Mayor Robert Correia, during the 2007 campaign, made scores of campaign promises. Many of these campaign promises have not been kept at all. Instead Mayor Correia chose to ignore most of his campaign promises and take up issues he never talked about during the campaign.
He ran for office for almost a full year and never once did he mention that he would increase many of the fees. Many of these fees had already been increased dramatically in either 2000 or 2001 by the former administration. (Increased fees, implemented, but never promised!)
Then Mayor Correia hit the citizens and especially the business owners squarely between the eyes when he created the storm water fee. He stated on several occasions that this fee would not increase the water / sewer bill for home owners because their actual rate would decrease. But many homeowners experienced an increase nonetheless. Mayor Correia also said that the new fee is fair due to the large amount of storm water runoff that falls on the property of private businesses that has to be treated by the city. He said they will now pay their fair share. There is some truth to this but on the other hand he does not mention that private business in Fall River pays the highest percentage possible when it comes to real estate tax while the home owner has the lowest rate possible. (A new fee implemented that was never promised!)
Mayor Correia decided to make the Fire Chief's position an appointed position. His explanations and defense of this move was weak at best. He had the City Council so hoodwinked at this time they were willing to hold a special meeting on a Friday afternoon without any citizen input. (Change of personnel policy that was never promised!)
Mayor Correia decided, totally on his own it appears, that two newly rebuilt schools would be renamed after one deceased politician, Senator Mary Fonseca, and one living former politician, Mayor Carlton Viveiros. Without gathering input from school committee members and the Fall River citizenry Correia strong armed the proposal through rapidly by saying it needed to be done quickly due to the need of creating a plaque with their names! By pushing this through in haste many were caught off guard. Eric Poulin sent in a Letter to the Editor that suggested that a school, if renamed, should be named after Dr. Irving Fradkin the father of Dollars for Scholars. Instead Correia stupidly named a piece of dirt on the corner of Elsbree and President Avenue after Doctor Fradkin. (Renaming schools, never promised by Correia during the election!)
That is a brief summary of some of Correia's actions that he never promised the people of Fall River. There are other actions taken by our illustrious leader but I believe you get the picture. Now let us take a look at what Correia did promise the people of Fall River during last years election:
Correia Promises (Note – this is a list of promises that were either made within his flyers or newspaper articles. They have not been checked to see if he has kept any of these promises or not. It is believed that most of the promises have not been kept.)
From one of his flyers Correia said that he will be pre-permitting land at the industrial park. (Has this taken place?)
He also stated that he would develop a city marina. We do know that this has not taken place and it would probably worry the Lund family which owns a private marina.
He also promised to create more police walking beats and permanent walking beats. During the election he said over and over he would take police out of the police station and put them out in the community. He also promised to hire more civilians to work inside the police station. It would be interesting to get a break down of police personnel, before and after Correia became mayor. Plus how many new walking beats have been created in 2008 versus 2007.
He promised to extend school days at all elementary schools and also middle schools. With the catastrophe with the school budget I think we know if this promise was kept.
Correia promised to fast track the completion of the Watuppa Heights project. At the time we all thought this meant him keeping his promise of demolishing Watuppa Heights and building 26 single family homes. Now we have discovered that he is ignoring his own promise and the law he passed at the state house. He signed an agreement with the state to demolish the project, but now he wants to build "at least" 60 units on the site, and additional 20 offsite on vacant city owned land. Furthermore he has agreed to come up with "at least" $4million! At this time the city council has put a stop to this madness so we have to wait and see what happens.
He also promised to thin out a number of units in other public housing projects. Knowing the agreement he signed with the state in regards to Watuppa Heights we can only imagine what problems he will create when he tackles the other housing projects!
On 9-21-2007 in a H.N. article entitled "Mayoral hopefuls react to purchase" Correia said he would work with the Fall River Office of Economic Development to develop a "job retentionist" position that would help preserve jobs already in existence. Once again we do not know if this happened, but when he was asked about the unemployment rate this year instead of touting his promise he said: "I hope things get better before they get worst, but I don't think so". I would say it is a safe bet that he has not created this position. Before anyone states that FROED is a private business and the mayor has no control, remember the mayor is the automatic chairman, plus he made the promise!
