Thursday, May 18, 2017

NEW DISTRICT ATTORNEY PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING OPENS DOWNTOWN BROCKTON

District Attorney Timothy Cruz has been leading the way for a consolidated building for his staff and the State police since he came into office. Now it's a reality. The Carpenter administration, along with Cruz, Representative's Dubois, Cronin, Brady and the Baker administration has made this come together.

The State approved $2 million for the building and the building will house more than a dozen State Police personnel from detectives to patrol officers. The District Attorney's office which was currently in four different buildings will bring together 100 of their personnel 166 Main Street which is right across from Brockton District Court.

Crime is down in Brockton and now with a building that will  house the DA office and the State Police in one place will help with faster processing of information and save time for State detective to drive from the various barracks they were stationed in and be at one place and  shortening response time for State detectives to crime scenes and ultimately have an impact on crime and also the economic factor of over 100 people working in one building and using local business services close by.

The perception of seeing police going into a building downtown and having that will hopefully allieve some fears for local businesses and people doing shopping downtown.

This is another win for Baker administration, our local representatives, DA Cruz and the Carpenter administration.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Campaign Kick-Off for Ward 2 City Councilor Tom Monahan

  • Tom Monahan is going for his fifth run at Ward 2 Councilor. The Campaign Kick-Off is on Thursday, May 25 at 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    at George's Cafe Inc, 228 Belmont Street, Brockton, Ma 02301

    One of Tom's biggest and instrumental contributions among many other was to bring back the Walking Beat Patrols a few years back downtown. You will see the Beat Patrols or riding their bikes when weather permits. So come join Tom and ask questions and have a good time on the 25th at 5:30PM at George's Cafe.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How Brockton’s Desalination Plant Cost Them Millions

ONE OF THE BEST WRITTEN ARTICLE ABOUT THE BROCKTON DESAL PLANT AND HISTORY

When a prolonged drought threatened its future, the financially strapped city invested millions in a state-of-the-art facility that would turn saltwater fresh—and save the city in the process. That was the plan, anyway.


Inside the building, Aquaria’s machinery performs the difficult task of turning saltwater into fresh. Intake pipes placed in the river—which is partly salty here because of its proximity to the ocean—suck in water and send it through a hollow-fiber ultrafiltration system, which removes pollution and large particles such as algae, bacteria, and soil. The filtered water is then pushed through tubes containing layer upon layer of delicate polyamide membranes, which have pores that are so tiny—one-100,000th the diameter of a human hair—that they trap the salt in a process called “reverse osmosis.” The result is pure H₂O, plus a briny leftover that’s sent back out to sea at high tide. Aquaria, which cost $75 million to build, and which employs the same advanced technology that plants in Abu Dhabi and Texas use to produce fresh water, can generate up to 5 million gallons a day.
On the western banks of the brackish Taunton River, 45 miles south of Boston, sits a windowless one-story building. Located in the town of Dighton, the structure is surrounded by a chainlink fence. Out back, hidden from the road, are three enormous water tanks, each big enough to submerge a house in. Together, they make up a marvel of modern technology: the Aquaria Taunton River Desalination Plant.
After the water is cleaned, it can be pumped through a 20-inch-wide pipeline to Brockton, which lies 16 miles to the north. Brockton paid for most of the plant, which opened in 2008, in an attempt to alleviate the effects of a decades-long drought that delivered such a beating to the local economy that it led to an epidemic of vacant storefronts and even a homeless encampment. The desalination plant was hailed as Brockton’s savior, a project that would revitalize the city.
Today, however, the plant sits idle. In fact, if the Aquaria plant has had any effect at all, it has been to make Brockton’s problems worse. Five years after the facility opened, in 2008, none of the fresh water it produces is reaching the faucets and gardens of homes in Brockton. Instead, the plant produces just enough water to keep its systems working, and then flushes it all down the drain.

