Left In Lowell

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2013 Candidate Questionnaire Responses!
 

September 22, 2013

Candidate Answers to LiL Questionnaire

by at 8:01 am.

screenshot of tableSo here it is folks. The pièce de résistance. Official Left in Lowell candidate questionnaire answers! They are on their own web page, which you can find here.

On a side note, I really REALLY like this format. Comparing lots of apples to lots of other apples, and a few places for candidates to show off their knowledge. This could be the format going forward. Also, lots and lots of props to my wonderful husband who whipped the submitted answers into a format that I could literally copy and paste into the page for the data table. Love you hon!!!

Thanks also to our amazing readers for a very large chunk of the questions. Crowd sourcing works!

I am considering reopening up for submissions after the preliminary, since my timeframe was crushed a bit leading up to next Tuesday’s election. The unfair part is that anyone submitting answers after publication is getting an advantage of seeing what everyone else said; but if I were to notate who passed answers in after the prelim, would you want to see more answers from more candidates? Honest question. I’m good either way.

September 8, 2013

Candidates: Get your tax forms and membership cards out!

by at 10:22 am.

Candidates for municipal elections this fall can rest at ease. The Sun has decided not to ask you to “voluntarily disclose state and federal income tax information.” No, they “have not gone so far.” They “just want candidates to state their annual individudal and/or family income, as well as group associations.”

Most of us who follow politics in the City are aware of candidates’ personal, professional and political affiliations and what “clan” they belong to. It becomes obvious as you see them on the campaign trail and as you speak to them.

Voters have an obligation to educate themselves. I do not think knowing a candidate’s income or source of income in detail is necessary. We know what they all do for work and if they have a track record in the community, which most of them do, we can figure out their affiliation. And if you have time and the inclination, you can see who is supporting them financially.

The great majority of candidates are readily available for you to talk to. You do not need the Sun to filter or interpret what they have to say. Give them a call or find them on social media. They are ready to explain why they are running and what they want to accomplish and of course, ask you for your support. On his blog Dick has a page with contact information for most of the candidates.

For me where one stands on issues is paramount. If you listen closely and read carefully, you can easily figure out what their positions are. For example, regarding negotiating with the City Manager to extend his contract; you can tell who is trying to practice the fine art of triangulation and who is clear and succinct in expressing their views.

By the way is the Sun following Jack on facebook and on LiL and now wants us to watch out for “shady Lowell”? I am not sure.

In calling for all candidates “to be as transparent as possible” the Sun is asking the candidates to disclose some information including “associations that might raise conflict-of-interest issues.” I wonder if a special relationship with selected Sun staff falls under that category.

August 27, 2013

Coffee Klatsch

by at 8:30 pm.

Kinda cool, just saw it in my inbox, and might be of interest to those who want to meet Stacie Hargis before the preliminary:

Stacie has been starting conversations with fellow Lowellians to hear about issues that are most important to them. Stacie would like to hear about issues that affect YOU, your friends, and loved ones while supporting locally owned small businesses. Stacie will be at different locations throughout the month of September and encourages you to come join in on the conversation about how we can grow our community wealth.

Join Stacie while she gets a coffee at 7:30-8:30 at:

  • Sowy’s Bakery, 474 Merrimack St. on September 4th
  • Donut Shack, 487 Westford St. on September 11th
  • Top Donut, 700 Aiken St. on September 18th

Update: I’ve made a correction above, Sowy’s Bakery is at 474 Merrimack St, NOT East Merrimack. I copied and pasted direct from the email, but someone else pointed this out to me (thanks!) so at least my post will be correct. :)

August 6, 2013

Please Don’t Confuse Them, Lowell!

by at 10:32 pm.

The papers are in. The field is set. And we’re now on countdown to the current City Council arguing we be allowed to eliminate the preliminary election…

Unfortunately, into every election, a little rain must fall. In this case, a first-time candidate with great promise has a very similar name to a former perennial candidate who keeps getting in trouble with the law. The first time candidate is Derek Mitchell, and the other is surprise entrant Darius Mitchell, who according to Dick Howe’s election page, ran in 2003, 2005, and 2007. I can’t find 2003 results, but in 2005, he came in 18th of 18 candidates with 1461 votes, and in 2007 came in 21st of 21, with only 624 votes (according to the city website). I can’t even imagine what possessed Darius to run again, after his pathetic last place finishes, and recent publicity in the local paper for violation of a restraining order. This is after previous arrests for domestic assault and battery and assault and battery on a police officer, among others.

