Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How are you sleeping?


How did you sleep last night? Did you keep one eye open and listen for any strange sounds in the middle of the night that might signal a home invasion?

Did you toss and turn worrying that your children may be abducted when they walked to school?

Did you have dreams of being at the bank or a convenience store during a hold up?

How are you sleeping? How are any of us sleeping?

These are not things from the nightly news that are taking place in far away places; these are things that are happening here in Fall River, in our neighborhoods.

Do you feel that maybe we need MORE police officers protecting our city and not less? Do you feel all the layoffs to public safety are not just catching up to us, but have snowballed past us?

Mayor Correia has stood by his decision as dreadful but necessary step in difficult times. I'm sorry Mr. Mayor but when you run on a slogan of "leadership that gets things done", I expect innovative solutions to difficult problems. Laying people off may be a difficult decision but it's the easy way out.

The problem is the budget situation isn't going to be any better for our next mayor and chances are it's going to get worse. How will our next mayor deal with another round of 9C cuts from the state? So far Cathy Ann has stated she would continue to follow her belief that cuts should start from the top. That's a good start but it will only take us so far. What then? I heard Attorney Flanagan state that Fall River needs to find ways to be less dependent on state aid. Nice sentiment and one that I share but it's not going to happen in the next few years, never mind the next few months. How about giving me some reality with your answer?

We have a month before one of these two becomes our next mayor and I think we it's about time we got the 'hows' to all the things they say they are going to do.

How are they going to make sure our city is safe? Our neighborhoods are safe? Our parks and schools are safe? How are they going to make sure our homes are safe?

My advice? Get a dog.

Lefty for City Council!

"So why does it matter if a blogger with an anonimous name is actually a candidate for city council?This is the best rumor of the year actually!"

"Since it is the best rumor of the year which city council candidate is it and which blog do they run? Fall River-tastic or A View from Battleship Cove? Do tell all knowing anonymous."

"well which ever blogger it is, they have my vote for city council !!"

- The above are comments from Fall River-tastic

There's a blogger running for City Council? Who is it? Is it me?!

Lefty for City Council!

I can tell you I will not be one of the choices on your ballot. I'm pretty sure Shamrock won't be either. However after thinking about it, if a laid off police officer can try to conduct a write in campaign on the merits of his sharing his opinions online over the last few months, well then heck, I've been sharing my online opinions for the last few YEARS!

Lefty for City Council!

So what would I do if elected?

I'd restore public safety, improve education, and bring jobs to Fall River! Hey it's a good enough campaign pitch for all the other candidates.

Serioulsy on November 3rd I urge you to vote for how ever many candidates you feel worthy of your vote, but if you have any left over feel free to write in Lefty for City Council!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Working for Change

Originally I was going to title this post, voting for change. I was going to discuss the preliminary vote totals and compare them to the 2007 preliminary vote totals as well as the results of the 2007 general election.

In 2007 most if not all the candidates gained votes in the general election. The top 3 remained the same but their vote totals all increased by roughly 1,500 votes. Without doing any real math I would say most of the top 12 gained between 1,000 - 1,500 votes.

There were a few candidates that really outperformed their peers and their worth noting because both are in a similar position this time around.

Joe Camara finished in 7th place in 2007's preliminary, yet rose to 4th in the general election. Joe increased his vote total by over 2,300 votes.

Mike Lund jumped for 10th to 7th and increased his vote total by roughly 2,600 votes.

In 2009 Lund again finished in 10th. In 2009 Joe Camara finished in 8th. Both walk into the into the final months of campaigning with a decent amount of money sitting in their campaign war chests.

There is all this talk about change, commentors on blogs and comment boards urging people to vote for new faces. Personally, I'm not going to tell you who to vote for. If you like Leo, think he does a good job, and represents you well, give him your vote. If you want change vote for non-incumbents. Perhaps that means voting for Kilby, Mitchell, and Poulin because they finished well and your support could help them lock up 3 of the top 4. Maybe that means voting for them AND the next 3 strongest non-challengers Dennis, Bartley, and Miozza.

