Corey Belanger: Purveyor of fine spirits, spirit…hope and goodwill.


Picture Gleefully stolen from CoreyBelangersVests


At the Lowell City Council on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, Mayor Rodney Elliott made a motion requesting the City Manager have the Chief Financial Officer and Superintendent of Schools produce a report regarding the costs incurred to educate newcomer students.  Besides Mayor Elliott, Corey Belanger was the only City Councilor to speak on the motion.  The following is a verbatim transcript of what Belanger said: 

By Councilor Belanger:  Thank you Mr. Vice Mayor [Councilor Leahy was in the Chair].  I think this is a great motion.  And to get to Mayor Elliott’s points, that Lowell, we’ve always been a city of immigrants.  That is our foundation.  We have many nationalities here.  I visited many of the schools and it’s encouraging to see how diverse we really, really are, all the way to a young age.

But we got a problem that’s serious and it’s going to get far worse, of refugees, undocumented or illegal aliens, which ever term you choose to use, are pegged for Lowell.  We are on that list.  Many of which are unskilled and uneducated.  And they’re on their way.

Corey’s not saying we’re not the place for immigrants. He saying we’re not the place for THESE immigrants. We just need to hold out for the right types…you know, the 1850’s tired, poor, huddled masses types. And we have just the place for these types. We have a place in this city where they can warm themselves with a  bowl of hearty beef stew.  A place where the nectar of their homeland pours from 3 different taps. A place where the craic is grander than a Clare Island wedding party. A place where Tommy Makem’s (bless his soul) dulcet tones rain down upon thy guests like a spring shower.  A place so authentic you could convince yourself that Eamon De Velera once sat bar side watching a Red Sox spring training game hiding from John Bull’s informants.  A place…the only place, where you won’t be greeted by the words, “Wicked Irish Need Not Apply.”

To those folks we say, “céad míle fáilte!”

What We’ve Learned: Ned’s February 2014 Local Politics Update


I suppose I’m a little late with my February updates, but it’s to be expected as I am a product of an underfunded school system.

Bill Samaris is dominating.  Seriously.  This guy is everywhere.   Council agendas. The Lowell Sun.  WCAP.  State of the Union addresses.  Throwing out first pitches.   Would somebody mind letting him know that this is not an election year?  Pace yourself, Billy boy!  You don’t want to pull a hammy.

I’m pretty sure we have a new City Manager. Congrats to Kevin Murphy on the well-deserved position.  First order of business is figuring out which properties to seize to add another 9-holes to Mt Pleasant.  I’m sure there will be a least one super long par 4 so all the members can have a sexual experience with one another every time they reach it in regulation.

Mayor Elliott is finally settling into a groove.  Council Meetings have finally settled into a nice flow.  We’re in, we’re out, no nonsense.  It’s like watching Mark Buehrle pitch… if Mark Buehrle kept a Mayor Murphy and Bernie Lynch voodoo doll in the dugout and was constantly leaving the mound to go stick pins in it.

Downtown Revitalization Starts and Ends with Mill No.5:  “The people of Lowell elected me because I know the difference between happy endings and great economic opportunity” is what I imagine Corey Belanger said after his now famous expedition with Grapes to snuff out discreet rub’n tugs in downtown mill complexes.  As it turns out, there’s this little project called Mill No.5 happening down there that nobody knew or heard about until now, thanks to Lewis and Clark.

As for the handjobs at Mill No.5, they’re probably not completely off the table but you’ll likely have to buy some artwork first.

The new Chief of Police is a Public Relations Tour de Force.  The City couldn’t look any better in the eyes of outsiders.  Images of gun battles and executions have faded to the background courtesy of a possible hooker who officially had too many Killer Millers.  Station morale is no doubt at an all-time high.  And as if there weren’t enough winners in this one; it looks like Mayor Elliott will most definitely be able to deliver on his campaign promise to hire new cops…anywhere from 3-5, I suppose.

