Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
With permission, I lifted this note for those of you that don’t use Facebook.
Wow. Today has been overwhelming, almost like being at my own funeral (in a good way, without being dead). Thank you all so much for your support, kind words and friendship. I am excited about this new adventure, wherever it takes me, but that doesn’t mean I will turn my back on where I have been. I have spent the last 12 years hanging around the Sun newsroom in a variety of roles from stringer to Valley Dispatch reporter, Tyngsboro/Pelham reporter, Billerica (which is da bomb) reporter, City Hall reporter and most recently Senior Writer. I have worked with amazingly talented people, too many to list here. The newsroom is a unique place full of unique people and completely inappropriate humor, which makes it fun and a great place to be every day. It is a place where I met some of my best friends and the best people I have ever known, with whom I know I will remain friends for life.
I have had the opportunity to fly over the city (and Fenway Park) in a helicopter, spend a day at Shriners’ Hospital with awesome Billerica firefighter Phil Tammaro who was himself treated there for burns as a child and now gives back to the hospital, cover the wedding of two dogs in Westford (one of who was dying of cancer), and have been allowed into countless homes and lives of people in the best and worst times of their lives.
In my time covering City Hall, I learned an enormous amount about municipal government, finance, and planning, from the best municipal administration in the game, filled with brilliant, talented, funny, real people at all levels. I learned a lot about how the city rolls from a bevy of dedicated City Councilors, including my energetic, visionary new boss.
I also learned a ton about education from three great superintendents, their talented support staff, and the committed and hard working School Committee members I have encountered in the 5 years I have spent covering the School Department.
Most importantly I have fallen in love. In love with the city my Great-Great-Great Grandfather Ferdinand Longtin came to from Quebec in 1876, seeking work in the mills. A city whose diversity, neighborhood leaders, culture, food, natural beauty, history and passion make it the most amazing city on Earth. That is why people come and why they don’t leave; why generations upon generations of families call Lowell home.
I am excited about this new job, in which I can use all of the skills I have honed over the years and build upon the relationships I have formed. It is a comfort to know I am going to work in a building where I already have many very good friends and in a city where I hope to make many more while helping the Mayor’s office better serve and effectively communicate to the residents. I have HUGE clown-sized shoes to fill. Greg Page has done a remarkable job in his brief time in the office and I only hope I can live up to the example he has set of professionalism, organization and graciousness.
Update: The outgoing aide, Greg Page, jots on his blog, The New Englander: …And Now, a Brief Pause for Jenuflection
The next few days will be frantic in the bubble. I expect the Mayor to stand stoic, with that easy confidence he puts on so well. The frantic will come from Campi’s camp. They will not know whether to shit or go blind.
Alternate diary titles: Defection Perfection, The Juice is Loose, …
Update: PRESS RELEASE Patrick Murphy announces new Mayoral Aide in City Hall
Update: “Those who have sought to demonize health reform need to put an end to their scare tactics. This needs to begin a new day, where the test is not what you can oppose but what you can propose.” - John Kerry
Pardon me while I spike the ball. This is a (another) “Huah” moment. Ne Desit Virtus (”Let Valor Not Fail”)
Senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Monday, US officials say.
Abu Yahya al-Libi, variously described as daring and charismatic, was becoming a familiar face to the jihadist movement through his appearances on the internet.
American counter-terror analysts have long argued that killing individual al-Qaeda leaders degrades the organisation by forcing the promotion of less experienced operatives. Drone strikes, they say, make al-Qaeda look vulnerable and undermine its global standing.
Behind the drone operations, of course, lies an unseen intelligence operation which fed US commanders knowledge of Libi’s whereabouts. We can’t know how that worked, but we can speculate that it involved the use of satellites and drones to track militants, listening stations to intercept their communications and agents on the ground to provide first-hand information.
The reach and apparent effectiveness of US intelligence in the region may well be as of much concern to al-Qaeda’s leadership as the death of their comrade.
Washington believes that following Osama Bin Laden’s death last year, Libi, an Islamic scholar from Libya, became al-Qaeda’s second-in-command after Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri.
If I’m gloating, it’s not as a soldier. It’s as an “Obama Democrat.”
Don’t be a chickenhawk! Vote Democrat in 2012.
