Growing up in Dartmouth, MA meant growing up in Bristol County, 691 square miles of Boston and Providence suburban communities. Counties don’t really mean much to the average Massachusetts citizen like it does down south where counties run the police department. Bristol County encompasses two of the larger cities in the state, Fall River, known for Lizzie Borden and Battleship Cove, and New Bedford, famous for Moby Dick and gang rapes.
I suppose I’m being too harsh on the Whaling City. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard NB politicians and business leaders say that NB is on the verge of revitalization and it NEVER happens. There is a crime problem in the city that doesn’t seem to get any better. On the street where I lived for two years (just one short block from the juvenile court near the downtown) a body was found one winter morning. A junkie overdosed and wandered into a neighbor’s lawn. The house next door was a drug house. I’ll give the junkies credit, they kept a low profile to avoid trouble from the neighbors (pity about the overdose, though.) It was disturbing to watch young boys bicycle up to the door, disappear for a few minutes inside, and then pedal away to deliver their illegal wares. The landlord lived in South Dartmouth, so he didn’t care what happened as long as he got the rent.
I write all this because of something Howie Carr wrote about Bristol County:
Now [Governor] Deval bids to expand the Cash for Clunkers program to include bust-out law schools in Bristol County. Now, Bristol County is a very nice place – if it had palm trees it could be a Third World country.
When it comes to economic development and crime, I couldn’t agree more.