From My Corner: March 22, 2021

Reassessing my thoughts

            Let this be a learning tool for our young people.

            Most often, I use my Facebook account to learn about people that I am writing about and I usually post only fun stuff (mainly about cats). Now, I have to watch carefully what I have done in my long, long years of existence because something I may have said 50 years ago could get me ostracized from society.

            As time goes by, people learn and change their minds about behaviors, apologizing for their mistakes but that’s not enough. There’s something called “cancel culture” that is dangerously hurting the country. Yes, I dare say it!

            The most valuable asset we have in this country is the United States Constitution.  I was under the impression that it was sacred and I now see it trampled on. It’s not a matter of opinion, but law.

            Take the First Amendment that guarantees Freedom of Speech and today people are afraid to express their views. Perhaps someday soon I may fall victim to that censorship and intimidation.

            In the news these days is the firing of Alexi McCammond editor of Teen Vogue Magazine before she even started the job. In 2011, when she was only 17 years old, she wrote something on social media which was later deleted and she apologized. There was also a picture at a Halloween party where she dressed up as a Native American.  Someone brought it out and she’s done.

            Some advertisers threatened with canceling their media campaign with the magazine and the cowards gave in ruining the career of a young woman.

            The curious part is that she worked for AXIOS and MSNBC and in 2019, she was named the emerging journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists. Yes, she is Black.

            In the late ‘90s, Ellen Bahan had a column in Rumbo reporting from the City of Methuen. Everything she ever wrote was the truth and she would bring me proof of some of her more outrageous arguments. Then, a big advertiser of Rumbo asked me to cancel her. When I refused, in a very soft voice that I interpreted as a threat she said that she would cancel her ad if I didn’t do it. We were just starting with the newspaper and needed the money but no advertiser was going to censure my publication.

            It’s not just the cancellation of Dr. Seuss’s books but lack of tolerance when people disagree with comments on radio or television. A couple of weeks ago, José Alfonso García said some things on the radio and a listener wrote that he was going to report him to his employer. Whether we like it or not, the First Amendment protects his right to say it.  The First Amendment exists to protect speech we don’t like.

            We should be more offended by the borderline pornography we watch on television. Our children are being fed sex, violence, vulgarity, and racism by the media. Kids don’t know about discrimination but it’s being pointed out to them.


City Council Circus

            The council meetings are awful to watch but being one resident who cares, it is a must, particularly when they were interviewing the three candidates for the City Clerk position and make a final decision. The first thing that hit me was the lack of responsibility from some city councilors. Estela Reyes and Pavel Payano were absent. Estela missed several meetings when she was hit by COVID-19, even though they are held virtually from their homes. Perhaps she was afraid that someone would ask her about paying for the building permit at 173-175 Haverhill St.

            In Pavel’s case, he’s doing this much too often. I’m going to take the time to go through last year’s meetings and count his absences. We need to tell voters how accountable they are to their duties before the next elections.

            I understand that Pavel’s excuse is that he started a new job and it interferes with his duties. He should resign and let Richard Russell take his place for the rest of the term since he finished in fourth place. He’ll have perfect attendance!

            I don’t know any of the applicants, not even the Acting City Clerk, and have no idea if she is doing a good job. After listening to what they have been put through for weeks, there were so many senseless questions and their responses were even worse.  They don’t have a clear idea of the responsibilities they will be undertaking.

            This job is about record-keeping and organizing the council activities. This person is the watchdog of city records and documents. It’s not about motivating the public, collecting monies, having good customer service skills, etc.

            Councilor Maria De La Cruz has to be more careful showing her preference at these meetings and be impartial – but I know she can’t do that. That’s her way to influence others’ opinions. From the beginning, she has been pushing for the Acting City Clerk as her favorite. After a tortuous meeting, the Council decided to eliminate the Acting City Clerk from the contest.

            Maria even had the nerve to ask them if they would accept the minimum salary if hired. Doesn’t she know that those are discussions during the negotiations after being hired?   That is not to be discussed in public.

            They tried taking a vote a couple of times but could only get four votes and they needed five due to the absenteeism. Their actions not only affect the Council, the city employees who have to participate, as well as the people before them. It is very disrespectful to all involved. If they don’t take their job seriously, why do they run for office?

            And speaking of voting, let’s see if President Laplante will stop Celina Reyes from voting for Erika Hernandez. He didn’t do it this time. Celina recommended Erika to run for the job but they both work at Lawrence CommunityWorks which is a conflict of interests.

            Now, to add insult to injury, the two applicants must be back at the April 6 meeting only that this time there’s a twist: They want to interview two additional applicants. It’s like telling them, “Sorry, you are not good enough; we’ll keep looking for someone better.” How disrespectful!



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