Fall River Voters De-Jasiel Government Center [OPINION]
Fall River voters took out their brooms and swept away anything and everything that reeked of the corruption scandal involving Mayor Jasiel Correia, including Correia himself.
Paul Coogan captured nearly 80 percent of the vote to finalize a turbulent chapter in Fall River's political history. Write-in candidates, including City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros, collected 13 percent of the total vote, and believe it or not, Correia got 7.47 percent.
Coogan will take office in January. City Council President Cliff Ponte has been acting mayor since Correia stepped aside and suspended his re-election campaign last month.
Ponte was the top vote-getter in the city council race that saw two veteran councilors swept out of office and three new ones elected. Longtime Councilor Linda Pereira, who stepped aside two years ago in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Correia for mayor, was returned to the council on Tuesday.
Long-serving Councilor Joe Camara, once considered a possible contender for mayor, was sent packing. Camara's brother was caught up in the second round of federal corruption indictments against Correia. Councilor Steve Camara, the lone council vote against removing Correia from office, was also defeated. Camara also had issues with his residency as first reported by WBSM's Ken Pittman.
Fall River has been to hell and back and a lot of it has to do with poor choices that voters have made. Tuesday's elections show that Fall River voters are prepared to put the Correia corruption scandal in the rearview mirror and move on. Too bad only 29 percent of them even bothered to participate in the election.
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.