Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Question for the Candidate – David Sullivan

Dave Sullivan is the State Representative for the 6th Bristol District, a position he has held since 1997. This year Dave is facing off against a Republican also named Dave in the general election. We asked Representative Sullivan what was it about his platform, leadership style, and goals that best represent the needs and interests of the people of Fall River. Below are excerpts from his response, with my commentary. The entire unedited response can be read here.

I believe that my education and experience combined have helped me to be an effective legislator. I possess both a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters degree, and went on to work in the field of social work for many years before becoming a state legislator.

The thing that Dave's detractors love to say is that he is not an effective legislator. That love to cite that he has failed to get any appointments on any of the big committees and that he often seems on the outside looking in, even within our local delegation. Now, personally I like that Dave isn't afraid to stand by himself. At the same time I think Dave has been proven he can work with other legislatures far more effectively than he has gotten credit for.  

I have developed a reputation for being persistent with regard to issues that are important to my constituents, an approach that has led some to dub me "a pitbull." I have taken on big fights against corporate giants like Hess LNG, and also have taken on fights that others might have ignored, defending the elderly, the mentally ill, and just this session preventing much-needed services at Corrigan Mental Health from being shut down.

Dave has been very active in the fight against LNG. He has pushed hard on this even when it angered other members of the local delegation. Dave has also worked hard to protect social services. I have always admired the stance he took, almost a decade ago, as the only member of the local delegation to not be in favor of tearing down Watuppa Heights. It was a decision not popular with everyone but there were citizens who disagreed with tearing down the project and they deserved representation too.

My approach is always to see the big picture, passing Economic Development legislation this session that will help the private sector create jobs while always remembering that there are individuals in need of a hand up as we all have been at some point in our lives.

I wish Dave had spoke about what he wants to push in the next session to benefit the city, bring jobs, create tourism, etc.

 I ask my constituents to keep in mind that past performance is indicative of future success and I am proud of my track record and will continue to work hard on economic development, public safety and other initiatives if the voters are kind enough to give me their vote on November 2nd.

When I think of Dave's past performance I see someone who is easily accessible and has been the champion of the little guy. Yes, I suppose Dave could be more influential but he has managed to work effectively with his peers while still being independent and standing up for what he believes despite what political wisdom may say. I thank Representative Sullivan for taking the time to respond and wish him the best in the upcoming election. His entire response can be read here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Question for the Candidate – CJ Ferry

CJ Ferry is the Republican candidate for the 7th Bristol District House seat. CJ has run for various positions in the past including running for this seat during the last election. Republicans have an awfully tough time winning local races in Fall River; CJ is hoping that this year reverses that trend. We're asking Mr. Ferry  what is it about his platform, leadership style and goals that best represent the needs and interests of the people of Fall River? Below are excerpts from his response, with my commentary. The entire unedited response can be read here.

I feel that the people of Fall River should elect me to the position of State Representative of the Seventh Bristol District because I not only listen to the needs of the people, but any votes I take are not only looked at from the perspective of what will this do now, but what will the trickle down do to other facets of government, the budget and the people.

 

It does seem that elected officials always vote based on what works today without thinking about the future impact. Of course, that is probably because elected officials worry about getting reelected now, and not 20 years in the future. If CJ is elected let's see how easy it is for him to live by this statement.

 

An example of that is local aid, my opponent has twice voted to cut local aid and claims that the vote helped balance the budget, but the budget isn't balanced when you need to borrow money to make ends meet.  Further, my opponent failed to look at the trickledown economics which we residents of Fall River are feeling; a higher tax rate, higher fees, fewer services and more work with fewer people.

 

This is hitting basic conservative themes of fiscal responsibility. As much as this resonates I would need to know why his opponent voted the way he did, it's hardly ever an easy black and white situation.

