Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Question of Boundaries Part II - Fall River, Massachusetts

In 1746, in a confirmed a decision by King George II, the colony of Rhode Island was awarded lands previously held by the Massachusetts Colony. By this decision the towns of Little Compton, Tiverton, Bristol, Barrington, Warren and Cumberland became part of Rhode Island.

Although neither Massachusetts or Rhode Island was satisfied with the King's decision no further action was taken by either colony. We can only assume this is because there were increasing tensions between the Crown and the colonies that in 1776 would result in the Revolutionary War. When the colonies secured their freedom there was still no action, although both Massachusetts and Rhode Island surveyed the boundaries with Massachusetts claiming that Rhode Island was infringing on its rightful land.

Perhaps so shortly after the founding of our country there was no means to settle such a dispute, or perhaps there was simply too many other things that the young country had to resolve first. Whatever the reason the boundary between Tiverton, Rhode Island and Freetown, Massachusetts remained just south of present day Colombia Street as laid out by Rhode Island in 1746.

In 1803 the Southern part of Freetown was separated and incorporated as a new town, Fall River. In 1804 the new town had its named change to Troy and again back to Fall River in 1834.

As a town Fall River grew slowly at first
. When incorporated there were but 1,000 residents and 7 years later the census recorded only 1,296. The census of 1820 recorded only 1,594 residents but the 1820's would represent a boom in Fall River's growth. During the 20's several mill complexes were built and with these new mills came the need for mill workers. Fall River's population exploded to 4,159 in 1830 and would increase to 6,738 in 1840!

It is during this time frame that our next border dispute takes place. In 1832 Rhode Island filed a bill against the Massachusetts in the U.S. Supreme Court. In legal action that would take 6 years to conclude the Court dismissed the case claiming 'want of jurisdiction'. It seems the opinion of the Court was that one state could not sue another state over "Contests for rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction"
Contests for rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction between states over any particular territory, are not, in my judgment, the subjects of judicial cognizance and control, to be recovered and enforced in an ordinary suit; and are, therefore, not within the grant of judicial power contained in the constitution.
Following the Supreme Court dismissal Rhode Island and Massachusetts appointed 6 commissioners, 3 per state to resolve the boundary issue. With 5 of the 6 commissioners coming to same conclusion, their recommendations were submitted to their respective legislatures but just when it seems the long contested question was about to be settled it was delayed once again.

The people of Fall River appointed a committee to petition the Massachusetts Legislature to not allow any settlement that was less advantageous than granted by King George II in 1741. They further argued that the commissioners of Rhode Island in 1746 had failed to lay down the boundary in accordance to the instruction of the King. The result, they said, was that a thickly settled area had been divided and the result was that northern Tiverton, although closely aligned with Fall River fell under the jurisdiction of a different state.

As a result of this committee's actions the Massachusetts legislature refused to ratify the decision of its commissioners. Both states looking to resolve the long standing dispute filed bills of equity with Supreme Court in 1852, both agreeing to abide by whatever decision the Court should reach.

Back to Part I On to Part III

Local Landmark Closing After 70 Years

The Herald News Reports that Mark You is closing its doors after 70 years in business. Apparently the long-time Flint fixture requires extensive renovation to meet current fire codes and owner Gary Tow said he simply can't afford the estimated 40-50 thousand dollars it would take to bring the restaurant up to current standards.

Mark You is an area landmark and it will be a little sad to drive down Pleasant Street some night and see its familiar dragon sign unlit.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Casinos on the SouthCoast..Gambling with or for our Future



A recently released survey indicates that majority of Massachusetts residents would like to see a resort casino in the state with the Fall River/New Bedford area being viewed as a favorable location.

On this issue, I am not in the majority, Call it a gut-feeling but I have concerns that in our rush to embrace casinos as our ticket to prosperity, we will ignore the the troubles and social ills that often seem to come with them. I fear that our politicians in their efforts to bring a resort casino here will give away the farm and that voters and residents will get starry eyed over short term promises instead of long term solutions.
At the same time I recognize the tremendous amount of revenue that is generated by resort casinos and the belief that they can be a key in revitalizing an economy.


