The Nutter Commission

The big story this week was the controversy that arose over the appointment of Gerry Nutter to the Election Commission. Seven city councilors said “yes” to the appointment. The two who said “no”, Rodney Elliott and Ed Kennedy, cited things Gerry had written on his blog as the reason for their opposition. Elliott quoted a post from early in Gerry’s blogging career in which Gerry, in the midst of a nasty online fight with an anonymous commenter, referred to the commenter as a prostitute with a sexually transmitted disease. There’s no point in parsing the exact words or trying to place them in context. They were unacceptable. Gerry himself realized that. He apologized online the very next day.

Now the opponents of City Manager Bernie Lynch have seized upon this one instance to make Gerry, the city manager who appointed him, and the seven councilors who ratified the appointment, the worst people in the world when it comes to women’s rights. The Lowell Sun in its editorial and news coverage of this issue has morphed into such a defender of women that the paper will soon feature a pink border on its front page.

The hypocrisy is staggering. But for his blogging, Gerry’s media and political critics would be celebrating his appointment. After all, he’s from Lowell and for Lowell. He’s a man. His skin is white. He was born here. He never left here. He’s registered as a Democrat but routinely supports conservatives and blames liberals for many of society’s ills. What more could you ask for? Had Gerry not been selected, these same critics would be pillorying the city manager for again disrespecting another guy from Lowell and for Lowell. But for the blogging.

For Gerry, blogging was problematic, mostly because Gerry has of late been supportive of the city manager and anyone who supports the city manager these days gets hit with a barrage of negative coverage from the newspaper (e.g., Joe Mendonca, Vesna Nuon, Bill Martin and with this morning’s Column, Rita Mercier) and negative spin from the manager’s enemies. They don’t want people talking about A1 bond ratings and no tax increases and new companies moving into the city and the rest of the superlatives that have occurred while Bernie Lynch has been in charge. No, they want the discussion dominated by dumb blog posts, dangerous dogs, library cretins and chickens.

But let’s for a moment accept that our recent converts to the cause of feminism are sincere. As offended as they are by language that is anti-women, they must be equally offended by language that is homophobic and racist. Gerry’s ill-advised comments were made more than two years ago, so there seems to be no statute of limitations on outrageous words. We should convene a commission to root out past instances of this type. We can call it the Nutter Commission.

At its first public hearing, the Nutter Commission can take evidence on the following comments made by past elected officials:

When a group making a presentation set up their easel facing away from this elected official, he blurted out “What am I black?”

When asked what he thought of a t-shirt imprinted with an anti-gay slur, another elected official said he found it “very humorous – it’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.”

Another elected official insisted on calling a female colleague who had retained her maiden name by her husband’s last name and said of that same colleague that she was an unfit mother because “she leaves her child behind every day to go to work in another city.” This same elected official said that “Hispanics are the worst of all in this city” and that AIDS was God’s way of “getting rid of gays one by one.”

After these utterances were made, the city of Lowell named a building or a street for each of the three. I assume the Nutter Commission will recommend the immediate renaming of these structures and publicly brand all who supported the original dedications as anti-women, homophobic, and racist.

Because the Lowell Sun has become such a champion of the cause of females, I suggest the Nutter Commission hold its second public hearing at the American Textile Museum on the topic of how to treat women in the workplace. Testimony can be taken from MK Gudza, Erin Smith, Rita Savard, Jen Myers, Sarah Favot, Sharon Flaherty, and all the other women who have left the employ of the Lowell Sun.

Gerry should not have used the language he did. If the penalty for that is a lifetime ban on serving the city of Lowell in any capacity, so be it. He can resume his blogging. But let’s all be consistent about this. If Gerry is to be held to that standard, so should everyone else, past, present and future. To do otherwise would be hypocritical.

Gerry Nutter is a committed citizen activist who cares about his community. He won’t embarrass the city or its citizens as an Election Commissioner. For instance, he won’t illegally remove ballots from the Election Commission office to help a political ally who is running a write-in campaign for state senator, as one past Election Commissioner did. He will do his due diligence about all things having to do with city elections and the law and procedures and will make worthwhile suggestions and see them implemented. It’s time to forgive his sin and move on.

8 Responses to The Nutter Commission

  1. Greg Page says:

    Or how ’bout a former mayor/CC using a four-letter “c word” (rhymes with what victorino couldn’t do in game 6) in reference to a female Sun reporter?