 

My opponent has claimed to be all about jobs, yet his votes have been 50% of the time against business and jobs and he has even flip flopped on the casino issue.  I have and still work with businesses great and small and I try to tout the benefits of bringing businesses like wind turbine manufacture and solar panel manufacture to Fall River.

 

This was an interesting exchange on their recent radio debate. Mr. Ferry's opponent charged that this was information from a special interest group, but it is based on his voting record. It seems the 50% maybe a bit inflated, but it would be interesting to read the source material on this.

 

In State government we need a cooperative leadership style and one this of the people and for the people – NOT one that is of the individual to support the individual.  My opponent has voted over 97% of the time with the House leadership…

 

97% seems unreasonably high. I understand that he's a Democrat. I understand the need to build support. However there is no way 97% of the time these votes work for Fall River.

 

Lastly, my opponent recently stated that he hold "Democratic values", it is not Democratic values we are elected for; it is the needs of the State and the needs of the people.

 

Sure, except the area is mostly Democratic and his opponent is doing a nice job of reminding them which candidate has a "D" next to his name.

 

When you give me a choice of "Police Officers or Social Workers" as my opponent gave his Democratic opponent, I will always choose a cop.  Not that Social Workers aren't important but public safety is as well and we need to prioritize our budget and our needs.

 

Right now, in this economy, with the condition the city is in, I have to agree. However I think someone could argue that more social workers might mean less need for more cops in the future.

 

My first reaction after reading CJ's response was that this was one of the stronger responses I had gotten. Now, I think he did a good job of talking about what he feels his opponent failed to do but really didn't talk much about what he would do and focus on in office. Yes, we need representation that can reach across the aisle, particularly if your NOT a Democrat. Yes, we have hard working people and small buissness is the backbone of job growth. Yes we need elected leadership that looks at the big picture and not just the immediate impact of a vote. But what exactly are you going to work toward to bring jobs here, to protect Fall River long term and to invite the investment of small buisness in Fall River?
 
I want to thank CJ Ferry for taking the time to respond and wish him the best of luck in the upcoming election. Mr. Ferry is running a very spirited campaign and his entire statement can be read here

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Question for the Candidate – Paul Schmid

Paul Schmid is the Democratic candidate for the Eight Bristol District. He is currently a selectman for the town of Westport. After winning the Democratic primary Mr. Schmid finds himself facing off against an independent candidate in the general election. There is no Republican challenger. We're asking Mr. Schmid what is it about his platform, leadership style and goals that best represent the needs and interests of the people of Fall River? Below are excerpts from his response, with my commentary. The entire unedited response can be read here.

I am focused on jobs for greater Fall River. I support a casino. It's not a silver bullet, but it can be part of the tool box. The license should encourage the casino to draw patrons to the area, to benefit local restaurants, agriculture and attractions.

I'd love to talk at length with Mr. Schmid on this point alone. As readers here know, I am no fan of the casino, however I've long felt if you have to have one it should be designed in a way that would help bring business to the rest of the city. It seems Mr. Schmid is talking along the same lines here. Certainly it's refreshing to have someone say it's not a silver bullet but only part of the solution.

 I support the biopark. I support the commuter rail and taking down Rt 79. The proposed train center in its place will reconnect Fall River with its waterfront. We need to develope our waterfront into mixed uses: condominiums, restaurants, marinas, cruise ship docking and commercial activities including those to support the off shore wind and current turbines that are coming.

A lot of this isn't particularly new and has been mentioned by various elected officials over the years, still it's good to know Mr. Schmid would support and work towards. The plug for green energy is also welcome.
We should market ourselves to the millions who drive through on 195 but do not stop. Mystic Village gets 300,000 visitors a year, the USS Massachusetts has 100,000. We can do better. We should allow fishing on Watuppa Pond a few times a year. In conjunction with camping at the bioreserve, and under the auspices of Bassmasters, this could position us as a sportsman's capitol. This idea comes from my friend Dave Proulx.
Here is another statement that I wish Mr. Schmid had expanded upon. How do we market ourselves? Still I think he's right. Fall River used to have outlets now they're in Wrenthem and partly because we failed to market ourselves. Fishing and camping on the Watuppa is an idea worth exploring. I like that Paul not only presents it here but acknowledges that the idea is from a friend.

