Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dirty Phone Calls

I only have a cell phone so I, sadly, will probably never get one of the campaign polling phone calls for Linda Pereira that I hear are going around. I have heard from several people that they have gotten calls asking things like:

• If you found out Dave Sullivan didn’t support his own anti-LNG bill, how would you feel?
• Would you vote for Linda Pereira ?
• Would the “joke (For the joke – see Keri Rodrigues’s Blog)” Linda Pereira told, influence your vote?

Did anyone get one of these anti-Sullivan, Pro-Pereira calls? Please share!

I haven't heard anything about Pereira fundraisers, where is the money coming from (Correia/Menard)?

Pride City Wide

Steven Colbert discusses the word 'pride'

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh Alan

Isn't it odd that someone trying to balance the city budget is probably not contributing to the city excise tax on his car because it is registered in Florida? Why would a city employee have a car registered in Florida? He clearly doesn't commute from Florida every day. Could it be that Florida is a tax haven that doesn't have a state income tax?

The Wall Street Journal reported that, "Some relatively high-tax states are increasingly cracking down on individuals who claim to have moved out of state, but still maintain strong connections to their former homes. Massachusetts plans to hire additional tax examiners over the next few months, some of whom will be assigned to a special "domicile unit" as part of its tax-audit program. "We are confident there are a significant number of cases for us in this area," says a Massachusetts Department of Revenue spokesman.

From the MA RMV website:
How do I report someone who has vehicles registered in another state but who lives here?Report this by calling the "I PAY TAX" hotline at 1-800-472-9829

One final thought - Seriously with the vanity plates???? "CITY ADM" too funny....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dear Councilors Steve Camara, Ray Hague, and Leo Pelletier:

Mayor Correia was on WSAR Monday morning. Keri Rodrigues asked him about the contract fire chief and he started to answer (seemingly reluctantly) when Happy Hec interrupted:

HEC - If we could change the topic for a minute
BOB - I'm so tired of that topic

I signed the referendum petition to keep a civil service chief and Correia's annoyance with the question was a personal affront - I was reminded that he doesn't care what I think, or about my vote.

Moving on, Bob was asked another question to which he answered, "We keep hearing about three councilors that keep having problems with things" and "six councilors have been very cooperative."

On a personal note - Thank you to the three councilors (Steve Camara, Hague, and Pelletier) who have been "uncooperative." Given the current administration that just means you are asking questions and making informed decisions.

Keep being "uncooperative!" I appreciate that you are not willing to poison my water with sludge and fly ash to further your political careers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Did I Miss It?

Where was the money in the budget,that is cutting fire/school services, for Miss Senior Sweetheart transportation?

One Reason Mayor Correia Didn't Need to Raise Taxes

Under Massachusetts General Laws the Board of Assessors must assess all property at full and fair cash value. These values are used as the basis of the local property tax which means that all property should be taxed according to value.

As all Fall River homeowners know, our actual home values have gone down due to the declining market yet the assessments have stayed the same because they are revaluated every three years.

Discussed in a Boston Globe article is the fact that, "Taxpayers are being asked to pay more at a time when they are seeing local services decline, as cities and towns struggle to cover rising health care, utility, and pension costs. It comes at a time when the assessed value of their homes has begun to exceed the actual value, because of the decline in the housing market."

Every three years there is an examination of all property values. This procedure is called a revaluation. According to the random sampling I did on the Fall River Property Information link it appears as though the Fall River revaluation was most recently done in 2008, right as Mayor Correia took office. This gives Correia three years to budget according to the inflated property tax revenue of home valuations that are over-assessed due to the declining market without having to raise taxes and still come off as a budget hero.

So basically, Bob is budgeting off of property tax revenue that is no longer accurate due to the market decline. Sad for the next guy who may take office.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Getting to Know Your State Auditor's Office

A. Joseph DeNucci is the State Auditor. Before his political career, he took punches to the head for a living as a professional boxer.

DeNucci's office is no stranger to controversy.