We get lots of blame or credit on this blog for being more influential than we are. (Blame if you are on one side; credit if you are on another.) I have always maintained that we honestly have had a lot less to do with major and minor political events here in Lowell than people think. All we do is talk about things on a little website and put a lot of what people are thinking out there in a public way. Sometimes you could maybe call that a catalyst for change; but we certainly know our place in the conversation, and it’s not all that huge. We just call ‘em like we see ‘em.
However, the one thing that I will take credit for (and have in the past) is the small margin of victory that ousted Mike Hayden from the Greater Lowell Technical High School Committee in 2009. Our exposure of Mike Hayden’s hateful little website and discussion of the shenanigans at the GLTHSC might have been responsible for the narrow margin between him and George O’Hare, returning O’Hare to the Committee along with Fred Bahou, and bumping Hayden out. I gladly take the heat on that one!
Now, it appears, we WILL have a vacancy on the GLTHS Committee with Lenzi leaving (don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out) and Hayden has withdrawn his name, so he states.
Aside from his whiny whine about someone outing his interest (what, you sent it to 15 politicians and expected it to remain a secret? Are you nuts??) I especially liked this tidbit:
Secondly the amount of negative talk and blogging on my interest was enough for me to realize that my family and I do not need this negativity in our lives. … My political days are over.
Always happy to oblige! And dare we hope??
But I must object to one thing…any negativity is completely what you created yourself. I only quoted you, your comments, and your own website, and outlined a very suspicious pay package for the previous Superintendent in the 2009 race. You did it to yourself.
I do so love how these people project their own faults and foibles onto others who would point them out in order to make the discussion fair. It entertains me. So transparent, so easy to understand, and yet they cannot see it themselves.
Wonder if we’ll be seeing Hayden pop up any more in blog comments? I really do miss having Hayden to kick around…so to speak. Well, to let him kick himself around, rather.
Heard today on WCAP news: Bernie Lynch is indeed interested in the open Cambridge City Manager position. I suppose this is the moment you come back at me saying the word “duh” and all, but color me unhappy about it!
I had a friend and colleague whose husband was a manager of a golf course. The only way to “move up” in the gold course management world is…to change jobs to a more famous, prestigious golf course. Even if it means moving hours away to a whole new state. So I’m not surprised Lynch is contemplating putting his hat in the ring (or inevitably going to do so, whichever you see fit). The only way to “move up” in your career as a municipal manager is to find a bigger city with more prestige, more responsibility, bigger budgets, etc.
But I hope that CM Lynch doesn’t take it personally when I say I hope they find many faults in his application and tell him to go back to his old job. Or that they like the Billerica town manager much better (who is also reportedly interested in the job according to ‘CAP)!
So often, I hear the Bernie Bashers spinning yarns of Lynch escaping to Cambridge. Well, I better get used to it!
Cambridge — Robert Healy’s over 30 year tenure running the city of Cambridge as its city manager will come to an end a little over a year from now.
“I will be 70 years old in August of ’13, not that I’m going to stop working,” Healy said in a brief interview after the City Council voted to extend his contract for another year. “We won’t be here next January talking about the same thing.”
Healy said he would not reconsider his decision to retire but thought staying on while the City Council looks for someone else to take the helm “made a lot of sense.”
Maybe the Council should give Lynch a new 5 year contract, this year?
Bet you never thought I’d write that, did you? But he’s correct - the outrage over the firing of the Mayor’s assistant, Diane Bujnowski, particularly from Bud and Rita, is just not warranted. (Surprise, the Budrita outrage machine is overwrought again.)
First, as Gerry notes, prior to Diane, it was actually very unusual to keep a Mayor’s aid on past the term of the mayor who hired them. The fact that Diane has been around this long is an anomaly, not the norm.
The Sun article never mentions that BEFORE Bujnowski it was a tradition for the Mayor to hire his /her own aide but when you have a cub reporter covering City Hall who was only 8 or 9 and growing up in the people’s republic of Cambridge when Bujnowski started, he may NOT know the history.
