Sunday Notes October 12th 2014

LEDO

The City of Lowell Economic and Development Office wants to remind everyone that you still have all month to get 20% off at downtown restaurants and retail stores participating in the Fall in LOVE with Downtown Lowell discount promo! Don’t miss this unique opportunity to try new places. If you are interested in one of the coupons please email efindlen@lowellma.gov

The upcoming electric rate for Lowell customers starting in November is 10.8 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to 16.27 for National Grid, The current rates are 7.8 for the city and 8.2 for National Grid. You should give thanks to your former and current City Administrations that began and continued this program that combines all buildings and homes across the city for greater purchasing power.

Lowell Telecommunications Executive Director Jessica Wilson has left LTC and is now the Chief Operating Officer at UTEC. LTC Has the Job Posted if anyone is interested 2014 LTC Executive Director Job Description

Interesting to note that the highest court in Massachusetts has expanded the rights of candidates for public office to conduct political activity on private commercial property. That means if you are a candidate and want to stand in front of Market Basket,Hannafords or CVS to collect signatures the court has ruled you can and they cannot force you to leave. The case involved Roche Brothers Supermarket.

Dracut School committee woman Betsy Murphy and Warren Shaw will be hosting a meet and greet on Monday night at 7pm at the Blue Angus Café in Dracut for Senate Candidate Barbara L’italien

Dracut Selectwomen Alison Hughes and DHA Representative Jesse Forcier invites you to Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut, Massachusetts Thursday, October 23 at 7:00pm for a Meet & Greet with Senate Candidate Alex Vispoli

A Swing and a Pop UP
From everything I hear from people, Drew Webber is not only a kind and generous man, but also a smart businessman. Webber has been around Lowell for a while now and like many, has seen the change in the political winds and has smartly decided that this may be his chance to renegotiate the Spinners contract that he lobbied for. This Manager and Council may be willing to bend more in the name of Economic Development and working with an existing business.

Don’t forget it was Drew Webber who wanted the 10 year lease for LeLacheur Park and it was a majority of the Lowell City Council including current members Rodney Elliot and Rita Mercier who wanted then City Manager Lynch to get “a better deal” and Mayor Edward “Bud” Caulfield at that time said: “Mr. Weber is very successful. All the City Council wants is for its constituents to be treated fairly for the investment they’ve made in LeLacheur Park.”

Even Mr. Webber’s lawyer at that time thought the 10 year offer was among the best in the League.

This story outlines what was going on at that time for all 3 Lowell venues.

Here is another story that shows both the Spinners and DSF Sports, LLC proposals (DSF ultimately withdrew)

Maybe the Council isn’t Solely Downtown Focused
I’ve said on several occasions that I think this City Council is way to focused on the Downtown.

However, it was suggested to me by a long time political observer, that maybe the focus of what the SUN/WCAP cover in regards to the City Council is the downtown issues and that the Council is actually paying attention to everything in the city. He seemed to think that the downtown is the hot topic but that the Council as a whole is watching over all of Lowell and I and other are buying into the hype and headlines of the media. I found that interesting because the main discussions have seemed to center around the downtown by many Councilors and the Manager. It has been the primary issue for many or has seemed that way to me.

I wanted to see if this was true. So based solely on the City Council motions that were filed, I looked to see if the focus has indeed been primarily on the downtown or was this person correct and that while the downtown issue has been the central media issue, this council has been pretty evenly focused.

Over the past few weeks I went through EVERY regular City Council Agenda since January, copied every motion and broke it down by Councilors. In the 9 months this Council has been in Office ,191 Motions have been filed (Each Councilor was given credit for a motion even if it was a joint motion)

ONLY 36 or Approx. 18.5% Dealt Specifically with the Downtown

(For my purpose if the subject was the Parking Ord, Meal Tax, High School, FR. Morrisette, Upper Merrimack St. and did not specify the Downtown or Central Business District, I did not count it)

Councilor Belanger brought in a total of 22 Motions, 9 dealing specifically with the downtown.
Councilor Leahy had 28 motions, 8 dealing specifically with the downtown.
Councilor Mercier had 34 motions,7 dealing specifically with the downtown.

