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The “HEY! LOOK AT ME!!!!!” crowd is about to embark on a full blown grandstanding jamboree, I’m told. Gerry Nutter got wind of it and now it’s blowing my way, too. We are in for a motion from Councilor Elliott, in the near future, proposing that a charter change be put on the ballot. You can count on Councilor Ditto to second Elliott’s offering.
There is some history to this effort. From 1993:
(h/t Dick Howe, Jr.)
Question 2 - Do you support a change in the city charter to provide for an elected mayor as chief executive instead of an appointed city manager? Yes-10,0441. No-6,760.
That question was put on a city election ballot, as a non-binding resolution. But, it never went any further because after 5 Council incumbents were displaced, the appetite for upheaval diminished. (Funny how that works? Huh?)
Also, another question, that year, showed only a slight edge towards a desire to rid Lowell of Plan E.
Question 1 - Do you support keeping the present Plan E form of government? Yes-8,234. No-8,779.
Should anyone assert that Lowell, circa 1993, has any sort of ‘mandate,’ they should take a few data points into account. (more…)
[Update: Dick Howe has his take as well.]
There is so much to write about tonight’s City Council meeting I hardly know where to begin, and honestly, after an almost 2.5 hour discussion on the floor, I need a break. I’ll have more to say (such great video fodder!! dear god Elliott!) later I am sure.
But nothing showcased “old” and “new” Lowell like this meeting. In podium speech after podium speech from the public, “new” Lowell came…townies and recent arrivals, women and men, older and younger…veterans, minorities, professionals, entrepreneurs, and artists…row after row of them.
There is your reality. It’s scary I know. But Lowell can’t survive without those people wrestling the reigns out of your aging, tired hands. No offense. But the “new Lowell” is only growing stronger. You could have gotten on that boat…still could, if you’d stop fighting it. Certainly, lots of “townies” like Dick Howe are also “new Lowell.” They welcome new blood into the mix, they want more voices to speak and better city government. They don’t want to cling to the old ways, just because they’ve been around a long time.
I’m no lawyer, but this guy is:
Last, night, that attorney appeared in City Hall before the License Commission.
Raymond Weicker, the former license commissioner, served as the attorney for Brian’s Ivy Hall and Hayhurst. Weicker said he was “disgusted” the board decided to take action regarding the events on Dec. 21 because he said the club was not informed the board intended to take disciplinary action.
Watch the proceeding here: http://blip.tv/ltc-license-commission/episode-6542718
And by “former license commissioner,” the Blog of Record means, as of August 16, 2012. We know this because Ray Weicker went out with a bang!
It is with a sense of both relief and regret that I have tendered my resignation, as requested by Manager Bernard F. Lynch. I feel that at this point in time, with only 7 months left on my appointment, our respective approaches, investment in and commitment to the City of Lowell are too divergent and incompatible.
Like I said, I’m no lawyer. It just looks fishy, that a former License Commissioner can represent clients in front of the same LC that s/he served. In Washington DC, we hear of Congresscritters becoming lobbyists, getting rich off the network they have built, capitalizing on whatever influence peddling they can get away with. Lowell isn’t DC. I should hope that we would have some integrity.
So, I looked up the law that I think applies. As best as I can discern, it all comes down to this blurt: in connection with any particular matter  that is of concern to the municipality
“Particular matter,” any judicial or other proceeding, application, submission, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, decision, determination, finding, but excluding enactment of general legislation by the general court and petitions of cities, towns, counties and districts for special laws related to their governmental organizations, powers, duties, finances and property. G.L. c. 268A, § 1(k).
If the tolerance for the sort of things is so giving, that Weicker can represent clients because he is tending to a specific complaint, never before the current LC? I will be flabbergasted. Especially, since rulings by the LC are often incremental, based on past behavior.
If Weicker can do this, good luck to him. His name in the City will take a hit. But, the checks cash all the same.
I’ve been told that the people who really call the shots in Lowell don’t run for City Council or School Committee because they are too busy moving the ball.
Maybe you don’t know these folks, but Kendall Wallace sure does:
What would we have done without people like George Behrakis, Elkin McCallum, the Demoulas family, Gil Campbell, Jack Reilly, Gerry Wallace, John Chemaly, George Duncan, Mark Cochran, Jack O’Connor, Jock Pearson, Norm Deschene and Dick Donahue?
I’m sure this list is shy, but where else should we look? Let’s start here.
So often in politics, there are tiny rooms filled with large elephants. Yet, no one will say a goddamned thing.
And so the powers that be have anointed Congressman Ed Markey as the next U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, issuing a well choreographed series of endorsements to his new candidacy to replace John Kerry. Why, even the future Secretary of State got into the act, issuing a statement that sounded like an endorsement. (Probably written by the wordmasters over at Foggy Bottom for the ever so diplomatic Secretary of State in waiting.)
