praise for Dave Sullivan but I didn't hear one person mention Bob Correia. I'm not making a judgement here, I'm simply reporting my observation, and that is that the people closest to this issue were generous in their praise of David Sullivan but literally said nothing, NOTHING about Bob Correia. I find that a little shocking and perhaps a little telling.

Secondly, for those who couldn't get down there today, I suggest you keep an eye on Fall River Local Access Channel 95. I observed Jason Caminiti, who is hosting "The Fall River Show", a new program on Ch. 95, filming the band and taping some interviews and I can only imagine that some of what he filmed will show up in a future show.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Government funds misused at Government Center

Yesterday I'm out running errands and have the radio tuned into 1480 WSAR, listening to Keri Rodrigues when I hear her mention that the City of Fall River is in hot water with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It seems that the city has been using Community Development Block Grant funds, intended for community development programs, to pay for staff in the Mayor's Office.

Now the first I heard of any of this was back in January when mayoral aide, Eric Poulin, decided to run for mayor and during the controversy that followed he stated that his postion was funded through CD Rec. funds.

It never occurred to me that this might be improper or outside the scope of which these funds were intended for.

So it turns out that after the Lambert administration admitted to the media that members of the staff were given duties that were not within the intentions of the grants, HUD decided to launch a compliance review. The HUD review included inquiries into 6-8 members of the Mayor's office including secretaries, receptionists, and press liasons.

In fact it appears that only 2 members of the Mayor's staff were actually being paid by funds from the city budget and HUD is working with the city to recoup the costs of those salaries improperly paid for through the Block Grants.

Now, when I heard this last night I knew it was something I wanted to blog about, but I also knew I wouldn't have the time to get a post together. Amazingly as I type this now 24 hrs. later, there has been no statement from the Mayor's office, hardly any comment from our City Council and no coverage from the Herald News.

I'm astonished. I thought for sure the Mayor's office would issue a statement that would at least clear up some of the questions and maybe minimize the impact. I expected the Herald News to report just how long this has been going on and to report the city's position. I thought there would be some reaction.

Lefty's View: Unless someone can explain why the city thought it was okay to use Block Grant funds to staff the Mayor's office there is a huge cause for concern here. Otherwise I'm looking at the triple edged sword. 1.) We used government grant funds to pay for staff and deprived the city of the services it was intended for. 2.) In misusing these funds we are now faced with having to pay them back at a time when we can least afford to. 3.) In using these funds in this manner, without a suitable explanation, we now have another reason to doubt the integrity of our local government. Depressing.

**Because I was running errands yesterday and couldn't listen to the entire show I had some assistance getting my facts together for this post. The person who helped me knows who he or she is and I just wanted to say thank your for you help.

Lasting legacy of Quaker purchase may be education

Fall River -
"A limited revival of Quaker Fabric Corp. is in the works.A French-Canadian textile manufacturing company called Victor Innovatex Inc. announced Thursday it had acquired a majority of equipment, inventory and assets of foreclosed Quaker Fabric and would expand its operations in the next few months at the closed city plants."

"Under the name Victor Innovatex Textiles, the third-generation, family owned maker of furniture and auto fabrics plans to set up and hire 100 to 200 workers in the next two to three years, said company representatives and city officials."

"U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J. Gross signed off on the asset sale at a hearing Wednesday in Wilmington., Del.
Gordon Brothers is buying most of Quaker Fabric's assets for $27 million and turning them over to Canadian textile company Victor Innovatex Inc."

"Gross also approved an offer by Atlantis Charter School to buy 66 acres of undeveloped land in Fall River, Mass., known as Bleachery Pond, for $2.6 million."

Lefty's View: While it good news to hear that Victor Innovatex will bring jobs back to Fall River it's not great news. The company has stated plans to employee 200 people, far less than the 900 just laid off by Quaker and they're talking about 3 years to reach that number. While this is welcome news it is not the answer to all our employment needs. In fact this is getting a lot of headlines because it involves Quaker Fabric but the purchase of Fall River Shirt by designer Jospeph Abboud could easily have a similar impact.

Perhaps the real news hear is Atlantis Charter's purchase of 66 acres. With the acquisition of this land the school now has the space to build a complex that could house both their lower and upper schools as well as a planned high school expansion.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Downtown Fall River

It was early, about half past seven, and though I'm sure a steady stream of traffic made it's way toward the highways, commuters traveling to destinations outside of Fall River to work, Downtown was quiet. The air was crisp but the warmth of the morning sunlight streamed through the tree lined street.

