Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
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.
When one door closes, another one opens. To the embarrassment of riches that is the Lowell blogosphere (it’s turning into a thing here!) we welcome to our blogroll newcomers at Learning Lowell.
With several posts already examining the local election - musings from grow-ins trying to learn the ropes (amazing, to see brand new residents get so deep into local politics so quickly!) - it promises to be a great new addition to the conversation. (And yes, we’re sorry, we’re probably guilty of “assum[ing they] already know the decades of history these people have.” And yes, “for a town with such a history of new groups moving in, sometimes it isn’t the most accessible.” I agree - though, of course, putting all the long history of context in every politics post is really difficult. I’m always available by email, comment, or coffee to answer any question you guys might have on any post we do here!
So, put them on your list of blogs on your regular reading list!
Thou shall not impede The Sun’s meddling in local affairs.
In the role of “activist newspaper,” The Sun is legend.
In the wait-your-turn political culture of Lowell and nearby Lawrence, Kerry was a carpetbagger trying to cherrypick a seat in Congress.
In the general election campaign, Kerry was lashed relentlessly by The Sun, which questioned his patriotism, his loyalty to the district, and his financial backers. He blew a huge lead and lost to the Republican nominee, Paul W. Cronin, a former state representative who had served on Morse’s staff.
Suddenly, the fast track to political glory vanished beneath the feet of the war hero turned war protester. …
Gerry Nutter laid it out, by the numbers. (I’ll provide graphs, below the fold.)
Additionally, during those years that City Manager / Administration proposed and the City Council approved the use of about $17.87 million in one time money in Free Cash, nearly $6 million per year to sustain spending levels as opposed to making necessary cuts.All while being supported by the Editor at the SUN.
In October 2006 after removing that City Manager and with the appointment of a new CFO the City discovered that the budget that was now 1/3rd under way, was rife with miscalculations. Free cash to pay for services was estimated to be $3.5 million but in the end it was -$2.2 million, a difference of $5.7 million. Other local receipts were over estimated by about $2 million. The FY06 budget ran out of money for utility bills and they were moved into FY07 for payment making the already inadequate utility account doubly so
That is all fact, it supports and highlights the need for professional management along with a strong balanced council. Combined with the positive numbers I showed last week highlighting the upward direction the city is heading, why is this election being focused on stupid, petty garbage like OLD vs. New Lowell.
This week’s “The Column” opted to be cute by half with this treatment.
MONTHS AGO, outgoing Mayor Patrick Murphy held an event at The Old Court. Those who attended, including one veteran politician, observed that Murphy packed the room with young, exuberant 20-somethings whose apparent desire to get involved in politics signaled a “new Lowell,” an awakening of sorts.
I’ve heard the WCAP ‘infomercial’ try to lay the coining of this meme at the feet of Dick Howe, Jr. Of course, JMac only looks in the mirror, so he really won’t know where the phrasing comes from. Gerry Nutter puts it on an attention seeking local media, which includes us ‘big mouthed bloggers.’ I concur. The ‘new/old’ meme has been floating around for several years now. It spun off the chatter about ‘blow ins & grow ins,’ etc. It’s clear, from the way The Column above sidesteps it, that they didn’t do their homework. But, opted, rather, to parrot JMac’s empty headed contortion. JMac & Campi come up short. Funny, in my mind, was the word choice, ” veteran politician,” by Campi. Who hates Dick, Jr. only a little less than he hates Kendall Wallace, to the point Campi will only admit the existence of Dick’s Blog, if he absolutely has to.
Dick, btw, has given witness to Gerry Nutter’s framing of the corporate; desperate to survive, via, bargain basement fire sale journalistic ethics; local media:
In his Sunday Notes today, Gerry Nutter says that all the negativity about city government coming from the Sun and WCAP is designed to suppress voter turnout on November 5. I agree.
About those City Finance graphs:
LTC is putting together a live City Council candidates’ forum on Oct 9, 6:30pm! It will air on Comcast Channel 8 and online at LTC.org.
Some of you may recall the spat Mayor Murphy was in. No. The other one. Damn it. The OTHER, other one. This one!
Sorry for the confusion. Anyways, the opponents of a methadone clinic being placed near a potential blossoming of McMansions did not take being hinted at, kindly. Though, to be fair, it was a heavy handed hint, as we Irish don’t do ballet. We clog. Well, I blog, but I digress.
Mr.McMansion, Dave Daly, bought up a piece of Lowell that is currently zoned Industrial. He tried, and failed, to have it rezoned to McMansion, aka Residential. To say Mr. Daly was miffed would be an understatement. The up & coming Brahmin of Lowell do not like to be trifled with by the likes of lowly elected officials.
I covered this before: Dave Daly and an Ambulance Chaser
Mr. Daly is covering it, as well. Mostly on WCAP, it should be noted. Thus, in one episode of the “Can I Be Frank?” show, Dave Daly and Frank McCabe go over the basics of shady political rhetoric.
Hear is a taste:
Generally, I applaud the efforts of WCAP. Especially the efforts of Ted Panos. Who’s political slant is bothersome, but his knack for journalism is not the worst. He excels, I should add, at Lowell’s corporate media’s standard for ‘new media.’ A sincere round of applause for “Radio Replay.”
