Left In Lowell

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May 19, 2013

“The Left in Lowell Crowd” (Updated)

by at 4:31 pm.

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.”
(more…)

April 24, 2013

C. Kennedy: Leader or Campaigner?

by at 10:54 pm.

Greg Page coined the phrase, Home Run Derby.

After a recent Council meeting in which there were a series of emotional speeches preceding what would clearly be a 9-0 vote, I was searching for a term for these sorts of things, and settled on “Home Run Derby.” Why?

Because everyone can get up, take their cuts for the fence in Barry Bonds-ahead-of-the-count-and-nothing-to-lose fashion, while the pitches are coming in straight to the wheelhouse and no one is playing defense.

Last night’s City Council meeting met the criteria for a ‘Home Run Derby’ and then some. Unfortunately, we need a new phrase for the ‘and then some.’ What do we call it, or should call it, when a Councilor jumps in front of a moving band wagon, in the hopes of taking credit for the soon to come achievement.

Let’s focus, now, because this is EXACTLY what C.Kennedy is doing with the motion he directed at the License Commission. (more…)

April 12, 2013

2012 “Unlikely Voters” - Lowell Zoom In

by at 12:07 pm.

After the 2012 election, it didn’t take long for me to brag about how we routed Scott Brown: Groundgame (h/t Andrew Howe & Ariela Gragg, et al)

This map is a screen grab from The Boston Globe:

 photo SenateMap2012.jpg

Excuse me, … I can’t stop chuckling. *deep breath* Anyways, let’s look at what happened in Lowell. (more…)

March 22, 2013

Gov. Patrick Pitches His Budget on LTC

by at 8:46 pm.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the Governor’s proposal by MassBudget.org.


(more…)

March 4, 2013

Bubble Heads: Flashback - Who Hires, Who Cares

by at 11:36 pm.

Obviously, the GLTHS’s Supt. Santoro wants to go out in a hail of rhetorical barbs:

To imply that I somehow want to influence this hire is not only ludicrous but reflects the level of paranoia and need for control on the part of those who have been critical of this administration (me, in particular) and is a clear indication of the lack of understanding for how the process works as well as the importance of maximizing the potential for the BEST person we can get by staying competitive with other districts.

I’d like to thank the Supt for her service. Wishing her the warmest Arrivederci. Also, maybe a suggestion that she doesn’t embarrass those that have had her back, all this time, by being ‘untoward.’

That said, let’s not lose perspective on the whole, who hires during a transition period? We’ve been down this road before.
(more…)

February 24, 2013

Nangle Parrots Scott Brown, Again

by at 10:05 pm.

Scott Brown, 1/2/12:

“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.

He’s so well known in his home community because he’s always there,” said Nangle.

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.

February 20, 2013

Video: Ed Markey in Lowell

by at 8:11 pm.

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.


February 16, 2013

The Chastened Blogger

by at 10:25 pm.

Be careful,” she said smugly, as she sauntered off.

This is a true story. The names are witheld, because it is a learning moment.

Tonight, a buddy of mine scored some tix to the UML v. UMASS hockey game. Good seats, center ice with access to the Pavilion. When we got to the Tsongas, my crew breezed into the blue collar swank of Martyville. It stank of Old Spice and the ladies had their second generation Acre Doos neatly sprayed in place. I have no sales pitch. I ain’t running for anything, so I broke from my gaggle and beelined out the other side. My seat was in the middle of a row, so I plopped in an open end seat and enjoyed the First Period.

With 3 minutes left, the Riverhawks were floundering on the Power Play, so I headed to the can and back to the Pavilion. I may dub it the Hawk Nest. That may never catch on, but you’d be surprised how some of my blog speak has stuck in the Bubble vernacular. I buy myself and the guy that got me in, each a Winter Lager, then got my chat on. Yada Yada … The Lowell Memorial Auditorium … Board of Trustees … Mike Dinneen .. it’s all good. What’s up for the City election? Yada Yada.

There is a table eye balling me. Whatevs. They looked like Brahmin from The Belvidere.

I see one of the City Councilors, then two. One Councilor has the sweetest lady of a wife. So, I stood nearby to offer a quick peck on the cheek and a friendly, “Hello.” She is the best. The circle sort of closed in and I stuck around to chat about the upgrades to the joint. How I had seen the Talking Heads in the Tully Forum. Yada Yada. Pleasant stuff. No politics, that I could discern. Councilors deserve some down time. My crew had headed to their seats.

It was literally, just at about the moment when I was about to make a break for it, offer a jovial, “I’ll let you enjoy the rest of the game … ,” when some strange woman approached me. I got some odd introductory, Belvidere version of Travis Bickle. I was confused, by this. But, then the City Councilors started to say say,”Hi” to this woman. I figured out what I had on my hands.

Let me say this, I respect that she had enough clan loyalty to approach me and make an effort to put me back on my heels. At this point, the Councilors were peeling away. I don’t blame them. These things are sticky. So, it’s me and her. It was civil. At first, I was very subdued. I took the lashing. Mostly because I don’t know how much she actually knows and how much she has been told by others. However, she opted to over emphasize her point and I was more firm. Public people on the public payroll are fair game. Period.

“You don’t know my family,” was a common utterance for the several minutes we mingled. As I think about it here, in the quite of the lamplight, I know she is correct. All of what I know is third party. Some is gossip, but more is printed in the Blog of Record. My tendency is to print the stuff that is verifiable. But, I’ll admit that the gossip colors my perspective, especially, gossip from several credible sources.

The whole episode took minutes. And, as it occured, I was shrunken a bit by the cockiness of a woman that doesn’t weigh a 140lbs, dripping wet. For some reason, maybe because I am aware of my physical size and bearing, I normally shrink when small people get pissy with me. I was genuinely feeling her disgust for me. I was trying to process it. That anger. That violation. That trespass. This was a woman that I would certainly dowse via Fire Marshall approved methods, should I notice any flames emanating from her proximity. She stood her ground. She squared off. I do respect that.