By 1900, Brockton had ridden the wave of the Industrial Revolution to become the “shoe manufacturing capital of America.” City leaders, faced with an overwhelming demand for water from factories and a burgeoning population, made the farsighted decision to secure water rights to nearby Silver Lake, a 640-acre body of water. Silver Lake had the best water around. Older residents remember a time when they could see the bottom. The pure, clear drinking water it supplied to Brockton became the envy of the region.
The city’s water troubles started in the 1960s, when a tract-housing boom began to strain the supply, and came to a head during a long drought in the 1980s. Aerial photos taken then show Silver Lake reduced to a puddle surrounded by a dust bowl of dried mud, an environmental nightmare that had repercussions for the entire Jones River watershed in eastern Plymouth County.
At first glance, eastern Massachusetts seems like an unlikely location for a drought. The region receives more than 45 inches of precipitation annually, and the landscape is riddled with ponds and swamps. The truth, though, is that our shallow, porous underground aquifers, as well as our hilly topography, allow the ample rainfall and snowmelt to run quickly into the sea. In 2005, the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston issued a report warning that the region could face increasingly severe water shortages.
This was old news to the residents of Brockton, where the situation was so bad that in 1986 the state barred the city from approving any new water hookups until it found more water. The ban meant no one could build. As the rest of the state experienced the Massachusetts Miracle—rising employment and income through the 1980s—Brockton hemorrhaged jobs. Unemployment soared to more than 14 percent by 1991, and the city was on the verge of bankruptcy. “That’s when Brockton started to slide—rapidly,” recalls Jack Yunits, the city’s mayor from 1996 to 2006. “No business could expand here. Companies stopped coming here. With no growth on the tax base, taxes started soaring. Then the layoffs came. Brockton was a mess. By 1995 they were calling Brockton ‘the Beirut of America.’”
The early years of Yunits’s tenure were consumed by the water question. The water commission, which was appointed by the mayor and city council and included three engineers, met several times a month to discuss possible solutions. Wells were proposed, but the city’s groundwater was too polluted. Taking fresh water from the Taunton River, upstream from where Aquaria sits today, was deemed environmentally destructive. At one point, the water commission voted in favor of hooking up to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), a state system that carries water from huge reservoirs in the western and central parts of the state to Boston and its suburbs. But Brockton’s city council was worried about the MWRA’s rising costs, and about paying for projects that didn’t benefit the city directly.
Brockton took conservation measures, but they were seen as little more than a stopgap. Americans were using more and more water, not less, and city consultants predicted that Brockton’s demand for water would grow from 12 million to 15 million gallons a day, far outstripping the capacity of Silver Lake. Brockton seemed to be facing a hopeless situation.
But in 1996, a local utilities engineer named Jeff Hanson approached the city with a radical idea. What if Brockton could get its water from the sea?

The idea wasn’t as crazy as it seemed. At the time, Hanson was working for Bluestone Energy Services, a boutique engineering firm in Norwell, and had been exploring desalination for a few years. In April 1996, Hanson and a colleague named John Murphy laid out their case to the water commission. After explaining how reverse osmosis works, Hanson told the commission that desalination plants had already been built in the southern U.S. and as far north as New Jersey. The only reason desalination hadn’t yet made it up here, he said, was because it was more expensive than the traditional method of using a reservoir to trap precipitation. But Brockton didn’t have any good reservoir options. Hanson said that Bluestone had already negotiated a deal that would allow the proposed desalination plant to buy power at wholesale prices. And the firm already had an option to purchase land on the Taunton River from a local junk collector. Brockton’s water rates would hardly change, Murphy said—a 2 percent increase would cover the cost.
The commissioners were skeptical. William Zoino, an MIT-trained civil engineer and a cofounder of GZA GeoEnvironmental, an environmental-engineering firm, was one of the three engineers on the water commission at the time. He thought a better bet would be connecting with the MWRA, or just drilling a well in a neighboring town. Mayor Yunits wasn’t a supporter at first, either.
But Hanson’s family had helped put the city on the right water path before. His grandfather, a government shoe inspector, had been on the water commission back in the early 1900s, when the city was developing a plan for Silver Lake. A desalination plant, Hanson insisted, would be the city’s chance to get in on the ground floor of a venture that could prove to be a regional asset. City leaders started to come around to Hanson’s logic, swayed by the idea that once Brockton—which had good highway and rail access, along with a capable manufacturing workforce—was water-rich, it could attract industry, perhaps even biotech companies, to the South Shore. And that helped marshal support for the plant, which came to be seen as a way forward for the local economy.

The technology, meanwhile, was viewed as an increasingly viable option in the Northeast. In a 1995 report, the Army Corps of Engineers had included desalination as one of three possible solutions for the South Shore’s water shortages. A handful of communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, facing ongoing water shortages of their own, were also exploring desalination.
It took six years of negotiations, but in 2002 Brockton signed a contract with Bluestone, which had joined forces with a Spanish company called Inima that had desalination plants in Europe and the Middle East. They formed a new company called Aquaria Water, but as the plan moved forward, Aquaria struggled with red tape—the company needed about two dozen permits to build the plant and move the water. Delays followed, and costs rose by a quarter, to $75 million.
Aquaria wanted to ensure that it would have at least one steady customer, so Brockton agreed to pay the company $120 million over 20 years, starting with the year the plant went online. With the contract, though, the city was merely paying for the right to buy water. If it decided to actually purchase the desalinated water, then it would be on the hook for even more money, up to $1.23 per 1,000 gallons. The council believed that it would never have to pay all of those costs, however, because neighboring towns would eventually begin purchasing water, too, ultimately lowering the price for everyone.

