Sunday, September 30, 2007
Here it is September's SouthCoast Photo of the month!
One of my favorite Fall River landmarks is the Iwo Jima memorial in Bicentennial Park. It's a fabulous memorial and walking strolling through the park and walking the boardwalk is an incredibly nice way to spend part of the day.
This is one of a series of photos that I took the weekend of the memorial's dedication. I got there mid-afternoon and remember thinking just how nice it would be if I could get a photo with the sun setting behind it.
After taking several pictures and walking the boardwalk, I came back to the statue and took some photos with the river at my back. I saw an elderly couple standing, holding hands, and taking in the majestic view in front of them. It was incredibly poignant, for he certainly could have been a WWII veteran but as I moved to get into a position to photograph them from behind they moved.
The moment gone, I decided to call it a day and started walking to the parking lot, as I passed by the statue I looked back and was rewarded with a view of the memorial in silhouette a brilliant golden setting behind it.
Amazingly I was able to get this picture that perfectly captured the moment.
Are you an avid picture taker? Do you have a shot you're particularly proud of? Perhaps just a shot that you'd like to share? Submit it here for the SouthCoast Photo of the Month! Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
First is a story in the Boston Globe (Registration Required) about designer Joseph Abboud's purchase of Fall River shirt and his latest endeavor in men's fashions. We talked a little bit about this before. Abboud's former company is successful and prosperous in New Bedford, can he do the same here?
But the article of clothing Abboud is most jazzed about today is his
impeccable houndstooth dress shirt of polished Italian cotton. You see, it was
made just a few feet from where he's standing at the moment, right in the middle
of a Fall River textile mill.
The second story is the second part of a feature on SouthCoast Today featuring an interview with both Mayor Lang of New Bedford and Fall River's Mayor Lambert. I brought the first part to your attention last week and wanted to make sure to highlight the second part.
"I think in many instances being mayor is about managing change, which is
inevitably going to happen. You want to create change," Lambert said, "But
change is always going to happen outside your influence and you want to be able
to manage it in the best way you can."
Lastly we have another Boston Globe article, this time discussing efforts to secure 'wild and scenic designation' for the lower part of the Taunton River. The upper part received such designation in 2000. If the lower portion receives 'wild and scenic' designation it could effectively kill the Weaver's Cove LNG proposal. The spokesman for Weaver's Cove, says this is the real intent, but Congressman Barney Frank says that it's merely happy coincidence.
"Weaver's Cove was not on our minds when we started this," he said.
"It's a beneficial, unintended consequence. The only reason it's going to help
kill the project is that it shows how bad the project is." - Congressman Barney
Friday, September 28, 2007
View Larger Map
Robert Correia 4271
David Sullivan 2516
Alfredo Alves 2260
Brad Kilby 2207
Eric Poulin 2165
William Whitty 2054
Manny Alves 106
Ken Medeiros 74
Geographically, Correia is said to represent the south end and Sullivan is said to represent the north. Again, looking at the map we see that while Bob Correia certainly dominated the south ending voting and a close look at the vote totals show that Sullivan didn't dominate the precincts he won in any comparable way. (As we get into this we'll define the north end as north of I-195 and the south end as south of it.)
It's looking good for Bob, or is it?
A look at the top 6 candidates show that 5 of them, Sullivan, Alves, Kilby, Poulin, and Whitty all received roughly between 2-2,500 votes. Of course Bob received 4271 but Sullivan, Kilby, Poulin, and Whitty are all north end residents. Which very well could mean that they were splitting the same base.
Bob may well have dominated the south end simply because a.) he is the 'south end' rep. and b.) because he spent a tremendous amount of money, which translated into more dollars spent getting the vote out. We'll get into the money part a bit later.
If you look at the totals Correia received 30% or more of the vote in 11 precincts all of them in the south end. In those 11 precincts only 3 times did a challenger receive over 20% of the vote, in each case it was Al Alves. A look at the north end votes shows a much tighter cluster, Sullivan never achieves 30% of the vote and the vote totals seem to be much closer together.
While I don't claim to have a crystal ball it would seem to me that Bob Correia will have a tough time improving much on his south end totals. Simply the Correia turnout was so strong in the south end that I have to believe that those who didn't vote for Bob, are just not going to vote for him.
However, in the north end where you had several candidates drawing from the same base things could be quite different. You can assume that Sullivan will gain the majority of the votes here now that he is not competing against other north end candidates.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Caminiti was informed by city police that he would not be allowed to tape the meeting. However open meeting laws clearly show that it is within his legal rights to do so. (see page 3 of this linked document)
Although I am still working on getting all the details, I have learned that Caminiti is scheduled to appear on The Gus Suneson Hour (7:30-8:30 on Ch.95) tonight. The show is broadcast live and I'd be very surprised if Suneson doesn't question Mr. Caminiti about it. So tune in!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Really enjoyable read and I wanted to point it out to those who might have missed it.
This is something I believe I've referenced a few times over the last several months. I guess over the last several years I've known that if you wanted to see something local that you couldn't attend live, local access was the first place you'd look. However, I think this year local access has really begun to come into its own.
Now, my knowledge of local access has been pretty much limited to just knowing that there are some local access channels on the dial, but it seems that in Fall River local access is an underutilized resource. In many ways a medium in its infancy.