Here's the thing. Your vote counts, but it's not going to create change all by itself. If you want to see real change well then you need to figure out how to get Dave, Kris and Mike an additional 2,500 - 3,000 votes.

If you want change, if you really want change you're going to have to work for it. Get involved in a candidate's campaign! Offer to hold a sign, pass out bumper stickers, or go door to door passing out information. Donate some money! If everyone who reads this post were to donate just $10 to a campaign it would generate enough money to put some ads in the paper or print up several hundred bumper stickers or buy some more yard signs. The point is, if you want change than these candidates need more than just your vote, they need your help too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The downfall of King Bob and other election night observations

It used to be that once the polls closed interested citizens would sit listening to their radios for hours to find out what the results of the election were as each precincts results were tallied. Last night it took less than an hour to find out that Bob Correia's bid for a second term had come to an end.

As I listened on and off to WSAR's election coverage last night I was a little taken back by the sentiment that this was somehow completely unexpected. If you're really in the dark on how Bob possibly could have lost let me break it down for you.

Certainly Mayor Correia is not responsible for tough economic times and state cuts in local aid, but people do blame him for not doing more to 'cut from the top' and find areas of waste to cut from. People blame him for not working harder to find ways to preserve public safety workers and educators.

Also despite multiple statements of wanting to be a leader that works with others and unites the city, he really has done just the opposite. Several times Mayor Correia has shown that the only opinion he is interested is his own. He demonstrated this by single-handedly deciding to name 2 schools, by disregarding the will of over 7,000 voters, and most recently by clearly ignoring the will of the City Council to provide more funding to our school department.

Mayor Correia has done little to come off as anything but insensitive, arrogant, and imperialistic.

I'm not shocked but I am a little surprised.

Still, Mayor Correia finished 3rd, and less than 300 votes from making it into the final 2, why didn't he do more to win? The Mayor is sitting on a huge campaign war chest, where were the ads and the radio spots? I have to think he could have gotten those votes with a good advertising strategy.

So the final 2 are Cathy Ann Viveiros and Will Flanagan. Honestly I figured Cathy had an excellent shot for the final, but I didn't expect Flanagan to do so well. You have to give him credit for motivating 3000 people to vote for an unknown. I know lots of people are on board with Will, but I'm still at a loss to see why. Can he pull an upset in the final?

The City Council race also offered its fair share of surprises. Leo proved that not even supporting LNG can dent his popularity and the voters indicated that change is good but experience is better. I was surprised that Brad Kilby and Ray Mitchell came in second and third place respectively. With Ray, I can at least attribute it to a hard fought campaign, but I'm disappointed that the voters gave Kilby such an easy time of it. I like Brad and I don't have issues with him returning to the council, but I expect my candidates to work hard to tell me where they stand on the issues and Kilby just has not done that. I'm pleasantly surprised to see Eric Poulin in the top 5, while I thought Eric would do well I didn't expect him to finish 4th. (And BOO to the Herald News for saying he finished 5th and to WSAR for repeating it!) Brian Bigelow in 5th place also comes as quite a surprise. I didn't think Brian did much to distinguish himself, the voters thought differently. Just as surprising is Joe Camara finishing 8th. I figured some incumbents might take a beating, I didn't expect Joe to be one of them. And congratulations to Dave Dennis for cracking the top 9.

Out of the top 9, in 10th place is Mike Lund. Normally I would say an incumbent out of the top 9 probably means the end of his or her tenure on the council. However, Lund is pledging to work hard over the next couple of months and that and an obscene amount of money probably means he'll finish in the top 9. Finishing in 11th is Kris Bartley followed by Mike Miozza in the number 12 spot. (Oh, and the Herald had their vote totals wrong!) Both are in striking distance but will need to worker harder than ever to get a seat on the council.

