Week in Review: February 9, 2014

Special City Council Meeting

On Monday night the city council held a special meeting for the purpose of selecting an acting city manager from the date Bernie Lynch’s resignation takes effect until a new city manager takes office. The council voted unanimously to appoint current city clerk Michael Geary to this post. I wrote a full story about it on Monday night.

City Council Meeting: February 4, 2014

Thanks to Jack Moynihan for taking notes on the meeting and allowing me to post them (I had another commitment that night).

I have since watched the meeting and came up with these highlights:

Motion by CC Rourke to take from table appointment of Salmira Mitchell to Library Board of Trustees. Motion was non-debatable. Five voted to take from the table (Rourke, Samaras, Milinazzo, Martin and Leahy); four voted against doing that (Elliott, Mercier, Kennedy and Belanger). The appointment was taken up. Mayor Elliott read letter from City Manager re the appointment. Her appointment was confirmed by the same five to four vote with no discussion.

Discussion of Tanner Street urban renewal plan. Public hearing on this plan in the next month or two per Adam Baacke.

Public Hearing on Anti-Panhandling Ordinance

Amends existing city ordinance. Several people spoke against it. One was Marty Lorrey, the former city councilor. He’s the one who originally filed the motion because of complaints he received from all over the city. He says it has “gone off the tracks.” He thinks it should be citywide. He also is concerned about the city’s definition of “aggressive.” He basically says “aggression” should be based on the perception of the person solicited. He would expand “aggression” to include repetitive requests in the same location that harms nearby businesses. The council enacts the ordinance unanimously.

State Election Activities

Some news about this fall’s state election: Nomination papers for elected offices on the ballot this fall are now available. On Tuesday night there was a house party in Lowell for Maura Healey who is a candidate for attorney general. Tewksbury held its Democratic caucus on Saturday, February 8, 2014, electing 15 delegates to the Democratic State Convention which will be held on June 13 and 14 in Worcester. The primary significance of the convention is to identify statewide candidates who may proceed to the primary election ballot in September. Besides obtaining the required number of nomination signatures from registered voters – most statewide candidates require 10,000 certified signatures – candidates must also receive the votes of more than 15% of the delegates to the convention. The Democratic caucus in Lowell will be held on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 11 am at Lowell High School. Anyone who was registered as a Democrat as of January 31, 2014 may participate.

Also on the ballot this fall will be the office of Middlesex District of Attorney. Gerry Leone was elected to the office four years ago but he resigned midterm. Governor Patrick appointed long-time prosecutor Marian Ryan to the post for the balance of Leone’s term. Ryan is now running for the office in her own right but she recently gained a challenger in the Democratic Primary: Michael Sullivan, the current Middlesex County Clerk of Courts. Chris Scott, in his Column Blog, reported the Sullivan recently scored the endorsement of Scott Harsharger, a former Middlesex DA who went on to serve as state Attorney General.

Mill No. 5

Congratulations to Mill Number 5 and its occupants for the successful retail event/party held there last Saturday. Located on Jackson Street in the midst of the Hamilton Canal District, Mill No. 5 still has some renovations to be done, but there are some great retailers and other businesses already in operation there. It’s already a great addition to the city’s creative economy. It will also be the subject of a motion at this Tuesday’s city council meeting. Rita Mercier is seeking an update on future plans for the mill. The motion is stated in general terms but I have a guess about its intent. Mill No. 5 already has plans in place for a yoga studio and a health food-type restaurant. Now a gentleman who is a licensed massage therapist would like to take space in the mill due to the complementary nature of his business with others already there. Apparently someone is concerned that a massage therapist will threaten the health, safety and morals of the neighborhood. That’s just a guess. Maybe the motion is about something completely different. I hope it is. We’ll see on Tuesday.

Lowell Cemetery Tours

We’ve set the dates for this spring’s tour of Lowell Cemetery. They are Friday, May 9, 2014 at 1pm; Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 10am; Friday, May 16 at 1pm; and Saturday May 17 at 10am. All tours begin at the Lawrence Street Gate, take 90 minutes to complete and are free and require no advanced registration.

Lynne on Left in Lowell continues to post multiple times each week about council matters. Jack Mitchell on Lowell Live Feed has a couple of posts about Mike Geary and his task as acting city manager.

That’s it for now . . .

5 Responses to Week in Review: February 9, 2014

  1. Joe says:

    About a decade ago Ed Davis wanted to bring the shot spotter gunshot detection system to Lowell. I forget the reason but it never materialized. This week I watched councilors Belanger and Rourke have a discussion on the council floor about bringing shot spotter to Lowell. Gun violence in the city was the number one issue during the election. Bringing this system to Lowell is a really really big deal. Yet I have not seen or read a word about it all week. Nothing. Not in the paper,not on the radio and not in the blogs. Here is my prediction. On Tuesday Rita Mercier will say something about the massage parlor that will anger certain people in this city. Then those people will respond by claiming this council is a joke focused on petty issues. Meanwhile the single most important issues in the city will be sitting in a corner waiting for its turn.

  2. DickH says:

    Very good point Joe. This past week someone urged me to add a feature to my week in review column. The suggestion was to identify the issue that was the least deserving of attention that got the most council time and the issue that was the most deserving of attention that slid by with minimal or no comment. I think you just ID’d the most important one because you’re right, that kind of direction finding technology could be a very important tool in fighting gun violence in the city. I’ll do a separate post about it tonight. Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. Joe says:

    I’m my opinion your last message is what separates you from many others in the city. Instead of maybe digging in your heels and taking offense to my message you responded the way you did. I’m a fan