Left In Lowell

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May 23, 2013

The Council, as a Kangaroo Court

by at 7:04 am.

I went to watch the Council meeting, last Tuesday. Partly, I went to watch the chicken dance, but also to watch a motion brought by C.Elliott:

21. C. Elliott - Req. City Solicitor provide an explanation on damage claim refused for 58 Carroll Parkway.

Thankfully, the motion was moved up in the agenda and I got to go home after and watch most of the Bruins game. #gameon

What I saw was, as this motion unravelled, a travesty. First off, C. Elliott pulled a bait and switch. His motion prompts an explanation. Of course, the motion would have to carry and the Solicitor would follow, at least a week, later. Immediate gratification is not the normal course of the Council’s outcome. Yet, C.Elliott structured the proceeding to drag forth his desired outcome. The Council was degraded into a Kangaroo Court.

Over on Gerry Nutter’s Blog, you can read his reaction to the proceedings. For sure, the analysis is hyperbolic; but I concur with the gist of Gerry’s assertion. Words such as ‘grandstanding’ and ‘pandering’ gelled in my head, as I sat there that night. So, Gerry’s reaction is familiar to me.

One very important point, I will carry in to this diary:

EVERY person who argues and loses a traffic or parking ticket they received here in Lowell, Everyone who appeals to the Assessor’s Office and loses and Everyone who puts in any claim to the City and loses or has lost in the past year, PLEASE PLEASE Call Councilor Rodney Elliot his phone number is in the Phone book and ask him to put you on the Council Agenda. He has now set a president and the rest of the City Council by allowing this ludicrousness to happen have opened the door to a new Agenda Item every week and the people of this city need to take advantage of this and call Rodney Elliot 978- You can look it up and get on the agenda.

I am convinced that C.Elliott is trying to poison the atmosphere in the Council chamber. That his demeanour is consistently contrary to the social norms of the Council’s decorum. C.Elliott acts this way with such ferocity and consistency, he has convinced me that he wishes to undermine the smooth operations of these meetings. This ploy is masked as “asking tough question.” They are only tough in the sense that they are presented in a way to befuddle and aggravate emotions. That residents will grow sick and tired and quit observing the meeting. That other Councilors will fatigue and surrender. That he is bent on punishing the Council that did not elect him Mayor. I am convinced that C.Elliott’s strategy is to erode the public trust in City government and facilitate the removal of Bernie Lynch as the City Manager.

This is a war.

Watch for yourself. In this battle, the City Solicitor is targeted.
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October 5, 2012

Radio Replay: Elizabeth Warren

by at 11:35 am.

Teddy Panos should be commended for putting these sorts of things on the intertubes. Especially, the local stuff. Radio Replay is good for Lowell!

Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren Calls The Morning Show

Ban on assault weapons? Why bring that up?

September 20, 2012

Sun Spins on Safety? Say It Ain’t So!

by at 7:45 pm.

It’s sad that instead of just focusing on the matters at hand, the Mayor and others in this city have to sit there and un-spin the Lowell Sun on top of it all. It’s not like the problems we face in the city aren’t already serious enough, right?

I suggest you go read this post by Mayor Murphy at his assistant Jen Myer’s blog in full.

Most of the post is specific refutations on specific public safety issues that the Sun has been hammering the Mayor on, but I enjoyed this part a lot too:

On the tired issue of subcommittee assignments and perceived “snubbing” of Elliott for chair of the public safety, finance and auditor/clerk oversight subcommittees, I can only say that the purpose of these is to discuss substantive issues, and that my appointments are meant to reflect a preference for workhorses over showhorses in those roles. On public safety, the Police Superintendent himself will tell you that two issues raised by Elliott last year (proposals later overturned by the state legislature and state court respectively) were a distraction from the more pressing problems we face. Elliott’s shortcomings on finance and public safety issues are crystallized in his motion a couple years ago to cut all departmental budgets–including police, fire, health and inspectional services—by 2.5%, thereby endangering federal grant funding because of reductions below the required staffing levels, and putting our community at greater risk, financially and otherwise. During the issues last fall with the clerk’s office, Councilor Elliott was absent from all four ad hoc Clerk Oversight meetings, and this February was absent from our first Special meeting on Clerk Oversight. Accordingly, these assignments were placed in more capable hands.

In short, subcommittees are not to support one councilor’s psychic need for media attention, but to do work, discuss difficult matters, hear residents’ concerns and suggestions, plan for long-term substantive changes that can impact people’s lives. I have been disappointed that these have not been widely used for policy discussions.

August 17, 2012

It’s All Downhill From Here

by at 7:31 am.

So, after a fairly lengthy back and forth, 58 comments at this point, on a mutual friend’s Facebook page, former Commissioner Ray Weicker made a wee hours post that shows us a thing or two:

Photobucket

I took this screen grab at about 7:45 am, just in case you want a point of reference. (more…)

May 7, 2012

Meeting Minutes? Pffft!

by at 3:36 pm.

At the time I was ticked off:

I want to smack the Council, like Moe slapping across the stupid faces of Larry & Curly. That Chamber is a sanctum. Cut the shit, now!

Later, I stopped to consider what the solution was:

The Mayor and the Clerk need to get a handle on this, ASAP.

Now, I’m shaking my head because the DRAFT minutes are wrong:

Photobucket

In the past, I have gone to the City Council meeting minutes to verify something. They are intended to be an accurate portrayal of events. Meeting minutes have been used for centuries. The “technology” is tried, tested and proven. To hell with all that, I guess. We have video archives. Which is a good thing because the value of proper and accurate meeting minutes is slipping, along with the decorum among our City elders.

May 3, 2012

C.Kennedy: Sneak

by at 10:49 pm.

