From My Corner: May 22, 2024

Lawrence Redevelopment Authority (LRA) meeting

Although I could not be present at the Wednesday, May 22 meeting because it was Rumbo’s deadline, I watched it on Zoom.  There are some things needing confirmation such as two invoices from Town Livery, Inc. as follows:

Town Livery, Inc. – $594 for airport transfers on May 14 and pick up on May 17

Town Livery, Inc. – $796 for two (2) 3-hour city tours on May 8

They were addressed to Andrea McCann with no explanation of the reason for the expenditure.

Speaking of Andrea, Pat Ruiz, the new Director of Inspectional Services posted a picture with members of his staff, and she was among them.  If she works under the LRA (I still don’t know what she does there), Why was she in that picture?

For many months they have been talking about posting a Request for Proposals (RPF) and for a position that they planned to hire Jacqueline Mercedes (yes, Lawrence does it backward), the wife of José Javier, Manager of Capital Improvement Plan earning $125,000 yearly.

She finally appeared at this meeting, and it was announced that will now work at an hourly rate of $225.00 per hour.  Do you know anyone who earns that much per hour?  It’s not clear what her duties will be besides taking responsibility for the budget which is now handled by Laiza St. Onge (Ouch!)

You may remember that I wrote a few weeks ago about a contract that Octavien Spanner had since last summer from a company that was charging $72,000 to design a website for them.  Guess what?  At that meeting, Kelmy Rosado from Left Eye Creations did a presentation, and his estimate was under $10,000. Everyone in business knows how talented he is and the exceptional work he does, besides, he’s bilingual.

You’re welcome.

What concerns me most?

Nothing scares me, but there are lots of things that worry me.  You might remember that in the past few weeks, I complained about social changes in behavior and decorum.  I’ve mentioned several times that some members of our city council are behaving like kindergartens without discipline, talking over each other, interrupting, and not respecting the Roberts’ Rules of Order allowing for someone to have the floor.

The worst example is Wendy Luzón.  Notice that she breaks in with a comment over another speaker and she believes it’s OK if she says, “Through you Mr. President…”  For that, I blame the council president Jeovanny Rodriguez for not training her properly.  At least last night, he stopped her twice.  That’s progress!

It’s noticeable that some of them go to meetings without doing any homework and it is obvious by the ridiculous comments they make.

It is not only happening in our circles but in Washington, D.C.  Last week, during a committee meeting, there was a nasty exchange between three representatives, that probably thought they were in a bar in a low-class side of town, insulting each other.

They were insulting each other over bleach-blonde, bad-built, butch body referring to Marjorie Taylor-Greene (D-GA).

At one point, Greene said to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes (D-NY) “I don’t think you know what you’re here for. I think your fake eyelashes are messing with your reading.”  The result was that AOC said something like “Hey, baby girl…” with the mannerisms of today’s cheap element of society.  Truly disgusting to watch.

These are the manners and behaviors of this generation, and they are all over the country.

Oh, Wendy, we must try hard to get you out of the council.  You are so much like AOC!

Come to think about it, now I’m scared of what people like them may turn this country into.

Things are more serious than people think with the City Council.  Beginning with Vice President Stephany Infante; at each meeting, you would think that she’s running the show.  She and President Jeovanny Rodriguez seem to have a game exchanging the gavel whenever he wants to opine on an issue, and she behaves like a co-president.

What really bothered me was when she was given a letter from Attorney Tim Houten addressed to Jeovanny Rodriguez, asking the council to withdraw item 76-24 and send it back to the mayor’s office.  Attorney Houten explained “These grants were advertised as reimbursable.  You are now trying to remove that condition, which affects anyone who would have applied for the grant but could not pay the money upfront.  You are in effect changing the rules for a select group of people.  I can see that this might cause a problem with any review of the grant program.”

What’s curious about it is that this letter was sent to President Rodriguez only.  The rest of the councilors had not seen it and Ms. Infante went on a tirade that she was not going to honor that request for a withdrawal and so, the council approved the funds.

Please someone go over the duties, responsibilities, and behavior of the council members so they understand when they should open their mouths because they should keep them closed more often.  Those meetings should not be more than two hours long.

Where respect begins

Respect begins with the family – and the media.  Yes, the media is a valuable resource to educate children and their families to learn about their new community and respect the places and people of importance.

For example, the beautiful park across from City Hall was donated to Lawrence residents and the deed says that it should remain a park and nothing should ever be built there.  If that was not stipulated that way, can you imagine how many low-income apartments would have been built by now?

Its name is Campagnone Common, a historic park. The park is the main park for the city and is named for the three Campagnone brothers who gave their lives during World War II.

There were five brothers in the Campagnone family who went to war and three of them died.  Members of their family still live around here, and I happen to know Joyce Campagnone who lives in Methuen.  She has been a member of the school committee and a city councilor – the entire family has been community-oriented throughout their lives.

During a conversation with her a few years ago, she said that it was heartbreaking the lack of respect for those boys who die during the war calling it “the squirrels park”.  I know that started when uneducated people came to Lawrence and started referring to the Campagnone that way.

Well, I take my job seriously and like to think that my contribution to this community is leaving it a little smarter.  We are living in an era when manners are not taught at home and the schools leave a lot to be desired, so children learn from television, social media, and parents who have never been corrected in those areas while growing up.


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