Left In Lowell

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June 15, 2013

The Shallot Rises

by at 7:18 am.

There was a period of time, I was thinking of hijacking the Shallot brand and running my own bootleg jihad. But, that would not be cricket.

The Shallot has risen.

There will be No Quarter. The Shallot is, apparently, a Thelemite. Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law.

All I ask for is an updated Crony Map.

November 23, 2012

h/t to Lynne and Jack

by at 7:34 pm.

Now that some of the dust has settled, I wanted to express my views on the events that occurred this past week. I am referring to GLTHS Mary Jo Santoro filing a police complaint on my LiL colleague Lynne. This is not how I wanted or expected to spend my Thanksgiving week but if you enter the public arena, you should be ready for unexpected and unpleasant events.

First and foremost, I want to share publicly what I said to both Lynne and Jack. In my opinion, Santoro’s actions were not aimed at Lynne but they were aimed at LiL in general and Jack in particular. It is Jack’s investigating writing under the banner of “Mary Jo Must Go” that has the Superintendent, her supporters, her benefactors, her sycophants, her entourage and most importantly the hanger-ons that live off the job clearinghouse, self-defined political power base on the Merrimack.

Yes, Santoro would not mind if Lynne was wounded but I believe that particular action was orchestrated by one of Santoro’s staunchest supporters for his own twisted motives. Jack’s post were the ultimate target. The decision to go after Lynne was an attempt by Santoro and her companions to intimidate LiL into silence. I do not think this threat has worked. Lynne and Jack are stubborn and committed. When your principles are based on ideas and not on getting a job in the public sector for yourself or a family member, it is pretty easy to continue to fight.

I have no idea where Santoro’s complaint will land in the legal arena. We will wait and see but at this rate, pretty soon she is going to run out of people to accuse of harassment. That tactic has short shelf life.

What bothered me the most in the past few days was the pleasure some bloggers took in the possibility that another blog will be shut off. I can understand the Lowell Sun jumping on that bandwagon, there is no love lost between us and them. But for bloggers to find pleasure in the possibility that free speech will be curtailed is truly disturbing.

The internet and all of its wonderful democratic components should be applauded by all self-described bloggers. We should celebrate the ability to exchange idea no matter how appalling we find the words and their delivery. The freedom to share views, debate, argue and perhaps form a consensus should be embraced. You should fight words with words, not with the threat of police action.

There are so many avenues that are available to express one’s views in Lowell, LiL is not the only game in town. There are many blogs (I do miss the Mill City boys) and most of those blogs do not share our views. Some even like to position themselves as the anti-LiL. We have a local radio station that welcomes callers; we have a local television show that provides a wide spectrum of views. And of course we have our newspaper. There are plenty of outlets for everyone to present their views. Why try to harm LiL?

And as far as Mr. Mike Hayden is concerned, I would like to offer a suggestion. Instead of being fascinated by Jack and Lynne, try to serve as a mentor to younger Lowellians who want to get involved in public service or civic activity. If you are so confident in your views, you should be able to quickly form a cadre of up and coming leaders who can challenge the current sentiments expressed by the majority of Lowell voters that have clearly stated “we want people like Fred Bahou and Erik Gitschier” to serve on the GLTHS Committee.” By the way, Mr. Hayden I really do not care what you may say about me so if you want to go on Gerry’s blog and call me vile names as you do Jack and Lynne, it will be a total waste of your time as well as the readers. I do not need nor seek your approval on any level.

I would like to thank Mary Jo. On behalf of three Lowell homeowners, taxpayers who like this City and want it to prosper on all levels, thanks for giving us a kick in the rear end and waking me up from my slumber.

March 11, 2012

Setting Expectations, Rita Style

by at 9:09 pm.

I’m not going long on this. Just read it and keep it in your cud.

Mercier said. “Just because I’m a housewife, it does not mean I don’t know the law.”

