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Issues & Platform

1.) Crime & Public Safety

According to FBI crime data for the last ten years spanning from (2009-2019) our Fall River Police Department has reported violent crime ranging from 1087 incidents in 2009 to 739 cases in 2019 per 100,000 population count. During this time violent crime has been on a steady decline, but as of the beginning of 2019 this figure has decreased percent wise as our population count and diversity has been on the rise. As of 2020 our year end Fall River crime report has reported an 8.9 percent decrease in violent crime but remains steady to date. Drug trafficking remains a constant issue throughout our community and streets. We must employ a more aggressive stance and strategy to combat these issues.   

I champion aggressively taking on this issue in Fall River. I fully support increased allocation of state funding from our budget to our police department to increase police foot patrol presence to expand coverage of all sections of the city to achieve this. Lets give our heroes in blue and our other emergency responders our full support and provide them with the necessary technology and equipment they need to do their duties. We must invest heavily in the safety of our children, families, and businesses. The protection of our community is paramount. We must combat this issue by also implementing a broad blanket neighborhood watch organization that will assist our public safety department in areas of need within our city. 

2.)  Taxes

During the last decade we have witnessed my opponent vote for multiple tax and fee increases . I support lowering our tax and fee burden on our taxpayers. Lets acquire state funding to alleviate the burden of fees on our taxpayers, and allocate it to invest more on our businesses, roads, infrastructure, and public safety departments.  

3.) Environment

Environmental Issues have been a long standing problem in Fall River for many years. We continue to see trash thrown out on our streets, parks, train tracks, and other common areas of the city.
I support increased state funding for cleanup and maintenance of our public grounds. This is our home, take pride in where we live. We can implement policy to invest and allocate funds to provide all residential high traffic areas with trash bins for trash disposal on every street corner and park. Renegotiate the services and contract of our local trash disposal company. Hire more city workers to ensure every park, street, and train track is clear of all trash and debris on a regular basis.

4.) Infrastructure

During the last few terms there were ill advised and poorly executed botched attempts to improve our streets. These projects were overbudget causing us to utilize chapter 90 and Highway improvement funds. Example cases in point streetscapes projects (Purchase St. & East Main St.), resulted in an inferior quality product and overextension of our budget on these projects.

We must implement a strategic plan that will ensure a reputable contractor will carry out our street projects to the satisfaction of our citizens. Let's create a roadway infrastructure plan in partnership with Liberty Utilities, the City's Water and Sewer department, and the City Council. We can not afford to waste funding on botched projects. My plan will establish and fund a complete road re-pavement program that will focus not only on the replacement of our gas, water and sewer infrastructure, but also align strategically to our complete re-pavement program. We must cover more ground with less and implement a responsible and comprehensive strategy to accomplish our goals. Let's provide our major departments with the necessary funding, planning, and supplies to make our projects a success. 

My plan will require the city's Maintenance Division to regularly clean and beautify our city streets, sidewalks, and parks and plantings. This plan will hold our departments accountable to report to our city council on a regular basis, and our city council will make recommendations on areas of needed improvement. My plan will also implement and maintain a daily citywide street and sidewalk sweeping program. We will work in collaboration with MassDOT to establish a routine schedule for maintaining the city's entrances and state-owned roadways. We must hold MassDOT accountable for their work. My plan will also provide additional funding and resources for essential projects to enhance our parks, playgrounds, and cemeteries. In addition, my plan will establish a comprehensive capital improvement plan that will identify buildings in need of improvements, equipment replacement, and regular maintenance schedules. 

5.) Education

Our education system is a very important topic in our city. Public Schools in 2021 have an average math proficiency score of 33% versus the state average of 52% and an average reading proficiency of 39% versus the sate average of 57%. Our public high schools have a graduation rate of 78%, which is below the Massachusetts average. These are approximate figures according to public school statistics via the public school review.

We are failing our children educationally who are the most important investment we can make as a city, they are the future of our city. We must fully support and invest more in technology and the necessary supplies and equipment need for improvement in this area. We must give an incentive to our educators to remain in our school system in order to achieve continuity of excellence within our classrooms. We can achieve our goals and retention by acquisition of state grants, negotiation of contribution with some of our wealthiest businesses in exchange for their enjoyed tax breaks. Reciprocation is key. Every student deserves a chance at a better future and we can do this, it is within our purview.

6.) Youth services & programs

I support the implementation of more youth programs for our children. I firmly believe a solid foundation of recreational activities and athletic programs are important in the development of our children. We must allocate and invest more state funding into this area of our community and parks. Our businesses can help contribute and sponsor some of these programs in exchange for city incentives. Collectively we can accomplish this goal.

7.) Elderly services

During the last few terms there were drastic cuts in funding for our elderly care and services. This left our most vulnerable citizens uncared for during a time in the pandemic where they needed our help and assistance. We must work together to ensure that our elderly continue to have the proper medical, transportation, and recreational services needed. This is an important area where we can allocate more of our state funding via grants. I will support and aggressively seek out and obtain these funds that our district needs. Our elderly deserve our respect and full attention, they have earned it as lifelong productive citizens.

 8.) City Financial Management & Stability

Financial readiness is vital to the continued growth of Fall River. In order to achieve good financial readiness we must manage and allocate our city funding responsibly. I strongly believe in making our money work for our district. We must consider every cost effective option on our projects and investments. It is critical to do our due diligence to research and consider any possible financial impacts that may effect our city's taxpayers. We must make well educated and informed decisions united before approving any vote. This is our hard working taxpayers money and our citizens should have a voice in how it is spent. I fully support an approach that will provide stability in our financial readiness as a city going forward and help avoid unnecessary deficits or waste of much needed funding. 

9.) Drug Addiction

I have watched drug addiction and mental health devastate our community. This issue has contributed to homelessness, employment loss, and division within our families in our community. We can no longer ignore the fact that opioids and other drugs have contributed to countless fatal overdoses throughout the years. We must approach this issue with increased medical and professional help that can more effectively reach out to affected members of our community. Combating this issue will require a more hands on approach rather than giving referrals to those seeking help by drug treatment facilities.

I support an increase of funding to implement stronger support systems that will keep members of our community free of addiction, and fund more programs that will assist its members in regaining stability in their lives. Provide more mental health treatment and therapy. We must make an effort to bring these resources to them directly and maintain consistency in our services. This is a local emergency, and we must act immediately to save lives and help those who are desperately in need of our help. We can change lives and make a difference together with patience, understanding, compassion, and by promoting more educational awareness. 

 


Committee to Elect Angel Pantoja 
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