In 2007 his office staffer/executive assistant (for nearly a decade), Larry Trapasso, was charged with three counts of bribery and one count each of extortion and larceny over $250 after he allegedly took money from people in exchange for helping them get driver’s licenses reinstated or to aid them in court cases. (Worcester Telegram and Gazette)

Next up on our State Auditor office tour, meet "Arthur Gianelli, brother-in-law of imprisoned FBI agent/Whitey gangster Zip Connolly. He was indicted last winter, along with Winter Hill legbreaker Joe Yerardi, AKA Joey Y, who ran Johnny Martorano’s rackets for him while the Winter Hill hitman was on the lam between 1978 and 1995. Joey Y was just released from prison February 3, and now he's back inside. His wife, Rafia Feghi, who had a hack job working for state auditor Joe DeNucci, was also indicted. DeNucci and Joey Y are both from Newton; DeNucci said he knows the family." (Whitey's World)

This one sounds like he would be a good time at the State Auditor's office Christmas party - "Hell's Angel sentenced in assault Gets 2½ years, loses state job (Boston Globe). A member of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club who had been a longtime employee of in the state auditor's office admitted yesterday to assaulting an off-duty Lynn police lieutenant in November (2005)." In a statement released after the hearing, DeNucci said Costin was a good employee.
''In his almost 12 years with the office of the state auditor, we never had a problem with him," according to the statement.

Green Futures Action Alert

Sat 6/21/08 9:03 AM

The Allied Waste (formerly BFI) dump in Fall River towers over Bristol County and is within 1/8 mile of the watershed of the water supply for Fall River and portions of neighboring towns. The coming year's city budget has two items of serious environmental concern. To save money ...amounting to only a few cents per household item would resume dumping sewage sludge/ash at the dump and the other would reduce the monitoring of test wells that are located between the dump and the water supply.

The Fall River City Council will be meeting on the city budget this Monday, June 23, 5 p.m. at Government Center, Main Street, Fall River. To resume dumping sewage sludge/ash and cutting back on well monitoring would be a giant step backyard and could lead to environmental disaster.

Please call the following councilors and politely request the continuation of quarterly test well monitoring and elimination of any consideration to dump sewage sludge/ash at the Allied Waste dump facility. Do it now, before you forget ...and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to call also. Thank you.

Councilor Steve Camara - (508) 675-8683
Councilor Pat Casey - (508) 320-9569
Councilor Ray Hague - (508) 673-0043
Councilor Tom Kozak - (508) 677-2123
Councilor Mike Lund - (508) 618-7547
Councilor Leo Pelletier - (508) 678-0209
Councilor Linda Pereira - (508) 678-3506
Councilor Cathy Ann Viveiros - (508) 674-5000
Council President Joe Camara - (508) 674-4361

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Bad Judgment from Judge Moses

Judge Richard Moses ruled against the home rule injunction petition filed by Robert "Chipper" Camara, Eric Poulin, and Dan Robillard. The decision by Judge Moses is disappointing but it seems that most of his decisions are disappointing.

Do you remember Judge Moses? Maybe not....but do you remember this guy?

coey_saunderssex_offender_273Corey Deen Saunders, a convicted Level 3 sex offender, had just been released from prison in 2007 by Judge Moses, over the objections of the district attorney and three psychologists who argued that he posed a serious threat to children and should be kept in custody indefinitely, when he raped a 6-year-old boy in the New Bedford Public Library.

Do you remember this guy:

David Flavell was convicted of assault with intent to rape.David Flavell, another level 3 sex offender (for assault with intent to rape and three counts of open and gross lewdness), was found not to be sexually dangerous by Superior Court Judge Richard T. Moses shortly before he was arrested for annoying and accosting a person sexually and disorderly conduct after allegedly stalking a woman inside a Braintree bookstore bathroom.

How about him?

Kenneth Stone was released from prison in June 2007 when Judge Moses found him not to be sexually dangerous even after two qualified examiners testified that he was sexually dangerous. Sadly in February of 2008, shortly after Judge Moses determined he was not sexually dangerous, Stone was charged with the rape of a Taunton man and witness intimidation.

