Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
My bleeding heart is wrenched:
Whatever happened to government of the people, by the people and for the people?
Yes, the board’s decision just saved the city $877 yearly and thousands more in health-insurance premiums, but its insensitive, bean-counter — or worse — behavior leaves us wondering where humanity factors into the bottom line.
If you hear a distant wailing of, “Oh, .. the Humanity,” please note, it is not the Hindenburg crashing to terra firma. It is Jim Campanini’s credibility.
Think the sequester doesn’t affect us? Think again.
Even the Lowell Sun knows better.
If automatic federal funding cuts go into effect Friday, Lowell National Historical Park officials expect they will have to cut about $415,000 from its budget, eliminating travel for employees and park funding for programs like the Lowell Folk Festival and the Tsongas Industrial History Center.
The National Park Service has asked individual parks to prepare to cut 5 percent from their budgets, but exactly what will happen when the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, go into effect still isn’t clear, said Celeste Bernardo, the Lowell park superintendent.
“The uncertainty is really difficult,” she said.
And I have news for the Republicans among us: The projected deficit has been cut pretty dramatically and it’s gone down already, without these draconian, stupid, self-inflicted and painful slashes to our important programs and services. And it is a LACK OF GROWTH that is killing our revenues and fueling huge deficits. The last thing you should be doing in a still-recovering economy is laying off teachers and fire fighters and reducing spending on projects like roads and bridges. All of those jobs are full of people who, when employed, SPEND MONEY and create economic activity. Guess what they do when they get laid off? They stop spending!
After over an hour of details surrounding the $2 million loan order to purchase new parking kiosks, as well as improve some of Lowell’s current inventory, C.Kennedy made a motion to delay the vote by one week. The discussion, then, continued for about another hour more. Ultimately, the motion to delay was supported, 7-2, with C. Lorrey and C. Mendonca against.
Come tomorrow, over at LTC.org, we can all dive back in to the picayune of tonight’s exquisitely detailed waltz around the kiosks. Honestly, I partly jest. There was plenty of red meat for those of us that like concrete responses to valid questions. But, tonight, politics was in the air, so progress was waylayed.
It’s late, so I’m going to put down some quick notes and take a lucky stab at how this all plays out over the next week.
There seemed to be, for all intents and purposes, 2 unresolved issues: 1) the proposed parking along Father Morrissette Blvd 2) if the loan order should be approved before the bid documents are evaluated.
What item on the City Council meeting agenda tonight will be fodder for another Elliott meltdown? Place your bet in comments. Here are your choices:
1. Communication - Amy Pessia from Merrimack Valley Food Bank discussion of Spring food drive.
2. Proclamation - To Coach Phil Maia and the Lowell High School Indoor Track Team in recognition of the 2012-1013 State Championship and recognizing February 27, 2013 as the 2012-2013 Lowell High School Indoor Track Team Day.
3. Minutes of City Council Meeting February 19th, Public Safety Sub/Committee February 12th, and Rules Sub/Committee February 19th for acceptance.
GENERAL PUBLIC HEARINGS (Scheduled for 7PM)
4. Loan Order - Capital Improvement Bonds - to borrow $2,000,000 for the purpose of financing the purchase and installation of parking kiosks.
The Blog of Record’s Blogger-in-Chief penned, what is effectively, a carbon copy of former License Commissioner Ray Weicker’s Facebook musings, re: the CM’s apology to the City Council. No one I have talked to has accused Jim Campanini of ever having an original thought in his head. This observation has, apparently, not made its way across the continental divide to The Sun’s home office. (Ha! The Lowell Sun is run by a “blow in” and owned by a company HQ’d in Denver.)
Here is Campi’s closing argument. See how he narrows the universe to a small few.
In disrespecting one councilor, Lynch disrespected all nine — as well as the citizens of Lowell who elected them.
“You’ve got to check the travel records. I’ve come back and forth (from Washington to Boston) every weekend, almost, for three years, and I see, you know, most of the delegation, and I have never seen Ed on the airplane - ever,” Brown added.
Ever the ready echo, David Nangle ensured that if anything crossed his lips to a reporter, at Lowell’s Democratic Caucus, it would be negative.
Democratic Lowell state Rep. David Nangle agreed. Nangle, who supports Lynch, said one of the South Boston candidate’s strengths in the Merrimack Valley is his blue-collar roots.
Click the link I provided, please. Read the quotes our very own Paul Sweeney provided. He gives us some hearfelt testimony on why he supports Markey. I know it’s heartfelt because Paul has said very similar things to me, directly, since Markey’s interest in the vacated seat became public. Paul’s support contrasts starkly against the manufactured smear campaign that Scott Brown’s flacks jotted on a yellow sticky for their patron. Now, Steve Lynch’s ‘man-about-town,’ Dave Nangle, is regurgitating that smear.
The Lynch folks better put Tipa Golden up front, in Lowell, before Nangle screws it up even more.