What local access has needed, other than perhaps more funding, is better programming. This isn't to say that the programming out there isn't good but much of it has too narrow a focus and if it doesn't apply to you why watch it? All the election season programming has had a broad appeal and has really opened my eyes to the possibilities that local access can play in the community.
Perhaps the most promising example of this is The Fall River Show, (which I just mentioned in another post). The show features in its first episode, producer and host, Jason Caminiti interviewing Green Futures president, Tim Bennett. In a half an hour format Caminiti holds the type of casual, thoughtful conversation that could take place around your kitchen table. It's interesting, entertaining and intelligent and he's having a discussion with someone who really has something to talk about that's worth listening to and that I normally wouldn't have the opportunity to hear. I really have great expectations for this show and hope that to see many more like it.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The weather couldn't have been nicer and I was able to mingle amongst the crowd enjoying the perfect day, some very good live music and the picturesque surroundings of Heritage State Park and Battleship Cove.
To no surprise there were several candidates for office in attendance, including candidates for city council and both mayoral candidates, Bob Correia and Dave Sullivan. Perhaps the highlight of the festivities was when the band played "LNG Blues" calling out to the crowd to come in front of the stage to participate. Representative Bob Correia had left the event fairly early but Dave Sullivan was still in attendance and was called on to take the stage and participate, which to his credit he did. Various people in attendance were quite vocal in appreciation for all the effort Dave Sullivan has put into fighting the Weaver's Cove proposal and at the end of the number he was asked to address the crowd, which he did to an enthusiastic response. It really was the point where everyone seemed to be having a tremendous amount of fun.
A great day, a great event and congratulations to all the people who made it possible.
Lefty's view: just wanted to make the some observations that really don't fit into the blog post. First, it was interesting to hear various people talk about the LNG fight and how much effort different elected officials have put into this. There was a lot of praise for Dave Sullivan but I didn't hear one person mention Bob Correia. I'm not making a judgement here, I'm simply reporting my observation, and that is that the people closest to this issue were generous in their praise of David Sullivan but literally said nothing, NOTHING about Bob Correia. I find that a little shocking and perhaps a little telling.
Secondly, for those who couldn't get down there today, I suggest you keep an eye on Fall River Local Access Channel 95. I observed Jason Caminiti, who is hosting "The Fall River Show", a new program on Ch. 95, filming the band and taping some interviews and I can only imagine that some of what he filmed will show up in a future show.
Friday, September 21, 2007
It seems that the city has been using Community Development Block Grant funds, intended for community development programs, to pay for staff in the Mayor's Office.
Now the first I heard of any of this was back in January when mayoral aide, Eric Poulin, decided to run for mayor and during the controversy that followed he stated that his postion was funded through CD Rec. funds.
It never occurred to me that this might be improper or outside the scope of which these funds were intended for.
So it turns out that after the Lambert administration admitted to the media that members of the staff were given duties that were not within the intentions of the grants, HUD decided to launch a compliance review. The HUD review included inquiries into 6-8 members of the Mayor's office including secretaries, receptionists, and press liasons.
In fact it appears that only 2 members of the Mayor's staff were actually being paid by funds from the city budget and HUD is working with the city to recoup the costs of those salaries improperly paid for through the Block Grants.
Now, when I heard this last night I knew it was something I wanted to blog about, but I also knew I wouldn't have the time to get a post together. Amazingly as I type this now 24 hrs. later, there has been no statement from the Mayor's office, hardly any comment from our City Council and no coverage from the Herald News.
I'm astonished. I thought for sure the Mayor's office would issue a statement that would at least clear up some of the questions and maybe minimize the impact. I expected the Herald News to report just how long this has been going on and to report the city's position. I thought there would be some reaction.
Lefty's View: Unless someone can explain why the city thought it was okay to use Block Grant funds to staff the Mayor's office there is a huge cause for concern here. Otherwise I'm looking at the triple edged sword. 1.) We used government grant funds to pay for staff and deprived the city of the services it was intended for. 2.) In misusing these funds we are now faced with having to pay them back at a time when we can least afford to. 3.) In using these funds in this manner, without a suitable explanation, we now have another reason to doubt the integrity of our local government. Depressing.
**Because I was running errands yesterday and couldn't listen to the entire show I had some assistance getting my facts together for this post. The person who helped me knows who he or she is and I just wanted to say thank your for you help.
Fall River -
"A limited revival of Quaker Fabric Corp. is in the works.A French-Canadian textile manufacturing company called Victor Innovatex Inc. announced Thursday it had acquired a majority of equipment, inventory and assets of foreclosed Quaker Fabric and would expand its operations in the next few months at the closed city plants.""Under the name Victor Innovatex Textiles, the third-generation, family owned maker of furniture and auto fabrics plans to set up and hire 100 to 200 workers in the next two to three years, said company representatives and city officials."
"U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J. Gross signed off on the asset sale at a hearing Wednesday in Wilmington., Del.
Gordon Brothers is buying most of Quaker Fabric's assets for $27 million and turning them over to Canadian textile company Victor Innovatex Inc.""Gross also approved an offer by Atlantis Charter School to buy 66 acres of undeveloped land in Fall River, Mass., known as Bleachery Pond, for $2.6 million."
