Friday, January 30, 2009

SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Here it is January's SouthCoast Photo of the month!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this one certainly inspired that many to be written on Fall River-tastic!

I find this picture to be incredibly symbolic. What was that city plow doing in a private parking lot? Despite the protests of those who felt Shamrock was delving into conspiracy theory it is a question worth asking! This picture is symbolic of the questions we as residents should be asking. It is not a conspiracy theory to question our government and I would suggest that it is our duty to responsibly ask such questions. This picture is also symbolic of the role that blogs can play in introducing topics and furthering conversation. Truly, worth a thousand words.


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

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Television Debut of Pawtucket Rising

Pawtucket Rising, the documentary by Fall River's own Jason Caminiti, will air twice this week on Rhode Island PBS, WSBE.

Back in September I had the chance to watch and review Pawtucket Rising, Jason Caminiti's first effort in filmmaking. I was impressed. Pawtucket Rising is a documentary with a fascinating look at the revitalization of a New England Mill City.

Caminiti who has described himself as the talent in front of the camera is not seen or heard, instead he tells the story through the interview of others. The story moves along, almost like reading a book, each new section highlighted like a new chapter.

The story, of course is about the revitalization of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It's a story about artist and developers seeing a community that provided affordable possibilities. It's about local government seizing the chance for economic growth. And yet, Pawtucket Rising makes it clear that these things didn't just happen, nothing just fell into place. Pawtucket Rising is a documentary about a shared vision and about the team work that takes place to make that vision a reality.

Pawtucket Rising not only serves as a documentary of what has taken place in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, it is also serves as a lesson that can be learned by other communities facing the same problems and struggles.

The making of Pawtucket Rising is just as fascinating as the story the documentary tells. Caminiti has no intention of making a film the first time he stepped in Pawtucket. Instead he went to learn about what was going on in Pawtucket and to see how those efforts could be used here in Fall River. The filmed interviews were to be used for his local access cable show, The Fall River Show.

After doing some of the initial interviews Jason began to realize that there was a story here that should be told, a story that a few interviews were not going to give justice to. With an amazing amount of cooperation from the city of Pawtucket, Caminiti embarked on the making of a documentary.

The fact that he had never made a film before and didn't have a budget didn't deter him. Caminiti did most of the filming himself with his trusty handheld camcorder. For almost a year, starting in November of 2007, Caminiti would juggle trips to Pawtucket and long nights of editing material with his full time job as Director of Information Technology. He was able to secure the efforts of composer Francisco J. Rodríguez, to score the film but was still editing in late August of 2008 with screenings in Fall River and Pawtucket just weeks away.

The film that was made for the cost of gasoline and tapes for his camera was shown to an enthusiastic audience on September 10, 2008 in Fall River, less than two weeks later Pawtucket Rising was part of the 9th Annual Pawtucket Film Festival. Caminiti's film has received reviews, write ups or mentions in the Providence Journal, the Fall River Herald News, the Standard Times, the Newport Daily News, Providence Phoenix, the Fall River Spirit, the Pawtucket Times, and this blog!

Pawtucket Rising can be seen January 22nd at 10 p.m. and January 24th at 7 p.m. on Rhode Island PBS, Channel 36. It can also be seen in Fall River, Freetown, Somerset and Swansea on cable Channel 19. It can be seen in Westport on cable Channel 9 and on cable Channel 8 in Rhode Island.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


For those who miss the sound of Keri Rodrigues' voice emenating from their speakers technology has provided an answer.

Keri has recently posted a podcast on her blog Radio Free ( The Radio Free editorial titled Bob Correia and The Fight Against LNG pulls no punches and is a bluntly honest and critical assesment of the fight against LNG during the Correia administration. To put it another way it is EXACTLY what you expect to hear from Keri Rodrigues.

I hope that this is the first of many podcasts from the fiesty "Pint-sized Portugues Pundit." Keri's podcast is not only a welcome return of a voice that has been missing from Fall River's airwaves but also compliments the Fall River Blogosphere.

I can only imagine that as Keri recorded it she wanted to get a little looser, a little more fiery, that she wanted to turn up the heat and watch the phone lines light up! Well Keri, the call letters have changed but Fall River is still listening.

Dear Herald News, It may be time to screen your calls.

I couldn't help but chuckle when I checked out Fall River-tastic this morning. Mayor Correia has a letter in the Herald News today and Shamrock's feeling on this were pretty clear.

