I'm starting to share the sentiment. Will Flanagan seems like a pretty nice guy. He comes across well, and speaks with a Kennedy-esque style, (although a somewhat wooden one). He promises change because he's the 'outsider' and not a 'career politician' or some such.
However, and this may come as a shock to his supporters, Will Flanagan is not perfect.
A perfect example is the story is today's Herald News. Will is accusing Cathy Ann of making deceptive and misleading statements. This basically boils down to Will in last Monday's debate saying that he would repeal the "rain tax" and make up the revenue by refinancing the loans for the CSO project. In response Cathy Ann said those loans were at 0%, which is not completely true. Only one of the loans is at a 0%, so Cathy Ann deserves to get a little grief here and she's getting it on the Herald News comment section. But, what caught my attention was this:
Flanagan said he has been in contract with banking leaders and legal firms
to determine the savings that could be produced by refinancing the CSO-related
loans. He said it had not yet been determined what those savings would be.“We’re
still crunching the numbers,” Flanagan said.
Hold on! He is saying this is how he will make up the revenue and he doesn't even know what the savings would be! He's crunching numbers!!
Isn't that a little deceptive??
Also why did Will wait 4 days to to bring this up? It sounds to me like he hadn't done his homework and had to do some quick studying to figure out if Viveiros was right or not.
By bringing it up now he has given Viveiros the opportunity to expand on her answer:
She said Thursday she is aware there are a variety of loans, which she said
ranged from zero percent to 2 percent, but that producing savings from those
loans would not make a significant difference.“We have gotten the best rates we
can expect, and to suggest that raising $5.2 million through restructuring debt
is naive and not reflective of an awareness of the financial markets,” Viveiros
He also gave her the chance to nail him on another point:
The city councilor also said Flanagan’s idea to increase sewer rates on
out-of-town users, as he stated at the forum, is not legal because the city’s
wastewater treatment plant was built as a regional facility and included
conditions to make the plant available to other users.“If we try to breach that
contract we’d be in court, and that is not a good use of tax dollars,” Viveiros
said. “We have so many better things to spend our money on than court expenses.”
Will states that he is trying to bring fresh thinking to the Mayor's office but:
“By refinancing our debt and by extending our payments on the CSO program
we as a city will be better situated to protect our citizens during these
This isn't fresh thinking, we've refinanced loans before, and I personally am not in favor of extending our payments. Fall River has a terrific amount of long term debt and we need to pay things off and free up capital not extend the payments and handicap future administrations. He now brings up a second proposal that seems guaranteed to get us into court. I suppose he'll offer to fight this one himself too! Will Will ever have time to run the city?
After the primary WSAR asked both candidates how they would deal with more 9C cuts in the next fiscal year and Will responded that we need to make Fall River less dependent on state aid. Well THAT is not happening in the next 6 months!
Like I said before Will seems like a really nice guy but Fall River is in tough shape. I've heard lots of rhetoric from Will. I have heard lots of support and proposals for ideas that are already on the drawing board (taking down Rt. 79 and a Green Park come to mind). What I haven't heard is anything that makes me think he is ready to run a city of 90 thousand with a 200-220 million dollar budget.
This isn't some endorsement of Cathy Ann Viveiros, because neither of these candidates were my choice in the primary. And I keep waiting for Will to convince me that he's the guy. I keep trying to figure out what makes his supporters so loyal. Perhaps it would help if they would take of the rose colored glasses and admit that Will's not perfect.