In light of Judge Moses's above cited decisions, Taunton police Chief Raymond O'Berg said, "This particular judge was asked to make a judgment call, and he's been wrong three times."

Any Ideas?

1310 Plymouth Avenue
3 Family Home
Owner - Mayor Robert Correia
Click To Enlarge

36 Winthrop Street
3 Family Home
Owner - Mayor Robert Correia
Click To Enlarge
Click here to verify ownership

So my question is: in this budget "CRISIS," where Mayor Correia is willing to risk my lungs and increase my risk of cancer by allowing toxic dumping at the landfill to save money, why is the new sewer and water rate structure favoring 3 family homes (see budget -pdf page 9).

Size of residential property Water Sewer/CSO Stormwater Total Change Per Quarter

1 Family
CURRENT $45 $100 $145
PROPOSED $63 $104 $167 +$22

2 Family

CURRENT $89 $200 $289

PROPOSED $121 $174 $295 +$6

3 Family

CURRENT $134 $301 $435

PROPOSED $181 $243 $424 -$11

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


This was too funny to stay in the comment section of my blog -

Anonymous said...

I feel confident it will get fixed with Rep Correia's experience especially when he spends his time using his squash!!!

Filing the following Bill:
By Mr. Correia of Fall River, petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3175) of Cassandra Eddy for legislation to designate squash as the vegetable of the Commonwealth. State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
PETITION OF:Cassandra Eddy In the Year Two Thousand and Seven.
An Act designating the squash as the official vegetable of the Commonwealth. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: Chapter 2 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-Section 53. The squash shall be the official vegetable of the commonwealth.
18 June, 2008 20:14

shamrock said...

Thank goodness for Bob's bold stance on squash. I hear the brussel sprout lobby is a huge contributor to Dave Sullivan's campaigns. It is nice to see that Bob refused to give in to the sprout movement.
18 June, 2008 22:28

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Audit Reminded Me that the Collector's Office is Incompetent

The newly released city audit states something with which I, unfortunately, had first hand experience, “The city does not have strong controls over its revenue cycles, including the billing and related collection of city-provided services, billing of taxes, and other collection efforts.”

I was 24 years old when I bought my first and current house in Fall River in 2004. I did everything right – I worked 2 jobs to pay for it while still finishing college. Every penny I had, went to pay my mortgage or to home improvements. I was the perfect Fall River homeowner…..except for the fact that I wasn’t paying my property taxes.

As is the case with most residential mortgages, property tax is taken from monthly mortgage payments and put into an escrow account for quarterly city tax payments. I followed this process and put money into my Fall River property tax escrow account with every month’s mortgage payment. When I went to refinance in 2007 I was shocked to find out the city had a lien against my house because I hadn’t paid my property taxes in the 3 years since I purchased it. My mortgage company (New Century – now bankrupt) had been using my escrow money to pay my neighbor’s property taxes for 3 years because the company had gotten the wrong parcel id #.

So…I do realize ultimate fault lies in the now defunct mortgage company for messing up the tax payments BUT I am more annoyed with the city collector’s office who noticed I hadn’t paid taxes on my property in 3 years and went to the trouble of getting a lien against my property rather than sending me a letter notifying me of the problem and asking for the money. According to the staff at the Fall River Collector’s Office, they published a notice in the Herald News that I hadn’t paid my taxes and that they were putting a lien on my property. The Fall River Collector’s Office also continued to send me quarterly bill copies for three years without any mention that I owed them thousands of dollars.

In light of the fact that the city went to the trouble of getting a lien against my house and published my default in the newspaper, my question to the collector’s office was “why didn’t you notify me directly, you obviously had my address” – their answer, “well we don’t do that”.

Hopefully the city hierarchy makes some drastic changes based on the audit.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Audit Available

If you are interested in reading State Auditor Joe Denucci's audit of Fall River, it is available at the city's website. Click here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Quick Adam Chapdelaine Comment

I realize I am about a week late on this comment but I feel it is still pertinent.