Perhaps the real news hear is Atlantis Charter's purchase of 66 acres. With the acquisition of this land the school now has the space to build a complex that could house both their lower and upper schools as well as a planned high school expansion.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
As I walked along the sidewalk I noticed the barber shop was open. A patron was seated in the chair while the barber snipped and clipped away, looking not unlike some scene from a Norman Rockwell illustration. I went only a few a yards further when I realized that I could use a haircut and turned around a walked inside.
A short time later, freshly groomed, I stepped back into the cool air and bright sunshine, thinking what a shame it was that more of us don't take the opportunity to appreciate our Downtown.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Michael Canuel has publicly stated that he will not seek a recount, for him the campaign trail has ended.
For me there is still the question of why there was so much confusion and so much mishandling of the situation. I want answers and explanations of what happened and what was done. I want assurances that the certified results are correct.
I am personally so disappointed in how this has been handled that I would like to urge candidates for mayor, city council, and school committee to request a recount because as of right no I have more doubts than faith. Mr Canuel on WSAR stated that he wouldn't request a recount so to not put the city through the hassle and expense and I appreciate the sentiment. However, I truly believe that despite the hassle and expense that a recount is needed because we need assurances that the Elections Office got it right. We need to demand proof that the system works.
Finally I'd like to commend Nathan Amara and Michael Canuel for how they handled what must have been a very difficult situation.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The confusion apparently began yesterday evening when I was informed that the absentee ballot count had propelled Canuel into 18th place over candidate Nathaniel Amaral.
I then had someone inform me latter that night that Canuel had been advised by Elections Office that no, his bid has fallen short.
You can imagine his surprise this morning to have the Herald News and WSAR both saying that after the recount he did indeed finish in 18th place with a final tally of 1,978 votes. That bests Mr. Amaral's total by 85 votes even though he himself gained absentee ballot votes.
The shocking thing is Mr. Canuel as I type this still doesn't know if he's in or if he's out. Apparently the Elections Office is unable to provide the answer and the Board of Elections Commissioner, Maureen Glisson was not in the office as of 9am this morning.
We can imagine that Nathaniel Amaral is just as perplexed, just as frustrated, and just as angry as Mr. Canuel to not be able to tell friends, families and supporters whether or not it's a win or a loss.
At the risk of being overly critical how in the world are the candidates told one thing and the media another? How did our Elections Office botch this up?
***Update Michael Canuel just called into the Barry Richards show to let WSAR listeners know that as of right now the final tally is uncertified but that it looks like he is not in the final 18. My first impressions of Mr. Canuel were just lukewarm but I was more impressed with him at the City Council forum and would have liked to have had the opportunity to hear more from him. He certainly deserves better treatment than the Board of Elections has provided and so does Nathaniel Amaral.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
There are those who feel that their vote doesn't matter, but this was certainly an election that proves that every vote counts. While Bob Correia handily took first place with 4,125 votes, David Sullivan squeaked out his second place finish with 2,411. Sullivan's second place finish was secured by only 280 more votes than the 5th place finisher, Eric Poulin.
The moral of the story is if you liked Alves, Kilby or Poulin but didn't vote for them you may have cost them the race.
Dave Sullivan 2,411
Al Alves 2,213
Brad Kilby 2,155
Eric Poulin 2,131
Votes do matter.
Considering how often I heard people tell me that 'Poulin can't win' and 'I'm voting for Sullivan' or 'I'm voting for Kilby' I think there is a strong chance that Poulin should have been the second place finisher.
Did anyone think that Bill Whitty would finish sixth? I know I was just as surprised that Al Alves finished 3rd.
There is no truth to the rumor that Al finished so high because 'Manny Alves voters' got confused
If you're Brad Kilby does loaning your own campaign $40,000 dollars still seem like a good idea?
I'm not the first to observe it but isn't it amazing that everyone called for change but voted for all the same old people?
Pat Richards championed senior safety yet only managed a 17th place finish in the council race which led someone to humorously quip to me "maybe the seniors were to afraid to come out and vote".
Kevin Aguiar received the most votes of any candidate - period. You can't convince me he's not running for a State Rep. seat if Correia wins the general election.
Could there be any truth to the rumor that one candidate bused in people from outside the city to hold signs for his campaign?
I wonder what it's like to be Ed Lambert right now?
I would like to say a personal thank you to all the candidates who ran, all the people who volunteered and all the citizens who voted. I'm optimistic about our city and our political process and all of you made it happen.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Is there a candidate you support and feel deserves some mention? If so I'm creating this post to do just that!
Feel free to leave comments endorsing your candidate of choice and providing the rest of us with a brief explanation of why!
Saturday, September 08, 2007
- If Dave Sullivan were to become mayor will we see Brad Kilby and Eric Poulin mount campaigns for Sullivan's state rep. seat? Would Whitty?
- If Bob Correia were to win can we look forward to Kevin Aguiar making another run for Bob's seat?
- Speaking of Whitty, would anything be worst for him than to lose the election and have Lambert resign so that he had to fill in as acting mayor until the next mayor was sworn in?
- If the new downtown courthouse is so unpopular with seniors (and seemingly everyone else) and seniors vote, how come nobody mentions that the supposed front-runner Bob Correia sat on the site committee and was personally in favor of the downtown location?
