New Bedford Light columnist Jack Spillane continues to be baffled by the behavior of the New Bedford City Council. He stopped by Townsquare Sunday this week to explain his concerns.

Last month, the city council voted to put three non-binding ballot questions on the November ballot. The council is asking voters how they feel about the four-year term for mayor, whether they want to continue the Community Preservation Act in New Bedford, and if New Bedford should adopt a rent stabilization program, similar to rent control.

"I don't think the four-year mayoral term and Community Preservation Act questions are really substantive," Spillane said. "City residents voted on these questions during the past 10 years, and both passed by a significant margin."

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Spillane concedes that with the city mired in a housing crisis, there is some rationale for putting the rent stabilization question on the ballot.

However, Spillane questions what prompted the council to act at all.

"The council did not hold any committee hearings to get any public input on those issues, nor did anyone collect signatures urging the council to act," he said.

Spillane suggested that if the council is so anxious to put questions on the ballot, why don't they ask voters how they feel about term limits for the city council?

Mayor Jon Mitchell has vetoed all three questions, but the council is now gearing up to override those vetos later this month.

Spillane also touched on last week's deadly fire at the Royal Crown rooming house on Acushnet Avenue, the admissions policy at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School, and whether New Bedford should have a second vocational high school.

You can read Spillane's columns at the New Bedford Light.

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard Sundays at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on WBSM.

The program highlights organizations and individuals seeking to make the SouthCoast a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at

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