Friday, October 30, 2009

Questions and Answers on Fall River Blog

Eleven days ago I reached out to both candidates and submitted to them, via email, three questions that I hoped they would be willing to answer. I asked for them to please submit their answers by October 26th.

The 26th came and not hearing back from either candidate I then reached out to people that I knew were supporting them. After reaching out to the candidates supporters I got word back that Cathy would submit responses to the questions but obviously not in my original timeline. I heard nothing from Will's camp.

I wish both candidates had been willing to participate, particularly since this was inspired partly by a commentor who questioned if I had reached out to Attorney Flanagan.

Since Councilor Viveiros has taken the time to respond I will post all 3 questions and her responses on Fall River Blog. At this point because I have not heard from Attorney Flanagan or his campaign, I will not accept and will not publish his responses. I believe to do so AFTER his opponents answers have been published would be unfair and unethical.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Political Satire

Back when John Kennedy ran for President it was decided that he needed a snappy, catchy little jingle, something that would stick in people's heads. Well who better to turn to than Jack's friend Frank Sinatra! Didn't Frank have that catchy little hit? Couldn't the lyrics be worked over for a Kennedy commercial? You betcha!

Fast forward 40 some odd years later and here is Will Flanagan running for mayor. He sounds a bit like a Kennedy and he's got that irish last name. Gee, a catchy jingle might be just the thing for a radio ad and since he seems to be trying evoke a Kennedy connection why not use "High Hopes"?

Now recently someone submitted a parody of "High Hopes" and since political satire is practically as much a tradition as elections and since these commercials annoy me to no end I've decided to post it up on Fall River Blog.

At the same time I can't help but notice that Flanagan's newest commercial uses a quote from Robert Kennedy and that Will quoted RFK in yesterday's radio forum. This has led me to attempt a little satire of my own. So, in the style of David Letterman...

Top 10 reasons that I am convinced that Will is taking his comparisons to a Kennedy too seriously.

10. In a recent speech remarked that he was the man who went with “Jackie” Flanagan to New Bedford

9. Has told insiders that Chicago will vote Flanagan

8. This summer when he saw Fall River’s working class enjoying the Taunton River he referred to it as “the Bay of Pigs”

7. Has begun stating in speeches "Ich bin ein Fall Riverite!”

6. Frank Sinatra campaign song!

5. Recently applied for the vanity plate PT-109

4. Has promised to lead Fall River to the “New Frontier”

3. Strange attraction to “Marilyn” Roderick

2. Like Kennedy wears makeup in debates

1. Refuses to vacation in Dallas!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reaching Out

I received a recent blog comment that stated,

"Anonymous said...
Lefty:If Cathy Ann wins it will be a shocker. The people voted Bob Correia out of office on 09/15 and there is no way they will replace her with CAV. And Lefty have you spoke with Mr. Flanagan or reached out to him to see where here stands on the issues that matter to you?"

So I decided to do just that. I submitted 3 questions to both candidates and asked for them to submit their responses by today and that I would post the questions and the answers on Fall River Blog.

So far neither candidate has replied, which while a bit disappointing is not really a surprise. I know our local politicians don't quite know what to make of local bloggers.

Still, I think the questions were worth asking and deserving of an answer. I'll post them here for you decide and if you get the chance maybe you can ask the candidates yourself.

Question One

Considering the city's limited financial resources and the likelihood of further cuts to local aid, as Mayor what would you do in the first year of your administration to move the city forward?

Question Two

Considering the city's limited financial resources, and the likelihood of further cuts to local aid, as Mayor how will you maintain or increase current staffing levels of our public safety workers?

Question Three

Considering the importance of redevelopment and economic development to our city's future, as Mayor how will you utilize the Fall River Office of Economic Development and the Redevelopment Authority? How do you feel those agencies can be improved and made more transparent and accountable?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dropout Age

I came across an article on Mass that makes the case for raising the dropout age to 18. This is something that I have advocated for years!

By raising the age to 18 our educators will be given more time and hopefully more options to address the needs of an at risk student. There is a belief that too often a struggling student enters high school with the mindset that 16, the age they can currently dropout, is the goal, not a high school diploma.

Raising the age to 18 is not by itself going to make all our students high school graduates, but it's a start.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Who are you voting for and WHY?

November 3rd is coming up fast! Have you decided who you are voting for Mayor? for council? for school committee?