- Speaking of the courthouse, am I right that the only candidate running that supported the downtown location was Bob Correia? Al Alves on the Council voted no, Whitty was out of office at the time. Kilby was on the school committee. and the others have held no elective office and Sullivan was against. Am I right? (and before I'm accused of having an agenda against Bob this is all stuff I came across while researching my recent courthouse post)
- If Alves, Whitty, and Kilby fail to win the mayor's race is there any doubt they'll be running for council again in 2009?
- Has anyone noticed that the only people who comment on my blog are Poulin voters? HELLO do Sullivan supporters not use the internet? Are Al Alves supporters to busy taking pictures with their signs to go online?
- Will you be surprised if we have five new members on the council next term? I won't.
- If you're running for the school committee do you feel you've been screwed by a lack of coverage?
- Along with that I don't want to hear WSAR or the Herald complain a year or so about the school committee candidates when there has been so little coverage of them.
If I do enough posts like this can I have Marc Monroe Dion's job?
More Candidate Websites
More Mayoral Profiles at SouthCoastToday.com
The Herald News featured profiles of all the candidates as well as a sample ballot in the paper on Thursday but I have been unable to locate them online. It's worth looking at but it will mean digging for a copy or visiting the library. Particularly because it has the School Committee candidates who have really had the worst coverage of anybody.
Anyway hopefully this helps the undecided and I urge everyone to vote!
"The festival is kind of our give-back to the residents of Greater Fall River. We want to do something free, because accessing the arts today is difficult, it's expensive," Mr. Norton said.
There truly will be something for everyone with:
Several live musical acts
Over 40 different visual artists (to include painters, basket weavers, sculptors and jewelery makers)
A Mardi Gras parade
A children's arts and crafts tents
A Fall River Fire Museum exhibit and ride
A carnival folk art exhibit
This year's theme is the spirit and sounds of New Orleans, and will feature musical headliners Buckwheat Zydeco and Henry Butler and the Leo Nocentelli Band. Don't miss it!
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Truthfully I did not go down with the intention of blogging about it,(although I should have thought more about that!), but I wanted to share some observations.
The event was held at the Great Hall and had just started when I arrived. One of the first things I noticed were the three cameras covering the event. For those of you who didn't get to attend that means that should be available on ch95 and hopefully on the internet.
The next thing I noticed is how many empty seats there were. Later I overheard someone on a cell phone say that it 'wasn't capacity, but it was well attended'. Well I disagree. I think if you stripped away the candidates and their supporters, the various people involved in organizing the event you would be lucky to much more than a dozen people who simply attended to hear these candidates speak.
I'm not being critical of the event, but I being critical of more citizens not taking the opportunity to come and see this first hand.
The event itself was very nicely put together, hors d'oeuvres were served and at the rear of the room was a an arrangement of display boards with each candidates positions on 12 issues presented to them by Speak Up Fall River.
A really fantastic community event, and community service. I hope the organizations involved are considering doing more events in the future.
Jamie Boulay, Michael Canuel, and Michael Lund all impressed me much more here than they did on the 'Meet the Candidate' program on local access. That said, I'm still concerned about Lund having an agenda and I'm not sold on Canuel or Boulay but I still listening!
Cathy Ann Viveiros has to be the most polished, confident, vibrant candidate running for council and while I'm not ready to endorse anyone here. I'll simply say I'm impressed.
Listening to veteran council candidate Pat Casey reminded me that while it's nice to have candidates who are trying to be visionaries with bold plans for our future, it's comforting to have a City Councilor who involves herself when ever a public safety issue arises, organizes and participates in neighborhood cleanups and actually asks you if you there any issues she can assist you with.
That Gus Suneson, when he wants to be, can be a very effective public speaker. His speech was one of the better ones of the evening.
That veteran City Councilor, Leo Pelletier, not only didn't participate but that I can't recall having seen a single campaign sign for him. Yet, I'm sure he'll be one of the top vote getters on the council.
Finally that it wouldn't have hurt several of the candidates to have used a prepared text, or perhaps some key points jotted down on index cards to refer to. Speaking in front of a crowd isn't easy but why make it tougher than it has to be?
Jacome who nearly defeated Ed Lambert in 2003 and tried with less success in 2005 said “There is no other candidate who can continue the movement for a fresh start at City Hall.” according to the Herald News.
Jacome cited Poulin's positions on environmental issues and on improving the dropout rate as reasons leading to his support.
Lefty's View: It would be too easy to try to dismiss the importance of an endorsement any endorsement this late in the race. The reality is that almost any endorsement is helpful to a campaign but in this case the endorsement comes from a man who garnered considerable political credibility with his own efforts to become mayor.
Mr. Jacome without ever having held any political office was able to build a strong base of voters who believed his ideas, his vision, his platform, his integrity, his intellect and in him! It's too easy to say that Jacome never won because the truth is he ran very credible campaigns spending maybe $50,000 against a popular incumbent who spent HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars. The fact is there is segment of people out there who truly believe in F. George Jacome and if he's endorsing Eric Poulin then Eric Poulin is someone they're going to think about voting for.
It's also important to remember that Jacome attracted a large number of voters who were sick of the status quo, who wanted a candidate with fresh ideas, new solutions, and who was truly independent. By giving endorsement Mr. Jacome that Eric Poulin is that candidate.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Each candidate with a campaign committee was required to submit a campaign finance report on September 3rd. I had intended to go to City Hall and look these over and perhaps obtain copies to make available to you but alas time and money have prevented this.
