Saturday, July 10, 2010

John M. Arruda – Former Mayor passes away at age 90

Former Fall River mayor, John M. Arruda recently passes away at the age of 90. I did not learn of this by reading the glowing tributes to him in the Herald News. In fact I could not even find a single mention of this on the Herald News. No, instead I learned it by coming across a letter to the editor that was published on

It's rather disappointing and pretty sad (in a pathetic sort of way) that the Herald News didn't cover this. Where are the retrospectives, the career highlights, the timeline and the tributes?

Mayor Arruda certainly shaped Fall River's future in one key event. When Rt. 195 was being built with its path going right through the middle of the city, it was Arruda who worked to secure the air rights above the highway to build a replacement city hall above the roadway. The idea was that the new city hall would be located in the same location as the old city hall and help reunite the city, literally divided by the highway. Today the decision to build Government Center is often ridiculed but the reality is, it was built over a dozen years after Arruda left office. Whatever problems have plagued the building is the fault of a different mayor.

In a way I wish I had taken the opportunity to search out and speak with Mayor Arruda. It would have been fascinating to speak to the last Mayor of Fall River to preside over a city that wasn't dissected by highways. It would have been interesting to find out what he wishes he had done differently and what accomplishments he was most proud of.

John Arruda helped shape Fall River's future in one other way. Arruda was Fall River's first Portuguese mayor. Today many joke that just having a Portuguese surname is enough to get elected and not having one enough to be defeated. But it was his election that demonstrated that the city's Portuguese citizens could wield political influence and clout.


Anonymous said...

He paved the way for Mayor Viverios. The below the hill gang was born.... Portugeuse Mafia!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your service Mr. Mayor.

Let'sGetReal said...

Sorry, I don't think we should glorify past mayors who have had a part in turning this city into the craphole that it is today. What is there to celebrate? Lack of foresight and urban planning? Lack of common sense? The Herald News is right in ignoring this. Being a former mayor of Fall River is not deserving of any special coverage unless someone can point to actual accomplishments that the person made.

Anonymous said...

Every mayor has probably done some good, even Bob Correia. They all do some good and some bad, some do a lot more bad than others. Our society has gotten to the point where it doesn't seem like we like any of our politicians, the new national pasttime is to bash everyone that we vote in two seconds after they take office.

Anonymous said...

John was my Uncle and I agree that some sort of tribute show have been done. He had done loads of service for the city. I found out about his death from the letter to the editor in the Standard Times. It is sad that neither newspaper could do a story, he made history in Fall River. I personally have comfort knowing he is looking down on us from the Heavens with my dad Joseph (his brother). They are smiling at us knowing we are proud of his years of service to Fall River and his legacy will live on!!!

Kathi Cardenas said...

I was so happy to come across this page regarding Mayor Arruda. In his later years, it always seemed as if most people had forgotten his contributions. Yes, he resided in assisted living, and then in a nursing home, but that didn't mean that he was someone different (although there were those who attempted to marginalize him). Thank you so much for continuing to recognize "Mr. Mayor". It was my privilege to know him and to have written the editorial which immortalizes him for some of us. Kathi Cardenas