Sunday, November 2, 2014

Endorsing Baker - Lowell's Crop of "Cake & Eat It, Too" Democrats

Lowell is not unique. Cities, like Quincy and Chicopee, suffer this cancerous malady. I'm referring to elected Democrats "crossing party lines." Ostensibly, because they "vote for the best person." They disguise their ruse, as stewardship. But, it is nothing more than cowardly, hedging of the electorates muses; while positioning their self-interest close to those that hold the ladle of tax dollars.

For the selfish, transaction minded politician, the world of politics is seen through this lens:
Bring Home The Bacon Politics
While Republicans decry 'wasteful government spending,' many Democrats try to straddle a line, posing as a 'fiscal watchdog.' Yet, all the while, their only focus is robbing Peter to pay Paul. And, THEIR constituents are ALL named Paul! These charlatans become practiced in the art of insidiously using tax payer funded largess to barter influence, cronyism (fill in the blank _______ with tactics that slant the playing field), etc. Such a scheme is wildly successful in Massachusetts politics. When you are an elected patron, using 'juice' to get jobs and contracts; looking for folks to hold signs, knock doors, phone bank is easy, breezy beautiful. And, when you begin to factor in familial saturation, via the Fabergé effect (Link), the votes start to pile up.

Recently, Lowell has had a bumper crop of "Life Long Democrats!" crossing party lines, And, while it is pure speculation, as to what their motives are, I hold my votes for those that more clearly define what they are, and what they are not.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Obnoxious “Mr.P.”

I spent just over an hour at the Market Basket rally in Tewksbury, yesterday. I walked away scratching my head.

If you’ve seen some of the pictures, you’ll know that a very large crowd had congregated around a makeshift stage. The crowd was dense, up front, and scattered out along the fringes. Most certainly, the amount of support coming from customers is gathering steam. If the MB workers are forced back into the stores, the current Board of Directors will unlikely find a return to ‘normal.’ This is the most important take away from this post.

That said, in terms of controlling the narrative, the over-arching message that framed the content of the various speakers to take the stage; this was the most SCHIZOPHRENIC rally I have ever witnessed. (By ‘schizophrenic’ I mean ‘split personality.’ That usage may be a bit dated.)

When the speaking program began, a ‘Master of Ceremonies’ kicked things off. The MC identified himself. I heard him refer to himself as “Mr. P.” Others, later, told me that person is Steve Paulenka; who is a MB executive that is loyal to ATD. It’s not especially important who the MC was to get the gist of this post. The operative words are ‘obnoxious’ and ‘schizophrenic.’

Rally’s are intended to unify a group. The point is to create a common thought, a message, that those gathered can carry away with them. Yesterday, what seemed to be the message being cultivated was “I’m the customer. You can’t fire me. I quit!” The point of such a theme is to pivot from the message that of employee loyalty to ATD to customer loyalty to both ATD and MB employees. This makes perfect sense. If customers boycott the stores, then there is very few options available to the current BOD.

Unfortunately, the personality of the rally’s MC trampled all over the energy being cultivated. Let me explain.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

When They Mention Facebook

If you read The Sun, watch City Life or listen to WCAP; you'll notice they mention that the discussion of 'Lowell politics' has moved to Facebook.

Some of it has moved to this place - Lowell Live Feed Forum (Link)

Most of it occurs in these two blogs and their corresponding Facebook outlets: – Lowell Politics and History (Link) - Richard Howe Facebook (Link)

The Lowell Curmudgeon (Link) - Gerry Nutter's Facebook (Link)

There are several fine Lowell blogs that you can link to from here, or those cited above.

PS. Don't expect to see much posted on this blog, as the conversation is happening on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stories to Watch at the Convention

Where will Joe Avellone (pictured) spend his summer vacation? I think he can start it on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of these nice people.)

Conventional wisdom calls for a Coakley/Grossman slugfest, with an edge for Grossman that is not showing up in the polls. Activists love Grossman, 'tis said. I'm not sure; I'm with Steve, and several people I know are, but I'm not feeling the groundswell yet.

