Presidential Timber and a Few Words on Elephants and Donald Trump

I have the good luck of being able to sit with some remarkable men every morning, or most mornings in the week.  They communicate easily, see things not my way, but in a way that they are comfortable with; and they are largely Republican.  Two were Colonels in the Armed Forces, a rank that is not easily acheived.  One was a fighter pilot around the time that Hollywood made being a fighter pilot sound like the best position in the world.  Another was a JAG in the Armed Forces.  The others, except for me, all served their country.  One even did so during the Cuban Missle Crisis.  I enjoy their take on what is going on in  the world,  but usually I disagree with their conclusions.  They do not threaten to string me up, but sometimes they get impatient with my Democratic philosophy.  I get equally impatient with their Republican ones.  Usually, they support Donald Trump, which to me is a anathema.  How can learned men support a man who allegedly had  a series of relationships with women of questionable character while he was pursuing the Presidency of the United States.  They stick up for him citing Kennedy’s reputation.  I point out that Kennedy never got caught.  He may or may not have cheated on his wife, but if he did, he did it quietly.

I do not get their points usually.  They are intelligent men who supported my brother-in-law, the late U.S. Senator Paul E. Tsongas in his quest to become the 1992 Democratic Presidential nominee.  As such, I assume that they agreed with Paul on special issues like conservation.  I read this morning that Donald Trump eviscerated two National Parks in order to allow oil drilling in parts of National Parks that were coveted and protected by President Teddy Roosevelt, whose statue is on Mount Rushmore.  Take that, Paul Tsongas.  Paul was the person who worked both sides of the aisle to get the Alaskan Lands Bill passed.  That protected Alaskan land which was the size of the State of Indiana,  from drilling and oil exploration.  It is, of course, one of the first National Parks targeted by Donald Trump and now there is exploration and drilling up there.

Paul Tsongas was one of those people who recognized that politics was a means to an end, not the end itself.  He got the support of Republicans in his legislation and it is hard to find one of his Republican Senate friends speaking ill of his efforts.  Paul Tsongas was the Democrat who came out and told people that the United States needed to work determinably together to realize the special significance of this effort at democracy.  He understood that democracy was only instilled in Athens, Greece for a mere one hundred years.  The Greeks could not understand to the fullest extent what they had.  They reverted to a monarchy one hundred years after the inception of democracy.  As Adolph Hitler said repeatedly, democracy was too encumbered to be able to fight in the modern world.  He advocated a dictatorship, and proved its inability to function well during World War II.

These men I mentioned earlier, were, I am fairly certain, supporters of Paul Tsongas’ effort to run for the presidency.  I have some literature from that period and it reads like who’s who in liberal thought.  Paul was far, even though he was able to reach across the aisle, from being a conservative.  But, I believe that most of these breakfast buddies of mine, supported him in his efforts.  One piece of old Tsongas literature comes from the New Hampshire presidential campaign.  The Boston “Globe” headline says that “N.H. Environmentalists  Back Tsongas.”   If I am correct in my surmising that most of these men supported Paul’s effort for the presidency, then they have changed to supporting a super-conservative approach to conservation.  Some of them have even traveled to the West to catch salmon.  They enjoyed all that conservation could bring to them.  The Salem, OR “Statesman” said in 1992, before we had any trillion dollar debts that “We have had plenty of experience with handsome public officials, we’re ready for someone who puts   brains, wisdom, integrity, and action first.” (1992)  The Cleveland “Plain Dealer” said Paul had “…The backbone to say how he plans to raise money for his programs.” (1992)

There are two concepts in those two sentences that explain why Paul Tsongas continues to be thought of in a good way twenty years after his untimely death.  Here he was, coming out with a free book to explain how he was going to finance his programs, and use his wits to finance the United States government.  The only dirty word I ever heard him say, at least in his delivery, was TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS.  He did not want to float a loan for one trillion dollars, let alone one and one half trillion dollars as a supposed tax break.  Wait until we have to pay that one off.

