Mayor Jon Mitchell has thrown his support behind an effort to post the operating hours at city parks, including several so-called pocket parks where after-hours drug dealing and prostitution is said to be a problem.

The chair and vice-chair of the City Council Committee on Public Saftey, At-Large Councilors Brian Gomes and Debora Coelho, requested a hearing before their own committee on the need for the signage, but the request was denied by a majority of councilors, including Council President Linda Morad. Why would Morad deny Gomes' and Coelho's request to discuss an issue in the committee she put them in charge of?

Courtesy City of New Bedford

Mayor Mitchell tells me he sees no problem with posting the hours of operation at the parks, noting, however, that not all of the pocket parks are under the control of the Park Department. The mayor says the problems are, for the most part, limited to a pair of pocket parks along Acushnet Avenue in the general area of Phillips Avenue. He says signage might assist police to some degree but he calls upon the police to "do a better job" in patrolling the pocket parks.

Brian Gomes/Facebook

I don't know exactly why Councilor Morad and the others voted to block Gomes and Coelho from having a discussion about the pocket parks, and I cannot think of a reason that would make sense for doing so. Gomes will introduce a motion during the July 18 meeting to instruct the Park Department to proceed with posting signage at the parks.

Greg Desrosiers/TSM

Unless President Morad and the others can convince me otherwise, I would suggest that failure to support Gomes' motion would be nothing more than politics in a political election year.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.