Left In Lowell

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November 25, 2012

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.

Anyway, I probably should have known. She’s always thought I hated her - even though it’s not, and never has been, about hate. In fact I’ve always said she’s probably a super nice person, or at least that is what I’m told. That doesn’t mean she’s exempt from criticism as a public representative. I don’t doubt she is and was a wonderful mom, grandmom, wife, and community member. She certainly does care about the community and I’ve never made a secret of my belief in that. It’s how she carries out her role as elected official that I and others have a problem with. And lately I haven’t said a word about her. Actually, I’ve commended her - recently complimenting her for her reasoned governing vis a vis the CM, unlike CC Elliot.

But a grudge is a grudge and she’ll never forgive me for not being a supporter back in the Cox days, when Jim Milinazzo was the only outspoken person I endorsed for reelection in 2005 (well, along with Dick Howe Sr, but he was about to retire and not run for reelection).

See, the fact that to her, I hate her - and this is the core problem - is the problem. Taking dissent (even colorful dissent) personally when you are an elected official is a huge mistake. You aren’t there to be loved. Sure, maybe people will love you…but what is the old quote? “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

And lest we forget - when I failed to endorse her (or anyone but Milinazzo) that first muni election I covered, she was the one making snarky comments to me when I met her for the first time. Which I then promptly went home and blogged. Hell, we were in the public City Hall chambers after a public meeting at the time she said it, totally fair game. I’ll never forget the tone of her voice when she said that to me.

I stand by my words. Yeah, sometimes I deploy sarcasm or satire to point something out. Let me remind you that this is a favorite tactic of the likes of Jon Stewart and Colbert. I bet Bill O doesn’t like it either - but Bill O does not have a constitutionally protected right to be liked, or to have his speech and his actions lauded, either. What I do is hold up a mirror. Now, you might disagree with what you see in that mirror, thinking maybe it’s got a green tinge and you don’t get an accurate picture of yourself, but that’s opinion. I write from a place of honesty in myself. Perhaps those listed in the Column as common “targets” of this blog ought to be a little more self-reflective and ask, why are they common targets?

Also, I would like for all of you media and elected officials to please get one thing straight: I am NOT my commenters. If a comment comes through that you think is unfair, you have every right to come post on the blog and refute them. I err on the side of letting comments through and allowing open speech. When I do moderate, I get crap because I’m “impinging on free speech.” I really can’t win with some people. But the fact remains, I own the domain and these are my (really loose) rules. Please stop painting me with the brush of commenters, or for that matter, painting commenters who post here with my brush. The Column takes great glee in the fact that Kim Scott and Kristin Ross-Sitcawich have a history as commenters here (and Kristin as a front pager for a while). It literally has nothing to do with the story at hand, but they just had to mention it anyway.

Kim and Kristin (and Jack and Mimi and joefromlowell and anyone else) are their own people. Does the Sun want us to nail them with 100% of the credit/blame for the comments in Topix? Cuz I got news for ya, that cesspool is about 1000% times worse than the comments here. And almost NEVER not anonymous. If you don’t want that door to swing both ways, then stop confusing an open forum here for a set interchangeable personalities.

PS, as an aside - The Lowell Sun should also retract part of its Column. They are calling Mimi a cofounder of Left in Lowell. This is completely incorrect - Mimi joined me not too long after I started the blog in May 2005 (though not til January 2006 - here’s her first post), but I am the sole founder. Actually, Margaret had a few front page posts long before Mimi did. Which the Column authors could have easily figured out if they bothered to merely go back to the first posts on the blog. The fact they can’t do minimal homework on their stories says volumes.

Also, RE being harsh on Scott Brown…um, duh? This is a blog with strong Democratic activist authors. It’s right in the title! What the frell didja think we would write about, his keen sense of fashion (minus that horrendous barn coat, ugh) and his admittedly nice hair?

*rolls eyes*

11 Responses to “Mea Culpa”

  1. Lynne Says:

    The other thing I couldn’t get to in the post but I want to point out - this bull that we’re somehow in the bag for Lynch.

    No, we’re in the bag for good and fair GOVERNANCE. In so far as Lynch delivers this to the City of Lowell he has my support. The instant I find out he’s unfair, working against transparency, or otherwise mucking around with our finances and budgets in a way that harms the city, he’s toast. And believe you me, Bernie Lynch knows this full well, I’ve said it on the blog many times, and I’ve told him that in person as well.

    Problem is, I’ve looked into a lot of vague claims of Lynch being a bad actor, and they all turn out wrong and they are rumors spread by people who have a reason to grouse. I work with proof and facts, not whisper campaigns.

    But these people who take criticisms personally, they can’t see past that. They can’t see that all we want to for people to stop dicking around and do their jobs in the best way possible. That coming to a meeting having a foregone conclusion in your mind (namely, “Lynch is evil”) and then trying to twist everything into fitting into that worldview is not only not helping, it is actively hurting the city by preventing actual real oversight work to be done properly.

    So, I will continue to nail Elliot every time he goes into one of his hissy fits. And I will call out anyone else who, despite having the best interests of the city in their hearts, carries out that heart with a string of stupidities.

  2. Lynne Says:

    I feel like I have to explain this once every year or two.

    I KNOW I’ve written this before somewhere.

  3. Mimi Says:

    I have been “lyled.”

