Left In Lowell

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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.

(Just for the record, I like Cliff a lot, but his non-appointment to the GLT SC has nothing to do with anything. Because unlike many of those people whom I write about, I don’t take these political things personally. Cliff didn’t get a appointed, I think that’s a shame because I know he would have done a great job, but the reason we’ve suddenly taken an interest in the GLT SC has to do with accusations about harassment, which also happened fairly recently. Jack, Mimi and I have limited resources and time to cover this city, since we’re not paid to blog, and our lack of attention on the GLT had a lot to do with that. It is, unfortunately, a hard Committee to cover - no on-demand online access to archives of meeting videos is a big reason, and fewer connections to the people involved so that we can get a sense of what’s happening as it unfolds.)

So instead of getting all up in Cliff’s, and our, grill by saying things like:

The idea that Jack is going after the TECH and Superintendent because Cliff got passed over I admit is a big reach but the fact is they both (and to a degree I also do) play favorites and go after people who they don’t support. They will tell you they go after the GOOD OLE BOYS..Pure BS..

They go after GOBS who aren’t their GOBS and we all have our own GOBS. People we like, trust and don’t want to tick off. We all have our political leaning and we all BLOG about what we like and don’t like from elected officials we like or don’t like or candidates we want to get elected or see lose. I don’t play the ground game so I have the freedom to tick off everyone (just ask the Manager, Councilor Elliot, Jim Leary, Erik Gitischier, Mary Jo Santoro) but they choose to only assail those who aren’t on the same political wave as they are.

…it would be great if Gerry would stop trying to assume all sorts of complex motivations for LiL writers, and other bloggers, motivations that generally are ascribed to the “other tribe” as Jack puts it, or GOBs as I put it. It’s not about our side vs their side and never has been. The GOBs have a real problem with “projection” - believing that if they operate a certain way, so does the other side. If it’s all about personal loyalty for them, they believe that it must be so for the other side. The only reason I had to come up with a term to describe the “other” was that you can’t write about something if you don’t name it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do the “them” thing at all.

The GOBs can’t imagine anyone thinking in any other manner, or having any other motivations, than what they themselves are governed by. I’ve been pretty transparent all along about my reason for blogging. I started out worrying about how my city was being managed by the former CM because I saw many instances where there were serious, mostly GOB-driven problems. Things like who got open access to boards and commissions…friends and developers got preference over residents, even those residents with serious problems going up against the developers. I saw government was only there to serve some of the people, not all, that avenues were closed to groups like the CBA. I saw friends of the CM getting jobs, or getting a pass by him. I saw neglect of important city initiatives, a big lack of transparency…and in the end, we also discovered that there were huge problem with the management of our finances.

If I am fairly mum on CM Lynch’s administration, it’s because so many of those problems have been reversed. You cannot make a fair argument that this CM has not been transparent - in fact, his budget is so transparent, certain of the old guard objected because, presumably, there was too much information to process! You can’t say he hasn’t done the work to fix our boards and citizen access to city government (though you can say he’s made a mistake or two that he regretted later on - *coughlicensecommissioncough*). But those were honest mistakes, and he’s not interested in covering them up, only in getting it right.

Because the big things in the city are actually going pretty well, yeah, we don’t harp on the petty crap because often what we find out is that even the petty crap is drummed up by the old guard to smack Lynch around with. I think he gets enough of that with the Lowell Sun and Councilor Elliot, he doesn’t need more reasons to do his job right. Lots of people with more audience and power than I do have got that pretty well covered.

We were all over the License Commission issue like white on rice, and that responsibility ultimately rested with the CM, who maybe thought he had some good appointments when they really weren’t. Again, we expected the CM to address it, and if he wasn’t going to, of course we would have been up in arms. But the CM isn’t interested in not solving real problems, so when a real problem crops up, he addresses it. This is what we have been asking for all along.

Mimi hit the administration multiple times on a lack of diversity in city board and commission appointments a while back.

