Kinder Morgan takes to the Sun to promote their experience

Kinder Morgan who wants to run a new pipeline that would end up in Dracut have a decent ad in Today’s Sun promoting their experience with pipelines here in the State.

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Snow Removal News from the City

2013-blizzard-Downtown-Lowell-MA

Downtown snow removal by the City of Lowell DPW will take place on Wednesday, February 25, beginning at 11:00 p.m. and ending at approximately 6:00 a.m. in the Middlesex Street area.

Removal operations will also take place in the Bridge Street business corridor and Cupples Square during the same time frame.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience the closing of streets to traffic and noise from the snow removal equipment may cause.

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Councilor Belanger NOT in Conflict of Interest

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Last June I posted a Column titled: Is there a Conflict of Interest? Look at the FACTS!

Councilor Belanger owns Majors Pub Wicked Irish Pub a downtown Lowell Business that falls under the License Commission supervision and I asked if it was a conflict of interest or even legal for him to vote on members serving on that Board.

Communication-Reappoint John Descoteaux to License Commission In City Council, approved by Roll Call vote.

Communication-Appoint Terrence McCarthy to License Commission In City Council, approved by Roll Call vote.

Communication-Appoint Kristen Hogan to License Commission In City Council, approved by Roll Call vote

City Council Tuesday June 24th: Appoint- Nancy McGovern to the License Commission. Ratified by council unanimously.

I questioned this action by the Councilor after reading the State Ethic Commission website, which notes:

State Ethics Commission
City councillors are municipal employees within the meaning of the conflict of interest law and, therefore, are subject to its provisions. G.L. c. 268A, s.1(g). The conflict of interest law prohibits a municipal employee, such as a city councillor, from participating in a particular matter in which the employee, or a member of his or her immediate family [1] has a financial interest. G.L. c. 268A, s.19(a).

I published that post the day after the SUN Column Blog ran the post questioning about his establishment being the go-to place for the Great Race. I had also questioned the appropriateness of that.

I noted in my post that day – I remember City Councilor Franky Decouteaux not voting on issues that could directly affect her businesses when she served. We have seen in the past few weeks, Councilor Jim Milinazzo, Bill Martin, Bill Samaras and Ed Kennedy all recuse themselves or vote present during the budget meeting when it appeared they were in potential conflict of interest so that no one (re: Lowell Sun and others) could accuse them of violating the ethics law.

I stated then it was up to someone to ask the Ethics Commission if it was allowed and I have been in contact with someone who did that. I’ve alluded to this off and on throughout the past few month.

Now 7 months after the original question was asked, I’ve been told / shown that the Ethics Commission has ruled that they see no need to take any action.

It appears to me that the answer to my question is NO he is not in conflict and I apparently was wrong to think there was (at least according to the Ethics Commission). Since they have chosen to take no action, it must be allowable.

Since I asked the question, I felt it only right to provide the answer.

There is no conflict at least according to the Ethics Commission and Councilor Belanger has done nothing wrong or in ethical conflict.

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Sunday Notes February 22nd 2015

Separated at Birth Hudson Ex. Admin Tom Moses and Globe Columnist Thomas Farragher

Separated at Birth Hudson Ex. Admin Tom Moses and Globe Columnist Thomas Farragher

City Manager Kevin Murphy is having a heck of a first year. His Administration was in place for the worse fire this city has seen In a long time (Branch St) and facing the worst winter most of us can remember. Based on the winter, they are also already preparing for what could be a challenging Spring. When the snow melts, flooding is already on the mind of the administration and they are putting plans in place to quickly respond to any flooding issues that may occur.

Downtown residence need to be aware of the city’s plan for snow removal Monday and Tuesday Nights this coming week. To that end, here is the message posted on the City website.

Downtown Snow Removal

Downtown snow removal by the City of Lowell DPW will take place on Monday, February 23, beginning at 11:00 p.m. and ending at approximately 6:00 a.m. Operations will continue on Tuesday, February 24 during the same hours.

In order to remove the snow it will be necessary to close the Downtown streets including Merrimack, Bridge, Central, Market, Middlesex, Middle, Palmer, etc. while the work is being done. Please make every effort to remove your auto from the downtown area.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience the closing of streets to traffic and noise from the snow removal equipment may cause.

It’s been great to see the city with the assistance of the Vermont National Guard ( by way of the Governor’s Office) in the neighborhoods clearing corners and sidewalks. Have they reached everyone? Probably not but they have tried to address all of the major traffic areas and areas near schools. Overall I’ve found the city in decent shape considering the volume of snow.