It should be clear to just about anyone, why I refer to the Lowell Sun as the Blog of Record.
THE ALLEGATION from a City Hall janitor that Mayor Patrick Murphy broke the glass on a City Hall door in anger after Tuesday’s meeting, which Murphy denies, prompted some council observers to wonder what Murphy could have been upset about.
Right away, the anonymous blogger that penned this bit, moves quickly past Murphy’s denial and drives on under the assumption that the janitor’s word is gold. Two things bolster this asumption. First, the Mayor, himself, has crafted a public persona as an edgey outsider. He has made bold moves, big moves. In reaction to the Mayor, his detractors have conjured a persona of him as a ‘hothead.’ This persona is not too far from reality. Though I know Murphy has the martial discipline required, I notice in his body language, a posture of one prepared to fight, in the moment. Anyone that watches hockey knows of what I mean. We see skaters beginning to square off and we’ll snort, “Oh. The gloves are coming off.” Mayor Murphy, when challenged, will find an engaged, cutting eye. One that promises more than just a trifle, should the challenge cross Murphy’s line.
But what stands out most in the farcical tale is this:
Councilors Ed Kennedy, Rita Mercier and Elliott all told The Sun that a city janitor asked them as they were exiting City Hall why Murphy was so upset.
The councilors said nothing happened that they were aware of, and asked the janitor why he was inquiring.
“He said ‘The mayor stormed out of City Hall and slammed the door and the glass broke,’” Kennedy said.
Elliott and Mercier confirmed that account.
At almost every City Council meeting I have attended, C.Elliott makes a hasty exit. It’s routine for him to be packing up his papers during the last motion, practically on his feet, if not standing, when the gavel falls for adjournment. How is it that, on this odd night, the entire ‘Axis of Chatty’ are ‘present’ to support Lyle Moran’s investigative high water mark.
It’s that time again. I decided the big “Muttering Microphone Controversy of 2013″ was a great opportunity to highlight the utter inanity that is the Rodney Elliot Show on most Tuesday nights. By the time you watch the whole thing, you’ll be wishing the City Manager YELLED instead of muttered, you’re that frustrated.
This time, I got a little fancy in parts. I’m getting my editing legs under me. Soon I will be platform agnostic (Adobe Premiere and Final Cut).
Also, yeah, in parts I was brutal. You would be too if you had to play and rewind, play and rewind the bullshit over and over again.
Without much further ado, I present…Episode II.
PS - Episode I is here.
You might have been sensing a theme rising in our small city community lately. It’s a theme that is spreading out across the country, but it has special significance to Lowell. Call it the DIY movement. Or self-sufficiency. Or making things.
There may at first glance not seem a specific link between groups like Mill City Grows, small local businesses like Sweet Lydia’s, and “makerspace” groups which are also becoming the buzz around here, but in effect, it’s about people in a community doing for themselves. Whether that’s sustainable gardening, using Kickstarter to raise enough funds to open your own sweets shop, or sharing incubator or machine space with others, it’s about innovating ways at the grassroots level to do for yourself, alongside a community of people, what cannot be accomplished alone.
It’s a movement that asks, what if we could feed ourselves with safe, locally grown food, even in the city? What if I could learn to machine my own parts? What if I could start a business in such a way that causes the community to have a stake with me?
That it’s happening so much in Lowell is a product of several things converging…first, the energy of new, young, professionals engaging in their community. Also, an emphasis on the new economy and innovative economic ideas by the city and its Planning Department, and the doubling of that by a University which is expanding by building such things as the Nerve Center. Lastly, Lowell’s unique history of industry and innovation creates a narrative that is a good foundation for a new wave of doers.
I’ll even admit to being infected myself. I might not be interested in a community garden space with one of Mill City Grow’s new gardens (after all, I do have a half decent backyard much closer to home) but I’ve been inspired by them to really up the ante this year in producing my own veggies. I’ve started collecting ideas on Pinterest and even am cataloging my own journey with DIY projects to make urban gardening easier and more productive (and woodchuck proof). I’ve always had an interest in planting since I was a kid, but now I mean business. (Well, not literally, since I won’t be selling anything, but I hope to have enough excess to give to family and friends, and even to make regular trips to the MV Food Bank). My goal is not to go pretty, but utilitarian, with sub-irrigated DIY buckets, towers, and some indoor growing (since I have this amazing, largely unused, southern-exposure windowed four-season room in my house going to waste).
Yeah, it’s getting that crazy. There’s just something in the air in Lowell these days. A doing thing. Stay tuned. (And our new show, Threads, will definitely be talking to some of Lowell’s new makers too!)
I took some phone video (as best I could) of Ed Markey tonight, who was in Lowell. I didn’t catch the very beginning but got most of it. Posting it as is (I haven’t checked it for audio levels and such). So if you missed Ed Markey tonight you can listen to his speech. It was very well received by the crowd tonight at The Old Court.
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