Sunday, August 31, 2008

SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Here it, the August SouthCoast Photo of the month, submitted by a blog reader.

The crown above is probably the most recognizable symbol of the Great Feast of the Hold Ghost of New England. The Great Feast may be the biggest draw in Fall River. The 4 day festival draws over 300,000 people annually to Fall River's Kennedy Park. The festival has been a Fall River tradition for over 20 years and has been referred to as the largest Azorean celebration in the world.

It's interesting that this incredible celebration attended by hundreds of thousands of people of Portuguese descent takes place in the shadows of St. Anne's Church, a magnificent shrine founded by French-Canadian immigrants. It serves as a terrific reminder that the best thing about Fall River is the richness of the many cultures that call it home.

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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Besides the mess at WSAR, is there anything else going on in Fall River?

"We should really move on to more important subjects. Like the presidential election!" - anonymous

I have to agree the disaster at WSAR has dominated peoples attention but what else is going on in and around Fall River?

Yes, the presidential election is important, but let's cover it briefly from a local angle. Obama wins Fall River, Obama wins Massachusetts. There that covers that. What? More observation? Obama's speech was brilliant. He said just what everyone wanted to hear and made promises he will NEVER keep, but the speech was brilliantly written and delivered with immense passion and charisma. McCain's pick for vice president will steal some thunder however. Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska is a pick that was on NOBODY'S radar, if nothing else it's a brilliant pick because of it comes as a complete surprise. It's also a great compromise pick. Palin is conservative, to reassure the far right. She is young, which helps diffuse McCain's age and at the same time gives some light on the future of the party. She's a woman and as much as I would like to think that doesn't matter, there are women out there that after seeing Hillary run feel now is the time to put a woman on the national stage. The only problems I have is she has NO name recognition and it seems like she was picked off a score card. Young, check...Conservative, check...Female, check. Gee if only she were black. Still it's a pick that should help McCain.

How about what is going on here?

Well I think the most interesting story is if the school department will renew Superintendent Fischer's contract. They need to give him an answer and time is running out. On the one hand the city's schools seem to be moving in the right direction. Despite Fischer having to deal with a tight budget and now budget cuts. The problem is, certain members of the school committee seem ready to attack Fischer at every turn. On top of that Fisher has a reputation of being rather arrogant, to the point where I think it has affected the morale of department employees. There are also concerns about whether or not the school department is too top heavy. Still, Fischer's future is very important not just to him but to us. If Fisher is moving the school system in the right direction and we get rid of him what happens to the progress we've made?

I've also been amused by the exchange of letters to the editor at the Herald News. Former council candidate Dave Proulx submitted a letter in opposition to the 'wild scenic' designation of the lower Taunton River. Mike Miozza, a former council candidate himself wrote a letter in response. This was followed up by another letter from Proulx and now another letter from Miozza. Like I said, I find it rather amusing, although I give both men credit for their passion.

The story at WSAR however, is inescapable. It's not just going to go away and for the those who have yet to find, Keri's second blog post can be found here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eddie Garcia's letter on Fall River Blog

This post has been modified and cleaned up to correct some errors and clarify some points. I apologize to Eddie Garcia for not doing a better job at proofing this before publishing.

I was a bit stunned to receive a letter from WSAR's Eddie Garcia. The subject read 'your reporting' and went on to say the characterization of his relationship with Mike Herren was incomplete. It took me a few seconds to realize that Eddie was copying me on an email to the Herald News.

The letter which I have posted in full and unedited on Fall River Blog, goes on to state that Garcia's internal memo was excerpted apparently without Garcia's permission in an article in yesterday's Herald News.

I had just posted earlier today that his 'memo' seems to add credibility to Keri Rodrigues' charges and now I was wondering if that was really the case. I took Eddie's email as an opportunity to contact him and we had a brief exchange.

Eddie said that yes, there had been issues between him and Mike Herren and he certainly was not denying that now. His letter to the Herald was in no way a reflection on Keri's filed complaint, but his complaint was an internal matter and he did not appreciate the Herald publishing that information without his permission or without even telling them they planned to excerpt it. Eddie made it clear that whatever issues he has had with Herren he has tried to resolve in a professional manner and that did not include having these issues discussed and debated in a public forum.

