Friday, July 31, 2009

More on 1476

Warren Shaw has a good rundown of the political brouhaha over 1476 Mammoth Road. He also runs down the disagreements between the two "sides." Shaw is also concerned, as he said last Saturday on the radio, that the town can't seem to come together to complete a project anymore without a political fight.

You can read it all here but below is Shaw's ominous conclusion:

The 1476 Mammoth Road property is owned by folks that really aren't what you'd call motivated sellers, and the town had to convince them to consider it.

They have let it be known that the agreed-upon price is as far as they would go, and the town has signed a purchase-and-sale agreement.

Don't look for this one to happen without further bloodshed.


Making an issue of the price is a high-risk gamble. If the seller pulls out, it could become, well, a political issue.

The bottom line is that if all of these folks want this to happen, it will, but not without what Town Manager Dennis Piendak called "cooperation and coordination."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

State Rep. Race

One of the few Republicans in the state House of Representatives is Robert Hargraves of Groton. The Sun is reporting today that fellow Republican and Ayer Selectman Connie Sullivan will challenge Hargraves for the nomination in 2010. This will set-up a rare primary race for an incumbent legislator.

There are rumors that the exact same scenario may play out here in Dracut with a selectman challenging Rep. Colleen Garry for the Democratic nomination next year. Garry is very strong and has $14,000+ on hand in her campaign account (as of December 31). The last time Garry had an opponent was 2004 and she spent a little over $32,000 and raised over $21,000.

Again, it's just a rumor and may be nothing. But, it is always fun to speculate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Drugs...again

Former Dracut police lieutenant Tony Archinski sent in a letter to the Sun about the ongoing investigation into the missing drugs from the Dracut Police department. You can read it all here but the main point of Archinski's letter is for the appointment of an independent investigator. He also takes the Board of Selectmen to task for not "asking the difficult questions."

Here is a taste of the letter:

The Dracut selectmen have done an admirable job of showcasing the good things that our police officers are doing in the community while this 600-pound gorilla lingers over them, but they have been lulled to sleep in the missing drug case. Their desire to "not want to interfere" in the investigation has turned into one great big snore. They need to wake up. They need to start asking the difficult questions.

In April 2003, on the day after the disappearance of the drugs, I asked for an independent investigation into this matter by someone who was not connected to either the administration or the rank and file. The cops should not be investigating the cops! I was admonished to be quiet and told to let the investigation take its course.

It is time for an independent investigator to be commissioned at any cost to close this gaping wound that has destroyed morale in the Dracut Police Department. There are many retired lawyers, private investigators or arbitrators who could act as "fact finders" in this case. We need to move on from who done it, to why did it happen? Selectmen need to put the management of the police department under the same microscope that the good men and women of the department have so quietly and professionally endured for so long. The police department's management shouldn't be immune from a legitimate inquiry from an independent study.

Custodian Contract

I was looking at the minutes of the School Committee and I noticed they had a 7 minute meeting on June 25. The meeting was called, it seems, to sign a new contract between the schools and the custodians and to accept the donation of a bench.

It seems strange to me that they would meet only 3 days after their regularly scheduled meeting for 7 minutes. Perhaps these matters came up and could not wait until the next meeting, who knows.

Anyway, I have requested a copy of the contract from the school department and will keep you folks apprised of what's in it. I cannot imagine there is anything to get all worked up over but part of my goal here is to keep residents informed and part of that involves staying on top of contracts.

Dracut Links

I have added a number of links to organizations in town over on the right hand side. If you would like to have your town's group listed, you can e-mail me at brianflaherty at ymail dot com Of course, replace the at with a @ and dot with . I wrote it that way to avoid spammers!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Town Hall fix

My son and I took a walk to the Parker Ave. School today to play in their playground. As we were walking there I was thinking of how the School Committee may close the school after the upcoming academic year. It got me thinking about what could be done with the property and I had some ideas.

1. Renovate the building and turn it into Town Hall/School Administration. In the process, sell the old police station, Town Hall, the Town Hall annex, and the School Administration Building

2. Sell the building along with the School Administration building and Town Hall Annex, move the school department to the old police station and use the proceeds to renovate or build a new Town Hall

I like idea number 1 better because all of town government would be under one roof which would result in better synergy between the town and the schools. They could also cut down on costs and duplication of efforts.

