Tom Duggan’s Notebook – August 2014
SALISBURY FREE CASH? – Why would Town Manager Neil Harrington and Sewer Commissioner/Selectmen transfer $460,000 from the Sewer Enterprise Fund (SEF) – and name it “free cash” when it absolutely is not free cash? On May 19th voters spoke up at Town Meeting saying Salisbury had special “Step 3” Federal Grant conditions in order to receive the $18M grants for the $18M sewer system. Salisbury agreed to the conditions to charge sewer users based on their users actual water consumption (the town is not doing this) and when there is excess in the SEF, it is to be used to reduce the next year’s rate.
The money in SEF is only for operation, maintenance and equipment replacement to maintain the existing sewer system. Neil Harrington said it was for “proposed planning”. Our research shows that it isn’t. The voters made their decision based on Neil Harrington’s information and took your sewer user money. Previously, the town raised sewer user rates and claimed there was a $28,000 deficit in the SEF when in fact, according to Department of Revenue, Salisbury had over $24M. Why is there an adjustment removing $22M from the SEF and where did the millions go? Salisbury residents need to demand accountability from their town officials.
State Senator Steven Baddour
TRIB ATTACK ON BADDOUR
Last month, the Eagle Tribune made a big deal out of former State Senator Steve Baddour making recommendations to the state Department of Probation while he was in office. The story came about as the result of the corruption probe of the state’s Dept. of Probation. I took a look at the documents in the O’Brien corruption case, and thought I would share a list of other elected officials who also made recommendations to the Department of Probation during the time of the corruption. Their names, oddly enough, never made the daily paper’s story. Sen. Frederick Berry, Barry Finegold, Rep. Brad Hill, Senator Tolman, Rep. Dempsey, Rep Nangle, Rep. Linsky, Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins, Rep. Golden, Marty Meehan, Rep. Colleen Garry, Rep. William Lantigua, Haverhill Mayor Jim Fiorenitni, Rep. Jim Lyons, Senate President Therese Murray, Rep. Jim Micili, Rep. Costello, Sen. Sue Tucker, and Rep. David Torrisi just to name a few. The point is not to shame these politicians, as there is no evidence that any of them did anything wrong. The point is, that after pouring over 195 pages of public officials who made recommendations for hiring at the state Dept. of Probation, I find it very interesting that the Trib took great pains to highlight only ONE former official, and I think you should too. Baddour was never accused and never charged in connection with any corruption probe.
State Rep. Diana Dizoglio (D) Methuen
THE DEMOCRAT WAR ON WOMEN
The Democrat Party and democrat candidates in Massachusetts like to brag that they are the party of women, the party of minorities, the party of diversity. But just take a look at what the Democrat Party is doing in his year’s state races. First you have a race for Attorney General where the democrats had one chance at their convention to nominate a woman (Maura Healey). Instead, they nominated the rich white man, Warren Tolman. They had one chance to nominate a female nominee for governor in Martha Coakley. Instead, they nominated the rich, white man, Steve Grossman. In the 14th Essex District there is a young, first term female, State Rep. Diana DiZoglio. Dizoglio is being challenged by two men for the Democrat nomination (Phil Decologero and Oscar Camargo). The 6th Congressional District race is hysterical when you think about Congressman John Tierney, a man who said two years ago that the person who holds this seat in Congress should be the person who can best represent women. Except this year, Marisa DeFranco is running for his job and suddenly, his philosophy that women need better representation in Congress is out the window. In fact, the Democrat party recruited two other male candidates in that race to split the anti-Tierney vote on Election Day to stop Marisa Defranco, (John Devine and Seth Moulten). In the race to replace Senator Barry Finegold (who is running for State Treasurer), it will be interesting to see if the pro-diversity, pro-minority Democrats walk the walk. In this race you have not only a woman seeking the Democrat nomination, but you have a woman who is also a Latina (Doris Ortiz). You also have a male Latino (Pavel Payano) vying for that seat against white woman Barbara L’Italian. Let’s see if Democrats in Andover, Lawrence, Dracut and Tewksbury really care about diversity and minorities when it comes to representing them in the Senate. My money says they vote for the white person in this race (Barbara L’Italian), the rich white man (John Tierney) in the Congressional race, and in the Attorney General’s race, the rich white man (Warren Tolman) over the minority candidates. And when that happens, you should all ask yourself: does the Democrat party really stand for diversity and minorities? Or is that just rhetoric they use to vilify the other party.