I have to agree that the Herald News was wrong to print Eddie Garcia's letter without first getting his permission and unfair to remove sentences that added context.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Radio Free

The situation at WSAR is just getting uglier and uglier. Keri Rodrigues is accusing former co-worker Mike Herren of harassment and station management of taking no action. Meanwhile station ownership is denying the accusations as is the Hurricane.

My first reaction was to ignore the hype and focus on the facts, to withhold opinion until more was known. However a second Herald News article is even more damning than the first. Now parts of Keri's complaints seem verified by Eric Poulin and Eddie Garcia. Now, I stumble across a new blog of Keri's that details her complaints against Herren and WSAR. The content is mind boggling and I have to think this is going to get much nastier. Mike Herren has offered to take a polygraph test if needed. I wonder if it's going to come to that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WSAR Bombshell

Keri Rodrigues left WSAR and the Fall River area due to intimidation and harassment by a fellow WSAR co-worker reports today's Herald News.

Rodrigues has stated that abusive incidents with Mike Herren date back to November of 2005. Herren refutes accusations and has offered to take a lie detector test.

There are two sides to every story and it will be interesting to see how the Karams respond to this.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The other day I caught just a few minutes of the Barry Richard's show. Barry was asking if people would vote for Mayor Correia when he comes up for re-election here in Fall River. I didn't listen long enough to hear the consensus, but it made me wonder, could Bob be beat in 2009? I think the simple answer is no. Because of some recent unpopular actions Bob may appear vulnerable but I don't think there is a candidate out there who could mount a successful challenge. Certainly, if we have a repeat of 2007 with multiple candidates running, no single candidate will be able to build the support needed to unseat Mayor Correia.

Still, it's entertaining to think about who a likely challenger would be or who could possibly beat Bob. Let's look at a few prominent candidates.

Representative David Sullivan
It's only natural to think of a possible rematch between Bob Correia and Dave Sullivan. Still, Sullivan is unlikely to win any such rematch and I think it would be inadvisable to try. Bob now has the benefit of being the incumbent, usually always an advantage. Sullivan is not a strong enough public speaker or effective enough in debates to really hurt Bob. Also another run for mayor could erode his support for his state rep seat. I think Sullivan would be wise to sit this one out.

Eric Poulin
I think it was tough not to be impressed by Eric Poulin in his bid for mayor. Eric is likable, smart, and has experience in the Mayor's office. He offered up a detailed campaign platform and demonstrated his abilities to understand Fall River issues and research and formulate actions during the few campaign forums before the primary. Could Eric make a challenge of it, if he was the only candidate facing Bob? I think Eric would do very well against Bob in a series of debates but Poulin's problem would be trying to get the financial backing and experienced campaign support to mount a serious campaign. If Poulin does decide to run for office in 2009 I think the city council is where he would have the best success.

Ed Lambert
After 12 years as Fall River's mayor Ed Lambert decided to ride into the sunset. The problem is the new sheriff in town is blaming Ol' Ed for all the troubles around Dodge. With his ego bruised and his legacy tarnished, could Lambert be convinced to try to reclaim his old turf? Certainly, Lambert's popularity has suffered some. His political organization now had 'property of Bob' written all over. Still, I have to think if Lambert decided to make a run of it, his core supporters would return. He could probably assemble much of his old campaign machine and no local politician is a better campaigner, a more gifted speaker, or more effective debater. If anyone could beat Bob Correia my money would be on Lambert, that said I don't think beating Bob would be enough incentive for Lambert to run again. Would it?

Bottom line look for token opposition for Bob in 2009. My hunch is he wins easily and steps down in 2011. If that happens I imagine that Councilor Cathy Ann Viveros will make a run, as well as Councilor Joe Camara and State Representative Kevin Aguiar.

Some challengers that the Mayor has been facing are members of the '6-3 Council'. Isn't it something that it's the same 6 councilors who always agree with him and the same 3 who disagree? Personally I think the '3 amigos' (Steve Camara, Ray Hague and Leo Pelletier) have done a better job of explaining their no votes then the 'lockstep 6' has even attempted for their support. Still, I'm sure Mayor Correia respects the views of Steve Camara, Hague and Pelletier. I'm sure he understands the need to keep a good working relationship with these 3 councilors even if they haven't supported him in the early goings. Right? Well, the Herald News reports that these 3 councilors were not invited to a recent fundraiser for the Mayor. The other six were all given invitations. The Mayor justified this by saying it was an event for his supporters and that he never invited every Rep to functions he held while in that office. But, the office of mayor is a lot different. He is the head of the city and must work with all 9 councilors. Instead his actions seem designed to alienate and make clear that he does not need their support.