Now, the town may not be able to sell the town buildings I mentioned. But, perhaps it's worth a look.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

American Legion Chicken BBQ

John Dyer of the American Legion sent along the following:

The Dracut American Legion is pleased to announce the date of our 2009 Chicken Bar-B-Que as Sept 13th, 2009...This continues a tradition of annual BBQs going back over 40 years. Proceeds benefit Legion and Veterans' Programs. Tickets are limited so may or may not be available on day of BBQ.

Lussier out?

The lead article in the Column today was last week's Dracut Housing Authority meeting. Faithful readers of the blog will find nothing new in it but there was this interesting tidbit:

The squabbling, however, has had an impact on Jerry (sic) Lussier, the owner of the building proposed for the elderly housing project. Lussier has made it clear that he will not extend the time frame to get the deal done and, according to sources, is considering pulling out because of the political infighting.

Warren Shaw did say yesterday on the radio that Lussier will not extend the December 31 sale date but him pulling out is big news. That would be huge.

If the Board of Selectmen cannot convince the DHA to get this through, James O'Loughlin and George Malliaros may have a hard time with their re-elections in May. The whole board already looks pretty foolish after the DHA meeting and the Board of Selectmen are obviously divided 4-1 so things don't look good right now. May is a long way away but the board needs to pick it up a bit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hitting the air waves

I will be joining Warren Shaw, Shawn Ashe et al tomorrow morning on WCAP from 6:30-7:30 to discuss Monday's Dracut Housing Authority meeting. If you're up and about, be sure to tune in.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The role of blogs

Over in Lowell, Councilor Rita Mercier recently unloaded on blogs and "anonymous comments." If you haven't seen it already, I posted the video below. I think Mimi over at Left in Lowell sums this up well:

In the past couple of years, the Lowell blogsphere (LiL, richardhowe, mrmillicty; jackiedoherty; right-side-of-lowell, the New Englander, lowellshallot) is impacting the public debate (well, maybe not the shallot; just kidding don’t start in on me ). In the past, the selection and advancement of public policy issues was solely in the hands of the City’s two media outlets: the newspaper and the radio station. In effect, a handful of people controlled the flow of information. So if you were a politician, your options were limited. Your rise and fall depended on the whims or agendas of editors and radio hosts. I like to think that the circle of influence and access has been fractured, if not broken.

She may be right - I don't think the pols like that there are a lot of new outlets for information. Many have a very negative view of blogs and treat bloggers with contempt. Here in Dracut, I think blogs have been sullied by a certain website in town. But, I think Shawn Ashe has done a nice job legitimizing blogs and the role they can play. When I was at the Dracut Housing Authority meeting the other night, a couple of people asked me if I was a reporter. When I told one guy who asked that I have a blog, he said "I never read those things." OK, fine by me. Finance Chair Gary Marsella saw people talking to me and said, "Is that the infamous Dracut Politics?" He didn't look happy to see me. There were some exceptions as Brian Martin was very pleasant to me as was Selectman John Zimini who was incredibly nice and gregarious.

I love giving the people of Dracut another voice in town. Some of those in power may not like having their work analyzed but the people of Dracut certainly have the right to know what is going on in town. There is a lot of political inbreeding in Dracut and I have a problem with that. Part of my goal here is to make our government more transparent and to get more people involved.

Rita Mercier and others may yearn for the old days in which the Sun was the only game in town and WCAP was stacked with nothing but a bunch of cronies and political insiders. That horse has left the barn.

As promised, here are Mercier's comments on blogs (from Left in Lowell):

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mullin confirms

Dr. Spencer Mullin confirmed to the Sun today that he will not be taking his 2% raise next year. He said he made his decision after speaking with fellow superintendents at a conference last week. Perhaps that's true but the Sun ran an article on Friday in which he said he was taking the raise. Mullin called Warren Shaw on Friday to tell him he would not be taking the raise, I assume, because of the article in the paper.

The Sun didn't get word that he was not taking the raise and tore him to pieces in an editorial yesterday.

Either way, Mullin made a good decision here. He should have not taken the raise in the first place but he made good on it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

For what it's worth

After last night's meeting, I decided to stop by Town Hall this morning to look at some of the campaign finance reports from this past election. I can't recall the exact amount but I think candidates only need to report donations above $50. So, the list of donors is not entirely complete as I assume there were smaller amount donations.