Brockton’s desalination plant finally opened for business in the summer of 2008, to little fanfare. Water-commission chair Stephen Pike came for a tour, declaring that he found Aquaria to be well managed and brimming with state-of-the-art technology. According to the Brockton Enterprise, each member of the commission received a framed aerial photograph of the plant, perhaps intended to be displayed alongside the dire image of a dried-up Silver Lake from 20 years before. Pike told the newspaper, “If anybody says you can’t build a desalination plant, you’re wrong. It’s there.”
It was there—but by then Brockton didn’t need it anymore. Conservation measures may have once seemed like little more than a symbolic response to the city’s problems, but they wound up doing more to solve the water woes than anything else. Brockton reduced its daily usage to fewer than 65 gallons of water per person—part of an agreement with the state to approve new hookups—and its water department started replacing aging pipes in the 1990s, shoring up a system that had been plagued with leaks. Schools and hospitals were retrofitted with modern plumbing systems, and new building standards were put into place. In 1994 and again in 2010, the city launched projects to fit homes with new meters that kept better track of how much water people were using, allowing the city to send out accurate water bills and encouraging homeowners to turn off the tap. Even the depressing fact that businesses were continuing to leave the area had a silver lining: It drove down overall consumption. Between 1976 and 2012, total average daily water use in Brockton dropped from more than 13 million gallons to just over 9 million, an amount that the city’s existing system could handle without help from Aquaria.
The success of the conservation effort took everybody by surprise. “In retrospect, we didn’t need the desal,” Yunits says, “but we had no choice.” The city ordered 1.5 million gallons of water a day from Aquaria in the fall of 2010 because of low rainfall, but it hasn’t ordered any at all since May 2011, when it conducted a test to make sure the water was still okay. Aquaria today is no more than an emergency backup.
Robert Tannenwald, an adjunct lecturer in public economics at Brandeis and one of the authors of the 2005 climate-change study that showed droughts on the horizon for New England, says that despite technological advances, desalination remains one of the most expensive and energy-intensive ways to get water, and should be an option of last resort. “First, fix the leaky pipes,” he says. “And, if possible, create a couple more reservoirs. That would be more cost-effective.”
Aquaria, with its enormous building and operating expenses, cost overruns, and lack of use, has a parallel in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which invested in a trash incinerator that’s run up nearly $350 million in debt—another well-intentioned bet on the future by a working-class city that has turned out to be a boondoggle.

More than a decade after the contract was signed, the city of Brockton remains Aquaria’s only customer. Its South Shore neighbors have been wary of the cost, daunted by the required state permitting process, or not in need of the water. Little surprise, then, that the plant hasn’t functioned as the economic generator that the city had hoped. Last year, Brockton got its first new supermarket in a decade, and successfully lured an industrial laundry away from Fall River with a $1 million tax break, but biotech and other forward-looking industries have not appeared.
Today, downtown buildings stand empty, as the Social Security Administration, the IRS, and the Brockton Enterprise have all left their former office spaces for cheaper spots at the edge of town. A vast field of rubble on the north side is all that’s left of the old Howard Johnson’s manufacturing plant. The city government is fiscally solvent, but its infrastructure is crumbling and homeowners are struggling. The foreclosure rate remains the highest in the state, and 7,000 homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. And thanks to the Aquaria contract, the average water bill in the city has jumped 60 percent—from $200 to $320 annually—to pay for water that the city doesn’t use.
Many Brockton residents are demanding that the city find a way out of the contract. “Six million dollars a year going out, and we’re not getting anything in return?” says Ed Byers, a local business owner who has become a leader in the fight against the contract. “Six million a year when we need more police on the street! There’s a real rage.”
The Aquaria plant is not Brockton’s only problem, but it’s an easy target for citizen frustration. And Aquaria itself has done little to win over residents. Sections of its website are still “under construction” nearly five years after the plant opened. When I contacted Aquaria for this story, the company seemed surprised that anyone was calling. Rebecca McEnroe, the project manager I spoke to, told me that the company is complying with the contract “100 percent,” but she declined to answer further questions, or to let me tour the plant.
Last year, Inima, Aquaria’s Spanish parent company, was sold to GS Engineering & Construction, a South Korean conglomerate. Aquaria is losing money despite Brockton’s annual payments, so some city leaders are hopeful that the new owners might be interested in selling the plant to the city at a reasonable price, which would allow Brockton to use it as desired, with no annual fees. If that happened, however, there would still be the question of whether Brockton will ever actually need desalinated water.
Leon Awerbuch, a director of the International Desalination Association, says that Aquaria’s technology is solid, but of questionable necessity. “They put in a really, very good system,” Awerbuch says. But he has little faith that the plant will be needed any time soon—although with climate change, “you never know.”
Hanson, the chief desalination proponent, admits that things didn’t turn out as he’d expected. But he continues to believe in the concept. “It’s the best deal out there, and it’s drought-proof,” he says. “Now, it turns out that their water use went way down. Nobody could have predicted that.”
Brockton’s current mayor, Linda Balzotti, promised last fall to have the city’s legal department look into whether the city could get out of the contract, but just this past March the city’s lawyers concluded that there was no escape hatch.
Balzotti says the Aquaria plant may yet prove to be a good investment. “I understand people’s frustration,” she says. “Here we are now based on a decision that had to be made 15 years ago. So who knows where we’ll be 15 years from now? Maybe it’ll be a whole different place, and everybody’ll be like, ‘Look at Brockton! Brockton did the right thing.’”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Brockton man, 22, killed in Route 24 crash