    Mebbe we oughta name a square for him down the hill on Bowers

  2. Jack Mitchell says:

    Greg nailed it:
    The Column (11/5/09)
    Speaking of those “friends,” a female reporter from The Sun went to the SAC Club, the bar Kazanjian owns, to interview the also-ran. The clientele (read: thugs) at the establishment that night … well, let’s just say they didn’t take kindly to her presence. One “friend” of Kazanjian — who also happens to be a distinguished former mayor of the great city of Lowell (hint: The letters in his name can be jumbled up to spell “I a lousy sport”) was particularly nasty. It should be noted, however, that Kazanjian himself was gracious in defeat.

  3. Linda Copp says:

    Richard Howe states the facts as he always does, minus the false narratives which too often in this city has become the rule! We have serious problems folks, like shootings for example and all the Sun seems interested in is manufacturing a controversy when in fact, we actually have real problems to discuss that truly do deserve our very serious and IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. I will state for the record, once again, that I think Rita Mercier showed a lot of grit and took a bold stance in this matter. She could have gone the easy route and just Said NO! She said YES in the interest of Fairness to someone she herself had been attacked by, just as several other Ladies who were subjects of his articles, have chosen to do. All these ladies are willing to give him the benefit of a doubt and allow Mr. Nutter the opportunity to serve the City he loves. I appreciate their generosity of spirit far more than I applaud the public flogging that has taken place. I do not know Mr. Nutter other than a couple of blogs I read and commented on, nor do I care for his vile remarks in the past about Mary Burns. However, he has apologized once again for his remarks as he did in the past to the injured party. It is old news being recycled for the benefit of the election season.

    All I ask of Councilor Mercier and the six other Councilors who voted for Mr. Nutter’s appointment is that they continue to be just as objective on other issues before them and specifically to try and keep an open mind regarding the City Manager’s contract. I ask them to assess the City Manager’s performance by reflecting on his accomplishments versus his style or any personality conflicts that may have arisen amongst them. Professional management works well here and this City Manager, Bernard Lynch has been most instrumental in it’s success. We have serious issues we should be addressing. We need to be actively discussing and pursuing resolutions to them and not wielding character assassinations or rehashing and rewriting history in a false narrative meant to only obfuscate the truth and misdirect us. Gossip and innuendo only trivializes us all and our City.

  4. Kelly W says:

    I’ve never written on a blog before. I like to read Left in Lowell and Richard Howe’s blog and have come to the conclusion that this is being done by the Sun to keep us focused on anything besides the election. The more this is written about it here and on Mr. Howe’s blog the more the Sun will keep it up. They feel they’ve got our attention and we’re playing right into their hands by continuing to write about this. It’s like a magic trick where they use illusion and slight of hand to divert your attention from what’s really happening which is the election.

    We should be focused on positive things instead of this. We should be talking about how we’re going to double the vote and what candidates to vote for. I want to read about real issues like crime and financial stability. Instead we’re spending time on this silliness to our own detriment. We’ve got 2 weeks left. Let’s change the narrative and keep our eye on the ball.

    I would implore everybody to stop feeding into this. Stop writing about it. Stop talking about it. We’re making the case that we’re interested in this to the Sun by continually posting. I’m not going to comment on what Mr. Nutter said. People can form their own opinions on that. That would feed into this insanity. Please consider not posting anything else about this and put an end to it. Please consider the next topic to be something positive. I would actually enjoy reading something other than local politics if possible.

    I also posted this comment on Left In Lowell

  5. DickH says:

    Kelly – Thanks for reading and congratulations on your first blog comment. It’s a good one. Responding to an issue like this does bring more attention to it but leaving it unanswered in the hope that it fades away doesn’t guarantee that it will. I think the courtroom is a good model: let both sides make their strongest case and point out flaws in the other side’s position and then let the jury, or in this case the readers, decide what’s going on. As far as this issue is concerned, I’ve “rested my case” and will move on to other topics. If you have any suggestions for positive things we can write about, leave a follow-up comment or send me an email at Thanks again. –Dick Howe

  6. Paul Belley says:

    I agree Kelly. In all my years as a Lowell resident I have never seen this much uproar over an appointment to a board. My two cents…Gerry is a a good family man and loves this city, In the early days when he started to blog was he over the top? Yes, He even beat me up a few times. This is just election year boloney and beat up on Bernie time.

    I hope the residents of Lowell can see past the pandering and the self serving antic’s of the local media and some candidates. This city is a hidden jewel and I have traveled around the Northeast stopping at Mom and Pop diners and bike events and have not heard the negatives that I have heard from certain council candidates .

    Open your eyes and your hearts people…….Lowell is a Jewell