Wednesday, October 31, 2007
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 email@example.com
Monday, October 29, 2007
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
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.
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?
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please consider supporting this worthy cause.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
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.
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
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
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
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:
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?
Cathy Ann Viveiros
Linda M. Pereira
Raymond E. Hague
Michael L. Miozza
Brian M. Dias
Paul R. Viveros
Patrick A. Richards
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.
Marilyn Morin Roderick
Shawn E. Cadime
Timothy P. McCoy
John F. Picard
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.