From My Corner: November 1, 2023

Ambivalence of thoughts

There are a couple of things happening this week contradicting my opinions.  I tend to write from the heart and sometimes there’s a difference from week to week about those thoughts.

This week, my conflict is with Mayor Brian DePeña.  I like to praise him if he has done something of value for this community and chastise him when he screws up – but both within the same week?

I hope you read the article on page 5 about the “squatter” Isabel Meléndez who occupied the General Donovan School for over 20 years and he’s finally kicking her out.  Other administrations tried to do it and even the Commonwealth got involved years ago but she remained there.  I guess they didn’t have what Brian showed: determination.

I applauded his decision and wrote that article to clarify the situation for those people blinded by her tears and hope that city building can be put to better use.

Meanwhile, Isabel and her daughter Marisa can continue running their business from home like we do.  You may continue doing translations, legal documents, and weddings which are not part of your kindness because you charge for those services.

Let another organization handle the clothing and furnishing part of your generosity even if you will miss out on the “donations” that you request in exchange for that help.

Check out Project Home Again in Andover; they receive donations of furnishings and work closely with Heal Lawrence.  Oh, that’s right – you won’t get any credit for that!

My confusion stems from the announcement that they are going to change the name of Immigrant Place to Isabel Meléndez.  I posted my disgust on Facebook saying that this is an insult to all the immigrants that passed through and built this city.  Why suddenly select one person as if she has done something so meaningful to deserve it?

This offense is equivalent to what’s happening nationally; a group decides that a statue, building, road, etc. is not worthy of the name it carries even if at that time they were named after a hero, benefactor, or leader.  We forget about history in favor of pleasing the modern crowds.


Also, I question Isabel’s loyalty to Lawrence.  I received an invitation to attend that event and besides the misspelling of my name, it came from a P.O. Box 603 in Methuen.


Then, it’s INFOTEP

The new Director of Personnel Scott Szczebak has sent out a memo to all city employees regarding professional technical training through INFOTEP, the administrator of the program from the Dominican Republic.

This program is open to city employees who are citizens of the Dominican Republic or have dual citizenship and must reside in Massachusetts.

He made it clear that these trainings are “not mandatory and are not associated with or a condition of employment with the City of Lawrence.”

My question is if the city cannot provide a benefit to ALL employees, why a selected few?  Do the unions have an opinion on that?

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