We go after Councilor Elliot a lot because, well, if you’ve seen the video of his often-incoherent rants, the motivations are pretty obvious and all we’re doing is pointing it out. We don’t ding him for opposing the Manager. We ding him for opposing the Manager even when a logical and easily understood explanation is handed to him and he still ignores it. We’re like the child pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes…it’s obvious to everyone in the crowd that the Emperor is naked, but it takes the child to be honest and point it out. (This was a parable, I don’t actually mean to imply that Elliot attends meetings naked.)

If there was a poster child for “we hold these truths to be self-evident” it’s the fact that plain as the nose on your face, Elliot and the Sun are intimate BFFs in their knee-jerk dislike of the Manager and desire to try and undermine him at every turn. It’s also evident that in just about every case I can think of, the so-called “problems” they bring up are smoke and mirrors. If Elliot has hit on an actual good point in the last couple of years, I would be shocked.

What I’m describing, I guess, is integrity. Yes, I have a point of view. Yes, I have friends in government both elected and appointed. You can’t blog on city government for seven years and attend meetings and events and not get to know people. It’s how I pick my friends that is antithetical to GOBism. I don’t make a friend and then do everything and anything to defend them despite my misgivings. I become supporters and friends of people that I know won’t let me down. That is a big, big difference between us and them. It’s easier for me to be picky I guess because I didn’t grow up here. Maybe if I had, I would have more sympathy for the GOB point of view. Maybe not. I would hope that my parents raised me right, and give them some credit.

I understand why politics works the way it does in Lowell. The thing is…those people who perceive me as being on the opposite team, so to speak? They cannot bring themselves to understand me.

Not that I haven’t said it near a million times. It takes a lot of ignorance and willful denial to continually dismiss what I say about why I do this, and to keep assuming that my motivations are their motivations and there is no difference between us. But that is also why they always underestimate me. This whole “threat” accusation thing - I haven’t had one friend with integrity back off from talking to me, stop supporting what I do, or try to distance themselves from me…even those in elected positions with something to lose if I’m tarnished.

That’s why their tactics, such as this police complaint about a comment I made on the blog, don’t work. They don’t silence me (in fact, they just make me more determined), and they don’t isolate me from those people whom I rely on for better government or for ideas or for knowledge. Maybe it would work if I didn’t hold my integrity really sacred. After all, these sorts of political games (ham-fisted as they are) often do work. They have worked in this very city. People stayed silent while shenanigans were happening, even when they knew what was going on. I get a lot of credit/blame (that I don’t deserve) for things turning around in this city. But I will take credit for being one of the first to speak out publicly and unashamedly, and giving a forum for others to do the same. I don’t know if that got a tiny snowball rolling down the hill to become an avalanche, or if the avalanche was inevitable. Most likely, Cox would have done himself in without me, as you could see his administration unraveling. Certainly the DoR audit coming down the pike would have finished him with or without me.

(Of course, you all know that I happily take direct credit for Hayden losing his GLT SC seat, since he lost to O’Hare by a small margin after I exposed his reprehensible anti-immigrant voting record and encouraged people to not bullet-vote for just Bahou. But that’s the only full credit I’ll accept.)

So when Gerry tries to connect non-existent dots like this:

Where was the outcry about someone leaking the Drivers License/Registration of Mike Lenzi? There was none because they consider Mike an anti Lynch guy, a guy who gets family jobs (Yet did anyone say anything when Bill Martins wife joined the Lowell School System?) and someone who doesn’t respect or play nice with them. Same thing for Mary Jo Santoro, Jack and Lynne admit they have never talked with her and yet they feel it is fine to call for her job.

…I have to laugh. Because one tiny somewhat newsworthy item (Lenzi’s license leak) didn’t get discussed, it must mean that’s because we hate Lenzi already and don’t want to put any favorable coverage on the blog. I try not to give this sort of thing oxygen, because I have my own forum (this blog) and you have my writing and you can make up your own mind about my integrity.

