Friday, August 31, 2007
The two pictures above are of the same vacant lot. The one* showing the lot overrun with tall grass an weeds was taken at the end of July. The one showing the lot cleared was taken by me today (8/31/07).
This is a lot on the corner of Broadway and Hope. I drive by this very lot over a dozen times a week and if the address sounds familiar to you it's because it's been mentioned a lot by the media lately.
On August 2nd Eric Poulin, candidate for Mayor, and Mike Miozza, candidate for City Council stood in front of this lot, in front of the tall grass and weeds and held a press conference, (that would become part of a taped expose) to bring attention to, and to discuss their positions on, the city's litter problem.
The result was that in a matter of days the lot was completely cleaned up. I'm not sure if the lot was cleaned by the property owner or by the city, but it's clean! I thought to myself how impressive it was that two candidates for office were able to bring attention to an issue that needed to be addressed and got some results. Why hadn't any of our elected officials done that? Now certainly no one thinks that we can solve problems simply by holding press conferences and taping a focused expose on them but is does kind of point out that they don't get solved when they're ignored.
My original intent in blogging about this was to simply bring attention to something that I was happy to see and to some efforts that I appreciate. However, some people feel that these two men were simply performing a cheap publicity stunt, capitalizing on the chance to get their names in the paper, and perhaps to a degree that's true. What they did was to take an issue that had come to the forefront and seize the chance to inform the people of this city about the solutions they are proposing as candidates for office. That may be capitalizing on the moment but it's not capitalizing on the issue because the solutions they offered were the same ones they had put out months before. The difference was now the rest of the city was opening up its eyes to a problem that these men had already identified and was ready to listen.
Again these two guys are running for office and I've taken the time to watch the expose, to read their platforms on their respective websites and overall educate myself on who they are and to the quality of their candidacy, (as I've been attempting to with all the candidates), Many of their ideas are good, good enough to give them your vote? That's for you to decide. However they are both serious candidates with intelligent positions and what they achieved that day was not a cheap publicity stunt. A cheap publicity stunt would have been to organize a cleanup, to offer to the voting public a tangible result instead of a long-term solution.
* I found this picture on the campaign website for Eric Poulin and have 'borrowed' for use here. It is my hope that Mr. Poulin does not mind.
Here it is August's SouthCoast Photo of the month!
I'm sure you've noticed that the blog has taken a decidedly political flavor of late. That is, of course, because this is an election year and our preliminary election is less than 2 weeks away!
With campaigns in full swing one of the most common sites in the city is campaign signs that seem to spring up in yards and on fences like wildflowers.
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
Each candidate was invited to participate, not all of them did. I was asked by a friend to view this, not to blog about it but simply so we could go over each other's impressions. With so many candidates I decided to make some quick short hand notes to refer back to. These notes were not meant to be in depth, just little points to help trigger my memory. However after reading them over I though they would be interesting to share with you.
So, I've applied a light polish and gave each candidate a report grade for their performance on this program. Please remember my comments are not meant to reflect my opinion on the candidate, just on their performance on this program.
Mayor - It's this simple, I want to hear what you want to do and realistically how are you going to do it. Because the people the need to see you as a leader all the bonus points come from how much poise you bring to the podium!
