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Yes, we should move on. As someone else wrote on another blog, “Yes, Pericles’ 15 minutes are up.”
At Tuesday’s meeting a lot of residents spoke but one of the speeches that had rang so true to me was the one that City Council Bill Martin gave. Here is the 5 minute clip:
I have had my concerns about the ability of this particular City Council to perform as a unified body and bring about major changes, where needed. Here is my post of January 10, 2013 and my October 31, 2012; and September 12, 2012.
You could spend hours reviewing the LiL archives and realize that this CC was heading for a car crash. Why? Everyone wants to drive the car but very few want to compromise to map the route.
What amazed me the most about this entire process is that certain CCs had no problems hurling every accusations to the Mayor but never speak up when one of their own in City Council chambers, during meetings, week after week creates a nasty atmosphere by constantly “nipping” at the heels of the administration and the Mayor.
[Update: Dick Howe has his take as well.]
There is so much to write about tonight’s City Council meeting I hardly know where to begin, and honestly, after an almost 2.5 hour discussion on the floor, I need a break. I’ll have more to say (such great video fodder!! dear god Elliott!) later I am sure.
But nothing showcased “old” and “new” Lowell like this meeting. In podium speech after podium speech from the public, “new” Lowell came…townies and recent arrivals, women and men, older and younger…veterans, minorities, professionals, entrepreneurs, and artists…row after row of them.
There is your reality. It’s scary I know. But Lowell can’t survive without those people wrestling the reigns out of your aging, tired hands. No offense. But the “new Lowell” is only growing stronger. You could have gotten on that boat…still could, if you’d stop fighting it. Certainly, lots of “townies” like Dick Howe are also “new Lowell.” They welcome new blood into the mix, they want more voices to speak and better city government. They don’t want to cling to the old ways, just because they’ve been around a long time.
Maybe the Gods on Mt. Olympus would expect us mere mortals to ‘turn the other cheek,’ when they lob mud down upon us, via a dead tree rag.
I suggest they task Hermes with getting high speed internet and a few smaht phones.
Soon after the Inaugural, various factions of the Lowell bubble joined the Blog of Record to pester the new Mayor. Why the “prominent Greeks” opted to join the dogpile, we can only speculate. But, join they did.
From April 1, 2012
Last Tuesday, I followed Greg Page back to the Mayor’s office, in pursuit of his earlier comments to the Council. Gazing about the room, I noticed a bust of Pericles in the office. My mind drifted quickly back to Mr. Blackington’s Western Civilization class and I mentally patted myself on the back for recognizing Pericles. Mayor Murphy is a student of the ancients. So much for that, I thought.
As sketchy farces from Chelmsford and Lawrence try to infiltrate Lowell politics, they bluster glowingly of a “Strong Mayor” system, while concurrently disparaging the civic leaders that hold Lowell up as a model for peer communities for follow.
Former Boston City Councilor Sam Yoon, on the heels of Boston Mayor Menino’s statement to not seek another term, wrote an article of the pitfalls Boston has experienced with a “Strong Mayor” system.
Tom Menino did not create this system. He inherited it. It has been passed through generations of Boston mayors, beginning in the 1940s and 50s. City jobs, city-employed campaign workers, building permits, and kickbacks — legal and illegal — were all tools that mayors regularly used to accumulate power. It was a power that both citizens and councilors feared and respected. So much so that for decades it enabled these mayors to decide on their own terms when to end their mayoralties. The last Boston mayor to lose a bid for re-election was James Michael Curley in 1949. After Curley served a five month prison sentence in 1947, he famously returned to City Hall and promptly insulted the city clerk John Hynes, who had been running the city in his absence. In a fit of pique, Hynes ran against Curley and won.
But would Boston be better if things were different? Yes, if the people were given an alternative. But because the mayor undermines competition for good ideas, there is only one viewpoint, only one party, and only one leader. People generally make the right choice when they hear opposing points of view, but in Boston, for the last 60 years, there has only been one choice.
The ill health of democracy in Boston is why I gave up my safe seat on the City Council in 2009 to campaign for mayor and talk about this problem. I argued that a free flow and exchange of ideas is essential in a democracy, and that in our current strong-mayor system, we didn’t have it.
During my four years in City Hall, debate and deliberation were too often viewed with suspicion or tinged with fear of retribution. As a city councilor I learned why not to ask how taxpayers would be reimbursed if the mayor went ahead with plans to build a skyscraper on a city-funded garage. Why not to ask how much it costs to maintain obsolete fire safety equipment. Why not to ask for more funding for youth programs. There were severe political consequences just for asking. This was bad for the City Council as well as for the voters and taxpayers of Boston.
