Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bob, the honeymoon is over!

Remember those first 100 days? Mayor Correia was praised for a strong leadership style and quick and decisive action.

This was all great when it was directed at things that were popular but now the Mayor is pushing on to areas where the support isn't quite so universal. Hey, enforcing professional standards for city workers and an aggresive cleaning program sound good but how about reducing public safety? What about cutting back on education? How do you feel about scaling back on the LNG fight? Is dumping hazardous waste in the landfill to save money a good idea?

The honeymoon is over and Bob Correia has managed to use up all of his goodwill in a matter of a few weeks!

Yes, we have elected Mayor Correia to make decisions, to use his judgment, his skills, experience, and leadership to run our city on a day to day basis. However, elected officials must consider the will of the people. A mayor must make tough decisions but he serves at the consent of the governed.

Let's see what the people of Fall River voted for and let's see what their getting.

Education

“As State Representative, I’ve delivered millions for our public schools. As Mayor, I’ll ensure our schools deliver for our kids." -Bob Correia

Candidate Correia promised to bring back accountability to our students, re-allocate resources where they are most needed and to create Community Learning Centers. However just months into his first term the school department budget is a nightmare of shortfalls and no 're-allocation' seems to be taking place. While running for office the Mayor spoke of bringing the expanded day program to all elementary and middle schools. Instead of expanded day we're facing expanded schools with increased school populations and classroom sizes hovering in around 30 students per class. Has the Mayor taken an active role in improving our schools, or just renaming them?

Public Safety

“Ensuring the public’s safety is government’s first responsibility." – Bob Correia

While running for office, Mayor Correia pledged to provide better state of the art equipment and funding. He also proposed putting more uniformed officers in the streets. However, the budget proposed by the Mayor would result in a reduction in the police department of 15 officers and some support staff. Likewise the fire department would see a reduction of 16 positions. It's hard to believe this is not going to have a negative effect on public safety.

LNG


“As Mayor I pledge, as a top priority, to commit whatever is necessary in resources and leadership to stop this dangerous project,” - Bob Correia

Bob says he's opposed the Fall River project right from the start and that "horrendous idea" to locate this facility in such a populated area. Bob pledged to fight this tooth and nail but now he's advocating a budget for LNG litigation of just $250,000. The city has spent more than twice that for the last 3 years! How have we gone from spending 'whatever it takes' to budgeting less than half of what we usually spend?

Now, to be fair, Mayor Correia has moved forward on several of his platform points. "Restaurant Row", Community Learning Centers, and a city wide cleanup come to mind. It's also fair to point out that Mayor has found himself in a budget situation he didn't foresee. But isn't that the test of real leadership? I agree with Correia when he says that in tough economic times the city must do its share of belt tightening. I agree that ever rising municipal spending must be curbed. And I worry about the effects of higher property taxes and the burden that will put on city residents. Still I ask myself, are we tightening in the right areas? Does curbing mean cutting? And in such dire circumstances shouldn't a tax increase be considered? I certainly don't want to pay more taxes, but I also don't want to send children to schools that are taking a step backwards, or live in neighborhoods that are less protected.

Lefty's View: The city is in a budget crisis, several campaign 'promises' will never see the light of day, and more and more people are criticizing the Mayor's authoritative style. For Mayor Correia, the honeymoon is over.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said and thought provoking Lefty!

General said...

Bob had no intention of fighting the LNG project.

1. He made sure Sullivan's bill was killed in Boston.

2. He made sure Sullivan did not get on the LNG Commission.

3. When Gov Romney sent Bob's LNG bill back to the House, Bob did nothing to move it forward. (remember, Bob tied it to a bad bill thinking the Gov would veto it)

4. Last one on this topic: There is an LNG task force, call up Bob's office and find out how many meetings it has held since he was mayor.

** Special note...I received a telephone poll call tonight. It is obvious Linda P is paying for it. The pollster asked me how would I feel if I knew the Dave Sullivan took no action on his LNG bill. Talk about a dirty campaign coming up!!

Now for the landfill

1. The iron fist of this adminstration has forced the Health Director to tell the council that there are no problems with the test wells at the landfill.

2. This is a bold faced lie, just a few years ago a councilor did bring out that the wells had shown that there were excedences. GOD!!! And now this mayor wants to dump toxins with less testing.

You forgot to mention that he would not raise taxes. He raised every fee there is (fees are a tax).

Can you imagine that our city businesses, which already are burdened with a higher tax rate, will be paying and paying every time it rains.

I usually do not get upset like this but this is god awful.

One last item, he pushed to build 26 single family homes at Watuppa Heights.

Now he wants to spend at least $4 million of our money to build 60 units at the site.

Honestly, can you trust this guy???

Listen to me. I know about these things. said...

Bob's a throwback. You don't elect a fossil like him and expect radical change. He represents an era of Fall River where the city saw no progress, a lot of corruption, and became a public housing repository. No one should be surprised at his style. He never really fought for Fall River at the state house - he just reinforced the notion that Fall River is full or baboons, and the we deserve to be shat on. Well him and Joan Menard did a good job at that. More scraps from the table? Yes please.

Lefty said...

The purpose of the post wasn't to express shock at Bob's leadership style. Nor was it to express surprise that Bob isn't living up to certain campaign promises.

Somebody asked me if I really expected our politicians to live up to their campaign promises. Well the answer is no. I think they should, or that they should at least TRY to. However the reality is that politicians are rarely held to the promises they make. Shame on us.

Lately I've been hearing people on WSAR express the opinion that to criticize the Mayor is wrong, to question his actions, unfair. This viewpoint is that we elected him to lead and we should shut up and let him do his job. Well I FIRMLY disagree with that view.

The purpose of this post is more about accountability. The Mayor, the City Council, the School Committee and every city employee is accountable to us.

I personally feel that the moves the Mayor is proposing in his recent budget are not good for the long term health of our city. And I think they're counter to what he campaigned on. Do I want to pay more in taxes? No, but I also don't want to see our city fall backwards.

Bob has laid a lot of the blame for the city's financial problems at the feet of Ed Lambert. However, lately I'm wondering how the Lambert administration would deal with the current fiscal crisis. I have a feeling there would be more out of the box thinking and less cuts in city services.

Anonymous said...

Lefty,

Lambert did show us how he was going to handle this situation - leave for greener pastures with good feelings/memories and legacy in hand. After all, Lambert knew better than most in Fall River that this financial mess was coming. Didn't he?