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Tom Duggan's Notebook
Tom Duggan

Tribune Watch For Sale

While searching the Internet last month, I happened upon a startling discovery on Ebay - an Eagle-Tribune Pulitzer Prize watch for sale. As you may remember, theEagle-Tribune received a Pulitzer for its partially true story about convicted murderer Willie Horton, who committed assault and rape while on a weekend furlough during the Dukakis administration. What was really interesting was the location of the actual watch. According to the Ebay posting, the watch was listed as in “North Andover.” Apparently, someone who works at the Tribune no longer wants the watch that was given to employees back in 1988 by the Pulitzer Committee. The watch was going for $149, but after four or five days on Ebay nobody had made a single bid on it.

Rahme taking on Billy Manzi

This one is a shocker. Methuen at-large City Councilor Kathleen Corey Rahme has been the top vote getter in the last two City Council elections and widely considered the heir apparent to the mayor’s seat when Manzi either leaves or term limits out. But instead of waiting until there is an opening in the mayor’s race to ascend to the corner office, Rahme has decided to take on the titan of first term incumbent Billy Manzi. Rahme, who has a solid base of support among veterans, police and parents (three of the most important voting groups), has proven again that political savvy and having her finger on the pulse of the voters are not exactly her biggest strengths.

Of course, Rahme will be a legitimate candidate and could give Manzi a run for his money if he should fall out of favor with the voters near the election (or if another scandal should erupt). But Mayor Manzi has a well-oiled political machine and is going to out-raise and out-spend Rahme. Given that 90%+ of all incumbents are reelected and that Rahme is going to have to give up her council seat to fight this uphill battle, one has to wonder why Rahme would take such a bold (some would say politically foolish) move when she has so much to lose.

One thing for sure, with Rahme and Manzi going head to head, we can expect a clean, good natured campaign without the hate and dirty tricks normally associated with these types of races.

This one is too funny not to report, even though I know I’m gong to get blamed for it. Ellen Bahan, the political conspiracy nut in Methuen, is now getting a taste of her own medicine. Bahan, who uses colorful, yet juvenile, pet names for elected officials she writes about in her columns, has been lampooned online. The website: www.ellanbahan.com is filled with hysterical parodies of Bahan and her political allies on the Methuen City Council.  Though I had nothing to do with the construction of the website or the material contained therein, I only wished I had thought of it first. 

5th District Endorsements

In Lawrence, Police Chief John Romero and “Latino” activist Isabel Melendez have both endorsed Andover state Rep. Barry Finegold for Congress. Eight of the nine city councilors in Lawrence are also supporting Finegold. Former mayoral candidate Marcos Devers, Pedro Payano and political activist Carlos Campanas (AKA Charlie Bell) have all endorsed Niki Tsongas.  State Rep. Willie Lantigua is endorsing Lowell Councilor Eileen Donoghue because, he says, she announced at his headquarters “in Spanish.” In Methuen, mayoral candidate and at-large City Councilor Kathleen Corey Rahme has endorsed Finegold while Mayor Billy Manzi, state Senator Steve Baddour and Councilor Debbie Quinn are all supporting Eileen Donoghue. Former Mayor Sharon Pollard is endorsing Niki Tsongas.

Why I’ll Consider an Override?

For the last four years I have vehemently opposed the proposed Proposition 2 1/2 overrides in North Andover for a number of very good reasons. First, the last four override attempts were put together by the TUFF group who inflated numbers, played with budget figures and decried earth shattering consequences if the override wasn’t passed. They personally attacked those who opposed the override as “not caring about the children” and outright lied about the effect on our school budgets and the rest of the town. But this year the TUFF group isn’t sponsoring the override. This year the override is spearheaded by Sandy Gleed and Dawn Crescitelli, both of whom worked tirelessly to find money in the budget without an override before considering asking the taxpayers for more. What’s more, Gleed and Crescitelli are not hate mongers like those in the TUFF group and they have neither provoked the opposition with wild accusations nor launched personal attacks against those who are skeptical of the ballot measure. For these reasons, I am more than willing to keep an open mind during the next few weeks, if Mrs. Gleed and Mrs. Crescitelli can make their case for a bare bones override on the campaign trail.