However I wasn't chuckling when I read the Mayor's letter. The Mayor, prompted by a Herald editorial to reach out to the community is reaching out to the paper to "end to personal attacks."

"Certainly The Herald News and the city’s mayor should share a common bond.
We are both committed to promoting our city, raising its vision to what in the
past was only a dream, and caring for its citizens, both young and old. We
jointly wish to preserve Fall River as a safe and peaceful place with great and
generous people."

Mayor Correia believes that the mayor of the city and the paper have many common goals and because of that should remain civil. The Mayor needs to remember editorials are supposed to question and offer opinions. The Herald has both praised the Mayor and been critical of him.

A WSAR editorial back in December made the same argument, that the Herald was nothing but critical of the Mayor. It's worth revisiting a blog post on Fall River Community that was a response to a WSAR editorial. That post, written over a month ago, could easily be substituted for a response to the Mayor's letter to the paper.

While the Mayor may seek an alliance with the paper it would seem that any such partnership would be one-sided

"As I seek the alliance you suggested in your recent editorial, I must be clear
that I will remain unwilling to mortgage my principles to win your favor or the
vote of any constituent. Were I willing to do so, I am most certain you would be
my first and most fierce critic. Compromise to avoid criticism is an act of
moral cowardice. It has no place in the mission statement of a public servant."
Certainly one would hope that no politician would 'mortgage' his or her principles to avoid criticism. However, compromise is something that every politician should be open to and willing to consider. I would suggest that there is more cowardice in refusing to consider views contrary to your own than there is in compromising.

By all means I hope the Herald News is willing to work with Mayor Correia during these difficult times and for the sake of the city. However, I hope the Herald continues to scrutinize the Correia administration and praise it when justified and criticize it when necessary.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Ratings Hurricane

It seems no matter what the topic that somehow, someway, someone will eventually insert a comment about Mike "The Hurricane" Herren.

Now Mike Herren has been the host of WSAR's afternoon drive for a little less than a year now. He can be rough around the edges. He lacks polish and often seems to skip the research and go with his gut. Still, despite his flaws, I will admit that there are times when I have tuned in and have enjoyed his show.

Herren has his fans and he has his critics but it gets a bit sickening for a vocal minority to constantly insert him into every discussion. Really sickening.

Here is the latest example from a comment on Fall River-tastic:

Anonymous said...
BAD NEWS FOR BLOGGERS..HURRICANES ratings are in and his show is off the what are you going to say????

What am I going to say?

Show me some proof. Back up the statement. Let's see the Arbitron report. Here's my email: send me a copy!

Give me the data. I won't reveal the numbers, I know that would be against the law. But if the data shows that his ratings are better than Keri's and I can back that up. I'll state it here. If he is number one in the Providence/Fall River market I'll be glad to say it.

I have nothing personally against Mike Herren. This guy has taken a lot of knocks some deserved and some uncalled for. If his show is doing that well in the ratings congratulations to him. But, show me the proof and I'll let his naysayers take notice.

Otherwise let's stop talking about Mike Herren unless it is related to the post.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Yesterday morning I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to check my email and scan the latest on my favorite blogs. Imagine my reaction when I came across the following comments on Fall River-tastic:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why not Lefty for Mayor?
Or city council? He manages his blog with the respect and integrity one would
like in an elected offical.

Suffice to say I was both flattered and amused. However, I haven't bought any signs, and I'm not announcing my candidacy. It did get me thinking, what would I do if I were mayor of Fall River? Hmmmm.

Well to start, I would consult with some of my local bloggers such as Shamrock and FRC. Like you I've read their posts and I've also had the chance to trade emails and instant messages. I value their opinion and am appreciative of their keen insight.

I would also consult with such local activists as Jason Caminiti, Al Lima, Jeff Carpenter, and Eric Poulin as well as organizations like Save Our Neighborhoods and Arts United. These are people and organizations that are working to move Fall River in what I believe is the right direction.

Next I would take a look at our school department. The ability of our schools to educate our children is so incredibly important. The ability to provide a quality education is not only important for the future of our city's youth, it is also an important factor in whether or not someone will move to Fall River or even stay in Fall River. The quality of our school system is also something businesses consider when evaluating if this is an area they would like to invest in.

We can't cut corners, education is simply too important. I have no magic solutions to the budget issues that plague our schools. If I did I would forward them to the School Committee! However, I think the entire city budget needs to be examined to see where cuts can be made with those savings added to the school budget. I think we need to look at our neighboring communities and see if there are opportunities to partner with them. Perhaps a regional grant writer could be hired, or a regional purchasing agent. Perhaps a regional cooperative could be formed that would give the region greater buying power.

