Monday, June 21, 2010

And there goes the casino.......

In response to the Senate legislation that does not reserve a casino license for an Indian tribe, Mashpee Wampanoag chairman, Cedric Cromwell, threw a temper tantrum today. An article in tomorrow's Boston Herald quotes Cromwell:

“If the state gives a commercial license to another casino operator, we won’t pay the state a cent when we build a casino in Southeastern Massachusetts once expanded gaming is approved,” said Cedric Cromwell. “We will destroy the competition because we won’t pay licensing fees or taxes and we will provide a great player experience with more wins.”

Extorting the state with a threat he can never follow through on seems like such a bad idea. I am pretty sure with these remarks, Cedric Cromwell just bumped the Fall River Casino plans to the bottom of the list.

Mayor Flanagan and Counselor Torres, please rethink this.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

If you don't know, make it up

On the heels of a 2 million dollar debacle in the City Collector's office, City Administrator Shawn Cadime is still horribly unknowledgeable about the systems in the Collector's office. At the last City Council meeting, Councilor Mike Lund explained a simple, safe, and efficient, method of check depositing that he uses at his own business. The method sounded like a great idea. In the following clip, Shawn Cadime explains to Mike Lund why we cannot and are not using a system like the one Lund described.

Not only did Cadime have no clue about what was going on in the Collector's office, he clearly made up a story as to why the office could not use the system Lund recommended. At a time when particular attention was need in the Collector's office, the City Administrator had no idea. I cannot say this enough....AGAIN - 2 million dollars was just found laying around the office and, it is obvious from this clip, Cadime didn't do any follow up. At least Treasurer Grab was paying attention.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh Snap!

So many hurdles to overcome before we can ever possibly get a casino in Fall River.  I recently heard Mayor Flanagan state that people "just don't understand how close to getting a casino we really are."  Today, another hurdle was put in our path to casino-topia.  Previously it was "hoped" by our powers-that-be that Fall River would have the advantage in getting one of the three casino permits, because Fall River's casino plan was for indian gaming and one of the permits would "hopefully" be dedicated to an indian plan. 

This afternoon, the Senate introduced a casino bill and it gives no preference to indian casino plans.  This means Fall River will not have any advantage in the race to get a permit.  This means we are now in direct competition with numerous other cities and towns vying for the 1 coveted permit for the region (the region is norfolk, bristol, plymouth, nantucket, dukes and barnstable counties).   New Bedford is one of these cities.  And lets be honest, they have their $hit together over there much more than Fall River does; governmentally, economically, planning wise, and in the area of economic development. 

The recent decisions by Mayor Flanagan and Atty Torres to forego the BioPark and gamble on the slight chance of getting a casino are capricious and will likely have a detrimental impact on our city long after they are voted out of office.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Innovative Auditing Technique

City Auditor Kevin Almeida and his Magic 8 Ball in the 6/15/10 Herald News

What has Kevin asked the Magic 8 Ball?

From Bio Park to Green Park to Water Park in less than a year

This week last year a bio park was under construction on a 300-acre site in the city's north end. The acres were properly zoned to accommodate biotech manufacturing, medical device manufacturing, life sciences, and similarly related businesses. Several companies/organization were preparing to move into the Bio Park, plans were made, off ramps were built, and loans were awarded in anticipation of the developing Bio Park.

Fall River was told that the Bio Park was going to save them (prior to the Green Park and Casino saving them).

This week last year, an inexperienced Mayoral candidate named Will Flanagan began campaigning on a promise to bring a Green Park to Fall River instead of a Bio Park. You can read all about Flanagan's promises for a Green Park on his website here.....well you could if his promises hadn't mysteriously turned into 3 pages of blank document...which is pretty much as substantive as anything else he said during his campaign.

Luckily, the Herald News isn't into erasing campaign promises and still has this article on Flanagan's Green Park. Here is my favorite part:

“I am very concerned that the Correia administration is taking a risky gamble on biotechnology, as mayor of this city I would not gamble with our city’s economy. Green jobs are secure for today’s economy and as well as tomorrow’s economy. I will work with our various governmental agencies, our business community, and our unions to ensure that this Green Industrial Park will become reality,” Flanagan said.

(Gambling on the mind much??) Flanagan sounded so committed to a Green Park but, not surprisingly, I haven't heard a thing about it since he used it to get into office. This is probably because he broke his promise for a Green Park and is expeditiously pursuing bringing a casino (with a water park) to Fall River.

I am not necessarily opposed to the idea of any of the aforementioned projects, however, I am opposed to rushed, poorly thought out projects (casino) and false promises made to get into office. The fact that, a mere several months ago, Flanagan was absolutely confident that the Green Park was going to be the answer to Fall River's economic problems, indicates to me that the Casino plan is rushed and not well thought out, like many of his campaign promises.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Open the Mail Already!

During Bob's Correia's (one!) term in office, he promoted a, seemingly underqualified, city employee to the role of City Collector, a potentially $88,000/year job. I had my doubts about her promotion but in the end thought "how hard can it be to open mail and collect money?" My question was answered at the City Council meeting on Tuesday. Apparently it is so hard to open mail that the Collector's Office has not done it in TWO MONTHS. This means our payments for excise taxes, property taxes, water bills, etc. have not been processed.

Thousands of dollars that could have been in the bank earning interest were/are just sitting in envelopes in an increasing pile at the Collector's Office. Their job is to collect and deposit payments....what exactly was the entire office doing, if not this?

How could this go on for two months before anyone noticed or addressed the issue? Leo Pelletier had to point it out at the council meeting on Tuesday. The Collector's Office is notoriously and chronically incompetent (see the time my house almost got taken away because of the Collector's Office). This situation will be particularly egregious if anyone is getting late notices for bills while their payment is sitting on someone's desk in the Collector's Office.

The Collector's Office needs to be overhauled, and if not fired, taught how to open a freaking envelope and deposit a check in the bank.

*Somewhat related story. A relative of mine called the Collector's Office a few weeks ago He was trying to pay his water bill online but the city bill pay service kept telling him that the bill number didn't exist. The Collector's Office employee told him that they could not help him because they don't have internet and that the supervisor was out of the office so she couldn't help either. They clearly don't want our money!