Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bud's by the Beach

Normally I would leave the restaurant reviews to my friend Laura over at New England Bites but I just had to share a new favorite spot.

Bud's by the Beach is located on 9 Bridge Road in Westport. It's just before Horseneck Beach and in sight of the Back Eddy.

A few weeks ago We found ourselves out in Westport and looking for a place to eat. When my first choice turned out to be closed we decided to try Bud's. Bud's is a little beach shop with maybe a half dozen outdoor tables. Even with the water hidden from sight you can simply feel that you're near the ocean. The atmosphere is casual, informal, and comfortable, I love these types of places.

A quick peak at the menu and I knew I had to try the scallop plate at $11.99, She ordered the fish and chips at $9.99. We also decided to try to cups of clam chowder, sorry I don't recall the price. In just a short amount of time our name was called and I went up to the window to get our food. The scallops were fantastic. I can't recall the last time I have had scallops that were better! Perfectly cooked, they were sweet and meaty and tender. The fries too were to our liking, crispy and hot but not overcooked. The cole slaw was the one disappointment not bad, just bland and a very small portion of it. Her fish was lightly battered and crispy, the fish itself flaky and very tasty. She thought it was very good and the portion well worth the money. The chowder too was very tasty, a good creamy broth, and each spoonful was full of potatoes and clams.

We enjoyed it so much that the next time we found ourselves thinking of lunch we both knew where we wanted to go. This time she decided to get the scallops and I decided I would do something different. The menu is diverse. You can get sandwiches and paninis, a polish plate and lobster rolls, in the end I decided to go with....scallops! They were so good the first time I couldn't resist! Again, the food was ready quickly, this time we noticed that the fries were different, still good but we preferred them more the first time. I didn't regret my order at all! The scallops were just as good as the first time maybe even better. A few minutes later we both felt pretty lucky, apparently we had ordered the last of the scallops. A few minutes later and it might have been a sad day! This visit we decided to try the clam cakes and like the cole slaw we found them disappointing. They weren't bad, but they were plain and on the small side.

On both visits we were able to pull right in and order. We noted that the Back Eddy lot was full and again on both visits noted that the nearby Bayside was PACKED! What this means is that Bud's by the Beach is unknown treasure, a 'best kept secret'. I'm almost hesitant to blog this, I'm afraid I may find my new favorite spot too busy to go to! But by the same token I would hate to see Bud's close its doors because everyone has decided to keep this place all to themselves.

So please go and try it and tell me what you think, but if you can.... leave me some scallops!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Call me Jessica...

I was somewhat amused Monday when I read Marc Monroe Dion's latest column in the Herald News. Just paint the thing already says Marc. The whole idea is a stupid diversionary tactic by those of us who are too easily diverted. Such simple ideas may work in the land of 5 year olds, such as the imaginary Jessica, a character of Marc's creation, but not in the real world.

I won't flatter myself to think Marc was singling me out, although his scorn for painting it blue makes me wonder.

Marc feels by wasting everyones time with this foolish idea, if he can even call it that, we're ignoring the real issues that face the city. By talking about the bridge color we're taking our eye of the ball!

The problem is this isn't baseball. We're not just standing here waiting for one ball to sail our way, there are tons of balls flying at us all at once. We have to try to keep our eye on all of them, all the issues that we face, even the minor ones.

Nothing has held this city back as much as the mindset that we need to focus on just the big issues, the grim problems that face our city. Folks that mindset has gotten accomplished nothing, except to provide good ol' Marc with an endless supply of things to christen with his wit.

Is the color of the Braga Bridge the most important issue in Fall River? No! Is it worthy of discussion? Definitely. Nobody thinks painting the bridge red or orange or whatever color is going to bring in tourists, jobs and prosperity. What is being suggested is a change of color might bring a change of attitude, a little pride, and maybe generate a little buzz. I certainly don't think painting my living room will somehow restore the carpet and fix the bad outlet, but it will make me feel better about my house. It will make me feel more positive about its appearance and its potential. Why shouldn't we consider that on a larger scale?

