ReportersNotebook copyLawrence’s freshman State Representative Juana Matias certainly doesn’t have any self esteem problems these days. Defeating Marcos Devers in a low turnout state primary a year ago, Mattias has already declared she’s ready to replace Niki Tsongas as your next congressman for this district. Yeah… seriously. Wide eyed, and as naive as any freshman politician can be, Matias is well meaning and she has a lot of good ideas, but she has a lot of bad ideas too.
None of that matters because, in order to be viable in a congressional race, Matias needs to able to raise a million and a half dollars. She barely raised a few thousand in her Democrat nomination for state rep. and it’s extremely doubtful that she could raise the kind of money she would need to win a Democrat primary.

As a side note, with Matias running for congress, that leaves her state rep. seat open for, possibly, Marcos Devers to return. It also could be an attractive seat to whoever loses the Lawrence mayor’s race this November. Either Rivera or Lantigua would certainly be front runner candidates for state rep after running in a mayor’s race.


State Senator Barbara L’Italien is also thinking of running for congress next year, which would leave her state senate seat open since she can’t run for both jobs. Word is that former State Rep. Barry Finegold is eyeing a return if Babs jumps in the congressional race.


With all the democrats scurrying to climb up the political ladder and step over each other to get there, Haverhill Mayor Jim Fiorentini refuses to say whether he’s running or not. We all know Jimmy has been drooling over the state senate seat (now held by Katy Ives) and the congressional seat (now being vacated by Niki Tsongas). Recently I asked Fiorentini if he was running and he did what I call the Fiorentini shuffle. He first tried to change the subject, then he tried making it a joke and then he just ignored the question and tried to enlist others in a different conversation. Our sources say Fiorentini is waiting to see the results of the Lawrence Mayor’s race because, as everyone knows, if Dan Rivera wins reelection in November, he starts running for congress the next day. Fiorentini needs Lawrence to win a primary and he can’t do that with a popular Lawrence mayor in the race.


Even though he came in first in a crowded field on primary day, 57% of the voters on Election Day, voted against Dan Rivera. All of his political opponents, except Jorge Jaime, have publicly endorsed Willie Lantigua.


So, by now you guys know that our photographer Rich Russell not only won the preliminary election for Lawrence City Council At-Large but until the very last precinct came in on Election Night, Russell was in 3rd place out of 9 candidates (six were nominated). When the last precinct came in Rich ended up in 4th place. Since the top three candidates are elected to the city council on Tuesday, November 7th, that means Rich has a fighting chance to win. A Vietnam veteran, and a guy who does a lot of volunteer work in the community, I think I can speak for everyone at The Valley Patriot when I say we are all pulling for you, RICH!


You almost have to feel bad for Modesto Maldonado. The former city council president has had his name on the ballot for several years (city wide) and he was expected to either win the primary for mayor or be the third candidate. Not so. Maldonado’s performance on the campaign trail showed that politically he is a paper tiger. Maldonado placed 4th out of nine candidates (mind you Bill Green was in 5th place).


Bill Green lost the mayor’s race for one reason and one reason only. He has no moral compass. He is incapable to recognizing who to trust and who not to trust because, quite frankly, he is himself an untrustworthy person. He posts people’s private text conversations on Facebook (I could do a whole column on that), he lures people into feeling bad for him with his tales of persecution, and then he uses everything he learns about the people around him to set them up for public humiliation. At one point in the campaign Green did a YouTube video in a wife-beater T-shirt, displaying multiple tattoos up and down each arm, with a whiteboard behind him. The topic of this particular masterpiece was how mad he was at his campaign manager, whom he had just fired, making personal and legal accusations … as if the voters give a damn about his internal political squabbles. Bill Green had a legitimate shot at the mayor’s race this year when he entered the race. He had a unique message of a cop, persecuted by his own fellow officers for exposing corruption in his own department. The problem for Mr. Green is that none of it was true. Besides the fact that he filed a bogus lawsuit against the city with the MCAD, and cost taxpayers more than $45,000 in legal bills to outside law firms, he was certainly a problem cop. He acted hostile to anyone (including other cops) who told him anything he didn’t want to hear. He was fired for not turning in money he made on side work while off-duty, not to mention allowing a prisoner to escape and lying about an alleged asssault. The more Green picked fights with people who were not necessarily his enemies at the beginning, the more quickly everyone realized what a nightmare Bill Green would have been if he had won. He coulda been a contenda…