Al Alves – He doesn't come off well here. Al isn't always the most polished speaker and here he comes off clumsy and tough to follow. It's really a horrible impression. Al would have been better off skipping this. D-
Manny Alves – Started off strong, shockingly so, stumbled a bit here and there. More coherent than Al! Comes off better than I would have thought, The definition of 'long-shot candidate', still he comes off well enough here that I wonder if he should have run for council! The only LNG candidate! C+
Bob Correia – Polished! He knows what he’s doing here and it shows. Rhetoric! Stealing from Reagan with mentions of shining city and best days are ahead. I'm growing a bit bored with the 'look at all I've done as State Rep.' sales pitch. Come election day I'm thinking if Bob's such a good State Rep. he needs to stay there. I want more details on how he is going to accomplish his goals. Still his presentation is really good, always looking at the camera, not referencing notes, is he using a teleprompter? A
Brad Kilby – Looks bad after Correia, flubbing a little. You would think he would be a better orator since he’s a lawyer. He really should work with a coach. I think Kilby has the ability to leave the podium behind and connect with people in a more conversational style but he's not doing it here. Am I the only one who thinks he looked better with hair? Disappointing. B
Kenneth Medeiros – WOW. I don't know where to begin. I'm not impressed, except perhaps by Mr. Medeiros' ego. Someone needs to let him know that many others have had the same ideas as him. F
Eric Poulin - So far second only to Correia. Looks good. Those who like to say he's too young should see him here. Good job at getting out his platform. Good at stressing specifics. Not as comfortable with the camera as Correia but overall very good. A-
Bill Whitty – Polished, assured – He’s smooth, not a lot of details on hows but he’s smooth. You can tell that He and Correia have been doing this a long time. He's not as polished as Bob and neither of them hit the platform points as well as Poulin. A-
City Council - Making the pitch is tough in Fall River the council has limited power and seems more of a reactionary body vs. proactive one. Still a candidate needs to show that he or she knows the issues and has some ideas they want to try to put through.
Tim Bennett – I could support a Green Futures candidate! Not polished but conversational folksy style. Good impression B+Jamie Boulay – He comes off well, seems sincere but I'm not connecting with him. Why do I get the feeling this guy already has plans to run for mayor? B
Steven Camara – Good delivery, getting out issues, former councilor, really making good use of his time. A-
Mike Canuel – Comes across pretty well on camera. Instead of the usual campaign pitch he decides to tell a 'make a difference story', it seems a little preachy. Nice story but it’s not getting my vote. I feel like I'm in church. B
CJ Ferry – He’s keeping my interest, but wrong on some facts, It’s easy to point out issues without offering any real solutions. Quoting form Wiki?! At least his blog is somewhat interesting. B-
Ray Hague – Hyping his record, makes sense because he is running for re-election. Not as polished as I would expect but pretty good. Kind of bouncing between speech and informal talk. OOPS I disagree with him on Government Center (He wants to demolish it). With Kilby, Alves, and Whitty gone I think he’s a shoo-in. B+Michael Lund – Fiery, lots of rhetoric, not much detail. Lund and his family developed and own Borden Light Marina. Not sure if Borden Light is his legacy or his families. Also the Lund's had some controversy over plans to build a high-rise down there, that makes me concerned about his agenda. B -
Michael Miozza – Well thought out speech. Here is a guy who has put a lot of thought of what he wants to say and how he wants to say it. His efforts against the Hess LNG plant lend to his credibility. He's really laying out the basics well and providing specifics! Outstanding. A
Americo Miranda – Not bad, but I’m not impressed. Lots of buzz words, reciting the issues, but few solutions. B
Pat Richards – Good charisma, not enough specifics...good intentions no platform! C+
Gus Suneson – Grim, reciting the city issues, not offering much..asks if I’m tired of rhetoric while offering pretty much nothing but rhetoric! I’m so-so on Gus. Could be an interesting talk show host! Still he's a former councillor and that gives him an edge. B-
Richard Urban – Seems sincere, not enough substance. Can't put my finger on it but I like him! C+
Cathy Ann Viveiros – seems to know her stuff, very polished this is almost an infomercial compared to the rest. This might be the best City Council pitch. A+
Paul Viveros – Very personable, Allegations without specifics! With his very public issues with the city I have to think of him as the 'I have an Agenda' candidate! B-
Kevin Aguiar – Rhetoric! but he comes off well and is actually pretty smooth with his delivery. B
CJ Ferry – Easy to bring up issues! Rhetoric! Not impressed with his thinking, impressed me more in his City Council pitch. C
Joseph Martins – experienced, knowledgeable, seems like he would be deserving. Wonder if he would have issues being a committee person after serving as superintendent and director at Diman? Would he find it tough not being in the role of leader? A-
Marilyn Morin Roderick - She's not offering much detail, but you feel she's very sincere in her intentions. I'm impressed that she visits so many schools. B+
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
So far I've only come across 4 but will do second post as the others become available!