Certainly the Herald didn't think is was a waste of ink when they ran the article stating that the bridge would not be changing color. Turns out they were a little premature in that statement. They certainly didn't feel it was a waste of your time to put up an online poll, which they conveniently pulled by the time Marc's column ran.

Marc himself didn't feel it was a waste of time to continue the diversion by writing yet another column about the color of the bridge. This last part is particularly insulting, if Marc thought there were other topics in need of discussion why didn't he just WRITE about one of them?

When I read Marc's column I was reminded of a documentary I had seen on President Lincoln. It was mentioned that while the Lincoln presidency was consumed by the Civil War the President still focused on several progressive policies and domestic issues. Gee you don't face much larger problems than a civil war! I couldn't help but think of Providence's renaissance. How did Providence move forward on this long term goal with all the real issues they faced. Providence certainly faces issues with crime and poverty and education and drugs and to think how much time they have wasted on stupid diversions. It's scandal!

Marc certainly doesn't think painting the bridge a different color is a good idea. Why should he? Can you imagine if we actually did little things like this? Can you imagine if we started making changes to move toward a better Fall River? If that were to happen what in the world would Marc Monroe Dion have to write about?

Deadline passes: Who's running??

With yesterday's deadline for submitting nomination papers now passed we can officially declare, thanks to the Herald News, that some are running and some are not.

Certainly if you're Steve Camara and you've just picked up your morning Herald you have to be pleased. Not only have you just been promoted to President but you find out that the Mayor didn't turn in his papers! Hey, this Mayoral bid may have just gotten easier!

Shortly after I read "Fields remain deep after deadline" I was contacted by Fear and Loathing, who summed it up - "This is the worst article ever!"

When I spoke to another friend he remarked: "did the HN Daggett this story too?" I instantly knew what he meant and now define Daggett as: to state, declare or otherwise report without ascertaining all the facts or verifying the reported information.

Apparently those who did not return papers by yesterday's deadline are:
CJ Ferry
Eric Poulin (School Committee)
Mayor Robert Correia
Brian Bigelow
Pat A. Casey
Michael Lund
Linda M. Pereira
Victor M. Farias
John Luddy
Christopher Marcelino
Richard M. Urban
Mark Costa
Joseph Martins
Bobbi Boday

Amazingly the Herald somehow classifies some of these folks as 'late dropouts' and lists the others as still in the race but reports that they didn't file their nomination forms! What is the difference? Interesting to note that it's all the challengers who are classified as dropouts.

Yes, I think the Herald did indeed Daggett this story too.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Seesaw Bridge

I suppose I can't fault the Herald for trying to sell more papers but their recent article "Coming to a river near you: A bascule bridge" has just rubbed me the wrong way. The Herald boasts 5 things to know about bascule bridges that you will need to pick up a copy of the paper to find out.
Well, I don't have a copy of the paper, nor do I plan on buying one but let's talk a little about bascule bridges.

What is a bascule bridge? Well, here in Fall River we've been staring at one for the last 100 years. A bascule bridge is a form of drawbridge. The existing Brightman Street bridge is a bascule bridge. Technically it is a double leaf bascule bridge. What sets a bascule bridge apart from a simple drawbridge is the counterweights on each leaf that allow them to be raised quickly and relatively easy. It's this seesaw motion that gives the bridge its name bascule is french for seesaw and balance.

It's fair to say that bascule bridges have been around since the days of kings and castles but it was the ability to mass produce steal in the mid 19th century that made using bascule bridges over large spans practical.

At 922ft. the new bridge will be the largest bascule span on the East Coast. The 312 million dollar project is slated to be completed by late 2012.

Now, I'm not sure if I've answered the Herald's 5 things you should know, but heck I'm not making you buy a paper either!

