Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crime down, doomsayers disappointed

Good news for people like me who keep insisting crime in Fitchburg isn't as bad as people make it out to be. It actually isn't!

Or at least it's not as bad as it was in 2005, according to this article in the Fitchburg Pride about the Fitchburg Police Department's 2006 report.
According to the Fitchburg Police Department's 2006 annual report, overall crime in the city dropped 15 percent from 2005, especially in areas of drug incidents, breaking and entering, rapes and assaults.
Unfortunately, the most recent report on the FPD website is from 2004. It would be nice for them to put out some recent figures to the public, since people (particularly candidates) have been harping on how terrible crime is despite evidence suggesting otherwise.

So why's crime down? That of course is going to depend on who you ask. But Chief Edward Cronin had something to say that more public figures should listen to:
Cronin said the department has been focusing on more than just suppression, acknowledging through programs, reinforcement and advocacy that crime is a much larger issue affected by outside factors such as economics and race.

"We've generated a big picture way of looking at the problems," Cronin said. "You can't keep hitting things in one way, you can't keep arresting people and ignore the outside factors that have contributed to the crime, and minority status and poverty are right on top."
Holy crap! Address the roots of crime instead of just blindly focusing on enforcement and things actually improve!

He goes on:
He says the department's approaches are about empowering others.

"It's not about things like language, but the affirmation of who someone is when they walk in here and about serving the community honestly and with humility because in my mind, that's what leadership means," he said.

"I'm not saying we don't have problems," he continued, "But we're making progress without having to use thug policing. I have always said that our community is not our enemy."
Indeed it's not.

One of the big problems with things like the "Liberty Walk" is that they treat the community as the enemy. Almost explicitly in that case, since the idea was to get a bunch of people who didn't live in the "bad" neighborhood to walk through that neighborhood, essentially belittling the people who do live there. It's no wonder they were met with scorn by the residents. They were treating that entire community as an enemy, one they could apparently only face with an army of like-minded walkers with them.

Ted DeSalvatore's vigilantism does the same thing. As I quoted in an earlier post:
DeSalvatore admits he regularly walks through neighborhoods in his ward which have a reputation for drugs and violence, often taking videotape and calling the police if he spots illegal activity.
DeSalvatore also acknowledges that certain people often ask him to leave, which he refuses to do.
He says that on one recent occasion, he told a confrontational young man on Elm Street, "I'm going to be back here every day just for you."
Clearly, to some of our mayoral candidates, the community is the enemy.

Glad to see Chief Cronin has the right attitude.

Incidentally, don't expect people to drop the spurious "crime is out of control!" claims. They've never been based on facts anyway, so more recent facts aren't going to change anything.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This is getting tiresome.

Protect our oil, Ellie May!Candidates announcing they're running for things just isn't that exciting.

Donnelly's officially in the mayoral race, having pulled papers yesterday.

He had a few things to say, but has yet to really present a platform. He does think the town needs a CFO, which given our recent bond rating issue makes sense.

That's about the only idea presented in the Sentinel piece though, aside from a vague (and somewhat naive) statement that places that can't stand on their own feet shouldn't necessarily get federal grant money to help them. Not sure what to think about that, but the thought requires more fleshing out before it can be either accepted or rejected.

Whatever the case, he should make haste on presenting a damn platform!

Dean Tran is also running for re-election to City Council. Like every other damn candidate for everything he thinks we need business growth.

He's also proud of his sex-offender law, which I already discussed back in October. Aside from his unhealthy obsession with sex offenders (which is hardly uncommon in politics these days), Tran seems like a pretty decent councilor. So good luck to him I guess.

On a non-election related note, I stumbled across the Sentinel's Locals reflect on four years of war article and was struck by this remarkably honest but geographically delusional quote:
Leominster resident Antonio DiGeronimo, 92, said he thinks the war is necessary.

"We have to protect our oil," he said.

Holy fuck.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Here's another one

Well, we have another mayoral candidate. Or will shortly, anyway.

According to a whopping four paragraphs in the Sentinel, city councilor Thomas Donnelly is indeed going to run for mayor. He hasn't pulled papers for it just yet, but has confirmed that he plans to.

That's it. That just told you absolutely everything of significance in the Sentinel piece. Gee, I wonder who the local press is going to back...

Anyway, I don't know a whole hell of a lot about Donnelly, but from what I can gather he seems like a pretty decent guy. He opposes Dean Tran's dumbass idea to put sex offender names on water bills, which means he has at least half a brain.