I am VERY optimistic about our future. We have many assets. Millions live within a few hours by car. A deep water port. A historic district second to none. A hard working labor force. Heavens, let's get going.

Mr. Schmid is running in perhaps the most interesting of the local races. I wish him the best of luck and thank him for taking the time to respond. Mr. Schmid's entire response can be read here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Question for the Candidate - Michael Rodrigues

It's a little tough not to think of Mike as an incumbent simply because he has been a State Representative for over a decade. However instead of running for re-election for his Representative seat, he's running for the Senate position that Joan Menard is vacating. We heard from his opponent in the first installment of this series. Of course, we're asking the same question. What is it about his platform, leadership style, and goals that best represent the needs and interests of the people of Fall River? Below are excerpts from his response, with my commentary. The entire unedited response can be read here.

As a State Representative in the city, I’ve had the privilege and honor of representing a third
of Fall River for fourteen years. During this time I have worked with many constituents on a variety of issues and we shared in many successes. I have done my best to make Fall River a better place to live, work and raise a family, and I believe my successes speak for themselves.

Experience is the big theme of Mike's campaign, and the big thing that sets him apart from Derek Maksy. Voters have to decide if they want someone new (something we voters are always crying for...) or if we want someone who is experienced with the issues of the region and with the workings of Beacon Hill.

Over the years I’ve led the transformation of the Kerr Mills Site from a pile of rubble to a twenty first century economic engine which now employs over four hundred people in the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center and at Meditech. I was also able to help transform Dave’s Beach boat ramp from a haven of illegal drug and sexual activity to a clean and safe public access to South Watuppa Pond. With the formation of the Bioreserve, I’ve led the effort to protect Fall River’s most precious natural resource; our drinking water supply. With the help of Senator Joan Menard and Representative David Sullivan we have halted construction of an ill conceived plan to bring an LNG terminal to Weavers Cove. Finally, we built eight new technologically modern schools in Fall River. It was with the help of the people of Fall River that I was successful in accomplishing these victories and many more.

It's tough to figure out where to edit his comments and where to add my own. Again Mike is hitting hard on the theme of experience and here he's reminding us on some of things he has helped achieve. As much as I wanted to excerpt the above it was tough to figure what not to leave in. It's great to see a list of things he's done it begs the question 'what have you failed to achieve?' and it really doesn't speak to what you want to accomplish in the senate. However it's tough not to acknowledge the importance of protecting the water supply, or the role the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center seems poised to play in Fall River's future.

A few weeks ago I drafted the South Coast Jobs Creation plan to help create a positive climate for businesses to grow, expand and provide these jobs. With Representative Patricia Haddad’s help and co-sponsorship, I plan to introduce this piece of legislation immediately upon being elected.

Elect me and look what I'll do! I've heard people comment if he has this great plan why not put it out there now. Well honestly if the legislature were still in session he probably would! I mean why not? It would probably be an even MORE effective campaign bit. Again Mike is sticking with a common theme, experience.

This is why I believe I am the only candidate with the legislative experience, proven track record and dedication to hit the ground running in January and make a positive impact not only in Fall River, but in the entire South Coast.

Um...still hitting home on that same theme. Representative Rodrigues entire response can be read here. When I've reached out to candidates in the past it is usually the underdog who takes the time to respond and the more established candidates tend to ignore my requests, so I greatly appreciate Mike Rodrigues' willingness to respond. That said, I'm a little disappointed in his response. I was really hoping that THIS candidate would tell me more about what he wanted to achieve, especially versus what he has already done. I think part of the disappointment stems from the primary campaign. I was caught up in the appeal of getting new people into office and not someone who has been up in Boston for over a decade, BUT I found it tough to take Mike's primary opponents seriously, mostly because Mike consistently spoke more knowledgeably and had by far the best platform on his website. I guess I was hoping to see just a little bit more of that here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A is for Arrogant

Attorney Steve Torres, Fall River's full time corporation counsel has been moonlighting but he doesn't want you to know it.

