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Left In Lowell » 2012 » November

Left In Lowell

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November 30, 2012

New Data Analyist…and Assistant HR Director

by at 10:04 am.

Since we heard the news that Michael Herbert was snatched away for a new job in Newton (”Director of Performance Management”…come on…is that some sort of promotion or something?) ;) we have been waiting with baited breath for who his replacement would be. (OK, I have been waiting with baited breath, as have data geeks across the city). Wait no longer! Via Jen Myers (Mayor Aide Extraordinaire), it’s Conor Baldwin:

Conor has been working in HR for the past 2+ years implementing the City’s MUNIS personnel data system and played a key role in our implementing our change of health insurance. Before coming to the HR Department he was employed by Action for Boston Community Development as a Mediation Specialist. He also worked in my office as an Intern during 2007/8 assisting with the initial start-up of the Stat program working with other Massachusetts communities in setting up the MassStat network, investigating software programs, and preparing preliminary performance measurements for department activities. He holds a BA from UMass Lowell in History and an MA from Umass Lowell in Regional Economic and Social Development. Conor was also a participant in the Lowell Plan Public Matters program.

But wait, there’s more! Familiar face and longtime Lynch Executive Assistant Donna McIntosh is moving into the Assistant HR Director position.

Donna, who has been the City Manager’s Executive Assistant for the past 5+ years brings 13+ years of municipal experience to this position. Prior to serving as the EA in Lowell she served in a similar position in Chelmsford. In these positions she handled a variety of responsibilities managing the flow of communication from the Manager’s office, assignment of tasks to City staff, interfacing with citizens and businesses, and special projects. Before assuming these positions Donna served for several years as a Personnel Specialist in the Town of Chelmsford managing all aspects of the human resource function including recruitment and hiring, administration of benefits, and support for labor negotiations. Donna holds a BA in English from UMass Amherst and is currently completing a Certificate Program in Local Government Leadership and Management from Suffolk University. She also participated in the Municipal Management Program through the UMass Boston Collins Center and was a participant in the Lowell Plan Public Matters Program

Congrats to both. Donna has been an excellent person to work with through the years…always responsive and polite. I don’t believe I’ve met Conor (though I have a horrid memory for names and faces, so if I have, I apologize) but I look forward to seeing what he can do. Geeks everywhere are counting on you!

Tanner St Draft Plan

by at 9:36 am.

I could not, alas, make it to the Tanner St public meeting last night due to another obligation, but Dick Howe has a post with a report.

This is my neck of the woods, so I’m keenly interested in things like proposed realignments for the south end of Tanner St, and the different ideas for connecting the Connector better to the district. The first addresses the major problem of bottleneck at the Connector exit; it’s a nightmare sometimes to try to get onto Tanner St which abuts real close to, but does not align with, the Connector exits and entrances, with the light at Target being right afterwards. Then you add all the 18-wheeler, tow truck, and truck traffic trying to get access from Plain to the industrial end of Tanner, and you can well imagine that something like a Connector exit/entrance at Howard St (the left-turn at the north end of Tanner) would allow the truck traffic more direct access, alleviating that problem as well. I’m not sure that can be done, but if it can, it’d be a significant improvement for both area residents trying to get home as well as attractive to potential new industrial companies who would have direct truck access without tangling with much city traffic.

Anyway, there’s lots of talk about a trail along the River Meadow Brook, which is cool, and trying to figure out how to allow access to and use of East Pond, another natural asset. Also discussion about improvements to Tanner like good sidewalks (boy would that be welcome) and trees, land use studies to figure out any zoning changes, and how to fluff up the pretty dismal entrances into the district.

The big problem with long term plans for an area such as this is that what might be judged to be attractive to businesses now may not in the future. However, I feel that the folks behind this plan have taken a realistic and balanced approach - noting that grandiose, single-company large-scale buildings are not the way to go, but to create a place where small and medium sized industrial companies can buy or lease subdivisions, while making sure to accommodate existing businesses, of which there are many.

More information on Tanner is on the City’s webpage, including maps, meeting materials, and hopefully soon, the draft proposal.

November 29, 2012

Off To The Leper Colony, Buba

by at 1:48 pm.

From the Blog of the Blog of Record:

Like an anvil, the weight of the internet crashed down upon two-time unsuccessful state senate candidate Jim Buba Wednesday.
Buba commented on a photograph of the fire at 886 Central Street that claimed the life of a 79-year-old Lowell man who was popular in his Back Central neighborhood.

Popular sport in a down economy. Can’t make the payments and can’t make a flood, so…” read the Facebook post on The Sun’s Facebook page.

For the record, the post was made more than 12 hours after Fire Chief Edward Pitta said the cause of the tragic fire appeared to be accidental, and after The Sun reported Pitta’s comments on the fire that claimed the life of Juventino Leite.

