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