Left In Lowell

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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.

17 Responses to “h/t to Lynne and Jack”

  1. Magnolia Says:

    Well said - Just one comment - “head on a platter” has been around since John the Baptist so , how anyone could that as a threat is beyond me. In my opinion, Ms Santoro does not like being criticized or being held to a certain professional standard. She might feel that threatening legal action will shut people up. If the Sun wanted to do a real expose , they might be surprised at the number of relatives and friends ( or their kids) connected to her.

  2. Paul@01852 Says:

    Mary Jo is a bully in no uncertain terms and she is doing what bullies do–when they are uncomfortable they ATTACK! Eric Gitschier has tried to hold her accountable so does she respond? No she ATTACKS! Fred Bahou has tried to hold her accountable–does she respond? no she ATTACKS! So it’s no surprise when Jack and Lynne expose her and the schools foibles she ATTACKS!

    I have been to many sessions of the GLTHS School Committee meetings and watched others and of course have seen Mary Jo at those meetings both before and after her appointment as Supt. When she comes into the meeting room she does not walk–she swaggers! Anyone ever seen how a bully begins a confrontation? He SWAGGERS! Mary Jo doesn’t just answer a question she preaches as if her answer is the ONLY POSSIBLE answer and how dare anyone even ask the question never mind expect an answer.

    I can only rue that Cliff Krieger was not the choice of the combined Lowell City Council/School Committee to replace Committeeman Lenzi. Knowing Cliff as I do he cannot be intimidated nor would he have been satisfied with a less-than-complete answer to any question asked of Mary Jo.

    Jack has exposed the (wo)man behind the curtain who seems to be a combination of the Wicked Witch of the East and the Wicked Witch of the West. Lynne doesn’t have a “Toto” but Jack does have the heart, the brains and the courage to more than make up for the missing Wiz and Dorothy’s three companions. Follow the yellow brick road… Follow the yell….

  3. Lynne Says:

    I do too have a Toto…they are Hector and Pauke. Though case in point I think Pauke rules the roost. Man is she pushy, particularly if food is involved. Well, hoisted on my own petard, my favorite bumper sticker on my old car (which I called the “driving blog”) was “Well behaved women rarely make history.” ;)

    Mimi, hats off, there are too many great lines here to quote just a few. Thanks.

    I just came back from watching the new movie Lincoln, about a man who, even in the face of even his allies’ discomfort with black equality, accomplished their freedom from slavery. If the Mike Haydens and the Mary Jo Santoros think they can intimidate me into silence, or being nicer by failing to point out graft and abuse of the system, well, all I can say is I wear the “Queen of Mean” badge quite proudly. If being mean means holding people accountable, guilty as charged.

    But can we change it to “Queen of Snark”? Cuz I think that fits better. My role model is really more Jon Stewart than Lucretia Borgia.

    Hey, by elevating me to queen of anything, they really really give me a lot of importance. I wonder if they realize just how much they legitimize this blog with every overreach?

  4. Jack Says:

    It may seem odd, but I’m trying to imagine what it is like to be inside Santoro’s head right now. Certainly, this blog is causing her some serious agita. Is she sleeping well? Enjoying her work day? Or, is she scrambling to recover some semblance of a reputable legacy?

    Let’s be realistic about this. Do we really need to run roughshod over the crooked crumbtrail, started by Cassin and his well leashed school committee? I want to. Big time. What purpose does it serve? And could slamming Santoro only resolve her to dig in? We may have data and the Sun’s archives pointing out the shame of Cassin’s kingdom. It wouldn’t be hard to make a tight case, based on logic, that any reasonable GLTHS School Committee person could conclude, Mary Jo Has Got To GO!

    But there is a danger here. If we go at her full throttle, she will pivot into full martyr mode, the victim, not the antagonist. If The Sun pivots with her, then she can more easily herd the votes she needs to stay on. If I were her, I might just do that to piss off detractors.

