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Tom Dugggan's Notebook


Three Cheers for LeeAnn Condon & Charlie Daher

LeeAnn Condon, new recreation/event coordinator for the city of Methuen has already raised $12,000 in private funds to pay for the Methuen tree lighting festivities. A special thanks to Tibo Lumber and Amore Electric for their donations to the tree lighting ceremonies and LeeAnn Condon for all the hard work she is doing to save the city of Methuen badly needed funds. Condon said she wanted to thank Charlie Daher of Commonwealth Motors in Lawrence for being a community partner and underwriting the 4th of July celebration. The Valley Patriot has also signed on as a Community Partner for a future event.

Rumbo printing John Birch Society press releases! Huh?

I was quite surprised to see that Rumbo (the sometimes bilingual newspaper in Lawrence) was printing press releases from The John Birch Society (JBS)  … did I see that right?  The press release discussed freedom and the 4th of July and advocated donating to and joining the Society.  What the press release failed to mention, but the JBS website does, is that the Society stands for “No illegal Immigration, No Amnesty and No Guest Workers”  According to Sourcewatch.org  “JBS advocates … the repeal of all civil rights legislation, which it sees as being Communist in inspiration.”  With Rumbo attacking Superintendent Wilfredo T. Laboy for what they call “segregation” because he has decided to place newly arriving non-English speaking students in the “old” high school, I wonder how the Rumbo editors can then print a press release from the JBS, which advocates repealing all civil rights. As the caveman in the Geico commercial says … duh… WHAT?

Congratulations to the Massachusetts Senate & State Senator Steve (Mr. Microphone) Baddour

I want to recognize a vote of 34-0 in the Massachusetts Senate banning the practice of Internet hunting.  Anti-hunting Groups such as the Humane Society of the United States paired up with pro-hunting groups of the National Rifle Association and the Safari Club International in opposing the practice of Internet Hunting.  Internet hunting involves sitting at your computer, picking a deer or other animal and then with a click of the mouse, the animal is killed and the “trophy” is shipped to your home.  The NRA opposes Internet hunting stating “it has nothing to do with hunting.” The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for their vote.

Councilor Leahy Miffed

Methuen City Councilor Phil Leahy attended a fund-raiser last month for his colleague Steve Zanni at a local restaurant (which does not advertise with The Valley Patriot). He said he came to show his support for the council president. But as Steve Zanni took the podium to thank his guests, Leahy got quite the surprise. “I think what the City Council did last week, the way a certain individual was treated, was just wrong. We need to treat people better,’ Zanni said. The Council President was talking about the way the City Council red lined the Human Resource Director’s position out of the budget, leaving David Baine without a job. Leahy was the deciding vote to terminate Baine, who was hired as the Human Resources Director by former Mayor Sharon Pollard. Sources in Mayor Manzi’s office tell The Valley Patriot that Baine will not be off the city payroll, however. Manzi is planning on appointing Baine as a temporary replacement for Veteran’s Services Director Ed “Hoppy” Curran. For his part, Leahy stormed out of the event saying he was deeply offended. “I think I was just insulted,” Leahy said.

Children denied use of Town Fields

The North Andover Board of Selectmen voted to close town-owned fields on the first day of Town Meeting because they think government interference with sports will make the town care more about the politics of town meeting. Even Republican Jim Xenakis supported the measure spearheaded by outgoing finance committee member Melinda Coppa. Tom Zahoruiko was right in his opposition to this measure. Closing the town fields (and, by the way, not the school fields) will not encourage more participation at town meeting. It will only deny children of families who have no interest in town politics the opportunity to enjoy the fields. 

North Andover Officials Stepping Down

Several of North Andover’s elected and appointed officials have made it known that they are not returning to public service next year when their terms expire. Selectman Tom Licciardello respectfully announced last month that he will not seek a second term to the board, citing financial losses and the “incredible burden” that being an elected official has had on his time with his family and his business. Also not returning to the Board of Selectman next year is Jim Xenakis (who saw fit to tell the Eagle Tribune before telling us). Xenakis will be sorely missed, as he has been one of the very few real conservatives the board has had in the last 10 years. Melinda Coppa, member of the Finance Committee, says she is not going to seek reappointment next spring and School Committee disaster Tim Pybus has seen fit to follow in the footsteps of his mentors Dan Murphy and Al Perry by not seeking reelection next March. Why so many officials jumping ship all at once? I really don’t know. I just hope that we can recruit responsible, conservative candidates to replace them, otherwise … well … Diane Huster is still desperately trying to be relevant in town and I don’t think anyone wants to see her ascend back into the spotlight simply because there are no other qualified candidates. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble ….

Dave Abdoo to Run for City Council … Murphy Could Jump In

Lawrence planning board member David Abdoo, who lives in the Mount Vernon section of South Lawrence, has taken out nomination papers to run for city council. Abdoo, if successful, will replace outgoing Councilor Gilbert Frechette who is not running for reelection. Abdoo may face a crowded field with Matty Brien (Lantigua’s candidate) and Dan Rooney (nobody’s candidate) already taking out papers. Former Lawrence police officer Thomas Murphy is reportedly giving “serious consideration” to jumping into the race as well. While there is going to be a very tough fight for that third at-large spot on the city council, this District “E” race to represent South Lawrence West will certainly be the one to watch. (Editors Note: Tom Murphy will not seek election to the Council)

Grisel Silva’s Public Behavior

To those of you who call and email me regularly saying that I “control” City Councilor Grisel Silva (sometimes even calling to yell at ME for the votes SHE takes) I wonder what all of you thought about her ridiculous vote and her bad behavior last week when she almost single handedly shut down the city of Lawrence with her vote against the emergency 30 day budget? For the record, I lobbied councilors hard to support the emergency measure to prevent an interruption in city services and to make sure city employees get paid after July 1st.. So I say again, anyone who thinks that I or anyone else can “control” City Councilor Grisel Silva (including herself) obviously doesn’t know her very well.

