Jack Spillane – columnist for New Bedford Light, an online newspaper covering Greater New Bedford – stops by Townsquare Sunday every few weeks to review some of the top news stories of the day. Spillane always has something interesting to say.

This week's topics include New Bedford Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn, who on Tuesday was found not guilty of operating under the influence.

The trial revolved around an incident in May, 2021, where Massachusetts State Police found that Dunn struck two parked cars with his own vehicle, after spending several hours drinking at a downtown bar.

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After listening to testimony from eight witnesses, District Court Judge Joseph Harrington ruled there wasn't enough evidence to find Dunn guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of operating under the influence. Additional charges of negligent operation and leaving the scene were continued without a finding for one year. Dunn was also placed on probation for one year.

Spillane feels "being found not guilty does not mean innocent." Both Spillane and I agree it is time for Councilor Dunn to "have a frank conversation with the community" about this case.  His constituents in Ward 3 deserve to hear directly from the councilor about what happened.

Spillane commented on the controversy on whether a methadone clinic should be located in Downtown New Bedford. Most people would admit those treatment programs are badly needed, but question whether they should be placed in the city's downtown.

The city council weighed in Thursday night and voted against the proposal, but it won't be the government body making the final decision. It will be made instead by Zoning Board of Appeals on October 20.

Spillane also spent some time discussing Questions 4 and 5 on the November ballot.

Question 4 asks whether the Commonwealth should allow undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses. Question 5 is for New Bedford and Fall River voters only, asking whether they favor joining the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The vote is necessary in order for the cities to receive commuter rail service.

The conversation with Jack Spillane can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard Sunday mornings at 6 a.m. on 1420 AM and 99.5 FM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations 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  jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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