Dr. Momentum blogged about this yesterday, where late night, needing sleep and staring at my monitor bleary eyed I came across it and posted a comment. This morning, I find my comment inspired a new post. I stated that I wished someone would do the research and prove me concerns wrong, and Dr. Momentum has found some supporting data in favor of casinos that I hope will be the catalyst of further debate.

I invite anyone with an opinion on this to comment here and to visit the Aces Full of Links site.







SouthCoast Photo of the Month


Here it is..the SouthCoast photo of the month.


This is one of the lanterns that sits out front of the Main Post Office in Fall River. Although you can't see it from the picture there is an interesting contrast between this building and the 70's modern styling of Fall River's Government Center which sits just adjacent.


The Post Office, which I believe was built in the 1930's, is certainly a reminder to a Fall River before highways cut through it and bottled up the might Quequechan River.


Looking at this photo, one can almost the rumbling of a Ford Model A and hear the gurgling of the waterfalls that were just down the street.


I hope to make the SouthCoast photo of the month a regular feature and invite you to share your photos. Please include captions and location information and any other background you feel would be interesting. Send photos to aviewfrombattleshipcove@gmail.com






Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tiverton, Massachusetts or Fall River, Rhode Island: Making Sense of the Long Boundary Dispute

In an blog post from earlier this month I shared a little Fall River History and received the following comment:


Roger Williams said...

I think you should blog about the turning point in Fall River's history - the day in 1862 when much of present day Fall River was traded by Rhode Island (along with a player to be named later) to Massachusetts for East Pawtucket and East Providence. I know you're big on analyzing baseball deals, so I'm surprised you haven't chimed in on who got the better deal here.

In order to comment on what happened between Massachusetts and Rhode Island in 1862, we must first look at the history that led up to it. I find myself back in colonial New England, back to a time where the King of England ruled over the lands I now call home. While I sift through events that took place over 350 years ago, The Rhode Islander and our present day Roger Williams explores this boundary dispute and others that have shaped and continue to shape Rhode Island.

March 1, 1862 wasn't really a "turning point" in Fall River's history, but instead was the resolution of nearly 200 years of boundary dispute between Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

When Roger Williams secured a charter for the Rhode Island in 1643 there was no conflict with the claims of the Plymouth Colony, however a second charter issued in 1663 did impede on territory claimed by the Plymouth Colony and Plymouth immediately dispatched representatives to the King to defend her claim. In response the King, Charles II, appointed commissioners to review the matter, these commissioners found in favor of Plymouth, a decision confirmed by the King in 1664.


In 1691 by the orders of a new King, William, a new charter was issued combining the Plymouth Colony with the Massachusetts Bay Colony to form the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The new charter defined the southern boundary as "to the south sea or westward as far as our colony of Rhode Island". Since Rhode Island's own charter had never been legally abrogated, this once again drew into question exactly what was the boundary between the two colonies. It would almost 50 years before that question was again brought to before the King.

In 1740 Rhode Island once again applied to the crown, this time George II, for a re-examination of her Eastern border. The King appointed 15 commissioners, 8 who met in Providence. Although the commissioners found in favor of Rhode Island the decision was appealed by both sides. The King, however, confirmed the decision in 1746 and Little Compton, Tiverton, Bristol, Barrington, Warren and Cumberland became part of Rhode Island. By the decision of the King both Massachusetts and Rhode Island were to appoint 3 commissioners to mark the official boundaries per the written instructions of the King. Rhode Island immediately appointed its commissioners who marked the boundaries. Massachusetts upon learning of this accepted Rhode Island's findings and took no immediate measures to examine the boundaries on her own.

In 1791, under renewed difficulties between the states Massachusetts and Rhode Island both assigned commissioners to ascertain the boundaries between the two states. However the two states disagreed in their understandings of the directions of the King and Massachusetts claimed that Rhode Island had infringed on her territory. Amazingly neither side was able to completely resolve the issue and it would continue to linger for decades.


TO BE CONTINUED...





Friday, January 26, 2007

Drugs!?

How depressing.