The problem is the Standard Times ran a story yesterday morning that mentions that the town of Wareham is not happy with delays in receiving a computer audit report from Attorney Torres who is handling the matter as a special counsel. That story received mention yesterday afternoon on WSAR's The Alex Stylos Show and that's where the fireworks began.

Stylos told his audience that he came across the story in the Standard Times and after a little footwork confirmed that the Torres mentioned in the article is our very own corporation counsel.  Stylos and his co-host for the afternoon, former City Councilor Cathy Ann Viveiros remarked that Torres was hired as a full time corporation counsel and given a hefty raise to reflect his full time status. Stylos however also remarked that he really had no issue with Attorney Torres moonlighting. The two engaged in some slight banter that I took for as being tougue in check saying that if he WAS going to moonlight he should at least not show up on the front page of the newspaper, especially in a less than flattering light.

That's when the phone rang. Apparently the call came in on the 'hot line' and when Stylos picked up Attorney Steven Torres was on the other end. Apparently working more than one job does not keep him from being a dedicated listener. In 5 seconds it was clear that Attorney Torres did not like the fact that this was being discussed on air but he attempted to clarify the situation and set the record straight. If I understood it correctly, he was brought on as special counsel in Wareham before taking the Fall River job and that despite what the Standard Times article would suggest he was not the reason for the delay. He further went on to say that he felt this report could have been done in-house by the town but that they voted to hire him to oversee the effort.

At this point I'm thinking that this guy is WAY too insecure and that if he had ongoing jobs maybe he shouldn't have accepted a full time position but he explained the situation this will probably be a non-issue. If he had only hung up the phone.

Instead over the next several minutes Attorney Torres proceeded to RANT. He wasn't happy that this was brought up on the radio and said that Stylos could have simply contacted him first. Ah Ha! Stylos responded that he did call and sent emails, with no reply. Torres then went after Cathy Ann saying that she was attacking him as a way to get back at the Mayor for beating her in the last election! He threatened to lodge complaints and go to advertisers all for mentioning a story that was reported, not by WSAR, but by another news agency.

Lefty's View: With one phone call Attorney Torres has changed the story from should he be moonlighting to does this man have any sense of judgment or self-control! The arrogance and display of egotism was infuriating. Does this man really feel that he is beyond reproach, that he is infallible? Whether Attorney Torres likes it or not his actions as a public figure are fair game for public discussion. Certainly his working for Wareham while serving in a full time capacity in Fall River is worthy of at some dialogue. Mr. Torres needs to realize that when he calls in to the local radio station or talks with a reporter he does so as Fall River's corporation counsel and he should conduct himself in a manner worthy of that position. When he rants and raves on live radio he embarrasses not only himself but the people of Fall River. When he threatens to take action against the local radio station for discussing a completely truthful news report he tarnishes our ideal of freedom of speech and instead embraces the mentality of a police state.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Question for the Candidate – Derek Maksy

Derek Maksy is the Republican candidate for the First Bristol & Plymouth District seat in the Massachusetts State Senate.  This is the seat that Joan Menard has held for the last decade and that she is now vacating.  I asked Mr. Maksy why he feels he should be the candidate of choice for the people of Fall River. What is it about his platform, leadership style, and goals that best represent the needs and interests of the people of Fall River? Below are excerpts from his response, with my commentary. The entire unedited response can be read here.

Mr. Maksy said I believe people are tired of the same old politics as usual, that is why I am running for the vacant State Senate seat.

Mr. Maksy also has the unenviable luck to run against an established opponent, someone who is well known to Fall River voters. Perhaps if people are really tired of the same old politics that will be a good thing, however I saw and heard very little from the Maksy campaign until after the primary election.

