Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/leftinlowell/leftinlowell.com/wp-includes/functions.php on line 330

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /home/leftinlowell/leftinlowell.com/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-support/wordpress-support.php(10) : runtime-created function(1) : eval()'d code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1
Left In Lowell » 2012 » October

Left In Lowell

Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs

2013 Candidate Questionnaire Responses!

October 24, 2012

No, Pal! It’s Brown That’s The Liar

by at 11:53 am.

So, I’m out holding a Warren sign with several others today at Chelmsford/Stevens, maybe 10 minutes before Art Ramalho arrived, and some gimoke slows rolls the intersection to yell out, “Fuck her! She’s a liar!

Talk about being a prime candidate for Mike Hayden’s anger management seminar. The 3-5 openly hostile commuters (over 1.5 hours) all seemed to look the same, sorta like me. I even joked that I should make a bumper sticker that said,

This Middle Aged, Fat, Bearded, Angry, White, Male is NOT Voting for Scott Brown!
(Go Figure)


October 23, 2012

New City Billpay Website

by at 7:45 pm.

It’s streamlined and easier to understand, unveiled at tonight’s meeting. It includes the ability to register, if you like, and get emails every time a new bill gets issued. Very useful. From the front page of the pay section:

The City of Lowell offers residents an easy and secure way to view, print and pay their real estate tax, personal property tax, motor vehicle tax and water bills online. We support electronic bill presentment (viewing) and payment because it is more convenient for residents and better for the environment.

Online Bill Payment, in partnership with Invoice Cloud, offers the following benefits:

  • No registration required
  • You have the option to pay immediately or schedule a payment
  • Get an emailed confirmation of payment or print a receipt
  • You may sign up for automatic payments
  • You may choose to “Go Paperless” to reduce clutter and help the environment
  • E-check is less than the cost of a stamp!

The following bills are available for online payment:

  • Real Estate Taxes
  • Personal Property Taxes
  • Water/Sewer/Refuse Utility Billing
  • Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes
  • Boat Excise Taxes
  • Parking Tickets

Visa, Mastercard, Discover and echeck are accepted. The convenience fee for echecks is only $.40, it’s $1-$3.95 for credit cards.

After clicking around a bit, this appears to be a vast improvement over the previous system, so thumbs up.

It’s easier to do a search (at least for real estate taxes) as they explained tonight. Since real estate taxes are public info, all you need is any part of your name (though if it’s “John” you search for you’ll get a million results) or address, or bill # if you have it, and you can see your past and current bills. Other billpays need the bill# as a required search term.

October 22, 2012

Brown’s GOTV & Endorsement Blues

by at 7:41 pm.

On Sunday, in Lowell, Scott Brown held a rally. (Actually, it was more like a really?) But that can happen when you use such flawed surrogates, like Kelly Ayotte:
“I absolutely support and believe in marriage as between a man and a woman, and I do think it’s unfortunate that our state has made a different decision on that. And I know that many of you who are out there working at the state level, running for state office, I commend your efforts to repeal that law here in the state of New Hampshire. And I think that’s very important.

On Sunday, Kelly Ayotte helped Scott Brown diss on Elizabeth Warren and Federal Student Loan programs:

“Don’t let her fool you on that one,” Ayotte said, as more than 100 supporters cheered.

Brown said bills like the student-loan proposal backed by Warren are “not jobs bills, they’re tax bills.”

Yikes! 100+? The Brown clique should have kept it at the SAC club, like the last two times.

Elizabeth Warren held, what I would call, a RALLY. This rally was out in Northampton, on Sunday afternoon.

Elizabeth Warren draws 1,000 supporters in Northampton (more…)

Rita Goes National

by at 2:50 pm.

And she goes like a pro. Right onto the front page of one of the most trafficked liberal blogs in the country, Daily Kos, in a post by Joan McCarter.

Heckava job, Rita!

This rationale for Scott Brown as a woman-friendly candidate is just nausea-inducing.

At his event, Brown was bolstered by the former mayor of Lowell, Rita Mercier, who pointed to Brown’s wife and daughters as evidence of his support for women, calling them “three adorable good woman that are strong and vibrant and independent. You don’t get that way unless you have a strong man that allowed you to blossom.

[bold is Joan’s.]