Brockton-Brian Charles Jr. age 22 of Brockton was tragically killed in a  single-car rollover accident about 5:20 a.m. this morning on Route 24 south before Exit 17 to Route 123 into Brockton. The gray sedan had extensive damage with its engine was thrown from the car and landed near the median barrier. 

The vehicle a 2012 Volkswagen Passat was determined by State Police to have flipped a few times and caused the engine to fall out of the car and the driver also to be thrown out the car. The investigation determined that the driver was going south and went to the left and struck the median barrier and rolled over.

The family is originally from Haiti, and Brian was a Stoughton Native and graduated from the high schools in 2013.


Friday, April 14, 2017

ROBERT TAYLOR RUNNING FOR 10TH PLYMOUTH DISTRICT

Robert Taylor knows Law Enforcement. He was with MassPort Police for 10 years and worked with the Federal Transit Police, Hull Police force and has been a Deputy Sheriff for Plymouth and Middlesex Counties. He also has been past Presidents of Police Square and Compass.

With immigration being such a hot issue and illegal immigration being the controversy that started when the current Representative for the 10th Plymouth District united a fire storm by  Rep. DuBois posted on Facebook that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was planning a raid in Brockton, Massachusetts. She included a warning, which read, "If you are undocumented don’t go out on the street. If there is a knock on the door of your house and you don’t know who it is, don’t open the door. I ask you to be careful." This has garnered attention from around the country.

 DuBois stands by what she did, even stating that she was helping immigrants to know their rights and was letting ICE know that their supposed raid in Brockton was compromised. 

Image result for michelle dubois state repMichele DuBois is no stranger to taking on Big Government and as always been a staunch supporter of People's rights and helping people when the Government has overstepped their power. As Ward 6 Councilor in Brockton back in August 2010. Councilor DuBois took on the Water Commission when they were back billing residents up to 10 years for broken water meters that were given false readings. She helped launch one of the largest protest at Brockton City Hall dubbed The Brockton Water Party to contest the illegal billing practices of the Brockton Water Department at the time headed by DPW Commissioner Mike Thoreson.

Some residents literally received a $100,000 water bill. Ayana Cato of Brockton received the largest back billed water bill for $100,000. Many other residents including Robert Ford was billed for water he didn't use and Councilor DuBois stood up against The Commission and also the Mayor at the time Linda Balzotti and fought to get the water meters replaced and was instrumental in helping residents receive rebates and helped put in a system that this would never happen again. 

Many in the community have taken the stance that immigration done legally is fine but illegal immigration is wrong and Robert Taylor is running for the 10th Plymouth District Seat.So  State Representative DuBois has said on record, She is against illegal immigration and criminal and doesn't support that but for people who have been in this country and work 2 or 3 jobs and have abided by the laws and have families, these are the people she is fighting for. Time will tell but one thing Michele is no stranger to tackling issues and conceived injustices in favor of doing what is right for the overall benefit of all constituents in her district.

Monday, March 20, 2017

SAVE YOURSELF A HEADACHE

Recently my landlady needed to get the 2nd floor apartment remodeled. We live in a three family that was built in 1880.  I was hoping when the walls came down we might find some gold or silver coins but no cigar. Who do you call for such a job and where do you start. Most people get a referral from a friend. We got a referral for Beantown Builders based out of Brockton. I was happy we were using a Brockton based company but they also serve other communities.

Donald Donaldson came to us and was professional and gave us an estimate within the budget. The crew started in September and they were also very professional and answered all questions and usually you here crews swearing and yelling and loud music. None of that, I never seen a crew work so hard with determination and such detail.

We had the whole second floor apartment remodeled from complete tear down of walls and ceilings to changing all the plumbing lines and electrical. Every step of the way we could see the transformation and today we have a modern apartment in Brockton thanks to Beantown Builders. Save yourself a headache and call them at 617-291-8501 or www.BeantownBuilders.com