I would compare our school structure to other communities in an effort to streamline the department and keep salaries in check. I would look to sell surplus school properties and earmark profits and future tax revenue to the school department.

Next I would work on public safety. Honestly I remember Brad Kilby and Eric Poulin both mentioning several ideas that I think would need to be revisited. The idea of substations, walking beats, and better analysis of key crime areas so that more resources could be used in those areas are all things I would discuss with the police chief and implement if appropriate. Like the school department this comes down to are we providing enough funds for the department to do the job we're asking it to do?

It's also time that we step into the 21st century! Government documents, reports, and meetings would all be available on the city website. It's also time to make sure that all government meetings are filmed and put on the local access government channel. Transparency in government is good.

I would take a pay cut! The mayor of Fall River should not make over a 100k a year when a bulk of the population is lucky to make 1/4 of that. I would cut it down to about 80k a year, which I think is pretty reasonable.

I would not cancel things like First Night. Geez, times are tough, give the citizenry something to look forward to! For the little bit of money these things cost us, they add a to the quality of living in Fall River. Heck they might even bring a few people into our fair city. And money may be tight but we can always find some community partners.

I would move Fourth of July fireworks back to Kennedy Park! Why? I think this is one of those things that made Fall River special. How many generations have sat out on blankets watching fireworks at the park? Really this is a slice of Americana, something out of a Norman Rockwell painting and well I just think they belong there!

I would set up monthly coffees in the cafeteria at Government Center where folks could come and meet with the Mayor and tell me their concerns and keep me on my toes!

I would blog! 'A View From the 6th Floor'.

I would work to protect more of our historic buildings. I would take back the old police station by eminent domain. I would make sure our interests were protected with the old Durfee Textile School building.

I would work to make city owned/occupied buildings handicap accessible.

Would I accomplish what I set out to do? Would I lead us to a better Fall River? Who am I kidding I wouldn't even be able to get elected! I think I'll stick to blogging!

Monday, January 05, 2009

It's Eleven degrees outside, where are you sleeping?

The other morning I'm commuting and weather guy announces that it's eleven degrees outside.

Eleven degrees is cold! In fact it was so cold the car still hadn't warmed up even though I had already hit the highway. The steering wheel still felt cold, and the fabric on the seats. Eleven degrees is COLD!!

So now the commute is done and I'm inside a warm building. I take a moment to check my email and take a look at to see what's new in the local blogosphere. So I'm reading Shamrock's New Year Eve observations on Fall River-tastic when this section got me thinking..

"And finally.....Correia said he was cancelling First Night because of the
hungry and homeless in Fall River. Did the hungry and homeless ever get the
$30,000 that is usually used for First Night? "

Now, I'm thinking 'gee it's 11 degrees outside, what are we doing about the homeless in our city?'

Back in November the Herald ran an article that said that basically said the city's agencies could be overtaxed if there were an increase in need. The article basically said that at that time there were enough beds to accommodate all of Fall River's homeless but that that could change depending on what a worsening economy brought. How would the city respond? Even Nick Christ, co-chairman of the Mayor’s Task Force to End Chronic Homelessness offered no answers.

"Christ, Dion, Jenkinson and Camara all said financial pressures mean they don’t
know what the city’s response would be to even a 30-person increase in the
homeless population."

The problem is things have gotten worse! In December one of the city's shelters was calling for donations because of an increase in demand for their services.

Eleven degrees is awfully cold.

What is the city doing? Where is the leadership? I'm not finger pointing. Maybe the city is doing something but if so I haven't heard about it. Homeless people are not just out of work bums or druggies or drunks. In these hard economic times, the homeless are also families that have lost their homes because they couldn't pay the mortgage or make the rent. They're senior citizens on fixed incomes that can no longer afford skyrocketing rents. They're people that for whatever reason have no place to go and we really have no idea how extensive the homeless issue is in our area. You can only count the people who have sought out shelter not the ones who don't. With the weather now brutally cold how many more will seek warmth and shelter?

What are we doing to help the homeless in our city?

We have over a dozen empty school buildings that we HAVE to heat. Do we have a plan to use ONE as an emergency shelter? Where can we get donated cots? Where can we get some essential supplies? How many people would we need to staff on an emergency basis?

Task forces are great but they don't keep people warm! Have we taken any action?