Sunday Notes May 10th 2015


The Lowell School committee selected a new Supt. and to the surprise, anger and disappointment of many it wasn’t Deputy Supt. Jay Lang nor was it Dr. Cash who some thought (myself among them) was the leader among the “outsiders”. Instead Winchendon Supt Khelfaoui was the 4-3 choice. So who were the politician winners and losers ?

The entire Committee again were all partial losers for being so dysfunctional they drove out the current Supt. then couldn’t get behind the same candidate. They showed it was always about the politics and NOT the kids!

Winner: Mayor Rodney Elliott, he could easily have gone with the political favorite Lang and made points with the Manager, at least 1 State Rep, 3 school committee members, some school administrators and a few fellow councillors. Instead he went his own route and forced the 3 anti- Lang trio to either follow or risk him switching to Lang after 5 or 6 rounds. He showed he NEVER goes along just to get along . According to one of the downtown bubble brigade ” Rodney has alienated almost everyone. He will have a long summer.” my view is that it never bothered him before and won’t bother him now. Those who bring up his bashing of the Lynch Admin for not hiring more Lowellians are quick to forget he initially voted for both Lynch and Wright two non-Lowellians for key positions and it wasn’t until the relationship soured he started complaining about the lack of Lowell candidates. Rodney does what he thinks is right for him and his view of Lowell. No one has bashed him more for his antics / theatrics than me but in this case, like the Manager it’s HIS Superintendent!

The Lang Gang of 3 – Just as people knew Manager Murphy had Elliott, Rourke and Belanger, Lang had Gendron, Leary and Martin. so they remained loyal and made points with some political people to help on their re-election efforts.

Losers: The Anti-Lang Gang: Most observers knew Scott, Ross-Sitcawich and Conway would NEVER vote for Lang regardless of any claim otherwise. They ticked off lots of people and the last time A committee did that, a few lost their seats. Conway can forget a council seat, like Leahy who tried to make the jump the year Chris Scott got the boot, Conway will also fall short. Lang has many friends and admirers for his work and work efforts and this gang of 3 will pay politically.

Some will claim that the anti-Lang gang won but my view is wait till November and judge it strictly from a political viewpoint.

Look at all the candidates for School Committee….people smell the political blood in the water.

Budget Battle

Last year former Manager Lynch paved the way for a tax increase and Former Cambridge Manager Healy supported that and Manager Murphy was able to get his budget passed without any debate. Don’t bet on it for this year.

Mayor Elliott may have gone for that last year but in an election season after such a large increase, my guess is this year “Big Brother” Kevin will have some explaining to do. The Mayor has never been a supporter of union increases and believes less personal is more manageable for city spending so watch for some proposed cuts from the Mayor. The big question is can he get other councillors to agree and still keep their (if any have any left) Union support?

Will he / Won’t he…who cares?

Is Bill Martin running again or isn’t he? If he is say so, if he isn’t, is he Not saying so to either hand-pick and tutor a successor or just trying to make sure those he doesn’t like not have an opportunity to line up “their guy” or “girl”?…I say Who Cares? Martin hasn’t been the leader I (and others) had hoped for so if he doesn’t run, it isn’t a huge loss and if he does, it doesn’t make a big difference.

However an open seat usually attracts people and with so few viable candidates announced for the Council race, Martin announcing his intentions would provide a JOLT (if he isn’t running) to a very boring race to date.

Damn Stupid Idea that needs the Boot!

Will the people who just received a 6% tax increase in the past year, saw their health care and electric rates soar and are already fighting to try and save for their kids college or their own retirement please call Bob Gagnon of Pawt. and tell hm how idiotic an idea it is to even think about buying the Boot Hydro. I understand he has a fixation with wooden planks and will miss their ” beauty” on the Pawt. Dam, but to even think Enel would sell let alone the Federal Govt would allow the City of Lowell to take over the Boot Hydro Plant is just totally a far fetched, fairy tale of an idea. Ask him where the city would get the Million or so tax dollars it receives now from Enel to support an already strained budget or logically get the approval to borrow HUNDREDS of MILLIONS that it would cost.

Here are 2 Main points that I have stated before:

A) The “City” would have to pay the value of the rest of the power sales agreement that currently exists with Commonwealth Electric (I think they run until 2025), PLUS pay any potential future power sales contract value, PLUS pay for the cost of the equipment and real estate. The sale would also require FERC approval since the plant is licensed via FERC.

No way can the City, State or even a private party (Let’s get BAIN to buy it- hello Deval, can you help us out?) ever afford the multi-millions of dollars that would entail, and no way FERC will allow transfer of the license to unqualified parties.

B) Since Boott Hydropower operates under a Federal FERC license, they (Boott)hold FEDERAL Eminent Domain rights. Neither the City nor State has any control over this. As a matter of fact, the eminent domain powers have been used in the past by Federal licensees to take surrounding lands at licensed dams using federal eminent domain powers.

So write all the letters you want and get some people riled up and believing that this could happen but just as I stated that the Bladder Dam was inevitable so to is the fact that ENEL is here to stay.

Happy Mothers Day to my Mom, wife, daughter Sarah and sisters Kathie, Moe and Colleen.