Lowell Round-Up: June 15, 2018

Mimi Parseghian shares her observations on the past week in Lowell:

This week’s City Council meeting had two separate discussions on marijuana. With the impending launching of the recreational cannabis industry, the Councilors have begun to count the tax revenue that is estimated to be generated by these sales.  There seems to be an optimistic approach to how much money will be coming our way.

On one hand, we are eager for the tax revenue and on the other hand, the Council by a vote of 5-4 approved a motion to establish a marijuana oversight sub-committee.  This Council has 18 Sub-committees and one ad-hoc subcommittee on Election Laws.

I was always under the impression that a Subcommittee was created and members assigned at the discretion of the Mayor.  The following statement appears on the On City website’s page on Council  Sub-Committees: “The City’s Mayor is responsible for the creation of “standing” and “ad-hoc” City Council subcommittees and the appointment of members to them.”

I must be misinterpreting that rule.  No one objected, although the Mayor expressed a different approach.


Speaking of Subcommittees, he Election Law Subcommittee (Chair, N. Nuon; E. Kennedy and J. Leahy) is continuing their tour of various neighborhoods to listen and discuss with engaged residents what direction Lowell should take in the Municipal Election process; that is for City Council and School Committee.  Currently all seats are at-large with the introduction of the lawsuit, the discussion has been elevated.

Having attended a few of these meetings, it is my sense that there is a strong element within the City Council that wants to revise how they are elected.  The question is what type of structure we select.  My preference would be to keep the current Plan E form of government with 3 at-large and 6 district Councilors.  There has been some talk to introduce other changes but it may be best to take one step at a time.

As far as the time table is concerned, I would think the subcommittee would bring back their final report and suggestion to the Council before the end of the summer.  I could be wrong since I am not a budget analyst but a legal fight of that magnitude requires funds.  I do not see money in the budget that indicates the City is getting ready to fight the lawsuit.


City Manager Eileen Donoghue will hold a Listening Session on the search of a new Lowell Police Superintendent. According to the City website, City Manager Donoghue “has had meetings with key community groups and leaders in order to hear what is important to them and what qualities they would like to see in our next Superintendent.”  This public meeting is part of this process.  It will take place on June 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway Street.

This is a great opportunity for those who have concerns or suggestions to step forward and voice their opinion in a public setting.


Yard signs have begun to pop up for the candidates for the various offices.  The City of Lowell has an ordinance that dictates when these signs can be put up and also when they are required to be taken down.  That is how many days before the election and how many days after the election.

With a couple of major elections and so many people running, it is going to be difficult to get quality space.  Those who have previously run for office may have a list of locations they had previously used. As for first-time candidate, identifying locations that would put up their sign may be more challenging.

When it comes to yard signs some businesses that allow political signs to be put up on their property have an open door policy. If you ask, they do not say no.  Some are more selective, which I do not understand.  Why offend or disappoint some of your clients?

Homeowners are different.  Some may have 2 or 3 signs of the same candidate; some may have a few signs of different candidates; a few may have signs of opposing candidates but my favorite is the lawn with just one sign.