So, I’ve made you this handy guide for distinguishing these two very different men.

Derek Mitchell meme

Hope this helps. Print it out if you need it at the ballot box.

June 13, 2013

Derek Mitchell Campaign Kickoff

by at 9:55 pm.

‘Tis the season…for kickoffs!

I’ve attended several so far - notably, Stacie Hargis, Vesna Nuon, and tonight, Derek Mitchell, on the city council side. (KRS on the School Committee side so far as well.)

Derek, impressively, held his event in the heart of the Acre, at the longstanding French Canadian club Passe-Temps. (I can’t see that without sounding it out in my head with a French accent.) I thought that this was a nice touch for a campaign whose slogan is “for ALL of Lowell.”

Here is my crude taping of his speech, as well as part of the intro (sorry, I got a call in the middle of taping at the beginning, looking at YOU Mr. Lynne!) and after his speech, there was another speaker and she got cut off by the fact my phone sim card, apparently, is full. (Could be that my method of leaving all my photos and videos on there forever might be to blame…)

Had a lot of fun tonight, and feeling really optimistic about Lowell’s candidates this year. I think you are all in for a great surprise in how good they are. I’m excited to see Van Pech running again, Jim Milinazzo has pulled papers, and many (though not all, we’ll talk later) of the challengers are on the side of Right and Good (and by that I mean, they have more than a lick of common sense and care about facts and stuff).

Welcome to the race Derek (again, since this is not your first event)!

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…)

February 15, 2013

Bad Idea: Endorsing Rodney For Mayor

by at 9:30 pm.

This is disappointing (from Paul Belley’s blog Captains Log):

The City Council Race in Lowell has officially started today with the announcement by Cory Belanger a local bar owner. Cory ran for Governors Council in 2010 and City Council in 2011.
[…]
He has served the city well as a board member and has helped numerous non profits and is well connected in the city but what surprised me the most was his endorsement of Councilor Ellott for Mayor if elected.

How anyone can watch Rodney Elliot in Council this last year (or more) and think he’d make a fab mayor, or at least believe it in any honest fashion, is beyond me. Of course, declaring man-love for Elliot off the bat sure does put him in a “camp” (starting of course with “Campanini,” whose paper has been fawning over Elliot for some time now, and vice versa via one Cub Reporter[TM]).

Interesting. And also, kinda stupid. But OK, I bet Belanger gets lots of donations from a certain set of people any way.

January 28, 2013

Info Meeting About Markey On Tuesday

by at 12:50 pm.

Dick Howe and Marie Sweeney are hosting an informational meeting on Ed Markey Tuesday night, at the Pollard Library first floor at 7pm. The purpose is to:

learn about Ed Markey’s background, position on the issues, and voting record in Congress. We will also discuss the likely timetable for the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat now held by John Kerry.

First, I have to say, way to jump in there Markey people - that’s being on the ball. Second, it’s a huge plus in Markey’s favor that Dick Howe is already on that bandwagon. I respect and admire Dick a lot on matters both issue-oriented and on electoral horserace stuff. He doesn’t always pick a favorite in a Democratic primary (and it does appear we’ll have one) so I feel that’s actually somewhat significant.

He also says:

Ed Markey has represented Massachusetts in Congress since 1976. He has a long and distinguished record but few outside his Congressional District, which is centered in his home town of Malden, know him very well. I’ve studied Ed Markey’s record very closely and I like what I see. I will be enthusiastically supporting him in this race. As I’ve talked about his candidacy, many people in Greater Lowell have told me they would like to know more about him. That’s the purpose of this meeting. Even if you’re on the fence, please join us and listen to what we have to say. There’s no commitment and everyone is invited.

If you are interested in the campaign, please go to the “Lowell for Ed Markey” page on Facebook and “like” us. That’s the best way to get information and to follow events. If you want to communicate with me directly, send an email to DickHoweJr[at]gmail.com. Thanks, and I hope to see you Tuesday night.

I’ll probably see folks there, if my other project (and the reason that Jack and I have been a bit too busy to post a lot lately) is finished and ready to launch. Yeah, that’s right, pay attention to this space later on this week, we have a really cool announcement!

January 5, 2013

Thoughts on the Senate Special Election

by at 11:35 am.

I know, I know, can’t we at least enjoy a few days off between major statewide elections, right? But too bad. Dems, are you ready? I think I am.