We find out in this weeks City Council Agenda that Lowell met its State mandated Net school spending requirement for Fiscal 2015 and that the Governor signed the special legislation that eliminated the Chapter 17 requirement that Lowell has had for many years.

This frees up a little over two million dollars that the manager is recommending be put into the general reserve acct. I asked him yesterday on Saturday Morning Live why he didn’t recommend moving it into the snow and ice account?

He feels and the Auditors last report would indicate he is correct, that the hiring freeze and mandatory review of any large purchases his administration put in place will leave enough money in places to cover the snow and ice cost. He also gives credit to his financial team (CFO Connor Baldwin and former Cambridge Manager Bob Healy) with refinancing bond debt and their commitment to keep reserves strong.

Many (myself included) were concerned when Murphy was named Manager that hiring would go up and reserves down but to date Manager Murphy has out performed his worst critics expectations and there isn’t a lot to bash this administration about.

That is also good news for the City Council, they were committed to education and met Net School spending. Added to reserves, added police and may have a buyer for the old Prince Plant. The downtown is still an issue has is the upcoming city budget but the hiring of Murphy will not be an issue.

If you’re interested in serving in public office, the Lowell School Committee could be your entryway,especially this year. They ran off the current Superintendent, can’t agree on the process of interviewing finalist, can’t agree on who or how to negotiate with the UTL and seem to be a ship without a rudder. This could be a year where whoever runs for the School Committee gets in.

I’m curious to see how the City Council reacts to packed chamber Tuesday Night of Lowell Citizens who feel they should have the right to not only bear arms but conceal carry them. I’m predicting a larger turnout than those in support of the bike lanes.

A friend who lives outside of Lowell told me when he took his firearms safety course to get his gun permit, you receive a listing of MA. city’s and towns that show the likelihood of your residence giving you an unrestricted firearms license. Lowell came in at under 30% and you have to already have been a victim of a violent crime to have the best chance to be able to carry. Many think you have to be a friend or family member of the police or politicians to get an unrestricted license if you were not a crime victim or a businessman/ businesswoman who carried large valuables or cash.

Is it just the weather and the fact we all are getting cabin fever or are we really living in such a “politically correct” world that the term maintenance man sets people off on a rant? The city of Lowell posted a job opening in the water dept for a water system maintenance man which caused some people to be upset at the wording. Why not maintenance person? Really, with all that is going on, we want to complain about the wording of a job posting? The city after receiving some “polite” concerns, reposted with the person title.

Spring can’t come soon enough!

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Carrying Firearms /City Exceeds Net School Spending / Belanger wants Marty to build Dorm

Lowell City Council

Lowell City Council

Another pretty light week for the Council Agenda (I WILL POST FULL AGENDA TOMORROW) but the meeting will NOT be a quick one.

First under the Public Participation section is

Misc. – Bettina Romberg request permission to address the Council regarding the issuance of Licenses to Carry Firearms in the City of Lowell.

This person is the Director at Large of the Gun Owner’s Action League and is part of a lawsuit against the city over it’s policies about who is allowed to carry. I’m told that besides this speaker others have and will be registering to support the right to be able to carry a concealed weapon. You may have the Right to bear Arms but in Lowell, you can’t carry one unless you are going to the shooting range or hunting. That is the most common restriction placed on gun owners.

However, once you have been a victim of a violent Crime, are a businessman who carries large amounts of money or valuables (or according to some, are family/friends of Police or Politicians) you get the permit to carry concealed in Lowell with no restrictions.

We also are Informed that in Fiscal year 2015 the City of Lowell EXCEEDED their Net School Spending requirements (by $31, 531 but it did Exceed it)

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The Governor has signed the bill that repeals the Chapt. 17 Funding requirement so the City can now take the remaining $$ and transfer that into the General Stabilization account rather than have to spend it on the Schools. (I will ask the Manager tomorrow on Saturday Morning Live) why he doesn’t transfer that into the Snow and Ice Acct)

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Finally Councilor Wicked IrishBelanger wants the City to try some arm twisting and get Bob Caruso his money and get a new Dorm in downtown that will help businesses. Just a coincidence that the Councilor Owns a Business downtown.

Subject: C. Belanger – Req. City Mgr. continue to communicate with Capstone Construction officials regarding construction of private dormitories in the City and coordinate a meeting with UMass-Lowell and City officials to discuss the matter.