I usually don't get a chance, or perhaps don't take the opportunity to stop and take in Downtown so early in the morning and it struck me how pleasant this particular section is. The storefronts are well kept, the sidewalks were clean and majority of the buildings, from the the bank buildings, the Masonic Temple, the library and others help to really give a sense of what Fall River's downtown must have been like in its heyday.

As I walked along the sidewalk I noticed the barber shop was open. A patron was seated in the chair while the barber snipped and clipped away, looking not unlike some scene from a Norman Rockwell illustration. I went only a few a yards further when I realized that I could use a haircut and turned around a walked inside.

A short time later, freshly groomed, I stepped back into the cool air and bright sunshine, thinking what a shame it was that more of us don't take the opportunity to appreciate our Downtown.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Results certified..Nathan Amaral nails the 18th spot

So the results are finally official, WSAR is reporting that the certified results have Nathan Amaral as the 18th place finisher and will go on as a candidate for the City Council in the general election.

Michael Canuel has publicly stated that he will not seek a recount, for him the campaign trail has ended.

For me there is still the question of why there was so much confusion and so much mishandling of the situation. I want answers and explanations of what happened and what was done. I want assurances that the certified results are correct.

I am personally so disappointed in how this has been handled that I would like to urge candidates for mayor, city council, and school committee to request a recount because as of right no I have more doubts than faith. Mr Canuel on WSAR stated that he wouldn't request a recount so to not put the city through the hassle and expense and I appreciate the sentiment. However, I truly believe that despite the hassle and expense that a recount is needed because we need assurances that the Elections Office got it right. We need to demand proof that the system works.

Finally I'd like to commend Nathan Amara and Michael Canuel for how they handled what must have been a very difficult situation.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Canuel Confusion

Sources tell me that Michael Canuel is standing at the Board of Elections Office waiting to find out if he is still a candidate for city council or if his quest for office has officially ended.

The confusion apparently began yesterday evening when I was informed that the absentee ballot count had propelled Canuel into 18th place over candidate Nathaniel Amaral.

I then had someone inform me latter that night that Canuel had been advised by Elections Office that no, his bid has fallen short.

You can imagine his surprise this morning to have the Herald News and WSAR both saying that after the recount he did indeed finish in 18th place with a final tally of 1,978 votes. That bests Mr. Amaral's total by 85 votes even though he himself gained absentee ballot votes.

The shocking thing is Mr. Canuel as I type this still doesn't know if he's in or if he's out. Apparently the Elections Office is unable to provide the answer and the Board of Elections Commissioner, Maureen Glisson was not in the office as of 9am this morning.

We can imagine that Nathaniel Amaral is just as perplexed, just as frustrated, and just as angry as Mr. Canuel to not be able to tell friends, families and supporters whether or not it's a win or a loss.

At the risk of being overly critical how in the world are the candidates told one thing and the media another? How did our Elections Office botch this up?

***Update Michael Canuel just called into the Barry Richards show to let WSAR listeners know that as of right now the final tally is uncertified but that it looks like he is not in the final 18. My first impressions of Mr. Canuel were just lukewarm but I was more impressed with him at the City Council forum and would have liked to have had the opportunity to hear more from him. He certainly deserves better treatment than the Board of Elections has provided and so does Nathaniel Amaral.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Post Election Observations

By now everyone knows that Representative Robert Correia will square off against fellow Representative David Sullivan in general election to see who becomes the next mayor of Fall River.

There are those who feel that their vote doesn't matter, but this was certainly an election that proves that every vote counts. While Bob Correia handily took first place with 4,125 votes, David Sullivan squeaked out his second place finish with 2,411. Sullivan's second place finish was secured by only 280 more votes than the 5th place finisher, Eric Poulin.

The moral of the story is if you liked Alves, Kilby or Poulin but didn't vote for them you may have cost them the race.

Dave Sullivan 2,411
Al Alves 2,213
Brad Kilby 2,155
Eric Poulin 2,131

Votes do matter.

Other observations

Considering how often I heard people tell me that 'Poulin can't win' and 'I'm voting for Sullivan' or 'I'm voting for Kilby' I think there is a strong chance that Poulin should have been the second place finisher.

Did anyone think that Bill Whitty would finish sixth? I know I was just as surprised that Al Alves finished 3rd.

