Lowell Roundup: February 22, 2019
Mimi Parseghian shares her observations on politics and current events this week:
Among the many unique and significant events that take place Lowell is the Naturalization Ceremony. The event is held a few times a year at Lowell Memorial Auditorium and the latest was last month on January 15th. But based on an article that appeared in this week New York Times the frequency of this significant event is being reduced.
The Times article, “Wait Times for Citizenship Have Doubled in the Last Two Years”, details that a number of factors have created this backlog including reduction in resources and staff that processes citizenship applications. Additionally, “the Administration’s move to tighten restrictions on immigration have awakened many longtime permanent residents to the fact that a green card does not shield them from deportation. It has also compelled many to seek citizenship in order to cast a ballot, with hundreds of thousands of immigrants poised to become potential voters ahead of the 2020 election.”
If this trend continues, in effect we will be extending the time period a legal immigrant has to wait until they can enjoy the rights as well as fulfill the responsibility of U.S. citizenship.
It is now 22 months since the Election Lawsuit filed against the City. Late last year, the two sides began mediation proceedings. If this matter is not resolved before the election campaign season begins in late Spring, this issue may dominate the race with candidates having to take a firm and decisive stand on the issue. And if mediation fails and we go to trial, than the concern of the financial and emotional burdens are added to the debate.
In his latest column in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman asks “Iis America Becoming a Four Party State?” It appears that on the national level, both political parties have two wings. If it continues on this path, a soft split may occur and then that would turn into the establishment of new parties.
Although the school system was observing Winter Vacation Week, the School Committee was working out the details of the Blue Ribbon Committee to help select the next School Superintendent. This system has been used for previous superintendent selections. I am not sure which method is preferable: the one the City Council utilizes when selecting a City Manager or the process that the School Committee uses when selecting a Superintendent. The City Council is not as complicated: the HR Department does the leg work, ads, collecting resumes and setting up interviews for the entire Council to interview the candidates who made it to the short list. Meanwhile, the School Committee has to decide the number of members on the Blue Ribbon Committee; what organizations or segments of the City they will represent; which individuals will be selected before the Blue Ribbon Committee meets. Then when their review is completed, the School Committee steps in. I am looking forward to reading who will serve on this Blue Ribbon Committee; there has been talk of “new faces.” Let’s see.