Just this Monday a 15 year old boy was shot to death in the Benny Costa housing project, despite local officials attempts to reassure the public that the problem is not as bad as it seems, no one is buying it. A few days later at a meeting held at the nearby Dolan Apartments to discuss safety issues at the city's housing projects only 3 Benny Costa residents attend, even though the meeting is a response to what happened at Benny Costa. One of Benny Costa residents declares that the housing projects are being used as a "home-base" and states that residents didn't come to the meeting "because they're afraid,".

Yesterday the front page of the herald reports that a drug trafficking operation was being run out of Pleasant View, another Fall River housing project! Great Fall River is looking to establish itself as a hub for economic growth, looks like we're succeeding.

Now this morning I find out that there have MORE arrests in our city's projects and I wonder does everyone in public housing use or deal drugs?

Yesterday, Keri Rodrigues on her show suggested random drug tests for people in public housing, a view I find a bit too extreme but I have to admit, I know where she's coming from and I have to say I don't have any magic solutions.

What can we do? How do we reclaim our neighborhoods?

Lefty's view:
  • Let's take a serious look at Eric Poulin's call for a Drug Summit
  • Let's see what course of actions other communities have successfully taken and see if we can adopt them here
  • Let's recognize that poverty and drug abuse are too often found in the same place and push for tougher punishment for people who sell in or around Public Housing projects.
  • Let's redouble our efforts to reach our young and present positive role models and good learning experiences.
  • Explore and implement every resource at our disposal to improve the environment around our projects and in our city.
  • Let's remember that after the issue fades from the headlines and airwaves if we allow it to be put on the back burner we are part of the problem not the solution.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Herald News Announces 7th Candidate in Mayoral Race

The city Mayoral race has just gotten a bit more crowded according to the Herald News. Kenneth Medeiros, the 47 year old Fall River native who is credited with "helping politicians such as Carole Fiola, Edward M. Lambert Jr. and Thomas M. Hodgson get elected" is announcing his intentions to run for Mayor.

Mr. Medeiros believes change is needed and is quoted as saying "The city has come to a very bad place. Jobs have moved out and gangs have moved in, leaving our kids with little to look forward to." He also states that while he is opposed to the LNG project he believes that it will probably come to fruition, again according to the Herald News.

Lefty's View: The announced candidacy of the first five was absolutely no surprise and was actually pretty expected, but Eric Poulin and now Kenneth Medeiros?! Just how many people will end up falling from the trees and running for Mayor?

While it's actually quite nice to see so many people getting involved in local politics how long is it before we start seeing more candidates not only announce but actually start providing some real reasons of why they deserve our votes? So far only one candidate has actually thrown his platform out there

Monday, January 22, 2007

What are Other People Writing About?

I've done enough writing over the last couple of days and it's time to take a break and catch up on what other people are blogging about. Here are some that caught me eye:

Flickr: Up close and personal - observations about getting to know someone before getting to know someone

The Birth of a Legend - The U.S.S Massachusetts, & “Kilroy Was Here”

5 Years of Aces - 10 days late but congratulations to Dr. Momentum on his anniversaries.

Time Inc. Layoffs vs. Bloggers - Papamoka offers a view of the relationship between bloggers and the mainstream media.

Fall River Line - Saying hello to a new blog with a great name!

How do you say "enough already" in Portuguese? - Roger Williams wonders just how many consulates do the Portuguese need?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Poulin Platform

Mayoral candidate Eric Poulin has said that he wanted to run a campaign that focused on the issues and expressed a willingness to make his platform points available to anyone. Deciding to take him up on that, I emailed Mr. Poulin 5 days ago and asked if he would send me his platform and if he minded if I blogged about it.

Eric replied only a short time later and said:
Please feel free to blog about my platform, whether people like or dislike my platform my feeling is that it will at least cause people to debate and a good intelligent discussion and a back and forth on the issues is something that I felt was sorely needed in this Mayor's race.

You will notice in my platform that there are several items that I commit to and that I am quite adamant about and there are a few instances where I use the word "consider" because I want to hear more feedback and debate from the community on the issue.
After reading through the first 5 pages of his platform, (he plans on adding more) I have to say that it would be impossible for me to blog about it point for point. In fact in putting together this blog I've found it's hard to comment on even a few points because to include my view I need to include portions of Mr. Poulin's platform so you know what the heck I'm commenting on.

