Thursday, April 30, 2009

SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Here it is the April's SouthCoast Photo of the Month!

Once again, I see a great shot but don't have my camera with me and once again I reach for my cell phone. I'll admit the photo above isn't perfect but it's a great catch for a little phone camera! The quickly fading sunset painted the sky in pinks and purples. It was pretty spectacular to watch, remembering I had my cell phone I snapped the shot, my other camera was nearby but it would have taken 4 or 5 minutes to go grab it and set it up. A few minutes after taking this shot the sun was gone.
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

Who's running for office?

This is the dilemma for a blogger with not enough time on his hands. I was going to blog about City Councilor Steve Camara officially announcing his mayoral bid, and suddenly ever story in the Herald seems to be about someone announcing their intentions to run for some office in Fall River.

So, a post dedicated to Mr. Camara will have to wait, right now let's luck at who is running for office.


Mayor Robert Correia - There are those who still believe that Mayor Corriea will not seek a second term. There are some who do not believe he'll even finish out this term. I on the other hand have long believed that Bob will seek re-election and will work hard to win. I know he has eroded any goodwill people felt for him and has ticked off a great many people, but I'm convinced that he has been laying down the groundwork to rehabilitate his image. With the Mayor officially pulling his nomination papers, he will walk into the campaign season with the biggest war chest and I think he'll be tough to beat.

City Councilor Steve Camara - I found it amusing that there were those who derided Councilor Camara for 'not knowing' if he was running or not. To me it was a forgone conclusion that Steve Camara would be jumping into the mayoral race. Steve Camara has a lot of passion for the city of Fall River and he's been very vocal in his criticism of the Correia administration. Honestly, Steve is a shrewd politician who I think realizes that now might be his best shot at the 6th floor office. He has been a dedicated activist, and certainly has a vision for the future of Fall River. Is he the right guy for the job? I can't wait for the chance to examine his platform.

City Councilor Cathy Ann Viveiros - I find it amusing that in today's Herald Mike Moran is saying that he is surprised that Steve Camara is running but had figured that Cathy Ann would. I, on the other hand thought the exact opposite. Oh I figured Cathy Ann could be a candidate, but she sided too much with Bob and there are too many complaints that she moved back from Westport just for political gain. That said, I like Cathy Ann. Councilor Viveiros strikes me as one of our better prepared councilors. She is someone that does her homework, offers up ideas and can intelligently explain how she arrived at a decision. When she ran for her council seat in 2007 she exuded energy, determination, and confidence. Let's see what she brings to the table this time around.

Will Flanagan - Poor Will, he was the first candidate to announce and has gotten very little media coverage. That's unfortunate because to his credit he has issued out a few press releases that should have generated more buzz. Flanagan called for a town hall meeting on the budget and also was putting together a volunteer program to help seniors shop. It's a good start, but he really needs to do more to get his name out there and in the voters mind. Although I am appreciative that he has sent me his press releases. Some people have told me I've been too hard on Will for not giving more details on what he'll do and how he'll do it. However, he is now running against several established names. If he wants to seriously challenge, he needs to show that he knows the city and its issues and has real workable solutions. I'm still waiting to hear more.

The rest - maybe it's dismissive to lump Manny Alves and Michael Raposa but neither has ever shown an interest in mounting a serious campaign. I think the Herald's Marc Monroe Dion said it best when he said people like this run for the obituary write up. "You know, so-and-so, a former mayoral candidate"...

City Council

Eric Poulin - Here's been the question for the last 2 years, would Eric Poulin run again and if so for what office. The question is answered Poulin will be seeking a seat on the city council. I've suspected this for a long time and even contacted Poulin a month or so ago and knew he was considering it. I'm also appreciative that Eric sent me his press release. Although Lefty prefers to recieve such things sooner than 4 hours after is goes on the Herald's website. Two years ago Eric brought a unique understanding of the day to day operations at Government Center. He was the first to release a specific and detailed platform. In the end he missed advancing to the general election by a few hundred votes. If Poulin runs with the same convictions and strenghts as 07, I see him winning a council seat.

Mike Miozza - Mike remains my biggest disappointment from the 2007 elections. Miozza ran a great campaign doing a much better job of getting his positions out there to the voters and he just didn't get the votes that I think he should have. Mike is a Fall River success story. He's a guy who grew up in the projects and went on to get his college education and have a successful career. I hope the voters give Miozza another look.