The School Committee race has been a lackluster affair all year long, only one candidate was removed from consideration due to the small field of candidates running. It's noteworthy that Joe Martins finished in the top spot and that Rick Pavao did better than several incumbents.

Lefty's View: 13,901 of our city's residents voted last night. 193 did not vote for Mayor. On average each voter voted for 3.4 school committee candidates and 5.2 city council candidates. Roughly 2/3 of our city's voters chose not to vote. Of those who did vote, they decided not to use over 36,000 school committee votes and over 66,000 city council votes.

There were enough uncast votes last night to put any candidate in the final election. If you're disappointed in some of the results from last night's election, it's clear the power existed to change it. The point is, votes do matter.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Voting thoughts

Tomorrow is the preliminary election! The votes you cast tomorrow will decide which candidates will move on to the general election.

If you're wondering which candidates to vote for when you step into the voting booth, let me share some thoughts with you.

School Committee

The last two years have not been good ones for our school system or our school committee. It seems our committee has spent much of their time looking to beat up our former Superintendent and chasing one money problem after another. Tie that in with a DESE report that was highly critical of our committee and it's tough to want to vote for any of them. On the other hand, most of the challengers have done little to set themselves apart.

Two candidates that I think are worth voting for are incumbent Joe Martins and challenger Rick Pavao.

In 2007 it was hard not to be impressed with Joe's resume. An experienced educator and administrator and the former Superintendent of Diman, Joe brings a wealth of needed experience to the school committee. He has been outspoken for public input and has shown a desire to an involved and informed member of the committee.

When Rick Pavao was the Superintendent of the Fall River Public School system he was well liked by teachers and administrators and responsive to parents. Rick's tenure was marked by several challenges and I think many of the recent successes of our school system can be attributed to decisions made on his watch. I think Rick's understanding of the day to day operations of our school system can only help our committee make better decisions.

City Council

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

The old quote about insanity, would seem to perfectly apply to our city council. We keep electing the same people and we keep getting the same results, no forward movement. In 2009 I'm not voting for a single incumbent. Thankfully, unlike the school committee race there are several good city council candidates to choose from.

Eric Poulin - Eric impressed the heck out of me in 2007. He easily had the best platform and seemed to know the issues better than his competition. Since 2007 Eric has remained involved in the community. Just like 2007 Eric is already talking about specifics. I think he could be an exciting voice on the council.

Mike Miozza - I've said it before, my biggest disappointment in 2007 was Mike not making the council. Nobody council candidate worked harder to communicate their platform. There was talk that Mike might not make another run, I'm glad that wasn't the case. Mike is a dedicated, hard worker. He is someone who is open minded and makes decisions after taking the time to research the issue. Mike deserves your every consideration for one of your city council votes.

Micheal Canuel - Canuel has done a good job of using the heartache of 2007, (missing the general election by just over 20 votes) as his tagline for 2009. Micheal hasn't won me over in 2009, but he has touted an idea that I think is a real winner. Canuel wants to develop a city council website that would allow the citizens to follow the agenda of the council and to research how they have voted on past council votes. It's a great idea and one that needs to be championed. Mike just might deserve a vote to give him some more time to make his case.

Ray Mitchell - It's interesting how Ray gets lumped in with Brad Kilby as two guys who have been there and are trying to return to the council. Although it's true that when Ray and Brad last served on the council Bush was president, in the case of Ray it was George H.W. and not his lackluster son. A big difference between Ray and Brad is Brad has been mostly absent from the campaign trail while Ray has probably worked harder than any other candidate. Ray gets my consideration for a few key reasons - 1.) He's experienced, he's been there before and can hit the ground running. 2.) He's got over a decade of experience on the F.R. School Committee and the Diman School Committee - which I think could be a benefit on the City Council.

