Left In Lowell

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February 3, 2013

The People of Lowell - In Book Form

by at 4:38 pm.

If you haven’t heard, local history buff Richard Howe, Jr. is co-author of a new book in Arcadia Publishing’s Legendary Locals series. Legendary Locals of Lowell features stories about the movers and shakers of Lowell’s history, from its founding, to modern times. From the book’s official description:

When Nathan Appleton and his colleagues built their first textile mill on the banks of the Merrimack River in 1822, they were pursuing the vision of their departed mentor, Francis Cabot Lowell. The complex system of machinery, labor, management, and capital that resulted made the city that they named Lowell the centerpiece of America’s Industrial Revolution. Changes in technology and commerce made the golden age of Lowell’s mills short lived. Despite the success of businesses such as the patent medicine company of James C. Ayer, jobs remained scarce for decades. Hard times created strong leaders–people like Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, who sponsored the G.I. Bill, and writer Jack Kerouac, who added a new voice to the country’s literary mix. More recently, Paul Tsongas inspired a new generation to transform Lowell into one of the most exciting mid-sized cities in post-industrial America and a world model of urban revitalization. Legendary Locals of Lowell tells the city’s story through pictures of its people.

You can preorder from Amazon here. The book will be released on March 11, 2013. If you object to buying from Amazon (some people do, and there are good reasons), you can be alerted from the publisher’s page when it will be available and of course, it’ll be sold locally in stores…I imagine copies will be in the window of the UML bookstore downtown. They better get a lot of copies, because I know a lot of people will want to get one!

CC Election Season has Begun

by at 3:19 pm.

You can tell the local political season has begun. Mayor Patrick Murphy’s honest answer to Gerry Nutter’s question on yesterday WCAP Saturday morning show has solicited some interesting reactions. In case you missed it, Gerry asked Mayor Murphy about his plans for this upcoming City Council election. And the Mayor said I am “leaning” against not running. He could have said I have not decided yet, but he chose to tell everyone that was listening that he was “leaning” in one direction.

There was a good exchange on facebook after Gerry posted on his blog and I thought that the discussion would remain on that level. However, it was not meant to be.

Today the Sun ran a story on the comments made by Mayor Murphy. Evan Lips, the writer, solicited the reaction of Mayor Murphy’s colleagues and quickly put together a story. I have to praise both Lips and the editor who gave him the assignment.

I found two comments made by different City Councilors to be of interest.

First, CC Rodney Elliott. He is quoted as saying “seems like it could be a plea for attention.” A plea for attention? If that had been Mayor Murphy’s intent he would have cultivated a friendship with our local newspaper. He would have been the recipient of a lot of good press at the expense of his colleagues. He would be often quoted in the Sun always in a positive light. That is how he would get “attention.”

But I would rather focus on this sentence: [City Councilor Marty] Lorrey, who is retired, said he typically spends about 35 hours per week working on council-related matters.

In my opinion this is why it is difficult to attract younger, career-oriented, civic-minded individuals to run for the City Council. Thirty-five hours! Let’s say that CC Lorrey spends the most amount of time. But at a minimum, they spend 20 hours, don’t they?

How can someone with a young family, a demanding career, who may have to commute to work take on another part-time job? Where does one find the time?

These past few weeks I have had a number of discussions on this issue. And it always come back to the “time” problem. Both for campaigning and serving. And please do not blame the old media or the new media. There are plenty of people with the stamina and temperament who could care less what the Sun, WCAP or bloggers have to say.

I am not sure what the answer is. Paying the City Councilor a little bit more than we do might be helpful. Maybe going back to meeting every other week as they did a few years ago? Somethings got to give.

As for Mayor Murphy, let me end my post with Jack’s comments made on facebook “Murphy is a question, shrouded in mystery, cloaked in an enigma; carried by the Gingerbread Man. To predicate a calculation based on what cards he shows you is folly.”

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