Spillane on New Bedford councilor Hugh Dunn and ballot questions

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Jack Spillane – columnist for New Bedford Light, an online newspaper covering Greater New Bedford – stops town square sunday every few weeks to review some of the best stories of the day. Spillane always has something interesting to say.

Topics this week include New Bedford Ward 3 Councilman Hugh Dunn, who was found on Tuesday not guilty of acting under the influence.

The trial revolved around an incident in May 2021, in which Massachusetts State Police discovered Dunn hit two parked cars with his own vehicle, after spending several hours drinking at a bar downtown.

After hearing testimony from eight witnesses, District Court Judge Joseph Harrington ruled that there was insufficient evidence to find Dunn guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of acting under the influence. Additional charges of negligent operation and flight from the premises were pursued without result for a year. Dunn was also placed on probation for a year.

Spillane believes that “being found not guilty does not mean innocent”. Spillane and I agree that it’s time Councilor Dunn “had a frank conversation with the community” about this matter. His constituents in Ward 3 deserve to be informed directly by the councilor of what happened.

Spillane commented on the controversy over whether a methadone clinic should be located in downtown New Bedford. Most people would agree that these treatment programs are badly needed, but wonder if they should be placed in the downtown core of the city.

City council weighed in Thursday night and voted against the proposal, but it won’t be the government body that will make the final decision. It will instead be returned by the Zoning Board of Appeals on October 20.

Spillane also spent time discussing Questions 4 and 5 of the November ballot.

Question 4 asks whether the Commonwealth should allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s licence. Question 5 is for voters in New Bedford and Fall River, asking if they support joining the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The vote is needed for cities to get commuter rail service.

The conversation with Jack Spillane can be heard here:

town square sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard Sunday mornings at 6 a.m. on 1420 AM and 99.5 FM.

The program shines a light on individuals and organizations who seek to make the South Coast a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization to be listed on town square sundayplease email the host at [email protected]

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