Tom Duggan’s Notebook ~ July, 2018

Every Wednesday night a volunteer group called “The Movement Family” serves a family style meal for the homeless at the Buckley Garage on Common Street in Lawrence. In the last five weeks The Valley Patriot has put out a call on Facebook looking for local business in the community to help with food donations resulting in several businesses and individuals stepping forward. We want to thank Rick Comeau owner of 5 Dragons Martial Arts Academy in Salisbury and Haverhill, for donating a full dinner to the 20+ homeless people at the bus stop. Rich paid out of pocket for dinner from Pizza Factory in North Andover who threw in some free meals to help out themselves. We also want to thank Bob St Louis for donating dinner from Jocelyn’s Mediterranean Restaurant & Lounge (who gave Bob a discount for his generosity) to feed 20+ people, Stachey’s Pizza in North Andover, as well as Shannon Marie who pitched in and cooked food to help feed the homeless on another night. We are ALWAYS looking for restaurants and eateries to donate dinner for the homeless for Wednesday night’s family dinner. Please email me if you know anyone interested and I will even come pick up the food and deliver it myself.
This year’s state primaries will be held on September 4th, the day after Labor Day and some say that Secretary of State Bill Galvin scheduled it that way to keep voter turnout low. Low voter turnouts traditionally favor incumbents getting reelected and Galvin faces a real primary challenge this year from a left-wing radical who believes in open borders and allowing illegal aliens to vote. The Secretary of State is in charge of state elections, so no matter how much you may not like Galvin, here’s hoping that he can get past Josh Zakim or we are in really big trouble.

With ten candidates running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for congress, the winner of this primary on September 4th will most likely be elected in the November final election as the 3rd congressional district is very liberal and includes Lowell, Haverhill, and Lawrence.
Here are your candidates: Jeff Ballinger, Alexandra Chandler, Abhijit Das, Rufus Gifford, Leonard Golder, Dan Koh, Barbara L’Italien, Juana Matias, Bopha Malone, and Lori Trahan. Quite frankly there’s not much difference between any of these candidates. They are all for abortion on demand up till birth, open borders, giving amnesty to illegal aliens, allowing illegals to vote, support higher taxes, more government spending, and are obsessed with race and gender division.

Yes, political genius William Lantigua is looking to get back into his old job as a state representative and with a very low turnout expected on September 4th in Lawrence, he might just be able to pull it off. Once again it comes down to Marcos Devers vs. Willie Lantigua and while many have written off Lantigua, (and Lantigua himself relishes being underestimated) I cannot caution people strongly enough not to dismiss Lantigua’s chances. The final election will not matter in this race, it’s all going to be decided in the primary

JUANA MATIAS FOR CONGRESS – Of the candidates above one of them is going to win for sure. So, I’m sticking with Juana Matias on this one. She is at least honest about where she stands. She recently did a video where she calls for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to be abolished so that every illegal alien here can stay, even the gang members and drug dealers. She clearly wants to let everyone on planet earth come to the United States and get on every welfare program that exists. Given that I disagree with all of these stands how can I support her? Because Juana doesn’t double-talk. She’s very direct and unlike the other candidates she doesn’t deny how she really feels on open borders, socialism, using the government to engage in racism against white people, sexism against men and all the other left-wing positions she believes in. Of course she phrases it differently but she doesn’t shy away from her anti-constitutional views. Juana is part of a movement called the Democratic Socialists and is taking a lot of their money. Democratic Socialists issued a statement last month outlining their political platform. “Abolish profit, abolish prisons, abolish cash bail, abolish borders.”

Of course, anyone who has been paying attention to the Democratic Party at the national level knows that most of the dems in power in Washington D.C. believe the exact same thing. But, just try asking them about it directly and you will hear a lot of distractions and poll tested political phrases that don’t actually mean anything.

At least Juana Matias isn’t lying to the voters about her ultimate political goals. So, if anyone from this crowd is going to end up the congressman from the 3rd district I’d prefer someone who is going to be honest about selling out Americans citizens and the American taxpayers rather than a phony who smiles and pretends they care about American citizens or are really fighting for “rights”.