The Herald News article from last week discussing Councilor Lund's residency included this statement regarding the Board of Elections Chairman's speculation as to who was responsible for the Lund YouTube video,
"Chapdelaine said he had provided similar information, including Lund’s written voting records, to two men he said came into the elections office last week. Chapdelaine said he believed they were firefighters."

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 66 section 10 provides the statutory guidelines for public records requests, such as Mike Lund's voting records. The MA Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Custodian of records has no power to inquire of applicants as to use which they intend to make of information to be obtained or motives which prompted them in seeking it.

My thought is that, since it is illegal for the custodian of records to inquire about the intended use, Adam Chapdelaine is walking a fine line by publicly indicating in the Herald News who (he thinks) obtained the records and how the records were used.

A Few Budget Observations

To access the Fall River 2009 proposed budget online click here.

In his "Budget Message" (pg. 4 on pdf budget) Correia states,"we have been able to mitigate personnel cuts and avoid lay-offs in City departments (outside the school department) by including no cost of living increase for employees." However, the budget later refers (pg. 11) to the cost of living increases that the City Councilors will be receiving in the 2009 budget.

  • I realize that the Councilors are elected public officials and not exactly "employees" but it doesn't seem equitable to give them cost of living increases when the majority must go without.

Despite Correia's claims that we have been living outside of our means and cuts are necessary to balance the budget, (pg. 63) Correia has nearly doubled the Mayor's Office budget from $431,740 in 2008 to $808,378 in 2009. This huge increase is in the form of salaries and wages.

  • The increase includes itemized salary expenses such as health insurance and retirement contributions that were not listed on the previous years budget breakdown so it isn't clear exactly what the jump in salaries/wages. Not including the itemizations, the difference is an increase of over $200,000 at the least.

The salary increases of the Mayor's Office seem frivolous in a budget that is cutting fire facilities, apparatus, and 16 fire positions (pg. 16). Correia (pg. 16) says "Closing an apparatus, even for a day, means more risk to firefighters and neighborhoods, may require more apparatus to respond to larger fires (depleting reserve forces), and may occasionally require greater reliance on mutual aide. The department will do its best to manage this additional risk, given the present budgetary constraints."

  • Correia acknowledges the additional risks but proceeded to cut in spite of that. I can't help but laugh a little that part of Correia's budget plan is to greatly rely on mutual aide (whereby emergency responders from other jurisdictions would lend assistance to us frequently). What happens if Swansea, Somerset, Assonet, etc have the same brilliant budget balancing idea - rely on Fall River for mutual aide.....

Whether I agree with the expenditures/cuts or not, the budget does appear to be more organized and itemized than years past a fact that Correia was more than happy to boast at the (perhaps deserving) expense of the Lambert administration.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lund's Residency Matters

I will preface by stating that I do not know where Mike Lund was/is living. This being said, I am somewhat surprised at the apologist comments being made by people who don't think it matters where Lund lives. There is tangible evidence indicating the discrepancies in addresses Lund has used yet I have seen many comments on blogs, the Herald News site, and others that this issue is being blown out of proportion, that it doesn't matter where Lund was actually living because he is a better city councilor than others, and so on.

I think the Broken Windows theory is applicable on this issue - Small violations of law (non residents voting in Fall River elections or running for city council) lead to bigger violations of law & political corruption .

To those that think that lying about residences to run for political office isn't a big deal and that inquiries into Lund's residency are being blown out of proportion, I will say that the FBI disagrees with you:
"Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top investigative priorities—behind only terrorism, espionage, and cyber crimes. Why? Because of its impact on our democracy and national security. Public corruption can affect everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected…to verdicts handed down in courts…to the quality of our roads and schools. And it takes a significant toll on our pocketbooks, too, siphoning off tax dollars."

Referendum Petition is in the Homestretch

Tomorrow is the deadline to get your democracy on by signing the referendum petition. Petitions can be downloaded and printed or delivered to you. For more information and forms please see Fall River Community

Contact Information for Pickup of Petitions:
Call Todd Young @ 774-644-6733
Call Keith Fallon @ 774-930-6790