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Left In Lowell » 2012 » August

Left In Lowell

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August 14, 2012

Interesting times in this City!

by at 3:39 pm.

After what appeared to be a quiet summer, a number of issues have percolated and are now dominating public discourse. I would like to add another topic to the discussion because its emergence has caused me to wonder what or who is behind all this. Issues do not emerge in a vacuum; political narratives are pushed by individuals with a purpose, sometimes it is for the common good and other times it merely to serve the few.

Last Tuesday’s edition of the Sun had an article written by Lyle Moran entitled “Fire Dept. order cause of alarm for some in city; Property owners say Lowell chief’s since-rescinded directive cost them.” Apparently in 2009, the LFD switched its fire alarm system from a “telegraph” method to a “radio box” one. Thus requiring those large apartment buildings, which by law have to have an alarm system that reaches the LFD, adapt to or switch to the radio box system. The extra cost was about $1,000 per apartment buildings 13 units or larger. Moran wrote: (more…)

The Astuteness of Dick Howe, Jr.

by at 11:52 am.

There has been a bit of an underbuzz simmering around the Parking Division kerfuffle. Despite the on-the-record remarks of City officials, the Blog of Record, a few Councilors and a brood of Boo Birds have opted to pay attention to whispers and shadows. The whole mess flared up, two weeks ago, when former CM Bill Taupier made some powerful assertions on the City Life program. Copies of the program are floating around. I don’t have one, but I did see it at the time. I had even called in, earlier in the program, to chill things out. Maybe my advising my elders was intolerable. Anyways, it only got worse that morning. The account Gerry Nutter gave in a blog summed it up fairly well.

I knew after that, this would fester. Bill Taupier was ratcheting things up based on what he thought he discerned from the Blog of Record, but he also seemed to suggest that he was hearing some of the whispers, first hand. I followed up with Bill, after that show. Over breakfast, he doubled down on his position. He, in my mind, was convinced that there was more to the story than had been told. He was forceful in his defense that there was either a coverup, or that his ’source’ was lying or his ’source’ was repeating a lie, unwittingly. (more…)

August 13, 2012

Fro-Yo Overload

by at 1:07 pm.

If you’re scratching your head at which of the new or existing Fro-Yo places to try, Marianne has a really good review. She went to all of the locations to try out the wares, so you don’t have to…unless you want to.

I find it mildly disturbing that the number of Fro-Yo places in Lowell is creeping up to about half of the number of Dunkin Donuts. What gives???

I am guessing that there’s a chance that a lot of these survive for a while, at least the ones which are scattered in various neighborhoods. If the people in those neighborhoods decide to get addicted to fro-yo, that is. It remains to be seen.

But seriously, all this fro-yo and no Trader Joe’s…my heart is broken!

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


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.


August 10, 2012

License Commission Showdown with City Administration

by at 9:23 pm.

It may have come as no surprise to some that CM Bernie Lynch is asking for the resignation of two of the License Board members, Chair Walter Bayliss and member Ray Weicker, but it did to me. I thought there would be a few more attempts to get those two individuals on the same page as the City government but perhaps all avenues have been exhausted.

If you have not followed the drama that is the License Commission meetings, it will be difficult to explain in a few words. In some way it has become a rogue board. The straw that broke the camel backs did occur at their last meeting when after dragging their feet for weeks, they adjourned without taking a position on the suggestions of the City Council regarding the rules that apply to liquor establishment; then there is the on-going battle between Bayliss and Chief of Police Ken Lavallee; the complaints from the downtown neighborhood organization, the way the City’s legal department is treated and the Board’s reaction to being asked to meet in the evening to accommodate the public.

Here is a 5 minute clip of the July 19th License Commission meeting which forced the City Manager to take this unprecedented action.

My Views of the Roundtable

by at 8:39 pm.

As some of you know, this past Tuesday I along with a number of others participated in City Manager Bernie Lynch’s round table discussion which was broadcast live on Lowell Telecommunications Corporation (LTC). If you missed it, you can watch on LTC’s website page that features Channel 99, the Municipal Page.

Dick Howe and Chris Scott have already written their views of the evening. Dick also has some nice pictures. I just wanted to add a couple of other observations.

I thought it was well organized and the City Manager and the members of his staff who accompanied him provided in depth answers to our questions. I am a big fan of CFO Tom Moses. I think he is the best financial guy this City has had in decades and I enjoyed listening to his explanations. (more…)

Let Dave Nangle Be On TV

by at 5:06 pm.

I think we should free Dave Nangle to follow his muse. It’s undemocratic, really, to hold him to the false flag of party affiliation. He is trying too hard to straddle the line. It’s just NOT fair!

While in Lowell, Huff was accompanied by state Rep. David Nangle, also a Democrat. Nangle has not endorsed a candidate in the Senate race, but said he agreed to show Huff around the city as a personal favor to Brown, who he served with in the House during the late 1990s.


The Sun’s Head Shed

by at 11:14 am.

Here’s an exciting tidbit dropped on another thread. I opted to pull it up and backfill.

Name: Sun Denizen



Big Boss of the east, James McLure, York Record jem@ydr.com @JamesMcClure

Overseer of New England Matt DeRienzo Central Conn. properties, esp. New Haven Register @mattderienzo mderienzo@journalregister.com



August 9, 2012

The Blame Game

by at 11:33 am.

I prefer to have this conversation in the generic. It is a “teaching moment” as they say. There are many things to learn and I will focus on messaging and risk management, here. Be advised, I reserve the right to delete or edit any comments that I feel cross the line that is in MY head. If you don’t know where that line is, then either don’t post or be as general as humanly possible. If you want to express strong, potentially hurtful views, the Blog of Record will gladly host your perspective.

I see at least two storms brewing.

- Accusations that certain high level officials will be seeking to cover their own asses or protect allies will be partly off the mark. Folks with titles value their paycheck, but they also cannot expose the City to risk. Please take the time to read into what you see quoted in the newspaper and elsewhere.

- There may be an inclination to use current events to facilitate pending political outcomes. Watch to see who is sacrificed to appease. Wonder to yourself, were the crosshairs already trained upon “the offering?” Would it make a difference if another held that title?

In high profile situations, there are more eyes watching. The political artist tiptoes through the minefield, attempting to look graceful. But, savvy eyes still see. Some eyes blog. Move out, smartly.

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