The original result was a blog post that ran on for pages for the sake of my sanity and to give you, the reader, all the information I have made the Poulin Platform available online while at the same time commenting on specific points here on A View To Battleship Cove. I have linked to Mr. Poulin's platform repeatedly throughout this post.

Change the Mayoral and School Committee terms to 4-year terms with a 2-term (8-year) limit.

Lefty's view: I fully support changing the Mayoral and School Committee terms to 4-year terms and agree the current 2-year terms keep our elected officials thinking too much on re-election and not enough on city business. However, I am emphatically against term limits. My idea of term limits is you vote for someone else. I would support local campaign finance reform with strict limits on what could be spent on a campaign.

Consider limiting City Council terms to a maximum of 4 terms at 2 years (8-year limit).

Lefty's view: Again, I am totally against term limits, however I like Mr. Poulin's thinking here in regards to keeping the City Council on a 2-year term. City Councillors would have to worry about re-election more often, but this would keep the council more responsive the 'will of the people.

Consider having City Councilors elected by Wards.

Lefty's view: I have long thought that our city council should be elected by Wards. Not only do I fully agree with Mr. Poulin in regards to a more balanced representation but I believe that an unknown candidate could successfully run for election as a Ward Councillor, where lack of money and recognition would hamper someone from winning a city-wide election.


To combat crime and drugs, hold a Drug Summit in Fall River

Lefty's view: While a Drug Summit might be instrumental in combating alcohol and drug addiction thus reducing related crimes, I am unconvinced that reducing addiction will by itself reduce the bulk of crimes in Fall River. Mr. Poulin speaks of enforcement and he speaks of cause, but what he doesn't address is prevention. My idea would be to have the police sub-stations and/or police walking beats implemented into areas were most troubled by crime. Further I would work to acquire grant monies to promote and expand neighborhood watch programs. Lastly, considering how much of our residents live in rental units I would consider looking into implementing a system that would enable and encourage landlords to run comprehensive background checks on prospective tenants.

Homelessness

Lefty's view: Although I applaud Eric's effort to put attention on such a troubling issue on this platform point I just don't think he is saying enough. I would urge the candidate to research this issue now. First off, should we treat this as a city issue or a regional issue? If we treat it as a regional issue well then we need to involve other communities. Is Steppingstone the only homeless facility in the city? Are there enough beds, not on a daily, weekly, monthly need but at a peak need? I'm not sure what role the city can play or should play but I would offer that it could be anything from helping orchestrate volunteer efforts to having a grant writer made available to help non-profit and church groups secure funds.






Brad Kilby - "Uniquely qualified to lead Fall River"

With Kilby signs already spotted around the city it would seem that City Councilor Bradford L. Kilby is kicking things into high gear with a campaign website.

And while this looks pretty legitimate to me, I will say that I'm stumped by the website address, (www.shawnmdo.com). Maybe www.kilby4mayor.com was already taken?

While the site appears to be still under construction it does list the Kilby campaign kickoff as being scheduled for February 9, 2007, has "Kilby on LNG", links to help register you to vote, and of course donate to the campaign!

***Update - thanks to the recent comment on this post, I've pointed all the hyper links to the Kilby campaign site.***

15 Year Old Boys...and Public Housing

As a resident, as a home-owner, as a parent, the news that 15 year old Shakeem T. Davis was shot to death in one of the city's housing projects on Monday night is both sad and disturbing.

I ask myself what was a 15 year old doing miles away from his home at 10pm on a school night? Why was he in an apartment that has an alleged reputation as a "
safe haven for gang members and drug dealers"?

It's so puzzling and so senseless but the purpose of this post isn't to judge this boy or his parents. They will have to live forever questioning why this happened to their son and wondering if they could have prevented it.

As disturbing as it is that this boy lost his life, it is almost equally as disturbing that this act of violence took place in one of the city's housing projects.

