Councilor Morad’s Governing Is Irresponsible and Dangerous [OPINION]
By her own admission, New Bedford Councilor-at-Large Linda Morad has to vote "no at every meeting," as evidenced at 1:56:45 of this recent meeting. This is a practice of governance is exercised by public officials who govern spitefully.
Officials that govern this way seem more interested in lording over their constituents than serving them. They might argue that they are doing it to make the "hard choices," but voting no for the sake of it isn't discerning, it's the absence of discernment; it's being punitive toward the people who elected you and it could have devastating consequences for them. And in recent key votes and public statements, Councilor Morad has demonstrated a reckless abandonment of the public's well being.
A few examples:
This summer, a proposal was made to decommission the Engine 8 fire station in the city's North End. The closure of Engine 8 and the gaps in response time to emergency calls that it could cause is potentially lethal. Understanding the life-saving importance of Engine 8, the city council took a vote in August to formally oppose the closure of the North End station. The vote was nearly unanimous – nearly. The one vote in support of closing Engine 8: Councilor Morad. It's worth noting that recently the city has been ablaze, and Local 841 reported that of the first 12 working fires in this new year, Engine 8 has responded to seven of them.
This past January, the New Bedford City Council Property Committee held a meeting to determine whether or not they would authorize the first step of the proposed project at the Whaling City Golf Course. This project would maintain and renovate at least nine holes of the golf course and use part of the land to build an Advanced Manufacturing Campus. This would be a massive boon to a local economy that is in desperate need of one.
Councilor Morad was unnecessarily combative during the entire meeting to the point of erraticism. It is worth noting that she explicitly supported projects like this in her mayoral plan in 2011, but opposes this one now, when it would be a landmark achievement by the candidate that beat her.
At the end of the meeting, the vote was 10-1 in favor of moving forward, with Morad being the sole "no" vote. That's right, during an economic downturn, Councilor Morad voted no. No to 1,000 new jobs, no to $33.3 million in wages, and no $2.68 million in tax revenue for New Bedford.
"You know how I have to say no at every meeting. No," she said as she chuckled. Voting against the prosperity of the city and its residents is seemingly a funny joke to Councilor Morad.
And of course, her most notable and most egregious action as of late: stating on public record how annoyed she is by accommodations made for individuals with disabilities, saying: "I dislike the millions of handicap spaces we have across the city." A stomach-turning display of ableism, during a public health crisis no less. Comments for which she has yet to clarify or apologize for despite public backlash.
This isn't to mention her other inexplicable behaviors, such as creating confusion during a critical time in an election season in 2019 by pulling papers for three separate offices and agreeing to trade proposed cuts to the New Bedford Police Department's budget in exchange for information on a fellow city councilor.
Despite her poor attempt at levity, Councilor Morad's philosophy of governance is far from funny. It's irresponsible, it's discriminatory, and it's dangerous for the people of New Bedford and the SouthCoast.
Election season is now upon us, and a soon-to-be-open seat guarantees there will be at least one new councilor-at-large in New Bedford. Hopefully, after Councilor Morad's behavior, the electorate decides there will be two new councilors-at-large, and hopefully, that person is interested in serving the people, not punishing them.
Marcus Ferro is the host of The Marcus Ferro Show airing Saturdays on 1420 WBSM from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.