Left In Lowell

Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs

 
2013 Candidate Questionnaire Responses!
 

August 26, 2013

Race and Integration in Lowell (Updated)

by at 4:11 pm.

A lot of different groups and people are making use of the map of race in America, based on the US 2010 census. Many are noticing that while we’re far less segregated than we were 50 years ago, too often, cities have clear and stark enclaves of single-race groups.

So how does Lowell fare? I decided to take a map of streets and voting precincts and try to match it up as best I could to a screenshot of the race map. (The result is pretty well lined up, but may not be exact.) Click the image to get a very large resolution - 3000 pixels - though the dots will be pixelized since I used a screenshot of the dot data (it still works to give you an idea of the makeup of the neighborhoods).

Map of racial census data in Lowell, Massachusetts

(more…)

May 14, 2013

It Was Over, 20 Years Ago

by at 2:25 pm.

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…)

August 29, 2012

Not Racism. It’s Patriotism! *rolls eyes*

by at 2:59 pm.

.
Joe S. Says:

It’s no wonder Brown skipped the convention - he would not want to be associated with this:
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2012/08/hbc-90008805

Or this:
http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/cnn-rnc-convention-camerawoman.php?ref=fpblg

Here’s the video:

Please go console your Republican friends. They must be feeling a bit down, right about now.

July 25, 2012

Lowell Sister City Initiative

by at 4:30 pm.

Salmira and I are happy to be part of this effort. We’ll be reaching out to more folks in the thriving Brazilian community, here in Lowell.

Mayor Murphy Seeking Nominations for Sister City Task Force Members and Sister City Committee Chairpeople
Lowell, MA – Mayor Patrick Murphy is currently seeking nominations for a five-member Sister City Task Force. This Task Force, whose meetings will be chaired by either the mayor or a named representative, will develop strategic goals and provide guidance for the Lowell Sister City Initiative.

In addition, Mayor Murphy is seeking Committee Chairs who will work to maintain and strengthen Lowell’s individual Sister City relationships.

For each Sister City, a Committee Chair will lead a group of interested citizens who will plan and implement ways to maintain the international relationship. The exact nature, frequency, and duration of the meetings will be determined by the Committee Chair and other committee members, as will the ways that the committee chooses to interact with the counterpart Sister City.

Any City of Lowell resident is eligible to serve on this Task Force or as a Committee Chair. All interested persons should submit a resume, along with a brief cover letter explaining their desire to work with Sister Cities, to the Mayor’s Office via e-mail (mayor@lowellma.gov) by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 10.

The nine Sister Cities listed on the City of Lowell’s website are: Limerick, Ireland; St. Die des Vosges, France; Nairobi, Kenya; Barclayville, Liberia; Lobito, Angola; Winneba, Ghana; Bamenda, Cameroon; Berdyansk, Ukraine; and Bryansk, Russia.

Individuals interested in forming committees to establish new Sister City relationships are encouraged to contact the Mayor’s office by e-mailing mayor@lowellma.gov or calling (978) 674-1551.

Sister City relationships can serve several purposes. Primarily, they are an opportunity for direct educational and cultural exchange between citizens of different nations. In some cases, the relationships can grow to include business and travel connections, but at their most basic, elemental level, Sister City relationships can simply be a way to improve our residents’ knowledge about world geography, world cultures, and international communication.

For any questions about information contained in this press release, please contact Greg Page at (978) 674-1551 or e-mail gpage@lowellma.gov .

March 5, 2012

Poverty is Big Business

by at 1:06 pm.

Had to bring this up because, y’know, I hate poor people and immigrants. Oh, throw in kittens while you’re at it. JACK HATES KITTENS!!!!!

LOWELL — In order to help fulfill its pledge to keep Westminster Village largely affordable housing, the new owner of the 432-unit apartment complex on Pawtucket Boulevard is offering cash incentives for some of the higher-income residents to move out.

Westminster Preservation, L.P., which was able to acquire and rehab the apartment complex with a $45 million loan from MassHousing last year, sent letters early last month to residents offering to pay them $5,000 in a one-time cash payment, plus $1,000 in moving expenses, if they leave Westminster by the end of March.

To be eligible, residents’ income had to be above 60 percent of the area median income.
-snip

One of the stipulations of the MassHousing loan was that 412 of the 432 apartments remain affordable to low-income persons. The owner pledged to keep the other 20 units market rate.
To help meet that low-income requirement, the owner secured a 20-year renewal and extension of the Section 8 housing-assistance payment contract at the property from HUD. The federal agency provides funding for Section 8 tenants — who are low-income, elderly and disabled — to live in privately owned facilities.

Lowell is treading water this way. Maybe we would go under without it?

July 27, 2009

Chief Defines LDP’s Role in Immigration Enforcement

by at 8:54 pm.

With all of the City’s attention focused on The Festival, a significant op-ed piece in last Firday’s Lowell Sun, written by Lowell Police Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee, did not receive the focus it deserves . In his article, titled “The role of police in immigration enforcement,” Lavallee clearly states the philosophy of the LPD on this particular issue:

When immigrant residents of Lowell are afraid to report crimes because they worry that contact with my officers could lead to deportation, criminals are allowed to roam free and the entire community suffers as a result. I will not let that happen. My officers and I believe that the best way to approach it is to work with the federal immigration authorities when a crime has been committed, but not to engage in civil immigration law enforcement.

