Council Resumes Lowell High Debate
This past Tuesday night at the Lowell City Council meeting, several new motions and a response to a previously made motion reignited the (new) Lowell High debate in the council chamber. The prior motion, by Councilor Jim Milinazzo, had asked for clarification of the various street improvements recommended by the city traffic engineer. The engineer’s memo in response discussed the cost to install sidewalks on Clark and Douglas roads; for traffic lights at the intersection of those two roads and Andover Street; and the cost of widening or somehow altering Rogers Street/Route 39 to accommodate the increase in traffic.
That motion response and the two new motions, both by Councilor Samaras, called for “all costs at high school sites associated with traffic” and the timeline for the state’s environmental impact study (which will be triggered by the new high school and will dictate some of the improvements that will need to be made). There was a lot of back-and-forth among councilors with pro-downtown councilors pressing for the full cost and impact of the Cawley site and the pro-Cawley councilors arguing that those costs cannot yet be determined with specificity.
This coming Tuesday’s council meeting promises more of the same. While there are no new motions, there is a response to a couple of old ones, a joint motion by Councilors Samaras and Leahy, asking for an update on the costs of infrastructure improvements and of field replications (under Article 97) required at the Cawley high school site; and another by Councilor Leary about the cost of fixing drainage issues at Alcott Street and Douglas Road. The report is available online and Gerry Nutter did a good job of analyzing the recommendations and their cost on his blog on Friday. All I’ll say is that it totals nearly $9 million. [Also, please check back tomorrow for our City Council preview post and late Tuesday night for my City Council meeting notes].
According to the Trail Court’s Electronic Case Management system, the decision on the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction in the case of Lowell School Committee vs City of Lowell was due on Thursday, October 12, 2017 (30 days after the hearing on the motion). Nothing was posted on Friday, but perhaps a decision will be forthcoming this week.
Another Lowell court case, Huot vs City of Lowell, is scheduled for a hearing in U.S. District Court this week on the city’s Motion to Dismiss. This is the case brought by a number of Lowell residents under the Federal Voting Rights Act which they allege is violated by the city’s method of electing city councilors and school committee members. I posted a report from an informational meeting about this case that was held earlier this week.
City Election News
The city election is just three weeks from this Tuesday. Council candidates fall under the jurisdiction of the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance, so there’s quite a bit of information about who is donating how much to which candidate, and about how much each candidate is spending on what available on the OCPF website.
At this stage, candidates must file reports every two weeks. I looked at the accounts of all 18 council candidates through their September 30, 2017 reports and made note of how much money they each had on hand on that date, and how much they had spent and for what over the prior six weeks. I omitted smaller expenditures (like a roll of stamps), expenses related to fund raising or food, and donations to charities or other candidates. Here is what I found, reported in order of candidate finish in the preliminary election.
Ed Kennedy – 3266 votes in preliminary (1st place) – $15,146 on hand as of Sept 30. Major expenditures: $875 for signs.
John Leahy – 3262 votes in preliminary (2nd place) – $10,031 on hand as of Sept 30. Major expenditures: $1260 to Khmer Post USA newspaper.
Bill Samaras – 3254 votes in preliminary (3rd place) – $10,324 on hand. Major expenses: $323 to Lowell Sun; $1060 for signs.
Vesna Nuon – 3095 votes in preliminary (4th place) – $4690 on hand. $1500 for signs.
Rita Mercier – 3073 votes in preliminary (5th place) – $8863 on hand. $1000 to Lowell Sun; $294 to WCAP; $966 for signs.
Jim Milinazzo – 3057 votes in preliminary (6th place) – $2305 on hand. $592 for signs.
Dave Conway – 2834 votes in preliminary (7th place) – $3491 on hand. $5500 in mailings.
Rodney Elliott – 2700 votes in preliminary (8th place) – $27,881 on hand. $310 to Khmer Post USA newspaper; $203 to WCAP.
Dan Rourke – 2479 votes in preliminary (9th place) – $24,120 on hand. $4000 for printing; $551 for signs.
Jim Leary – 2466 votes in preliminary (10th place) – $11,651 on hand. $2000 for signs.
Corey Belanger – 2262 votes in preliminary (11th place) – $5365 on hand. $1000 to Khmer Post USA newspaper; $1000 to All Sports Promotions; $322 to Lowell Sun.
Karen Cirillo – 2224 votes in preliminary (12th place) – no reports filed.
Matthew LeLacheur – 2150 votes in preliminary (13th place) – $1812 on hand. $2061 on signs; $1300 on printing; $348 to WCAP.
Daniel Finn – 2140 votes in preliminary (14th place) – $8000 on hand. None spent.
Sokhary Chau – 2115 votes in preliminary (15th place) – $5728 on hand. $3900 to “Campaigns That Win”; $2800 on signs and cards; $600 on t-shirts; $1412 to Lowell Sun.
Martin Hogan – 1822 votes in preliminary (16th place) – $364 on hand. $400 in printing; $283 to WCAP.
Joe Boyle – 1758 votes in preliminary (17th place) – $207 on hand. $813 on signs.
Robert Gignac – 1746 votes in preliminary (18th place) – $11,172 on hand. $1840 in printing; $870 to Lowell Sun; $504 to WCAP; $1000 for a billboard.