In the following 12 hours, nearly half of the more than 40 comments on the photo condemned Buba, most in language that can’t be repeated. Some comments even wished Buba harm.

November 28, 2012

Friends of GLTHS

by at 10:21 am.

Our frugal neighbors in Dracut will need some convincing.

Update:Thank you for the support! As a graduate of Greater Lowell Class of 1984 I took special interest in this project. I was recently elected to the school committee and I have a son that is a sophomore in Auto Tech. This is a great school and after forty years it needs a face lift. We are having an information session Saturday December 1st from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Dracut Library. Please stop by and say hello. Again thank you for your support.
Rene (Butch) Dion
Chairman - Friends of GLTHS


If interested in buying or distributing tickets, you can contact Butch Dion, Chairman Friends of GLTHS at 508-735-5150 cell. Or e-mail: redionjr@comcast.net

All are invited to come. You can show up at door if you don’t have a ticket. You can mail a donation if you can’t make it that night.

Friends of GLTHS
52 Concord Road
Dracut MA 01826

Please make checks out to “Friends of GLTHS.” Any amount certainly would be appreciated.

Check out the website: Friends of GLTHS

PS. Please don’t let my recent series of diaries cast an overwhelming shadow on the good occuring out there at GLTHS. We should be mindful of the future, at all times. My focus on the past is intended to help set a proper course, forward. Improving the “physical plant” at the school will help foster better education and burnish the potential of the young adults that attend. - Jack

November 27, 2012

Gerry Speculates Again…

by at 12:39 pm.

I really go back and forth on whether Gerry’s blog is useful or just a nuisance. (Sorry Gerry, but that’s the truth.) On the one hand, he has done some very good things to further the discussion on politics in Lowell. On the other, he uses his forum to produce rank speculations that have no basis in anything other than his musings. I wish he’d keep his speculations to a minimum, because when he’s on, he’s pretty decent.

Case in point, this post about the current blog v. GLTHSC situation. First, he complains about Cliff’s reaction to his comments yesterday about some people in the Lowell Rumor Mill™ stating that we at LiL didn’t pay attention to the GLT situation until Cliff didn’t get the nod from the selection committee.

For John, BLUF: Blogger Gerrry Nutter got confused on WCAP this AM, over why Left in Lowell has again focused on GLTHS.

On WCAP (680 AM) this AM Blogger Gerry Nutter suggested that Left in Lowell picked up the theme of GLTHS as a result of Ray Boutin, vice Cliff Krieger, being appointed to the GLTHS School Committee

Cliff’s hearing may be going (Nice to see he types like me, one to many r’s in GERRY and 980 WCAP) because what I said is the gossip making the rounds by those who support the Superintendent at the tech is Left in Lowell didn’t start focusing on the Tech until Cliff was bypassed and that Jack is being political because he’s blaming the Supt.for Cliff not getting the appointment.

Truth to tell, I think Cliff misunderstood what Gerry was trying to do on the radio. I was there, and it was pretty obvious Gerry was trying to air out a rumor he himself didn’t believe. Given the personal nature of that rumor against Cliff (attacking our and Cliff’s integrity), I’m not surprised he reacted, but as for me, I thanked Gerry after the show for mentioning because it put sunlight on the rumor so it could be refuted, which to my mind appeared to be what Gerry intended by bringing it up. (more…)

November 25, 2012

Media Alert (Updated)

by at 4:56 pm.

I’ll be on 980WCAP tomorrow, as will other bloggers, between 7 and 8am; my slot is for after the 7:30 news. I’ll be discussing great recipes that can put your leftover turkey to good use.

Just kidding, I think the topic will be a little more political. At any rate, it should be fun. Tune in!

Update: You can now go listen for yourself on WCAP’s archives! Thanks Teddy for having me on.

Open Thread: The Log In Your Own Eye Edition

by at 4:19 pm.

Lowell City Councilor Rita Mercier crticizing those who post anonymous comments on local political blogs in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell City Council meeting - July 21, 2009

Please don’t hate this Open Thread.

Mea Culpa

by at 12:09 pm.

So I was wrong in my Lyle post last Wednesday. I am retracting part of my commentary made there.

Specifically, it wasn’t Elliot who Lyle was talking about as “other elected officials” who are upset at my comments on this blog (over, I presume, the course of seven whole years). It was the other one I could have predicted is unhappy with me, Councilor Rita Mercier. (Damn, and I though my video commentary clip of Elliot the other week was pretty clever. I’ll have to make more of a nuisance of myself.)

MERCIER SAID she was not surprised by Lupien’s posting.