    Would The Sun really flip-flop on almost a decade of calling shenanigans on the crooked Cassin kingdom? In a word, yes. My trust in Campi was reliant on his own sense of self importance and self-righteousness. I figured he would flip flop because of pride. But, after reading this blurb by “Sun Staff,” I figure he is about to do a full Romney. There is a high probability, Campi will tip his cards in this Sunday’s Column.

    As I mentioned before, the focus should turn towards helping Ray Boutin (Lowell) and Paul Morin (Dracut) see past the distractions and drama. Their contact info is here.

    One other thing. The sad attempt to smear Tim Fallon means that he is viewed as a threat. The ability to put the past behind GLTHS and move on, may very well rest on Fallon. If the “civil war” out there can be simplified as Santoro vs. Fallon, then Santoro may be more willing to move on, if she knew (along with her clique) that Fallon would not try to follow in her place.

    Peace and progress could very well lay in a simple agreement to find the next Superintendent from outside the district.

    How do we encourage all involved to support pressing the reset button?

  5. Lynne Says:

    I think that the GLTHS is a poisoned well and it’ll take an outsider at the helm, and many years, to clean it out for human consumption again.

    GLTHS = Lowell City Government before Lynch took over.

  6. Mike Hayden Says:

    Mimi
    First of all I only say vile things about people who do the same to me, Although I disagree with most of what you say I do respect you. I have seen you on city life and you have never disrespected anyone that I have seen. I know you don’t need my approval nor do I need yours but respecting someone is different

  7. pablo Says:

    Regional school district committees are a political entity, just as their municipal counterparts. The relationship of a regional superintendent to the school committee is the same as the municipal superintendent’s with the local school committee, and the city manager’s to the city council.

    So, consider this. If someone were to say they should have the city manager’s head on a platter if he replaced the traffic signal at the Middlesex Street approach to the Rourke Bridge with a four-way stop, the resulting traffic chaos would lead many people to concur.

    Part of the job description for a city manager or school superintendent is to work in an environment of public scrutiny. It includes sharp criticism for controversial actions or statements. Let’s hope this waste of law enforcement’s time on a specious complaint comes to a swift and uneventful conclusion, and police can return to more important calls - such as reports of unleashed cats.

  8. Lynne Says:

    First, I find it awesomely hilarious that Mike Hayden believes that two wrongs make a right, but believes himself a moral person. That’s perfect.

    Second, I am even more amused by the fact that my simple quoting of his own words, his own website, and his own actions when he was an elected official (like voting to KEEP violating state education law and hence lose state funding, in order to keep the anti-illegal-children policy, when even his colleagues changed their minds) makes this so utterly sweet.

    Mike Hayden is one of the most hateful commenters on this blog. He continues to be a hateful person in his online presence elsewhere as well. Respect is earned, sir.

  9. Mike Hayden Says:

    Mimi

    You see what I mean ???????????????

  10. Mr. Lynne Says:

    Mike, what specifically are you objecting to?

  11. Lynne Says:

    Wow, can’t take criticism can you? Feeling defensive? You should, you have a lot to defend.

    My tone was utterly reasonable and actually, quite fact-based, including the part about you being hateful. Shall I quote your previous comments here? Or your utterly reprehensible comments on Nutter’s blog?

    I’ll let you comments stand for themselves. Anyone can see they are hateful. Stop making my job so damn easy for me. Seriously.

  12. Jack Says:

    The bold is mine. The embarrassment belongs to Mike Hayden.

    xxxx

    Adding insult to injury
    Lowell Sun Editorial (1/16/10)
    There has been no discussion of transparency, no talk of having citizen input. It certainly makes one wonder if there is an heir apparent within the district. At his last meeting, former board member Michael Hayden pushed to have the school’s assistant superintendent/principal, Mary Jo Santoro , appointed to the post if and when Cassin retired.

    Is this because members believe Santoro will continue the school’s apparent practice of nepotism and cronyism?

    At the helm
    Lowell Sun Editorial (12/23/09)
    On another note, we find it disingenuous of lame-duck Greater Lowell Technical High School committeeman Michael Hayden to use his final meeting to push to scrap a nationwide search for a new superintendent should current school chief James Cassin retire in June.

