From My Corner: May 22, 2023


Brian should be a social worker

Lawrence Mayor Brian DePeña has been in charge for a year and one half and I’ve been keeping track of his actions.  He has done great things for the city but no one can deny that he has been tremendously lucky.  Money has poured into the city that allows him to do upgrades and buildings without raising taxes, making everybody happy.

People elected him because he is a moral person with a heart of gold who loves helping others although being mayor is not just doing favors… (Can you hear a big BUT coming?)

A mayor must be firm, strong, decisive, and face problems head on and what I have seen is that Brian manages to get things done through someone else.  I have been talking to him about the cafeteria workers in the school system and the inhuman way in which they are treated.  Sometimes I believe that the Human Rights organization should come to Lawrence and see what’s happening there.

The fact that they are still under the control of the Commonwealth is a cop-out because if the outside world knew what these poor people go through they would take over.  It’s so bad that some employees are under doctor’s care for anxiety and other conditions.  The supervisors are creating files with disciplinary actions made up to eventually fire some of them.

Now, Juan Rodriguez, interim superintendent, will be on his radio show next Saturday and instead of saying that he will bring up the issues I discuss with him, he wants me to call and confront him on the air.  In all the complaints I have received, the superintendent’s name is not featured; only his underlings are running the show.

Mr. Mayor, that’s your job!  He can bamboozle his way with me but whatever he tells you will be official.

Brian, you are my personal friend and it breaks my heart to say this, BUT you have to toughen up.


Mistaken identity

Something curious happened a few days ago when I was sitting at a doctor’s office and a young man approached me to tell me a story of his childhood and I was part of it.

Quite often, young people stop me to introduce their children and they remember me from my days with the Lawrence Public Schools in the early 90s, so I paid attention to him.

He related a school activity at which time he was very small but clearly remembers that it was breakfast; he asked me for more pancakes and I brought him the platter.  He sounded so appreciative that I didn’t have the heart that he must’ve been confused because I never took place in such an event.

The young man grew up and there was a scuffle at which time he was arrested.  His memory of that event involving me was that I said to the police officer, “He is a dud.”

First, I have never been present during an arrest by the police.

Second, “dud” is a word that I have never used.

While trying to explain my side of the story, he kept saying that he was grateful because that day his mind was made up to get an education and have a good life.

“I went to UMass and graduated with a Bachelor’s and for that, I thank you,” he said as his name was being called.

That is a story with a happy ending for I am glad each time I see a college graduate; education is the key to success and I’m truly happy for him.  But I’m saddened that his only memory of me is a negative one, especially when he must be mistaken because that wasn’t me both times.

Some people love to make stories on social media and wonder if this has been a result of any comments going around.  I see them and choose to ignore them.


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