Left In Lowell

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

 
2013 Candidate Questionnaire Responses!
 

November 3, 2013

Learning Lowell - A Busy New Blog

by at 10:30 am.

Lynne introduced LiL to Learning Lowell.

Suffice to say, they have been chugging, steadily along.

City Manager contracts across MA
Several counselors and candidates have expressed a belief that contracts for executive officers in a city are inappropriate. Mr. Leahy mentioned that he believed contracts were appropriate for school executive leadership, but not for city managers. I was curious, and did a quick internet search.

Sun Debate: Taxes, Inspections, Elections, and LHA
This is the second post about the Sun debate. The first is here.

Sun Debate: City Manager, School, and Safety
The Sun Debate was about a week ago, but I’ve just finished watching the third at http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_24385207/crime-takes-center-stage-round-1-lowell-city. I’ve seen a few folks comment on the Sun’s follow-up articles, but the videos give much more context. The same pool of questions were used in each debate, although moderators sometimes didn’t address every question or varied the phrasing. This will be the first of two parts recording the questions and our reactions. The second is here.

“What do you want in a police chief?” asks the City Manager
Last Thursday, City Manager Lynch, CFO Tom Moses, Solicitor Christine O’Conner, HR Director Mary Callery, and Executive Assistant Lynda Clark held the public listening session to discuss attributes the public desires in a new Police Superintendent. Unfortunately, this session competed with both the first of the three Sun Candidate Forums and a Red Sox World Series game–something the City Manager apologized for. It perhaps contributed to the slim turnout of about half a dozen. This meant Aurora and I composed a third of the focus group! A streetworker from UTEC, a reporter from the Sun, a fellow from the Senior Center actually just there to get photos, and a long-term resident rounded out the group. I’ll try to summarize what was discussed, but I’m largely working from memory.

Please consider putting Learning Lowell into your blog routine.

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 5, 2013

Photo Journey

by at 9:14 pm.

Dick Howe posted to Facebook this forum that he found which has an awesome trip through Lowell’s mill redevelopment, and it’s worth every minute you spend on it. It’s a great celebration of some of the accomplishments of the city. There are a lot of before and after pics.

July 20, 2013

The Lowell Folk Festival Ain’t What It Used to Be

by at 10:32 am.

Update: We’re talking chickens! Not the LFF, but what the hell. Jump in.

We were graced with a scathing visitation from The Lowell Shallot:

Lowell Shallot Says:
July 18th, 2013 at 7:55 am
Why isn’t anyone talking about Peter Aucella and the Folk Fest article (LINK- added by Jack). It blows my mind how obtuse this guy is. Declining support each year in terms of attendees and sponsorship and this guy wants more support from local businesses who “benefit”. Isn’t it the management and production of the event that has made it less relevant each year? Look in the mirror Pete. They lost WGBH a long time ago, and they are looking to the businesses downtown to make up the difference? What businesses downtown? Everyone is struggling. Perhaps the organizers should look inward to see their failings for answers. Where is COOL in all of this? No busking during Folk Fest? Why? Let’s get it together people. Here’s a novel idea, get acts worth seeing and maybe people will come, and pay to see them! Brilliant!

Aucella should step down, as should each member of the Festival Committee.

Arthur Sutcliffe - Chairman of the Board
Helene Loiselle - Board of Trustees
Pauline Golec - Board of Trustees / Ethnic Chair
Richard Cohan - Board of Trustees
John Scannell - Board of Trustees
Corey Belanger - Advisory Board Member
Patricia Bowe - Advisory Board Member
Renee Caraviello - Advisory Board Member
Michael Couture - Advisory Board Member
Donald DuPaul - Advisory Board Member
Beth Fraser - Advisory Board Member
Bob Howard - Advisory Board Member
Janet Leggat - Advisory Board Member
Janis Maliszewski - Advisory Board Member
Debbie Miller - Advisory Board Member
Priscilla Partyka - Advisory Board Member
Mike Soriano - Advisory Board Member
Ann Scannell - Advisory Board Member
Joellen Scannell - Advisory Board Member
Dean Secchiaroli - Advisory Board Member
Stacey Renna - Advisory Board Member

Cory Belanger– like we need this guy in City Council. What’s with all the Scannells? Don’t they make boilers? How old is this committee? Where is the new blood? I also love the title ‘ethnic chair’. WTF does that mean?

I don’t know most of these people, but I do know the result of their work and I am sure that Peter Aucella is not setting the world on fire. Step aside people. You’re an embarrassment to the city and yourselves.

There is, then, a back and forth between two anonymous commenters on the original thread. Click back, if you care. I don’t care so much for anon on anon bashing. I mean, .. really? But, sometimes little glimmers of usefulness pops out of such exchanges. Even if it is useful by being wrong and others chime in to offer some true insight.

Such a thing just happened on Facebook. The person is an anon to you, but not to me: (more…)

July 15, 2013

Open Thread: A-Tisket, A-Tasket. WTF is with the Basket? Edition

by at 9:37 am.

I don’t know and I don’t care. But others may, like our drive by commenter - brian.

1.Name: brian |

Why no comments in blogosphere or yesterday’s column about market basket takeover? Not a story?

That said, food security in no joke. There are plenty of Lowellians who are lower working class or on fixed incomes.

FYI: I will not moderate anything that is over the top, scurrilous, defamatory or libelous. The DeMoulas are still family, afterall, and I’m sure they have deep pockets and AWESOME shysters.

Please shop around on this Open Thread.

June 21, 2013

Just a Matter of Time, I Guess

by at 4:25 pm.

