[RICHARD] Another Revolution May Be Festering In Nearby Fall River
There is a buzz in the air in Fall River again. The natives are restless but, this time the focus of their angst appears to be with the City Council and not with the Mayor.
Fall River seems almost always to be in the throws of political chaos these days. In December of 2014 scandal plagued Mayor Will Flanagan was recalled in a special recall election when voters decided they'd had enough. The city government had become dysfunctional with the majority of the City Councilors saying they had lost confidence in Flanagan's ability to lead. Petty squabbles and constant bickering between the two branches of government threatened projects such as the now completed Amazon distribution center. There was constant talk of investigations by the I.G., A.G. and the FBI.
Voters turned that December to trusted and respected District Attorney Sam Sutter to lead the city back from the apocalypse, but, trash fees, broken promises and a Mayor who seemed unable to connect with the public led to the demise of his administration just nine months later.
The voters then turned to a largely unknown, 24 year old City Councilor Jasiel Correia who promised a fresh approach to governing and a new vision for an aging mill city down on it's luck. There were also big changes on the City Council that year and the beginning of what many observers hoped might be a new chapter for Fall River.
Fall River, a city whose government is still largely manipulated and influenced by backroom deals and backroom dealers, remains adrift. It's a town where phone calls and arm twisting determine who runs the schools and how they will be funded. Policy decisions are often made by non-elected "puppet masters" who lurk in the wings. While some successes have been realized the young Correia Administration continues to struggle uphill to move it's agenda forward. The chasm between the Mayor's office and the City Council remains deep and wide and in mot cases nonsensical. Personal feuds continue to prevent much forward progress from occurring.
When citizens had had enough in 2014 they rose up and occupied the streets and Government Center, striking fear in the hearts of elected officials, to whom holding on to their limited power is among their top priorities. One senses that another citizen revolt is on the horizon. Too many promises of cooperation have been broken. Too much pettiness remains and far too little is being done to advance the needs of the people of Fall River.
Fall River deserves better than the service it is getting from it's elected officials, and their contributors just off stage.