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Vesna Nuon for Mayor

 Here’s a communication received from the Vesna Nuon Committee:

Major change is coming to Lowell, and I would like to lead us through this change as the city’s next mayor. In the next two years, Lowell will see the adoption of a new form of government, the beginning of the high school and other major projects, and the opportunity to hone our vision for future growth. I believe that my record during the current City Council term recommends me for this leadership role.

In the past two years I reached out to all neighborhoods for feedback regarding a more representative government, helped expand city boards and commissions to allow for more participation, advocated for more inclusive hiring practices, directed new revenues to municipal and school building maintenance, and won the city’s support for the Community Preservation Act to reinvest in parks, historic buildings, and affordable housing.

As mayor, I will continue this work and help us become a city whose government and city workforce reflect the community they serve, a city whose parks, schools, and housing are shared resources that everyone benefits from. I will also continue to reach out to all communities and invite more participation in the decision-making process.

I am grateful for the widespread support I received from our voters in the two past elections. During the next couple of weeks, I will reach out to the other councilors-elect to share my vision for Lowell’s future and to discuss how we can work together to make Lowell a city we can all be proud of.

-Vesna Nuon

It doesn’t have to be all about impeachment by Marjorie Arons Barron

Donald Trump would like the world to think that the Democrats are so committed to impeaching him that the important work of the country is not being touched.  But there are elected officials, including officials in high places, who are staying focused on work. At least on the House side.

Hundreds of bills have passed the House, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who gleefully (for him) calls himself “the grim reaper,” won’t even bring them to the floor.  All the Senate seems willing to vote on are judicial nominations, and, from a doctrinaire conservative perspective, they’re remaking the federal judiciary, potentially affecting people’s lives for generations.  Meanwhile, bills are languishing on election security, prescription drug pricing, higher education, defense, health care, climate  change, gun safety and renewal of the Violence Against Women law.  Even some Republican senators are aggravated by the McConnell’s death grip on substantive legislation.

All is not bleak though. Massachusetts Congressman Richie Neal of Springfield, the powerful and highly respected Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, is one of those working on a bipartisan basis and even with some members of the Trump administration to reach consensus on some important parts of a legislative agenda.  His committee shapes policy in areas of taxes, trade, health care, pensions, Social Security and Medicare, and more.  And he tries to do it on a collaborative basis.

Speaking to business leaders on Thursday at a New England Council breakfast, he reported great progress on the new trade pact involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, the successor pact to NAFTA, which he sees as an improvement.  A key sticking point has been enforcement of fair labor practices, and Neal has brought AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Trump’s US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer together to work out differences. Negotiators, he said, are “90 percent there.”  Neal has also left D.C. to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador to move the pact forward.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Neal says, is determined to get to yes on this improved trade pact but also pledges mitigating global trade’s negative impacts on sectors like manufacturing.  One important step was House passage of the Butch Lewis Act, which Neal helped to write and which would protect pensions of workers whose companies are dislocated by global competition. Thirty Republicans supported this bill, which passed but now, like so many others, awaits Senate action.

Neal jokes that he doesn’t subscribe to the old adage, “Never let sound policy get in the way of a good vendetta.”  He remains furious that Trump’s tax bill was passed without any public hearings or committee input, but he has set aside his deeply held opposition to work in a bipartisan way with Republican Senator Chuck Grassley on technical corrections. He has  worked to educate him on the importance of extending the earned income tax credit and creating a more robust child credit.  Grassley, from Iowa, looks to persuade Neal on a biodiesel bill.

Neal likens his approach to the horse trading of longtime Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski and his working relationship with Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff Jim Baker.  And, when Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin pressed Neal on the USMCA trade treaty, Neal let him know he was, in exchange, looking for agreement on an infrastructure bill. Though we don’t see enough examples of this kind of give-and-take, Congress has to be about bipartisanship, even in our highly polarized, gridlocked times. It’s why the elimination of earmarks makes legislating more difficult.

Neal applies the same give-and-take philosophy at home.  With Republican Governor Charlie Baker potentially looking for federal dollars to help in a major fix of the MBTA, Neal has made it clear that the “price” will be the Governor’s support for much needed, upgraded rail service going west from Worcester to Springfield.  This is what makes government work for everyone.

It’s also why I’m opposed to the use of quid pro quo as the driving language of the impeachment debate. Quid pro quo isn’t the issue. It’s what, for whom and why. The issue is Trump’s bribery, extortion and violation of the public trust, taking for himself a benefit from the public purse, that is at stake. Quid pro quo is a neutral term, part of what turns the wheels of the legislative process.

