Lowell Week in Review: November 18, 2018

Digging into election results

Last week I reported the statewide/district wide results for all races on the Lowell ballot for the November 6, 2018 state election including the total vote each candidate received in Lowell. Since then, I have obtained the precinct-by-precinct vote in all races. Rather than list all of the precinct results here – there are 33 of them for each race – I’ll look at how the two top offices on the ballot, US Senator and Governor, did across the city.

Looking first at the Elizabeth Warren v Geoff Diehl Senate race, Warren won Lowell with 16,516 votes (67.6%) to Diehl’s 7,909 (32.4%). Percentage-wise, Warren’s best precinct was Ward 2, Precinct 2 (2-2) where she received 87.5% of the vote. 2-2 is downtown and the Acre, stretching from North Common to the Tsongas Arena. This was followed by 2-1 with 87.3%. This precinct includes Lawrence Mills up to University Crossing. Warren’s third best precinct was 2-3 which is the rest of downtown including the condos on Market and Middle Streets. Warren received 84.8% of the vote there.

Warren’s worst precinct was 1-2 where she got 52.4%. This precinct is in Belvidere and includes Cawley Stadium and Long Meadow Golf Club. Warren’s second-worst precinct was 11-2 where she got 55.9%. This precinct is on the Belvidere/South Lowell border and includes the Bunting Club and the Knickerbocker Club. Warren’s third-worst precinct was 5-3 where she received 58.0%. This precinct is partly in Centralville and partly in East Pawtucketville and runs along the Lowell/Dracut border.

There are 33 precincts in all. Warren received 80% or more of the vote in 5 of them; 70-79% in 12; 60-69% in 9; and 50-59% in 7.

Diehl’s strong points would be where Warren was the weakest. His best precinct was 1-2 with 47.6%; next was 11-2 with 44.1%; and third best was 5-3 with 42.0%.

Despite Diehl’s relative strength, Warren prevailed in all 33 precincts.

In the Governor’s race, Charlie Baker won Lowell with 16,349 votes (65.2%) to Jay Gonzalez’s 8,723 (34.8%).

Baker’s best precinct was 1-2 where he received 76.4% of the vote. Next best was 1-3 with 75.2% and 5-3 with 74.7%. Baker did best in two of the precincts where Elizabeth Warren did worst, 1-2 and 5-3. The second best precinct for Baker was 1-3 which is in Belvidere, closer to Nesmith Street.

Baker was weakest in Ward 2, receiving just 44.2% of the vote in 2-1; 47.4% of the vote in 2-3; and 49.8% of the vote in 2-2. These three precincts – all of Ward 2 – were the only precincts in Lowell won by Democratic nominee Jay Gonzalez.

Of the 33 precincts in Lowell, Baker received 70-79% of the vote in 7 of them; 60-69% of the vote in 15 of them; 50-59% of the vote in 8; and 40-49% of the vote in 3 (the three won by Gonzalez).

In the First Middlesex State Senate race, Ed Kennedy defeated John MacDonald, 17,542 votes (70.1%) to 7.488 votes (29.9%). Kennedy’s strongest precincts were the three in Ward 2. His weakest precincts were scattered around the city. He received “just” 60.0% of the vote in 8-3 (upper Highlands); 61.1% of the vote in 11-2 (Belvidere/South Lowell) and 61.2% in 6-1 (Pawtucketville, from West Meadow Road to Mammoth Road).

I put “just” in quotation marks because getting 60% of the vote is good in any competitive election. The fact is Kennedy won all 33 of the city’s precincts. He received 80-89% of the vote in 4 precincts; 70-79% in 16 precincts; and 60-69% of the vote in 13 precincts.

Lowell Democratic City Committee Holiday Social

For those going through political withdrawal now that the election is in our past, an opportunity to come back together and talk local, state and national politics arises on Sunday, December 2, 2018, when the Lowell Democratic City Committee holds its annual Holiday Social. This year it’s at the Blue Shamrock, 105 Market Street in Lowell, from 2pm to 4pm (that’s Sunday, December 2).