The sort-of crowning of Rep. Ed Markey has irked not a few grassroots types, I’m sure. Personally, I’d like a half-decent primary too, it does some good things, like increase the scope of the debate, but especially, gets the grassroots woken up and organized early enough to do some good - since a special election has such a short timeframe. One would hope that the engine that elected Elizabeth Warren (like, perhaps, Elizabeth herself) comes forth to inspire us to pick up the work again, once we’ve gone through the primary (hint, hint, Senator Warren!). And I’m always looking to repeat the MA-05 special election primary to replace Meehan, which is my gold standard for a great, feisty, interesting primary, but which lacks the circular firing squad we sometimes see (*coughChrisDohertycough*).

I’ll be honest, there are probably candidates I could love more than Ed Markey, just on the grassroots-outsider-tough fighter sort of feel. But. But. I love Ed Markey’s environmental record, and his roughing up of the oil companies, especially BP after the horrific oil spill. I feel like everyone else sort of have given them a pass, though given the ferocity of their continuing feel-good marketing campaign I think they still feel damaged (good. and you aren’t convincing ME). He has fought hard to try and get a carbon tax on oil/coal/gas, one key component holding renewable energy back (since it has to compete with a giant, subsidized, established industry).

If there is a more important issue than our economy and the flagrancy of the financial sector which Elizabeth Warren has spent so long fighting against, it’s the environment. Specifically, global climate change. Every decade has been warmer than the last, and we’re no longer talking about trying to avoid the tipping point. We’re talking about just how far past the tipping point we’re going to go. This is disaster. This is destruction of our entire human civilization. And without addressing both the inevitable (now) outcomes of climate change, and finding a way SOON to cease making it worse, the financial meltdown is gonna look like a boom economy compared to where we will end up.

The conservatives love to say, but the earth has fluctuated climate in the past. Yes. It has. Usually a lot more minor and a lot more slower, but it has cooled/warmed in a cycle going back to the dinosaurs. But also, giant empires have fallen because of much smaller climate change. (Hell, the dinosaurs died out due to climate change.) Picture a world in which half its population has to flee into other half’s populated areas to survive terrible weather extremes or the inability to grow crops where once crops flourished, or the masses who have always lived on the coast having to flee inland. Do you think we could take in a good portion of the Mexican population and keep our country intact? Do you think we can let half of Mexico’s population starve to death and keep our country intact? Can Canada double its population with environmental refugees from the US and remain a prosperous country? This is what we are facing if we don’t turn back now. I’m not exaggerating, that’s actually the middle-level scenario science models are displaying. The worst case is…you don’t want to know.

There are consequences in turning our planet’s climate back millions of years to much higher average temperatures. By burning the carbon locked in the earth at the time of dinosaurs, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Except instead of taking millions or tens of millions of years to do it, we’re doing it in a couple hundred. Trees can’t migrate in a decade or two. Populations of animals and, yes, people, can’t just pick up that quickly and rebalance the ecology in what amounts to seconds in the geological scale.

If Ed Markey becomes our standard bearer, either before the primary or after it, I think I’d be fine with that. In fact I’d be more than fine with it. I’d be pretty damn happy, and ready to get to work.

November 8, 2012

Coordinated Campaigns

by at 12:28 pm.

On Monday I posted my ground-eye view of the state’s local Democratic campaign. Now, we’re through the other side and lots of people are examining what went right and, though you might not see it, anything that went wrong. (People love a success and cluck at a failure, after all.) After the Coakley disaster, the state Democratic party, headed up by John Walsh, did some serious soul searching. Since grassroots campaigning is Walsh’s stock in trade, I’m not sure that there was much he could have done during that January, 2010 special election, if the candidate wasn’t accepting advice. And certainly, Coakley, while a smart prosecutor and an OK stumper, was not the sort of candidate to inspire the grassroots to action in the middle of a cold month and a short lead time.

But examine it the party did anyway, and came up with the coordinated campaign idea. In 2010, the coordinated campaign reelected Deval Patrick to the Governorship in the middle of a pretty tough year for incumbents, and the “red wave” that swept the rest of the country largely passed us by, losing the Dems only some seats in the House and gaining them one in the state Senate. Even the gains for Republicans (15 to 30 state House seats) weren’t enough to disturb the Dem supermajority.

I worked on that campaign a bit in 2010, and there were some bugs to work out with the coordinated campaign. For instance, there was always tension between turning out voters for local races that might not vote for Patrick, and vice versa. Everyone worked together, but there was some grumbling. When the results of working together became apparent (fewer losses in MA, a reelection for Patrick despite the economy), I think those concerns were alleviated. The efficiency of shared resources overcame the peculiarities of local vs. statewide campaigns. (more…)

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