By Contributing Writer Landry Mendes.
In the month of Nov. 2018, Fall River citizens collected over six thousand signatures to recall Mayor Jasiel Correia after he was charged with federal fraud, according to The Herald News. Except, citizens shouldn’t have to recall him. For the sake of the city’s already negative reputation, Correia should just step down, the sooner, the better.
“Why should we have to suffer for his mistakes.” said Joao Medeiros of Fall River, Mass. “The focus should be on us, the city, not his personal drama.”
According to a survey by the website RoadSnacks, Fall River ranked 5th in a top 10 list of worst places to live in Massachusetts for 2018. With an already bad reputation, the city of Fall River does not need Correia fueling this opinion further.
As mayor, Correia is a representation of the city of Fall River, and his indictment is negatively impacting the city’s branding, mission statement, goals, and overall image.
He’s not the first to bring notoriety to his city. Former Mayor Ed Pawlowski of Allentown, Pa, was convicted 15 years to 38 fraud crimes just this year, according to The Brown and White student newspaper. Afterward, research found the town’s public began to distrust the government.
Instead of advancing resources towards the town’s projects and goals, officials had to focus on rebuilding the public’s trust in the town’s legitimacy by looking into all contracts and records for criminal activity. Fall River will soon fall into this same fate, losing all trust in their public, if Correia does not release his hold on the city.
The decision to stay in office has enraged citizens on Facebook and Twitter, where users voiced their anger and disgust. Some have even band together to create an anti-Correia Facebook group, The Fall-River Recall. This negative commentary brands the mayor as having full control and power against what residents want and need, making them seem powerless to create change in their hometown.
According to a survey by the Fall River Reporter, 76% of local citizens voted “yes” when asked if the current mayor should step down.
According to another survey by The Herald News, 50% percent of people felt like he should have resigned even before the charges.
Correia’s track record still gives his followers hope for a triumphant return. In the last three years alone, he’s changed the city’s motto from “We’ll try” to a more encouraging “Make it here”, and even ended the unfavored trash pickup tax. His biggest feat was converting the city’s $500,000-dollar deficit to a $8 million-dollar surplus, according to the Boston Globe.
Some argue that he has proven himself as a strong mayor who will continue stand by his city through the trial. While he may recover from this scandal, in the meantime Correia’s negative press could destroy all of the work he’s accomplished and permanently damage the city’s reputation as a crime-filled, low-life city. Correia is the face that represents the city. By allowing him to stay in office, the city will just continue to be branded in a negative light.
“It would be one thing if our city was sought after to live in,” Said Karen Pacheco, resident of Fall River, Mass. “But everyday we’re already on the news for something wrong or bad.”
Pacheco voted for Correia in the 2015 election. She said she feels, “cheated out of her long-term support [for him].”
Correia needs to focus on himself right now. Whether guilty or not, the common people have spoken against his return to office. The city of Fall River deserves someone who will improve its bad reputation, not make it worse.