John Oliveira's time as a member of the New Bedford School Committee will likely be remembered for his sometimes vulgar and often unruly behavior. That's too bad, because I think he could have been a great school committeeman. Oliveira told WBSM's Brian Thomas on Saturday that he is moving to Maine, far away from the politics of New Bedford and Massachusetts.

It is said Oliveira, a veteran, suffers from post-traumatic stress issues. He first burst upon the political scene like a grenade four years ago. Oliveira made a name for himself as the angry young man who was sick of business as usual. Many voters saw him as a modern-day Willie "Watchdog" Saltzman, not afraid to scramble some eggs and hold people's feet to the fire.

Oliveira is a champion of the people to some voters. The voice of the voiceless. But often, Oliveira resorts to childish outbursts and vulgarities to express himself and make his points. What he has to say is overshadowed by how he says it. Oliveira gives his detractors like chairman ex-officio Jon Mitchell plenty of ammunition to use against him. He also makes it difficult for his supporters to defend him.

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After he was elected, Oliveira stormed into then-Superintendent Pia Durkin's office and created a ruckus. He was prohibited from entering school department property and prevented from serving on important committees. A police officer is often posted at school committee meetings in case Oliveira gets out of hand.

Unfortunately, Oliveira is unable to control his baser instincts. I get his frustration completely, but a certain amount of decorum is required when conducting the public's business. John Oliveira has good conservative values and common sense. He is a rebel with a cause. If only he could resist the urge to be a pain in the ass.

John Oliveira could have been a great school committeeman.

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 and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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