Tom Duggan's Notebook

Devers v Lantigua

It’s round two for State Representative Willie Lantigua and former Lawrence Mayor Marcos Devers. Devers is challenging Lantigua once again to represent Lawrence at the state house and this time Devers is not running as a write-in candidate; this year he is on the ballot as a democrat challenger in the September primary. In 2006, Devers garnered a huge percentage of the vote as a write-in candidate — much more than predicted by all the insiders, causing political observers to wonder if Lantigua could have been beaten by Devers had his name officially been on the ballot. Lantigua looks particularly vulnerable this year, but a little help from Governor Deval Patrick and being head of the black caucus gives Lantigua a slight edge. One thing for sure, if Devers is going to unseat Lantigua, which could be done, he is going to have to do more than complain that Lantigua doesn’t live in the district. If Devers hopes to unseat his nemesis this year, he has to attack Lantigua on his voting record and not his personal life.

Dave Sullivan’s One-Year Anniversary

While the Valley Patriot is celebrating our 4th anniversary this month, our talented local cartoonist David Sullivan of Dracut is celebrating his very FIRST anniversary doing custom made, local, political cartoons for our newspaper. And, to be completely honest, we are more excited about Dave’s anniversary than we are about our own. Dave is not only a political cartoonist, he is a writer, an actor, a new daddy, and has more talent in his little toe than I have in my entire body. You can look back at a year of wonderful local political cartoons on the Valley Patriot website; valleypatriot.com/cartoonindex.html. Here’s hoping that Dave Sullivan is with us for a very long time. His contribution to the Valley Patriot is invaluable.

Senator Tucker holds office hours

Senator Sue Tucker will be holding local office hours at the Moses Greeley Park Memorial Library on Tuesday, March 11 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. All town residents are invited to stop by with questions, comments or any other issues. Residents are also invited to contact Senator Tucker at her State House office by calling 617-722-1612 or by emailing her at susan.tucker@.state.ma.us.

Mark Andrews

First, Lawrence Finance Director Mark Andrews tried to save the city money by taking away the gas and car allowances of inspectors in the city’s inspectional services department, despite the fact that it was a clear violation of their union contract. Then, Mr. Andrews told the Lawrence City Council that he was in “negotiations” with the union and that doing away with the gas allowance would not be a problem. But then we learned that Mark Andrews had not been meeting with the union (though he did meet with them later) and when he finally did meet with them he proposed letting them keep their gas reimbursements in exchange for them allowing the city to move to a two-week pay period (another contract item that can’t be violated). He hasn’t been here all that long but it seems like Mr. Andrews’ priorities are a little out of whack. He’s even entangled himself in the “Watergate investigation” trying to appease the city council president and involving himself in personnel matters when he is having a hard enough time doing his own job. Instead of spending his time trying to placate politicians and trying to play behind he scenes politics, maybe Mr. Andrews should be looking at the shelf life of former finance directors who thought they were smart enough to play with fire without getting burned. Anyone see Carl Prussing, Joe Kelley, or John Griffin around lately? The over/under on Andrews not being here in one year is 4 to 1.

Don Stewart to sue state?

Candidate for the North Andover Board of Selectman Don Stewart served at least 18 years on the board before being deposed two years ago. Stewart told the voters during a debate at town hall last week that if he is elected to the board again he will sue the state for “unfunded mandates” but, to our recollection Mr. Stewart never made such an effort when he was on the board previously and if he had, he would have realized that it takes more than one selectman’s vote to file such a lawsuit. Insiders are predicting that Stewart will win his seat back this year so, if that happens, we want the voters in North Andover to know that we are going to hold him to his word and will report on his lawsuit against the state within 90 days of his election (providing the insiders called this one right).

Watergate Investigation Continues

City Attorney Charles Boddy and Assistant City Attorney Ricky D’Agastino are continuing their “official investigation” into how the Valley Patriot obtained public information about Council President Patrick Blanchette’s $5,000 raise. Our sources say the city attorneys have gone so far as to interview department heads and accuse a few city employees of “leaking” Blanchette’s Employee Action Form to the press. This “official investigation” is now in its 8th week, while at least one sexual harassment complaint continues to sit on the city attorney’s desk with no action being taken (and no investigation taking place) as well as dozens of other workplace complaints that could result in another major payout. Talk about an abuse of power.  