However, the Herald News had done some foot work for me, so let's take a look at who spent what!
Six of the eight candidates seeking to fill the mayor’s seat raised a combined total of $432,848 in their bids to replace Edward M. Lambert Jr.
The highest fundraising total came from state Rep. Robert Correia, who almost doubled the nearest competitor by raising $151,215.
Correia was followed by City Councilor Bradford Kilby, who raised $77,045; Council President William F. Whitty, who brought in $70,935 in donations; state Rep. David Sullivan, who brought in $64,225; former Lambert aide Eric Poulin, who reported receipts of $39,008; and City Council Vice President Alfredo P. Alves, who had a total of $30,420 in contributions.
Candidate Manuel O. Alves reported a self-funded campaign, putting $900 toward his fifth attempt to gain the mayor’s seat, while Kenneth Medeiros, since he has not formed a campaign committee, did not submit a report. When he announced his candidacy, Medeiros said he would neither accept nor spend political contributions.
My first impresssion is how amazing it is the Brad Kilby raised over $77,000. Wow! I had expected Bob Correia to raise a ton of money because of this political ties and length of time in office but for Kilby to leapfrog over everyone else? But wait, Kilby loaned himself over $40,000. I'm not sure if I should applaud him for putting so much of his own money in his campaign or be concerned that he put so much into his own campaign. However you look at it $40,000 is a lot of money.
The next thing that caught my eye was that 4 of the candidates loaned themselves considerable amounts of money.
Correia also reported loaning himself $12,000 for his campaign.
Kilby’s contributions included loans to himself totaling $40,750
Poulin’s report showed his campaign is mostly self-funded, with $17,692 of his contributions coming from a loan and another $1,600 coming from various family members.
Alfredo Alves also reported using $10,000 in loans to help fund his campaign
Now to be fair, I think it pretty understandable for a guy like Eric Poulin to loan himself money because he doesn't have the political organization that the folks who've run several times before have, but why in the world is is Bob Correia loaning his campaign money?! Wouldn't you think that $139,000 would be enough money to spend? How can we justify allowing so much money to be spent on a position that doesn't even pay that $150,000 a year?
It's also interesting how the Herald article reports some of this.
Kilby’s contributions included loans to himself totaling $40,750
Alfredo Alves also reported using $10,000 in loans to help fund his campaign
Poulin’s report showed his campaign is mostly self-funded, with $17,692 of his contributions coming from a loan and another $1,600 coming from various family members.
First, ignore the line about the $1600, it seems to me most of the candidates, if not all had family members donate to the campaigns, so irrelevant point. Now Poulin reported raising $39,008 and $17,692 was money he loaned his own campaign, which means that he raised $21,316, that's more that Al Alves raised! Take away the $10,000 Alves loaned his campaign and he raised $20,420. The Herald however doesn't mention that Poulin raised more money than an 'established' candidate, but instead refers to his campaign as being mostly self-funded. Really? Mostly kind of implies, well um, that the majority of the finances came from Poulin, that's not the case. Do the math, even if you add the $1,600 in Eric Poulin received more money in donations that he put in himself. Is the Herald biased? I ask this because it is very obvious that Brad Kilby's campaign is mostly self-funded! Again, Kilby raised $77,045 but $40,750 was money he loaned his own campaign, which means that Kilby received $36,295 in donations. How in the world did the Herald miss that?
It's also interesting to note that Bob Correia received a $500 dollar donation from Jay Cashman who has various ties to the Hess LNG site and to the new Brightman Street bridge construction project. You would think with the controversy that surround both topics, not to mention the $150,000 war chest, that Bob certainly could have afforded not to except Cashman's donation.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The Herald News has been running a series every Monday asking the candidates for Mayor a question and giving them 200 words to respond. This is the fourth in the series and the third I've been able to make available on the blog.
Like the previous posts I have provided the candidate responses here but omitted the name of the candidate each response belongs to. Can you figure out which answer belongs to which candidate? If not at the end of each answer is link to that candidate's website, or profile, just click on 'Do you know who this is?' to find out which candidate the answer belongs to.
Controversy at Weaver's Cove
There are several LNG projects competing against Weaver’s Cove, but industry analysts say the New England region only needs 1 or possibly 2 terminals at most. We have to make sure that 1 or 2 doesn’t include Weaver’s Cove.
In terms of strategy on the LNG front I would pursue a course that some might call delay, but it would include pressuring relevant local, state, and federal agencies that still have permitting processes to undertake, and there are many, that they must engage in their most thorough review processes.
The Army Corps and other agencies have potentially lengthy permitting processes if the city and its consultants point out issues and flaws with the project and ask the right questions. I had been doing exactly this since 2003 for the city. (Weaver’s Cove initially was predicting an opening by November 2007.)
Also, if an agency gives out a permit instead of denying one, in many instances there are opportunities for legal challenges to those decisions. We cannot afford to have a Mayor who is weak on this issue or who needs time to get up to speed, I will be strong on this issue and I will hit the ground running. Do you know who this is?
