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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.
I really, really like Councilor Leahy’s motion, tonight.
Unfortunately, it seems that Leahy is trying to draw just a ‘wee bit’ too much attention to the issue. Thus, to himself. By going to the biased Blog of Record, a ‘pay per view’ newspaper, Leahy has opened himself up to criticism he could have easily avoided. He turned a positive into a negative.
Worst still. The Sun can’t effectively deliver the goods. Look at this screen grab:
THAT .. is what you see when you click into the online version of the story. You’ve got to realize, in Youtube, the maker of the video has control of the image that appears on the screen, prior to activating the video. Does the cub reporter not know that? Or, just didn’t bother?
If a Councilor, Leahy or any other, is going to try to strum the Blog of Record to play their tune. They should take care that the Editors ensure it is done well. When you’re on the bubble, you can’t afford dumb mistakes.
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…)
Gerry Nutter is sorta tough, today. On C.Elliott, who Gerry calls a ‘Sun Flower.” How did Gerry come up with that handle?
… any current Councilor or challenger who hears City Councilor Elliot state he is the only one who hasn’t voted to raise taxes should point out to voters at every opportunity he is the ONLY Councilor to vote against repairing the schools that our children attend and voted against spending money to repair the streets having voted against the Capital Improvement plan presented this past week.
Unlike Councilor Elliot, I attended the joint City Council / School Committee tour of the schools last year and was appalled to find broken and unusable restrooms, broken water bubblers, doors and windows so drafty that students had to wear coats in class and holes and rust in shower stalls.
Some of these schools haven’t been painted in 30 years since I was a student. Look at how many of our streets have potholes and broken sidewalks and ask Councilor Elliot why our kids and neighbors don’t deserve to have the same attention paid to these buildings the way he’s paid so much attention to the Lowell Housing Authority buildings in the past term. He has no jurisdiction or control over those and yet he votes against fixing the buildings our kids attend, buildings he can have an effect on.
The taxpayers deserve clean safe and maintained schools just as he has stated he believes the residents of public housing have a right to those same conditions where they live.
So why has he voted against spending to fix up our schools for our kids?
Someone should also ask him if he supports the outrages past practices that allowed uncapped buyback of unused sick and vacation time for city employees and teachers. This Administration working with the Unions have made huge compromises to CAP this benefit and yet Elliot has constantly voted against these contracts.
Challengers and fellow Councilors cannot allow him to paint himself as a defender of the taxpayer when he has a voting record that shows he is against maintaining / repairing the school buildings our kids attend, paving our streets and capping buybacks which benefits all the citizens of Lowell.
C.Elliott fancies himself as a ‘fiscal watchdog.’ So much so, that he grandstands at every opportunity to crusade against any sort of raise in tax or fee. So, he is not so much a fiscal watch dog, as he is a “Grover Norquist wannabe.” Being fiscally prudent is not to hold a hard line on taxes or fees. It is taking fiscal health into account, in a more ‘holistic’ sense. Unfortunately, it is hard to pander to the fiscally obtuse using complex concepts. “NO!” is two letters and one syllable. Makes for neat bumper stickers.
The folks encamped along the river have been scattered.
On Wednesday evening, I got a call from Paul Belley. He was at his part time gig, at a local packy, and needed some help making calls. He had already left voice mail messages for City Manager Lynch, Councilor Lorrey and CTI’s Kristin Ross Sitcawich, and he needed me to make some calls to local shelters.
Apparently, the local authorities had made good on their promise to evict the homeless squatters living along the river. Unfortunately, efforts to find these people an alternative arrangement had fallen short. Paul told me of three Lowellians that had come by to let him know they were trying to resettle. Some were faring better than others.
One woman, who has a tragic history of being battered, had just stopped by, asking Paul if he knew of a place she could stay. Paul told her he would make some calls and that she should return to the store, later. The woman bought a pint of vodka, but never came back that night.
Regardless, Paul made calls and so did I.