But, in looking at Ken Cunha's report, the following names and donations jumped out at me:

Brian Bond: $100
John Zimini: $100
Ken Martin: $100
Mike McLaughlin: $500
Carpenters Local Union 111 PAC: $250

Now, Cunha worked for the Post Office, he was not a carpenter so why would he be getting donations from a Carpenter's PAC (full disclosure, my father is a retired carpenter from Local 218)? I looked at the list of donations Local 111's PAC has made in the past few years (2009 is not available) and the ONLY other Dracut politician to receive money from this PAC is Zimini. Now, I don't know Zimini's connection to the union (perhaps it is because he is active in the Democratic party) but it is interesting that Cunha and Zimini are the only Dracut pols to get money from the PAC.

The other donations made to Zimini and Cunha between 2003 and 2008 from this PAC were:

January 30, 2008: Zimini, $250
January 9, 2007: Cunha, $200
April 12, 2005: Zimini, $500

Again, take it for what it's worth. It may not mean a thing other than Zimini and Cunha are friends and Zimini asked the PAC to help out a friend running for office. But, with the charges being thrown around town and the alliances that are in place, the connection seems interesting. Also, McLaughlin shelling out $500 to Cunha speaks volumes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Man oh man oh man

Yesterday's Column predicted that tonight's Dracut Housing Authority meeting called to discuss Louisburg Square would be lively - - - that was an understatement. It featured DHA member Tom Salem walking out and calling his fellow member Ken Cunha an a** hole to Mary Karabatsos; Selectman John Zimini being accused of "drinking the kool-aid" by his colleague Bob Cox; DHA Chair Ken Martin and Selectman James O'Loughlin yelling and screaming at each other; Cox being asked to leave the meeting until Cunha was done with his statement because Cox kept on making snide remarks; O'Loughlin inaudibly calling Cunha a "chump" and a "loser" (but within my ear shot); and Cox seeming close to tears because of Cunha's attacks.

The bottomline is that nothing was decided tonight. Martin was told that he should finalize the plans within a couple of weeks so that the designs and bids could be taken care of by the proposed December 31 sale date. But the real story was the opening statements of Martin and Cunha and the back and forth in response between the selectmen and Martin. Both of their statements were full of fire and venom at the selectmen and the boys shot back. Chairman George Malliaros brought up the incident from a few weeks ago when he closed the door on the DATV cameraman's face because Cunha someone worked it into his statement. Martin made Malliaros sit down because it was not not germane to the discussion.

Selectman John Zimini, however, went after Cox who had said that Zimini, Martin, and Finance Chair Gary Marsella have "drunk the kool-aid" and Zimini wanted to know what he meant by that. He also said that it seemed people wanted to rush this in order to benefit a "connected local developer." I am not sure what he meant by this but I am guessing he meant Gerry Lussier of Draco Homes who is selling the property??? Zimini also said he was making sure the "taxpayer is protected."

As a blogger and a political junkie, I was loving all of this. But, as a resident of Dracut it was somewhat embarrassing. The selectmen, in my humble opinion, did not carry themselves well. Cox was making snide remarks, DiRocco raised his voice, Zimini was screaming, O'Loughlin was yelling back and forth at Martin, and Malliaros brought up a completely irrelevant topic other than that Cunha mentioned him in his statement. There were a number of residents in attendance and I wonder how they felt. If you didn't have thick skin, you would have been VERY uncomfortable. I was sitting behind the architects (a man and a woman) and they kept on looking at each other and they seemed very annoyed. In addition, Marc Slotnick of the state's Department of Housing and Community Development was there and he must have thought the town was full of crazies! Imagine the report he will give to the folks in Boston tomorrow?

Martin and Cunha did not look good either and Cunha is now public enemy number one. This guy is so toxic that anyone who is close to him will be toast politically. Cunha was down right mean and nasty during the meeting and was seen as a real snake politically. Martin tried to sound professional mentioning his 34 years of experience in public housing but he didn't do himself any favors yelling and raising his voice and using his gavel. In addition, once Cox entered the room, his tone changed slightly, he didn't look up as much and his underarm was full of sweat (and it wasn't warm in the room).

In the end, one can tend to forget that there are elderly in the mix who are in need of housing. If election day were a month or two away, everyone who was at tonight's meeting would be voted out of office. They handled themselves very poorly and people's emotions got the best of them. It makes for fun political theater but it also makes our leaders look petty and, to use the word bantered around a lot tonight, political.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Need a new lawyer?

