Licenses for undocumented aliens
I hope you take the time to read the article I wrote on page 8 about our electoral system.
Lawrence Democratic Caucus
Last Saturday, February 19th, the Democratic Caucus was held at the Public Library. Even though I did not attend, I had some good laughs with the stories I heard.
A high point for Lawrence was that Councilor at-Large Ana Levy was asked by the Secretary of State to represent him here since he would not be able to make it. Ana has always had a good rapport with William Galvin receiving his cooperation anytime our city has a problem.
“Galvin has always been concerned about having open and fair elections sending support personnel from his office to guarantee accuracy. He was also instrumental in getting new voting machines and reached out to non-English speaking communities in Lawrence to protect their right,” Ana told the audience.
And she continued, “Most importantly, Secretary Galvin successfully helped Lawrence achieve a 16% increase in the population count in the recently completed U.S. Census. He provided grant monies to ensure a complete and accurate count which lead to more representation and financial aid for Lawrence.”
A good City Council
It was surprising getting the responses I received about the last two weeks’ columns; first on the First Amendment of the Constitution on February 8th. A writer said, “Unfortunately, it takes a Cuban refuge to explain this part of the Bill of Rights, and done very well.” The second was on the 15th was about the hypocrisy of politicians; some councilors were insulted while others praised me.
For example, Councilor Ana Levy was upset because I said that she voted for the Leahy School because there won’t be additional taxes, after voting NO last November “because I knew we would find the way”. Then, I heard her say that she voted in favor now because our children deserve the best education even if it means increasing taxes. The problem is that the audio on the video is so poor that you can’t make out what she said clearly.
Also worthy of mention is another “brilliant” comment from District A Councilor María De La Cruz. “I don’t think that you need to speak two languages to be a bilingual person” and she was talking about School Committee Member Patricia Mariano and naming the library at the yet-to-be-built Leahy School for her.
María even made a motion to make it official right then and there. Fortunately, Council President Marc Laplante (who really knows the rules) put a stop to that motion for not being the proper venue.
That is another problem in Lawrence; most elected officials and politicians in this area do not understand that the basic concept of governmental civics is that all United States political bodies are framed on the fact that the Legislative Branch is of greater importance and greater authority than any Executive in place. Nothing is more demonstrative than the continuous fight for authority occurring in the United States House of Representatives/US Senate and the President.
Our city councilors often hear that they “hold the purse strings” of government but don’t know how to put it into practice.
Do you remember when the Council held funding of an 8 million dollar capital project until the Mayor agreed to allow the Council to purchase new voting machines for $150,000.00? The Councilors at the time seemed “surprised” that they actually were the stronger branch of local government concerning finances. Dan Rivera would often tell them that the Executive was of greater authority. It took some time to educate the members of the falsehood they were being told by the Mayor.
They are well-intended members of the community with the desire to change what goes wrong, but are not familiar with the rules and have probably never studied the City Charter. So, they are bound to make mistakes when voting on issues based on their ignorance. A good example is what María tried to do above, although she’s been around for several years and should know better.
Another good example of this is the piece on this page from Richard Russell pointing to reckless decisions based on the lack of knowledge.
By Richard Russell
During last Tuesday night’s council meeting, a discussion developed regarding salaries for ‘newly’ created positions in the city. In the course of this discussion, one councilor mentioned increasing the councilors’ salaries.
Here is a portion of the City Charter regarding the salary of the councilors:
The city council shall, by ordinance, establish an annual salary for its members. No ordinance increasing such salary shall be effective, however, unless it shall have been adopted, by a two-thirds vote, during the first eighteen months of the term for which councilors are elected and the new salary schedule is not to be effective until the commencement of the term of office of the next city council to be elected.”
Therefore, any increase in salary would have to be done in the first 18 months of this council’s term of office and the increase would not take effect until the new council was in place.
It appears that creating a new salary schedule in the last 6 months of the council’s term would be prohibited.
This is from a layman’s reading of the City Charter.