FERRY vs. Minicucci
In Methuen and North Andover there’s an open state rep. seat because incumbent Diana DiZoglio is running for state senate. Since this is a district dominated by Democrats, whoever wins the primary is surely to be the winner in November. Former Methuen City Councilor Lisa Ferry is facing off against first time candidate Christine Minicucci from North Andover. In a normal election cycle with a low turnout, this race should be Lisa Ferry’s to lose. After all, the district was purposely carved up to give Methuen candidates a lock on this seat. Plus, State Rep. Diana DiZoglio is endorsing Ferry and working hard to help her get elected. But Minicucci has a lot of money and with the controversy surrounding the Methuen City Council Ferry is going to have to work harder to win this race than she normally would. Had she called for a full investigation of the police salaries (which she voted for) to show the public she had nothing to do with it, she would be back in the driver’s seat. But, since she balked at doing that and with others now calling for an investigation this is anybody’s race. In fact, as of right now I’m calling Minicucci the front runner.

REGISTRY OF DEEDS – The current Register of Deeds is former Lawrence State Rep. M. Paul Iannuccillo and he has a tough fight on primary day. The Register of Deeds is in charge of all property deeds in this part of Essex County. It’s a six-year term and it’s an important government position because the person who holds that job can affect the purchase or sale of real property. This year, Iannccillo faces two challengers in the primary; Alexcy Vega the City of Lawrence’s current City Assessor and former Lawrence City Councilor Michael Fielding, who has the support of former Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua. With Iannuccillo having two opponents dividing up the votes of people planning on voting against him it puts him in the front-runner’s seat… for now. The daily newspaper, however, seems to hate him and will be actively campaigning against him as they have published several negative “gotcha” stories, so there is a legitimate chance he could be unseated. This race will be largely ignored. Don’t ignore it. Go on line and research all three candidates and make up your own mind when you vote in this race. But, whatever you do, make sure you vote in this race.

Since State Senator Barbara L’Italien is leaving the senate to run for congress, that leaves her seat open. Enter the guy who used to have that seat; Barry Finegold. Come on, you guys remember Barry. I know it’s hard to remember him sometimes because he’s very low key and doesn’t really do anything, but surely you remember he was Willie Lantigua’s biggest champion at the state house. You also might remember the only thing he actually did accomplish as a legislator was “baby drop-off” whereby mothers who no longer want the responsibility for their children can just abandon the kid(s) at any fire station and just walk away with immunity, no questions asked. Challenging Barry in the September 4th primary is Lawrence Firefighter Mike Armano. Armano is a young and energetic candidate who is working hard and will take a lot of votes away from Finegold in Lawrence, especially among union voters. Joe Espinola is running as a Republican and is working the district hard and will be able to take votes away from Finegold in Dracut and among the blue-collar voters. He may even surprise some people in Lawrence. Finegold is the front runner here but with a low turnout anything can happen.

While many people are blaming the Methuen police for the budget mess, Methuen City Councilor Steve Saba said on “Looped in Live” with Tim Wood that the budget mess was caused by the prior city council and the current school committee. During his appearance, he said the prior council was “asleep” adding that they were just a “rubber stamp” and called for an investigation into their previous actions.

“The previous council and previous mayor… just watch the meetings. Everything was just being rubber stamped. They bragged about the fact that they had such short meetings,” he said. Saba added that the school department budget shortfall was not the fault of the police, but the school committee.

“So, had the school committee come to us in January and clearly said ‘listen, new councilors, we are out of money, so we can’t open our doors unless we go in the red.’ We were half way through the budget in January. We could have opened the budget and made the cuts. But when you come to us at the end of the year and say ‘by the way, we are over by $4M in the red… who does that?”

