Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fire Chief Debate Heating Up!

It was quite a shock to hear this morning that the petition submitted to override the home rule petition vote of the Fall River City Council would have no effect. The Mayor is looking to change the way fire chiefs are hired in Fall River. Although the council voted to send the measure to Boston, over 7,000 certified voters signed a petition to override the council's actions.

Basically, it's the opinion of Assistant Corporation Counsel John J. Coughlin, and of the Mayor that "... You can’t have a referendum petition against a home rule petition".

Now here's the problem. I agree with the city's position. You can't have a referendum petition against a home rule petition. However, in my opinion, the referendum petition isn't against the home rule petition. It's against the council vote. I admittedly am no lawyer but from reading the wording of the petition and of the section of law the petitioners referenced I don't see this as being against the home rule petition. Again, my legal knowledge consists of a few seasons of Boston Legal but to make sure I'm not spouting absolute crap here, I have reviewed this with a friend with a legal background. The verdict? My friend says my take on this is right on target. No surprise but Bob Camara, a district fire chief who led the petition drive, feels the same way, and backed by the opinion of the law firm Rossman & Rossman this could be headed for litigation.

How does the law firm Rossman & Rossman arrive at one conclusion that seems so clear that even a local blogger can see it, yet the city's legal council arrive at a different conclusion? Could this be some sort of political roadblock? A legal maneuver simply used to buy enough time for the home rule petition to make its way through the legal process in Boston? Considering how this was forcibly maneuvered through our City Council, I can't help but wonder.


General said...

You are correct. One other point:

The home rule petition is not finalized, it is not law, not until the House - Senate and the Gov all agree to it.

So, the legislators could and should stop dead in their tracks and allow the "will of the people" to go forward.

Lefty said...

I agree, general.

I also wonder what chaos would result if the home rule petition were to become law only to find out the petition IS valid and the issue should have been brought back to the council to either rescind or schedule for a vote of the citizens!

The legislators SHOULD allow the will of the people to go forward. I just hope they're listening.

Anonymous said...

I noticed comments on the Herald News site that mentioned the mayor
was going to review the voters names that signed the petitions and retaliate. In that vain,
the same day the Herald News changed their comment section
to include a registration section
where you need to put in your email
and name. Evidently, you can also
make up a name. I know this is
somewhat common on sites but also question the timing.

There are usually at least two points of view on an article in
the comments and now the are very one sided. It appears only those that agree with the Mayor are now willing to post.

Can you provide some input on how
these sites work and if in fact
the possibility exists of such

I am just a voter observing, not a firefighter, not a city employee, however, I do have family in this city that I would not want retaliated against.

Anonymous said...

Well I stand corrected I heard that it was WSAR that pushed the Herald News to have log- ins on
their blog.

Interesting how the press works
around here.

Not sure that it is objective journalism.

Finally The Truth said...

Lefty said...


I somewhat doubt the Herald could use your email to track you, but it's easy enough to set up a free account on Google, Yahoo, hotmail and provide that one.