Monday, August 30, 2010

Are You Sick of Hearing About the Hurricane?

It seems like no matter what I'm doing or where I am all I hear is the Hurricane is coming.

IT'S GOING TO BE BIG! IT'S GOING TO BE INTENSE!!

The HURRICANE is coming!

IT COULD BE HUGE! THE IMPACT WILL BE NOT JUST FALL RIVER BUT LIKE EVERYWHERE!!

The HURRICANE IS COMING!

MAKE SURE YOU PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE THE HURRICANE IS COMING!!!

Enough already!!

It's a bunch of hot air! Just a big gust of wind! Whatever initial effect, will pass and simply fade away. We've listened to this crap for a long time and all this hype isn't going to keep ME glued to my radio...

The Hurricane is coming....

It's NOT exciting, It's NOT electrifying...

But the Hurricane is coming...

SO WHAT!! WHO CARES!! I hope the Hurricane simply fades away into nothingness because I'm SICK of hearing the hype!!!

The hurricane is coming....

OK..

Maybe I'll listen. Maybe I'll see what this is all about. Maybe I'll get ready to see what this is all about.

I'll track this online to see if this is the real deal or not.

THE HURRICANE IS COMING!!

I'm not going to get excited but I will prepare. I'll buy batteries, and check the flashlights. I'll keep a portable radio nearby and stock up on kitchen essentials.

After all...

THE HURRICANE IS COMING!

What did you think I was talking about?

Citizens For the Common Good 8/30/2010

The Citizens for the Common Good will be meeting today at 7 p.m. (Monday, Aug. 30)at Calvary Temple, 4321 N. Main St.

The meeting will be a forum to discuss the impacts of casinos on the local business community.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It’s Just Wrong Part 2

Innocent until proven guilty, oh I admit even I'm having a tough time living up to the idea of it. As I've said before how do you get falsely arrested for trying to solicit? Doubtful as I might be Bigelow's innocence he deserves his day in court.

So, it seems a bit unfair that he's been fired from his job as an auditor for the Bristol County Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Tom says the allegation

"is in direct contradiction to his job responsibilities" but the problem is, it's an ALLEGATION. It hasn't been proven and to be fired simply for the allegation not only seems wrong, it is wrong.

And what if he's NOT found guilty? Again, I can't figure out how he accidently solicited but what if he's found not guilty? Has the Sheriff just set up his department for a nice lawsuit?

In the end, even if he's found innocent, Brian Bigelow's reputation in the community will never fully recover. The Mayor is already looking for ways to get him of the board at Diman. His place on the Fall River City Council is a little less secure. But until he's found guilty, the cost of his arrest shouldn't be the loss of his job.

It’s Just Wrong Part 1

Exactly 1 week ago someone left a comment on the blog saying that Senate candidate Mike Coogan was involved in case in Superior Court…

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Sign":

not sure if you guys heard about coogan in fall river superior court. Apparently he is charged with defrauding a female customer of a bank whos board he is a member of.

Because I couldn't verify the accuracy of the comment I deleted it. This didn't stop other comments from showing emphatically stating that Coogan was involved in a court case. It was pretty obvious that there was a certain taint to these comments and that they were not intended to help Mr. Coogan's campaign. Two days later the story breaks in the Herald News: State Senate hopeful Coogan cleared in civil lawsuit

Nice!

You can read the specifics in the Herald News article but the bottom line is a customer hired Coogan's construction company to do a job. He started the job, she changed her mind and he kept the deposit. The court sided with him that he was in the right to do so. Gee that doesn't seem as ominous as my comentors would have had me believe. Defrauding sounds so sinister but shed a little light on it and it looks so different when it's not in the dark. It's amazing what a little mudslinging can achieve, and it's just wrong.

Personally it's tough enough to figure out who to vote for on Election Day without someone trying to mislead you into thinking the worst.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Sign

Ok, so Mayor Flanagan is getting involved in the affairs of the Zoning Board, which he defends as part of his pro-business stance and common sense approach. Now I just commented a bit about this in my last post, but that was due to the Mayor's belief that the board members he appoints should be on the same page with him, but there is something else about this that is troubling.

The whole issue stems for a neon sign, which apparently Robert Messier of Messier Motors wants to keep lit, on a lot he rents on Pleasant Street, 24 hours a day. Back in January the ZBA voted 4-1 to deny a variance to allow that. Mr. Messier says the sign is very important for advertising and Mayor Flanagan says not having the sign, "It potentially could put him out of business".

Mayor Flanagan says this is him just being pro-business. He says that we have to do everything we can to support the business community.

What I find puzzling here is why the Mayor is personally getting involved. The lot in question is an unmanned car lot. It's not like we're talking about a dealership with a dozen or so jobs involved. Mr. Messier is basically putting cars on a lot and if you're interested you give him a call. I'm not saying this makes him or his concerns less important but it does puzzle me why it would warrant the direct involvement of the Mayor.

