Lowell Roundup: February 1, 2018

Mimi Parseghian shares her observations on Lowell and national politics this week:

On Tuesday, the City Council entertained a motion on the “Dangerous Flow of Traffic at the Intersection of First Street, Bradley Street and Route 110.” If you are not familiar with those streets, this is the route that many drivers take to avoid the Bridge Street/Aiken/110 intersection.

It may be the most complicated and busiest intersection in the City, not only with cars but pedestrians.  A few years ago, the State spent close to $3,000,000 to improve that intersection.  The major impetus for the new design was safety. Now, there is an easier flow to the traffic but Bridge Street, a densely populated road, is overwhelmed with cars travelling in both directions.

I will be interested to read the City Engineer’s response to the motion.

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Last Friday, I attended Lowell TeleMedia Center’s (LTC) Open House.  I had not been at the Market Street facility in a while and the place looks great.  Not only does LTC produce local access television, both municipal (99) and community (8 and 95), but also “distributes on-line media, teaches media making skills, and provides state of the art media production equipment and facilities to residents of greater Lowell.”  Everyone is welcome to visit and become a member. Speaking of municipal programming, LTC will now be able to broadcast from the Mayor’s Reception Room.  There are many ceremonial activities that take place in that hall as well as meetings when there is a conflict with another meeting in City Council Chambers.

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The School Committee will shortly begin the search for a new school superintendent. Mayor Bill Samaras, Chairman of the School Committee, was quoted as stating “Samaras added that he’s seeking community input on the search. He plans to create a superintendent search commission with community leaders, School Department officials and parents.”  The appointment of a Blue Ribbon committee is not a new process used by the School Committee.  It has been used many times. I am interested to see how many new faces with new ideas are selected. Last time a committee was convened, there were a few seats for parents but the majority was assigned to people representing various organizations or interests.

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The January 26th on line New York Times had an analysis that “traced the pre-congressional career of every House member in the 116th Congress, showing the narrow but well-trodden paths through prestigious schools, lucrative jobs and local political offices that led the latest crop of legislators to Capitol Hill.”

The article has a great analysis of the professions and the possible impact they may have on the legislation that is supported. It also compares the demographic of Congress with the constituency that has elected them.

In addition to the narrative, there is an interactive infographic that provides a visual summary of the education and previous profession of the current Congress. The Times’ interactive infographic presentation are the best.

graph from New York Times – occupations of members of Congress

Of course, the Democrats were represented with a blue line and the Republicans in Red.  The areas of highest concentration were “Public College, Master’s Degree, Business Management, No Previous Public Office and State Legislature.”

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