Just a couple of observations on the “process”. It is not clear to me that Ed Markey is the right answer to the question on who has the best shot to hold the seat for Democrats. But far smarter people, with access to data, have determined that he is, so let us concede the point. Nonetheless what has happened here is an injustice to Capuano, Lynch, Downing, and whoever else was thinking about running. I do not come at this question as a “process” diehard, as some of my good Democratic friends do. I like to win, and I like to see things move, and on that basis I understand what happened. But Capuano, Lynch, and Downing deserved better than what they got. And I am fascinated by the utter lack of consistency of some of those in the liberal blogosphere, who have been devoted to “process” and “democracy”, who now turn a blind eye to what is nothing short of putting the fix in. It will just be a bit more difficult to raise objections in the future when it happens with a different set of candidates.
Finally it is worth noting that one pretty big footprint lies on the back of Governor Deval Patrick, who went from a key player in the selection process to an after thought. Since the Markey move the Governor has been marginalized, with the Washington folks just blowing right by him. The Governor is used to doing the big footing, but in this case the role has been reversed.
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.
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.
I could not, alas, make it to the Tanner St public meeting last night due to another obligation, but Dick Howe has a post with a report.
This is my neck of the woods, so I’m keenly interested in things like proposed realignments for the south end of Tanner St, and the different ideas for connecting the Connector better to the district. The first addresses the major problem of bottleneck at the Connector exit; it’s a nightmare sometimes to try to get onto Tanner St which abuts real close to, but does not align with, the Connector exits and entrances, with the light at Target being right afterwards. Then you add all the 18-wheeler, tow truck, and truck traffic trying to get access from Plain to the industrial end of Tanner, and you can well imagine that something like a Connector exit/entrance at Howard St (the left-turn at the north end of Tanner) would allow the truck traffic more direct access, alleviating that problem as well. I’m not sure that can be done, but if it can, it’d be a significant improvement for both area residents trying to get home as well as attractive to potential new industrial companies who would have direct truck access without tangling with much city traffic.
Anyway, there’s lots of talk about a trail along the River Meadow Brook, which is cool, and trying to figure out how to allow access to and use of East Pond, another natural asset. Also discussion about improvements to Tanner like good sidewalks (boy would that be welcome) and trees, land use studies to figure out any zoning changes, and how to fluff up the pretty dismal entrances into the district.
The big problem with long term plans for an area such as this is that what might be judged to be attractive to businesses now may not in the future. However, I feel that the folks behind this plan have taken a realistic and balanced approach - noting that grandiose, single-company large-scale buildings are not the way to go, but to create a place where small and medium sized industrial companies can buy or lease subdivisions, while making sure to accommodate existing businesses, of which there are many.
More information on Tanner is on the City’s webpage, including maps, meeting materials, and hopefully soon, the draft proposal.
I really go back and forth on whether Gerry’s blog is useful or just a nuisance. (Sorry Gerry, but that’s the truth.) On the one hand, he has done some very good things to further the discussion on politics in Lowell. On the other, he uses his forum to produce rank speculations that have no basis in anything other than his musings. I wish he’d keep his speculations to a minimum, because when he’s on, he’s pretty decent.
Case in point, this post about the current blog v. GLTHSC situation. First, he complains about Cliff’s reaction to his comments yesterday about some people in the Lowell Rumor Mill™ stating that we at LiL didn’t pay attention to the GLT situation until Cliff didn’t get the nod from the selection committee.
For John, BLUF: Blogger Gerrry Nutter got confused on WCAP this AM, over why Left in Lowell has again focused on GLTHS.
On WCAP (680 AM) this AM Blogger Gerry Nutter suggested that Left in Lowell picked up the theme of GLTHS as a result of Ray Boutin, vice Cliff Krieger, being appointed to the GLTHS School Committee
Cliff’s hearing may be going (Nice to see he types like me, one to many r’s in GERRY and 980 WCAP) because what I said is the gossip making the rounds by those who support the Superintendent at the tech is Left in Lowell didn’t start focusing on the Tech until Cliff was bypassed and that Jack is being political because he’s blaming the Supt.for Cliff not getting the appointment.
Truth to tell, I think Cliff misunderstood what Gerry was trying to do on the radio. I was there, and it was pretty obvious Gerry was trying to air out a rumor he himself didn’t believe. Given the personal nature of that rumor against Cliff (attacking our and Cliff’s integrity), I’m not surprised he reacted, but as for me, I thanked Gerry after the show for mentioning because it put sunlight on the rumor so it could be refuted, which to my mind appeared to be what Gerry intended by bringing it up. (more…)
Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that is used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. The phrase is also used to refer to a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of “gimmick” in a desperate attempt to keep viewers’ interest.
In its initial usage, it referred to the point in a television program’s history when the program had outlived its freshness and viewers had begun to feel that the show’s writers were out of new ideas, often after great effort was made to revive interest in the show by the writers, producers, or network.
The usage of “jump the shark” has subsequently broadened beyond television, indicating the moment in its evolution when a brand, design, or creative effort moves beyond the essential qualities that initially defined its success, beyond relevance or recovery.
Besides “civility,” the Council should aggressively curtail the degradation of “decorum.”
For greater context, please click HERE.
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