Update, 16:42: Listening to the replay of City Life. Mayor Murphy asserts, if I understand his meaning, that C.Kennedy erred in objecting on two points. 1) There was no first reading, as the Mayor had asked the Council for a waiver to read by title. 2) An objection is allowed on a motion that is to be voted on THAT night. The motion in question was setting up a future public hearing. No vote was due to decide the outcome of the motion. Thus, Mayor Murphy states the objection was improper.

My update is NOT to suggest a housewife cannot know the law. Especially, one that has a long tenure on the City Council and has served as Mayor. Further, I am not too interested in the matter at hand. I marvel at Rita’s rhetoric. She draws masterpieces with Crayola.

August 18, 2011

YouTube is Better Than facebook

by at 1:18 pm.

It’s only August and I’m tired of the City Council election. It’s my own damn fault. I keep my nose in it. I don’t know where the Red Sox are in the standings. I’m sure Tom Brady is still our QB. Heard Milan Lucic brought The Cup back home to Vancouver. The only thing I know about TV and movies comes, pretty much, from my kids. I’m lame.

And I’m bored.

See, all the drama that puts this city into fits, turns into nothing more than local machinations. Very predictable, for the most part. One thing that offers a hint a pizazz is how campaigns approach new media outreach. This is a thing that speaks to the future. It is untried, discoverable. Aka, not boring.

Patrick Murphy is not boring:

What is boring is the parade of fluff glomming up my FB feed. Like yard signs, facebook don’t vote. For every 10 status updates a candidate puts up cheerleading themselves, I’d like to see one Lowellian post something positive, unsolicited. I put more credence into a coffee shop anecdote about, “I ran into ‘X’ dropping lit in my neighborhood,” than I do a FB update telling me about it. Managing expectations, via FB, is not the way to go folks. Especially, if the candidate is the source of the posts.

Now let’s talk about YouTube. Here is a venue where creativity and imagination can shine. Short clips are effectively digital “lit drops.” These things can fly by e-mail, splash on FB and dwell on the local blog(s). A well crafted YouTube video can tell you a lot about a candidate. By “well crafted,” I don’t mean pro or high production. I mean smart, savvy, homespun brilliance. The type of thing that conveys the aptitude and expression of a campaign with it’s finger on the pulse of this vibrant city.

It’s mid-August. Murphy is out front in this arena. Who else can hang?

August 15, 2011

Who’s Afraid of [a Preliminary] ?

by at 10:58 am.

Can you hear the buzz? “Why do we need a preliminary JUST to eliminate one person?” “The City Council should try to save the $50,000*. We could hire another librarian for that.”

The boo birds are chirping away! So, who is afraid of a preliminary? Why?

Here are some sketchy points:
- Candidates that decided not to bother campaigning until after Labor Day could get caught woefully short. Incumbents, at least, can use the Council meetings to promote themselves. Or “demote,” as the case may be. So, lazy challengers or those that think that they have 5000 voters in their back pocket and that they own Belvidere will know FOR SURE how popular they truly are. Hint, Hint: Everybody loves you to your face.
- Candidates that have run for another office will know where they stand, when considered for City Council. Not all seats are created equal.
- A glance over the last couple of preliminaries suggest if you don’t place 13th or better, you’re done. However, honestly, it will depend on the spread. If 8 thru 15 are tighly grouped, votes wise, then the general is up for grabs. Except, for maybe the 16th-18th? But, I’ll propose, that if there is a decent gap in voter preference somewhere in the placement, the candidates on the wrong side of the gap will not see the inside of the swing gate in 2012.
-Caulfield is out and the 2009 bottom three finishers are vunerable. Though an incumbent could tank in the preliminary and then claw back a “W” in the general. Assuming they weren’t demoralized and could rally some troops to help them. It’s harder for long term incumbents to wage a ground game. Their family is tired of campaigns and their friends/supporters rather write a check for $100.
- Expect: 1st-6th place finishers to claim they “are solid,” 7th-11th place finisher to claim “with a little more work in the neighborhoods I was weak in, I’ll be solid,” 12th-15th place to blurt “Don’t count me out,” and 16th-18th to yell “This is Lowell, anything can happen!”
- Expect to see mailers. Doubt anyone will go negative.
- WCAP is going to see some dough coming in, I’ll bet.
- Expect campaign signage to filter into store fronts, starting now. Since the last day to withdraw is August 25th, expect yards to bloom signage Saturday the 27th.