Go to 1:14:50, please.

I’m not sure what the hell C.Kennedy thinks he is doing? Does he fancy himself an extraordinary Parlimentarian? Or, is he just being a gremlin, determined to muck up the proceedings?

Clearly,
- The vote was on C. Lorrey’s original motion. C.Mercier called for a Roll Call vote. She even clarifies it prior to the vote, then seeks to suspend the rules after.
- When C.Kennedy calls for a Point of Order, the Chair tells him the vote was on the original motion. Undeterred, Kennedy snorts back that he seconded Mercier’s amendment.

That did not happen! As soon as Mercier stops stumbling through her suggested amendment, C.Lorrey objected, then he proceeded to explain why he worded his motion in the way that he did. At no point did the Chair recognize a second to Mercier’s motion.

Yet, in the heat of the moment, C.Kennedy railroads the Council into accepting his version of reality.

The Council moved on in the agenda, but C. Mendonca pulled it back, seeking to change his vote to “Nay” because he didn’t want to approve of something he didn’t know the cost of. C.Elliott jumps back in to quibble with the CM. At 1:23:30, C. Kennedy calls another Point of Order, playing ad hoc Chair from the floor.

Councilor Kennedy needs to be checked, put in his place. He is pushing the envelope with his attempts to Chair the meetings from the floor. This is the second time, recently, that an angry vote was taken and the Council was confused as to what they just did. The vote on C.Elliott’s motion to tie the CM’s hands on revenue was a mess, as well. The Mayor and the Clerk need to get a handle on this, ASAP.
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April 28, 2012

I Told You So.

by at 7:51 am.

File this under “Plain as the nose on your face.”

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.”

“The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

“When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”

(h/t Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire)

April 20, 2012

The Olive Branch Before The Storm

by at 11:29 am.

Jen Myers has an exceptionally tidy write up on Dept. of Interior’s invitation to some of the interested parties to kibbutz, Re: Enel’s proposed bladder dam.

“The applicant’s new proposal attempts to respond to many of the expressed concerns of the NPS and indicates there may be more flexibility n the design than NPS had previously believed,” Tittler wrote. “We feel strongly, as we have stated in the past, that a meeting in person, among as many consulting parties as possible, is the only way in which to move toward any resolution.”

The goals of the meeting, Tittler states are: “To gain a full and shared understanding of the effects of the applicant’s new proposal on the Pawtucket Dam; to discuss methods to further reduce the impact of crest gate installation; to see whether some version of a crest gate system is acceptable to all parties can be arrived at.”

The Blog of Record is also kind enough to host the PDF version of the DOI letter on their server.

To me, this looks like “seconds” are being dispatched to define the terms prior to the duelists meeting on the “field of honour.” Without question, one rule is mutually agreed upon, the coming events will not be “a la outrance.”

February 16, 2012

The License Commission Should Resign

by at 11:20 pm.

At the special City Council meeting, many good, some less so, ideas were offered. I can’t say as I would implement all of them, but surely more training of security, bartenders and waitstaff is in order. The establishments have to be the responsible ones in this equation. Of the punishments and controls we heard tonight, I think establishments should have a stepped tightening in what is expected from them. Run a responsible place? Smooth sailing. Become a problem? Get poked-prodded-railroaded. In that order.

The biggest disappointment tonight came from Commissioners Akasian and Weicker. Akasian effectively threw the LPD under the bus. He said that few complaints have been brought to the LC. The cops are the ones that bring the complaints for the LC to act on. No complaints, no action. I bet that is mostly correct, technically. But, I’d also bet that cops are stretched thin patroling the more shadowy areas of the city. Also, if they brought the heat, the bar owners would be screaming bloody murder. It’s no secret that the LC favors the bars owners. The cops are getting mixed signals and have real, bad guys to catch. The bars should tend to their own house. I prefer the cops outside my house. You’d think the bars owners would be bright enough to keep the cops out by running a tight ship.

Weicker went so far as to blame Beacon Hill lollygagging and jurisdiction squabbles for preventing the LC/City from coming up with real solutions. He said something else, but he’d lost me with the “Beacon Hill” meme. Maybe, if he blamed our delegation, I would have perked up. But, yawn, he used a generic scapegoat.

I think Gardner Stratton had the best suggestion tonight, by far. He did get the loudest applause tonight, too. He suggested all the members of the License Commission submit their resignations. Wipe the slate clean.

After listening to the two of them dodge, tonight, and we know well enough about Bayliss; it’s an easy call.

Besides. listening to Akasian and Weicker moan about the money they lose by lending a hand, you gotta figure they resent the job. They sounded, put out, by the role they volunteered for. Cut them some slack and take their resignations, Lowell.

For another take on tonight, please check Dick Howe’s blog.

PS. Isn’t Mickey O’Keefe available?

February 4, 2012

The Cloud Over Winterfest

by at 10:02 pm.

Is it an epidemic, yet?

Photobucket

Photo by Kelly Fox.

LOWELL — Police are asking the public to help find those who assaulted two men on Middle Street downtown early Saturday morning, sending one of them to a Boston hospital with serious injuries.

About 2:14 a.m., officers patrolling downtown Lowell found two Westminster men assaulted in front of 172 Middle St., according to Lowell Police Superintendent Ken Lavallee. The victims, who are in their early 20s, had just left Village Smokehouse on Middle Street and were walking toward their car parked on the street when they became involved with an altercation with another man, Lavallee said.

One victim was injured so seriously that he was flown to Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston by medical helicopter. He remains in serious condition but is expected to survive, Lavallee said.

The other victim was transported to a local hospital. Lavallee did not know if he has been released from the hospital. Lavallee did not know the victim’s identities Saturday night.
-snip

Now, let’s talk about this guy:


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