Methuen Councilor Steve Saba during that interview with Tim Wood on “Looped in Live” said that a criminal investigation is needed on the actions of the prior council and mayor. “We need an investigation not just over the contracts, but the AG’s (Attorney General’s) office will investigate the contracts, but we need an investigation city-wide on a lot of stuff and that’s the Inspector General’s Office. So, what I’m looking for is an investigation… either two (investigations) or a joint investigation of both to come in and look through the city and look at what’s been going on.”


While we all love Joyce (this is where Tim Wood reminds us that she loves puppies and cares about the community) she pulled one of the dumbest stunts I’ve seen in a long time last month. During budget discussions Joyce decided to take time away from the public’s business to attack Councilor Jessica Finocchiaro. This is not really new for Joyce. She has been seen rolling her eyes and heard sighing deeply into the microphone whenever Jessica is talking about … well, anything. This time, however she took to the microphone to attack Jess for what she said was a posting on Facebook that was “inaccurate”. Joyce went on and on dressing her down and criticizing her (not by name, but was staring right at her while she was talking), claiming that Jess “misinformed” the public about that night’s meeting. “I got calls about this,” she said during the meeting. But, then admitted she never even read the Facebook post she was publicly complaining about. “I don’t use the Facebook, I don’t even look at it,” she admitted. “But people were telling me.”

It seems someone is whispering in Joyce’s ear, using her to attack Jessica for political reasons and Joyce is simply falling for it. For the record, what Finocchiaro posted on Facebook was NOT inaccurate and did NOT misinform the voters. If Joyce had bothered to actually read the Facebook post she was publicly complaining about she would not have made a fool of herself and the city council that night.

For his part Steve Saba also took a cheap shot at Jessica, not only at the meeting but on Looped in Live with Tim Wood where he said social media was not helping and that “certain” posts on social media were causing problems. So much for transparency. Saba is wrong on this. The fact is, most voters are now getting their information on local politics from Facebook and other social media sites. If more elected officials utilized social media to INFORM the public about what’s going on, Methuen voters might be more educated and might not be in this mess to begin with. I’m just hoping all these childish cheap shots at Jessica will stop and the council will spend every waking moment fixing the budget mess and doing the work the voters elected them to do.

So, last month Tim Wood from Loop Weekly asked me to come on his show “Looped in Live” to talk about local Methuen issues. Almost immediately after he announced on Facebook that I would be his guest, the Duggan-haters tried to kill my appearance by intimidating him into canceling me as a guest because, obviously I’m just evil! I have to give Wood credit though, he didn’t buckle under the pressure and the show went on as planned. And it was a great discussion where we agreed on some things, disagreed on others, and were able to do so in a civil and mature way. It’s great to have someone like Tim in the local news business who understands what friendly rivalry is all about and knows how to stand up to the insider bullies in politics. You should go to the Loop Weekly’s video gallery on Facebook and check out Looped in Live. And while you are there make sure you patronize his advertisers, because they are the reason we have yet one more voice on the political scene who is completely independent and isn’t afraid of the corrupt insiders who try to silence dissenting voices.

During Methuen budget discussions last month Councilor Steve Saba made a motion to cut an accounting position out of the police budget. It was the budget positions that was voted on last year by former council president Jamie Atkinson. Coincidentally, after Atkinson left the council HE was hired to fill the position he actually voted on. Sadly, not one member of the city council would second Saba’s motion giving their tacit consent to the conflicts of interest that got Methuen in this mess in the first place. (EDITORS NOTE: After this was published in the print edition Councilor Saba again made a motion to cut Atkonson’s job and this time the council voted yet.)

Two months ago, Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque appeared on the Paying Attention Podcast where he talked about (among other things) the need to reconstitute a K9 unit to help Lawrence Police fight crime. Within a few days of his appearance Mayor Dan Rivera and Chief Roy Vasque issued a press release announcing that the Lawrence Police Department will be re-establishing the Department’s K-9 Unit.