From what I can gather, this stuff is hard. Of the 7 numbers that I could Google up, only 3 actually dealt with housing people. The others were like referral agencies for various services. The woman at House of Hope was very kind, but their shelter was geared towards families. The on duty case worker at the Lowell Transitional Center was not that gentle, but would shelter the woman, provided she could pass a drug screen and a breath-a-lyzer.
When I called Paul back to report what I found out, we collectively sank as we knew it was unlikely that anything could be done that drizzly night. The only positive we could find was that we knew these folks were rugged and that it wasn’t February.
I talked to Paul, yesterday, and he got return calls from some of those he left VM for. All sorts of wonderful promises to do the best that could be done. But, these authorities are IN the system. The homeless folks are OUT of it. We have a clash of cultures and there is little trust.
What doesn’t make any sense was the rush to move these people out? Why not approach it incrementally? Find arrangements for the “low hanging fruit,” first. Those willing to come back in. Then, like in the case of the battered woman, provide sequenced outreach to build a level of trust, allowing for best fit services to be secured. Finally, for the hardened homeless, take a stronger position and do the eviction.
What I saw unfold was a rush to brush these folks away, trying to stuff them into the ready made services that were handy.
But hey, Hillary Clinton screwed up on Benghazi and Bernie Lynch is going to crush the local catering business all by his lonesome, right? Let’s focus on political kabuki, while in the shadows our neighbours creep. Out of sight. Out of mind.
We tried. They wouldn’t cooperate. We did the best we could.
And, now, they are scattered.
Update: See for yourselves.
Tonight, as the Council contorts itself to defend the integrity of The Belvidere, please consider something. Who remembers this episode?
LOWELL CITY COUNCIL
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 2012
CITY HALL, CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER
TIME 6:30 PM
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?’
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:
Greg Page coined the phrase, Home Run Derby.
After a recent Council meeting in which there were a series of emotional speeches preceding what would clearly be a 9-0 vote, I was searching for a term for these sorts of things, and settled on “Home Run Derby.” Why?
Because everyone can get up, take their cuts for the fence in Barry Bonds-ahead-of-the-count-and-nothing-to-lose fashion, while the pitches are coming in straight to the wheelhouse and no one is playing defense.
Last night’s City Council meeting met the criteria for a ‘Home Run Derby’ and then some. Unfortunately, we need a new phrase for the ‘and then some.’ What do we call it, or should call it, when a Councilor jumps in front of a moving band wagon, in the hopes of taking credit for the soon to come achievement.
Let’s focus, now, because this is EXACTLY what C.Kennedy is doing with the motion he directed at the License Commission. (more…)
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:
Excuse me, … I can’t stop chuckling. *deep breath* Anyways, let’s look at what happened in Lowell. (more…)
Update: Greg Page digs into this ruse, using analytical tools As Greg Page says, “Stylometry basically involves looking at patterns in someone’s linguistic style in order to determine authorship — it has been used to look at everything from Shakespeare to the Federalist Papers to anonymous letters in corporations.”
Why anyone, or cabal, would try to frame me for issuing such a silly screed is beyond my comprehension. Maybe you can help me out? I scanned the original document and used MS Paint to add red underlines.
There are 4 things to take note of: 1) The use of my ‘blog vanacular.’ Note the inclusion of modern references to the current drama. 2) The attempt to paint Bernie Lynch and me as conjoined in an effort to defeat a common foe. (Like everyone driving down Rte 93S at 7:30 am are all going to the same place.) 3) The promulgation that I, little ol’ Jackie, sees myself as a political demigod. 4) The odd reference to some forthcoming revelation, via the Library.
Dear readers, please pity the author of this note. They have their ass, soooo twisted in a knot, that they laboured to craft this clumsy deception. That is not to excuse the ugly intent and the heinous attempt to smear my name. (I can ruin my own reputation, thank you.)
All I can figure is that whatever pies I currently have my digits stuffed in, I have struck several nerves.
For those of you rowing in the same direction as me, take heart. The advantage is clearly ours. For those of you defending the defunct ways of a by-gone political error, you folks should really think about your ‘comrades in arms.’ For sure, your crew, is feeble and flailing. Especially, if the note below is any indication.
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