Congrats to Councilor Grapes Mercier.  The only thing that I understood from what she was telling us last evening is that she recently adopted Dave Daly, and loves him like a son.  I’m pretty sure she thinks that he actually drives the ambulances.

Also, if you still wonder the reasons (not related to the 21st amendment) why Grapes tops the ticket every two years, take a look what she’s mustered since I last chimed in:

Scuttled a Library Board appointment. (Unsuccessfully)

Establish Guidelines on what the Mayoral portrait should consist of. (Pending I suppose).

Is inspecting every pane of glass in the city for safety.

Paved way for a garden on the Christian Hill Res.

Discovered this new place called Mill No.5.

Repainting parking lines for her faithful constituents at the Senior Center.


What We’ve Learned: Ned’s January 2014 City Politics Update


We’re halfway through January and quite frankly, it’s been a little slow in the local political sphere.  Mostly Non-event after Non-event.  I’ve all but checked out for the winter.  But politics are my thing, and I suppose its the reason #TheCabot pays me the bucks.

Since others in the alternative media circle have done an outstanding and sane job of detailing where things are heading, I’ll just stick to what we know to be true:
The School Committee has attitude.  Through the early going, it’s been the school committee that has been hogging the spot light…throwing lavish cocktail parties to pat themselves on the back for beating a field of one guy.   Talk about cocky.

There’s a new Mayor.  Rodney Elliott begrudgingly accepted his colleague’s call to man the Mayoral gavel, and is concerned that the added mayoral deliverables will commandeer his drive to fulfill his two main goals for this term: getting to know more white people and uniting the clans in support of building a statue of Bernie Lynch where the City owned manger used to sit.

Meanwhile, Mayor Elliott has a list of finalists to serve as his aid for the next two years to life.

Pericles is in Rehab.

The City Manager is Unsettled.   As expert tea leaf reader, its strikes me that Bernie Lynch may want to shut it down.  I can feel it deep in my plums.  It may be his body language, or it may be the letter of resignation he provided to the Council.  It’s hard to really know for sure, but we’ll keep an eye on this one.  Whatever happens, I’m sure his exit will be quick and resolute.

Institutions are Institutions.  Councilor Rita Mercier continues to dazzle us with her ballet of rational thought and graceful…whatever the opposite of belligerence is.    Her constituents will be pleased that they’ll be able to find inanimate plaster statues shaped like biblical icons located somewhere near the Bernie Lynch statue…assuming they’re all still ticking for next year’s holiday season.  The good news is that the presence of the Bronze Bernie will make next year’s nativity splendor constitutional…not that it matters.

This council is a win for Downtown.  The ACLU is closing in on the finalization of their plans to relocate their headquarters to Downtown Lowell.  A massive win for the City’s starved commercial real estate market.

There are Dream Jobs at City Hall.  While just about everything with a pulse in City Administration has resigned at this point, I’m pretty sure City Solicitor Christine O’Connor is here to stay.  Where else can you find a well-paying gig where absolutely nothing is expected of you?  Hash Tag Dream Job.

Failed Council Candidates keep marching on.  Failed council candidate and ZBA Board member Van Pech…aka Van Pecs, singlehandedly moved downtown’s unwanted methadone clinic to Greater Chelmsford where it belongs.  Like he literally cleaned, jerked, and walked it across the city like one of those phsyco Crossfit guys.  Meanwhile, Matt Vieira has almost completed a cogent thought on social media and convinced Siri to vote for him next time around.

Off to a real Rita-rific start.


Lowell Sun
LOWELL — When she was younger, Rita Mercier says her mother would take her to City Hall to see the Nativity scene set up outside around Christmas, a tradition she enjoyed very much.

But this Christmas season City Councilor Mercier and others who walked around JFK Plaza outside City Hall saw nothing because the city decided to move the manger display to the nearby yard of Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church.

Mercier is now leading a charge to have the city place the manger back in its traditional place next Christmas season.