"Not here. Not now. Not ever!" The attempts by the Hess Corporation to locate an LNG facility at Weaver’s Cove can only be described as "corporate arrogance." The people of Fall River, especially those living closest to Weaver’s Cove, have made it clear that such a facility is unwelcome, but these feelings have been ignored by Hess in its quest for greater, more obscene profits.
An LNG facility will bring a poorer quality of life. Property values in the area surrounding a similar facility in Everett, Massachusetts dropped by 25% when it opened. The dredging required for such a facility would have a highly negative impact on the environmental quality of the both the Taunton River and the Mount Hope Bay.
There is mounting tide of concern about this project by the federal government. For this reason the city of Fall River must continue to resist its construction by all means possible. We must also seek to find a better use for the land at Weaver’s Cove. An aggressive approach must be taken in seeking assistance from the federal government to acquire "brown field" funding to make this happen. There are going to be changes in the leadership of our city, but regardless of those changes, the message from the people of our area must remain the same. Do you know who this is?
I am the only candidate that has a 100% voting record supporting the LNG Legal Defense Fund. This has allowed us to strategize in fighting this project and over the last three months, significant progress has been made. The Coast Guard has issued a preliminary rejection of Hess’ LNG plan to use smaller tankers. Rhode Island has denied their request for permit to dredge Mount Hope Bay, and M.E.P.A. has stayed all state reviews relating to the project.
On the proposed Weavers Cove L.N.G. proposal let me say that I thoroughly reviewed and evaluated this project. I also commented to FERC during the environmental impact statement (E.I.S.) scoping process as listed on pages C-26,27,32, and 33 of the final environmental impact statement.
Based on my reviews and backed by at least three (3) reports released on the project, I felt the risks were too great and the project should not go forward. Among other things, I supported a council resolution addressed to FERC opposing the project, and I authorized a letter signed by all nine members of the City Council condemning FERC’s ultimate approval of the project. I also filed a resolution in the council calling for a partnership with the state and federal government in taking the property by eminent domain.
As mayor, I will continue to fight this in the courts and we will remain vigilant and continue working with state and federal officials until we have won. Do you know who this is?
If selected the new mayor of Fall River 2007. I will be sure i still walk around take buses, ride my bike use the different stores ,as well restaraunts. the voters will see me and be able to talk with me, about what can help the city of Fall River. all ideas are important. the peoples voice will always be heard. and in speaking to people on L N G . There are some that feel there already is an area on bay street that has a tank, with L N G for many years. and that nothing has happened. some people have felt the could pipe in to weavers cove from that area and the ships wouln not have to deal with the bridges. other people say they do not want L N G, due to the Danger of an explosion could take out a city ,or a portion of it at this point and time ther coast Guard in Rhode Island, has stated it would not allow dredgeing in there water due to enviramental problems. I feel pipeing it in would to to far and could leak as many pipes do so, not a good idea. as a Mayorial candidate the people put in a petition and after listening, to the pros and cons and haveing read and wrote a letter myself, to the current administration, we can not allow this facility here. if there is a way of eminit domain where we could get the monies, and end this once and for all. then lets take that approach. the shell company would still be responsable for the clean up, and we could do something with this property who knows maybe a casinoon the water. i understand that a person who was heading the project, in middleboro. has to step down, due to lies about his military service as well nacussed of a rape so it could change the place. maybe its time for Fall River. considering our state Senator Joan Menard put it in to legislation and our city council agreed to having one. who knows maybe the stock holders of lng would think of this type of venture them selves after all there about monie. there is a lot, of monies in a casino. especially on the water. just an idea. Do you know who this is?
A primary responsibility of a mayor is the safety os the citizens served. The proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the North End of Fall River is only one of several potential threats to our public safety that concerns me.
Giant tankers carrying millions of gallons on natural gas would pass dangerously close to our city and offload their cargo, posing a significant risk of danger. I am also concerned on its impact on my planned development of our waterfront. As city councilor, I have constantly voted for funding to fight the development of an LNG terminal, and if elected mayor, I absolutely assure you that the fight will continue. In addition to being extremely aggressive at the city level, I will also ask our federal legislative delegation to become more involved.
I will also fight to stop another threat in our streets everyday. Trucks hauling hazardous material are diverted from passing under Government Center now pass into our city within feet of our businesses and homes. They must find alternative routes and bypass our city altogether. A primary concern is safety and as your mayor, I will continue my fight for a safer Fall River. Do you know who this is?
As a public safety issue confronting our city, LNG transcends everything else. From its inception I was opposed to the LNG project in Fall River and have taken a leadership role in stopping it because it is not a good idea to put a dangerous facility in the middle of a populated area.
At the state level I exerted all of my efforts to assist the city in stopping this project. I have testified at public hearings and made every attempt to block the project, aware that the passing of time would make it unprofitable for the company to proceed with its proposal. Also, I was the only individual to get a bill designed to kill the LNG proposal, through the House of Representatives and then onto the Governor’s desk. Although the Governor vetoed the bill, I pledge to continue to fight this unsafe proposal.
As Mayor I pledge, as a priority, to commit whatever is necessary in resources and leadership to stop this dangerous project. Do you know who this is?
