Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
I had the pleasure of seeing Mill No 5 first hand recently and I’m a new fan. All I can say is…it’s a fun concept, and I hope they do awesome over there. They’re working on a farm-to-table cafe and small movie theatre/stage venue as well.
This weekend (Saturday) from noon to 7pm, they’re doing one of their Little Bazaar events called Love Buzz. They’ve been sharing info about vendors for a couple of weeks, but this video really showcases the sort of stuff that’ll be available. Guys n gals with valentines to buy for, this is your chance!
If you haven’t checked out one of Lowell’s hot new art venues - where you can buy vinyl records, have a photo shoot, or buy any number of things - this weekend would be a great time to go! I promise you, it’s like nothing else in Lowell!
The current gentrify-du-jour being a no-panhandling ordinance on tonight’s Council agenda, it’s no surprise some bloggers around here are writing about it.
Downtown resident/consumer kad has quite an equitable point of view: fine, cleaning stuff up is great, and we all want successful downtown businesses but…
i think, if anybody’s asking me, the problem is first in perceiving these people as something, like bathroom waste, in need of “clean up”. we often ridicule other people for believing that “their shit don’t stink”, and, i think, here in lowell, we’ve got more than a few people who want to lay in a lifetime supply of febreeze and renuzits and just keep clouding the air with a bunch of sociological perfume in complete denial that we have a significant population of people who are challenged to “make it” in any way, shape or form recognizable to us in our centrally-heated, indoor plumbed luxury accommodations.
He also has a second post. As for my own opinion on the panhandling ordinance, I’m rather of a mind with kad - I sympathize with the downtown businesses and residents, but I worry that we’re shuffling the less fortunate out of our way so we don’t have to see them, and be uncomfortable. And the idea of fining a homeless person $50 for panhandling - whether he buys food, or booze with his proceeds - is patently stupid. Good luck collecting, or making your point. These are already people who are outside of the system and marginalized.
Chris at Learning Lowell is also on the subject of panhandling.
Aurora and I discussed it, and she summarized our opinions thusly:I have a couple of concerns about it. I’m worried about a lack of commitment to outreach about the law and alternative options to panhandlers, creating a larger gulf between police (and social services) and the homeless population, and logistics of paying the fine. I’m also not sure what happens if the perpetrator cannot or will not pay a fine. Is this going to get people thrown in jail? Finally, I worry it will just “push” the problem to other areas of the City without addressing root issues.
A little bit older now, but I haven’t linked to it yet was Dick Howe’s “The ‘Cambodian vote’ in the 2013 city election”. In it, he looks at the numbers and tries to see how last Tuesday’s results for the Cambodian Council candidates happened:
My first theory was that the number of active Cambodian voters may be a fixed number that with the 2011 turnout of 9,946 was sufficient to win a seat but proved insufficient when the 2013 turnout rose to 11,581. Looking at the ward by ward performance by both Nuon and Pech in both 2011 and 2013 disproved that theory. Both made substantial gains in wards that have the most Cambodian voters (Wards 2, 3, 4, and 7). However, that same comparison shows that both Nuon and Pech, but especially Nuon, lost a substantial number of votes from 2011 to 2013 in the wards that have the fewest Cambodian voters (Wards 1, 6, and 9 – both also lost ground in Ward 8 which has a substantial Cambodian population but has other issues that will be a subject of a future post).
There are some great comments there, too.
Dick also has his always-valuable Week in Review. And of course, there are a ton of other posts from this last week on his blog on culture, history, and the arts.
Greg has a quick, but interesting post about the oft-ignored School Committee race. He says, “There will be time later on for more analysis, but for now this may suggest there is a “Challenger Bump” enjoyed by School Committee candidates, followed by a time of great vulnerability (first re-election attempt).”
Finally, there is an awesome Jen Myers post on her Room 50 blog about the recent visit of former, first female President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. Jen always brings events to life with her photography.
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.
Lowell Open Studios is this weekend (Oct 5 & 6, 11am to 5pm both days). But the outlook is not rosy for all its venues.