Local level city politicians rarely get in the news like this, so you know it’s pretty special. Usually it’s at least a state Rep doing or saying something stupid that goes viral.

I would like to point out that calling Brown’s wife and daughters “adorable” is also kinda weird and condescending.

October 21, 2012

Rita’s Endorsement Gets Awwwkwerd.

by at 7:20 pm.


No one told Rita Mercier she was going to have to cheerlead for Jon Golnik? How could she not know? Was this her first rodeo? Party splitting is hard, Rita. That’s why it’s ill advised. Sure, a few Brown supporters are happy, but most Tsongas supporters will be a mite peeved. Ooopsie.

Evan Lips‏@evanmlips

Jon #Golnik and #Billerica state Rep. Marc Lombardo, w/Rita Mercier, at Scott Brown rally.


October 20, 2012

Chinese Finance Officials Visit Lowell

by at 5:54 pm.

It’s great having a writer and former reporter of Jen Myers’ caliber working for the city. Her posts at Room 50 are always a joy to read, and her corresponding photography slideshows a big bonus. Check out her latest post on the visit to our city by finance professionals from the Chinese Ministry of Finance, here to see how we do things.

On Friday morning City Hall welcomed a delegation of 20 finance professionals from the Chinese Ministry of Finance, eager to learn the ins and outs of the City of Lowell’s budget process and successful financial management policies.

The group, which included 16 Supervision Commissioners from the Office of the Ministry of Finance, from cities ranging from Sichuan (population 87 million) to the “small” city of Dalian (6.1 million), began their morning with a tour of the City Council Chamber and brief introduction to the city’s Plan E government. They were quite astonished to learn Lowell was the first place in the world to utilize telephone numbers.

They then enjoyed a two-hour budget discussion with City Manager Bernie Lynch in the Mayor’s Reception Room.

There were some really amusing moments, apparently:

His Chinese visitors were surprised by the level of public input and participation in the budget process, but were much more stunned to hear the population of Lowell is only 106,000.

Some chuckled.

“You mean 106 million?” asked one of the delegates.

“No, 106,000,” answered Lynch.

“Oh, you are a very small town,” responded the Chinese visitor, astonished to learn Lowell is the fourth largest city in Massachusetts.

Go check out the full post. It’s great to have an inside eye on some of the really cool things that happen in our city government.

October 19, 2012

Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

by at 8:54 am.

The soup kitchen where veep nom Paul Ryan staged his faux cleanup photo op, against, it appears, the wishes and policy of said soup kitchen, is seeing backlash (it appears to be Republican in nature…for what, embarrassing Paul Ryan who used and abused the soup kitchen and got caught staging fake photos? ugh).

Generally, it appears this place has a policy against being a backdrop for ANY political event, and has said publicly that it was not authorized and even that the Ryan people “ramrodded their way” into the charity. Now they are facing abusive phone calls and FB messages:

Ryan supporters have now targeted Antal and his soup kitchen, Antal said, including making hundreds of angry phone calls. Some members of Antal’s volunteer staff have had to endure the barrage as well, he said. “The sad part is a lot of [the callers] want to hide behind anonymity,” he said, adding that if someone leaves their name and number he has tried to return their call. In addition to phone calls, people have posted a few choice words on the charity’s Facebook wall, including statements like “I hope you lose your tax [sic] emempt status,” Anyone who is thinking about donations to you should think twice” and “Shame on you Brian Antal!”

They are also stating that they are seeing a terrible drop off in donations, which affects how many people they can serve.

Look, this isn’t about politics. It’s about commonplace civility. These people, through no fault of their own, were used, apparently unauthorized, as a photo op for a candidate, and when they protested the misuse, are now suffering from backlash that will hurt only the very poor who rely on the soup kitchen. Personally, I wish we could do away with soup kitchens entirely and actually address poverty in this country. And to be clear, this is a faith-based organization, and normally I don’t give my money to such (my personal choice). However, in light of the effect this will have on extremely vulnerable people who are the clients of this soup kitchen, I’d ask that if you have a spare dollar or two (and only if you do), to please consider giving a small donation to this soup kitchen. You can do so by the following:

To make a donation to the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, money can be sent to P.O. Box 224, Youngstown, Ohio 44501. Donations also may be made online. Online donors should specify that their donations are for the Youngstown, Ohio, soup kitchen.