Political Stocks: Who’s Up and Who’s Down Since Our Last Edition

DOWN: Andover State Representative Barry Finegold. Barry was well on his way to chipping away at Niki Tsongas’ double digit lead in the 5th congressional race when he was asked why, if he is pro-abortion, that he would sponsor a bill mandating women who are seeking an abortion receive medical information on the risks of the procedure. Instead of using the issue as a chance to distance himself from the other candidates and take a more moderate position on the abortion issue Finegold balked and retreated from the bill. Instead of explaining to the public that anyone who has any medical procedure should be informed of the risks, he said he didn’t know how his name was added to the list of sponsors. Then, to prove how pro-abortion he really is, Finegold had his name removed as a sponsor of the bill, thereby denying critical medical information to women who are struggling with their choice. My only question to Finegold and the rest of the pro “abortion on demand” crowd is this: isn’t “choice” irrelevant when you do not have all the information about the choice you are about to make? Just wondering.

UP: Lowell City Councilor Eileen Donoghue. You would think that Finegold’s blunder on the abortion issue would benefit the front runner Niki Tsongas, but according to internal polling figures leaked to the Valley Patriot it is Eileen Donoghue who is picking up support among voters. In the end, the abortion issue is completely irrelevant in this race because there is absolutely no difference between any of the candidates’ positions except one: Jim Miceli, who is pro life … and he can’t win.

UP: Jennifer Kannan. Candidate for city council at large. Jennifer Kannan has been turning heads on the political scene in Methuen since she announced her intentions to run. Insiders are very excited by Kannan’s candidacy and a quick poll of the movers and shakers in Methuen has me calling her the front runner in that race.

UP: Lawrence City Council President Patrick Blanchette. Blanchette was able to put aside his hatred for Mayor Michael Sullivan and fight for a 30 day emergency budget last week instead of continuing with the recent mantra of personal insults and obstruction tactics at the council table. Patrick is still not happy with the submitted FY08 budget and is sure to pick it apart piece by piece when it is discussed later in the month, but that’s what he and his fellow councilors were elected to do. What I expect of Blanchette and the rest of the council is that, when it really counts and it’s going to affect the lives of city workers (and residents), that they put aside personal feelings and do what is right for the people. It is sad that Councilor Grisel Silva could not do that.

UP: 5th District Congressional Candidate Niki Tsongas. Let’s face facts, Tsongas is a pro and her campaign team is outstanding. The first television commercial touting Tsongas’ commitment to American servicemen returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan was perhaps the most effective tv commercial any candidate for office has run in the last four years.

While I disagree with Tsongas on 90% of her issues, from a strategy standpoint, this commercial was hard hitting, it was positive, it was emotional and it grabbed your attention right away. The fact that her father survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and is featured prominently in the ad goes to show just how good her consultants are ... now if only we could get some of those advertising dollars!

Selectmen’s Spin

Members of the North Andover Board of Selectmen were pretty upset by our lead story last month detailing how their property values went up while their tax bills went down. The story detailed how the majority of the pro-override selectmen would barely be affected by the proposed override (which passed). So, they decided to put a hilarious “spin” on the story suggesting that the reporter (Paula Porten) who wrote the story was insinuating that there was some kind of wrongdoing or illegality going on, which was clearly not the case. The fact is, and cannot be disputed no matter how many times they cloud the issue, the majority of the pro-override selectmen had a decrease in their taxes while their property taxes went up. Shame on the selectmen for lying about what the article clearly stated “An investigation by the Valley Patriot has found no wrongdoing or illegality.” For the record, Paula Porten supported the override and did not write the story to hurt the override effort.

Still Waiting for Sue Tucker

Andover State Senator Sue Tucker has yet to make an endorsement in the 5th congressional race. Tucker said back in March that she was going to endorse a “woman” because, she said, “We need a woman in congress.” This is about as absurd as it gets. Using a person’s gender as the main criteria as to who should or should not be elected is as prejudice as choosing someone because they are white, or male or Catholic. Since there are only three candidates without male appendages in the race for congress I am still wondering if she is going to support Eileen Donoghue, Niki Tsongas or Jamie Eldridge?

 *Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The July 2007 Edition of the Valley Patriot
The Valley Patriot is a Monthly Publication.
All Contents (C) 2007
, Valley Patriot, Inc.
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Tom Duggan
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Valley Patriot of the Month


Patrick Blanchette
D.J. Beauregard
Jim Cassidy
D.J. Deeb
Marcos Devers
Bob Desmarais
Regina Faticanti
Jim Fiorentini
Bill Kelly
Wilfredo Laboy
Peter Larocque
Vilma Lora
Ed Maguire
Billy Manzi
Paul Murano
Mark Palermo
Hartley Pleshaw
Debbie Quinn
Raise Em Right
Dr. Peary
Kathleen Corey Rahme
Barney Reilly
Angel Rivera
Jim Rurak
Grisel Silva
Mike Sullivan
Sandra Stotsky
Mike Sweeney
Ken Willette
Scott Wood
Jim Xenakis