I have opposed the siting of an LNG facility from the beginning and have worked diligently to stop this hazardous project on the city, state and federal levels. I was asked to serve on Mayor Lambert’s LNG Task Force and as mayor of Fall River I will re-energize that group. In addition, I brought down to our city MIT Professor James Fay to explain the dangers surrounding LNG. While in Boston I submitted legislation that is based on our state Constitution to protect every citizen in the Commonwealth from LNG. Furthermore, I was the only mayoral candidate that went to Washington D.C., along with Mayor Lambert, to make sure our case was heard by federal officials.
I will continue to take a strong stand against LNG as mayor and carry on the initiatives that have been started by the current administration. I will continue to work with Congressmen Barney Frank and James McGovern; both have done a great job. We will beat Hess LNG by using every weapon available to us.
I have a strong record on LNG unlike most of my opponents. My actions have proven that I will be the mayor that will keep LNG out! Do you know who this is?
My stance is clear on this controversial issue, I want to open negotiations with Weaver’s Cove regarding the proposed LNG facility. Consistent with my pledge to aggressively pursue economic development, I view the LNG project as a major catalyst for job creation, waterfront development and a revitalized downtown. Fall River has the second best deep water port in the state yet it is drastically under utilized. This project will spur over 400 million dollars of private investment including the dredging of the Taunton river shipping channel. Upon completion, the LNG project will expand our local tax base drastically.
LNG is a safe, clean, modern industry that is approved and regulated by the Federal government. Many exaggerated claims have been allowed to skew this issue. Under my administration local input and public safety will never be compromised however, I will not allow misinformation and unfounded fears to prevent Fall River from building a solid local economy. Job creation, economic prosperity and public safety can be realized together. Do you know who this is?
Click here to go to part I
Click here to got to part III
Monday, September 03, 2007
There has been some press recently about how difficult it is to find parking downtown and a lot of speculation that it is only going to get worst once the new courthouse on South Main Street is built.
Now honestly part of funding for the new courthouse was supposed to help create additional parking but a big question has been where.
I've heard a couple of suggestions, including one on the corner of Third and Borden near one of the city's existing parking garages, but a better one is the location suggested by a reader of this blog that I had never heard before.
The reader, using the new instant messenger feature, and I were discussing the new courthouse and its parking woes when he (I assume) suggested that a new parking garage could be built at the location of the existing courthouse at 45 Rock Street.
A parking garage located at 45 Rock Street could easily service both courthouses with each being no more than 3 tenths of a mile away at the same time this new parking garage would be in easy walking distance to the Fall River Public Library, Government Center, the post office, and several banks, restaurants, law offices, and other businesses that currently suffer from a lack of parking. I think it would be ideal.
Does anyone else agree?
I've added a new feature to the blog that lets readers send instant messages to me right from the blog page.
You've probably noticed it sitting there on the left!
I know of other bloggers who have added an IM widget to their sites and figure it might be fun to try one out.
I've had it up for just a couple of days and already had a few visitors use it!
So, if you've got the time, or want to go a little more in depth on a post, maybe offer a suggestion, or just say hello, feel free to give it a try!
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Like the first post I have provided the candidate responses here but omitted the name of the candidate each response belongs to. Can you figure out which answer belongs to which candidate? If not at the end of each answer is link to that candidate's website, or profile, just click on 'Do you know who this is?' to find out which candidate the answer belongs to.
In their own words, mayoral candidates present their views on public housingI am for strengthening our neighborhoods to provide all citizens of Fall River with a better place to live.
Fall River Housing Authority should be a first-rate public housing program providing quality housing to those in need: our elderly and handicapped citizens, while remaining accountable to the taxpayers.
We need to reduce public housing to other and empower them to independence through employment and home ownership. By statute a city must have 10% of its homes as public housing, we already have 18%. 75% of the waiting list is made up of individuals from other parts of the state. They are not our problem.
Therefore, I am in favor of razing Watuppa Heights and developing single family homes for sale to first time homebuyers. We won’t need to burden the citizens by increasing taxes to do this. Public housing projects often lead to despair with long term unemployment, drug abuse and crime. Therefore, I am in favor of new ideas: developing “pilot projects” in which the housing authority could experiment with selling buildings to private owners, requiring unemployed tenants to find jobs or do community service, and setting limits on how long able bodied people can live in public housing. Do you know who this is?
As mayor, I would take steps to implement the Wattupa Heights Demolition Project and would take further steps towards downsizing public housing in other areas of our city. We, as a city, are at a breaking point with regard to the size of our public housing stock. We cannot continue to provide public housing for people who seek housing from other parts of the state.
The current Fall River Housing Authority waiting lists reveal that 70% of the lists are for people outside Fall River. The City of Fall River has been asked to do more than its fair share as it relates to the state’s public housing crisis. The City of Fall River must and should provide services for our poor, our disabled, and our elderly, but should not be asked to perform those services for other communities throughout the Commonwealth. The state’s less fortunate are increasingly displaced out of the Boston area and are seeking housing opportunities here.
This influx of newcomers brings with it needs which become the responsibility of their new hosting community. This trend simply cannot continue. As mayor, I will continue the effort to foster a fairer more equitable system of public housing at the state level as it relates to the impact on the City of Fall River. Do you know who this is?