Be careful,” she said smugly, as she sauntered off.

That bit was sketchy and I bristled. By now, I was an island. My crew was watching the game, 400 feet away. The Councilors had hightailed the scene of the crash and I knew it would have been imposing to cozy up to them, looking for affirmation. I was an island, floating in a sea of Old Spice & hair spray vapors. I was, in that moment, the proverbial ‘Leper,’ Paul Belley had warned me about. That moment sucked.

Be careful,” she said smugly, as she sauntered off.

I sauntered off, through the guarded entry, into the crowd of common folks, enthralled by the spirit of sport. Game on!

February 12, 2013

A Losing Proposition For The Old Guard

by at 6:00 pm.

So, the chatty Councilors are miffed!

… Murphy didn’t stop there. “I think the last council was a lot more productive,” he said, adding that the current council is “more chatty” with longer meetings, but that it “hasn’t been as productive as it can be.”

Ouch! Veteran councilor and former mayor, Rita Mercier, and councilors Rodney Elliott, Marty Lorrey and Ed Kennedy all took offense at Murphy’s remarks.
Tuesday afternoon, The Column Blog picked up some political intelligence indicated those councilors who aren’t so mature might fire back at the mayor, who became the city’s youngest-ever mayor at age 29 in 2012, during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

One councilor even said: “There is going to be a war.

Issues that are expected to blow up on the City Council floor often fizzle, and get settled in the cloak room. This one, however, sounds like it could have legs.

This reminded me of George Anthes talking at C. Kennedy & C. Leahy on City Life, yesterday. Anthes was fluffing the idea of voting Mayor Murphy off the Chair. Could it be done? Is the sentiment on the Council strong enough? .. Yada Yada

Tonight, I would expect several Councilors to grouse about Muphy’s candidness. Not unlike they did back, last October.

But, if they decide to ratchet it up a notch, and try to vote Murphy out? I can’t help. but think, that would be a big mistake. See, there is no good reason to remove Murphy. He is legitimate in his criticisms of the Council. Just because The Blog of Record can’t manage a fair representation of this Council, does not make Murphy wrong. Diplomatic? Murphy is not. Well founded? I’d say, SPOT ON.

So, should the Council err and unseat Murphy, let me tell you how it will go. First, we will replay the whole “Strangle Him In The Crib” routine. Except this time, the hit will not be on a Republican. It will be old school Dems sniping the young upstart Murphy. Don’t tell me that Dave Nangle isn’t sweating Murphy finding new digs in the 17th Middlesex. Further, don’t tell me that C. Kennedy wouldn’t stoop so low as to move against Murphy in the Chamber. Kennedy would have 2 votes, behind him. Could he beg Lorrey and Leahy over to the “Dark Side?” Ponder that? Could the dominoes fall?

Such a move would clearly be a political move, motivated towards stunting Murphy’s much speculated “ambition.”

And, such a move would backfire.

In the 2012 November election, Lowell had the largest voter turnout in modern history. Making Mayor Patrick Murphy a martyr would create some “fireworks” alright. But, bet this, the ones playing with fire will get burned.

February 1, 2013

Rita Mercier & Dave Nangle Have Formed a Prayer Group

by at 1:06 pm.

They are praying Scott Brown stays out of this Senate Special Election.

Frankly, it is HARD to cross party lines. No one on either side really quite trusts you. Of course, on the local level, both Rita and Dave have solid support. Mostly, because they are fairly down to earth people, that are willing to ply their skill at the ‘grip and grin’ at street level. Both are unpretentious and folksy. Almost adorable in quirky ways. (Unless you rub them the wrong way.) But, political sophistication is not their calling card. So, in the 2012 General Election, their individual choice to support Republican Scott Brown has assuredly caused them grief in ways that they had not accounted for. Note: Brown did well in the Belvidere section of Lowell. So, niether Rita or Nangle have much to sweat over, come their own respective reelections. That said, Rita will take it hard if she doesn’t finish 1st.

For both of them, the best thing that Scott Brown can do for them, … is to sit this special election cycle out. Good news for them is, it’s looking like he may:

With time running short, Washington Republicans have begun a “full court press’’ to persuade an increasingly reluctant Scott Brown to run in the special election to replace John F. Kerry, say two leading Massachusetts GOP figures.

The eleventh-hour effort, coordinated by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, comes as those familiar with Brown’s deliberations are becoming convinced that he will not run and instead will look for a job in the private sector.

Please consider how much of a pickle, especially Dave Nangle, is in right now. The MADems would be hard pressed to sweep another endorsement of Brown under the rug. For Rita, much less so, but Nangle put his personal friendship to Brown as the hallmark to his endorsement. Even though many in Dave Nangle’s crew are inclined to support Congressman Stephen Lynch, with every fiber of their ‘Blue Dog’ beings, Nangle can not simply annul his endorsement of Brown out of political convenience. Friendship has to MEAN something. Nangle’s entire political existence is, all but, built on personal fidelity.

If Scott Brown bails, this will allow Nangle, and Rita, to slip back into the fold. There will be some ribbing, but pols love to win elections. As do the staff that support them. Few will argue that Mercier and Nangle don’t offer some electoral boost. If not city-wide, definitely in The Belvidere.

UPDATE: Brown won’t run, for now.

“… I was not at all certain that a third Senate campaign in less than four years, and the prospect of returning to a Congress even more partisan than the one I left, was really the best way for me to continue in public service at this time. And I know it’s not the only way for me to advance the ideals and causes that matter most to me.

“That is why I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in the upcoming special election.”

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