Tune in for tomorrow's teaser Herald headline: There was a murder last night - was it in your neighborhood? Buy a copy of the Herald News to find out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Color Clash

It seems any thoughts of seeing a majestic orange or millstone red Braga Bridge will be dependent on your imaginations. The Herald News is reporting that green is to remain the bridge's official color.

After months of rumors about the future color of the soon-to-be-painted Charles M. Braga Bridge — a Golden Gate red was the latest whim — MassHighway Spokesman Adam Hurtubise confirmed Wednesday that the estimated $30 million painting project will consist of just one color: green.

What struck me odd about this announcement is that is comes on the heels of an O Jornal story that indicated that Mass Highway was willing to at least consider a color.

"I think we made some progress," said Menard, who added that at first skeptical group from Mass Highway agreed to explore the change.

One of the explanations for keeping the Braga's green scheme is it is easier to spot rust.

A standard bridge color that matches most of the other bridges around the commonwealth, a state official said that bridges are generally painted green in order to better demonstrate rusting tendencies, something red or similar colors would not.

The problem is that too was mentioned in the O Jornal story and I would say pretty soundly dismissed.

One of arguments presented was if the bridge is painted red, inspectors will not be able to see the rust. "Does that mean they only inspect the bridge with a drive-by?" he said, calling that argument, "poor."

What makes this excuse all the more funny is the fact that there are several bridges in MA and worldwide that are not painted green.

It's also odd that the Herald story comes up less than a week after the O Jornal story. According to the Herald the decision has been made but less than a week ago....

State Senator Joan Menard, who scheduled the meeting, said that after reviewing numerous scenarios, the group concluded to reconvene in the next several weeks with Mass Highway officials producing a color chart of paints which would cost the same as the current green, but could serve as alternatives.

So what changed in the span of a week that suddenly makes the decision final? Why would Mass Highway make this decision when they just agreed to a subsequent meeting with our local delegation?

Maybe the green paint has already been purchased? Oh shoot, Sen. Menard addressed that concern too.

Menard added that if in fact the paint has been already purchased, "they can use it someplace else."

Lefty's View: When I first read this story in the O Jornal I was reluctant to see a change. I've grown accustomed to that familiar green. However, after writing my first post on this every time I drive by the Braga I now wonder what it would look like in a different color. I have to admit the idea of International Orange has grown on me.

Something about the Herald News story doesn't make sense. It clashed too much with the story in the O Jornal. Do the folks at the Herald have their facts straight? If so why the sudden change? What is the response of our local delegation? These folks believed that the topic was still up for discussion and now suddenly they're being told it's not? Why didn't the Herald get a quote from ANY of them?

As far as I'm concerned the color of the Braga hasn't been decided until they start painting it. If we as a community want to see a change in color then the topic should be on the table open for discussion. I don't like being told no without a reasonable explanation.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

In September of 2007 the Fall River Community blog was launched. By this time I had traded lots of emails and IM's with Fall River Community and he had commented frequently here on A View From Battleship Cove.

Almost two years later and many blog posts later I'm sorry to hear that FRC has decided to close down the Fall River Community blog. FRC has told me several times over the last few months that he was going to hang up his keyboard. I had hoped that maybe the excitement of a new political season would keep my friend typing away for a while longer but I guess that's just not the case.

FRC has a tremendous talent for finding the story missed by everyone else and a gift for research. FRC points out that there are more opportunities now for Fall River residents to share their comments and thoughts but it is his unique perspective that we will miss.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Is Someone 'Poulin' My Leg?


Is someone 'Poulin' my leg? Just yesterday I'm reading Eric Poulin's latest press release and thinking that it's great to see a candidate come up a solid position and today I'm reading in the Herald that he has taken out papers to run for School Committee!

Now Eric isn't dropping out of the City Council race he's simply pulling out papers to enter the School Committee Race. Eric told the Herald he decided to explore the School Committee race because of his concern over the lack of candidates.

Well, I'm concerned about the lack of candidates too. The Fall River school system is in chaos and I'm afraid all parties concerned need to show more of a commitment to the mission of our schools and to our children. However, as much as I would like to see new faces and fresh approaches within our school committee, I firmly believe Eric Poulin needs to concentrate solely on a City Council run.