Speaking of August 25th, will one of the candidates play “hero” and withdraw? That could set them up nicely for a 2013 bid? Though, who likes a quitter? Really? And is there an effort under way to find a soft spot in the line up? Who would have the balls to suggest to a candidate that they withdraw?

I want a preliminary. That way, come Sept. 28th, we’ll know who is “all hat and no cattle.”

* Expect the cost estimate for a preliminary to fluctuate wildly, depending on who is doing the talking. I used 50K because it’s a middle of the road guess.

April 11, 2009

TOL Audio of Interview with Stephanie Higgins

by at 5:45 pm.

Here’s the audio of my interview yesterday with Stephanie Higgins, the director of the documentary The Gay Marriage Thing, being screened next week at the Church Christ United on East Merrimack St on Wednesday, April 17th, 7pm.

I apologize, the beginning and the end of the interview were not recorded, but the interview starts with Stephanie answering my question, who is the audience she wants to reach with her film?

icon for podpress  Thinking Out Loud - Interview with Stephanie Higgins [13:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

April 9, 2009

Thinking Out Loud for 4/10/09

by at 2:41 pm.

Tomorrow on TOL, we’ll be talking to Stephanie Higgins, the creator of the to-be-screened film The Gay Marriage Thing. The Gay Marriage Thing will be shown, courtesy of the Lowell Film Collaborative and the Christ Church United in Lowell, at the UCC at 180 E. Merrimack Street, on Wednesday, April 15 at 7pm, and Stephanie will be in attendance along with the film’s Executive Producer, Lorre Fritchy.

About the film:

From the protests outside the Massachusetts State House, to the churches of the Reverends Rich Wiesenbach and Carlton Smith, to the historic chambers echoing State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein’s perspective, THE GAY MARRIAGE THING captures how all of these voices swirl in the air around Gayle and Lorre as they approach May 17, 2004, the first date same-sex couples could file for marriage licenses in Massachusetts. While eavesdropping on the emotional and spiritual toll this issue has taken upon all parties, the story carries forth to the everyday angst and anticipation of Lorre and Gayle’s own wedding.

It promises to be a great interview so please join us, tomorrow at 10am on 91.5FM WUML-Lowell, or webcast it live. You can watch the trailer here:


For this event, the suggested donation is $5, and RSVPs are appreciated. Send an email to lowellfilmcollaborative@live.com

March 27, 2009

Audio: TOL Interview with UML Professor Bob Forrant

by at 11:18 am.

In case you missed my interview on WUML this morning with Bob Forrant about his new book, you can listen or download it here. Thanks to Bob for coming in and giving an interesting overview of the economic history of the rise and fall of industrialization in the Connecticut River Valley!

Sorry if the audio is an issue at any point, I did my best to fix the levels.

icon for podpress  Thinking Out Loud - 3/27/09 Interview with Bob Forrant [13:20m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Bob Forrant on Thinking Out Loud for Friday, 3/25/09

by at 6:59 am.

[Bumped - tune in this morning at 10am!]

This Friday on Thinking Out Loud we’ll be interviewing UML professor Bob Forrant on his new book, Metal Fatigue: American Bosch and the Demise of Metalworking in the Connecticut River Valley. It’s a look into the loss of many good metalworking jobs in that region, and how that still affects the economies of the area to this very day, including the still-hard-hit Springfield, MA. We’ll be talking about the issues his book raises, and how they are relevant to our current economic situation.

Tune in at 10am this Friday to WUML, 91.5FM, or you can stream it live.

March 12, 2009

Thinking Out Loud for 3/13/09

by at 4:34 pm.

Tomorrow we’ll be talking to Suzzanne Cromwell, organizer of the Lowell Film Festival, which is now in its second year. (Lowellfilms.org). Tune in on WUML 91.5FM, or listen live online at WUML’s website.

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