Amber Alert: Have You Seen the Ordinance Committee?

By: Kathy Runge – April, 2018

The Lawrence Ordinance Committee, consisting of Councilors Reyes, Rodriguez, De La Cruz and Levy, only met twice during the first three months of this year. They met once in January and again on March 1. The one regularly scheduled meeting in February and two other March meetings were cancelled. At the January meeting all members were not present so they couldn’t elect officers.

All members were present at their meeting in March. Councilor Reyes was elected to be chair, but they couldn’t manage to choose a vice chair. Councilor Rodriguez nominated both other members of the committee for the position, but couldn’t get a second. Neither Levy nor De La Cruz nominated anyone, so If the committee ever meets again and all members are present I suppose they’ll try once more.

By my count, the committee has at least 50 new items on their next agenda and who knows how many already in progress. Most of these require an involved party to be present. These poor people will have to be at the council chambers at 7pm waiting until the wee hours to have their items discussed.
In the midst of all of this, Councilor at Large Levy has given the committee some very important things to discuss. She’s put items on the agenda to give the councilors identification cards and special parking permits. I suppose they’ll get some free food, drinks, and dry cleaning out of this. And it can’t hurt to have a councilor’s ID to casually flip by if you’re ever in a bind.

This is just something else to make them feel important. I have an idea, why not feel important by attending committee meetings and doing your job? I’m sure members of the Ordinance Committee had great excuses for cancelling three meetings, but I’m looking for politicians who come to the meetings even if they have a great excuse for being absent. In our city that’s like looking for stubble in a fallow field.

President Trump was in New Hampshire last month talking about the opioid crisis, intimating that our great city may not be all that great. Mayor Rivera couldn’t wait to put a video response up on YouTube. I guess the local TV stations weren’t quick enough for him.

Rivera didn’t say a word about drug dealers except to say the death penalty wouldn’t work. He chided people for being afraid of “Bogeymen” coming across the border. Is he forgetting that most opioids come across the border? He wants the illegal immigrants, so he’ll take the drugs. He’s hard at work protecting us.

What would work, you ask? Mayor Rivera says the only solution is serious tax dollars for long term treatment. Note how the politicians’ optimal solution always involves large quantities of our money that they get to distribute to the non-profits, thereby rewarding and cultivating donors. Money to distribute equals power.

What power would the local or state politician get out of stopping the flow of drugs into the country? The answer is none. They also wouldn’t get the free publicity. Think about it. The opioid crisis, or any crisis, is a good thing for most politicians. It increases their power and influence.

The Licensing Board meeting where changing last call procedures at city clubs was scheduled to be discussed was abruptly cancelled for no stated reason. Rumor has it that word came down from somewhere on high. We all know what that means. Some politician is now wrestling with the question: Should I do what’s best for club owners or our residents? It appears the club owners are winning.

On one of my trips to the Market Basket on route 114, I decided to buy a scratch ticket. As I was walking toward the machine, I noticed a couple hanging out there. They were talking about not having an ID to scan, the woman encouraging her friend to see if his green card would work.

I really wanted that scratch ticket, so against my better judgement I walked up to the machine and bought my tickets. After my purchase, the woman wondered to her friend if the “nice lady” would scan in her ID for them. Needless to say, their opinion of me changed. But I keep wondering, does a green card work?