“She has a dirty trash mouth and that is wrong,” Mercier said. “No one should ever say somebody should be hung. I give Mary Jo credit for going to police and I hope she gets Lynne’s blog shut down so she stops trying to bully people in a nasty way.”

I find it rather telling that Rita wants to shut down free speech, just because it disagrees with her. Think about that for a moment. (more…)

November 24, 2012

Still a Frozen Block of Ice

by at 7:09 pm.

But I had a great time at the City of Lights parade. If you can believe it, the first time I’ve stayed for the parade. I met new people, made some friends, and saw lots and lots and lots of old ones. Old friends, I mean, the friends weren’t necessarily old. Some of them were very young. :)

Some tweets + photos from the event I did:

I added an addendum to the above, as I didn’t mean to imply anything bad about the LHS band in particular: “(The being out of tune was inevitable in the freezing cold.)”

Also, I checked out Sweet Lydia’s new place at 160 Merrimack St. It was hoppin’, with lots of people coming in and buying her yummy goods while I was there. I was so pleased by that! She’s a great addition to Lowell’s downtown and, if you are stuck for a gift for someone, consider giving them some marshmallow goodness (or peanut butter and jelly candy bars, or jelly candies, or other stuff). You can’t go wrong with marshmallows and sweets! I nearly fainted with delight at the gourmet jelly candies I got. (One type has mango in it. That’s one of the magic words! The other, if you must know, is “maple.” As in syrup, candy, taffy, sugar, etc.)

November 23, 2012

h/t to Lynne and Jack

by at 7:34 pm.

Now that some of the dust has settled, I wanted to express my views on the events that occurred this past week. I am referring to GLTHS Mary Jo Santoro filing a police complaint on my LiL colleague Lynne. This is not how I wanted or expected to spend my Thanksgiving week but if you enter the public arena, you should be ready for unexpected and unpleasant events.

First and foremost, I want to share publicly what I said to both Lynne and Jack. In my opinion, Santoro’s actions were not aimed at Lynne but they were aimed at LiL in general and Jack in particular. It is Jack’s investigating writing under the banner of “Mary Jo Must Go” that has the Superintendent, her supporters, her benefactors, her sycophants, her entourage and most importantly the hanger-ons that live off the job clearinghouse, self-defined political power base on the Merrimack.

Yes, Santoro would not mind if Lynne was wounded but I believe that particular action was orchestrated by one of Santoro’s staunchest supporters for his own twisted motives. Jack’s post were the ultimate target. The decision to go after Lynne was an attempt by Santoro and her companions to intimidate LiL into silence. I do not think this threat has worked. Lynne and Jack are stubborn and committed. When your principles are based on ideas and not on getting a job in the public sector for yourself or a family member, it is pretty easy to continue to fight.

I have no idea where Santoro’s complaint will land in the legal arena. We will wait and see but at this rate, pretty soon she is going to run out of people to accuse of harassment. That tactic has short shelf life.

What bothered me the most in the past few days was the pleasure some bloggers took in the possibility that another blog will be shut off. I can understand the Lowell Sun jumping on that bandwagon, there is no love lost between us and them. But for bloggers to find pleasure in the possibility that free speech will be curtailed is truly disturbing.

The internet and all of its wonderful democratic components should be applauded by all self-described bloggers. We should celebrate the ability to exchange idea no matter how appalling we find the words and their delivery. The freedom to share views, debate, argue and perhaps form a consensus should be embraced. You should fight words with words, not with the threat of police action.

There are so many avenues that are available to express one’s views in Lowell, LiL is not the only game in town. There are many blogs (I do miss the Mill City boys) and most of those blogs do not share our views. Some even like to position themselves as the anti-LiL. We have a local radio station that welcomes callers; we have a local television show that provides a wide spectrum of views. And of course we have our newspaper. There are plenty of outlets for everyone to present their views. Why try to harm LiL?

And as far as Mr. Mike Hayden is concerned, I would like to offer a suggestion. Instead of being fascinated by Jack and Lynne, try to serve as a mentor to younger Lowellians who want to get involved in public service or civic activity. If you are so confident in your views, you should be able to quickly form a cadre of up and coming leaders who can challenge the current sentiments expressed by the majority of Lowell voters that have clearly stated “we want people like Fred Bahou and Erik Gitschier” to serve on the GLTHS Committee.” By the way, Mr. Hayden I really do not care what you may say about me so if you want to go on Gerry’s blog and call me vile names as you do Jack and Lynne, it will be a total waste of your time as well as the readers. I do not need nor seek your approval on any level.

I would like to thank Mary Jo. On behalf of three Lowell homeowners, taxpayers who like this City and want it to prosper on all levels, thanks for giving us a kick in the rear end and waking me up from my slumber.

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