Stick with me on this one:

1. Dracut police catch two businesses selling alcohol to minors.

2. Dracut Board of Selectmen suspends the liquor licenses of said businesses.

3. Businesses appeal their suspension to the ABCC.

4. The attorney representing the businesses before the ABCC is State Rep. Kevin Murphy.

5. Murphy is also the attorney for the Dracut School Committee.

6. A state representative, who is also the lawyer for a town board, is defending the suspension of a liquor license handed down by another town board.

7. This is the same Murphy who represents the LRTA union members and four Lowell school employees who got fat raises last year (one of whom was Murphy's wife).

8. Murphy, a state legislator, is trying to aid two businesses who actually sold beer to minors.

9. Murphy took the following oath this past January:

"I, Kevin Murphy, do solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will support the constitution thereof. So help me God."

10. Part of the laws of the Commonwealth that Murphy swore to support states that: "Whoever makes a sale or delivery of any alcoholic beverage or alcohol to any person under 21 years of age, either for his own use or for the use of his parent or any other person....shall be punished."

Um, did Murphy miss the Law School class on ethics and conflict of interest?

More openness and transparency wanted

At last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, the selectmen reappointed David Dumaresq to the Community Preservation Committee as well as a couple of folks to the Dracut Historical Society (Harvey Gagnon and I believe Robert Kokanski). I wish all three of them the best.

I am concerned, however, that the terms of these three men expired and to the best of my knowledge, there was no notice of potential open seats on two town committees. I don't know Dumaresq, Gagnon, or Kohanski and I am sure they are fine men who serve our town well (Actually, I know of Dumaresq as the owner of Brox Farm). But, what if there were other people in town who were interested in these positions? Shouldn't they be given an opportunity to apply? DJ Deeb was appointed to the Government Regulations Committee by Town Moderator Gary McCarthy earlier this year. Where was the notice of the open position?

At last week's Selectmen meeting, the members also spoke of their sub-committee work. When do these committees meet? Where are the agendas? Where are the minutes?

Dracut can do a much better job when it comes to transparency and openness. I don't think that the town is intentionally misleading the public but it seems to me that they're doing the absolute bare minimum. Posting meeting notices at Town Hall, a building open when the majority of people are at work, is poor practice. Brian Bond did the town a favor by having a recent special meeting of the selectmen taped - it "exposed" the board's practice of having meetings in less than conspicuous places with less than conspicuous notice. Dracut can do better.

Playing with real money

I was happy to join Warren Shaw and Shawn Ashe on "Saturday Morning Live" yesterday where we spoke at length about the Louisburg Square fiasco. Shaw thinks that there is more at play and you can read his thoughts in his weekly Valley Dispatch column here.

Shaw's gist is that a certain segment of Dracut's political population is trying to make the selectmen look bad in hopes of taking them out at the ballot box. This year, Joe DiRocco was the target and next year it is James O'Loughlin they're after with Bob Cox the year after that. The hope is that this faction will be able to elect enough of "their own" so they can influence the selection of the new town manager (assuming Dennis Piendak retires in the next few years). They're also stacking their people on various town committees (i.e. DJ Deeb on Government Regulations, Ken Cunha at Dracut Housing, etc) hoping to gain some political capital around town.

This is all well and good for bloggers like me who love political intrigue and infighting. But, Cunha, Ken Martin, etc. are playing with people's lives here and risk harming a good number of people who want to live in elderly housing. The DHA has not built any housing in 20 years - why would they want to sabotage this, especially after Cunha criticized the DHA for not doing enough to obtain new housing during the campaign?!?

I for one think Shaw is on to something here. The same people who went after DiRocco are now going after Cox and the same people who want lighting at Veteran's Park are the same people who are against Louisburg Square. Do you sense a pattern here?

By the way, do you notice that the only selectman who never seems to get criticized by these people is John Zimini? I remeber seeing Zimini helping to put up Cunha campaign signs this past spring. I also saw Zimini and Cunha (among others) together at Dunkin Donuts last week.

Not only that, during the public hearings on the lights at Veteran's Park, Zimini appears to be sympathetic with those who want the lights and he fought Chairman George Malliaros for cutting off discussion and not allowing former Selectman (and light proponent) Mike Blatus to speak for a second time at last week's meeting. And oh yeah, remember when Zimini refused to attend the meetings to select a new school committee member after Mary Gail Martin resigned? Who was he backing? Ken Martin - the same guy who wants to dismantle Louisburg Square.

Connecting the dots yet?

Which way Mullin?