Changes in the Local Media Scene

Best wishes to Lowell Sun editor Jim Campanini on his upcoming retirement from the newspaper. As the story announcing his imminent departure points out, Campanini has led the paper through “one of the most turbulent periods in the newspaper industry . . .”

Between digital advertising strangling the once-lucrative revenue stream of print newspapers, the 24-hour cycle of TV and the internet, and social media making everyone a journalist, it has indeed been a disruptive time for the mainstream media A big question is how does this all end for local media? Is professional journalism on the local level sustainable financially?

Although its focus is statewide, CommonWealth magazine uses a grant and reader donation model of financing. If you’re not familiar with CommonWealth, you should check it out, especially since it often writes stories about Lowell For instance, at the end of this summer, CommonWealth published an article about Lowell state representative Rady Mom’s re-election campaign (International issues play key role in Lowell rep’s race). Last year, CommonWealth wrote two articles on the fight over where to locate Lowell High School (Lowell’s single-issue election and Why Lowell is torn over new high school) and another about the lawsuit now pending in the US District Court that alleges the city is violating the Federal voting rights act (Lawsuit challenges Lowell at-large voting). In 2016, another article raised questions about the same at-large voting system that is being challenged in the US District Court case (Why whites control Lowell city government).

Previously, CommonWealth published a print magazine four times each year. However, this past summer, it switched to an all-digital operation. There’s much about Massachusetts policy and politics on the organization’s website including opportunities to sign up for daily and weekly electronic newsletters, and to download The Codcast (a Massachusetts-centric podcast). There’s also an opportunity to donate to CommonWealth which is worth doing, since all of its journalistic products are free.

If the future of local journalism is a topic of interest to you – as it should be – mark Tuesday, March 26, 2019 on your calendar. That evening at 7 pm at Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center, media critic Dan Kennedy will do a book talk/book signing of “The Return of the Moguls,” his 2018 book about how Jeff Bezos, John Henry and other millionaires and billionaires are remaking newspapers for the future.

City of Lights: November 24, 2018

Because November 1 fell on a Thursday this year, Thanksgiving comes on the earliest possible date – November 22. That also means that the City of Lights parade and celebration come early too. They will be held on Saturday, November 24, 2018 with family activities from noon to 5 pm and the parade from Jackson Street to City Hall kicking off at 4:30 pm. The official illumination of the City Hall exterior lights will take place at 6 pm. For more info, check out the City of Lights webpage.

Lowell Open Space and Recreation Plan

At last week’s City Council meeting, representatives from DPD presented the Council with the draft 2019-2023 Open Space and Recreation Plan which is available for viewing on the city’s website. The public comment period lasts until November 30, 2018, so please read the plan and share your thoughts on it with DPD via an email link in the city website.

The plans is built around the following six goals:

Goal 1: Improve pedestrian connections and experience throughout all neighborhoods to provide residents safer access to parks, open spaces and the opportunity to walk as a form of exercise or for leisure.

Goal 2: Improve cycling infrastructure across the city; prioritize non-vehicular modes of travel and recreational opportunities for residents.

Goal 3: Increase and improve the availability of water-based recreational opportunities for residents of Lowell.

Goal 4: Prioritize improved maintenance, security and preservation of parks and open spaces across the city and provide amenities residents have expressed an interest in seeing available to them.

Goal 5: Improve communication to the public regarding parks, open spaces, available amenities and events occurring showcasing these spaces across the community.

Goal 6: Increase recreational opportunities, improve existing parks and open spaces, and create new parks for the enjoyment of all residents of the community regardless of age, ability and neighborhood of residence.

Lowell Quarter Launch and Coin Exchange

Save the date: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 10am at Lowell Memorial Auditorium will be the official launch celebration of the new Lowell quarter. This new coin from the United States mint features a Lowell mill girl with the Boott Cotton Mill in the background. The US Mint is producing one quarter for each of the 50 states. The Lowell National Historical Park is the Massachusetts coin. That’s reason to celebrate.