I feel that like in the past we need to look at all houseing sites in fall river some were renavated and some houses taken out to make smaller project complexes the ones i know of are heritage heights father defario sunset hill so lets do the same with watuppa heights as well pleasant view and maybe maple gardens and the one on new boston road there might be federal and state funds to get to do this i know that we in mass have missed out on monies for housing development two weeks ago i read a part in the providence journal how different cities were given different amount of monies there was 42 million dolllars in grants from the government there was non grants mentioned in mass for housing development so where is our government in office running for different offices who are suppose to take care of our city no one went to our grant writers to help find this monie rhode island was awake in this one congaratulations to them. by lessening housing developments it will help send the trouble some people to other cities and towns. it will help the maintanance lesser it is an all win Do you know who this is?
The Mayor has sway over the Housing Authority through appointing/approving 4 out of 5 members to their Board of Directors. I’m the only mayoral candidate to be nationally certified as a Public Housing Manager so I understand public housing issues better than my opponents and here’s what I would do:
1.) Ensure the Housing Authority is conducting national background checks as they claim they are now after the Poulin Campaign brought to light that they were not. CORI checks should not be Massachusetts only.
2.) The Housing Authority should’ve realized the need to replace lights and lock basements at developments before a murder occurred at Bennie Costa Plaza. Every development should have a Tenant’s Association to give good tenants a formal way to raise issues.
3.) Add surveillance cameras and/or electronic key cards at the most troubled developments.
4.) Reduce the amount of public housing. The plans to demolish Watuppa Heights appear to be floundering. I propose that we consider resurrecting the Housing Authority’s plans from 1998 to reduce 410 units at 4 developments: 285 from Sunset Hill, 72 from Maple Gardens, 42 from Pleasant View and 11 from Watuppa Heights.
5.) Enforce Guest Visit Policy. Do you know who this is?
We must look at several ways to improve the housing stock in Fall River.
Look into implementing the Hope VI program or other types of development plans within the public developments. Mixed income housing would be incorporated as part of the plan.
Accountability within the Housing Authority: We must ensure that every prospective tenant has a background check, both state and federal, prior to getting an apartment. Close monitoring must take place in regards to all visitors and regulations must be adhered to. Encourage tenant participation by assisting tenant organizations within each development. Nurture tenant and police relationships to enhance intelligence to combat criminal activity. Seek local and regional housing preference for placement of tenants.
We need to review and possibly advocate for federal law change regarding the mixing of young disabled adults with senior citizens residing in senior citizen public housing. I know directly from talking to senior residents problems exist.
Consider innovative ideas such as offering police officers rent free apartments within a family housing development to deter the infiltration of criminals and criminal activity. This would give encouragement to the majority of law-abiding residents within a development. Do you know who this is?
I voted to tear down the Watuppa Heights Housing Project and as mayor, I will work to further reduce housing projects in our city. Sadly, they have become havens for drug dealers and breeding grounds for crime and criminals.
Fall River exceeds the Mass. statute goal that 10 percent of each municipalities housing stock be affordable to low and moderate income households. While Fall River exceeds this number, most of the other 351 communities in Massachusetts are not even close when it comes to compliance.
The result has been an enormous strain on our service agencies and public safety. We’ve reached a breaking point and if we sit back and let it continue, we will be totally consumed by the program.
The way the burden can be lifted from Fall River is for the state to enforce the 10% equitable program, Something that they haven’t done. In fact, many communities are either fighting this through legal means or placing restrictions and limits on building. Meanwhile, the state just looks the other way.
If we as a community are to prosper, we need to that steps to rid crime from our city. We know that the public housing policy as it relates to projects is a failed policy. As a practical beginning, we should reduce public housing units. We’ve done more than our share, now it’s time for other communities to do some heavy lifting. Do you know who this is?
Public housing is an important issue in this upcoming election. I recognize the increased crime and degradation of many of these housing units. Under my administration a proactive management style will be implemented to address these concerns in two main phases.
The first phase will follow through with the Watuppa Heights demolition. During this phase, displaced residents will be given available housing within the community. The concept of giving Fall River residents preference on housing lists will be introduced and pursued.
The second phase will simultaneously focus on the management of the remaining housing developments. I will seek to create a task force to review, revise and update all public housing rules. Development managers will be given autonomous budgets and held accountable. Tenant associations will be created at each development with regular meetings. The focus of these meetings will be tenant education of our community expectations, tenant rules, maintenance and crime issues. Lastly my administration will aggressively enforce established rules and seek quick eviction of problematic residents while increasing police presence in and around these developments. Do you know who this is?
In my opinion, Fall River has absorbed more than its fair share of public housing from the rest of the Commonwealth. What Fall River is short on is affordable housing for working individuals and families.
The concept of public housing projects has never worked. That is why I spearheaded the legislation to demolish Watuppa Heights and build affordable housing. With that same resolve and commitment I will work to fast track the completion of this project, and then I would further work on thinning out the number of units in public housing projects. Public housing should be integrated into regular community neighborhoods providing quality affordable housing that low-income residents can call home.
Also, the same standards of excellence expected from private landlords should be imposed upon the housing authority. I would enforce existing laws that enable the housing authority to get injunctions against tenants who conduct criminal activity on public property.
These individuals will then be subject to arrest if they step foot on any public property. We can drive the criminal element out of our community and thus achieve the quality of life that all our residents deserve from their home environment. Do you know who this is?
If you missed the first post with first 4 profiles, check them out here!