Hey, if Mr. Messier feels he needs this sign and he can enlist the help of the Mayor, good for him. However a few months back I stopped at his lot when something caught my eye and after a quick look hoped in my car and drove away. It's not that I wasn't interested; it was that I couldn't be bothered to have to make a phone call and set up an appointment. I would imagine lots of people feel the same way and a sign isn't going to change that.

The Yes Men

Every wonder why Will Flanagan would rather be Mayor of Fall River rather than an attorney practicing law? Could it be because as Mayor he believes that the people he appoints should do as he wishes, where if he were practicing law in front of a jury he could never get that sort of compliance?

For the second time Mayor Flanagan has been quoted in the Herald News as believing that the people he appoints should be on the same page with him. It seems our Mayor is trying to surround himself with "yes men" who will agree with him rather than those that may challenge him. Certainly surrounding yourself with those who will agree with you will make getting your own way easier. But it won't help you make better decisions.

So, obviously I have a difference in opinion or in philosophy with Mayor Flanagan. (Which is ok, unless of course you happen to be Mayor Flanagan in which case you expect people to agree with you.) But really this goes beyond some sort of leadership philosophy. There's a real issue here that the Mayor of Fall River wants the people he appoints to be loyal to him, instead of a loyal to this city. This is just wrong. When you appoint people to boards or commissions they should be looking to protect the best interests of this city not simply what the mayor thinks is best.  I know this is par for the course in politics but wasn't Flanagan supposed to be different?

According to the story in the Herald News, which by the way concerns the Zoning Board of Appeals and a neon sign, Flanagan says he is not trying to influence the board's votes on applications saying "I don't do that" but when the board votes one way and you quip they "should be on the same page" with your vision of the city what else can you call that?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Full Steam Ahead for New Bedford's Short Sea Shipping efforts

Great news! New Bedford will be eligible for federal assistance to develop a Short Sea initiative.

And despite the tone of sarcasm some may have picked up from my opening statement, this really is great news for New Bedford. There is a big push for Short Sea Shipping. It is being advocated as a way to ease congestion on our roadways. It's said to be more environmentally friendly, and more cost effective.  If a big push for SSS is realized those communities that become hubs for shipping will see a growth in all sorts of economic activity, from the initial work, and the subsequent growth in shipping related industries, to the relocation of companies looking to be closer to their shipping hubs.

So, this really is great news for New Bedford, but what about Fall River? Fall River needs jobs and an economic boost. Fall River has one of the states deepest ports. Fall River is ideally located. Why wasn't Fall River in the running? Supposedly there was a proposal but the Commonwealth decided to submit just one to the federal government. However, Rhode Island submitted more than one.

Where was Ken Fiola pushing for a Fall River proposal? Where was Mayor Correia on this? Where was our local delegation?? Why can Joan Menard push for a casino in Fall River and push to overturn restriction clauses but nothing to give Fall River a fighting chance in a project that really could be a catalyst for citywide economic development? Of course to add insult to injury, New Bedford is still in the running for a casino and now they're competing for the BioPark that was supposed to be an exclusive certainty for Fall River.

When I first became aware of this almost a year ago it was because Shamrock blogged about it after the story was reported (2 weeks, after the deadline), in the Providence Journal. Why wasn't this covered in the local paper? Our city's leadership should have been promoting this months before, putting pressure on the state to recognize the potential of Fall River as a short sea shipping hub. The fact that this opportunity slipped by us with barely a whisper is just a clear sign of how ineffective the Office of Economic Development is, as well as this city's leadership on both the local and state level.

Friday, August 13, 2010

“If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck”

I can't help but feel a little sorry for City Councilor Brian Bigelow. Arrested for allegedly attempting to solicit the services of a prostitute, Bigelow has had to deal with both the public humiliation and the personal and private pain this has brought to him and his family. This silly little incident has the ability to completely derail his life of course he's pleaded not guilty and he's innocent until proven guilty and he'll get his day in court. But…

"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck"

Really, I want to be open minded here but how is he innocent? More to the point how do you get falsely arrested for trying to solicit? Somebody said to me it was like walking out of a store and "accidently" having merchandise in your pocket. But I could allow for that, hell that was the premise to the movie My Cousin Vinny. How do you accidently go up to someone you think is a prostitute and offer money in exchange for sex?

And here's the problem, no matter what happens when he gets his day in court he's screwed. If he's found guilty chances are he's getting his ass canned from his job with the Sheriff (he's already on paid leave), he'll likely be kicked off the board of Diman and there may be enough pressure to force him to resign. However if he's found not guilty, if the case is dismissed or otherwise goes away everyone, I mean EVERYONE, will just assume the fix was in, which is going to leave a pretty bad taste in everyone's mouth and STILL may cost him his job and his role as a public servant.

