Friday, February 27, 2009

A look back at Ol' Fall River

The website www.preservemasshistory.com features an interesting little piece about Fall River! It's from an article in the New England Gazetteer from 1837!

"This town took the name of Troy, in 1803. It was formerly a part of Freetown.
In 1834, the name was changed to that of the river within its borders, at the
union of which and Taunton river the town is very pleasantly situated. "


Give it a read by going to this link.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Letters to Lefty

When I first started working on Fall River Blog in the Fall of 2007, the idea was that it would be a 'one stop' for local blogging. I envisioned it as a place where people could keep up on what was happening in our local blogosphere.

By the time I launched it, I had come up with the idea that Fall River Blog could also be a great place for people to share their views and their thoughts, a place for people to blog, without having to maintain a blog. I still think it's a great place for that!

So here's my question. Who would you like to see contribute to Fall River Blog? Recently I thought about recruiting some posts. There have been a few topics that I thought about blogging about, but felt there were others whom I would rather hear talk about it. Then recently I got a comment where someone wanted to know why all the local blogs seem to share the same opinion. We do all seem to be on the same page, but I'd more than welcome someone with a differing opinion!

Who would you like to see contribute? What topics would you like to see touched on? I'll make an effort to contact these people and ask them to consider sharing their views on a topic. And if you have a view that you'd like to share send a submission to fallriverblog@gmail.com

Thanks,
Lefty

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gas Tax

Governor Patrick has proposed a 19 cents increase in the state's gasoline tax.

This has to be one of the stupidest things the Governor has come up with. The Governor states that the tax increase will cost the average motorist the equivalent of a large cup of coffee a week, less than 8 dollars a month.

Personally, I have to fill up between 2 to 3 times a week. I usually end up putting 12 gallons of gas in the tank. So that would mean I would have to pay an additional $2.28 per tank or between $4.56 and $6.84 a week. In my household we also have a second vehicle that gets filled up once a week. It takes about 16 gallons to fill. The new tax will cost me and extra $3.04 to fill that vehicle.

Now, Lefty is not destitute, but he's not rich either. I don't have all the luxuries I would like to have but I'm not starving. Still, if you take between $7 and $10 dollars out of my pocket every week I'm going to feel it. Hell everything else has been going up in price and everyone has had to find ways to stretch their income just a little bit more. The dropping gas prices have been a great relief but I keep wondering what happens when they go up? Think about that and then add .19 cents a gallon!

I think the Governor and most of our elected officials have long forgotten, (if they ever knew), what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. Maybe if you're pulling in a 6 digit salary coffee money is rather meaningless, but around here, in Fall River, going for a cup of coffee is a small luxury!

Think about the salaries our elected officials earn. The median income for a household in Fall River is $29,014, in Worcester it's $35,623, New Bedford - $27,569. If this is your household income, (and family incomes are not much higher!) you're going to feel that pinch!

I think it's an overused expression, but this really is a tax on the poor. This is going to hurt those who can least afford it. Tell the guy who is driving all over the place trying to get a job that he won't miss the extra money now going in his gas tank. It's only coffee money! I'm sure the owners of coffee shops love hearing that one. How many coffee shops are already seeing a decline in sales as people continue to tighten their belt.

I understand we need to do something about our crumbling infrastructure, but tell the Governor not to forget our crumbling economy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Short Sightedness Massachusetts

What if we could start construction tomorrow on an LNG platform south of the Braga Bridge? What if we just tore down 64 Durfee Street and put up a nice modern 'rent controlled' building? What if we tore down some of the eyesores near the the new Downtown courthouse and constructed a new jail right next to it, that would save the Commonwealth some money on transporting criminals and create some good construction jobs here in Fall River!

Maybe we should surrender our park land to the redevelopment authority so it can be converted to condos or strip malls?

If we did all of these things or any of these things we would be creating jobs and adding to our tax base. This seems to be what our city leadership wants, maybe what a majority of our city wants.

