Lowell City Council candidate forum on LTC (Part 2)
Part Two of Candidate Forum. Group open-ended question. Three groups, Each asked one question. Each person in that group has 1 minute to answer.
GROUP ONE: If money wasn’t an issue, what would your budget priority be?
Elliott: Public safety. Need more police officers. Throwing money into OT account doesn’t solve public safety problem. We spent $100K in OT and we still see crime.
Lorrey: Public safety. Without that, you won’t have businesses or neighborhoods. I want to hear from LPD how they will better use the money we give them.
Milinazzo: Public safety. LPD budget is now $23mil. Need to add more officers. Concerns people have about city all relate back to public safety. Community policing worked and would restore it.
Mercier: Public safety. This council never cut police. Positions were lost through attrition not cuts. We need community policing. It worked before. Can have all the festivals in the world but no one will come if they don’t feel safe.
Rourke: I appreciate the idea of OT and hiring more officers. I would sit down with those in charge and find out where they need the resources most.
GROUP TWO: What do you think is Lowell’s greatest resource and how would you capitalize on it?
Samaras: People. Look at Carney Medal names at LHS, from Yankees to each immigrant group. We have to work with those communities to create environment that fosters new businesses.
Mitchell: Country’s diversity represented here in Lowell. People come here with big dreams and the capacity to fulfill those dreams. Need to recognize the tools that allow entrepreneurial instincts to thrive. Support our education economy.
Martin: Our residents are our strength. Educate our residents and put them to work. You can go from kindergarten to PhD without ever leaving Lowell. Have to keep attracting businesses to create jobs.
Kennedy: Abundance of resources; river, two colleges, National Park, access to highways. Need a city government that brings out the best. We’ve done that; there’s more to do.
Gitschier: People and our heritage. Have to take advantage of that in our schools and in our economy just like Tsongas advocated in early 1970s but can’t do any of this without public safety.
Nuon: Lowell is an immigrant city. We should embrace and celebrate it. Great education opportunities here.
GROUP THREE: You’re trying to convince a young family to move to Lowell. What is your sales pitch?
Hargis: Best way is to get them walking around. You see the great buildings, the history, the stories of all the people who have come here. This is what we have, I’d tell them. I’ve done this many times. Everyone that sees the city says “you’re lucky to be living in such a great place.”
Belanger: If we don’t curb this public safety problem we’ll have an exodus from this city. We have diversity, brand new schools, lots of festivals and restaurants. Please come to Lowell.
Leahy: Invite them to come and stay for a week. Each neighborhood has its own flavor. Find out where you fit in best. River is a great resource. Great schools. I was on school committee for ten years.
Pech: Lowell is an amazing community. Best restaurants, great festivals. Lowell can offer much to a young family. If you just come to visit Lowell you will fall in love with it.
Mendonca: Lowell is very diverse both in people and housing stock. meets needs of many people. Urban living and suburban style neighborhoods. You can find what you want. Education is strong. Any amenity for shopping, recreation is within 30 minutes of the city.
End of part two