There is no truth to the rumor that Al finished so high because 'Manny Alves voters' got confused

If you're Brad Kilby does loaning your own campaign $40,000 dollars still seem like a good idea?

I'm not the first to observe it but isn't it amazing that everyone called for change but voted for all the same old people?

Pat Richards championed senior safety yet only managed a 17th place finish in the council race which led someone to humorously quip to me "maybe the seniors were to afraid to come out and vote".

Kevin Aguiar received the most votes of any candidate - period. You can't convince me he's not running for a State Rep. seat if Correia wins the general election.

Could there be any truth to the rumor that one candidate bused in people from outside the city to hold signs for his campaign?

I wonder what it's like to be Ed Lambert right now?

I would like to say a personal thank you to all the candidates who ran, all the people who volunteered and all the citizens who voted. I'm optimistic about our city and our political process and all of you made it happen.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Endorse Your Candidate Here

Tomorrow is election day!

Is there a candidate you support and feel deserves some mention? If so I'm creating this post to do just that!

Feel free to leave comments endorsing your candidate of choice and providing the rest of us with a brief explanation of why!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Preliminary Observations

With the preliminary election just a few days away I find myself making these observations.

  • If Dave Sullivan were to become mayor will we see Brad Kilby and Eric Poulin mount campaigns for Sullivan's state rep. seat? Would Whitty?
  • If Bob Correia were to win can we look forward to Kevin Aguiar making another run for Bob's seat?
  • Speaking of Whitty, would anything be worst for him than to lose the election and have Lambert resign so that he had to fill in as acting mayor until the next mayor was sworn in?
  • If the new downtown courthouse is so unpopular with seniors (and seemingly everyone else) and seniors vote, how come nobody mentions that the supposed front-runner Bob Correia sat on the site committee and was personally in favor of the downtown location?
  • Speaking of the courthouse, am I right that the only candidate running that supported the downtown location was Bob Correia? Al Alves on the Council voted no, Whitty was out of office at the time. Kilby was on the school committee. and the others have held no elective office and Sullivan was against. Am I right? (and before I'm accused of having an agenda against Bob this is all stuff I came across while researching my recent courthouse post)
  • If Alves, Whitty, and Kilby fail to win the mayor's race is there any doubt they'll be running for council again in 2009?
  • Has anyone noticed that the only people who comment on my blog are Poulin voters? HELLO do Sullivan supporters not use the internet? Are Al Alves supporters to busy taking pictures with their signs to go online?
  • Will you be surprised if we have five new members on the council next term? I won't.
  • If you're running for the school committee do you feel you've been screwed by a lack of coverage?
  • Along with that I don't want to hear WSAR or the Herald complain a year or so about the school committee candidates when there has been so little coverage of them.

If I do enough posts like this can I have Marc Monroe Dion's job?

Do you know who you're voting for?

With the prelimary election just days away (September 11th) do you know who you're voting for? Have you decided which candidates deserve your vote? Do you know where the candidates for office stand on the issues?

If you haven't decided or you're still looking for answers there is still time for you to brush up on your candidates for office and make the best educated decision you can, and I'm going to help you!

First visit, here you will find a collection of campaign coverage videos from the mini-debates featured on the Gus Suneson Show to the first mayoral forum hosted by Speak Up Fall River. While you could probably find these on your own thanks to this site you won't have to .

Tune into local cable access (Ch. 95) because although some of the programming is available online much is not and here's the only place to watch it. Here's a a handy schedule courtesy of Wings Television.

Go to each candidate's website. I provided links to all the ones I was aware in a series of posts.

Candidate Websites

More Candidate Websites

Read the candidate profiles from SouthCoast Today. I provided links to them in these two blog posts.

Mayoral Profiles at

More Mayoral Profiles at

Review the Herald News' 'Sprint to the Sixth Floor' series. I was able to make the first, third and fourth installments available on the blog.

If you're unable to watch the first mayoral forum, I provided my breakdown in a series of posts.
Part I
Part II
Part III

I also provided my observations after watching 'Meet the Candidates 2007'

The Herald News featured profiles of all the candidates as well as a sample ballot in the paper on Thursday but I have been unable to locate them online. It's worth looking at but it will mean digging for a copy or visiting the library. Particularly because it has the School Committee candidates who have really had the worst coverage of anybody.

Anyway hopefully this helps the undecided and I urge everyone to vote!