    Part of the commentary reads: “It did not go unnoticed among Mercier and others that Lynch invited Left in Lowell bloggers to participate in a media roundtable earlier this year, despite the fact that bloggers have disparaged some of his bosses for years.”

    I do not know if Lyle Moran wrote that sentence or Chris Scott or someone. And I am not even sure that CC Mercier said something to that effect to him or anyone else at the Sun. She may have said something to the Manager but I am not sure that she privately made those comments to the Sun.

    So did Lynch’s “bosses” really complain to the Sun that tax-paying Lowell residents, some may refer to us as the City Council “bosses” do not have any rights to question the City Manager because they “disparage” some of their colleagues?

    Were the bloggers who do not “disparage Lynch’s bosses” welcomed by the City Councilors to question the City Manager?

    Is the Sun suggesting that some politicians want the friendly voters and tax payers rewarded and the unfriendly voters and tax payers punished?

    Lyle was sitting next to me the evening of the round table, I asked two though questions. The rest of the panel as well as the City Administration can attest to that.

    Yes, I have been “lyled.” What is that? Well, that is the verb used by some who read their name in the paper and say but that is not all I said.

  4. Kathy Says:

    Doesn’t the Lowell Sun routinely criticize certain members of the City Council, too? I believe the newspaper had at least two representatives at the media roundtable. Should they have not been there because of those printed criticisms??

  5. Lynne Says:

    Yes, I have been “lyled.” What is that? Well, that is the verb used by some who read their name in the paper and say but that is not all I said.

    And hence my clever clever scheme to let him hang himself (there’s that term again! PS - it’s a euphemism. Man I am going to have some real FUN with this running gag for a while!) with his own leading question (it was really less of a question and more of a premise in search of a reaction) when I called him back last Wednesday, but I literally went out of my way to make no actual comment to him and told him I would email him later. Which I did, so I could send him the link to the post where I had actual quotes already published. That way, he can’t take them out of context without looking like a total ass.

    Kathy: you should know by now, IOKIYATLS (It’s OK If You Are The Lowell Sun)!

  6. Lynne Says:

    Oh I want to note one more thing…one of the electeds listed as “targets” of the blog is Bud Caulfield. Anyone notice that since Bud retired, barely a word is written of him here, one way or the other? Except, perhaps, when we talk about the past, when his name is relevant?

    That’s because we talk about stuff going on in the public forum on the public’s behalf. This was never about Bud Caufield the man, or about Rita or Elliot personally. Now that he’s no longer setting policy, I have no interest in talking about him as a private citizen. In fact I wish him well.

    It is and always has been about getting the public’s work done, and about wanting it done well. Did we ever say a bad word about Caulfield’s work in regards to the flooding situation in Centralville? Nope. There wasn’t really anything there but getting actual work done. Kudos for that. We don’t just randomly pick crap to gripe about around here. Just the stuff that sticks out as damaging to the job in front of us, namely, governing this city.

    But to these people, it’s about tribes, as Jack phrases it. It’s always personal, and they can’t imagine that for other people, it could possibly be NOT personal.

    No matter how many times I explain it, they never get it. I wish they’d learn and grow from the experience, but I guess if wishes were horses…

  7. Jack Says:

    I’ve heard, “all politics is local” and “elections have consequences.” In Lowell, the past practice has been to treat elections like running for “Prom King/Queen.” Petty tribal alliances were cobbled together to hoist a candidate to the top of the heap.

    Anyone who swallows this “Lynne hates Rita” or “Jack hates Rita” is not firing on all cylinders. The word hate is intentionally entered into the discussion for two reasons: 1) It instantly shifts the talk away from the merits of the policy issue. It is now “personal,” not policy. 2) It calls upon personal alliances, attempting to herd folks into tidy, “Us” vs “Them” camps. If I get warned about how I could end up a “leper” just one more time, my head’s gonna explode.

    And more correctly, elections USED TO HAVE consequences. No doubt in my mind, if John Cox or Pangi was City Manager, right now, there would be tangible repercussions for folks on the “wrong side of things.”

    The fact that a “professional” manager makes a valiant effort to operate above the fracas of petty politics, does Lowell a great service.

    Why do you think “professional city management” is treated with such contempt, in certain circles. God forbid we fall for the “Plan A - Strong Mayor” bulshit that is being fermented in certain cliques.

    Imagine if you’re the one labled as “hating the (strong) Mayor” in such a new world. You wouldn’t get your pothole filled or the permit you need to develop your own property.

    Ya, folks. That is how it would go down. You’re seeing all the signals at the end of your own nose.

  8. Kim Says:

    I have no worries over being associated as a commenter on your blog. I don’t let these things bother me, Thanks for the concern though.

  9. Joe80s Says:

    Even though I think your all lunatics and liberal wackos I fully support this blog. Mary Jo is grasping at straws. Her outrage is bogus. She is incompetent and incapable of running the Voke and there are finally a couple of Committee members that are asking the right questions. Please don’t capitulate and continue to post stories and comments. Hang tough.

  10. Lynne Says:

    LOL thanks Joe!

  11. Christopher Says:

    Lynne et al, in a way you should feel flattered. These guys must think you’re quite the power-broker in this city if they feel threatened enough by you to hope that you would be shut down. Of course, they really need to brush up on their first amendment jurisprudence as well.

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