In a recent blog post I asked, somewhat rhetorically, why do projects fail? I was amused when little more than a month later the Herald News reported "Housing Authority Lauded" an article that reported that the city's federally subsidized public housing developments have been given the high marks by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

High marks or not, the the city's housing projects too often appear in the news for all the wrong reasons. Gang fights at Watuppa Heights, a man shot to death at Sunset Hill, postal carriers allegedly assaulted near Heritage Heights and Maple Gardens, a woman murdered at Pleasant View. While thorough research may show that our projects are not the most dangerous places in Fall River, it's safe to assume that they're not the safest.

And that's a shame because the reality is, like it or not public housing is not going to go away and if you could magically do away with it you would just promote more crime, more homelessness, and more poverty. What is needed is more efforts to make public housing work.

Here's what I've been thinking:
  • Seriously disruptive tenants must go, that means don't follow the rules, don't maintain your unit, encourage, allow or participate in illegal activities and you're hitting the street.
  • Set up a 24hr. Housing Hot line so tenants can anonymously report troubles or concerns.
  • Survey each housing project and install better lighting and security cameras as needed.
  • Create or strengthen existing project tenant boards to allow more tenant participation in management decisions.
  • Enforce the community service requirement act, which requires tenants of federally subsidized public housing to perform 8 hours of community service per month.
  • Create community centers for each project. These centers can be staffed by qualified tenant volunteers and promote sports, crafts, community events (i.e. cookouts etc.) and daycare
  • Institute yearly inspections for all units, to facilitate maintenance and help identify tenants who are guilty of neglecting their units.
  • Consider adopting Charlotte, North Carolina's "Transitional Family" program.
I welcome your thoughts....

SOLD!


The Boston Herald has a brief report on Weaver's Cover LLC,
Weaver’s Cove LLC yesterday officially purchased the land in Fall River where it hopes to build a new LNG facility strongly opposed by local leaders. Weaver’s Cove, which exercised its option to buy from a firm controlled by contractor Jay Cashman, said its takeover of the property reflects its confidence an LNG facility will eventually be built.
I'm not sure what this means, if anything. While the folks at Weaver's Cove may believe this implies "its confidence an LNG facility will eventually be built", it seems to me just as likely to be a contractual obligation.

***UPDATE***
City Councillor Brad Kilby "
believes the deed transfer gives the city new legal arguments based on health and safety issues" according to this morning's Herald News. The Herald also reports the sale price as 16.8 million dollars and points out that Jay Cashman is making 14.2 million dollar provit on his 2.6 million dollar investment.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wind Power or Hot Air?

Although I don't think I have a big enough yard for a wind turbine, because I live fairly close the water and 'enjoy' strongs breezes off of the Taunton River the idea of a wind turbine does appeal to me.

And it should! clean, 'green' and renewable wind power is something that just seems to make sense.

Amazingly someone in my neighborhood installed a turbine on top of a tall metal pole. I would drive by or walk by be just mesmerized by that spinning prop. However, after some really windy weather I notice that the pole was bent and a week or so later the whole thing was laying down in the yard, (I assume taken down for safety).
And now I come across an article on SouthCoast Today that reports that one company is being blamed for not living up to its promises. WindTech Co., a company owned by former state Rep. Mark A. Howland. is being accused of taking orders for windmills and not delivering on them and of installing windmills that didn't perform as promised.

It's a shame because I still feel that that wind power is exciting and viable energy source but if people are cashing in and failing to provide a quality product or to live up to their promises, well then who's going to want to give it a chance?

A New Bourne Identity


The Armory Revival Company of Providence, Rhode Island is working on a proposal to renovate the Bourne Mills Complex in North Tiverton.

The property which borders Cook Pond has 22 building on it, 16 which would be renovated, the remainder would be demolished and some new construction would take place. When completed the property would contain 267 residential units, 80 "of these units would be affordable, targeted at households at 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI)(targeted income of $32,000-$34,000)." There would be roughly 38,000 sq. ft. of commercial space which could be used for such things, as restaurants, an athletic facility and craft industries.

Although issues remain it would seem that the Tiverton Planning Board is in favor of the project.

