Sunday Notes Sept. 13th 2015


It’s not everyday you see a Congresswoman or Congressman holding a fundraising party for a City Council Candidate. Niki Tsongas is making a very strong statement of support for former Councilor Vesna Nuon. Good for Vesna!!

We always get through it together

Don’t believe the rumors in the bubble or the SUN about some petty backbiting Councilor who has election year paranoia and wants to belittle contributions of individuals in obtaining the SAFER Grant. A quick look at the City Council Agenda’s and minutes online are pretty clear the the Sun story originally published about the grant timeline was accurate.

October 7th 2014 – C. Rourke – Req, City Mgr. explore possibility of creating a grant writing position in the Lowell Fire Department.

2014 / 649 – C. Rourke – Req, City Mgr. explore possibility of creating a grant writing position in the Lowell Fire Department.
In Council, seconded by C. Mercier, read and referred to City Manager. So voted. C. Rourke noted information from subcommittee which informed that grant money is available and that an expert grant writer could be helpful

January 6th 2015 Lowell City Council Agenda: Ordinance – Create (1) Public Safety Research and Planning Director (full time grant funded salary in LPD) to be used by LPD and LFD.

The delivery system that has worked well for Lowell continued this week when Congresswoman Tsongas helped deliver a $1.92 Million dollar grant to the city that will allow Lowell to hire 12 additional firefighters for the next two years. After that the city will have to find money in the budget, get another grant or let go of the firefighters.

The Public Safety Subcommittee that includes Councilor Rourke, Mercier and Belanger supported president of the firefighters’ union Dave Keene’s suggestion of pursuing the grant and with support from their fellow councilor’s and the Murphy Administration created the Public Safety Grant writer position and Maryann Ballotta (the public-safety grant writer) wrote the grant and the Congresswoman’s office supported it.

A real team effort!

I reached out to Councilor Dan Rourke to congratulate him on his efforts but he wanted to make sure that I and everyone knew that it was the entire Public Safety Subcommittee and their fellow Councilor’s along with the administration and firefighters union with the Congresswoman that made this possible.

I guess you could say Lowell’s at its best when ego’s stay in check and the council continues to work together.

It’s NOT nice to deceive your Neighborhood

I understand that my post about the WARD SIX Polling Issue left some thinking I don’t like Neighborhood Groups. However post starts with this :

Neighborhood Groups are a good thing, they are for many sections of the city, the only. voice residents have. City Councilors and to their credit the Murphy and Lynch administrations try their best to work with these groups to address neighborhood issues and concerns.

To be Clear, my dismay and dislike was directed at the PCC leader and the lack of honest communication with the Pawtucketville Community. This email below was never sent to the entire Exec Board of the PCC and most didn’t hear about a move of polling locations until Deb F mailed them and other residents in late August. Apparently she hid this information from her fellow residents because she disagreed with it but was to busy until after August to deal with it.

All Neighborhood groups received the same email in JULY! and there was no huge outcry about moving the polling location in July or August because the PCC leader didn’t share it with the pawtucketville neighborhood.

Here’s the beginning of that City Election Dept July email

From: Matchak, Eda Jane
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2015 11:15 AM
To: Acre Coalition to Improve Our Neighborhood; Back Central Neighborhood Association; Belvidere Neighborhood Council ; Centralville Neighborhood Action (; Highlands Neighborhood Association ; Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association ; Lower Highlands Neighborhood Group (; Lower Highlands Neighborhood Group Co-Chair; Pawtucketville Citizens Council ; Riverside Community Council ; Sacred Heart Neighborhood Improvement Group
Subject: polling location changes

Dear community partners,

The Election Commission has voted to move ward 5 precinct 1 and ward 6 precincts 1, 2 and 3 to the Fusion Theater (the old Ste. Jeanne d’Arc Church) located at 125 Mount Hope Street pursuant to MGL ch.54 §24. On election day voters will have access to three parking lots and amble on street parking. Mount Hope Street is in the residential parking zone, the Parking Department has been contacted and a request made that enforcement around the polling location be suspended on Election Day to accommodate voters. The Fusion Theater has donated the use of the space on election day and will provide cost savings for hall rental as well as police staffing and DPW set up and breakdown.

My issue is with a non elected person who tries to submarine appointments to boards and commission because she doesn’t like certain people. My issue is with someone who uses her position has a Neighborhood leader to BULLY City Dept. heads and city workers and who gives half facts to certain City Councilors and which result in unnecessary tension between that city Dept., the Council member and the Manager’s Office. All which I have heard about or seen 1st hand.

So my apologies to any Neighborhood Leaders who took it has an attack on them. You may have missed the part near the end where I posted:

Neighborhood groups help the city identify issues and concerns and add to the life of each neighborhood

However I stand by the line: Every neighborhood group should remember that they are NOT elected and don’t represent their entire neighborhood. They represent the citizens who want to be involved, have concerns and want to improve their neighborhood. The rest of the neighborhood ELECTS (or not) 9 City Councilors, 6 School Committee members and a State Rep. to represent them.

You do good work and try hard to improve your section of the city but not every person in that section belongs to or even knows about your group and you nor anyone in your group or any of our elected officials should think you can speak for the entire section of the city where your group is. You also should not be the only people notified when a polling location is moved or a street is up for re zoning.

When the City wants to do a major project, move a polling location, rebuild an intersection or rezone an area, the CITY needs to notify more people than just the neighborhood group or leader. We have a reverse 911 we have used it for many things like elections or snow emergency’s, we should use it to notify the neighborhood that the CITY not the neighborhood group is HOSTING a meeting to discuss these changes or proposals.

Emails should go out to ALL media (and yes I recall complaining about the election dept. announcing changes in an email at 3:30 the Friday of the Lowell Folk Festival ) but a lot of the nonsense that went on regarding the Ward Six voting locations could have been avoided if the City had notified the entire Neighborhood along with the Media (SUN / WCAP / LTC and Your favorite Blogger.)

Tied up in traffic

If what we have seen this past Thursday and Friday is any indication the VFW /Bridge St. work will have traffic tied up on ALL the bridges and intersections from Kearney Square to The Stackpole / Hunts Fall Bridge area up to Chuch/ Andover and Nesmith street and will continue to back up and block intersections. Wonder if it keeps taking an hour to get from Andover St to the East End on West Fourth St if the city will think about putting police in place to direct traffic?

Wasn’t that a Party!

School Committee candidates Dennis Mercier and Ben Opara held fundraisers at the East End Thursday evening and both had to contend with a huge rainstorm and traffic that made coming over to Centralville from across the City a test of patience.

Dennis Mercier showed a HUGE commitment to the cause by holding the event on the date of his wedding anniversary (According to his “FRIENDS” it just showed how frugal Dennis really is…many of tho so called friends BEGGED ME to mention that fact Dennis…start with our pal Steve O’Neil and go through the usual suspects) but a great time was had by the large crowd in attendance.

Downstairs Ben Opara was just kicking off his party when I stopped in to meet him and old friend Jeff Lambert the former outstanding LHS wrestler and all around good guy who is working hard to help Ben get a seat on the School Committee. Ben’s crowd was just starting to arrive and told us of their hour or hour plus trip across the river. Ben wants to make sure that this new committee works together for the kids.

Both gentlemen will be joining us on the next two Saturday morning’s on Saturday Morning Live to talk about their interest in serving on the School Committee. Dennis on 9/19 at 8:30 and Ben at 7:30 on 9/26 when we are LIVE from the Joey Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation Road Race.