Manuel O. Alves
Rep. Bob Correia
Monday, August 27, 2007
Gang violence and drug-related crimes have escalated in Fall River, causing our residents to live in fear. We used to feel safe in our homes and our children felt safe in their schools.
So how well did you know the candidates?
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Although in the end she decided not to go it did pique her interest as to what had been going on in the place she once called home.
However, this particular anniversary caused me to go online and check out some of the local newspapers to see what's been happening in "my little town"
Searching out the headlines in some our local newspapers she was dismayed to find the all too often references to drugs, crime and violence.
Amazingly it was a news piece on Durfee High School that seems to have inspired her post.
The really shocking news, however, was to read the front page headline of the latest referendum for the town of Fall River........
The mandate was that B.M.C. Durfee High School be required to provide each student with their own complete set of text books so that homework could actually be done at home.
Since WHEN was that NOT a requirement of a public school?
Up until this point I had read the blog post with some interest, tinged with a bit of regret and sadness, our area certainly faces many challenges in the areas of crime, drugs, education and our local economy. I could sympathize with someone who has been out of touch with the region for a lengthy period of time being shocked by some of the changes. However it was at this point that I started to become bothered by what I was beginning to think of as a rather jaded view.
Despite my best efforts I could not locate any news article that detailed this referendum or mandate. What I did find was a Herald News article from August 18th detailing some changes taking place at Durfee High. Amongst the changes taking place the principal mentions that the school will now have the ability to purchase additional text books, enough for each student to take home. No referendum, no mandate, and perhaps a hint on why students have been required to leave the textbooks in school.
Olsen said the schedule change also opens up some funding to allow for the purchase of additional textbooks, enough so students will be able to bring the books home after school.
“I do not want to hear some students should not have books because they won’t bring them back,” Olsen said. “That’s setting too low of an expectation.”
Like many other urban cities, Durfee High and all Fall River public schools face challenges, (too many to try to list here), but at the same time we certainly know the importance of education and have worked hard to improve our school system, which is why I found these observations so troubling.
There are larger questions: Can no one see the connection between the rise in violent crimes and drug use and the fact that students don't have books to do homework at night?
Can no one see that when you obscure the path to the achievement of dreams, you take away the hope of the poor?
Can no one see that when you take away the hope of the poor, one of the inevitable results is the increased incidence of violence?
It's too easy to look at the troubles of our schools, our city, our region and make comments and observations with out making the effort to learn the circumstances, without asking why. By not asking these question, without digging deeper the blogger is simply seeing our region through a small window. However unintentional it may be it's insulting to have someone look back at the area where they were raised and shake their head in disapproval. The reality is it's so much easier for one person to dream audacious dreams than it is to make audacious dreams come true for a whole community.
The truth is this city and this region is much the same as it has always been, filled with challenges and filled with promise. Still filled with good people who work hard and do the best they can.
I think I'm glad I didn't go "home" for my high school reunion. I think it might have broken my heart to see what has happened in my little town since I graduated from Westport High School...
It's a shame that the blogger couldn't see for herself that despite her fears that Westport is still a incredible town, still rich in tradition, with a strong pride in it's rural farming heritage, and coastal history. While it's true that the town has been infused with people looking to enjoy an upscale life, so much of Westport is still the same today as was 30 years ago.
Fall River is still a working class city with strong Portuguese ties. Although the city faces challenges unheard of 3 or 4 decades ago it is also working to meet those challenges. Small victories such as our new boardwalk, Gates of Portugal, Iwo Jima Memorial, new schools and more demonstrate that we continue to believe in our city.