Yoon’s warnings are not an attack against Mayor Menino, but of a type of government that is easily led astray by a small ‘bubble,’ while most focus on their work-a-day lives. I think we, in Lowell, would be well served to hear what Yoon is trying to tell Bostonians.
Lowell is not Boston and Lowell is not Lawrence. We should emulate the positives and shun the negatives.
Specifically, Councilors John Leahy and Marty Lorrey, if the Cub Reporter is correct. This quote by the cub was on Facebook:
“Sources told The Sun if the council was able to take a vote to have Murphy relinquish the chair, those who planned to support it were Councilors Elliott, John Leahy, Lorrey, Kennedy and Mercier.”
We all expect this kind of childishness from Rita Mercier, and we certainly expect it by Rodney “Salavatin’ for the Mayor’s Chair” Elliot and Ed Kennedy.
But I supported Lorrey as a candidate and I thought he and Leahy at least would know better.
Here’s hoping that the little cub is wrong, and they would not vote for this motion to go forward. My god, people, MY GOD, don’t we have bigger things on our plates as a city than an unhealthy obsession with the fucking busts of long dead philosophers and holding stupid personal grudges that date back to 2006?? We’re facing a federal budget sequester and a possible economic slump because of it! Now is the time to prepare for that, not piss on sanity and call it water!
And please do not tell me that Lorrey doesn’t understand just how much good Murphy has done in his short time on the Council. Patrick has enacted more proactive and effective legislation than a dozen previous full sessions combined. (And I’m only exaggerating a little, and only because some good, professional things had already begun to be enacted by Lynch prior to Murphy’s election.)
If Lorrey and Leahy let themselves be used like this, that’s it for my support. And the support of a whole lot of people who are fed up with the stupidity. Does Mayor Murphy rub some people the wrong way sometimes? Sure. But have a whole shitload of lies and innuendo been unfairly trumped up by the Paper Blog to hurt Murphy’s reputation? Hell yes. If anyone ought to be angry about what has happened to our politics, it’s Murphy. Sure he does things his own way and fails to kiss any rings. Most of the time this is a very good thing, but sometimes it sends us onto a harder path, when a little sugar would have made the way smoother.
But let’s be clear: the bullshit started with Elliot. If no one had unfairly attacked the Mayor for a year running, I’m guessing we’d all be pretty happy with Patrick’s performance right now, including Rita “oh my god two people named Steve and Tommy told me they were offended so I’ll push a no confidence motion” Mercier.
What a circus our politics is. Nothing has changed. Nothing WILL change until a certain subset of people are aged out of politics, I guess. Grow up, Old Lowell. You are totally embarrassing yourselves, and our fair city. I hope that Lowell remembers this in November. Personally, I think Rita is panicking because she knows she lost some support after endorsing Brown, and thinks this is the route back to popularity. She hates not being popular.
I guess we’ll find out soon enough what will work and what won’t.
On second thought, this gives me and a lot of other people a whole lot of motivation to get the vote out. So please, keep handing us issues to run on. I suspect that in the normal course of things, this election would NOT have been a “change” election, with clear reasons to get off our collective duffs. But with stunts like these, it’s a quick sell to the unmotivated voter.
I think I’ll probably wind up thanking Rita for this motion, after all!
According to the Blog of Record:
Mercier said she is seeking the vote of no confidence because neither the city’s Plan E charter nor City Council rules appear to provide a formal process for the council to remove the mayor from his role.
Mercier, who has topped the ticket in the last eight council elections and is one of the most popular politicians in Lowell’s history, said Murphy would be invited to the executive session if the council decides to hold one.
She also said she believes she has the support for her motion and no-confidence vote, and hopes Murphy decides to resign.
Sources told The Sun if the council was able to take a vote to have Murphy relinquish the chair, those who planned to support it were Councilors Elliott, John Leahy, Lorrey, Kennedy and Mercier.
It’s sweet of you to ‘invite’ the Mayor, Rita. But, how do you propose getting around the inconvenience of the OML?
Section 21. Executive Sessions
(a) A public body may meet in executive session only for the following purposes:
(1) To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than professional competence, of an individual, or to discuss the discipline or dismissal of, or complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual. The individual to be discussed in such executive session shall be notified in writing by the public body at least 48 hours prior to the proposed executive session; provided, however, that notification may be waived upon written agreement of the parties. A public body shall hold an open session if the individual involved requests that the session be open. If an executive session is held, such individual shall have the following rights:
i. to be present at such executive session during deliberations which involve that individual;
ii. to have counsel or a representative of his own choosing present and attending for the purpose of advising the individual and not for the purpose of active participation in the executive session;
iii. to speak on his own behalf; and
iv. to cause an independent record to be created of said executive session by audio-recording or transcription, at the individual’s expense.
