Sunday Notes January 18th 2014


About 150 – 200 people showed up in the cold to support the Lowell Police and their families. State Senator Eileen Donoghue, State Rep. Dave Nangle, State Rep. Colleen Garry, City Councilors John Leahy, Corey Belanger , Bill Samaras , Asst. City Manager Mike McGovern, School Committee member Jim Leary and David Conway, Police Chief Bill Taylor and Mayor Elliott’s wife Laurie whose dad Tommy was a Lowell Police Officer and whose son in-law is a police officer were all in attendance. It is always great to see Kerry Machado, Tom’s other daughter who is as beautiful as she is nice. Kerry was passing out buttons that said: We (heart symbol) our Police. I’ve always said, I’d want Kerry on my side in a fight, she is a tough, loyal and fierce.

So far there is little to no buzz about the upcoming city election. Even in light of the largest tax hike in the last 6 years which the current Manager is trying to blame on the last Administration, the hiring of a 3rd Asst. City Manager without Council Approval, the increase in violent crime and the lack of real economic development. No one is challenging the current Manager on anything and with another budget increase meaning another tax increase on the horizon.

I thought today would be a good day to look back at the words of the present City Councilors to see if, according to their own words in their Lowell Sun candidate profile, they have followed through on the issues they campaigned on.

Lowell City Council

Lowell City Council

Dan Rourke:Extending a pilot after-school program citywide is Rourke’s top priority if elected and something he said is vital for improving education and keeping children busy. It would be paid for through new-growth revenue, not from new taxes, he said.
Most important issue facing the city: Fiscal stability

Bill Samaras:Samaras says his history of being able to forge strong partnerships will serve him well if elected to the City Council.”I bring to the City Council a good knowledge base and a good record of working with people,” Samaras said. “I know how to sit around the table and get everyone to put their issues aside to accomplish something.” Most important issue facing the city: The city needs to remain financially sound and be ready to make the move to the next level to maintain its success.

Corey Belanger : “I’m running to be the small business leader of the council,” “I know what it’s like to budget in hard times,” he said. “I know what it’s like to meet a payroll every week and you know, the numbers are far smaller than a city budget but I still know. As far as all the candidates, I’m one of the most qualified.” Most Important Issue facing the city? “Business development.”

John Leahy : Leahy plans to focus on neighborhood issues if he wins a second term. “I work locally most of the time. I’m in the city. I see what’s going on,” he said. “I think I’m in the neighborhoods enough that I get a good pulse of the city. I bring a neighborhood perspective to the council.”

Jim Milinazzo: Economic development, tax-base improvement and job creation, as well as public safety, are Milinazzo’s top priorities. Milinazzo wants to promote economic development as a councilor once again. He said he is ready to use his consensus-building skills to tackle various issues. “I have a strong sense of getting things done,” Most important issue facing the city: To continue the economic development initiatives and try to improve the downtown.

Ed Kennedy: It’s up to residents to decide, he said, between a council that will sit back and rubber-stamp the city manager’s initiatives or one “that is going to be engaged, is going to challenge the city manager, ask questions and push on economic development, public safety and lower taxes.” Kennedy said he’s proud there have been no tax increases in his last two years on the council. Most important issue facing the city: economic development and having the city take positive and meaningful strides toward expanding the tax base

Bill Martin: “I want to continue to work to make Lowell the best place it can be, a place where people who live here, work here and come here for recreation are happy and proud to be here,” Martin said. Martin also plans to keep advocating for the necessary funding for the city’s school system and public-safety departments. “I have a proven record of making tough decisions that are in the best interest of the city even though they are not politically popular.” Most important issue facing the city: The continuing need for jobs and economic development.

Rodney Elliott: “I want to continue to ask informed questions of the city manager and administration each week at City Council meetings,” Elliott prides himself in being “a numbers person, who wants to continue to keep the fight up to hold the line on tax increases,” he said. “I file motions and ask questions to make sure that we’re spending our tax dollars wisely.”
In the last two years, Elliott filed motions to make sure there would be no local tax increases, he noted. Most important issue facing the city: Police protection and taxes.

Rita Mercier: “I’m the public’s messenger,” said Mercier. ” I’m nothing more and nothing less. I do the people’s work by being a messenger.” Mercier said she is seeking her tenth term on the City Council because she wants to keep being that voice for Lowellians from all walks of life. “We can’t sweep things under the rug and say everything is fine and put our heads in the sand,” said Mercier, Most important issue facing the city: Economic Development. It needs to continue.

It’s now up to interested candidates and voters to determine if this group of Councilor’s are doing what they said they would do or if they are letting a Manager run the city. Something many of them and their supporters accused and attacked Bernie Lynch for. The good news for their supporters is that they can now “donate” $1,000 to their favorite Councilors to show support.

I’m surprised the Council didn’t cancel their meeting this week, after all it’s the day after a Holiday.

Finally, I think Councilor Bill Martin is a fan of loud noises and sirens or wants to make it easier for lawyers to chase police cars as they do ambulances! – C. Martin – Req. City Mgr. have police department develop procedures for use of sirens when responding to calls

Here is the list of Council Motions on this week’s Agenda.

8.1. C. Martin – Req. City Mgr. have police department develop procedures for use of sirens when
responding to calls.
8.2. C. Kennedy – Req. City Council Education Partnerships SC and the Lowell School Committee Lowell High
School SC meet to discuss the process, timeline and feasibility of a new high school building project.
8.3. C. Belanger – Req. City Mgr. enforce current parking regulations according to ordinance and investigate
the possibility of an overnight parking ban

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