Once he announces a platform (supposed to happen in "the coming weeks") there will be something to talk about. For now just thank your lucky stars there's a viable alternative to Mylott and DeSalvatore.

Oh, and if you're in the mood go over to the Fitchburg Pride Poll and give him a vote. He's already got half the votes of the ballot-stuffing DeSalvatore team. Even if you don't support him, it'd be nice just to even things up.

(PS If you're a geek like me and use the Firefox NoScript extension, set it to temporarily allow or the JavaScript-based poll won't show up for you.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Everybody Running for Everything

Oh boy, there are candidates aplenty these days.

First, the local crazy people are aflutter over Ted DeSalvatore's official announcement that he's running for mayor. (even though we've known he'll be doing this for months).

Here's one of those crazy people now:
Patty E. Martin, who owns The Hair Cottage and is a lifelong resident, said to see the decline in the city “and not have anybody recognize it until certain people have stepped forward is very enlightening.”

“He’s a man of the people,” she said, “and for some reason you were led to this city, and you’re going to lead the city to a brighter future.”

Mr. DeSalvatore has found himself at odds with some of his colleagues on the council.

Mrs. Martin said she is proud of how he handles himself at meetings when “negativity” comes up. This is an effort to distract him from the issues, she said.
Of course, this focus on "negativity" is bound to be a recurring theme in Ted's campaign, with Ted presented as the "positive" candidate and everyone who disagrees with him portrayed as negative. Never mind that the only negativity we've really seen is other city councilors saying Ted's ideas suck. And that's only because they do.

Second, (but the first to announce, sorry Ted) is mayoral candidate Ronald Dionne, who pulled papers on Tuesday. The Sentinel didn't bother to report on it until Thursday though, because he's not Ted.

I don't know a whole lot about Dionne. He's a Democrat, he's been manager of the old Child World toy store, managed a liquor store, and was a truck driver. (Incidentally Ted is an independent, presumably because it suits his self-styled rebel image. Or because no party would have him.)

Right now those (fairly paltry) qualifications put Dionne well ahead of dangerous Ted DeSalvatore and incompetent Dan Mylott in my book, which is pretty sad.

Finally, Peter Allaire is a 58-year old former firefighter and is running for the Ward 5 city council position. He did say this, which I agree with:
"I'd like to see things in downtown that could draw college kids to Main Street."
Allaire's brother used to be married to Cynthia Allaire, manager of the now-defunct Club Karma and the new Bourbon Street Food and Spirits.
Why is that a "however"? Well, DeSalvatore has some ties with Club Karma. Some potentially unethical ties.

That may or may not reflect badly on Allaire. But if he's a DeSalvatore groupie then he could very well be a dick. Time will tell.

On a side note about Club Karma, a friend of mine used to work part-time there and told me they had "bikini bull riding" on Thursday nights, which sounds awesome. She also told me the boss was a total raving jackass, which isn't so awesome.

So there you have it, three candidates I can't get the slightest bit excited about. One of whom worries me deeply (guess which!).

Which brings me to the next point; are you curious about which of the local papers has the biggest hard-on for DeSalvatore? Wonder no more, it's easy to measure!
  • The Worcester Telegram isn't too excited:
    A string of supporters stood up last night to talk about the candidate they were backing, while an audience of about 50 people looked on in the Stonehaven Restaurant.
  • The Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise is getting a little excited:
    "It is my hope that in '08, we can bar the egos and the shenanigans from City Hall," DeSalvatore told about 60 people who attended a kick-off dinner Thursday at Stonehaven Food & Spirits.
  • Fitchburg Pride is raring to go:
    "I guess I'm in this for the long haul," DeSalvatore told a crowd of about 70 people at the Stonehaven Restaurant. "I am your candidate for change."
Congratulations, Fitchburg Pride! You win!

[Addendum] Wait a second! "[B]ar the egos and the shenanigans from City Hall"? Did Ted just disqualify himself at his own kick-off dinner?

Monday, March 05, 2007


Word of warning to my fellow Linux users. Don't use the Konqueror web browser to write posts on Blogger. Or if you do certainly don't hit "preview" at any time.


Oh yeah, and someone else is running for city council. Youngish. Likes to run. Bad puns could ensue.

Also, the Fitchburg Pride newspaper is hilariously bad. Many jokes to be made. Especially about religion in the Corner Corner and the written-by-someone's-eight-year-old-brother expose on typing "Fitchburg" into search engines. Hilarity!