Speaking of abuse of power

I am certainly not one of those constant critics who are always looking for an excuse to attack Lawrence Police Chief John Romero, but a recent story in the Eagle~Tribune had me scratching my head wondering if there really is something to what his detractors have been saying. The story goes like this: someone in Puerto Rico sent a engraved plaque to the chief, complete with a badge and fake gun bolted to it calling him a “corrupt cop”. The story then reveals that Romero is conducting an “official investigation” into who sent it. The chief even went so far as to bring in the United States Postal Inspector claiming that federal laws may have been broken because the so-called perpetrator had used the US mail for “threats and intimidation.” So, let me see if I have this right; the chief of police in Lawrence, Massachusetts actually felt “intimidated and threatened” by someone a thousand miles away sending him a plaque in the mail calling him a corrupt cop and now the chief, in an attempt to prove he is not corrupt, is using his official law enforcement position to investigate (and, I assume, try to punish) whomever sent it? This is reminiscent of Chief Romero’s “official police investigation” into a city councilor who bad-mouthed him after a council meeting last summer in violation of her civil rights. Now, I know the chief has done a good job overall in running his department and making the streets of Lawrence safer. So, I am really not trying to pick on him here, but I don’t believe for one second that a man of the stature of John Romero is so sensitive that he can’t handle a little criticism, no matter what form it comes in. I also believe it is a waste of time, money and resources to “investigate” someone because they insulted you. The public expects a little bit more.

Pristash Award Committee Announces Winner

Congratulations to Sandy Gleed as the 2008 Pristash Award winner. The Pristash Award established in 2006 to honor David and Leanna Pristash is voted on by all the parent / teacher organizations in town. The recipient is selected based on their selfless dedication to our public schools. The award will be presented to Sandy on Thursday, April 10th 2008 at the Top of The Scales from 6 to 9pm. Tickets are $35 per person and are on sale at B-Sporty on Chickering Road (across from Hafners). For further information, or to place an Ad in the Best Wishes Book, please contact Margaret Shaheen at eccincorp@aol.com. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it. Or call 978-686-6562. All proceeds are used to fund the Pristash Scholarship at the High School.

Central Grad, Leo Lamontagne wins TV Emmy

2001 Central Catholic Graduate Leo Lamontagne, (formerly of Lawrence)  received an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for “On Camera Performance” by the TV academy. Lamontagne is a professional dancer with the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project in Chicago. A documentary was made about his Dance Company and the documentary received four Emmys. Lamontagne is the son of Lawrence residents Leo and Debbie Lamontagne. Leo Sr. is a member of the Greater Lawrence Technical School Board and owner of Leo & Sons (see page 7) on Broadway in Lawrence.
His mom, Debbie Lamontagne is the owner and proprietor of North Andover School of Dance in North Andover. His proud aunt and uncle are Lawrence City Councilor Roger Twomey and wife Marilyn.

Voting in schools

Last month WCAP’s Regina Faticanti and I had an on-air debate on the merits of giving public school children the day off on election day to prevent strangers from walking through our public schools and putting them at risk while classes are in session. Within a few days, Haverhill City Councilor Bill Ryan was proposing to do just that in the city of Haverhill. So, I had a series of off the record conversations with city clerks and election department workers in the various cities and towns in our coverage area to find that the idea is being widely (though quietly) being embraced in city and town halls all over the Commonwealth. “There’s no reason the school committee can’t schedule an in-service day for teachers on election day, so that the kids won’t be in the school while people are voting,” one town clerk told me. “I love the idea, and believe it or not most of my colleagues feel the same way.” We will be watching this development over the coming months as councilors and selectmen across the Valley have hinted that they will make a similar proposal in their community. As a side note, North Andover High School is closed on Election Day in November.


All pictures and material are
(C) copyright, Valley Patriot, Inc., 2008

March '08 Edition

Email us here

Stephen Label
of Methuen


... sponsored by

Prior Valley Patriots
of the Month

To Our Brave

About Us
(978) 557-5413 office
(978) 258-1964 fax

2008 Ad Rates
(line ads .80 cents per word)
Pay by credit card using PayPal below

Valley Patriot Distribution MAP*

Don't Forget to pick up your
Valley Patriot at Stop & Shops
in Methuen, Amesbury,
and N. Andover

Pick up your copy of The Valley
Patriot at CVS Pharmacy locations in
Lawrence, Andover, N. Andover,
Methuen, Haverhill,
Lowell, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury and Westford!

Commonwealth Motors
Shop Us last...
You'll Love us!

Valley Patriot ARCHIVES

Page Two




Valley Patriot Ad Info


Contact us