Mayor Correia should be working to build relationships with all 9 councilors. While there is little chance that the Mayor himself will be seriously challenged for re-election, those opposed to him will realize this and likely focus their efforts on challenging his 'council majority'.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Made in Fall River

Support jobs for Americans, buy products with the "the made in the U.S.A." label, support your local farmers and buy produce from your local farmer's market. Apparently one local clothes manufacturers is adopting that philosophy to help promote their product line.

Karen Warren
is a local company that features clothing made only in the Bay State, with manufacturing based right here in Fall River. The product line wears a label that proudly boasts 'Made in Massachusetts, U.S.A.'

Karen Warren knows it's cheaper to do the manufacturing overseas but they believe in investing in their local economy. Fall River certainly needs that investment.

Here's wishing much success to Karen Warren, 'Made in Massachusetts, U.S.A.', right here in Fall River.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Isn't there an election coming up?

Where are the debates? The commercials? The newspaper ads? Isn't there an election coming up?

Why is this so quiet? After all two of our state reps are facing challengers! How come I don't hear incumbents talking up their resumes, telling us what they've done? How come I don't hear challengers talking about their vision and telling us how they are going to do what the incumbents have failed to?

Shouldn't campaigns be in full swing by now? Instead all I see is a ton of Linda Pereira signs in the North End and after much searching a few campaign websites.

Now in the 8th Bristol District Mike Rodrigues has it easy. He is running unopposed. Things are different however in the 6th and 7th Districts.

In the 7th Bristol District Representative Kevin Aguiar should be facing stiff competition. Aguiar has only held the seat a few short months, thanks to a special election. Sure Kevin is a familiar name thanks to years on the school committee but he has not had time to build a reputation in Boston. If anyone wanted to make a serious run at this seat THIS is the year to do it. Instead Aguiar faces John Rodrigues in the Democratic primary and will face Republican challenger CJ Ferry before returning to Boston. Oh I suppose I should say the winner will face CJ Ferry but let's be honest. Rodrigues and Ferry have both run for office before and neither has ever stood in the winners circle. They're not serious candidates, or at least it's tough to take them as serious candidates. Rodrigues faced Aguiar in the special election and ran a quiet an ineffectual campaign. Ferry last ran for both city council and school committee and came in last in both races. If either man was serious about unseating Aguiar they should have come out swinging, instead we've heard next to nothing.

The most interesting race is in the 6th Bristol District, as incumbent Dave Sullivan faces City Councilor Linda Pereria in the Democratic primary. Back when Dave lost the Fall River mayoral race I predicted the vultures would circle this coming election. There is certainly a short list of people who could seriously challenge Sullivan for his seat. Kilby, Whitty, and Poulin could all make a race of it. So could Council President Joe Camara, who has run for the seat before, but Linda Pereira?! True, Linda is a veteran city councilor. She has name recognition and a support base. Linda has introduced ideas to the council and has been outspoken on issues. However Linda is also haunted by her own past. There is the infamous racist joke that she told in public. There is also the odd sitation where she claimed a Herald News reporter fabricated an interview with her. Maybe too much has been made out of the joke incident and in the case of the Herald, I'd hate to call her a liar, but it does cast some doubts on her judgement.

Another problem for Linda is that Dave Sullivan might not be as vulnerable as people thought. No longer in the shadow of Bob Correia, Representative Sullivan seems to be having a pretty good year. He's gotten good press with the passage of the Rolling Rock bill and continues to be the maverick with his lone stand against the recent home rule petition. But the best news for Sullivan is the passage of his buffer zone bill. This is a high profile accomplishment for Sullivan, that could be a death blow for Hess LNG. It look like if Linda wants to unseat Sullivan she'll need to do more than just wallpaper the north end with campaign signs.

If any of the candidates for office would like to like to tell me why they should be elected to office or to advise me of a campaign website, drop me a line at

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Keri's gone, who should WSAR bring onboard?

With the sudden departure of Keri Rodrigues, WSAR once again finds itself in need of some on air talent. Today several listeners called in to lobby for the return of Mike Moran. So the question is, who should WSAR bring on board to fill the morning slot?

An anonymous commenter, who suggested this topic believes that Keri's successor should be someone who is viewed as independent from both the Karam's and the Correia administration, otherwise the station's credibility suffers.