Forget the lofty dreams and unattainable goals. Fall River needs jobs! Fall River is not an arts city! It's a poor city! Fall River needs jobs! We need more people paying taxes not more people looking for tax breaks!

If we did all these things Fall River would certainly be booming over the next few years as new construction would spring up with all those jobs and later all those taxes! How silly I and some of us on this blog and others would feel once we saw the benefits of everything we were trying to stand in the way off.

Yup, if we could only start this today Fall River would be doing okay for the next few years!

But then what?

How often do people who live in 'rent controlled' housing go out to eat in upscale restaurants? And with an LNG platform dominating the river how would we develop our waterfront?

Where would be twenty years from now?

Can you imagine if you had to come up with rent money today so you sell your car only to realize you now have no way to get to work?

Good leadership requires not just the ability to see us through today but to have a vision for tomorrow.

Giving away our ability to develop our city, settling for projects that may create jobs that our here today but gone tomorrow, giving up our long term health for short term gain is only going to leave us in the same rut that we've been in for decades.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vote for the Big Mamie!


The U.S. Mint will be releasing a new series of state quarters and has asked Governor Patrick to submit one preferred and three alternate national sites to be featured on the 'tails' side of the Massachusetts quarter.

The Governor is asking for public input by allowing people to vote from a list of selected sites. The U.S.S. Massachusetts is one of the sites that people can vote on!

Normally I don't like to tell people who to vote for, but I fully endorse the U.S.S. Massachusetts to represent us on the next series of state quarters. The Big Mamie is part of the official WWII memorial of the commonwealth and part of American history. I think it would be an incredible tribute to our state, our area, and to the WWII generation if she were selected.

You can vote by going here

Friday, February 06, 2009

Lead by example

With the city facing a fiscal crisis Mayor Correia has proposed that all municipal employees take an 8% pay cut for 2009 and a 10% pay cut for the 2010 fiscal year. Without these cuts the Mayor says the city will be forced to layoff close to 200 city workers. Correia is also proposing that the school department waive a 2% raise due to them at the end of 2009.

For many city workers a 10% pay cut next year is going to be a real hardship, still it's better than not having a job.

Lefty's View: If Mayor Correia is counting on the sacrifice of city employees to help weather the financial storm he needs to lead by example! Has Mayor Correia stated that he is taking a pay cut? Bob Correia makes a base salary of $118,993. That's a lot more than most families in Fall River make! I propose that the Mayor take a 25% pay cut. That would still leave him with a salary of just under $90,000, and that $29,000 might just save the job of someone who is struggling to get by.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Three Years Old

Break out the cake and ice cream! A View From Battleship Cove is 3 years old today!

I never suspected that when I published my 1st post in 2006 that I would still be blogging 3 years, and 287 posts later!

It's exciting to have some refer to this and other blogs as important sources of information. It's exciting to have people tell me that they hear people discussing blog posts at coffee shops and around the 'water cooler'.

I'm amazed that this blog has gone from 'my experiment with blogging' to something that is read, and searched out and talked about. In my first year of blogging I thought if I was lucky maybe a handful of people would find my blog. And I thought those people would be from outside of our area. In fact, the title A View From Battleship Cove was not chosen because I live on the Big Mamie or Heritage Heights, but for a way for people outside of our region to identify where I was coming from. I figured that Battleship Cove was probably Fall River's best known landmark!

Now, A View From Battleship Cove receives several thousand visitors a month! And those visitors are predominately from our city and our region. A View From Battleship Cove has not just become a topic of discussion but a forum where discussion can take place. And it is not alone. 2008 has shown the emergence of local bloggers in our community. This past April I launched Fall River Blog as a way to keep track of our growing blogosphere. Blogs such as Fall River-tastic, Fall River Community, and Radio Free have all been instrumental in our online discussion.

As I embark on year 4, I see plenty to blog about, the city's financial issues, & the upcoming elections immediately jump to mind. I'm excited to think about the role local bloggers will play in offering views, shaping opinion, and inviting discussion on these issues.

Thanks for reading,
Lefty