From My Corner: November 15, 2022

Mayor De Peña celebrates 1st-year achievements

I could not imagine that I would begin my column being so negative!

Perhaps the political issues are getting to me.  I’m losing my sense of humor and my tolerance has reached its limits.  Maybe it’s me!

I attended the mayor’s anniversary of his first year in office (a very joyful event) where I enjoyed seeing so many people that I haven’t seen in three years.  But, why did they have it in a such small room?  Half of the attendees had to stay out.  That’s another reason for my bad mood.

The information Mayor Brian De Peña shared was very important.  I was intently paying attention because he has accomplished so much (and he kept repeating, “Without raising taxes.”)  You would have thought they were serving alcohol outside because people keep getting louder and wilder with their laughter.  I doubt anybody asked them to keep quiet.

There are times and occasions when that is appropriate and I can make more noise than most but, that says a lot about education, manners, upbringing, consideration, respect for others, etc.

Then, irritated as I was, I went to the City Council meeting where they were going to decide to name Ferrous Park, at the end of Island St.  Some of us had asked friends to make a show of support for the park to be named after Nunzio DiMarca and to my surprise, it was voted unanimously in favor.  It was 8-0 because Pavel Payano was absent.

I went and spoke in favor, just like I did last Monday night because I feel very strongly that Nunzio should be honored for serving this community.  I knew that there was another name submitted by Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW) and did my homework to compare her qualifications to Nunzio’s.

I found that Ellen Swallow Richards was an MIT Graduate who lived in Westford, worked in Lowell and came to work at the Experiment Station of DEP, now known as the Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station, which was the world’s first trial station for drinking water purification and sewage treatment.  She worked here for a few years in the 1880s.  She had no connection to this city and went home to Westford after work.  She did a great contribution to humanity by providing healthy drinking water but, was she meritorious of an honor that should be reserved for Lawrencians?

I was angry during my presentation before the council because I discovered that LCW had her name listed on its website as “Ferrous Park / Ellen Swallow Richards Park”.  That had never been presented to the City Council and that organization acted as if taking it for granted and the public’s opinion didn’t matter.

I reminded the councilors that they are there to represent all of us and there was no excuse to vote otherwise.


My First Amendment Passion

You heard me talk about the freedom of speech because it’s the most important right in our Constitution (that’s why they made it #1) and I pride myself on being tolerant.  There are times at which someone may have brought to my attention an article published in Rumbo for not sounding like me or my beliefs.

In a recent conversation, I refused to publish an article someone wrote and immediately caught myself and approved it.  How can I deny anyone his or her right to express any idea just because I disagree with the subject?

Even if my stomach turns, I must allow it or better get out of this business.

Then, I came across an article in the Boston Herald about the request of hundreds of people to cancel the printing of a book by Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett solely because she voted on the Roe v. Wade decision.  There’s a still lot of confusion on this matter because the Justices are there to decide what is covered by the Constitution and what doesn’t belong at that level.

The decision was to eliminate the protection granted by Roe v. Wade because the Constitution doesn’t guarantee anything in that vein.  They believed that this issue belongs to the individual states and they should decide how to proceed.  Some states have their laws on abortion (like Massachusetts) and those that don’t, instead of criticizing the Supreme Court, should be appealing to their local representatives to take up this measure, as indicated by the High Court.

But what jumped at me was a letter to the Hartford Courant which argued that “Communist degraders of free speech” must themselves be “suppressed.”  Regardless of what side you are, you will always find irrational comments because they have the same right to their opinion, even if you believe they are wrong for saying it.


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