Of course, we can’t expect a reporter to do any research so they can put an article into context instead of using yet another non-controversy to whack Mayor Murphy (and as always, by extension, CM Lynch) over the head. *rolls eyes*
Secondarily, I must respond to the outrage in comments on both Topix at the Sun and Gerry’s blog, to those who are angry he “blindsided” Diane: as I noted both on Topix (not yet moderated through) and on Gerry’s blog (also not moderated yet as I just posted it) - hell, let me just quote myself on his blog, it’s easier (with further edits in brackets):
You NEVER give an employee two weeks’ notice. EVER.
You would be taking the chance that that employee, disgruntled and still able to access their email, servers, and the physical location, would cause the employer damage, like changing passwords they have ultimate access for or other things.
You ALWAYS blindside someone even if it’s just a downsizing or layoff that has nothing [bad] to do with the employee in question. You pull them into your office, tell them they are being laid off/fired, and then they get escorted to their desk to clear it out and then escorted out of the building (after giving any keys, access cards, etc to security). I’ve been on the receiving end of a layoff in the past, and it wasn’t even a contentious situation, and this was what I faced. It sucked hard, and I was unhappy about it seeming like I wasn’t trusted, but in retrospect (I was young then) it made sense.
And hence the fact that in the article linked, the woman has all sorts of quotes about being blindsided and told things were fine and how it was a slap in the face, well, that’s how it feels, even in normal layoffs and such. [I was hurt when I was laid off all of a sudden, too.] OF COURSE Lyle would be able to get such quotes from her, [when her feelings are raw and she feels terrible…which of course fuels] controversy, and giving Bud and Rita plenty of ammo. I’m shocked, shocked that the Sun would make hay with this. Not.
Hell, if I were Murphy, I’d worry a little bit about her cozy relationship with past mayors who have anti-Murphy/anti-Lynch agendas. Maybe she’s trustworthy, but maybe not, or maybe Murphy couldn’t make a clear determination of her trustworthiness. Things have been leaked [in the past] from City Hall to damage someone else’s tribe, after all.
And yes, I am starting to use Jack’s terminology sometimes. It’s handy.
By the way, you should note that the news of her replacement has been broken (by, let’s face it, a real reporter) - Jen Myers on Twitter.
Yeah, that’s right. It’s recent returning vet, local blogger, and outstanding all around awesome guy Greg Page. Let’s see Bud and Rita complain about that. And it’s just awesome, anyway. Congrats Greg! (Careful, you might have jumped from the frying pan and into the fire!) Good luck and I know you will rock in the role.
Speaking of hirings and firings, I might as well take this moment to mention that I have, myself, been hired for an actual 9-to-5 with a commute (to NH no less, hold your sarcasm please, I know, I know) which, while it should mean “not as much blogging from me,” really just means, carry on as usual, since I’ve been pretty scarce ’round these parts lately. But it bears mentioning anyway. I started last week, so I am limited in my access during the week.
Edit: My comment about trustworthiness is total speculation and NOT meant as an affront to the employee in question. I don’t know her from Adam and from all accounts everyone liked her. But even inadvertently, a relationship with a past mayor, even innocent, could pose a problem in today’s environment of fake outrage and knee-jerk anti-Lynch sentiment from certain quarters. Like Budrita.
From Rita Savard:
We’re here and it’s time to Howl! Please join us tonight at the Back Page for open mic and a whole lotta howlin’ at the launch party for Lowell’s new online A&E magazine.
Don’t forget to order up our signature Howlin’ elixer, courtesy of the lovely Courtney Sott. It’s got some bite!
See you there, 8:30 p.m. to close, 15 Kearney Square along the Eastern Canalway
And the snow? Pfffft!
Not our district, but exciting news none the less! Alex Buck of Chelmsford has announced he is running for the seat of retiring State Senator Susan Fargo.
Alex is a friend of mine via previous campaigns like Patrick in 2006, and a really great guy. Smart, progressive, and full of ideas. Also running: Joe Mullin of Weston (don’t know him) and Mara Dolan of Concord (she produces a Democratic cable access show, and I’ve met her a few times, and she seems good too).
Should be a spirited and fun race to watch! Hey, sometimes we gotta be interested in things outside of Lowell, ya know?
Edit: I have been told there is another in the race, Mike Barrett of Lexington, a former Rep from Reading and Senator from Cambridge…who also ran for Congress.
Seems to be shaping up to be a competitive race!
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