Left In Lowell

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October 5, 2012

Radio Replay: Elizabeth Warren

by at 11:35 am.

Teddy Panos should be commended for putting these sorts of things on the intertubes. Especially, the local stuff. Radio Replay is good for Lowell!

Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren Calls The Morning Show

Ban on assault weapons? Why bring that up?

Rove-Driven Scott Brown

by at 10:29 am.

By now, you’ve probably seen all three lying scumbag ads from Scott Brown tripling down on the Cherokee heritage thing. In it, he outright lies, since there is evidence that Warren did NOT get ahead because of her listing herself in a lawyer’s directory as having Native blood, and there no evidence whatsoever that she did get ahead. Yet the ads say over and over “she got ahead” because of it. (The ONLY argument you can make is that Harvard, for a time, “got ahead” by listing her a female minority briefly. However, Warren was hired by then, and she had nothing to do with that. To accuse her of “lying to get ahead” is to A) assume she is lying about her heritage that was passed down by her parents, and B) that everyone and everything that has come out about how she never used this to get her jobs is lying. Occam’s Razor, people.)

You might have also seen the latest ad where Brown attacks her work on the asbestos case he has been bringing up over and over at debates. He selectively pulled out quotes from the Globe which were seriously out of context, and distorted the truth to the point of lying again.

This is the result of having a Karl Rove acolyte running your campaign. Everyone remembers the swiftboating of John Kerry - lying about his war record, taking what is a big strength of Kerry’s and making it an albatross around his neck. It became so synonymous with Karl Rove tactic it became its own verb.

I think the voters of Massachusetts deserve way better than Karl Rovian, swiftboating lying scummy campaigns. And so do the people affected by the asbestos lawsuit against Travelers…not a one of the victims, workers, or any other person on the victim’s side of that lawsuit from Travelers has said anything but positive things on Warren’s role in the case, preserving future victims’ rights to sue and get compensated. The “disastrous results” Brown quotes in his ad are from long after Warren left the case, in a decision that Warren utterly disagrees with (vacating the payments).

So also say the Asbestos Workers Local 6. If Warren indeed was on the side of wrong on the asbestos case, these are the people you would think would be applauding Brown for his attacks and highlighting of this issue. Instead, they are calling on Brown to pull his ad immediately for being a lie. Via BMG, their open letter (bold mine):

Dear Senator Brown:

At your first debate with Elizabeth Warren, you accused her of siding with Travelers Insurance Company to deny people with asbestos poisoning their benefits and added, “I hope all the Asbestos Union Workers are watching right now.”

As the Business Manager of Asbestos Workers Local 6 – which represents 450 asbestos workers in Massachusetts – I can attest that many of us were watching and were shocked and upset by your mischaracterizations and politicization of this serious issue. We were also disappointed to see your totally unsupported and unsupportable subsequent allegation that asbestos victims “have died as a result of her efforts,” as well as to see you repeating these false attacks in your second debate and in a new false, misleading, and offensive television attack advertisement.

The truth is that Elizabeth Warren represented Travelers at a time when the company was on the same side as a vast majority of asbestos victims. Elizabeth fought for a principle that most asbestos victims agree with strongly: that settlement trusts are an important part of the law and should be continued to be used. To say otherwise is either ignorant of the facts or a cynical lie designed to trick people to vote for you.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. There is no cure for mesothelioma and the average life expectancy from diagnosis is generally from six to eighteen months. In our union, many of us have watched family members and or friends suffer and die painful deaths from this horrible disease.

We think it is inappropriate of you to use misleading personal attacks to distract people from your record against working families in Massachusetts, and we think it is offensive for you to campaign on the backs of suffering mesothelioma victims to win votes.

We would like to request a meeting to discuss this issue with you further as soon as possible and certainly before the next debate on Oct. 10, and before you make more false attacks. We are indeed watching your comments on this and other issues and have a keen interest in them.

Sincerely,
Francis C. Boudrow
Business Manager
International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local #6
303 Freeport Street
Dorchester, MA 02122
(617) 436-4666

Anyone wanna take the bet that Brown will meet with them or pull his ads? Didn’t think so.

Can we now move on?

by at 6:57 am.