The view from Battleship Cove is: A renovated Tiverton mill complex is not only good for Tiverton but also for Fall River and the area in general. A project like this, well done, only adds to the prestige of the area, makes other like projects more plausible and helps raise the profile the community. On top of that, it also helps preserve a the historical fabric of the this region. It is my hope that the issues can be worked out and that a neglected run-down mill complex can once again play an important role the vitality of the area.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Politics and Political Speculation

With no new candidates officially entering the ring, this morning's Herald News goes over who may or may not be entering the mayoral race.

Nothing too exciting here, the paper mentions that Anthony Cordeiro and George Jacome are both considering a run but neither were ready to throw their hat into the ring. I've talked about both these gentlemen before. As I stated back in October:

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

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


Of the two I think Mr. Cordeiro is the stronger candidate, mostly because he is a proven fundraiser who can come up with the cash to launch a strong campaign and because he can point to a record of investing in an believing in the city, something that I think will resonate with voters.

Bottom line: I still say that successfully running a business is not the same as successfully running a city.

The question for F. George Jacome is how much of his success is due to his charisma, his energy, and his platform and how much is do to the fact that he's not Ed Lambert? Jacome ran a strong campaign against Ed Lambert and nearly unseated him, two years later Jacome barely squeaked by Henry Gillet in the primary and was soundly defeated by Lambert. Money certainly had something to do with that but with such a crowded field of candidates will a Jacome campaign be able to raise enough money to make it through a what is going to be a bruising primary and then have enough for the general election?

Bottom line: If Jacome really wants to win elected office in 2007, I think he should consider a run for the City Council.

While School Committee members Mark Costa, Shawn Cadime and Kevin Aguiar all denied any plans on running for Mayor, Aguiar was the only one who didn't confirm intentions to run for re-election to the School Committee.

Bottom line: Look for Kevin Aguiar to announce his candidacy for the City Council in the near future.

Eric Poulin, Candidate and Controversy


The difference a few days can make!

Running for Mayor
On Tuesday 28 year old Eric Poulin, an aide in the Mayor's office, announced his candidacy for mayor of Fall River, becoming the sixth candidate to announce for that position.

Conflict of Interest
On Wednesday Eric Poulin released a statement to the press describing a meeting he had with Mayor Lambert. Poulin asserts that Mayor Lambert advised him that he would need to resign his position or be placed on unpaid leave. It is the Mayor's belief that there is an "inherent conflict" in his position with the Mayor's office and running for elected office. Poulin indicated in his statement that he disagreed with the Mayor's position and that he would consider obtaining legal counsel.

When is a Policy Not a Policy?
On Friday the Herald News reported that Poulin had been placed on unpaid leave, a move that Mayor Lambert had indicated was standard policy. The Herald questioned the city's Director of Personnel and Training and reported that there is no written policy regarding city employees running for elected office, a point that the conceded but stated "It's allowed by law and it's always been clear here." The letter informing him that he was placed on administrative leave was made available to the press.

What's the view from Battleship Cove?
When Eric Poulin announced his candidacy and discussed his platform on the air with WSAR's Keri Rodrigues I thought he faced two huge challenges:

1. Even though he had been in the Mayor's office for six years he faced a severe 'name recognition' issue

2. Despite his knowledge and experience Eric is only 28 years old and a lot of people are going to consider him 'too young' to be mayor.

Certainly, 'name recognition' wouldn't appear to much of a problem anymore, his announcement and the resulting controversy has practically made Eric Poulin a household name. However, how Eric handles this controversy is going to make a huge difference on how viable a candidate he is, because the reality people don't think he's too young, they question whether or not he is mature enough for the position.

Although some people feel that Eric is the victim of political backroom shenanigans, I personally believe that there is a conflict of interests here and that the Mayor is trying to maintain "The appearance of neutrality". That said I think the Mayor handled this badly, that Poulin certainly could have been reassigned, with full disclosure to the press and that if this is a long standing policy that it should have been documented.

I think the Eric Poulin's employment issues are at risk issue of overshadowing the "issue oriented" campaign he said he wants to run. He's also at risk at letting his emotions influence the statements he's making to the press (as demonstrated by his comments in Friday's Herald News).