Mr. Maksy said elections are about validation for a job well done or a work in progress, and my track record shows you both.

The problem is I don't think the people of Fall River are really all that familiar with Derek's track record. I think more needed to be done before the primary election to introduce Mr. Maksy to the people of Fall River. Now? Well at this point if you don't know his track record are you really taking the time to find out about it?

Mr. Maksy said state government must make more cuts to its budget without reducing local aid. As high school and college graduates and other job seekers struggle to find jobs, Mr. Maksy firmly believes it is the responsibility of Beacon Hill to provide the necessary resources to promote these jobs in our district.

This certainly rings as music to the ears of the average Fall River resident.  It's also a refreshing change from the attitude of our last Republican governor who kept the state in the black by drastically cutting local aid and basically shifting the burden to cities and towns.

Mr. Maksy said. "We have to stop the State unfunded mandates. We have to reduce government spending. Right now, we need to get our house in order and stop putting the burden on the taxpayers."

What unfunded mandates is he referring to? Where would he reduce spending? It's so easy to make these types of statements and by not offering specifics there is little chance in upsetting anyone. Still the idea is one we can all agree with.

Mr. Maksy, a current Lakeville selectman, has dealt with the cuts the state has passed down to the cities and towns. He has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals in Lakeville, the Middleboro Planning Board, Downtown Revitalization Committee, and Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District and he believes in term limits.

I have to say I like this level of experience because I think it gives him a good grasp on the struggles of cities and towns in the current economic climate. It's one thing to represent us in Boston and here about how tough it is and another completely to actually struggle with the realities of local aid cuts, dwindling tax revenues etc.  How many terms is the candidate pledging to serve?

Mr. Maksy and his wife Madelyn have two daughters. He put himself through college and has a degree in Business Administration, engineering, as well as a master's in public administration. He is a third generation farmer and a self-employed contractor. He also works for the Dept. of Transportation as a traffic signal supervisor of which he would resign if elected.

This is all sounds pretty good to me….

Mr. Maksy said. "Contrary to my opponent's opinion, commuter rail service being extended to Fall River and New Bedford would be a benefit to the region, as long as it does not have to be completely subsidized by the taxpayers". Mr. Maksy said the commuter rail service has been a success in Lakeville. "It's a great means of transportation to higher paying jobs in Boston," Mr. Maksy said. "It just needs to be managed like a business."

I'm not sure exactly what Mr. Maksy is stating about his opponents opinion here. A quick check confirmed his opponent is all for commuter rail. Now personally I have always had major concerns about the cost of bringing commuter rail to the region and the cost of maintaining it. However I think the reality is that rail service has a history of something that depends on government subsidy. If Mr. Maksy is elected and wants to make self sustaining commuter rail service a priority of his tenure I would applaud the effort, but I'd like to know how he thinks he can make that a reality.  

Mr. Maksy said bringing a casino to the region is great for economic development (my opponent disagrees). If a casino is built in the region, Mr. Maksy said there must be a mechanism to give the license fees from it to all surrounding cities and towns and not the State, the fee will help the area with infrastructure needs and social problems that come with a casino.

Well of course, I do not favor a casino, but the idea of giving the license fees to surrounding cities and towns is an interesting one. I think this would make the whole idea of legal gaming in Massachusetts less appealing if these fees went to just a few communities rather than the state as a whole. I think Mr. Maksy would have a hard time gaining much support for this in the Senate.

Mr. Maksy also feels the state should live within its means as well as reduce the current sales tax of 6.25 percent to five percent.

"If the state would lived within its means like its residents, there would have never been a need for a 20 percent increase in sales tax," Mr. Maksy said. "We need to rollback the sales tax and stop putting everything on the backs of the taxpayer."