On 10-8-2007 in a H.N. article entitled "Connecting to Beacon Hill" the mayor said he would amend the state's Economic Development Program. Did he do this? Plus he said he would change the certified investment tax credit for certified projects from 5% to 15%. Again, did he take any action taken on this promise?
On 10-13-2007 in a H.N. article entitled "Calls for confidence in schools" Correia said he would seek to keep the city's neighborhood schools open well after the final school bell has rung. He said the opening of schools would also give parents a place to take classes toward their general educational development diploma. It appears that he has tried to do this at one school, the Carlton Viveiros School but we are not sure if parents are involved in getting their GEDs as he promised.
In the same article he stated: "We keep building multimillion dollar schools, and they are only open 8am to 2:30pm. I want them to be open 7 days a week and serve as family education centers." Even in good financial times this was total pie in the sky!
In this same article: "Citing the success of individualized educational plans for students with special needs, Correia said he would attempt to implement personalized learning plans for all students. The actions that he suggested Friday need to go into effect as quickly as possible." Again a monumental task even in good times. He did say it should go into effect as quickly as possible, so the question is: Was it even started?
On 10-15-2007 in a H.N. article entitled: "Ideas on stemming the tide" Correia made this bold promise: "I'll have permanent walking beats in all neighborhoods." In all neighborhoods!!! I think we all know about this promise.
On 10-23-2007 the H.N. ran an article entitled "Correia unveils his plan to boost public safety" He made several promises within this article:
1. Hire more clerks at the Police Department so that more police can be put back on the streets. Again we need to know how many clerks worked at the police station last year compared to this year.
2. Assign a special police unit responsible for rounding up criminals with outstanding warrants. Has this promise taken place? I have not heard.
3. Hire a fulltime grant writer. Correia made a big deal of this one at the debates. He kept mentioning that we have a part time grant writer. Did this promise come to fruition?
4. Crack down on absentee landlords and push for having drug dealers and users evicted from their homes. Again, another promise that I am not sure if it has been kept by the mayor.
On 10-29-2008 the H.N. wrote and article entitled "What strengths would you bring to the mayor's office?"
Once again he brought up old promises that have already been mentioned. But as you can see the Mayor was really emphasizing these promises:
1. Establish permanent walking beats city wide by restructuring the Department. (Police Department). I do not believe the Police Department has been restructured at all.
2. I'll create jobs and make our city the medical center for the entire Southcoast by aggressively pursuing medical related industries. Unemployment has skyrocket in Fall River and we hear nothing of this promise at all!
3. Bring more jobs by creating a city marina and revitalizing our downtown. Where is that marina, I think it has sunk! Plus the revitalization of the downtown area seems to be on hold.
On 10-28-2007 the Herald News endorsed Correia. Their reasons were:
1. Correia will create a loop of redevelopment connecting the waterfront to downtown.
2. Correia will close Main Street to traffic on weekends.
3. Correia will have free entertainment which will be provided by businesses.
4. The businesses would also pay for the trolley.
There is really nothing to say about those promises.
On 10-31-2007 the H.N. ran an article entitled "Correia sees collaboration as key to economy"
Again he made a bunch of promises.
1. Hire a full-time tourism director – funding will come from local hotel taxes.
I do not think this happened. How much revenue does our 1 hotel generate?
How could our 1 hotel pay for a position? When reading this promise how could the Herald News or anybody for that matter endorse Correia?
2. Use duck boats to go along the Taunton River – up Columbia Street to various monuments and attractions.
Ok, this one is even worst that number 1! Has anyone seen this damn "duck boat"? Maybe it sunk!
3. Use the state's historic tax credit program to restore buildings in downtown and other parts of the city.
Good idea, has anything taken place?
4. Call on existing businesses to create in-house learning centers that would allow them to take classes during the workday. He would advocate for a job training tax-credit.
Again, I do not believe this took place as of yet.
5. Offer tax breaks to companies that would be willing to finance the position of chief financial officer for the city. That person would be available to provide financial advice to companies so they can maintain effective operations.
This I believe would be illegal if implemented; at the least it is questionable. But there is no need to talk about it; I do not believe he did anything about it.
There it is Bob Correia's promises.