Jen reported on her life in the City blog on the release of a letter from the Inspector General’s office that states “There is no evidence asbestos or lead paint was improperly handled during the Lowell Housing Authority’s 2008 renovation of the North Common Village complex, state Inspector General Glenn Cunha declared in a letter to LHA.” On her post, Jen has a link to the pdf of the two-page letter.

Gerry also posted it on his blog on the IG letter. He states “Thanks to a disgruntled incompetent Ex-Inspector, a bitter Councilor and a newspaper Editor with a Personal Agenda against the City Administration and the Executive Director of the LHA, the taxpayers of this state had money and time of the IG and FBI along with many other agencies wasted chasing NON-Issues and unfounded accusations. It’s to bad Camacho/Elliot and the Sun can’t get billed for the waste of time they caused.”

I have to agree. First, if the IG letter portrayed the LHA and/or the City Administration in a negative light, don’t you think that by now, it would have been Tweeted, put on Facebook and of course made an appearance on the Sun’s “Breaking News Section.” The story will be covered by them? How and with what spin? I will wait to see.

So for the record, let’s review what happened back in late January - early February. [All of the articles are available on the Sun’s website for a fee or you may want to visit the Pollard Memorial Library.]

Article #1, published on Friday, January 27, 2012, written by Lyle Moran and titled: “Doubts persist on work at LHA.”

As the Lowell Housing Authority moves forward with efforts to bring 132 units at its North Common Village into compliance with the state building code, new questions have emerged about how, and if, the agency took steps to address any asbestos or lead paint present in the units. Because the LHA started the rehab work in 2008 without notifying city officials and pulling building permits, the city was unable to confirm if the agency conducted the proper asbestos or lead testing before the demolition of walls, former City Building Commissioner Robert Camacho has told The Sun.
Camacho has said testing for potential lead or asbestos issues before starting rehab work is important to the health and public safety of the residents and construction workers.

Article #2, published on Tuesday, January 31st, (Breaking News Section) written by Lyle Moran and titled: “Council wants agencies to report on lead paint, asbestos handling during LHA rehab.”

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve motions calling on City Manager Bernie Lynch to have the proper government agencies report on any handling of asbestos and lead paint during the Lowell Housing Authority’s renovation of 132 units at its North Common Village. The first of two motions regarding the LHA called for Lynch to reach out to the state Department of Environmental Protection, as well as LHA Executive Director Gary Wallace, to make sure any asbestos in the renovated units at North Common was dealt with properly.

If asbestos-containing material is present in a unit where demolition or renovation activity is taking place, the DEP must be notified prior to work starting to remove the asbestos.

Article #3, published on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 written by Lyle Moran and titled “Lead-paint oversight planned at LHA.”

City Councilor Rodney Elliott said he filed the motion to make sure any public-health issues are addressed, because asbestos-containing material can cause cancer. Elliott also said he has been told that there was asbestos in the floor tiles and covers for the piping at North Common, which was built in the 1930s.

“I don’t think anything was done above board,” Elliott said.

But the manager said all indications are that no asbestos was in the rehabbed units or is in any other North Common units. Lynch said Mill City Environmental conducted a test yesterday of a vacant unit that was not rehabbed and did not find any asbestos.

“The accusation that there was illegal disposal or treatment (of asbestos) does not seem to be the case,” Lynch said. [Emphasis mine]

(LHA Executive Director Gary) Wallace has said there was no asbestos or lead paint in the North Common units during the renovations. [Emphasis mine]

The lead-paint motion, also filed by Elliott, asked Lynch to contact the proper state or federal agency to report on the issue. Elliott said the proper handling of lead paint is especially important to ensure the safety of children.

Below is an 11 minute clip of the half hour discussion that took place on that subject at the January 31st meeting. It gives you a feel for the tone and content of the “conversation.” If you wish to watch the entire meeting (over 2 hours), it is available on the LTC website along with all other governmental meetings. And the minutes of the January 31st meeting are available on the City website.

There were mistakes made when the LHA renovated those apartments. However, the events that occurred after this was acknowledged and addressed were motivated by to personal political ambition. Let’s not fool ourselves to believe it had anything to do with tenant safety.

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