Two years ago one candidate, CJ Ferry, decided to enter both the school committee and city council races, he wasn't taken serious in either. Eric Poulin is far too good of a candidate for city council to have that happen to him.

Eric served six years in the Mayor's office and has a terrific grasp of the day to day operation of our city. Two years ago his platform for Mayor was by far the most detailed, most specific, and I believe the most realistic.

By running two races Eric takes a chance of dividing the votes he might otherwise get. As voters enter the booth this September they'll need to figure out if they want to vote for Eric the Councilor or Eric the Committeeman. If Poulin is lucky perhaps they'll vote for both.

Fall River needs bright, energetic, forward thinking leaders and Eric Poulin is worthy of consideration for your vote but he needs to decide what race that is going to be in.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Color Should We Paint the Braga Bridge?

A few years ago one of overpasses over I-195, near Government Center was painted from it's familiar green to a pale blue color. I was struck by the difference a simple color change made. I wondered if the rest of the bridge work around there would be painted the same color. I wondered what the Braga Bridge would look like if it were painted blue.

Of course, that didn't happen but now, according to the O Jornal there are some folks that are thinking it might be time to consider painting the bridge a color other than its familiar green. Bert Harlow, a founder of the Narrows contacted the O Jornal to discuss the idea of a color change. Harlow suggested the bridge switch from it's drab green to international orange, the color of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.

He also suggested a millstone red could be nice and he pointed out a millstone red bridge would look better longer because the inevitable rust wouldn't be as noticeable.

I can only assume the O Jornal contacted members of our local delegation and Mayor Bob Correia and their response has been overwhelmingly in favor of a color change. With the Braga due to be repainted the shared sentiment was as long as it doesn't cost more money, why not?

So should we really paint the Braga Bridge some other color? Can you imagine driving in on Rt. 79 or I-195 only to see a large orange bridge, or red? This isn't a decision to be made on a whim because we'll be living with that color choice for the next quarter century! Even if the paint were to cost the same as the current green paint, and have all the same qualities and last just as long, would it cost us more because of the color change?

There will be a meeting on Monday morning at 9 a.m. with Mayor Correia, Senator Menard, Bert Harlow, Representative Rodrigues and Mass Highway to talk about this. Don't let them make a decision without you weighing in on it! Also take a moment to stop by the O Jornal website and participate in their reader's poll. For some reason international orange isn't included. Personally I can't decide if we should keep it green or change the color. Rust hiding red seems to make a lot of sense, but I think I'm gonna vote for the blue!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

10% Confusion

For months I've been hearing the rumor that instead of having his salary cut, Mayor Bob Correia writes a check back to the city for the 10% pay cut he said he would take.

Really, I've had people instant message me on the blog about this, I've had people talk to me in person about it. I've read it on the comment section of the Herald News.

I'm amazed that no one in our local media has investigated this. I'm amazed that the Mayor hasn't tried to clear it up. (OK, maybe I'm not really amazed by that...)

You see the problem is, if the Mayor is writing a 10% check back to the city every pay period then the city is technically paying him his normal salary, and he gets to count that higher amount toward his retirement. Some have argued that the Mayor is doing this on purpose to protect his pension. Considering the tough financial situation Fall River finds itself in, this doesn't seem very moral. Others have argued that the Mayor has to do it this way because his salary is dictated by ordinance. But can't ordinances be changed? The problem is nobody has really proven the Mayor is doing this at all.

One thing that is for sure, nobody has offered the rest of the of the city's employees a chance to protect their pension and write out a check for their pay cuts.

Lefty's View: This needs to be cleared up. There is no reason the Mayor should be writing a check back to the city. If the Mayor is writing a check back to the city because of requirements of an ordinance, that ordinance needs to be changed. If he is doing it to protect his retirement, he needs to stop. If this is just a big myth somebody needs to put an end to it.