Marc Munroe Dion: Enough with the politics as usual

Marc Munroe Dion

This just in: The Correia administration will choose one local band to record “hold music” for the city’s 911 emergency line.

“This is citywide pride in action,” Fall River Mayor Ribert Correia said Tuesday. “One local band will be chosen to play the hold music you’ll hear while a maniac hacks your wife to death. No rap or blues acts, please. We’re looking for something upbeat, but with an urban edge, like Sinatra or maybe Vic Damone.

“We’d like a long song. With so many cops and firefighters laid off, there’s no telling how long you’ll be on hold when you call 911. Think ‘Stairway to Heaven.’”

The above is not real news. Not yet. I made it up. Even the quotes. Fortunately, this newspaper has a great respect for satire, even if our elected officials sometimes do not.

The first thing to ask amidst the building of possible mayoral campaigns by usually sleepy city councilors is: Are we ready for next year?

While the politician’s natural urge is to build his/her own candidacy on the troubles of the present administration, how about doing something new?

How about doing the job you’ve got right now? How about at least glancing at the future? How about realizing that this moment in Fall River’s poverty-stricken history is the worst moment to carry on with business as usual backbiting?

Council Farble hates Councilor Grimble, who likes Councilor Fligl, who is allied with Council President Wombat, who is planning to unseat Mayor Mimble. That’s how it goes. That’s how it’s always gone.

How many cops did we fire? How many firefighters?

Cops. Firefighters.

Serious business.

Anyone who can balance a poor-man’s checkbook knew the state would cut aid to every city in the commonwealth.

But no, Fall River, ever the dumbest kid in the class, went on, gassing about the arts, arranging for the character assassination of a school superintendent, planning seedy little deals to become city council president and, always, paying off a few old grudges.

Call it Scarlett O’Hara management, as in, “Fiddle-dee-dee, I’ll worry about that tomorrow.”

Fiddle-dee-this! Tomorrow’s here, and the day after tomorrow is coming fast.

Campaigns are under way for the next mayoral election. Money is being raised. Well-liquored fundraisers are being held. Times are never so bad that the Fall River politician can’t look out for him or herself.

Mayuh Correia is the clumsiest mayor I’ve ever seen, and I don’t believe the guy’s made one good public relations move since his election. Correia is the absolute worst choice to deal with a financial crisis, not only because he lacks the warmth needed to lead in hard times, but because he lacks the book-juggling skills of our last mayor.

But I don’t blame Mayuh Correia for the layoffs, and I don’t listen to those who say that the layoffs are somehow proof that Correia is evil or that he wants to “destroy” Fall River.

If Correia is bent on ruining the town he leads, then the same is true of the mayors of New Bedford and Boston and the mayor of every other city forced to lay off employees.

If you’re a working person in almost any industry, there’s a chance you’ve seen layoffs, a better chance you’ve seen positions go unfilled and it’s guaranteed you’re working harder than you were five years ago. It took a long time for that trend to hit government employees, but it had to happen. There are no isolated incidents in the economy and there was no reason to believe that an economic crisis would grip the entire nation and Fall River would never have to lay off a cop.

And no one should be surprised if it happens next year or the year after or the year after that.

The question for our elected leaders is pretty simple.

Do you want to be a leader or are you more interested in just getting elected?

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