On yesterday's "Saturday Morning Live", Warren Shaw mentioned that Dr. Spencer Mullin called him on Friday to tell him he would not be taking his $2,600 raise in FY2010. But, Mullin told the Lowell Sun that he was taking the raise (I am shocked he actually spoke to the paper, he usually refuses to call anyone back).

My guess is that after Mullin spoke to the Sun last week, he began to think about the political ramifications of him taking a raise during the worst economic crisis in decades. Certainly $2,600 would not make a huge difference in the budget but the symbolism of it was huge. Before he decided against taking the raise, Mullin complained to the Sun that he made much less than his counterparts in the Merrimack Valley. Dr. Mullin, I will be happy to take the job. $130K a year plus a huge pension, souped-up health insurance, etc. is fine by me.

Shaw thinks that Mullin is getting nervous about his poor communication and his PR blunders and is trying to make good. I hope he changes. I do think he has a vision and for the sake of the kids I want him to succeed. But, being a leader means more than having a vision - you need to communicate with the press, parents, etc. and not have a bunker mentality. Perhaps he is beginning to learn and things will improve.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thus spake Ashe

Shawn Ashe has an amazing analysis of the Louisburg Square fiasco over at Dracut Forum. In addition, he put some audio clips from last week's "Saturday Morning Live."

Shawn and Warren Shaw think that there is a movement afoot from a certain segment of the town's political circle to discredit the Board of Selectmen in order to pick some of them off and put in their own people.

I have some thoughts on board appointments and transparency that I will offer soon.

Anyway, be sure to head to Dracut Forum, great stuff.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SML

I will be joining Warren Shaw this Saturday from 6:30am-7:30am on "Saturday Morning Live" on WCAP. If you're up and about, tune in.

Bed bugs are biting

The political infighting over the new senior housing on Mammoth Road isn't the only problem the Dracut Housing Authority is having this week - it is now contending with bed bugs at the residences at 901 Mammoth Road.

Yikes. The Sun has the scoop here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

DHA Politics

The big story this past week was Louisburg Square and whether or not the town is paying too much for the apartments ($5 million). DHA Chair Ken Martin fired off a letter to the Sun saying as much:

It quickly became apparent that costs would exceed the original estimate, because a number of safety issues surfaced: 1. uncompleted sprinkler system; 2. front entrance is not code compliant for a residential building; and 3. new roof. DHCD committed $2.9 million ($2.6 million to $2.7 million for construction) with the understanding that DHCD would not provide any additional capital funding for 20 years. At a recent board meeting, the architects presented a new estimate of repairs: $2.3 million -- up from the original $700,000 to $900,000. This estimate does not even include new kitchens or bathrooms, appliances, carpeting, and floor tile (except for three handicapped units). Additional concerns were raised regarding the retaining walls, which could require substantial funding.

Martin said he will support the project "if it is feasible." To respond, Selectman Bob Cox appeared on "Saturday Morning Live" with Warren Shaw yesterday. Unfortunately I missed most of it because I was getting a haircut. I had gotten to the barber shop before it opened so I could get in and out but 5 guys had the same idea! But, I did catch the end when Martin called in and Cox told him that DHA has done nothing for elderly housing in 20 years (or something to that effect).

Finally, the Column had a take on this in today's paper:

ANGRY TO confused is how Dracut Selectman Bob Cox described his emotions this week.

Cox said he's baffled as to why Dracut Housing Authority member Ken Cuhna would oppose the senior housing project at 1476 Mammoth Road.

"I don't know where that's coming from," Cox said. "This is a great project, and is being touted across the state as a creative solution to create elderly housing."

Cuhna, a former selectman, said he thinks the project is too expensive and is worried about capital maintenance costs in the future.

"I think that the project is costing a lot of money," Cuhna said. "It's $2.7 million to buy it (the existing senior apartment building) and $2.7 million for repairs."

The town will buy the building for $2.7 million using funds from Dracut's Community
Preservation Act account, while the state Department of Housing and Community Development previously awarded $2.9 million to the Housing Authority to pay for renovations to the building.

The DHA will eventually buy the 38-unit building from the town, after paying the town $70,000 for 20 years.

DHA Chairman Ken Martin said he's not against the project, but has been concerned with capital funds since day one.

"I am not against the project, but I'm not going to vote to approve it, unless I know the building is in tip-top shape," Martin said.

Hmm, during the campaign, didn't Cunha complain that the DHA wasn't doing enough to provide for more housing.

