From My Corner: June 22, 2022

Time to fight or give up?

No, I am not instigating violence but sometimes I get flares of deception that lead me to believe that I am all alone in this community fighting for what’s right.

I have been complaining through this column for such a long time about the schools’ conditions, the violence, the lack of safety, and even the mistreatment of cafeteria workers when they got enough nerve to appear before the Lawrence Education Alliance officers, there was a small group of about 20.  The Board listened politely to their explanation but it was very obvious the workers didn’t get any respect from them.

Not once have I received a call from a parent, teacher, or school administrator.

I have been requesting under the Freedom of Information Act documents about the teaching of gender studies and CRT and they refuse to give them to me. I mentioned similar situations in other cities, only to conclude that Lawrence has what it deserves: a community that doesn’t care tends to be abused by the system.

You can tell the mediocrity of our residents by the demands made to the mayor on his radio show on Saturdays.  Fixing potholes and paving side streets are the most common complaints.  Other callers insist on the plight of the schools cafeteria workers or getting the schools back from state control.

It appears as if they don’t listen when he talks about his lack of control over the schools.  I asked the mayor a few days ago how he feels about people not listening when he explains his predicament.  I know how he feels because for 17 years I fought the issue of Lawrence Community Access Television (LCAT) until giving up.  I got to thinking, “If no one cares, why should I?”

I don’t want to give up just yet on the teaching of gender studies and racial relations in the schools because it’s affecting an entire generation and someone should defend their education but parents and the entire community must get involved and demand to know what’s happening.

Then, I came across a Facebook exchange that I didn’t know was taking place.  I was able to recognize the names of current and former members of the School Committee, mostly messages by Dr, Marianela Rivera.  The writers were angry about many things although the main issue was the firing of some 20 teachers being fired from the school system.

Now you are concerned about good teachers being fired? Is their job protection more important than what kids are learning?  They were so indignant that even wrote a letter to Governor Charlie Baker and Commissioner Riley that I had not seen before.  I published it on page 16.

If this group participating in this conversation is so concerned, how come they don’t unite forces with the teacher aides, cafeteria workers, the mayor’s office, and me?

Yes, I can be a voice for them, and together we might be able to demand what’s needed.  The City Council already gave Superintendent Cynthia Paris a vote of No Confidence.

Someday people will understand what we have lost with LCAT and my reasons for giving up in that struggle.  Please, let’s fight for our school system.

I’m tired of yelling at the wind…


Can’t wait till next week

I’m planning to write an assessment of the Hispanic Week celebration for the next edition but there’s something that cannot wait and it is my assessment of Mayor Brian De Peña’s administration because something was very clear this weekend.

I’ve had conversations with him about the need to enforce ordinances such as traffic violations, parking fines, trash collection and recycling measures, loud noise, etc.  His response is always the same: He doesn’t want to burden the community.  I insist that the only way to teach violators in hitting them in the pocket.

The city is a mess, there is nowhere to park downtown because he refuses to tag them for overtime and we are like it was before the parking meters were installed.

The most recent bitching session came this weekend when the noise from the Campagnone was cracking stone fireplaces in South Lawrence.  Also, people were smoking hookas outdoors (and who knows what else.)

There has been a crackdown on the use of hookahs in public places with heavy fines imposed on individuals and establishments and now they are allowed to do it in public.

I say “allowed” because it was in the presence of police officers.  Were they told not to issue fines?

Mr. Mayor, you cannot be everybody’s friend.  This city is a free-for-all and when you try to bring order the critics will be out.  The Police Department needs to start tagging people for traffic infractions, double parking and violating the parking meters.

Inspectional Service must enforce their rules as well.  Furthermore, we should have inspectors working from Friday night through the weekend.  The amount of shoddy construction taking place on those days is plentiful to generate a hefty income for the city in fines for violations.  The Fire Department is aware of the danger this represent.  It will also be a good way to control the development of illegal rooming houses.

You are doing a satisfactory job, according to the general public, but unless you get tough on these matters you will have a big mess in your hands.

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