The problem with looking through a small window is that you can't see much beyond the narrow view it offers.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Cathy Ann Viveiros
Thanks to my anonymous poster for providing the information in the comments of another post! Also you may find a visit www.wingstv.com interesting. Lastly, if anyone knows of a site not listed here please feel free to provide it.
On September 5th from 5:30 to 7:30pm, Speak Up Fall River and the International Institute of Culinary Arts are hosting what looks to be the only City Council forum before the preliminary election.
With 29 candidates running, the truth of the matter is that several candidates are going to be eliminated in the preliminary election without ever having to make an impression on the voting public. Here is your oppurtunity to meet the candidates, hear their views and make an informed decision at the voting booth.!
Many thanks to Speak Up Fall River, the International Institute of Culinary Arts and the other entities that have made this possible.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I've added four new links that I hope you'll find of interest
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts
Mondo Lizzie Borden
Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden
I hope you'll check them out.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Hello Council Candidate! It's pretty obvious this close to the election that your chance to make an impression on the voting public is rapidly disappearing!
Well I'm a member of the voting public and I'd like to make an informed decision about which nine councilors to vote for, so if you read this drop me a line, provide me with a link to your website and a way to get in touch with your campaign.
I wait for your reply.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
It was disappointing to learn that the Boston Beer Co. would not be building a new brewery in Freetown and instead was moving to purchase an existing brewery in Pennsylvania.
The proposed brewery would have brought needed jobs to the area and would have triggered some needed development. The brewery would have would have purchased water from Fall River which would have helped keep this city keep water rates affordable for residents.
In the end it came down to Boston Beer being able to purchase a much larger brewery in Pennsylvania for almost 1/4 the costs of building one in here in Massachusetts.
The thought of a brewery in our backyard conjured thoughts of when Fall River had its own brewery and residence could chase away the heat with a Boh beer.
I really don't know what to say except outstanding! I had a chance to catch him at Fall River Celebrates America and I have to say he was the highlight of the whole festival. If your not a blues fan, and I really can't say that I am, listing to Duke could convert you.
STILL NO DEBATES
The Preliminary election is less than a month away and the lack of debates and information is pretty troubling. If you haven't made your choice or if you want to educate yourself about the candidates look for some of the candidates on local access cable (channel 95). So far there is the one and only forum and several mini debates on the Gus Suneson Hour. Also try Google video and search for the candidates by searching for their name, use quotation marks for best results some stuff is out there.
Every city has it's issues with graffiti but I found an article in the Herald News pretty interesting. It talked about a converted warehouse in Queens, New York where painting graffiti is legal. It's an intriguing concept and considering the number of unused mill buildings we have maybe worth looking into.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Deval Patrick endorses Representative Dave Sullivan for Mayor.
The fact that it has taken me so long to comment on this has given me a new perspective! This created quite a sensation when the news broke. The big debate was would this have any effect on the mayor's race? Most of the candidates for mayor commented to the press and attempted to downplay it but the reality is an endorsement from the governor is a huge plus for the Sullivan campaign. It certainly took a campaign that was listless and injected it with some needed energy. I do now wonder if perhaps Dave Sullivan would have been wiser to a few weeks to get a peak of coverage just before the preliminary election.
Much has been made recently about a rat problem here in the Spindle City. It is an issue that has received a great deal of coverage in the Herald and on WSAR. (It's also noteworthy that two candidates have for office have done a little investigative reporting on the issue which can viewed on local access cable or here) It would be fair to say that this coverage has spurred our elected officials to take some sort of action. After listening to some of the complaints aired on the radio and watching the "trash expose" I have to admit there is a lot that the city should be doing to keep the city clean and make it presentable and if that were done it would contribute to solving the rat issue. However, a large part of the rat issue falls squarely on the shoulders of the citizens of this city and those who own property here. Following the city ordinances, such as placing trash in closed trash cans, cleaning areas that might invite mice, rats, skunks, etc. are just common sense things that all of should be doing. I realize that there are times when we fall behind on the yard work, or have bags than cans, or need to put out the trash a few hours earlier than we should and I think that's normal, but before we blame the city for not taking care of a trash problem let's take a look a what we could do on our end not to contribute to it.