HAVERHILL MAYOR WELCOMES TEN NEW POLICE OFFICERS
Last month, Mayor James J. Fiorentini congratulated the city’s ten new police officers. The mayor was joined by Representative Brian Dempsey, who provided the additional state funding of $2.4 million to help the city cover some of the old Hale Hospital debt. The mayor has directed some of the revenue to hire new police officers in order to maintain a healthy level of police presence in the city. Last year, the city’s budget added five new police officers, bringing the total to the highest number of police officers over the past five years. It takes time to recruit, train and swear in new police officers. With the swearing in of 10 additional police officers, this brings the total number of officers to 89, the highest number the city has had in years. There are three more positions available, which will bring the total police officer staffing number to 92. The recent swearing in ceremony was the largest since Mayor Fiorentini took office.
The Police Officers are: Chery Victoria, Bethany Boyle, Christopher Ryan, Christopher Matatall,
Patrick Menzie, Zachary Phair, Kyle McCann, Shawn O’Brien, Jared Brady and Sean Harrison.
ANDOVER – ALZHEIMER’S WALK
The 2014 Northeastern Massachusetts Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is set for Sunday, September 21 at Brickstone Square in Andover. Organizers expect a record turnout and have already opened online registration for the event. “The Northeastern Massachusetts Walk will also increase public awareness about this difficult disease. The Walk committee is already working hard to make it a powerful experience for everyone who participates.”
The event will begin at 8:30am. Included is an opening ceremony and special tribute to those who have experienced Alzheimer’s. Other highlights for the Walk include free refreshments, children’s activities, the opportunity to connect with local service providers, and the opportunity to learn more about the services the Alzheimer’s Association provides.
For information or to sign-up to participate in the Northeastern Massachusetts Walk to End Alzheimer’s, call 800-272-3900 or visit www.alzwalkMANH.org.
WASABI JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE AND SUSHI LAUNCHES COMMUNITY NIGHTS TO GIVE BACK
Being a part of a community means more than just bring present. It means understanding the needs of others and making an effort to help in any way available. The most effective way to do so is to team up with others for a greater cause. This is exactly what Wasabi Japanese Steak House in Salem, NH is doing with the launch of Community Nights at the restaurant.
Monday nights are Community Night at Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse. This means that different eligible non-profit organizations will be the host on a Monday night of their choosing, and each patron that hands in a Community Night Flyer will be donating 15% of their bill to that non-profit. This allows Wasabi to promote non-profit organizations which work so hard to help the community and Wasabi Steak House is happy to support the efforts of the organizations.
Wasabi Japanese Steak House is located at 236 N. Broadway, Salem, NH. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know a non-profit organization you would like to see involved, please pass along this information and help support the cause. For more information, call Wasabi Steak House at 603-890-1688 or visit their website at www.nhwasabisteakhouse.com
About Drinkwater Productions: Drinkwater Productions LLC, based in Exeter, NH, is a full-service event planning and promotions company, working to help its clients realize profits through unique marketing opportunities. To learn more about Drinkwater Productions, please visit www.drinkwaterproductionsevents.com.