(Councilor Belanger just added one , on this week’s agenda he has Req. City Mgr. work w/Traffic Engineer to explore possibility of adding parking spaces on east side of Shattuck Street)

So it seems what we think is reality is perception based on the coverage. If you read the SUN or listen to WCAP (especially in the mornings) you generally hear more about the downtown than we do a BERM on Butman Rd. or a Summer job motion for students. I am as guilty has the others.

I will attempt to focus on all motions rather than just the ones about the downtown and see if we can provide a bigger picture of what the Council is doing than the just downtown issue that has been presented.In case you were curious here’s the total number of motions (downtown ones included) for all of the other City Councilors in the first 9 months of this Council:

Mayor Elliott – 37 motions
Ed Kennedy – 22 motions
Dan Rourke – 21 motions
Jim Milinazzo – 11 motions
Bill Martin – 8 motions
Bill Samaras – 8 motions

Here are This Week’s Council Motions:

C. Mercier – Req. City Mgr. have the City Solicitor prepare the proper vote to change the location and name from Robinson Corner on building to “Robinson Memorial Island” across the street from their coffee shop on the island on Central Street.

C. Mercier – Req. the City Mgr. have the proper department repair and shore-up the caved in sewer on
Charles Street next to Portuguese monuments.

C. Belanger – Req. City Mgr. work w/Traffic Engineer to explore possibility of adding parking spaces on east side of Shattuck Street.

C. Kennedy – Req. City Mgr. instruct DPD to provide a report to the Economic Development SC that re-evaluates the goals and direction of the JAM Plan exclusive of the Hamilton Canal District with focus on developing an industrial/R&D park in the JAM area with an emphasis in the life-science industry.

M. Elliott/C. Leahy – Req. City Mgr. identify funding to hire additional police officers out of current year
funds without raising the levy, and prepare a report to expand number of sworn officers to 260 officers

M. Elliott – Req. the City Manager have the City Solicitor provide report on process to change selection in order to fill vacancies of unexpired terms of elected officials at Greater Lowell Vocational Technical High School.

CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION

The Paper Lantern Project
Finally , Tony Archinski asked me to share this with you,

I am so very happy and proud to announce that we are well on our way to producing a documentary about my wife’s uncle Normand Brissette, who was killed during World War II. This true story is about a 19 year old boy from Lowell, who was shot down on July 28th, 1945 and brought to Japanese prison camp in Hiroshima, where he was less than a 1000 feet from where we dropped the atom bomb. Normand died approximately two weeks later from radiation poisoning. This documentary is based on a research project that I completed in order to create a memorial book for Brissette family members.

I have told this story to everyone I know in order to keep Normand’s memory alive. It is now time to take it to another level. Barry Frechette is a close friend of the family, who has taken this project to a level that we could not have imagined.

Please donate what you can to this project, as it will surely become an important piece of American history. The Paper Lantern Project

Tony Archinski

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2 thoughts on “Sunday Notes October 12th 2014

  1. Jack Mitchell

    Kennedy wants to look closer at the JAM Plan – “re-evaluates the goals and direction of the JAM Plan exclusive of the Hamilton Canal District …”

    Kennedy is not a fan of the “House That Hack Built,” … er, .. um, .. the proposed courthouse. Is this him making his move?

    Reply
  2. Averell

    Since I don’t go downtown for anything these days, I won’t comment on that one. The MB on Wood St had always allowed petitioners as long as they don’t get in your face. I do like that the Council had addressed other areas besides downtown. The Elliott/Leahy motion to find the funding for more officers is a good one. I have a scanner app on my Kindle fire and I have herd the dispatcher pull officers from their assigned areas to cover other areas on several occasions in the last few weeks. If memory serves me correctly , at one point in time we did have over 260 officers. I would also like to see the chief get his shot spotter/ surveillance cams as well. I have heard at least 4 calls for shots fired in the last 10 days or so as well as a couple of broad daylight armed robberies , one downtown.,

    Reply

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