January 30, 2007

To Fall River on Defeatism

I posted a long comment on Keri’s blog in response to comments on her post about the sheriff’s deputies running their own law enforcement operations in Fall River independent of the Fall River Police Department. It was long enough that I felt it should be a post here. But for those with less interest in local issues, only the beginning of this post appears on my blog’s front page.

Drug dealers, junkies, prostitutes and most of your common criminals do not particularly care if the car stationed in a high crime area has FRPD, State Police or Sheriff decals on it.

Ok, if training and who is in charge doesn’t matter, let’s just give a decal to anyone who requests one for their car. That’ll scare the dealers!

Come on, this sheriff deputies plan completely ignores reality. Either you authorize the deputies to act as law enforcement, and have a clash of agencies, or you don’t authorize them and the drug dealers learn pretty quick that it’s just a decal on a car.

And still there’s the question of why we have deputies with too much time on their hands, and why such a high recidivism rate?

On the more general subject of Fall River’s woes:

Even if you think your leaders have failed you, it doesn’t mean that any idea is a good idea.

Fall River has some of the lowest taxes in the state and even modest tax increases are treated like a disaster. In FY 2006, the average single income family tax bill was cheapest of any Massachusetts city, and in the bottom 5% counting all cities and towns. Half of Massachusetts cities and towns had at least double the average tax bill.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/01/02/property_tax_chart_by_town/

Is your FRPD under-funded?

I’m not saying residents should be happy with the level of crime in their city, but maybe take a look at what goes into a system, not just what comes out.

Finger pointing is sometimes appropriate when there is a clear cause. Complaining and forecasting doom all the time like isn’t a particularly helpful or enlightening pastime. Defeatist attitudes are self-fulfilling.

The sort of defeatist political complaining I hear coming out of Fall River sometimes is not the constructive kind. It’s the kind that makes people feel the tiniest bit better about the state of the city because they have someone else to blame. Or they say it’ll never change - that’s just the way it is.

There is nothing magical about the Fall River area that keeps it in its current state. It’s all people policies and politics. And, underlying all three: money.

There’s room for improvement in all those areas, but no magic bullet.

Right now Fall River is seeing an opportunity to choose new leadership. Lambert’s opponents are disappointed they’ll not have their favorite excuse to kick around anymore. Now is the time to start demanding solutions from those who are running for the mayor’s office.

If they drag their feet bringing forth new ideas and solutions, I’d take that as an indication of how they’re going to run their campaign and ultimately their mayor’s office. Demand some suggestions now from them, because anyone who wants to run Fall River better have some substantive solutions; else they’re just selling you a continuation of the downward slide.

Start holding their feet to the fire now, or else once they get into office you’ll have elected a personality, not a person with ideas and drive. If you don’t elect someone on good ideas, you’re not going to get good ideas once they’re in office, because they’ll know they can ride out their term on what got them into office.

Lambert’s time left is short. Start looking at your candidates. Unless you’re just in it to complain.

Posted by James at January 30, 2007 9:15 AM
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As a point of comparison, that $1900 tax bill in Fall River would be $4500 in Manchester, NH.

(NH doesn't have a state income tax. I work and pay tax in MA. Don't get me started about funding government primarily on the back of real estate tax...)

Nobody likes to pay taxes. Everyone wants the services taxes pay for. And no one can agree about which services we should cut :-)

Posted by: Jim at January 30, 2007 9:47 AM

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