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Lowell’s been struggling to get a handle on labelling the different political factions that grace our home town. The challenge is made more difficult by so many pols that straddle the lines between disparate special interests. Such an awkward balancing act is the plague of local pols, as everyone is close to them to some degree. Those that do it well, go far. For example, former State Senator Stephen Panagiotakos has a broad swath of Lowell’s political scene covered. His ‘counsel’ is taken/received from very opposite ends of Lowell’s political spectrum. This sort of political capital is hard to come by.
So, earlier today, I was chatting local politics with one of my favourite grassroots activists. He remarked how I seemed to be enjoying myself, here. We talked about the different factions in Lowell and some of the personalities that are prominent in each. When I prodded about a faction that ran closer to the “Nangle brand,” he quipped, “They will never have a chance with the Left in Lowell crowd.”
I’ve been mulling that over. Because, in the sense of ideology, it doesn’t mean anything. Sure. The folks at LiL are not very far Right. But, for sure, I am further “right’” than Lynne. Which, actually is sorta hard to discern because each of us vary based on issue. No doubt, Mimi is in the same boat. I’m not sure. We don’t talk about the divisive “Beltway” politics, much. No need, as there is enough keeping us busy in City Hall. And, on that front, we have to bring in our classic liberal friend, Cliff Krieger.
This really confuses the whole “Left in Lowell crowd” thing. Which must put us closer to what may be called the “Move Lowell Forward crowd.” Btw, Move Lowell Forward has been retired.
I’ll be struggling with the notion of what faction I am assigned to. It is easy, however, when certain elements of Lowell politics are made so stark:
From the Blog of Record:
LOWELL SCHOOL Committee member Dave Conway continues to hammer away at the district-wide position of director of information, communication and technology services.
Conway had advocated for Anne Sheehy when the job opened last year. Superintendent of Schools Jean Franco hired Bill Silver, who was doing a similar job for the Methuen Public Schools.
Since September, Conway has filed two motions that appear to be aimed at Silver or his department.
One was a request for a monthly report that lists overtime or extra pay to employees.
When Franco produced the report, Conway singled out an employee who works in Silver’s department who had accrued overtime.
Franco said the overtime was due to the extensive rollout of technology the school district completed in fall — working day and night to get laptops and smartboards in classrooms.
At this week’s meeting, Conway took a direct stab at Silver’s hiring process.
Conway had filed a motion requesting policies on hiring. The policies were sent to the School Committee’s Personnel Subcommittee, which then brought forward recommendations to the full committee Wednesday night to reduce the size of selection committees from eight to six.
Conway said he asked the district’s human resource director when personnel selection committees are held.
The HR director replied selection committees are used when school principals or citywide positions are filled.
Conway then questioned by there was not a personnel selection committee held when the technology director (Silver) was hired.
Conway said the HR director did not know.
“That smells. That’s a problem somebody is interfering with the that whole process. When we take a look at the process here we should have all the stakeholders at the process,” Conway said.
“I have very grave concerns about the accusations that have been made regarding a staff person,” said Connie Martin, who chairs the Personnel Subcommittee. “I think it would be in the best interest to table this and consult with the Legal Department about how we move forward rather than put ourselves in a difficult situation.”
There is a history to this, folks: The Gall of Dave Conway
For some in Lowell, and I’d throw Dave Conway into that lot, a shred of ‘plausible deniability’ emboldens them to push waaaaay beyond the failure threshold of the ’straight face test.’ For some, speaking the most outrageous of notions, in public session, while keeping a straight face, is a murky badge of honor. C.Elliott, imho, certainly hails from this crowd.
Government is more than just serving those that ’show up.’ We have 106,000 people in Lowell. 10% of the city votes with regularity. Maybe a few hundred engage in a routine fashion.
What I find troubling is that, often, the most active are the ones that seek to barter their elected trust, in return for political fidelity or to serve a small clique. Whatever, the “Left in Lowell crowd” is? I can’t say. But, I can tell you what we are not.
Hacks. … We ain’t them.
Update: Here’s the video from the School Committee meeting currently in question. The part in question starts at 1:00:56
I’m trying to imagine a City Councillor stating that they had wandered into the City’s Human Resources office and started interrogating the help. (On the CC, the specialty seems to be ‘anonymous’ emails.)
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