Let’s see if the internets can right a wrong being done in the name of politics.

October 18, 2012

Wherefor Art Thou Climate Change?

by at 9:45 am.

Whatever your political stripe, if you are an environmentalist you are probably disappointed in this year’s presidential and downticket races. Of course, it’s natural that the economy would be high up on the radar for the candidates, but for there to be zero talk about the environment, not to mention global climate change, the biggest national security risk of our time? It is, to make an understatement, utterly incomprehensible.

I am definitely going to watch this Frontline next Tuesday, “Climate of Doubt.” In it, they will examine the reasons why this topic has become persona non grata. Where once we as a nation were starting to agree that climate change was happening and that we needed to address it, there is doubt being raised by the extremely profitable industries that benefit from the status quo.

Watch Climate of Doubt on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.


October 17, 2012

Can I Use the Word Now, Please?

by at 6:44 pm.

Fake outrage abounded at my use of the phrase “douchebag liar” when referring to Scott Brown. But seriously. The term 100% applies. Case in point:

During a question and answer session, one firefighter commented that both campaigns are publishing advertisements featuring family members of victims of asbestos-related illness. He asked Brown how Warren gets the victims’ family members to go on her commercial.

“A lot of them are paid,” Brown said. “We hear that maybe they pay actors. Listen, you can get surrogates and go out and say your thing. We have regular people in our commercials. No one is paid. They are regular folks that reach out to us and say she is full of it.”

One of the ads, entitled “Ashamed,” features Kingston resident Ginny Jackson, whose husband died of mesothelioma after working at a Quincy shipyard that was filled with asbestos.

Reached through the Warren campaign, Jackson responded to Brown’s comments, calling them offensive.

“A lot of them are paid…We hear that maybe they pay actors.” What. A. Jerk.

This is ironic coming from a campaign which is paying black people - including some who are homeless - what “works out to” $8/hour to show up to rallies in Brown tee-shirts, don’t you think??

I’ll be working a canvass this weekend. Why not join me? There’s a GOTV training at 9am with a kickoff by Rep. Niki Tsongas, then canvassing. (Sign up for both at those links. Like, right now. Yes, you. I want to see you there.)

H/T @elizabethforma Twitter feed.

Update: Oh, so now he’s apologized (in typical lukewarm fashion). It’d be nice if he stopped freakin’ doing and saying things to apologize for. A REAL apology, though, would be to pull his misleading, lying ads attacking Warren’s asbestos and other law work, and apologizing for those as well.

This guy can’t lose this race fast enough for me. Apparently, the voters are thinking the same thing. That poll may be an outlier (no one else has yet shown Warren 9 points ahead) but she consistently goes above 50% in several recent polls. Good signs, but we have less than 3 weeks to go in this election - get to work!

Are You Inactive on the Voter Rolls?

by at 6:11 pm.

You could be. This WBUR report has the details:

Thousands of registered voters could show up at the polls on Election Day only to be told that they have been put on the inactive voter list.

Voters on the inactive list can still vote, but it’s a time-consuming process. It involves showing ID and filling out an affidavit. If you don’t have your ID, you have to fill out a provisional ballot that may be counted later.

The problem is especially acute in Haverhill, where city officials fear major problems at the polls.


In Lowell, the problem is even bigger. Normally, the city has 12,000 to 13,000 inactive voters. This year, the list surged to 21,000. But because the Lowell elections office failed to send a follow-up card as required, the secretary of State and the city solicitor intervened to place most of those voters back on the rolls. The city solicitor is also taking steps to publicize the problem, and she promises an investigation after the election.

I actually have had to deal with this. If you forgot to fill in your little city census thingie, you can be placed as inactive on the voter rolls even if, like me, you show up to every bloody election. It’s not that big a deal, as mentioned - with a photo ID like a license and a few minutes to fill out the affidavit, you’ll be able to vote. And in Lowell it appears most names have been placed back into active until further notice. However, I recommend you bring an ID with you to vote in case, and have a few minutes on hand to address it if it happens. It’s unlikely to, but you never know.

H/T Marie on Facebook.

[powered by WordPress.]

If you are not on Twitter and want to follow our feed on Facebook, click "Like" for our FB page.
BadgermillCity logo


Recent Posts