Eric needs to refocus the attention back on his campaign and the platform that he has presented. As for the employment question, my advice is he handle is as just another campaign issue.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Where's the Outrage?


With 5 months to go, Morton Middle School has spent 80% of it's after-school program budget. Principal James Murano sent a letter to the School Committee that was read at last Monday's meeting, not to explain how he mismanaged $20,000 but to state that he would need $15-20,000 for the programs to continue. Mayor Lambert stated that Murano knew that the $25,000 was the budget for the entire school year and both he and superintendent, Dr. Fisher, stated that Morton would not be receiving more money.

Am I missing something here? We have a middle school principal that basically blew his after-school program budget in the first 4 months and other than the Herald News story I've barely heard a peep! How come I haven't read about upset parents in the paper? How come I haven't heard upset parents on the radio?

Where's the outrage!?

Have I missed it? If I was a parent of a Morton School student I would be furious that Mr. Murano implemented a program the school couldn't afford and now most likely won't be able to continue.

How ironic that the student's own newspaper highlights in it's first issue the popularity and positive influence of the after-school programs. The School Paper staff state, "All in all, the after school programs have transformed the social life here at Morton and increased school pride." and Principal Murano is quoted saying “I think it’s important for our students to have these programs so they have a place to go after school under adult supervision.” If he believed in them so much why didn't he work harder to make sure those funds were sufficient to last the entire school year?

If Morton Middle School's after-school programs are to continue for the remainder of the school year it will be because of the efforts of parents, area businesses and local leaders, not the principal that let them down.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Who's Running for Mayor?

With the Christmas rush I didn't blog about Representative Bob Correia announcing his run for Fall River's top spot. I also didn't blog about how Al Alves, perhaps feeling forgotten with all the other announcements, 'officially' announcing his intentions after I thought he had done a pretty good job of announcing it the first time around.

So with 2006 ending with 4 candidates in the running, 2007 sees City Councillor Bill Whitty becoming the 5th candidate for Mayor.

It's interesting to note that some are speculation that Ed Lambert may not finish his term and that he'll leave for another position or resign due to scandal. If that were to happen, as City Council President, Bill Whitty would serve as acting mayor for the remainder of Lambert's term.

A Little Fall River History...

I came across the website Mass Moments that has an interesting bit of Fall River history I thought was worth sharing.

What is Good Talk Radio?


I stumbled across a blog post the other day that lamented of the loss of two "progressive" radio stations from the Boston market and how "thousands of Progressives in the Boston, Fall River and Providence area are left without an outlet for our political and social thought".

I'm not much of a fan of 'political' radio. I'm capable of coming to my own conclusions without being spoon fed by some loudmouth with a microphone. Rush, Sean, Laura, and Al might be entertaining but I can only tolerate them for a short period of time before I switch the channel. On top of that these types of shows are national and since I agree with Tip O'Neil that all politics is local, I think the best talk radio is too.

This got me 'googling' for 'Fall River Progressive Radio' which led me to the Blue Mass Group website and a piece written by 'radiokeri', WSAR's Keri Rodrigues. Titled, Progressive Radio Alive and Kicking in the SouthCoast, Keri states that her program is "exactly what liberal radio should be in the Commonwealth -- take no prisioners commentary about progressive issues -- high profile interviews with people who have refused to even acknowledge talk radio as a medium before", she goes on to say "It's not just liberal talk -- it's good talk radio".

The issue I have with Keri's show is that too often (in my opinion) she is the 'fighting pitbull Democrat' who instead of stimulating good discussion and debate, shuts down guests and callers who don't share her views. To me she is at her best when the show is less about liberal politics and more about issues in general where she and her callers discuss and debate their views.

So why do I listen? Because very often her show is not just 'good' talk radio, but VERY good talk radio with high profile guests and the ability to focus on both local and national issues and hosted by someone who is passionate for the things she believes in, on the air and in the community. When Keri says "It's not just liberal talk -- it's good talk radio", she also says "which is the difference between success and failure in the business" and I agree. As much as I hate being preached to from the bully pulpit if the show is entertaining, if it's 'good talk radio' I'm willing to listen.