Lavallee and his staff should be praised for making this public statement. The Superintendent referred to a recently released report by the Police Foundation on a study they conducted “to determine the proper balance of immigration enforcement, civil liberties and community safety.” According to the Police Superintendent, the report concludes that “Civil immigration enforcement by state and local police hurts the relationship between local police and their communities, because it chills crime victims from reporting information to the police.” (more…)

February 19, 2008

Lowell Film Fest

by at 11:08 am.

Did you know Lowell has a film festival? On April 4th & 5th, there will be a series of documentary and feature films around the subject of globalization and immigration. You can check out what’s going to play on their website, as well as get the details of a film short contest they are holding for local aspiring filmmakers. :)

Locations vary and a schedule will be forthcoming, but locations vary all over town from the National Park Visitor’s Center, UTEC, the Pollard Library, the Revolving Museum, Boott Mill Museum and the O’Leary Library of UMass Lowell.

October 8, 2007

Don’t Like “Illegals”? Don’t Eat, Then

by at 9:31 pm.

Do you like your cheap fruit and veggies, the ones that keep your family healthy without breaking the bank? Maybe you ought to take a look at this post by Dick Howe.

The L.A. Times article says that three out of four workers on American farms are illegal immigrants. That means that if you roam around saying things like “what part of illegal don’t you understand” and then consume produce grown in the USA, you’re a hypocrite. You’re also an enabler of illegal immigrants because it’s the money you spend on US produce that pays the salary that draws them into the country illegally. So shop around, be sure to buy grapes only from Mexico and lettuce only from Honduras. That’s the only way you can get your private life in sync with your public stance on immigration and purge yourself of your hypocrisy.

Like it or not, undocumented workers are part of our system, and they have kept the price of food down. Now, there’s a debate to be had as to whether or not exploiting people’s labor for below minimum wage without labor standards and depressing American wages as a result is moral or right or even good for America, but if you are a rabid deport-’em-all type then you’d better stop eating, or…we could just label you a hypocrite if you like.

Who’s Calling the Shots at Ogonowski HQ?

by at 2:16 pm.

This sounds like standard Republican lying and fear-mongering - not to mention, smearing an opponent. And did I mention lying?

Does anyone else think that the so-called “independent” “I’m-not-a-Bush-head” Ogonowski is getting a little direction on his campaign from somewhere else…like, the national Republican party hacks who made immigration their main focus in the last couple of years?

Nothing splits the Republican party but riles up the base like hatin’ on undocumented workers, while beloved W. Bush, and before him, Ronald Reagan, among others, have taken the business-friendly stance of allowing a path to citizenship for the millions in this country who escaped poverty in their own lives by any means necessary in order to work hard and give their children a better future. Now, Bush and Reagan, like most conservatives, could care less that undocumented workers are exploited by corporations…but they prefer allowing them to stay because business plans depend on the source of labor, in particular for menial jobs that they don’t want to pay much for. But the end result - a saner policy on immigration - is laudable.

Like Democratic hacks who claim being like Republicans wins elections (it doesn’t, but it brings in large corporate donors), the Republican consultant class thinks they have a one-size-fits-all winner in demonizing a group of very vulnerable people and making them the scapegoats for all the personal troubles of their base.

We’re supposed to believe that suddenly, immigration is the pressing issue here in the Merrimack Valley? No, I think this tactic is because of advice from afar, about 450 miles away to be exact, from the Washington D.C. Republican consultant class. And to link SCHIP to immigration (when in fact there is no link anyway) is an attempt to parry scrutiny over his recent reluctance to answer the damn question about overriding Bush’s very unpopular SCHIP veto in the House.

Ogo’s playing to his base…a base that would have voted for him anyway. This is red meat for them, to urge them to get their unmotivated butts to the polls on October 16th. I hope that even though MA-05 trends more conservative than most of Massachusetts, we can see through such horrible tactics, the lying, the hate, and the coverup, and send Niki Tsongas to Congress instead. Volunteer, or donate.

July 1, 2007

“A Night in Havana”

by at 3:18 pm.

Well it really wasn’t Havana, it was Fisher College on Commonwealth Avenue but that was the theme of the food, music and dancing. Over 300 residents of Massachusetts and community activists were there last night to honor outgoing State Senator Jarrett Barrios. The event was sponsored by The Commonwealth Seminar — MassCS, the organization that Barrios and Joel Barrera founded in 2003 “to invite diverse leaders into the State House to demystify the legislative process and encourage deeper, more substantial, advocacy on Beacon Hill.”

The organization works to open the doors to the State House for “leaders from communities of color, immigrant groups, and others who directly benefit those communities.” One of their prominent programs is an intensive six week training course which takes place at the the State House. Boston City Councilor Sam Yoon is a graduate of that program.

Also two years ago, they “launched Commonwealth Jobs, a free online resource that posts public service job openings as a way to encourage our diverse leaders toward a professional commitment to government and non-profit service.”

In his address to the gathering the animated Barrios urged everyone to keep the “doors open” and take our rightful place at the legislative table.

Barrera served as MC for the evening. A number of speakers addressed the gathering including Barrios’ husband, Doug Hattaway, a Democratic Party operative in his own right; Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and Phil Johnston, the past Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and current Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. Barrios is leaving the State Legislature to become the Foundation’s President..

As I was listening to the speakers last night, I realized that this year’s Lowell’s municipal election will not have much ethnic, racial and religious diversity but perhaps in two years we can begin to reverse that trend and MassCS can help us.

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