“At the direction of Chief Roy Vasque, the Department applied for a grant on May 17th from the Stanton Foundation for the K-9 First Dog Program. Both Mayor Rivera and Chief Vasque are happy to announce that the Department was awarded the grant on May 29th. The $25,000 grant will cover the cost of purchasing a dog, training costs, kennel facilities at the officer/handler’s home, retrofitting a cruiser for the exclusive use of the K-9 unit, and food and veterinary care for the first three years of K-9 ownership. The process of selecting the Police Officer who will be the dog’s handler, as well as the selection of the dog will begin immediately. The Stanton Foundation K-9 First Dog Program supports the creation of new K-9 Units in cities and towns in Massachusetts. The Department will be applying for a similar grant to add a 2nd dog to the Unit in the very near future.

NECC CONCERT – Tickets are available for “Barbra & Frank: The Concert that Never Was,” a musical tribute celebrating the works of Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra. The event, hosted by the Northern Essex Community College Foundation, Inc., will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29th, at the Collins Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Shawsheen Road, Andover.
The concert is open to the public. Tickets are $50 per person and are now on sale. For more information, or to reserve seats, please contact Lori Smerdon at or at 978-556-3870. Tickets can also be purchased through

FARMERS MARKETS – The Lawrence and Methuen Farmers Markets are officially open! From July 6 to October 27 on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am – 3pm, you can find fruits and vegetables, freshly caught fish, crafts from local artisans, musical performances, and so much more.

The GWL Wednesday Farmers Market opens on July 11. It’s located in Lawrence on Campagnone (North) Common across from the Lawrence Senior Center, 155 Haverhill Street.

Holy Family Hospital’s Methuen Farmers Market managed by Groundwork Lawrence starts on July 6. It’s open every Friday at 254 Broadway in Methuen, conveniently located on Rt. 28 next to Methuen Federal Credit Union.

The GWL Saturday Farmers Market opens on July 7 and is located in Lawrence on Sullivan Park on Rt. 114, at the intersection of North Parish Road and Winthrop Avenue.

In an effort to meet the ever-growing demand of support services and dignified housing for older adults with dementia, Edgewood senior living community in North Andover has completed The Woodlands Inn, a $17 million, 4-building, 40- residence expansion that caters primarily to seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Three of the four buildings will serve residents with dementia while the other will cater to enhanced living, or residents who need some general assistance throughout the day.

“These aren’t the environments you typically associate with senior living, memory support or health services,” says Kathleen D’Amico, Edgewood’s marketing director. “They’re styled after a cozy New England inn, and the design and layout couldn’t be further from the clinical model that’s such a pervasive misperception when people think of communities like ours.”

Each building accommodates 10 residents and is designed to encourage greater interaction and socialization. This “small house model” sees private rooms surround a central common area that includes an open-hearth kitchen, dining area, living room and den with a natural stone fireplace. Here residents can participate in activities, play games, read, watch TV or simply catch up with friends and neighbors. Other amenities in each household include a spa and private courtyard, as well as dedicated health professionals and other staff – called innkeepers – on site at all hours to assist with meal preparation, laundry, housekeeping and other daily tasks. Last year, the Alzheimer’s Association estimated that 5.5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s, and that 1 in 10 people age 65 and older have the disease. In Massachusetts, approximately 120,000 people ages 65 and older had Alzheimer’s in 2017, and by 2025 that figure is expected to increase by 25 percent to 150,000 people.

CLEAN RIVER PROJECT NEEDS YOUR HELP! Have you got a community service requirement you need to fill? Court ordered? High School and college service requirements for graduation? National Honor society? Human Resource day of service requirement with your office? Well, Clean River Project has just what you need to help you fill those hours!

Whatever the reason you do community service it can foster a sense of civic pride and give you hands-on experience and valuable insight into the trades while teaching important life skills needed to obtain gainful employment. It offers an opportunity to help others and you’ll leave with the knowledge you improved someone’s life or situation and make your community a little bit better. Go down to1022 Riverside Drive in Methuen. Do your required service hours in a friendly, informative atmosphere. You’ll spend your time outdoors, cruising the Merrimack River and become part of an initiative that has been ongoing for 14 years now.

Call 978-590-9374 and talk to Rocky Morrison about how you can fill the terms of your service requirements and help keep this beautiful resource clean!