Left In Lowell

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August 12, 2012

The Sun Shines On Golnik’s Astroturf

by at 7:33 pm.

AstroTurf is kinda like sockpuppets. ;v)

Astroturfing is a form of advocacy in support of a political, organizational, or corporate agenda, designed to give the appearance of a “grassroots” movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to another political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

Like other advocates, astroturfers attempt to manipulate public opinion by both overt (outreach awareness, etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual promoting a personal agenda, by organized professional groups for pay, or by activist organizations. Services may be provided by political consultants who also provide opposition research and other services. Beneficiaries are not the campaigners but the organizations that orchestrate the campaigns.

For instance, let’s take this recent Letter To The Editor, printed by The Sun.

Golnik would be an independent voice
The Lowell Sun
Updated: 08/10/2012 10:03:39 AM EDT

PETER LYNCH
Westford

Sure. It seems like an honest to goodness, man on the street testimonial, just about every political campaign EVER wants to see printed. Nothing makes a campaign happier than what the operatives call “Third Party Validation.” What the hyperlink will tell you is this: “No matter how many times you toot your horn to customers, they probably won’t believe you until they hear it from someone else. ” In the commercial world, it is widely sought after. Because the ethics are soft on this, in the terms of internet culture, there is a developing niche of less than scrupulous marketing folks that are more than happy to create instant validation for a product. Of course, a fee is involved.

Internet sales and congressional politics are very different. Though some, unfortunately, do not seem to get the message. I bring you the Jon Golnik campaign. (more…)

The Whistle Blower Letter

by at 10:27 am.

Below the fold, you will find the “whistle blower’s” letter. This letter set the whole fiasco around the City’s Parking Division ablaze. Though I find the letter petty in it’s tone and tenor, the City owes the author it’s thanks. I disagree with those that propose that the City “never” would have caught up with this. But, it is certain that this letter advanced the timeline by a month or two. Even with all the headaches and grandstanding, sometimes we have to take the bitter medicine. If you go to Gerry Nutter’s blog, you can link to the full report by the City Auditor. Note: The Auditor has determined the amount of funds missing. Further, it is clear that the problem was stopped in 2011 and was not ongoing, as the most breathy of our Councilors have floated.

The letter below puts to rest some of the more unhinged accusations that have been shoveled into the public square. You, reader, may think that the worst of the conspiracy theories are held only by those Bernie Bashers that populate the “Downtown Mob.” Fortunately, the misinformed accusation that a cover up was undertaken is proved false by the Whistle Blower’s letter. However, I still find those determined to believe the CM is doomed by this event and the ax will soon fall, once the “truth” comes out. :v\

(h/t Joe Smith)

Attachment “T” is apparently the “dime dropped” that exposed this situation. That document includes excerpts from the FY 2013 budget. Since the budget was not released until June, it further supports your contention that neither the City Manager nor the Mayor had this input prior to June, and most likely became aware of it along with the other councilors and news media as listed in the distribution on or about June 12th.

(more…)

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