Designer Joseph Abboud Purchases Fall River Shirt Co.
With the recent closing of Quaker Fabric there are doubts of whether or not a textile company can be successful here in the U.S. and particularly here in New England. One company that has done very well is JA Apparel, located in nearby New Bedford. JA does well because it manufactures high end clothing, with higher profit margins that offset the higher cost of American labor with a quality and flexibility hard to match by moving production overseas. JA manufactures the Joseph Abboud line of clothing, but Abboud himself sold the label in 2000 and a non-compete clause lapsed in 2005, Abboud is now ready to launch a new label and had bought Fall River Shirt, a company with a outstanding for quality textiles to do so. Here's hoping that this new venture will prove successful and perhaps lead to more jobs for the experienced textile workers in the city and show that manufacturing can still have a place in regional economy.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Well rest assured that is not the case. During a casual conversation I mentioned that I wish I could set up an online store. What I meant was a way to link to different Fall River and SouthCoast items and host them all in one place my friend mentioned CafePress.com
It's not what I meant but after checking it out and poking around the internet I started playing around on Zazzle.com and was amused with the results. (Hey it IS a pretty good looking mug!) So after a little tweaking and playing around I've thrown together, um I mean carefully crafted some 'official' merchandise.
So while I really don't expect to get rich from the sale of blog merchandise I put it out there for your entertainment. (Of course if you really want to buy something be sure to check out the panel at the bottom of this page!)
Somehow I managed to miss any mention of Lewis' concert at the Zeiterion Theatre until yesterday morning, to late to make any attempt to go.
I'm decades too young to remember Jerry Lee in his heyday but I grew up with my parents listening to music from the 50's and 60's and I've developed a strong liking for the music of Lewis and his Sun label mates and really I much prefer Johnny Cash, Elvis, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins to the piano stomping Jerry Lee. To me Lewis' singing is much like his reputation, hard and full throttle, with nothing subtle about it. Still as hard as Jerry Lee has lived, and folks that pretty darn hard, he is the last of those Sun legends still alive, still pounding on the ivories, and it would have been a real treat to see him.
**In 2006 Jerry Lee released his latest album "Last Man Standing", it has The Killer pairing with various artists in a collection of duets. It's honky tonk, rockabilly, country, and pretty darn good. Give it a listen here
Friday, August 03, 2007
The lone suspect is none other than the couple's child and some say the reason is because one of the elderly parents killed a beloved pet.
It's a very familiar story, and those familiar with the history of Lizzie Borden will point out that it was her father and step-mother, that it was a hatchet and not an axe, and so and so forth, except in this case it's not Lizzie Borden.
It seems that Stephen Alexander Harper killed both his parents with an axe, in their home, in August of 2006. Supposedly he killed them in anger because he believed his mother has poisoned his cat. Unlike Lizzie, Mr. Harper will not be acquitted, he pleaded guilty to the crime and awaits sentencing, but it does make you wonder do these things always happen in August?
One of the bridges is located in Fall River on Route 79 northbound over Route 79 southbound.
Based on the description above I assume they are talking about the elevated section of Route 79 just north of the Braga Bridge, running parallel to Heritage State Park. Although the news story states that there is no concerns that any of the of the 27 bridges is at risk of collapsing there were issues of concrete debris falling from the elevated sections of Route 79 which prompted the installation of metal grid work to keep such debris from falling down to the roadway below. The bridge in Fall River, like the one in Minnesota is approximately 40 years old.
The city has been trying to move forward with plans to eliminate the elevated sections of Route 79 and combine it with Davol Street into a "pedestrian friendly boulevard".
Of course any talk of collapsing roadways will remind anyone from Fall River of the ceiling tiles that fell from the Government Center Tunnel in 1999.