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We now have a Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs and Special Events , headed up by the current director of COOL. It seems rather anticlimactic when you consider what it took to get here (moving at the speed of government, or rather, the speed of consensus) but with the nest-protecting language that was added, it passed, 8-1.
I think this is not merely a simple moment in the city’s politics. The impact will be felt for the rest of this Council’s term. The Cultural Office itself will have its mark to make of course, but I don’t just mean for the creative economy here. I mean this episode will have an impact for how things will get done in the city over the next couple of years. This was one of the first major battles between what the city needs to move forward, and the objections of people trying to protect and serve the status quo. On balance, progress - and City Manager Lynch - won. And it won on the merits of the case.
Of course, there are bigger battles to fight, evidenced by the reaction of some who opposed the new Cultural Office in the first round. The protectionism surrounding the Auditorium or the MV Convention and Visitor’s Bureau should not exclude them from the same scrutiny that COOL has just received. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Lynch presented a breakdown on COOL’s budget to the Councilors at the request (past motion) of Mayor Caulfield yesterday. I’m not sure what the intent was on the motion, though I don’t believe it’s a bad thing to outline COOL’s funding and accomplishments. I do fear future death-by-motion movements wherein we see government hampered by excessive micro-managing by the Council simply for the sake of making life more difficult for Lynch (for example, we should be due for another “Request – City – Manager – Lynch – to – report – on – the – homeless – shelters – and – what – can – we – do – to – shut – them – down” from Councilor K. at some point soon). But if we have done this for COOL, I want to see this done for all the marketing monies the city spends, be it the Tsongas or the CVB.
However, on balance, things are still headed on the right track. Despite extremely tough times for the budget, we seem to be making some progress. Not as much as we’d like but it’s better than going backwards. The future payoff should be in the form of a fiscally healthier city, one where structural deficits are unseen and smart investments in growth allows us to fully fund our schools, infrastructure repairs, and services. This despite the “majority” of elected Councilors who ran campaigns about being angry about the past and their opposition to moving on. Doesn’t “I’m for Cox” seem like a lifetime ago?
The more intelligent will decide that it’s better to lay claim to good works than oppose them, and the fools will never learn. Which are whom only time will tell…
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