Kris Bartley - Caught in a crowded field of new candidates Kris has done a better job of standing out then some of competition. Kris is someone that I would 'throw' a vote to because I like what I've heard and want to give him some time to hear more.

Mayor

Honestly I could probably support Ray, Cathy Ann or Will, but in the end I think Steve Camara is the best choice for Mayor. Fall River needs a leader who can move the city in a forward direction. Steve's urban policy education, his deep passion for the city, his belief in protecting its history and in embracing the arts are all qualities that I believe will help Fall River realize it's potential. Fall River needs a mayor that can not only talk about a future vision for Fall River, but one who believes it and understands what is needed to move in that direction and make it a reality.

So there you have it, here are some of my voting thoughts, feel free to share yours.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Plunking for Change

Tuesday, September 15th is election day and Fall River voters will have the chance to vote for:

1 Mayoral candidate
6 School Committee candidates
9 City Council candidates

I remember the first Fall River election I voted in. As I stood there in the voting booth I easily ticked off the the names of those candidates I knew I wanted to vote for, but then spent several agonizing minutes figuring out who I would give my remaining votes to.

At the time I felt that I had to use every single vote available to me, to do otherwise would be wasting a vote. But, afterwards I realized I had wasted my votes by giving them to candidates that I didn't believe in. The lesson I learned was to only vote for those people you really want to represent you.

Even then I have occasionally voted for a candidate I wasn't sold on, but because I liked them or felt they 'needed' a vote. In 2007 I voted for a handful of incumbents because I 'liked' them and have regretted it ever since as I believe these people have failed to stand up for the people of Fall River.

I'm not making that mistake in 2009. This year I am more committed than ever to only vote for candidates I WANT to see in office.

Now, I recently had a conversation with a friend who has a differing opinion. He feels that if you want to see change it's better to use all of your votes to vote for a slate of challengers. You can read his opinion on Fall River Blog.

Although we disagree on the method we both agree the best way to enact change is to vote only for challengers. Leo, Linda, Joe and the rest will get plenty of votes and will certainly make it through the primary election. Whether you decide to use your every vote or vote only for a particular few, if you want to see change you can't vote for the incumbents you have to vote only for the challengers!

Friday, September 04, 2009

WTF

In what has to be one of the funnier "headlines" in recent memory...

GUEST OPINION: WTF must be fully funded, 09-05-09

WTF! We're not fully funding WTF??!

With all the things that seem to be going wrong around here a WTF fund seems like something we SHOULD be funding!

Not enough money for firefighters and cops? WTF! Take 3 Million from the WTF fund. The roads need repair and our new snow removal policy is a moped with a snow shovel strapped to the front? WTF! Here's some money to take care of business.

Seriously WTF, at least in this case, stands for workforce training fund and the letter to the editor is perhaps worth a read and I think a better name. I however appreciated the chuckle.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Poulin Rally

If you voted for and supported Eric Poulin for Mayor in 2007, here is your chance to support his candidacy for City Council!

Rally with Eric Poulin Candidate for City Councilor
Friday, Sept. 4th 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Flaunt Lounge 32 Sixth Street Fall River
Catering by:Mesa 21
Donation: $20 per person
For tickets call: 508-558-8463
Now folks I try to stay objective and unbiased but over the last two years I have traded more than a few emails with Eric and one of the things that has always impressed me is his willingness to speak in specifics. Eric not only offers ideas but also the means to implement them. I have found him always willing to share his thoughts and receptive to my own.
If Eric is someone you're considering giving your vote to, please consider supporting him at his rally and with your donation.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What's happening with the Chow Mein company?

"What's happening with the Chow Mein Company?" It's a question I get asked over and over. Sometimes by people visiting the blog, more often from friends and family who no longer live in the area and want to know when they will be able to get Fall River style chow mein.

An article on SouthCoastToday.com says construction is under way and a reopening should happen in 2 months! Let's hope for no delays!