Since the chicken issue has flown the coop & the Blog of Record ashamedly went on a witch hunt, we have to have some poltical salt water taffy to chew on, as we head towards the September 24th Preliminary Election.
We The People are binging on Bicycles! And, the local Blogs play the tune!
From the yucksters over at Sons of Franky Cabot, Ned brings us:
The revolution has started. (-snip)
It was only a matter of time before the city took notice. Enter the City employee bike share program. Sure it’s only four bikes right now, but we expect this wave of enthusiasm to extend to the council chambers. Since its time to get into it, I thought I should take it upon myself to thoughtfully recommend the most appropriate pedal powered options for our sitting council.
Unicycle: Trading performance and efficiency for showmanship and nonconformity.
Councilors Mercier & Elliott.
2-man Tandem: The ultimate intersection of team work and strategy. Plus, you can harness Rita’s wind when Rodney gets tired of pedaling.
Take it from a seasoned blogger. It is totally NSFW, but do make a habit out of visiting SoFC. I consider it a ‘guilty pleasure.’ Who knew, Joe Rogan would be my latest internet swami? Snuggle up with a pitbull, crack a Zima, kick back and let SoFC take you away.
You’ve done it again…testing new web designs seems to be something the parent company of the Lowell Sun can’t seem to get right.
Go to the Lowell Sun right now, and you get this weird ad for the lead-in (God do I HATE preloaded “click to skip” ads):
Then you get…the Denver Post! Well, not really, just the title. The title links to denverpost.com and the weather link is for Denver as well.
Again, as a web designer, who has had to go live on web redesigns for clients all the time, this is just, well, sad. How much money did they spend on this? It’s seriously amateur. Can things go wrong in a website redesign release? Sure. But the sheer number of goofups with this media group is more than just a simple hiccup, it’s like they don’t give a crap. They still haven’t touched the blogs.lowellsun.com home page, which in Firefox (a very common browser) is so messed up you can’t even read it.
Unacceptable. But par for the course. If Denver cares so little for their web collateral that they fail to do the most basic cross browser, pre-live testing, it stands to reason this is also why they seem to care so little for good content (at least from certain of its reporters and editors…there are a few good eggs left over there, poor things).
PS - and then there’s their horrid title writing…so biased. “Tewksbury Town Meeting snubs slots-parlor plan” - obviously a negative spin on the vote, the use of the word “snubs,” as if the slots had just graciously deigned to visit and Tewksbury turned its nose up at it and sent it packing, despite the slots’ beautiful clothes and respectful manner. Kad Barma had also noted this tendency here on another Sun piece, but I’ve been writing about their awful titles since the beginning of this blog. No joke. It just never gets better…
I can’t begin to stress just how disturbed I am right now.
Look, I’m a blogger, and a graphic designer. I’m no lawyer, and I’m certainly no better informed than most journalism majors finishing up their junior year as an undergrad. So when Christopher Scott, Enterprise Editor of the Lowell Sun, responds on Facebook to the copyright scandal with the following:
Good morning Jenn. Just want to set the record straight on this one. I’m 99.9 percent sure no one lifted the picture you’re referencing from your FB page. Rather, someone, might have been me, Googled a picture of the mayor and that one was selected.
So let me get this straight. Lifting the photo from Google sans permission is better than lifting this photo from Facebook sans permission? I don’t care where the photo was found via Google images (in this case, Jen says an article from Latitude News “regarding the connection the Mayor has created with the Cambodian community” used the photo with her permission). And then you go and list it in print as a Sun File Photo?
Are you kidding me? Does Scott not have a clue as to how copyright works as applied to the internet?
Bet you dollars to donuts, if I started lifting actual Sun File Photos from their website and putting them on my blog, they’d be after me faster than a canal minnow on tossed bread (and that’s fast, I’ve fed them, those suckers EAT).
Bad form, Lowell Sun, you got caught and called out, and your lame ass excuse just digs you deeper. Just admit it, you know crap all about what you’re doing over there, kids. The Museum truly is a museum - they can’t even catch up to two decades of the internet, for heaven’s sake.
Someone please clean house over there before they hurt themselves.
Update I: Apparently, this is not the first time the Lowell Sun has blatantly stolen photos from others. In fact, it appears to be pretty common. In regards to a recent post on the Lowell Sun Column blog, another commenter on Jen’s status caught them again:
Perhaps the “column” photo was “borrowed” from LHS Photography student Monita Khuth/ http://www.panoramio.com/photo/52773728
These students have produced some outstanding work. And if you keep an eye on them you’ll see their progress year after year.
Check the link…that photo of LHS has a copyright.
Uploaded on May 16, 2011
© All Rights Reserved
by LHS Photo
You can see where the Sun Column blog stole that photo, with apparently zero permission, zero attribution, here.
And from Dan Murphy, the Mayor’s brother:
Not the first time this has happened. The Sun stole a picture of Patrick and his wife off the “Google” when they found out he was getting married.
I’m sure there’s more, anyone wishing to jump in and find more violations feel free.
There’s professionalism, then there’s the Lowell Sun, which is on another plane of existence all together. The rules don’t apply to them, doncha know?
What rules would that be? Rules about stealing, of course!
On first glance, this photo looks like a great shot by a staff photographer.
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