    Hayden recommended Assistant Superintendent Mary Jo Santoro be considered Cassin ’s successor. We’re not certain if Hayden was entirely serious, but we believe there should be a large-scale search for a permanent replacement. There are far too many concerns regarding cronyism, nepotism and overpaid administrators at the school for the job simply to be handed to an insider.

    GLTHS union, board seek end to contract talks
    Chris Camire (11/20/06)
    Negotiations are being mediated by the state after talks between the union and the School Committee broke down in September. A month later, School Committee member Michael Hayden called the teachers union leadership a bunch of “thugs.”

    GLTHS’s Cassin gets rave review
    Chris Camire (9/15/06)
    Committee member Michael Hayden called hiring Cassin “the best damn vote I’ve ever made.”

    G-L Tech will keep Spanish signs
    Hillary Chabot (5/12/06)
    A proposal to remove foreign-language exit signs from Greater Lowell Technical High School has been shown the door.

    The School Committee last night voted 5-3 to reject committee member’s Michael Hayden’s motion, but the debate over the bilingual signs pointed to deeper issues for residents who showed up in support of his proposal.

    Hayden believes DOE officials want to create a separate Spanish curriculum, and the signs are just the first step.

    Hayden also clashed with the DOE last September when he filed a motion to deny admittance to illegal immigrants at the vocational school. The committee narrowly defeated the motion.

    “They’re throwing their weight around and someone’s got to tell them to stop,” Hayden said. “Their acting like the school yard bully, and I’m not afraid to stand up to them.”

    Tech board KOs bid to block illegal immigrants
    Dennis Shaughnessey (9/5/05)
    A motion to deny admittance to illegal immigrants at the Greater Lowell Technical High School was narrowly defeated last night, but committee Chairman Michael Hayden of Lowell vowed to continue his quest.

    “There are other avenues that I intend to explore,” Hayden said after the meeting. “There are things I can do on my own and if other people want to join me they are more than welcome.”

    “It’s a waste of time,” said O’Hare.

    “The Supreme Court has said that we do not have the obligation or the authority to enforce the United States immigration laws. Period. We are talking about children here. They are children who play in our back yards. They are the kids in our playgrounds. They are not ‘these people.’ “

    State: G-L Tech immigrant plan illegal
    Michael LaFleur (6/10/05)
    … Greater Lowell’s undocumented immigrant policy is “inconsistent” with a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held “undocumented alien children have a constitutional right to the same benefits of a free public education as are provided by state law to children who are legally residing in the state.” That ruling has governed education policy on the subject nationwide ever since.

    But School Committee Chairman Michael Hayden, who championed the policy’s approval last month, said he is unwilling to back down.

    “It’s up to the board, but as far as I’m concerned, you can throw me in jail before I let anybody who’s not supposed to be here in,” he said prior to last night’s committee meeting.

  13. Mr. Lynne Says:

    The signs thing in particular was always my biggest issue. (OK, probably 2nd biggest.) I can’t fathom looking at Spanish safety signage and thinking “There’s too much safety here for Spanish speakers.” Even in an anti-immigrant policy stance this makes no sense.

  14. Prince Charming Says:

    Trying to pull you back to the topic…. Does anybody think she’s setting herself up for a “stress-related” exit? She’’s been dropping breadcrumbs everywhere. Is there a tax advantage in collecting a disability retirement versus a normal retirement? You guys might just be playing right into her hands.

  15. Jack Says:

    Well, if she did, PC, that would land her in the “Bon Bon Queen Hall of Fame.” Hayden would be so proud, if his precious MJ out “thugged” the union members he hates, so much.

  16. Mr. Lynne Says:

    If she is, I’m not sure how it helps her. Is there something in her contract where this would help her? Also, criticized on a blog as an excuse is pretty lame and would just confirm that she wasn’t the woman for the job in the first place, no?

  17. Frances McDougall Says:

    AMEN,Mimi.

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