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School Committee looking at many possible changes.

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Come mothers and fathers throughout the land And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changin’

The Lowell School Committee has a few items up for discussion TONIGHT that could possible make changes to the school year as we have known it.

While I agree that they are all worth discussing I am surprised that the members who are submitting the motions haven’t publicize them more to get discussion going and see how people feel. If it wasn’t for Teddy Panos on WCAP this morning, I wouldn’t have known about them. (don’t know why agenda isn’t on City website but just on School Dept. website, used to be able to find it on City site)

Some of these proposed change are in order and some long over due. It is about time that they were brought forward for discussion but need to be discussed with Parents, teachers and all stake holders.

Those that tend to look at things cynically, might say that these are just items that need to be bargained with the UTL and this is a way to let the public know that the school committee wants to discuss these things in negotiations.

Whatever is the reason, I would agree that all these items need to be looked at, reviewed and discussed with the parents and all stakeholders. I’ll address them 1 by 1

[by Kimberly Scott]: Request the Superintendent report on the feasibility and legality of the Lowell Public Schools implementing a blizzard bag or virtual school program during snow emergencies.

You’ll hear the outcry from some that you can’t do an on-line thing because “some kids” don’t have a computer at home but you can have teachers prepare lessons and give students a couple days work that will be collected and graded if they know there is a possibility of having no school for a day or two. Other places in the country do that.

[by Kristin Ross-Sitcawich]: Request the Superintendent work with staff to establish feasibility of utilizing April vacation to make up days missed from school due to weather emergencies, that otherwise would have extended the school year and establish protocols for future years, if feasibility is established.

Either you have or don’t have April vacation. You can’t tell parents that they “MIGHT” have a week off in April if it doesn’t snow. Some parents need to schedule a week off from work if their kids don’t have school and you can’t tell your boss, it depends on the snow. Plus you can’t have parents make plans for a trip only to say sorry we had a bad winter, your kids have days to make up.

I’d like to see a substitute motion that says, can we have 1 week off in March and eliminate the February & April vacations. That way you have 5 days for actual school days.

[by Kimberly Scott]: Request the Superintendent develop a plan to implement a delayed start in lieu of a school cancellation when appropriate.

I’m so old I remember when we had these when I was a kid. With so many translators available, there is no reason we cannot get this message out in a variety of Languages and different media outlets (including social media) to inform the students and parents. Why lose an entire day when a 2 hour delay would work?

[by Kimberly Scott]: To cancel the Good Friday holiday observation day.

When I was a kid, St. Michael’s would have a walkathon that Morning to rise money for the poor. Then we went to church in the afternoon. (I was an altar server, no Mass on Good Friday, Stations of the Cross) but now days not many people even go to church on Easter let alone Good Friday! We don’t close for Jewish Baptist , Buddhist or Cambodian Holy Days why do we still close for this one? If a parent wants there kids to go to church, they can and send in a note and the absence would be excused for religious reasons. How many teachers would use / abuse this day? Who knows but it should be at least looked at and reviewed.

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Sunday Notes February 15th 2015 – Wind Blown Snow Edition

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I need to point out a CERTAIN Facebook Forum that not only STOLE, yes they had to STEAL their name from Shawn Ashe but also misrepresent themselves by calling the forum a ” Government Website (A BOLD FACE LIE) and won’t publicly identify themselves. They post negative stories and comments attacking people but like most cowards hide.

I’ve checked with the Town and with the State and neither has authorized this site. So is this site being run by someone who is running it while working an appointed position or state appointed job? It would fit the mode of the Zimini Group! or are they just plain liars and purposely misrepresenting themselves and the facts. Again something always done by the McLaughlin/Zimini group!

I at least have the backbone to stand up and identify myself while this or these cowards and MCLAUGHLIN GROUPies drink the Kool Aid that the Zimini/Bond group pour! Yet they call others toadies, flunkies and followers! DUH! What they hell are you idiots? You have so much ENVY and are so dumb you had to STEAL the name of a reputable Web Site and add the word REAL just to fool people to get them to read it. Then LIE and call yourself a Government Website! That’s fraud – but fits in with the whole McLaughlin Group CON-nection show.

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Stealing and Lying – You do fit in as members of the McLaughlin Group! Ever work for a corrupt Mayor Like Zimini did? Ever get jobs from the former Chelsea Housing Executive Director or get a Board appt. like Zim and Bond? McLaughlin stole money intended for the poor, besides the name of your Facebook forum, what else have YOU STOLEN? Come on out and tell everyone who you really are!