So I am confused.   Keynesian Economics states that a nation in a time of great financial hardship can borrow against anticipated revenues in the future.  But, I have read Keynes’ book, I have a copy of it, and nowhere does it say that you can have a flexible debt ceiling and float trillions of dollars in debt.  Instead, what it does say is that you can pay back your debt when the original problem is corrected.  I have a great many disagreements with this President.  How can he, two days ago, reintroduce and re-entertain the idea that you can hunt elephants and bring Dumbo back with you with your other prizes?  Who thinks like that?  I would venture a guess that my intelligent Republican friends do not agree with that one.  Maybe I am wrong, but I do not think so.

This country is in a deep flux.  We have to start listing our own lists of items that we want to have cared about, and work to acheiving them.  It was a great thing that so many people came out to vote in the Texas primaries.  Only by getting involved can we maintain our independence.  It is essential that we maintain our independence.  Conservatism is part of our culture, as is Liberalism.  Conservation is the same as Democratic ideals on the environment.  It is just from a different angle.  Neither is inherently right or wrong.

In the newspaper, “Nature’s Voice,” the writers and editors point out that Trump is pushing a “climate destruction plan.”  is a directive that the U.S. E.Protection Agency dismantle President Obama’s historic Clean Power Plan.  One of my Republican friends asked me to critique an article by Eugene Robinson which stated that Trump’s damage will last decades.  I cannot critique it because I believe it.  Mr. Robinson is right on, in my opinion.  He states rightly that in South America most transparency efforts are a “joke.”   I believe that.  So here I have a number of good friends who  believe in the Republican idea that Trump is a Republican.  He isn’t.  He is either a Populist, if I was trying to be nice; or he is a Liberterian.  Be like the first Republicans who pushed Abraham Lincoln to run for his second election outside the hallowed halls of Republicanism.  That’s right, Mr. Lincoln was not a member of that group in 1864.  Calling Trump something other than a Republican is just the truth.  That is why so  many special Republican families did not support Trump.  The Bush’s, who are both past Presidents, do not support Trump.  Maybe they know something we don’t know.


Protected under Copyright by James A. Peters

Teddy Roosevelt versus Donald J. Trump

I am a member of Lowell, Massachusetts Sustainability Council which is designed to promote and augment the effort to save the planet by agreeing that Climate Change is a real phenomenon and it can cause changes in the weather.  It is indicative that it is the increasing of the carbon level in the air and water that causes part of this event.  The current President, Donald J. Trump, does not believe that carbon in the atmosphere is even there, let alone a cause of the changes in the weather.  By denying that fact, he finds himself in the unenviable position of being labeled many as laughable or in the use of curse words as he tries to rollback the nation’s realization that the nation is in danger of poisoning itself.  Even eating freshwater fish poisoned by airborne  mercury that taints the water is not a wise move in this chemically-laden climate.

I have been reading Teddy Roosevelt’s, the former President’s, speeches, to acclimate my desire to refute Donald Trump’s stand on conservation and ecology.   I believe this is the most reckless President of the 20th. or the 21st. Centuries.  Teddy Roosevelt had none of the many ways we can now chart climate change, but his conclusions are better, and his vision clearer, than his Presidential follower.  Teddy Roosevelt would probably not champion the extraction method of “fracking,”  without some solid evidence that it is safe for the environment.  Fracking is the buzzword for spraying old oil wells with treated water to allow whatever oil that might be left, to rise to the surface.  It is used liberally in Oklahoma, which has seen surface anomalies like earthquakes and such, as they increase incredibly in areas that are party to the fracking  craze.   We do have different ways of preserving Oklahoma.  We could just take the money wrapped up in electric/gasoline combustion engines and save the need to destroy that state.

Mr. Roosevelt did not ban fracking.  He, in truth, never heard of the word.  It is a recent phenomenom.  But given his love of the land, I believe that he would be extremely interested in the science behind the procedure.  He wrote many books, including “The Strenuous Life,” which, when read, makes you think that this was a man who lived life fully, and enjoyed it.  He talks about certain types of men, and concludes that “…really, (the character)  is not moral at all…Though extremists after a fashion, they are morally worse, instead of better, than the moderates.”