Over the last few months I've read, here and on other blogs and the Herald News comment section, comments stating who people were NOT voting for. So the question is who are you voting for, and why?

Instead of knocking down the candidates you don't like, take a minute to plug someone you think deserves your vote and ours too!

Cathy Ann Wins!

The poll on Fall River Blog is over and the majority have selected Cathy Ann Viveiros for the next mayor of Fall River with 53% of the vote. Will Flanagan finished with 35% of the vote and 9% voted for "none of the above".

SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Are you a photographer? Do you have a picture your proud of? Submit it here at A View From Battleship Cove for all the see!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Winner and Loser in last nights Mayoral Debate!

The big winner in last night's debate has to be Fall River Community Television. FRCTV has really proved that they are determined to be a major news source during local elections. I think we saw a big push in their election coverage in 2007 which has expanded in 2009 with candidate websites and the ability to watch content online.

Last night as Cathy Ann Viveiros and Will Flanagan squared off at the auditorium of the new Kuss Middle School people listened intently to their answers, not from the seats of the auditorium but from their homes or work. FRCTV's coverage allowed people to be engaged in local government. Their coverage allowed this debate to be viewed on television OR streamed on their computer.

Last night, I was not able to attend and I was not in Fall River to watch this on TV. I was thrilled at the ability to watch this on my computer. Moments before the debate started I thought to myself that FRCTV has really become a prominent source for election coverage.

And then.....

It didn't work. Oh, it did here and there. Occasionally the sound would disappear and then comeback and then the whole thing would drop out for minutes at a time. Sadly, it seemed to not work more than it did work, making my viewing experience disappointing at best. I think these technical difficulties also make FRCTV last night's loser too. Still the potential is exciting and I hope this is the start of more local coverage available online.

So, who won the debate last night? Feel free to share your opinion and tell us why.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Who should be Fall River's next Mayor?

Who should be Fall River's next Mayor? Vote in the poll on Fall River Blog!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sick of Flannagan Supporters

Sick of Flannagan Supporters, that's the screen name someone recently used to leave a comment on the blog.

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
tough economic

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.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Short Sea Shipping, Long-term Outrage

Shamrock over at Fall River-tastic has just blogged that Fall River will not be in the running for federal stimulus money to develop a short sea shipping port.


Well according to the source of this information, the Providence Journal, it's because the Commonwealth chose between "two competing proposals". In other words, facing competing proposals from New Bedford and Fall River, they decided to submit just the New Bedford proposal. Massachusetts could have submitted both proposals. Rhode Island submitted two.

What did we miss out on? Well first off, the influx of federal money that would have provided immediate jobs to our region. More importantly the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of something that could have huge implications on our local economy. The potential for between 500-1000 long term jobs. With a deep water port, and easy highway access Fall River seems perfectly positioned for short sea shipping.

It seems that this is something Fall River should have been in the running for, so where's the outrage.

Proposals needed to be submitted by September 15, 2009. So how long has our local leadership known we were out of the running? When did they first become aware of this opportunity? Where was the effort to show that Fall River was worthy of Federal consideration?

Why wasn't this all in Herald News weeks ago? Where was the outrage from Senator Menard or Representatives Sullivan, Rodrigues, and Aguiar? Why wasn't Mayor Correia holding press conferences urging the state to submit BOTH proposals?

Here's the opportunity to provide good paying jobs, stimulate our local economy and develop our waterfront and instead of fighting for this our leadership is fighting over whether the Braga looks better in blue or green?


How do you drop the ball on this? It's not like Fall River didn't consider this a worthy project, good ol' Kenny Fiola is quoted saying :

“It’s a shame,” says Kenneth Fiola Jr., executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development. “The state should have applied for both and let the feds pick and choose.”

"It's a shame" my ass, what's a shame is that none of our "leadership" fought to make sure Fall River was included!

Did our City Council know? If so where was the resolution urging the Governor to include the Fall River proposal? If not, why not!? If the City Council wasn't aware of something this important than FROED isn't doing their job.

Why is the first mention of this from the PROVIDENCE JOURNAL and 2 WEEKS TOO LATE to make a damn bit of difference?!

This could have been and should have been something for the community to rally behind. This could have been Bob Correia's chance to be the white knight and get the city behind him. This should have been our local delegations chance to show they can get something meaningful done for Fall River. Instead all we can do is discuss how great the bridge will look in blue and whether or not nude dancing is good for our economy. Is it any wonder we're not getting ahead?