Nothing to make past cronyism obvious than a former License Commission member legally representing the owner of one of the bigger violators of ordinances in regards to an accusation of assault on a UML student at his establishment.

The owner of Finn’s Pub on Merrimack Street has been charged with punching and kicking a student outside his establishment during a UMass Lowell pub crawl last month.

Finn’s Owner Kevin Hayhurst, 35, of 127 Loon Hill Road, Dracut, was arraigned Wednesday in Lowell District on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

[…]

Hayhurst, who also owns Brian’s Ivy Hall and is being represented by Raymond Weicker, told The Sun he denies all the allegations against him.

The assault charges are serious stuff, and of course I hope the law finds the truth, whatever that is, but can we finally shut down these troublesome establishments? For one thing, they are giving our city a nasty reputation. We don’t need this crap here.

Hayhurst, in my estimation, isn’t much of a great business citizen of Lowell to begin with. His Facebook rants have been legion. Kind of like our very own Amy’s Baking Company.

For god’s sake, Hayhurst (why is it our angriest bullies all have last names starting with “Hay”?) told Paul Belley to go fuck himself. Nice.

Thank god we cleaned house on that Commission. Weicker’s chumminess with the worst bar owner in Lowell, along with Bayliss and all of that noise…it was bad for downtown, and bad for Lowell.

May 7, 2013

Flexible Integrity on The City Council

by at 12:05 pm.

Tonight, as the Council contorts itself to defend the integrity of The Belvidere, please consider something. Who remembers this episode?
(bold mine)

LOWELL CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 2012
CITY HALL, CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER
TIME 6:30 PM
-snip
GENERAL PUBLIC HEARINGS (Scheduled for 7PM)
.
.
9. Ordinance-Amend zoning (Westview Road)

I’m going to quickly paste in a bunch of info, so you can judge for yourself whether the City Council is plague by an integrity problem. Maybe, because of national politics, we have become immune to ‘flip-flopping?’
(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…)

February 22, 2013

Makin’ Stuff

by at 9:01 am.

You might have been sensing a theme rising in our small city community lately. It’s a theme that is spreading out across the country, but it has special significance to Lowell. Call it the DIY movement. Or self-sufficiency. Or making things.

There may at first glance not seem a specific link between groups like Mill City Grows, small local businesses like Sweet Lydia’s, and “makerspace” groups which are also becoming the buzz around here, but in effect, it’s about people in a community doing for themselves. Whether that’s sustainable gardening, using Kickstarter to raise enough funds to open your own sweets shop, or sharing incubator or machine space with others, it’s about innovating ways at the grassroots level to do for yourself, alongside a community of people, what cannot be accomplished alone.

It’s a movement that asks, what if we could feed ourselves with safe, locally grown food, even in the city? What if I could learn to machine my own parts? What if I could start a business in such a way that causes the community to have a stake with me?

That it’s happening so much in Lowell is a product of several things converging…first, the energy of new, young, professionals engaging in their community. Also, an emphasis on the new economy and innovative economic ideas by the city and its Planning Department, and the doubling of that by a University which is expanding by building such things as the Nerve Center. Lastly, Lowell’s unique history of industry and innovation creates a narrative that is a good foundation for a new wave of doers.

I’ll even admit to being infected myself. I might not be interested in a community garden space with one of Mill City Grow’s new gardens (after all, I do have a half decent backyard much closer to home) but I’ve been inspired by them to really up the ante this year in producing my own veggies. I’ve started collecting ideas on Pinterest and even am cataloging my own journey with DIY projects to make urban gardening easier and more productive (and woodchuck proof). I’ve always had an interest in planting since I was a kid, but now I mean business. (Well, not literally, since I won’t be selling anything, but I hope to have enough excess to give to family and friends, and even to make regular trips to the MV Food Bank). My goal is not to go pretty, but utilitarian, with sub-irrigated DIY buckets, towers, and some indoor growing (since I have this amazing, largely unused, southern-exposure windowed four-season room in my house going to waste).

Yeah, it’s getting that crazy. There’s just something in the air in Lowell these days. A doing thing. Stay tuned. (And our new show, Threads, will definitely be talking to some of Lowell’s new makers too!)

January 4, 2013

Color Me Surprised

by at 2:45 pm.

Friend of the blog (and good friend) Cliff Krieger has been nominated by CM Lynch for the License Commission, as Jen Myers writes at the official blog of the Mayor. You might recall, the License Commission had been under fire for sitting on its hands after the downtown rioting at the club at Fortunato’s and other violence and vandalism issues stemming from bars and clubs. Since then, both Bayliss and Weicker have resigned. (Not without a bit of a fuss.)

As Jen says, Cliff had been planning to run for the Lowell School Committee, and though I’m not sure what this does to those plans, you couldn’t get a better person to oversee a very sticky and previously controversial situation. Cliff will listen to the recommendations of the police chief, of residents, businesses…and of the club owners themselves, too, but in a proportional way. He is a conservative in the truest sense of that word - he wants our city to be welcoming, and remain so, for the many people who coexist downtown, like residents, consumers, and the non-club business owners who are the ones who find the aftermath of overserved drunkards at their doorstep on Monday mornings.

Contrary to (some) popular rumor, Cliff and I (and Jack, and whoever) are not all big giant conspirators with Lynch behind the scenes, and this took me by surprise, albeit a pleasant one. According to Jen, this spot had to go to a Republican, and I can’t think of a better person to help clean up the mess.

Also being appointed, to the LHA, is Samkhann Khoeun. I don’t know Samkhann, but Jen has more bio info at her blog post and he seems to be a community leader with some gravitas, and it’s great to see some diversity on our boards. Good luck to both!

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