The City of Methuen only had one primary last month to eliminate one candidate (out of 5) in the East End District City Council race.
Putting aside the absurdity of not having primaries in all districts to fill empty spots on the ballot – the odd man out was Sid Harris. Surprising to some, since he was up against three other people who have never run for office before. Not so surprising to my regular on-line readers who were following my critique of all the candidates as they were campaigning.

This wasn’t just a loss; this was a slaughter. And one that was well deserved. Not because Sid’s a bad guy, he’s not. (His profanity laced, personal attacks on Facebook aside). The fact is, Sid was just a terrible candidate. He didn’t want to put the time or effort into doing the work that other candidates were doing. He didn’t do interviews, didn’t buy advertisements, didn’t knock on doors in any significant numbers, and he conducted himself on the campaign trail like his anointment to the council was a foregone conclusion. Harris, a lifelong activist in Methuen was defeated by Steve Saba, Eunice Zeigler, Dan Grayton, and Adam Chiocca. Two of those four nominees will be elected to represent the East District for the next two years on the city council. The election is November 7th.


I was warned not to complain about it, but I just can’t sit back and watch corruption take place without making my feelings known. Methuen City Council Chairman Jamie Atkinson made the deal of all deals where he sold out the taxpayers and the voters for a cushy city job. Oh sure, the powers that be made sure the “i”s were dotted and the “t”s were crossed to make it technically legal, but make no mistake about it, there was nothing right about what happened here. It’s bad enough that Atkinson was caught colluding with the (then) city attorney during meetings via text messages a few years ago. Whatever you think of him, Atkinson has been able to find a way to leverage his political power for personal benefit. As much as I like the kid, (and I am aware of his personal struggles), taking this city job after selling out is nothing short of corrupt and everyone who allowed it should hang their heads in shame.


The South Lawrence East Little League has been playing on sub standard fields for the last four years and the man who runs this organization, Brian Thomas, has been taking money out of his pocket every year to help kids pay for uniforms, to pay the umpire fees, and even pays for a storage pod to store the equipment at the field. But Brian can’t do it alone forever. And he’s treading water but you can tell his legs are getting tired. So, I am appealing to all my advertisers, friends, and readers to take a minute to read Brian’s appeal for help and donations on Page 12. Surely with all the civic organizations and charities in the Lawrence area, we can come up with five or six thousand dollars to help out Brian to service the hundreds of kids SLE little league helps every year.


With all that’s going on in the world; famine, war, terrorism, racism, race riots, hurricanes, Russian hysteria, mass shootings, etc., what was CNN talking about last weekend while Hurricane Nate was barreling down on New Orleans? Secretary of State Rex Tillerson MIGHT have … MAYBE … called Donald Trump a moron…so says an unnamed source … you know, a guy nobody can confirm even knows what he’s talking about. Panel discussions, wild speculation, it was practically wall to wall. Tillerson himself called it “petty nonsense” and he’s right. He gave a detailed report on the UN and actions our government were taking and why. Yet all the press cared about was asking petty questions like, did you call Trump a moron? It’s just baffling that there are human beings who think that qualifies as “news”.

What used to be “news” is now gossip, rumor and speculation specifically scripted and designed to manipulate viewers to hate who they want you to hate. Love who they want you to love. And, do so without any independent thought of your own. When I was growing up that was called propaganda, not news.