Fall River Is a Laughing Stock [OPINION]
The story of Fall River's recall circus has spread like wildfire throughout the nation via social as well as traditional media sources, and has provided more than a few good chuckles at the city's expense.
Imagine, 61 percent of those who participated in Tuesday's election voted to recall Mayor Jasiel Correia, and then the majority of participating voters turned around and re-elected Correia on the same ballot. Crazy stuff! Who knew? Ah, just about anyone with a Fall River education or better should have seen that train coming down the track.
Correia, for those of you living in Uzbekistan who have not received the dispatches yet, is facing a 13-count federal corruption indictment for things he allegedly did before becoming mayor. He has not been convicted of a crime and the charges are unrelated to the job he currently holds.
Correia ran against four challengers and the local news media in Tuesday's election. The pundits are trying to figure out what happened. The local paper says veteran City Councilor Joe Camara is to blame because he was a spoiler.
Correia won because he got more votes than the other candidates. Period.
Fall River has recalled two mayors in the last five years. This is getting ridiculous. The political situation in Fall River is a mess, but it's the voters who are to blame. Fall River, the mystical land of the seven hills where a job for cousin Ernie and a chow mein sandwich has sustained more than a few political careers.
A couple of points from the recall election:
1. More people chose an accused criminal who had just been recalled over any of the other alternatives. What does that say to you?
2. Joe Camara's hopes of ever being elected mayor have been dashed.
3. Only 27 percent of eligible voters even bothered to turn out for the election, meaning they either didn't care, are happy with Correia's leadership or believe that under the U.S. Constitution that you are innocent until proven guilty.
To watch Fall River's government in action would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. It's no wonder so few people are interested in participating in the process. Let's hope some lessons were learned on Tuesday and the freak show that has been Fall River politics for years folds its tent in favor of responsible governance.
I won't hold my breath.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.