MASS FISCAL ALLIANCE ON DISCLOSURE ACT
Last month, the conference committee charged with reconciling the House and Senate versions of a bill altering several aspects of Massachusetts campaign finance law released its report, and the resulting legislation leaves much to be desired. Today, the House voted 140-10 for its passage. While the debate has focused on the worthy goal of increasing the disclosure of donors to Super PACs, we have serious concerns regarding the impact that this bill will have on non-Super PAC entities — especially non-profits — who will now be required to meet the same donor disclosure requirements. Specifically, section 25 calls for the public disclosure of the top 5 donors to any non-profit that engages in “electioneering communications.” Currently, OCPF already requires non-profits that affirmatively solicit donations for electioneering communications to disclose the names of donors who contributed in response to that solicitation. This bill goes much further, however, and requires non-profits that engage in electioneering communications to disclose their top 5 donors during the previous 12 months — even if those top donors were never solicited for donations to support those electioneering communications.
“Parts of this bill are possibly unconstitutional. On the whole, it’s very troubling to see lawmakers make such transparent attempts to protect their own re-election bids, with the elections only a few months away by discouraging participation on important policy debates.” stated Paul Craney, the group’s executive director. The Disclosure Act also failed to address the union loophole that allows unions, including out of state unions, to donate more than the individual limit to candidates.”Electioneering
communications are not the same as independent expenditures. Independent expenditures call for the defeat or election of a candidate. In sharp contrast, electioneering communications — any communication that merely mentions a candidate and is distributed within 90 days of an election — are educational in nature. They are limited to discussing policy issues, and are prohibited from calling for defeat or election of the named candidate. We support further disclosure of independent expenditures and Super PAC donations. But electioneering communications — particularly those made by non-profit policy advocacy groups — serve an entirely separate educational purpose.
“More than fifty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in NAACP v. Alabama to protect the identity of members of non-profits if the non-profits engage in policy debates, they did so during the civil rights era and today, the Massachusetts legislature voted to advance a law that violates these important rights and freedoms,” concluded Craney.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 the City of Lowell Election Commission voted to relocate eleven of the city’s twenty polling locations. These changes will ensure that polling locations are handicap accessible and compliant with state regulations. The City of Lowell Election Commission collaborated with the City of Lowell Disability Commission, neighborhood leaders and community organizations to provide the best possible polling locations for the voters of Lowell. The Election Commission will continue to make improvements to polling locations to guarantee student safety, equal accessibility, and increased voter participation.
All voters impacted by these changes will be notified by mail prior to Election Day. Below is a link to an online updated list of all polling locations throughout the City of Lowell. Sign up for future alerts, notices, and broadcasts from the Election and Census Office via the following web page: www.lowellma.gov/citymanager/neighborhood/Pages/General/City-Notifications.aspx.
BECOME A LICENSED TEACHER IN MA
(Learn How to Add an Additional License), Marlborough. The Collaborative for Educational Services (formerly the Hampshire Educational Collaborative) offers free information sessions from 4:30 to 5:30pm on the first Wednesday of each month. “Welcome Wednesdays” drop-in sessions are designed to answer questions about educator licensure and assist prospective educators in mapping a path to attaining career goals. The next session will be held August 6th at the Embassy Suites, located at 123 Boston Post Road West, Marlborough, MA 01752.
The Collaborative is also excited to announce that the CES Licensure Programs is now partnering with the UMassFive College Federal Credit Union to provide loans to students enrolled in the Licensure Programs. Financing is also available for those pursuing advanced graduate credit through CES’s higher education partner, Fitchburg State University.
The Collaborative offers Educator Licensure courses year round using a hybrid online format with three face-to-face sessions held in Marlborough, MA. Master’s Degree and CAGS options are available. For more information, visit www.TeachInMass.org or call 413-586-4900.
The Collaborative for Educational Services is a non-profit educational service agency that has been serving schools, school districts, educators, communities, and students with diverse learning needs since 1974. The agency, which serves member districts in Hampshire and Franklin Counties, recently changed its name to better reflect the scope of its work.
LAWRENCE EXCHANGE CLUB EVENTS
The 7th Annual Glow Golf Tournament
Friday, September 26, 2014, 7pm.
Murphy’s Garrison Golf Center, $30.
