Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
So in response to my post about the master plan draft public meeting, Mr. George DeLuca called a waaahmbulance. Essentially labeling the Lowell Planning Dept all but sinister and evil (I believe he used the word “arrogant” and implied they had some reason to rush…also called the situation “crap”).
Now, isn’t that interesting coming from someone who used the terms “vicious” and “appalling” on the other blog to describe my language? I mean, isn’t it rather vicious to call the DPD folks arrogant? No?
So what’s George’s beef? Well, first, that the public meeting is in January. As in, in the month after the holidays. Of course, I have a lot better opinion of the abilities of interested Lowellians to walk and chew gum at the same time (or, go to a few holiday parties and download a PDF to read by January) but George seems to think this is some vast conspiracy to keep people from bothering, or something.
His second beef is even more adorable…”It’s also glaring that the report highlights the names the DPD staff and friends, but not those who attended the meetings and provided the input contained in the draft.”
Um…okay. Someone wanna tell me where in common practice does every single member of the public who gets input incorporated into a draft municipal Plan of any sort gets billing in the document that results? I’ve never heard of that. Of course, George is all about the credit; oh, and using this blog as a platform to sell his latest venture. Just some advice. If you want cross pollination on a blog for your own stuff, you might first want to stop beating up on that blog’s owner on other blogs. Just sayin’.
We have in front of us one of the most open, public-accessible, technocratic and professional DPDs that we’ve had in a long time, and George, instead of trying to find out more information that might mitigate his overblown outrage, is demanding…because he says so…that the meeting be delayed, and telling city councilors in a letter that there’s stuff missing from the document he thinks ought to be in there. Like what, George? They didn’t put in a plan to move the high school out of downtown again?
If you want to post on this blog, George, do so at your own peril from here on in.
1a : bile; especially : bile obtained from an animal and used in the arts or medicine
b : something bitter to endure
c : bitterness of spirit : rancor
2: brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence
Case in point:
* The School Committee passed Conway’s motion requesting a report from the superintendent on hiring practices in the district for administrators, supervisors and districtwide positions.
He said teachers have approached him with concerns over the consistency and transparency when it comes to hiring. While some positions use a search committee and interviews are held in public, others are not, he said.
“I certainly can understand the frustration that some jobs are out in the open and some are not. I’d like to know why,” he said.
Well, if you’re inclined to griping, at least.
The city is asking for feedback on its draft version of the Comprehensive Master Plan: Sustainable Lowell 2025. There will be two public meetings in the new year for the public to bring their feedback:
Monday, January 7th at Alumni Hall, 84 University Ave, UMass Lowell North Campus, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Wednesday, January 9th at Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway Street, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
And…”Comments can also be submitted by phone or online to Allegra Williams, Neighborhood Planner at (978) 674-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org between December 3rd - January 15th, 2013. Comments will be incorporated into a final plan, which will be presented for adoption and endorsement in the Winter of 2013.”
You can download the draft plan here.
In a full, regular session CM Bernie Lynch made his case for what he views as the most fiscally prudent way forward, taking into account the $6.4Million the Commonwealth has certified as Free Cash. The CM presented a detailed slide presentation in an effort to convince a majority of the City Council to support his fiscal sensibilities. Your mileage may vary, but Lowell is doing swell on so many fronts. Shouldn’t we just follow along?
A lazy man may say “Yes.” But, we have a Plan E Charter and our Council cannot, in good faith, simply roll over should this manager, or any manager, wink. Fortunately, CM Lynch presents a very solid case for the fine shape we are in. That fact makes it that much tougher to recklessly bat at his logic.
Below we find two of Lynch’s favorite metrics: Cash Reserves & Excess Levy Capacity
These metrics are measures of frugality. We don’t blow our budget and we don’t, contrary to popular myth, tax Lowellelians to death. (The last point drives UTL President Paul Georges nuts.) The take away here is that it is good to build up a rainy day fund, while concurrently leaving money in folks pockets. Some may argue that raising taxes EVER is a torrential downpour. They are full of crap, imho. Next…
Speaking of Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren, if you haven’t heard it yet, she will be in Lowell this weekend on a stop of her “Starting with People” tour, Saturday, Dec 8th, at 5:30pm at Hookslide Kelly’s at 19 Merrimack St. I’m sure the turnout will be pretty big, with lots of notables on hand.
Then the real work will begin for our new Junior Senator!
Elizabeth Warren, despite the all-out, and early, Wall St lobbying in opposition, has been nominated to the Senate Banking Committee, where she can do the most good for the economics of the middle class.
Warren’s big claim to fame, after all, is her long study of economics, bankruptcy, housing markets, and other family finance concerns. She cut her political teeth in her opposition in the late 90s on opposing the bank-and-credit-company backed bankruptcy reform, which initially was successfully fought off, until under the Bush administration it passed, with the support of formerly-opposed, newly elected Senator Hillary Clinton.
Putting this woman in the position of safeguarding her best political triumph, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and doing more work of the same, is the obvious choice. But it was never assured, due to the influence Big Finance has in D.C. So I’m glad the Dems are starting to really buck their capitulating ways (Exhibit B: Obama is not pre-negotiating with himself on the “austerity crisis”). Maybe there’s something salvageable about the party on the federal level after all!
From Jen Myers:
I’m happy to announce that Room50 is now officially an “official” city blog (which means I can write it during the work day).
One of Mayor Murphy’s goals since becoming Mayor has been to make the office more open and welcoming to all Lowellians regardless of age, class, or ethnic background, as well as to improve communication between City Hall and residents of the community.
The mission of this site, the official blog of the Office of the Mayor, is to tell some of the “untold” stories of the city, as well as to engage all residents to let them know their civic participation is welcomed and crucial to the continued growth of the city.
Yes, it will be refreshing to be able to read .. good news.
We have ‘rumor,” and we have data:
But, not all data is created equal.
Thanks to Corey S, I found my way onto a photo gallery on Facebook by the Lowell Historical Society. As a “nouveau townie” (let’s do away with blow-in, please), I was fascinated to see what Lowell looked like as it widened Pawtucket Blvd, built the Wang Towers and the Rourke bridge, and before the tear-down and rebuilding of large areas of downtown Lowell. This early-80s set of photos (donated anonymously) is a great walk down memory lane for some, and a fascinating look at old Lowell for those who have more recently made it their home.
In other great Lowellcentric things to browse on a Sunday afternoon, I again came across the Rourke Bridge replacement study website, which has lots and lots of great information on the public meetings, studies that have been done, and more. As project websites go, it’s a really good one. If you, like me, missed the public meetings, I highly recommend reading through some of the material!
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