Despite today’s grotesque polarization, not started by Trump but certainly fueled by him in the most incendiary way, and despite how many in the media feed off the combustible dynamics,  there are some political figures still interested in governing.  Their efforts need better coverage from columnists, beat reporters and cable news bloviaters, to support the substantive outcomes that can derive from bipartisanship and, at the same time, to restore a small measure of sanity and optimism to those whom government is supposed to serve.

First Time in America: Learning Cities Conference in Lowell: Everyone Invited to Attend

This message if from Felice Kincannon (felicek@turi.org) on behalf of the organizing committee.
Dear All, 
 
Please try to carve out some time to attend the First American Learning Cities Networking Conference next week, Thursday and Friday, November 14 and 15. Apologies for the fact that this invitation is late. We had some unexpected hurdles to jump over (or crawl under, as the case may be). Feel free to invite colleagues and friends. You are most welcome to attend all of the conference or whatever hours you can find. It should be a terrific experience. Here’s a link to a web page with more information and a link to registration: https://www.uml.edu/conferences/2019-american-learning-cities/ 

Featured Schedule:

  • Thursday, November 14 at 8:30 a.m.: Workshops and Presentations at Alumni Hall Lounge, UMass Lowell North Campus
  • Friday, November 15 at 9 a.m.: Lowell as a Learning City: Site Visits and Exploration beginning at the Boott Cotton Mill Museum
 
Also, please come to: Boris, Borders and the Backstop: Ireland’s Brexit Battle, Friday, November 15. The discussion will be at the Richard and Nancy Donahue Academic Arts Center, 240 Central Street, Downtown Lowell at 6:00 PM. Our speaker, Mary Murphy, will provide excellent insight into the moving target that is Brexit and its implications for Ireland. Again, please bring your friends, share with your friends. Here’s a link to the City of Learning Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2517794468451981/ 
 
Thanks, everyone.
 
 Felice
 
Background
 
Lowell as a Learning City
 
Given the unique landscape of the city and the numerous institutions that call it home, we are perfectly situated call Lowell a “City of Learning”. Lowell is a city that effectively utilizes its resources to resources to:
 
·         promote inclusive learning from basic to higher education
·         revitalize learning in families and communities
·         facilitate learning for and in the workplace
·         extend the use of modern learning technologies
·         enhance quality and excellence in learning
·         foster a culture of learning throughout life
 
In so doing we will develop and reinforce individual empowerment and social cohesion, economic and cultural prosperity, and sustainable development throughout the city.
 
Building our City…
 
By framing Lowell as a City of Learning we combine all the elements that make Lowell such a and exciting place defining the value of the City as:
 
·         a destination for business development, drawn by an educated citizenry
·         a place where lifelong education and skills-building meet the challenges of the Gig and Digital economy
·         a destination for visitors
·         an inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable city
·         a place of community cohesion, and excitement across and within neighborhoods
·         a city with national and international recognition
For more about Lowell: City of Learning, please visit the website: 

2019 Lowell Election (Unofficial) Results

UPDATE: This post reflects City Hall number which differ substantially from those shown above which were previously posted here.

City Council

  1. Rita Mercier – 5191
  2. Vesna Nuon – 4821
  3. John Drinkwater – 4788
  4. Rodney Elliott – 4738
  5. Sokhary Chau – 4321
  6. John Leahy – 4182
  7. Dave Conway – 3738
  8. Bill Samaras – 3734
  9. Dan Rourke – 3726
  10. Corey Belanger – 3708
  11. Dave Ouellette – 3405
  12. Ty Chum – 3322
  13. Marty Lorrey – 3253
  14. Jeff Thomas – 2536
  15. Harry Kortikere – 2280
  16. Alexandra Ampara-DelVillar – 1939
  17. Juan Carlos Castaneda – 1892
  18. Martin Hogan – 1653

School Committee

  1. Michael Dillon – 4296
  2. Jackie Doherty – 4105
  3. Andy Descoteaux – 4095
  4. Robert Hoey – 4057
  5. Connie Martin – 3768
  6. Hilary Clark – 3747
  7. Dominik Lay – 3645
  8. Ben Opara – 3388
  9. Jim Peters – 2779
  10. Gerry Nutter – 2451
  11. Sherri O’Connor Barboza – 2236

Questions

Ranked Choice – NO – 4421; YES – 4268

District/Hybrid – YES – 5197; NO – 3507

Community Preservation – YES – 5018; NO – 3646

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