There’s lots of things I don’t discuss - sometimes for lack of time, sometimes for being lazy, sometimes because I don’t know enough to comment on the situation. Same thing with “not covering” Bill Martin’s wife. First, I’d have to come out with an assumption that she got the job because Bill interfered on her behalf or someone was his friend. “Correlation does not imply causation.” Second, I didn’t even really know about it. Contrary to public insinuation, I don’t read the Lowell Sun regularly. (No, really, I don’t, unless someone points out something of interest to me.)

And with regards to Mary Jo, we covered quite a lot of stuff when she got hired, when the School Committee bypassed a far better candidate, and knowing full well what everyone knew - she was the hand-picked successor of Cassin’s, and we all know how Cassin was. On top of that I’d attended some meetings where she completely underwhelmed me. Then add knowing how low teacher moral is, knowing how Cassin was never really questioned and how Santoro probably can’t handle being questioned (look at her reaction to my comment), and knowing how Board members are cozy with the administration they are supposed to be overseeing and how many family members have been hired or elevated over the last two administrations…that’s all fair context for the opinions that we express on this blog.

Maybe to Gerry that’s not legitimate context, but I do my homework. I don’t pull you know what out of my ass. If Mary Jo turned out to be a peach, whose tenure was surprisingly great, I would be the first to be happy about that. I love it when I don’t have to grouse. Do you know how much work it is to grouse? I have to gather a lot of background knowledge and information, I have to spend time watching meetings or go back and read up on the history…talk to lots of people and try to make an informed opinion out of what is usually a very confusing situation.

No, I’d so much rather people did their jobs as they were appointed or elected to do, and save me the trouble. But as long as there is a need for sunlight and citizen engagement to solve our problems, I suppose we’ll just have to keep volunteering our time, and make our best attempt to suss out as much truth as we can.

And let our readers decide for themselves if we have the integrity we say we do.

9 Responses to “Gerry Speculates Again…”

  1. Lynne Says:

    In further rumination on some stuff I wrote, I’d like to further another point…

    With regards to Bill Martin’s wife working for the school system: the default position people like Gerry take is that this is somehow equivalent to the family of GLT SC Committee members who have been hired over there.

    In evaluating graft and abuse, there are, like with the “threat” complaint, various “tests” that can be made to make a determination of whether or not a circumstance like that is problematic.

    The first one is to ask, did the person in a position of power lobby for the job for their relative? Is there any evidence that Martin’s wife didn’t merely earn the job in the old fashioned way of being qualified for it? I haven’t seen any evidence of either undue influence or someone getting a job they weren’t fit for and didn’t earn. Correct me if I am mistaken, please. But correlation is not causation.

    Second, does the person in a position of power act differently because of said relative being employed? You can see the undue deference some members of the GLT SC have for the superintendent at their meetings. Instead of exercising their position of oversight, they seem to be completely failing to do so. This is a pretty big indicator that there’s a problem.

    On the contrary, Bill Martin as mayor and chair of the SC followed all due ethics laws, recusing himself from voting on employee contracts, for instance. Besides that, I don’t see where Martin changed his way of chairing the SC because of it. Is anyone making an argument that Martin changed the way he governed based on the fact his wife was employed? I haven’t seen any compelling evidence of such, and actually, my take on his tenure as Chair of the Lowell SC was, as is my evaluation of his mayorship, that he was quite stellar. One thing I’ve always admired Martin for (since his Mayorship and hence my getting to know his abilities) is that he’s a smart guy who is data driven and who has integrity, at least so far as I’ve seen.

    Anyone who has a different opinion, please set forth your arguments and evidence. Merely stating, as the Sun is wont to do sometimes, that Bill Martin’s wife works in the school system, does not tell the whole story or allow you to evaluate what that statement is meant to insinuate.

    This comment is not an exercise in defending Bill Martin. I am using that particular example because Gerry used it in his post. Not all of these circumstances are created equal - certainly you can see the difference between what is going on at the GLT SC and when Martin was chair of the SC…anyone who doesn’t see a difference there is not being an honest player.