Now if Brian is innocent, as hard as I find that to believe, well then he's in a really tough and unfortunate situation. But if he's guilty, it seems to me he should have pleaded guilty, publically acknowledged that he made an awful mistake and made all of the appropriate apologies and hopefully put all of this behind him.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Assad is just wrong

Attorney Bruce Assad came before the Fall River City Council the other night to defend his hefty pay raise. Despite members of both the School Committee and the City Council praising him and saying the raise was justified, and despite Assad's many reasons why he is deserving of this raise, he's just plain wrong.

The School Committee unanimously voted to approve the raise, and maybe without fully realizing it so did the council. However a $33,100 increase is uncalled for at a time when we are asking municipal employees to once again take an 8% pay cut.

Councilor Pat Casey led the charge (a rarity to be sure) and pointed out that the increase was more than the yearly salary of many city employees.

I'm a bit irked at the arrogance that Attorney Assad displayed. He accused that bringing him before the council was a stunt to grab headlines and stated that Casey didn't bother to contact him or any of the School Committee before filing the resolution that brought him there.  Well I have two little words for Attorney Assad, too bad.

I think there is quite a bit of justification to having him come before the council in a public forum to explain to the people of Fall River why he deserves such a large increase. It's an insult to be told by some that NOW is the perfect time to do this because the school department budget is level funded. Who cares! The city budget certainly isn't. Assad deserves an extra 33k a year (and benefits) but a cop who may take a bullet is taking a pay cut? He gets a whopping $77,500 a year for 25 hours a week when a firefighter who may have to run into a burning building is being asking to take a pay cut? Even if the pay raise is justified now is not the time and certainly not all in one lump sum. This is a part time gig for Attorney Assad and he's making for his 25 hours what many of us WISH we were making for our 40. I have a friend, who is a law school graduate, who said for $77,500 they'd do the job full time, court and all! I think we should look into it.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Citizens For the Common Good

Citizens For the Common Good

Fall River, MA


GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE JILL STEIN TO SPEAK AGAINST CASINOS

FALL RIVER, Massachusetts—Jill Stein, Green-Rainbow candidate for governor, will be speaking about casinos as jobs killers—and how we can create better, more secure jobs across the Commonwealth—on Monday, August 2, 2010, at 7 p.m. at Calvary Temple, 4321 North Main St, Fall River, MA.

The event is open to the public and press. Ms. Stein will respond to questions from the audience following her talk.

Anti-casino bumper stickers will be available for free and light refreshments will be served.

Stein, the only candidate for governor who is publicly opposed to expanded gaming, released a statement on July 30, 2010, calling on the Massachusetts Legislature to call a halt to the push for casino gambling in Massachusetts in order to give the state time to assess new developments indicating that the casino economy is heading for trouble. Says Stein, “a bad idea just got a lot worse” with Congress moving to legalize online gambling, a move that could undercut revenues for any casinos built in Massachusetts.

“Beacon Hill is showing a decided lack of business sense by putting on the rose-colored glasses and making a bet without considering the risks.” Stein noted that even without the competition of legal online gambling, casino states such as Nevada have been suffering in the current economic downturn. “The casino industry is extremely vulnerable to downturns in the economy, because people gamble less when the economy is soft. Nevada—which is loaded with casinos—has the highest unemployment rate in the nation according to June figures. They are suffering a jobless rate of 14% while Massachusetts is around 9.2%. Nevada also leads the nation in foreclosures and bankruptcies. And Atlantic City, with 11 casinos, has a jobless rate higher than Boston. Do we really want to emulate these economies? Let’s think twice before going down that road.”

Among the other risks of casinos, Stein noted that “Casino revenues can take a nose-dive if neighboring states open up their own casinos. And the destination casinos are vulnerable to spikes in the price of gasoline. We could easily find ourselves being held hostage to a network of casinos that are in danger of going under.”


“We know that casinos are net job killers. It’s been calculated that each slot machine pulls enough money out of the economy to kill one job. So once we build casinos, pink slips will be handed out all over Massachusetts. The casinos will concentrate a few jobs in the casino communities, but not enough to prevent a net job loss statewide. And if the casinos begin to fail, we could have a nightmare of unemployment.”

Stein noted that the state of New Hampshire commissioned an objective study of potential casinos in New Hampshire and found that the net benefits of opening casinos was very questionable. “Beacon Hill hasn’t permitted such a study to be conducted for Massachusetts. They are afraid of what the answer might be. They have just adopted a pro-casino mantra, and counted upon keeping the microphone away from anyone who might ask them tough questions. The House didn’t even hold public hearings on their casino bill. This lack of scrutiny is a prescription for making a big mistake.”

“The politicians are saying that casinos are not a complete solution, as if that is a wise attitude. It’s time for them to admit the truth: Casinos are not part of any solution. To create the sound, sustainable economy of the future, we need to make sure that casinos are never built in Massachusetts. We can create better jobs, and more secure jobs, by investing in the green economy of the future, and taking care of our small businesses. The last thing we need is a chain of job-killing casinos that make Massachusetts look more like Nevada.”

For information, please contact Stefani Koorey or Al Lima at cfccfallriver@gmail.com or at 508-493-9304 for further information.