So, to hell with CW. I think Coakley romps, or sinks like a stone. You read that right: next to all, or next to nothing.

Juliette Kayyem and Donald Berwick may or may not make the ballot, but I think they will both squeak it out, hovering around 17%. Berwick clearly has mo among netsrooters, but we are NOT representative, most of the time. Kayyem seems a little adrift, but she might surprise people.

I think Tolman wins the nomination, but Healey scares the hell out of him at around 40%.

In the lieutenant governor's race, the most interesting story is Leland Cheung. The proprietor and I have a respectful disagreement over the relevance of Cheung's Republican past, but if there's any crowd that will be aware of it and send a message to Cheung, it's the faithful conventioners. 

There is an interesting disconnect at work. Do you know that 25% of Quincy is Asian people? But they don't vote as reliably (being mostly newer immigrants), so we haven't felt their influence much in Massachusetts. But they're there, and their support may make a difference to people such as Michelle Wu, who confidently threw progressives under the bus in her FIRST vote as a Boston City Councilor. To be direct, there won't be that many Asian delegates. How many forgiving delegates there are is another question. They will be in Tim Murray's backyard, after all, picking his successor. Sort of.

See you in Worcester! Drinks and/or strong coffee welcome.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Sun: Putting the "Doo" in "Due Diligence."

Last week, on City Life, City Manager Kevin Murphy noted that the blogs have been quiet. That most of Lowell's online political media activity has been on Facebook. *blush* He noticed. (Link)

He must mean competent political media because the Blog of Record sure has been loud.

due diligence noun
1: the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property

Unfortunately, being witness to the consistent malfeasance puked out onto the pages of The Sun (I won't call it The "Lowell" Sun anymore, out of sheer embarrassment), we are compelled to apply 'doo' in the place of 'due.'

doo–doo noun
\ˈdü-(ˌ)dü\: solid waste discharged from the body

Let's start with what passes for 'reporting' these days -
Lowell Housing Authority opening awakens old feud
Lyle Moran (6/8/14)
Some councilors are hoping to see Murphy appoint McMahon, who had served on the LHA for five years, and has acknowledged applying. He was chairman for a time.

But Murphy has sent out word he will not appoint McMahon. A primary reason is that he wants unanimous support for his pick, and that Milinazzo would definitely not vote for McMahon.

Oh, my! Maybe that's why Milinazzo flipped his vote to Murphy? Just to hold a big chit to make this block? Oh, sorry. You aren't the gullible Sun readers are you? Cynical speculation pulled from a hairy tookus doesn't cut it for Lowell's blog lurkers.

Moran's inane grapples for skew drag on with cherry picked remembrances, selectively creating a crooked crumb trail to the modern era. I was particularly dazzled by this tidbit -

McMahon says he does not think Milinazzo should vote on any LHA appointments because it is a conflict, pointing to Milinazzo 's family ties to LHA Assistant Executive Director Maryann Maciejewski.

Milinazzo said Maciejewski is his wife's first cousin and a friend, and there is no reason for him not to vote on LHA appointments. He recommended McMahon read the state ethics laws.

Milinazzo's recommendation is the most astute thing printed in the whole syllabic conglomeration.

Shall we visit another reading of the tea leaves? Let's gaze back to the end of the Cox era.

Paton was least disagreeable candidate for post on the Lowell Housing Authority
Chris Scott (12/20/06)
With some lobbying on Paton 's behalf, Milinazzo was convinced to back Paton 's candidacy.

Paton , a Democrat and a Billerica school teacher, came to the Housing Authority about seven years ago, courtesy of an appointment from a Republican governor.

About two years ago, he was replaced by James Hall Jr., a Republican.

But before being ousted, he was part of the movement that ousted Milinazzo as LHA executive director a few years back after a successful decade at the helm.

Milinazzo made mention of that last night, saying Paton "was part of a group that ended my career at the LHA -- and I did love that job."