I lived through 10 articles (2 Editorials ) by my “friends” at the SUN over a comment I made to an UNKNOWN person so nothing you cowards and Cretans say matters much to me. They reach more people in 1 day then you and that little cable show called the CON-nection will ever reach. I survived that, your BS is nothing.

I’m more curious at why you feel you have to be cowards and not let the public know who you are? Can you pass a Corey check? McLaughlin’s in Jail, Pressman who was the Mayor who hired Zim and brought him to the State Industrial Board (where Bump dumped him from the payroll) is a disbarred self admitted extortionist and kick-back taker. Both CONvicted! What’s your story?

Last I checked public records, Shaw never got three city/state jobs like Zimini. Never was the aide to a Mayor who was disbarred after admitting he solicited bribes like Zimini, and never had to STEAL the name of a website or hide his stance like that phony Facebook page.

Even the sun reminds people today that IF THERE’S anyone who knows the usefulness of telephone records, it’s Dracut Housing Authority Commissioner Brian Bond. Telephone records acquired by The Sun connected the dots. McLaughlin phoned Martin 394 times and former Selectman John Zimini 217 times from January to October.

McLaughlin was also in contact with Bond during key dates of the Karabatsos saga. On April 6, 2011, Bond changed his party affiliation to Democrat, paving the way for his appointment to the housing authority seat by the Democratic governor, Deval Patrick. McLaughlin called Bond at 2:04 p.m. that day. The call lasted six minutes. Just 20 minutes earlier, Zimini called McLaughlin. That call lasted four minutes.

WCAP’s Teddy Panos got a first hand taste of the Chelsea Dracut Political Terror Tactics from Brian Bond on Wednesday and rightly called him out and ripped him for being a coward and fraud – Best Damn radio of the week!

Read the entire Column Blog from the SUN here, especially interesting are comments by Chelmsford School Committee member Nick DeSilvio about the staff that was fired and about the School Superintendent!

Citizens Get you Guns!

By now, you may have heard that Comm2A has filed a lawsuit in Lowell regarding the legal gun carry restriction policy in the city.

Comm2A is focused on a specific group of license holders for a specific reason, one I am not going to go into as I am not a lawyer.

If you were licensed after August 2014, Comm2A wants to hear from you. Visit their website here to find out how to contact them: The link to learn about the lawsuit follows.
http://www.comm2a.org/index.php/55-projects/219-batty

Members of the Gun Owners’ Action League will be appearing before the Lowell City Council on Tuesday, February 24 they are already on the agenda to talk about the 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms and the lawfulness of the Lowell restriction that is put on a MAJORITY of those legal gun owner who apply to carry.

I am NOT a gun owner nor do or did I apply to carry but this issue is interesting to me. Especially in light of the City Council and there SUPPORT of the one man one vote rule in the constitution has it relates to Greater Lowell Tech.

If they want to change the make-up of the TECH School to comply with the law, wouldn’t they want to allow those legally licensed voters/taxpayers their right to carry?

This could turn into an interesting campaign issue for the City Council.

Blaming Marty? The Sun, Bob Caruso and others seem to want to blame Marty Meehan for the banks inability to sell their property to a company that wants to build a dorm and compete for students. The Chancellor explain his stance and if you look at all the construction jobs that UMASS has brought into Lowell, you’ll understand when I say Marty Meehan cannot be the only one responsible for Economic development in Lowell.

Rather spend Summers up North!
I don’t believe Marty Lorrey will be candidate this year for the Lowell City Council.I understand he and his wife bought a summer cabin up North and plan to spend the summer up there. Marty no doubt on his motorcycle.

Taxes and Teachers: Lowell and Dracut are having issues with negotiations with the teachers union. Lowell can’t figure out how to negotiate and who to have negotiate, while the Dracut Teachers are using work to rule to punish students and parents and try to get them to support the union and a LARGER raise than 2% over 3 years. Lowell and Dracut both have just seen large tax increases for the residents so asking for more of the citizens money is tough. Dracut is at more of a disadvantage having mostly a residential tax base which makes it harder to seek another increase. Lowell at least has a decent commercial industrial base, In both cases it is going to get more nasty before it gets better.

My apologies for the delay in posting this morning, broken snow-blower so had to shovel and on top left my glasses at work so my apologies if my already poor spelling is worse. Keyboard is very fuzzy!

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