Monday, April 14, 2014

The Lupoli - Belanger Connection

On WCAP, this morning, Corey Belanger asserted the South Common site was the best place for a new high school to be built.

In the same breaths, Belanger also labored to prove out that students going to and fro from school are deleterious for most of the business in the DT. If we take that as gospel, Sal Lupoli is gonna be pretty pissed about moving the LHS to South Common. Twice a day, pedestrian students will stream, from the Highlands and South Lowell, like lemmings, past the Thorndike miracle.

Or, just maybe, the student rush hours hold a promise of riches for those in the right place, selling the right stuff?

By fronting the South Common location, Belanger has tied himself to Lupoli. But, is it by a "brass ring" or an "albatross?"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Heavy Lies The Crown .... Sorta Thing."

So many pro's & con's associated to Kevin Murphy becoming Lowell's next City Manager have been stirring in my head. I hear those that portend a reversal of many steps forward in good governance. Others, are more optimistic, citing Murphy's sense of stewardship, efficacy and a mindfulness of his public service legacy.

As my mind works in an algorithmic trading of iconic metaphors, my imagination conjured this:


Saturday, April 12, 2014

C.Belanger: "My Mistake."

The normally cheerful Kendall Wallace opted to throw a brush back pitch (Link) at Councilor Belanger's noggin.

I’ve always felt people regarded as experts in their field are a good source to rely on when trying to make a decision. Apparently, fresh­man City Councilor Corey Belanger doesn’t share that view, as he has tried to sidetrack the effort by the Lowell School Committee to move forward with the exciting plans for the downtown Lowell High School project. He has called for “ another review of the options” that have been reviewed for the past five years.
- snip

Like every major project, it has taken nearly five years to get to the point the city is asking for approval from the state to move forward with this ambitious revitalization. In that period, tons of research and other options have been explored. The school department hired additional consultants and there was unanimous agreement that keeping the high school downtown and doing an impressive architecturally pleasing facility was the best option.

It seemed everybody was in agreement that this is the way to go, until Belanger asked his colleagues to again review the options.

One would think if you are on the council or run for public office you are aware that a great deal of research has taken place for the city to get to this point.

Ya. One would think.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

The political calendar is funny. It's barely April, but next month is May, and June brings the convention. Summer is a wash, especially among the coveted independent voters (the majority party, I remind you). Then suddenly it's two weeks until the primary.

When will this sleepy gubernatorial race wake up?

(Painting courtesy of these nice people.)

Martha Coakley is doing her Martha Coakley thing, and it's surprisingly effective this time. Steve Grossman (my candidate, I disclose) has a tepid message about growth (though he is floating a nice little run left balloon today). Juliette Kayyem needs to forge a new path, because just being an outsider isn't going to be good enough after eight years of Deval. But she doesn't have to believe me; she can ask Dr. Berwick. Joe Avellone swept the Wellesley caucuses! I hear. I'll bet Wellesley is a reliable bellwether of state elections.

You know who could shake this up? Deval Patrick, by endorsing someone. Or by announcing he's running for President. Then at least we could get a good, proper Clinton/Obama proxy battle going (Martha being Hillary's champion, and TBD being Obama's).

Seriously, though ... someone needs to kick this into gear, and soon. Even Martha Coakley, with her comfortable lead (as of the latest WBUR poll), needs a motivated Democratic base. Baker has probably learned from 2010.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Put Up or STFU (Updated)

There's a lot of talk around the future of the Lowell High School. Some of it is validated by our City government, via the City Council & School Committee, and some of it is validated by (pardon my candor) blogging and blabbing shitheels.

It's a tug-o-war, of sorts. Which is playing out, isolated, in the Bubble.

I'd like to make one simple observation. On one side of the tugging, is the notion that the LHS should remain where it is. There is a lot of work to be done.

There are several plans that incorporate this concept. All voted on by our elected officials in one fashion or another.

Long story short, it looks like this:

This concept is fleshed out, in part or whole, by:

The Speck Plan (Link)
Lowell Plan- UML: Downtown Initiative Report (Link)
Sustainable Lowell 2025 - The Master Plan (Link)

Very reputable people, from within Lowell and beyond, have put countless hours into the information contained in the links above.

All of this has been absorbed and reviewed in public meetings, culminating in a vote by the City Council to follow the School Committee's recommendations to begin a process with the Massachusetts School Building Authority. In the Fall of 2014, discussion will begin over the considerations and recommendations made in this report (Link).
I'm not convinced all the information provided above, really is the best way forward. My inclination is to deeply consider the proposal of the other side tugging the rope. Even though my gut reaction is to distrust the aforementioned shitheels.

Maybe, though, just maybe .. they can offer a compelling argument? Let's review what has been offered to date.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Campi, You Want To Talk "Status Quo?"

I was all set to just let the Greater Lowell Technical High School just move along, unremarked. They are out in the woods and few are sticking their noses in over there. Which is good, because they were a soup sandwich for a decade.

But, Jim Campanini just had to open his big mouth and try to blow smoke up Lowell's asses.
So instead of going with the status quo (Link), he viewed this not as the school district's problem, but as an opportunity. He not only trimmed the $950,055 excess to bring the budget into balance, but in the process put four more teachers in the classroom. 
He accomplished this by eliminating 14 positions through a combination of attrition, layoffs, and other efficiencies. 
The bottom line: There are four new teaching positions for history, special education and math, and at the same time, the superintendent and school principal will assume the duties of two retiring administrators. 
Doing more with less is the essence of sound management in the private sector, but it's still rare in the public domain. But that's exactly what Bourgeois did.
My bowels are growling!