What Exactly Are the Boundaries of the SouthCoast?
It happened without bloodshed or even a whimper. When the elite proclaimed a region of southeastern Massachusetts the "SouthCoast," two Rhode Island communities apparently became a part of this new mysterious land not even found on maps.
Where exactly is "SouthCoast" anyway?
We've heard of South Coast Rail, so there is transportation to and from this place. A quick scan of Google turns up South Coast Church, South Coast Pizza and even Southcoast Health.
They eat pizza, go to church and seek medical care, so we know the people there are somewhat civilized.
I asked a few political folks about the boundary lines for the SouthCoast, and no one seemed to know for sure.
Former Fall River City Council President Cliff Ponte said, "No question about it" when I asked if Fall River is a part of the SouthCoast, but when pressed about the SouthCoast's boundaries, he hesitated.
"I'm not sure exactly," he said. "I have a map somewhere."
New Bedford City Councilor Ian Abreu defined the boundaries as "Seekonk to Wareham." So then is Taunton a part of the SouthCoast?
"Not really," Abreu said. Now that's a definitive answer.
I asked Taunton Mayor Shaunna O'Connell if her city is on the SouthCoast. She didn't respond.
When all else fails, consult Wikipedia.
Wikipedia defines the SouthCoast as "The region of southeastern Massachusetts consisting of the southern Bristol and Plymouth counties, bordering Buzzards Bay, and includes the city of Fall River, New Bedford, the southeastern tip of East Taunton and nearby towns."
There is a "Welcome to South Coast Massachusetts" sign on Route 140 South in East Taunton.
Wikipedia says, "The term is recent, dating back to the 1990s and sometimes confused with the South Shore (a region southeast of Boston that includes eastern Norfolk and Plymouth counties, and does not overlap with the South Coast)."
Wikipedia says 11 Massachusetts communities are "almost always" included as the South Coast: Acushnet, Berkley, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rochester, Somerset, Swansea, Wareham and Westport. Not for nothing, but the list included14 town and city names.
Seekonk and East Taunton do not appear on the list of communities of the SouthCoast of Massachusetts, but two Rhode Communities do. Little Compton and Tiverton are "sometimes included," says Wikipedia.
I'll never forget Mayor Rosemary Tierney in a debate with challenger Fred Kalisz insisting, "I am the Mayor of New Bedford, not SouthCoast." She lost that election. Hmmmm.
The best I can tell, all of this SouthCoast madness began with then-New Bedford Standard-Times Publisher Bill Kennedy.
In an editorial dated November 30, 1996, Kennedy proclaimed, "Begining today, The Standard-Times will begin using that term (SouthCoast) to describe the towns and cities between Rhode Island and Cape Cod that are on or near the Atlantic Ocean or Buzzards Bay."
Kennedy stated that the area's previous moniker "Southeastern Massachusetts" was a bit too expansive in that most thought of it as including "Attleboro, Taunton, and Brockton, as well as well as much of what we call the South Shore."
I guess Taunton is no longer a part of the so-called "Golden Triangle" regional cooperation agreement that preceded the SouthCoast.
I guess it is settled.
Ich bin ein SouthCoaster! Even if no one seems to know the boundaries.