The Brush Gallery has been closed due to the government shutdown. The Brush has a coop agreement with the National Parks Service, and therefore, if the government shuts down, The Brush (along with the Mogan Center and other venues with similar agreements) has to close its doors. And the National Parks lot is also closed, which means the downtown venues of Open Studios are all going to be affected. (And with that, also, the businesses downtown where visitors to LOS might eat and shop.)
I talked with Eileen, the director of the Brush and a friend of mine, about the situation. Since the doors are closed, the Brush will not be charging any of its tenant artists while this shutdown is in place. These artists not only show their work here but DO their work here, so closing the Bursh is especially frustrating for them. And the loss of the rent is thousands of dollars a month of lost revenue for the Brush, not to mention lost sales for the artists, lost exposure for the venue (right during the beginning of the big season for sales) and probably a substantial loss of donations, since often people who visit the Brush leave small donations.
The artist community has opened its arms to Brush artists for Open Studios weekend, and you will find a number of its artists at the nearby Gates Block Studios at 307 Market St, on the third floor. Please visit them there!
A number of Brush members have expressed gratitude for the generosity of the wider artist community for coming to their rescue for LOS. Of course, for the long haul, Brush artists are going to lose a lot of exposure and sales if the shutdown is not resolved soon.
To that end, I’d like you to keep the Brush artists in especial mind this fall and winter, as you start shopping for gifts for the holidays. Once they are open again, please consider stopping by, whether that’s for an opening for a show - they are supposed to have a new show opening in November, should the shutdown be resolved by then, called “In Cold Blood” - which is about lizards and amphibians, not murder! Or else visit them during their regular hours (once they are open) just because. Find something you love and buy it.
Also, if you are able, please consider a donation of any size to offset the loss of revenues for The Brush. Winter is coming and they will have to pay for their heat and light, and those bills are not cheap. The loss of the rental and other revenue will affect their operations budget. You can donate here online.
And let’s hope the shutdown will be resolved very soon, before it hurts more people.
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.
I grabbed some video on my phone and spliced it together in case you missed the first night of the Folk Festival. This is what I could get before my phone got tired.
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…)
‘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)!
I’ve known Dee Tension, going on 20 years. I always enjoy his perspective, especially when he delivers one of his ‘man on the street’ reports.
This entry comes from Dee’s Facebook page. Click in, if you have a FB account and read the words of a man who ‘keeps it real.’ - Jack
Ah Umass Lowell Graduation. The day when downtown is flooded by terrified parents who think campus is the only safe place in town. They’re lost but won’t ask for directions. They look at their maps and phones afraid someone is going to stab them so they can’t concentrate which causes people who’ve been married for 30 years to start yelling at each other.
“It’s says go left Walter”.
“No it doesn’t Claire. I think i know how to use GPS thank you”.
I ask “are you lost?” and moms clutch their purses and husbands put their arms around their wives. They park at the first garage they see and then reluctantly walk through downtown waiting for the promised land that is The Tsongas Arena Center Coliseum. They finally see it in the distance and literally say out loud “Oh thank God”.
Quit insulting my town you sheltered numbskulls. No one is going to mug you. Don’t you know we give the crackheads and gangs Saturday mornings off? Believe me I feel much more afraid when I accidentally wander into Westford and can’t find a drive through restaurant or when I go to Concord and my bottle of water is illegal or Wellesely where the cops ask me what my purpose is for being in Wellesly and I answer “where’s the nearest liquor store” which gets me “escorted” to the town line.
Lowell is a real place where real things go down. Things like museums and restaurants and a production of Glengarry Glenross. Oh by the way your crappy kid flipped me off and pissed on my front steps in last week’s pub crawl.
So take a deep breath, enjoy your stay, have a bite to eat at Cobblestones or La Boniche and enjoy your sons and daughters as they celebrate their very significant achievement. It’s sonny and warm and you will always remember how pretty Lowell was on this day.
Also don’t leave your purse, GPS or brief case in your car.
Tis the season! The campaign for city office season, I mean.
For those of you who are not familiar with Stacie Hargis, she’s someone you will see at coordinated campaign offices doing the hard work of campaigning, on the boards of local organizations like COOL, or (formerly) working for US Rep. Niki Tsongas. I’m pretty excited to see what she will do in her campaign.
I captured as best I could her speech tonight at her kickoff at Cobblestones:
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