Hopefully Shawn will have a rundown sometime this week. This should be interesting to watch.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Walgreens overview

I had hoped to attend Wednesday's Planning Board meeting that discussed the Walgreens proposal but my wife was visiting her parents so I was home with the boy. But, yesterday's Sun had a good rundown of the meeting and it sounds like the Planning Board wants to wrap this baby up soon. They will have one more meeting about this in August and then have their vote.

I can't seem to find the article on the Sun's website so I can link to it but you get the gist!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Walgreens meeting tomorrow

The Planning Board will meet tomorrow to continue its discussion on the proposed Walgreens on Lakeview Avenue. The meeting will be at 7pm over at Harmony Hall.

The Sun has details here.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

History of Veterans Park

In his weekly column in The Valley Dispatch, Warren Shaw gives a history lesson on the development of Veterans Park. It's pretty interesting stuff, see it all below:

Some might question the Board of Selectmen holding public hearings concerning lighting of certain areas of Veterans Park, but I'm not one of them.

One of the issues that dominated last year's selectmen's race between Joe Dirocco and Brian Bond was in fact the question of erecting lights at Veterans Park to allow the town's Pop Warner football program to play after dark. Bond questioned if and when any commitments had been made to the surrounding neighbors concerning lights at the park, and went as far as to say that times had changed.

It takes guts to take strong stands on controversial issues, but with so many opinions on the matter, isn't it time the town had a policy that residents can depend on?

There can be no doubt that in the early stages, when selectmen were working to get funding for the park project, many abutting residents made known their concerns about lighting.

Not a big deal, you say?

Keep in mind, this was done before the town had community-preservation funds to work with. This was a time when getting funding for a recreation project was a real battle.

So let's say the board had ignored the neighborhood residents and gone forward to Town Meeting without their support, or maybe with an angry neighborhood in opposition.

If you've been to town meetings over the years, you know how difficult a two-thirds majority is to get, and it isn't much of a leap to assume with opposition from the neighborhood, this project would have failed.

So next time you're at the park taking in a game, using the walking trail or getting cooled off , think about how close we came to not getting it. And we did almost lose it.

After receiving initial Town Meeting approval for the funds, one of the town's political groups got enough signatures to place a Proposition 2 1/2 override question on the ballot.

And as you might expect, the anti- tax-increase vote came out and voted down the override and took the appropriation for the park down with it.

The following year, selectmen went back to Town Meeting and received another appropriation, with little opposition. No neighborhood opposition ever surfaced because residents had been assured that their town government was behind them.

Just a little history of how a hay field became Veterans Park.

And as with everything in history, we should learn from it.


Not going to last

I woke up early today and caught the Dracut segment on "Saturday Morning Live" on WCAP. Warren and Shawn were talking about Dr. Spencer Mullin's communication problem and they both are thinking that this may be it for Mullin. Warren said that the selection of Mullin was rushed because they were in such a rush to get rid of Elaine Espindle. In the process, Warren said, they got an "amateur" in Mullin.

It's too bad because Mullin does seem to have a vision but he has burned every bridge in town.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Louisburg Square too much?

Newly elected Dracut Housing Authority member Ken Cunha feels that the total price tag for Louisburg Square is too much. He tells the Sun today that the town could build a new place for the amount it is paying to purchase and rehab the building:

"I think Dracut needs more senior housing, and I'm going to work to develop more senior housing in town, but I'm not sure 1476 (Mammoth Road) is the answer."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wall of silence

Shawn's on a role lately with news! Today he picked up on the Lowell Sun piece that confirmed his weekend report that the schools are down an additional $400,000. The piece is pretty boiler plate but Shawn highlights this now very common line: "Superintendent of Schools Spencer Mullin did not return calls for comment."

The Sun, according to the article, had to file a Freedom of Information request just to get some information on the school budget and layoffs! Welcome to Dracut, Bridget. I had to do the same thing when I wanted to get copies of contracts. Dr. Mullin is a horrible communicator and will not respond to anyone, including parents. From what I heard, when I e-mailed him and Business Manager Tom Rose for budget information they didn't reply because "they didn't know who I was." Um, it doesn't matter "who I am", I am a Dracut taxpayer and that should be enough.

Shawn thinks that Mullin will get no support from the public when his contract is up next year. Furthermore, he thinks Mullin may want out too.

Somewhere Elaine Espindle is smiling.