  2. Jack Says:

    In the art of distraction and confusion, the “false equivalency” is deployed. Thus, an earthquake of 4.0 is, for all intents and purposes, the same as an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0.

    Several family members of GLTHS School Committee members were hired on the heels of the sweet heart deal Supt. Cassin received, per their vote. The Blog of Record made quite a stink about it at the time. I’ll resurrect that story, in a bit.

    Of course, we should all just move along, there is nothing to see here. Right? Bill Martin’s wife got a job in LPS? EQUAL? I also hear Jim Milinazzo’s sister works at GLTHS. ‘You should back off, Jack. You don’t want to embarass your allies!‘ Then I figured out, Jim’s sister had that job for a decade or so, before Jim ever ran for office.

    Do you find it odd that flimsy arguements often ignore certain evidence to the contrary? We are dealing with “political flim-flam artists” folks. It’s just half of you won’t say shit, if you have a mouth full. You probably carved a turkey up with one of ‘em.
    #familyaffairs
    #misguidedloyaltiesabound

  3. Lynne Says:

    Also, just to be clear, it’s a good idea to know about potential conflicts of interest. Ergo, not a bad idea to know that Milinazzo has a relative at the GLT. But there are some who would use that fact as a bludgeon because they want to score a political point about someone they are set against, ignoring the very real context that the circumstances around that particular hire do not meet the means test of “problematic.”

    However, the reporting of the fact of Martin’s or Milinazzo’s family members having public jobs, that I do not have a problem with. If the reason behind the reporting is so that we can use that awareness to detect real problems, and to keep people honest. Keeping people honest is good, and is what we strive for here.

    Sunlight and transparency, people, sunlight and transparency.

  4. Lynne Says:

    Says Gerry in a new post:

    I Think I am a nuisance to some but this is just a hobby to me and I don’t take myself, my views or my lack of writing skills to seriously unlike the other BLOG who clearly hate being called out for being what they are..POLITICAL!

    Oh, Gerry, there really is no getting through to you, is there?

    Oh, and for the record, of COURSE the blog is political. However, what I object to is you assigning a motivation in my actions that isn’t there. Anyway, who said anything about hating to be called out blah blah? This post is nothing if not reasonable, full of arguments to support my premises. If Gerry wants to believe I’m not being honest when I make statements on this blog, I suppose no amount of reason or logic will change his mind.

    And when I say your blog (and note I say your blog, NOT you) can be a real nuisance it’s because there are times when you talk out of your you know what. When you are not doing that, you actually have a lot to contribute. I kinda wish you’d take advice when it’s offered freely. Your blog could be so much more than it is - but if you persist in rank speculation and reading people’s minds you have no business to, then who can take you completely seriously?

  5. Jack Says:

    Dude, Gerry revels in the liberty of low expectations. Much like the GOBs he so often gives cover to.

  6. Mr. Lynne Says:

    “liberty of low expectations”

    That’s a gem. I’m pocketing that for later use.

  7. Prince Charming Says:

    Jack - they use him as a mouthpiece and a colander (google it, Gerry). Someday somebody will give him what he wants and he’ll just fade away.

  8. Alison Says:

    Lynne take it from me….Gerry’s blog thrives on “assigning a motivation” where none exists and rank speculation without back up is his stock in trade(during my entire term of office he only sent me one question and didn’t believe my answer-he did have the grace to apologize when the whole truth came out on that one) So my advice to you is the same advice I received: “as long as you are clear on your motivations and intentions and what you did and didn’t do….consider the source and ignore it” :) just another country heard from!

  9. Lynne Says:

    “and didn’t believe my answer”

    That’s sort of my biggest problem with his writing…do you spend your entire life never taking people at face value when they tell you something? This whole post is basically a complaint about him not believing me when I say that my motivations are not what he keeps saying they are.

    Never believing anyone seems to me to be an awfully uncomfortable way to live.

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