But Milinazzo said that during most of Paton 's tenure, he showed a passion for LHA residents, and the job, that stood out.

"For those reasons, I will put my personal differences with Mark aside and vote to support his appointment," Milinazzo said.

... Paton displaced Robert McMahon, who many years ago was an LHA client himself, living at the former Julian D. Steele complex on Gorham Street. It's a fact that McMahon, a unionized "liquor salesman," always thought made him uniquely qualified to serve on the board.

But that wasn't enough, and neither were supportive words that came his way from two city councilors, Rita Mercier and Edward "Bud" Caulfield. His biggest proponent on the council, Armand Mercier, couldn't participate in the discussion or vote because his son, Dennis, is employed by the LHA as a property manager.

Rita Mercier, who voted "present" (the final vote was 7-0), implied strongly that she finds it troubling that anyone could be removed from a post he enjoyed -- and by most accounts did a solid job at -- for political reasons.

But it's precisely what her guy, former City Manager John Cox, did to McMahon's predecessor, Thomas Haran, to appoint McMahon, with whom he is close.

In arguing for McMahon, Caulfield and Mercier probably forgot that McMahon played a ringleader's role in last summer's downtown rally for Cox about the time six city councilors hastened his resignation as city manager.

But those six city councilors -- Kevin Broderick, Eileen Donoghue, Rodney Elliott, Mayor Bill Martin, James Milinazzo and George Ramirez -- certainly didn't.
Hmmm. Seems Jim Milinazzo has a track record of not sweating the small shit. (Remember, also, he voted for Elliott to be mayor.) How is it that the Enterprise Editor didn't advise the cub reporter? Maybe, Campi interceded to get a better spin?

If I was as cynical, as the political pornographers on Dutton St, I'd connect McMahon to Lowell's latest celebrity developer, Dave Daly. Then, ultimately, drawing a bad bloodline to wobbly training wheels in the corner office of City Hall.

That failed Westview Road project will donate more to Lowell's modern political era, than a DiPaolo brown paper bag.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

While Lowell Caters to Sal, ....

It's been several years now. And, as time goes by, my position appears to be further validated with each passing moment.

When John MacDonald showed his face (Link), publicly, for the first time, it was in his campaign. To me it was obvious, Sal Lupoli cynically believed he needed his own personal attendant on the Lowell City Council. Over the short span of the 2011 campaign, a broad margin of voters came to see how shallow of a candidate MacDonald was.

There is a small, but intensely driven crew in Lowell, that has wrapped themselves up with JMac, since he has appeared. Since he lost the election, MacDonald has shed his skin a few times. He has embedded himself with the chintzy local media because he saw how easily the Bubble reacted to minor mentions on air or print. He has used that notoriety to shill for his clients and pass off their business machinations as civic betterment.

Admittedly, he has had success. Otherwise, this note wouldn't be written. But, his success is not so much of his own accord. His talent is limited to really one thing. And, this thing he does very well. He dangles riches.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Who Dropped the Dime on Kayyem?

As you've probably seen, Juliette Kayyem is taking some heat.

The original story on this was about her husband, David Barron, and written by the estimable David Bernstein. His sourcing is oddly vague:

Gubernatorial candidate Juliette Kayyem has run into some trouble with Massachusetts Democrats over what some characterize as hawkish views on the use of tough measures in the cause of national security, her area of expertise.

Some trouble, over what some characterize. OK.

Now, that may be Bernstein finding a Massachusetts angle on this national story about Barron, but it also feels like a bit like another campaign going after Kayyem.

It would be irresponsible to speculate, so here goes.

It could be Martha Coakley's campaign, hoping to have the only woman candidate.

It could be Steve Grossman's campaign, hoping to be the only alternative to Coakley.

Or it could be Kayyem's campaign, throwing long to get her in the news, and giving her more of an identity on the trail. It could be the old "Humanize the candidate" strategy (that is, highlight a flaw rather than the impressive resume). If, however, the road to humanization is torture ... the irony is thick.

I know, I'm cynical. But there I am.