The rights of an individual set forth in this paragraph are in addition to the rights that he may have from any other source, including, but not limited to, rights under any laws or collective bargaining agreements and the exercise or non-exercise of the individual rights under this section shall not be construed as a waiver of any rights of the individual.
I’m not so sure that the ‘Coalition of the Chatty’ will hold together, knowing every word they say, in Open Session, can be clipped into a Youtube video and played every day until Election Day.
Upon reading on fb that City Councilor Rita Mercier was going to file a motion to bring a “no confidence” vote against Mayor Patrick Murphy was one of sadness. For the Mayor, who has thick skin but more for our City. First and foremost, this is not about policy, this is about ego. One of the problems is generational; baby boomers and millennials but at the core of this communication break down is egos.
First and foremost, yes, I am a supporter of the Mayor and yes, on occasion I find his views unsettling. But guess what, I find the behavior of most sitting City Councilors quite disturbing at times. But instead of the City Councilors policing themselves, they allow their colleagues to say whatever pleases them, whenever it pleases them with no consequence. Why single out Mayor
Murphy? I am sure that Councilor Mercier and her supporters on the Council have at times offended citizens and residents of Lowell. That is how politics works.
If CC Mercier thinks this discussion will take place in Executive Session, she is mistaken. This trial will be in public so his accuser can have the opportunity to say it to his face what he has done that they find so offensive that he should be removed and the majority of Lowellians can sit and judge, not only Mayor Murphy but his colleagues.
And why go the Sun with the story? (Yes, I know the answer but I just wanted to ask the question out loud) The right thing would have been for CC Mercier to ask for personal privilege tomorrow night and speak to the residents and business owners of this City. Tell us directly what is on her mind. Instead she gave more fuel to those who do not like the Mayor because among other things, he does not kiss their 14k gold plated rings and hetried to stop one of their revenue source.
By the way, speaking of the paper, what would they have done if the Sun never had hired MK thus forcing everyone to get a fb and a twitter account?
Part of me thinks (wishful thinking) that this will wake up Mayor Murphy’s contemporaries who think that politics is only national and perhaps they will join the local fray and make their voices heard. But this is setting a bad precedence. I do not recall any such action in the past even when a certain City Councilor went after the sitting Mayor at the conclusion of a City Council meeting.
And yes, my sadness for Mayor Murphy is that he is about to become a father for the first time, a time which should be full of hope and happiness. Instead he has to deal with this. He will get over it but I am not sure how this will impact our City. Hopefully, a lesson learned and we make the necessary changes to have a local government which focuses on public policy first and foremost and egos second.
“For him to use a symbol of our immigrant story as a prop in a perverse ploy for a cheap laugh is insulting and belittling to the Greek-American community,” said former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos. “There seems to be a pattern here of hostility to the Greek-American community.
“A mayor is supposed to show leadership, not divide a community.”
Update: Jen Myers Says:
March 18th, 2013 at 7:52 am e
Pericles was moved back to the MRR in October, after the former state senator approached the Mayor at a UMass Lowell event and asked him to move it. That was the FIRST time anyone personally asked for it to be moved. So, it was.
Did you ever, for a minute, think the kerfuffle around LHA was about public health, or any of the touted altruistic motives that were puked up by the Blog of Record?
It was always about UNION BUSTING!
After over an hour of details surrounding the $2 million loan order to purchase new parking kiosks, as well as improve some of Lowell’s current inventory, C.Kennedy made a motion to delay the vote by one week. The discussion, then, continued for about another hour more. Ultimately, the motion to delay was supported, 7-2, with C. Lorrey and C. Mendonca against.
Come tomorrow, over at LTC.org, we can all dive back in to the picayune of tonight’s exquisitely detailed waltz around the kiosks. Honestly, I partly jest. There was plenty of red meat for those of us that like concrete responses to valid questions. But, tonight, politics was in the air, so progress was waylayed.
It’s late, so I’m going to put down some quick notes and take a lucky stab at how this all plays out over the next week.
There seemed to be, for all intents and purposes, 2 unresolved issues: 1) the proposed parking along Father Morrissette Blvd 2) if the loan order should be approved before the bid documents are evaluated.
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