It's sad to see the condition of politics in New Bedford these days. The personal attacks, name-calling, gossiping, and behind-the-scenes feuds are repulsive.

No wonder people are turned off to local politics.

A brew ha ha erupted at a recent candidates' forum at the Gomes School resulting in the police having to be called to determine whether one candidate threatened to hit another candidate. These are adults we are talking about. Candidate Carlos Felix later posted a rambling video message to social media accusing incumbent councilor Brian Gomes of being a "predator." I'm no lawyer, but that may be libelous.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

This follows by days mayoral candidate Tyson Moultrie's claim that incumbent Mayor Jon Mitchell is corrupt. He claimed he would provide evidence during a Sunday press conference but never did.

Personal feuds between councilors often spill out into the council chamber and impact public debate and decisions concerning issues important to the citizenry. Certain councilors routinely gossip about each other like little old biddies. Some residents add to the circus environment by heckling and harassing elected public officials.

Let's not forget we have a School Committeeman, John Oliviera, who uses foul and abusive language during meetings and has been barred from School Department properties in the past due to his anti-social behavior.

All of this has grown sickening. But what is even more sickening is that the public has abdicated in its responsibility to do something about it. Only 9.5 percent of eligible voters even bothered to turn out for the recent preliminary election.

That's the saddest part of all.

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

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