Jamie Boulay - When Boulay ran for council in 2007, my first thoughts were he may be running for council put he's already thinking about running for mayor. Jamie commented on my blog post saying that wasn't the case. I later attended a candidates forum where I walked away with a much better impression of Mr. Boulay. I had intended to do a follow up post on him after the primary, but he didn't make the cut! There's a Lefty screw-up! What I can recall about Jamie's campaign platform was there was a lot about doing more with the resources we already have. In particular having waterfront attractions all summer long. I'm not sure if I agree with that, but in tough financial times electing a candidate who emphasizes using what we already have could be a good thing. Is 2009 Boulay's year?

Brad Kilby - former city councilor Atty. Brad Kilby has already stated his intentions to run a council seat in 2009. I like Brad! I thought he was a decent city councilor and a decent school committeeman. His 2007 mayoral bid was marked with some solid platform ideas but an uninspired campaign. Strong name recognition should give Kilby an excellent shot at returning to the council.

The rest - I need to do some more homework on some of these candidates! Kris Bartley, Robert V. Boutin, David Dennis, Christopher Marcelino are all candidates I know little about. Marcelino has a cable show and seems to be asking for or just receiving too much credit for the Miller's Green thing. David Dennis just ran for Register of Probate. Ronald Cabral and David P. Meade Jr. have both run for office before without much success.

The School Committee race hasn't really taken off yet, but I would hope and suspect that after an embarrassing year that some challengers will come out of the woodwork.

I have no doubts that we'll see more challengers for School Committee and City Council, (several are already rumored) and perhaps for Mayor as well (Councilor Hague?). The race has just begun!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Easter Sweet Bread

Perhaps the best sweet bread in Fall River - a "1-egger" from Lou's Bakery

When people ask me what is so great about Fall River, I usually answer the food! Of course Fall River owes much of it's identity to the Portuguese immigrants who first came here in the 1890's. Today, the flavors they brought with them dominate our restaurants and bakeries.

One of the great pleasures of living in Fall River is the ability to get fresh baked Portuguese sweet bread from dozens of bakeries around the city. And the sweet bread from each bakery is always just a bit different from the others which makes you want to sample them all!

If you've never had sweet bread, it is usually bought in round loaves that have the thinnest of crusts, really almost a skin. The bread itself can be dense like a pound case but is more usually very light and airy. It's sweet flavor seems to reach perfection with a bit of butter and is incredibly good toasted or grilled.

As Easter approaches each bakery begins to ramp up its production of Easter sweet bread, which will appear on tables and in Easter baskets all over the city. For the holiday unshelled eggs are added to the bread. The eggs may be hard boiled ahead of time but sometimes they actually cook while the bread is baking. The addition of the egg is a Portuguese tradition symbolizing new life and the resurrection of Christ. The bakeries often cook sweet breads of all different sizes. Larger breads may hold as many as four eggs, while a small bread, like the one pictured above, holds just a single egg. It's amusing to hear people walking into the bakeries ordering 4-eggers and 2-eggers and 1-eggers!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A little comfort, a little soup for the soul

Shamrock, over at Fall River-tastic, sent me the link to a great article from the New York Times. The article touches on the tough times that we're going through here in Fall River, but it features Ines De Costa, from the St. John's club.

I wish it was easy to sum up what appeals to me about this article. It could be that it highlights a woman with a big heart. It could be the appeal of a big pan of kale soup and the memories and comfort that brings.

Either way it's a great article and one I hope you'll take the time to read.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fall River Fight

Have recent budget cuts hurt our public safety?

The video runs just over 2 1/2 minutes but looks like it begins after the fight is already well underway. As the video plays you can hear yelling and screaming, shouting and profanity, but never once do you hear even the distant sound of a police car's siren.

Now, to be fair, it is my understanding that the police did show up and shorty after the video ends, but should they have been there sooner? Could they have been there sooner? The reality is that when something like this takes place we want a police officer to be right around the corner and that just isn't always possible. But with 37 police officers recently laid off because of budget cuts, I can't help but wonder if it could it be that our police department just doesn't have enough man power. With even a more severe cut in store for next year is what we see in this video going to become an even more common occurrence? Case in point, police were called to this same area Saturday night for another fight. If our police force is undermanned it might be time to start listening to the police scanner before heading out at night

Special thanks for the help I received in restoring this video!