Federal grants, and the city's efforts in going after them were among the topics discussed Wednesday night by the candidates for Mayor. Mayor Jon Mitchell and challenger Maria Giesta took part in the Southcoast Alliance debate at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center.

Giesta claims the Mitchell Administration has done a sub par job in seeking federal grant money. "When you have over three years only gone after $130 million for a city the size of New Bedford, where we should be getting more like $250 million, that just goes to show you what he knows or doesn't know about grant funding," said Giesta.

The challenger says New Bedford needs the money for schools, public safety and more.

But Mayor Mitchell says times have changed in Washington, and Giesta should know that. "When you hear that from Ms. Giesta that somehow you just have to ask a little harder, you have to press them in Washington to fund basic services, ask yurself is that real? Wouldn't every city like to have that? That's not the way it works," said Mitchell.

The Mayor says the city's grant writers are always on the lookout for possible funding sources.

City voters will have the final say on the Mayor's race, School Committee and City Council on election day next Tuesday.

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