Mayor, Most of the Council Moves New Bedford Forward [OPINION]
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has been working on a plan for an Advanced Manufacturing Campus for years. He plans to bring 1,000 jobs and millions of tax dollars to his city.
Tuesday night was the first time the New Bedford City Council had an opportunity to ask questions about Mitchell's plan and to vote on a portion of it. Despite a robust lobbying effort, the city council voted 10-1 in favor of the jobs plan.
When the dust settled, only At-Large City Councilor Linda Morad was a negative vote. It may have been the final defeat in a long-running feud with Mitchell. Even as the veteran councilor voted "no," she made a light-hearted joke and said something about always voting no at meetings. As of last week, she appeared to have a serious block of councilors supporting her opposition to the project.
Mayor Mitchell and all but one councilor are making plans to swap a piece of city land for another piece of city land, and in the process, they are hoping to create a modern upscale industrial campus while improving the city's golf course. They are working with Governor Charlie Baker's administration, Senator Mark Montigny, State Representative Christopher Markey, and the Dartmouth Selectboard to move the whole region forward.
Ward 3 Councilor Hugh Dunn, who represents the section of the city where the new economic development hub will be located, has been working for years to address traffic in the area. At the meeting, he pointed out that the only way to deal with the traffic problems was to approve the new project. The rest of the city council agreed with him when all but one voted in favor of the project.
It was interesting and uplifting to see nearly an entire city come together, put old political rivalries to the side, and vote to move their community forward. Goodbye, 2020!
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.