654 Hilldale Avenue, Haverhill, Massachusetts. For more information and to sign up Contact Christine Santacroce (978)-580-7806 or Christine.email@example.com
END 68 HOURS of HUNGER in the Dracut elementary schools in Sept 2014\
*This program is a 100% non-profit program that confronts the approximate 68 hours of hunger some children experience from the time they receive their free lunch at school on Friday afternoon, until the time they return to school on Monday.
*The program was started by Claire Bloom, a retired US Naval officer, in 2011. She began it in Dover, NH, in one school, feeding 19 children. Since then it has grown tremendously, and at the end of 2013, the program was in 14 different towns (10 in NH, 3 in Maine & 1 in California) and feeding over 700 children!
*The over 350 volunteers who run the 14 “chapters” have collected more than $160,000.00 in monetary donations as well as tons of food donations, last year alone ! Every person involved with End 68 Hours of Hunger is a VOLUNTEER, no one get’s paid. All donations, both monetary and food, go directly to feed the children in need.
* At no time do any of the volunteers know the identity of any of the children. The schools identify the children that need this program and communicate the # of children to the program coordinator(s). Volunteers purchase the food, they pack and deliver the back packs to the schools on Fridays, and retrieve the empty back packs from the schools on Mondays.
LAWRENCE ARTIST ISSUES NEW RELEASE
Local dance music celebrity, Bylli Crayone of Lawrence, MA, has a new album due out on August 12th entitled ‘The Best Of’. The album contains 14 of his best songs from fan favorites like ‘Girl Hang It Up’ (1991) to his more recent ‘Mystery Boy’ (2013). The album features songs that span his 23 years in music. All genres of dance music: from Pop & Freestyle to Merengue and Trance. The album also includes collaborations with such artists as 80’s pop princess Tiffany of ‘I Think Were Alone Now’ fame, to local Bachata artist Domenic Marte. This album is the soundtrack to my life,” says Crayone. Every single song on this album is personal to me. All written from the heart, with heavy meaning to them. Some call me crazy because of my ‘colorful’ look, but hey, it’s my marketing tool. It’s what defines me. Hence Crayone.
Not only does he have a new album coming out, but he will once again be assisting the less fortunate this year with his 8th Annual Back 2 School Give-Away. The Give-Away is of book bags loaded with school supplies for kids grades 1-8. The book bags include all the essentials from notebooks and binders to pens, pencils and erasers. Some will be given away over the radio via ‘call ins’, some will be given away through his official website at www.BylliCrayone.com, and some will be given away at a meet & greet at Dunkin Donuts on Jackson St., Methuen on Friday, August 8th at 6pm. It’s first come, first serve. Limited supply available.
SENATOR IVES OPENS OFFICES, METHUEN, SALISBURY, HAVERHILL
Supporters packed into State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives’ re-election campaign headquarters in Downtown Methuen on 17 Hampshire Street, for an energetic office opening on Monday, July 21st. The Salisbury office opened on Wednesday, July 23rd, and a space in Haverhill is opening later this month State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives represents the First Essex District of Massachusetts, which includes Amesbury, Newburyport, Haverhill, Merrimac, Methuen, North Andover and Salisbury. She was elected to the seat after former Senator Steve Baddour stepped down in 2012.
The Democratic Primary is on Tuesday, September 9th, followed by a general election on Tuesday, November 4th.
HOME HEALTH VNA
Home Health VNA received the 2014 Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) Business Award in the category of Healthcare. This award recognizes Home Health VNA as a leader in the local healthcare community and celebrates its accomplishments and successes. More than 200 MVCC members attended the annual award ceremony which honored other local businesses in a variety of different categories. “It is a great honor to be recognized by the Chamber for the critically important home healthcare we provide throughout the Merrimack Valley and beyond,” said Gomes. “Home Health VNA is one of the most respected home healthcare agencies in the region and we are committed to quality services and optimal patient care.” Visit HomeHealthVNA.org or call 800-933-5593.