What struck home with readers recently? Blue Harvest declaring bankruptcy and leaving area businesses hanging, the City Council questioning the lease on the Zeiterion and, once again, UMass Dartmouth and the Star Store.

Here’s a selection of what readers had to say:

The Zeiterion

“If the council doesn’t approve this then they really don’t care about this city and the people who live here. The Z has brought in so much revenue downtown. Just remember, the people of New Bedford will be voting very soon.”

— Mark Ledoux

“It seems like it’s a no-brainer. Are they trying to destroy the arts and culture in New Bedford? They just closed down the Star Store. What do you think downtown New Bedford needs? More graphite? More homeless? You have nothing. The Zeiterion is the only thing that you should hope survives in New Bedford. The City Council should be working on everything and anything to lease and support the culture and arts in the city. Put condos in those vacant buildings. Invite business people to live instead of people having to carry mace or visiting the dollar store. It’s pathetic what downtown New Bedford looks like. Wake up!”

— Bernadette Giusti

“You’d think that with the rail coming in, the City Council members would want a reason for more people to come to New Bedford.”

— Kyle

“If the councilors decide to reject the 99 year lease for the Z, that will be a very sad day for NB. It will be left to decay, as did the Orpheum, which sits in ruin to this day. I will not vote for any councilor who does not approve of the lease.”

— Ron

Blue Harvest

“The private security firm should walk away and let those owed money reclaim their goods. What a slap in the face of the working man.”

— Tom

“This should be a crime. Why is this allowed to happen to honest hardworking people? It’s deplorable. Fishing is a very hard and dangerous profession, and these jerks just continue sticking it to you fine people. I pray it all turns back to your favor.”

— Dena Conrad

“Unbelievable. I am no lawyer but can’t the affected companies team up and file a class action lawsuit against Blue Harvest or Bregal Partners? Situations like this are precisely why there is so much hate and discontent between the working class and ultra wealthy in this country. Had a smaller less capitalized company tried to pull this stunt they would be held to a different standard. If nothing else, this reveals another downside of the catch share/quota method of fishery management which favors large and sometimes foreign-based corporations over traditional locally owned sole proprietors. This almost makes Carlos Rafael look like a saint!”

— Geordie King

“How is a foreign interest allowed to own the lion’s share of the USA quota? Who allowed that? The last guy that owned all this quota put the city in the same predicament. So here we go. Same thing happens and everybody acts surprised. And this will happen again. Sector management system favors large corporations that do this type of damage. They ride into town on a white horse saving the day. In the end they leave the industry in much worse shape than the bad guy they saved you from.

“The wind power movement is shaping up the same way. Big companies singing sweet songs of a brighter future. Better lives for all of us, then we end up floating around like one of the dead whales that aren’t connected to them at all. They get paid and go golfing and we are left in the rubble.”

— Chris

“Shameful, despicable, shenanigans that make pre-revolutionary France seem like it’s making a comeback. The richest humans on our planet didn’t make their bundles alone. Accountability must come.”

— Stacy Greenspan

“How is our legal system set up that Bregal Partners can get away with this? They sold all the gear and got $100 million, then left a notice to creditors saying they can’t pay their $100 million of debt and file bankruptcy? Wtf? How is this not evidence enough to make them pay? Probably wouldn’t make a difference anyway, because they’re from the Netherlands SMH.”

— Kyle

The Star Store

“So the building is an expensive hot potato. The owner doesn’t want scrutiny of an accounting of his funded fixes and maintenance work, or non-work, over the years (suggesting he is liable) but wants the building if UMD discontinues funding it. Montigny said we won’t approve money if the owner does not complete the funded maintenance. UMD and state agencies say, we first need state-approved money for fixes and rent so we can go forward. UMD quietly thinks the art school doesn’t warrant the investment. So it falls through that gap. All these guys are content with that but New Bedford residents and students are not. Sue the owner for breach of contract. Take the building for $1 and sell it as surplus as is. It sounds like the art school will not be going back.

“Maybe buy the Bristol Building, which sold for $500k 10 years ago.”

— Carol Steinfield

“Jack Spillane‘s excellent reporting has confirmed what we’ve all thought: The deferred maintenance justification for abandoning the Star Store is a ruse. The total deferred, according to various official statements, has jumped, in a matter of two months, from $30 million to $50 million to their most recent quote of $70 million. There are no hard estimates, there’s no study, there’s not even a basic breakdown other than ‘roof,’ ‘floors,’ ‘windows’ and ‘HVAC.’ These don’t add up to any of the estimated amounts and the UMD administration doesn’t seem concerned about transparency. In light of the stonewalling there ought to be a demand for a full accounting of the entire 20-year transaction as well as the release of all documents pertaining to the building’s physical needs. The Star Store is too important to the downtown to be hidden in bureaucratic darkness. Thankfully Jack Spillane is doing a sterling job of exposing the dark side of Massachusetts’ higher education policy making.”

—Richard Walega

“Flustercluk defined. Government transparency extraneous. Accountability denied. It becomes understandable why support for a government shutdown gains traction.”

— Paul Letendre

“Kudos to Jack Spillane for his excellent coverage of this debacle.”

— Jeanne Plourde

“It is just not cost effective. The rent. The upkeep. Makes no sense for 150 students. Poor plan from beginning. If the state or UMass won’t step up, why can’t the city?

“Turn one of the old schools into art studios and let artists rent space and UMass students get free space. The city/UMass has done a poor job marketing our city as an artists haven for UMass students. That would require a national campaign over years.”

— Robert Cabral

“It’s so sad though because those students paid their tuition and they are being totally underserved. My daughter is a junior at CVPA. Game arts/animation major with a sculpture minor.”

— Missy Rocha Farias

“So UMD spends money on new dorms a couple years ago for more kids (and more money) but wants to cut programs and cries poor about maintenance? Why does the chancellor still have a job?”

— Ted Gaidelis

More Community Voices

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  1. UMass SMAST is another smoldering situation to keep an eye on. Brand new state of the art building, excellent reputation for marine science, and a key partner in the blue economy in New Bedford, yet the number of faculty continues to dwindle without replacement.

  2. re: Star Store
    The Star Store drama needs investigation into areas beyond the building lease/maintenance issues. I urge The New Bedford Light to research the change in CVPA demographics over the same two decades the Star Store was in use. You might discover that the visual arts program is a shadow of its former self, that the both the visual arts enrollment and visual art faculty numbers have eroded significantly in that time. Are those kilns and workshops needed as much as they once were? Are most of the CVPA faculty teaching music and graphic/game design and do those areas of study even need the Star Store to function? Are the mentioned disenfranchised 115 students there all the time or only occasionally for an elective course? Lease or no lease, funding or no funding, is it a separate off-campus facility of any type needed? Full investigation and reporting of these questions, with actual numbers, is needed to complete the picture.

  3. Dear New Bedford leadership:

    Renewing the Z’s lease at risk –
    The Star Store fiasco
    Storefronts in the historic district -empty
    High crime rates
    Highest IVDU/OUD in the State?
    Extremely High poverty rates
    Outdated or non existent public policies in place to address any of this
    Egregiously poor education system
    Unaffordable housing
    Low wages
    Beaches where you can’t swim
    Healthcare access desert

    You’ve given me lot to think about.

  4. Kudos and ditto to the comment submitted 29 September 2023 at 9:55pm, but include the blatantly displayed double-triple pork barrel project at Rockdale/Allen intersection , et. al., and, Massachsuetts now 2nd highest cost-of-living behind only Hawaii while Massachusetts state legislators are the higest paid in the nation. Quality of life? Really?

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