On the surface I think many of us would support rolling the sales tax back to 5%. However how do you do that? Saying that the state needs to live within its means does little to say where cuts can and should be made. If you want to say the state needs to work with less revenue you need to suggest areas where cuts can made and money saved.

If elected, Mr. Maksy will propose a reduced tax exemption (61C) for folks over 65 like the current tax exemptions for Agricultural and Recreational  (61A AND 61B). 

I actually like this idea a lot. It's not something I think many would necessarily think a Republican candidate would be suggesting but I think such relief is needed ESPECIALLY in communities like Fall River. Without reading up on the specifics on 61A and 61B I can only say that not every senior over 65 needs such relief.

Mr. Maksy said the state can not afford its current pension system, and that it must not be subsidized by the tax payers

If Derek Maksy wins election and did NOTHING else but help revamp our pension system he would boast a successful legislative career. Pensions are literally crippling cities and towns but how do you overhaul the system? Any attempt will be met with great resistance from all the people who currently benefit from the current system. Still, this is an area that needs attention NOW. I just wish Mr. Maksy had included some specific ideas on changes that could be made.

Mr. Maksy said.  "I need everyone's vote on November 2 and I won't let you down"

I thank Derek Maksy for submitting his response to A View From Battleship Cove. His entire unedited response can be read here.

 

 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Question for the Candidate

With election day quickly approaching who are you voting for? Who do you think best represents the interests of the people of Fall River? That was my question to candidates looking to represent Fall River as state representatives, state senator, and governor.

I've reached out to candidates running for office in the past with mixed results. I know that this isn't considered a media outlet the same way the Herald News is, or WSAR. But, I've always looked at my reaching out to candidates to be same as YOU reaching out to candidates. So when a candidate for office says he is interested in representing the concerns of the people I'm always curious if he or she will take the time to answer an inquiry from a concerned citizen. And while A View From Battleship Cove may not be an accepted mainstream media outlet, it has averaged over 50,000 visits a year for the last 3 years in a row. It seems to me that a candidate for office should be just as interested in speaking to you via this blog than he or she should be in any coffee hour.

So far I've heard back from 4 candidates, 2 have submitted a response, while the other 2 promise to have one to me soon. So later this week I'll be posting excerpts with some commentary by yours truly and at the same time make the full version of their response available by hyperlink. So stay tuned and make sure you share your thoughts!

Oh, and if you run into a candidate for the offices I mentioned above ask if he or she has gotten back to Lefty...Thanks!

Friday, October 15, 2010

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD ‘EM

Yesterday I happened to catch the last 15 minutes of "The Alex Stylos Show" on WSAR. I wasn't sure what the heck they were even talking about but the conversation obviously was revolving around Meditech and their plans to build an additional site in Freetown on 135 acres, and hire more than 800 people. The site would be just over the Fall River border.

I really wish I had tuned in a bit earlier to get more of a feel of what the conversation was about. I did hear some high praise for Meditech and what the new facility could mean to the area. I also heard some crackpot detractor that I think was trumpeting the casino. He said that the Fall River site employees less than 200 people and that almost half are from Rhode Island. His proof was counting people as they walked in the door and counting plates in the parking garage!! Sadly this idiot wasn't seriously challenged by our host, but let me just say that not everybody shows up to work at the same time and unless our intrepid stalker was there 24x7 I can't see how he can be taken seriously. Meanwhile a recent story in the Herald News said the current location employees about 450 people. Anyway the conversation on WSAR got me thinking that this was something I wanted to blog about. I think we'll call the post –

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD  'EM

With the announcement from Meditech that they will be building a facility in Freetown it's time to go back to the drawing board, scrap the proposed Wampanoag casino and BEG UMass Dartmouth to put the Biopark back at its original site. I know the casino has lots of support but let's take a serious look at the situation. The whole reason for abandoning the original plans for a biopark and embracing a resort casino had to do with a desperate need for jobs and that a biopark would take far too long to develop but the casino was "shovel ready". The truth is it's not shovel ready and at the moment it's not even legal! The casino has many hurdles still to overcome before local residents satisfy their gaming addictions. On the other hand Meditech is projecting that the new facility will be ready to open in 2013. If UMass could be convinced to return to original proposal it seems possible that the UMD biomanufacturing research and training center could be completed in roughly the same time frame.