I think, given that this is someone who would probably host the morning show with Hec, and then host the 1 hour talk program, someone with knowledge of the Fall River area is essential.

Leave your comments and tell me who YOU think WSAR should bring on board!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Goodbye Keri

Somewhere local politicians are celebrating, Keri Rodrigues has resigned her position with WSAR.

Local talk just won't be the same. It's not that she was always right, or always fair, because she wasn't. She was always passionate about the issues. She was however, a local advocate who helped promote local topics and concerns. She worked hard to break the story first and usually knew more about any local issue than any of the other hosts at WSAR. She wasn't afraid to ask the hard question and keep asking it if necessary. There were times where she could drive you crazy to the point of changing the channel and there were other times where you sat in the car for 20 minutes so you didn't miss a word.

It's no surprise she's resigned, I just don't think the move to mornings ever worked for her. The morning show with Happy Hec is a mellow affair, and despite improved ratings, the energy level between the two of them never worked. More frustrating was Keri being shoehorned into Mike Moran's old spot. It seemed just as Keri was really getting into the topic the show was over.

Then there's the rumors of what was going on behind the scenes. Keri has already mentioned she was banned from blogging but people have also speculated that the move to mornings was done to keep her from causing trouble. Some have even said that she was told by management that some topics were off limits. If that's the case it's easy to see why she would decide to move on.

Keri's leaving is a real loss. WSAR has now lost its one maverick. The hosts that are left are only all too willing to give a free pass to any local politician who graces the airwaves. Could Barry Richards be any more obliging to Mayor Correia? Could there been a more pathetic display of indifference than when Mike Herren interviewed Councilor Lund?

Before she was banned from blogging I loved the fact that she went the extra mile to interact with her audience. I was thrilled when she mentioned this and other local blogs on her program and flattered when she acted like meeting me was a big deal. I'll forever be grateful to her for allowing me to play 'radio host' for a day and I'm sorry to see her go.

Goodbye Keri, you'll be missed.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Marketing Lizzie

I've already stated in a previous post that I'm opposed to the idea of a Lizzie Borden museum being located in Salem and really anywhere outside of our area. My view is simple, the history happened here and so this should be the place where people come to experience it. My view on this is pretty much set in stone. However a blog post over at Fall River Community brings up an excellent point, that Fall River fails to market itself very well. It's a great point, and I urge you to read the post.

So, on the eve of the 116th anniversary of the Borden murders, the question is how do we market Lizzie?

The problem is, FRC is right, we do a horrible job of marketing. In the case of Lizzie Borden so much could be done with little investment and the payoff could be significant. To start with let's focus on August!

Every August 4th all the local papers run some blurb about the Borden murders. It's not uncommon for the Borden case to get some national attention once the anniversary roles around. First, let's move Fall River Celebrates America to mid-July or late August so we're not clashing events. Now let's promote the re-enactments that typically take place at the Borden B&B. Let's dust off the trolleys that the Mayor has been talking about and have tours of all the relevant Borden sites. This would include the Borden House, and a drive to Oak Grove, and Maplecroft, the former Congregational Church, maybe the Highland homes of Lizzie's friends and relatives. The Abby Grill could host breakfasts of johnny cakes and bananas . People could take walking tours of Andrew Borden's morning routine and follow his final footsteps.

A 'temporary' museum could be set up, perhaps in a downtown location. Large photos of the main characters, biographies, maps of the city and more would be on display. Lectures could be held on a variety of topics, from in depth looks at the lives of the people involved, discussions of the various theories, the science of the case and more. A mock trial would certainly be a feature.

This shouldn't be gimmicky or hokey, it should simply be a few days or a week were Fall River draws back the curtains and let's the world in to examine a mystery that has fascinated people for over a hundred years.

Of course there are the natural tie ins. The Fall River Historical Society & the homeowners in the Highlands that might want to offer a tour of their homes. Then there's the not-so natural tie ins. This is the opportunity to promote Battleship Cove, Almac's Diner, Fall River's textile history, festivals and all the other noteworthy stuff about our city. This is the time to plant the seeds for a return trip. This could all be put together with donations from area businesses. It just needs to be well thought out and well executed.

Every August people's interest in a century-old murder is renewed and their curiosity piqued. We've been looking for a way to get people to come to Fall River, let's give Lizzie a whack at it!