She has filed a motion for Tuesday’s City Council meeting requesting that the council go on record in support of the crèche returning to JFK Plaza.

“It is a tradition,” Mercier said. “Now all of a sudden they want it somewhere else. It should be back where it always has been.”

The councilor, who along with her colleagues will start a new term this week, said she has heard speculation that the city moved the manger from city property because of legal concerns.

Can’t say I don’t disagree with Rita’s sentiment here. An icon as splendid as the birth of baby Jesus deserves a far more serene setting than a charming historic church yard that’s a mere 150 yards from its original location. Nobody can get adequately offended there. We need to move it back where everyone can find it. Especially the lawyers. For Lawyers to notice a constitution trampling nativity scene on the front lawn of a church would require a Christmas miracle. We need this thing back on the front hall steps, and we needed it yesterday.

A new chapter begins.


Lowell Sun

LOWELL — Frank Elliott, the late father of Rodney Elliott, taught his son to never give up, stay the course and pursue his goals.

On Monday morning, the younger Elliott was rewarded for taking to heart the advice from the man he called his inspiration and best friend.

After serving for 16 years on the City Council, Elliott finally secured the support of his colleagues to ascend to the position he has long sought, mayor of Lowell.

The new City Council voted unanimously for Elliott, who heartily embraced his colleagues following the vote and then was led up toward the rostrum by his daughters, 28-year-old Katelyn, and 16-year-old Mikayla, to be sworn in.

“All good things come to those who wait,” Elliott said.

Former Mayor Edward “Bud” Caulfield, who stepped in to sing “God Bless America” at the conclusion of the swearing-in ceremony, said he also expects big things from the council led by Elliott.

I know that this is supposed to be a happy day…turning the page…new beginnings…yada yada. But if I don’t say something, nobody will. Bud Caulfield sucks at singing. Like terrible. Someone along the way told him he had great pitch and the guy hasn’t shut up since. I bet he overpowers everyone in church too. Settle down, Mariah!

That was quick- There’s gonna be a new Mayor!

LOWELL — City Councilor Rodney Elliott has secured the commitments necessary to become the city’s next mayor, a post he has long sought.

Councilor-Elect Dan Rourke told The Sun Friday morning he will support Elliott, giving Elliott the five votes he would need when the new council votes in January to select the mayor.

Rourke said he made the commitment after several extensive conversations with Elliott this week. Rourke said he was pleased Elliott told him he will be a positive voice for the city.

Rest of the Sun write up here from LiL’s best buddy Lyle Moran.  “Mr. Lynne” and the other wives and spouses over at LiL better hide the cutlery at their houses.  Jack Mitchell might actually consider joining the Taliban to get out of Lowell.  Watching them unravel this week from a far has been nothing short of the Superbowl of Schadenfreude for me.  If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. 

The Results: Frank’s Shanks Hoist the Cup.


There you have it, after all the numbers have been counted, it appears Frank McCabe’s Shanks have eaked out a victory in the 2013 Sons of Franky Cabot Council Fantasy Draft.

A 50 point effort from Corey Belanger was just enough to overcome Billy Martini’s negative 32 point debacle.

The big loser in this all important contest was sitting champ, Mark Lynch. Having Vesna and Genevieve batting in the 3, 4 spot was what sunk this ship…and boy did it sink quickly. Even Rap’n Rita’s ticket topping performance couldn’t fan the stench off this roster. Looks like a rebuilding year is in order for team Banana Bread.

As for Tobes, you can’t possibly win when everyone on your squad loses. The fantasy gods would never allow it.

It’s ovah!


Well, if you’re a fan of aggressive sideburns or familiar faces, you probably had yourself a good night. If you’re a fan of runaway winners, you were probably forming awkward dance circles around Rap’n Rita and the lingering members of Frank’s Shanks. Either way, looking forward to turning the page on this one.

PS. Tobes’ impact at the Shaughnessy clearly swung this election.