Oh I know that casino supporters are just chomping at the bit to remind you that the facility will only employee 12 people and a casino will employ a million times that and fantastic salaries and we'll all be rich!  The thing is, and I just said this a few weeks ago, the facility was never the brass ring here, the biopark was. The whole idea was the facility would be the draw that would bring in bioscience companies and related industry. And I remember that it was only a few weeks ago that the Ken Fiola of the Fall River Office of Economic Development stood in front of our city council and said there was no interest in the Biopark. Fiola basically said that his office had sent mailers to targeted companies and had attended trade shows and had failed to get any interest at all in the biopark. There are two things to consider here. The first is, right now the biopark is 300 empty acres of land and the UMass facility was always supposed to be the draw. Remember the movie "Field of Dreams"? The line is "build it and they will come." See FIRST you build it THEN they come. Consider the Biopark like a big empty stretch of highway. If I asked you if you wanted to build a restaurant there you might say 'gee I don't know' but if I told you I was building a gas station right next door you'd probably give it a LOT more consideration. So the facility itself was supposed to be the draw. Secondly is we NOW know that Meditech is going to be right next door too! That's like finding out that right next to where you can build a restaurant there is going to be a gas station AND a hotel! It makes the biopark more viable than ever but here's where I have a problem.

Back just a little more than two weeks ago when Fiola was telling the council there had been no interest in the Biopark did he know that Meditech was looking to build right across the border? According to the Herald he assisted in putting this together. The announcement was made on October 4th just six days after that council meeting. He had to have known and he must realize that this significantly increases the viability of the Biopark. And how long did he know? It seems like Meditech would have taken more than just a few weeks to put this all together. Back in March or April did Fiola have even just a vague idea that Meditech was looking to build another facility in the area? Did the Mayor? Were we shutting the door on the Biopark at the same time we knew that Meditech was considering building another complex in the same area? Is it possible that Meditech was looking to build IN the Biopark? Can we get the Redevelopment Authority to probe this? If the Fall River Office of Economic Development was aware, if the Mayor was aware they have a responsibility to act on that information in a way that represents the best interests of the city. When you stand before the city council and tell them there is no interest in a biopark but at the same time possibly have information in your pocket that you know could be a game changer it seems that you are not living up to the job that you receive such a high salary for.

Anyway…

So the casino is in limbo, the 300 acres is vacant and Meditech is building a huge facility just around the corner. Seems like it still might be possible to correct a foolish mistake and get UMass to set up shop, get the original biopark up and running and work to get some other industries located there. It bothers me to think that maybe, just maybe Meditech might have set up shop IN the Biopark and Fall River would have benefited from all that property tax, but c'est la vie.  I know 'what about the casino', well I really wasn't in favor of it anyway but I'm open minded so let it go somewhere else! The Aquinnah's had an alternate site all picked out maybe that could be explored. Several months ago I had a blog reader suggest an idea that I thought had real potential. He suggested that a casino could be built in the central part of the city in a location that could tie downtown with the waterfront and utilize a rehabilitated mill building or complex of buildings. To me, this idea hits on the same themes that make NStar proposal in New Bedford so appealing. Even if the casino project itself were smaller in scale it could still have the same financial impact by being more of a catalyst for further development and downtown revitalization.

Right now we have 300 acres of land just sitting there that could be used as a casino or a biopark and it seems to me the biopark has all the momentum. For a while there has been all this talk about finding alternate sites for the biopark well why not consider finding alternate sites for the casino? The Mayor has said over and over again that Fall River could have both a casino AND a Biopark, well here is his chance to prove it.