At-Large Race Heating up in Lawrence

The at-large City Council race is heating up in Lawrence with at least one of the three incumbents (Nunzio DiMarca) in trouble with Lawrence voters. Challengers Frank Moran, Roger Twomey, Bob Beals, and Carlos Matos have all taken out nomination papers seeking one of the three open slots. Word has it that there may be at least two MORE candidates coming forward before the August deadline, meaning that DiMarca may not even make it through the primary, as only six of the seven declared candidates will be nominated in September.

Pink Slips for Lawrence Politicos

Lawrence City Council President Patrick Blanchette and former Lawrence School Committeeman Ralph Carerro have both been let go by the Greater Lawrence Technical School after years of service because neither of them has obtained the required certification for the job. Carerro, who has taken the certification test several times and failed, has been let go for not being able to pass the test. Blanchette never even bothered to make an effort to take the certification test.

Don’t worry though, I’m sure  Carerro’s “good friend” John Housianitis at Central Catholic will take care of Ralph. As for Mr. Blanchette, he is certainly bright enough and has the education to land a job on his own.  

Traficanti Awarded Workers’ Comp Benefits $612.06/wk

On May 31st former Lawrence city worker Andrea Traficanti went before Judge Preston at the Lawrence Industrial Accident Board to present her claim for workers’ compensation benefits against the city of Lawrence.

Traficanti filed a claim for workers’ compensation earlier this year, seeking benefits for physical and emotional disability. 
Traficanti was laid off because of budget constraints at City Hall, but prior to her layoff, Traficanti went out on stress leave and filed her claim against the city.

Traficanti was represented by attorney Kathleen O’Donnell of Marcotte Law Offices in Lowell.  The city of Lawrence was represented by Attorney William DiAdamo of Lawrence.

 After hearing testimony from both parties and reviewing submitted medical documentation, Judge Preston awarded workers’ compensation benefits to Traficanti. 

The benefits come out to $612.06 per week from the date of alleged loss (January 4, 2007) to the present and continuing medical costs, attorney fees and expenses.  The weekly compensation of $612.06 is based upon her average weekly wage of $1,020.10.  The city has two weeks to appeal the decision, but during the appeal process, Traficanti will continue to receive these benefits.        

Traficanti has long contended that her layoff from the city was politically motivated and that it was illegal since she was out on stress when the layoff occurred. She has been embroiled in several City Hall scandals over the last year and a half, but Traficanti, who was working as a bartender in a local night club even after going out on stress, has always proclaimed her innocence and denied any wrongdoing.  

Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan could not be reached for comment.     

Siglo 21 Publishes Phony Police Brutality Ad

Siglo 21, a Spanish language gossip sheet published in Lawrence, has proven once again that their biased political agenda against Lawrence police officers and their shamelessly dishonest tactics to  get Lawrence’s newest immigrants to fear and despise cops, knows no bounds.

Last month, Silgo published a fake advertisement slandering  Lawrence Police Officer Kyle Wilcox and Attorney Hank Brennan. The ad, showing a badly beaten man (with no affiliation to the Wilcox accusations)  is designed to look like it was paid for by attorney Hank Brennan, but Brennan told the Boston Globe that he had nothing  to do with it and that the ad was slanderous against Officer Wilcox. Brennan has demanded a retraction (good luck with that!) but we hope that both he and officer Wilcox sue Siglo 21 for libel as they have made it clear to their readers, long before a trial has been held, that Officer Wilcox is guilty of police brutality.

Attorney Brennan wrote a letter to Siglo whereby he declares how “grossly inappropriate and negligent your  newspaper has acted in placing these advertisements without any regard for my persona or legal reputation.”

Lawrence Police chief John Romero agreed, telling the Boston Globe: “It is clear to me that Siglo 21 is willing to compromise any journalistic integrity it may have to sell a story, regardless of the truth, or the merit contained therein.”  Siglo 21 has been on a several month long campaign to smear the Lawrence Police by misrepresenting dozens of unsubstantiated claims of police abuse and reporting such allegations as fact to the Latino community. Oddly enough, anyone who tries to call them on the carpet for such bad behavior is branded by the paper as a “racist.”

But this time the slanderous accusations won’t work because the author of the Boston Globe piece is non other than Latino-American Russ Contreras. Good Job Russ! If only the Tribune had such courage!

 *Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The June 2007 Edition of the Valley Patriot
The Valley Patriot is a Monthly Publication.
All Contents (C) 2007
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