“There remains, however, a considerable group of men who are really striving for the best, and who mistakenly, though in good faith, permit the best to be the enemy of the good.”  If their attitude is right, then “…it is right once in a hundred times they are apt to be blind to the harm that they do the other ninety-nine times.”  “Hysteria in any form is incompatible with sane and healthy endeavor.”  Perhaps that observation explains the behavior of the Republicans who pride themselves on being “Tea-Party Republicans.”  They hit the nail on the head once and are in the process of thinking that the rule of sane and healthy behavior applies to them.  (The Strenuous Life” by Theodore Roosevelt, Dover Publications, Inc. of New York).

The fact is, that glaciers are melting, that polar bears really are endangered by melting ice floes, that temperatures are becoming more volatile under current conditions.  No one can argue with that.  Donald Trump tries, but his efforts fall on a lot of deaf ears, as they say.  His denial of the state of the world following his actions regarding the Paris Treaty, all point to a man who may have some luck in painting the world through his own eyes as they vent in carbon pollution.  He cannot apparently see what is in his own vision.  He is not a visionary.

“Each  President reviews the past, depicts the present, and forecasts the future of the nation.” (“Messages and Papers of the Presidents; Vol. XV 7245-7812;” 1911)  This is a pretty tall order, and one that I fail to see the current holder of the office doing.  He seems mostly interested in telling the past from his perspective, having little time for the present, and no time for the future.  He is apparently dependent on releasing one item at a time into the stratosphere, one campaign promise which might or might not be  crucial to his presidency, and then another, and another if he is able.  Roosevelt says he needed to “…go about these tasks of organization, education, and communication with the best and quickest results.”  He was interested in agriculture and the American farmer, someone I do not recognize as being important to this President.  “This can be done by the collection and spread of information.” (ibid.)

At one point, Roosevelt stated that he was worried that Congress would  be “…reluctant to undertake a work the cost of which could not be stated, even approximately, and the details of which had not advanced – so far as could be ascertained – beyond the experimental stages.” (ibid. Pg. 7284)  Roosevelt was worried about the cost of replacing tired old cannons with modern ones in his Presidency.  This President does not worry about giving tax cuts to the wealthy to the tune of one and one-half trillion dollars, with no statement about how it was going to be financed.  Roosevelt was worried about the future.  This President obviously is not.

One point of common concern between these two Presidents was the status of “Porto Rico (Puerto Rico)  Roosevelt wanted to have a wise administration that funded Porto Rico, as he spelled it, properly.  President Trump has barely recognized Puerto Rico’s importance to the United States by funding some of the island’s Hurricane Irma’s costs.  His treatment of the island is an insult to our ownership, albeit as a colony, or potential statehood.  His treatment of the island’s populace is a blight on our colonial requirements for the battered island.  These are our fellow citizens and as such, they deserve to be treated fairly.  He has not done that.

Teddy Roosevelt was so beloved that his statue became part of the famous four Presidents on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  I do not believe that Donald Trump has to worry about a sculpture being made of him.  The President in 1902 had to   verify the elections and he said, “It would not be safe to make any change in the present system.  The elections this year were absolutely orderly, unaccompanied by any disturbance, and no protest has been made against the management of the elections (although in three contests nationwide) it …was “threatened where the majorities were very small and error was claimed; the contests, of  course, to be settled in court.”  Reminds me of the “Russian threat.”  But, the current president refuses to let the courts, which Roosevelt was proud to make a part of the process, check into the discrepancies in the election cycle.  Wouldn’t be nice to have Roosevelt’s approach to our elections?

“Home life is the highest and finest product of civilization.”  Roosevelt told the Congress, in a ‘Special Message’ on February 15, 1909.  “Children should not be deprived of it except for urgent and compelling reasons.” (ibid.; Page 7358)  He just keeps making the Presidency look better and better.  He even has a building plan called the “Cottage Plan.”  This was to design small homes for people in need throughout the United States.

Roosevelt was a Republican.  Trump is a Republican.  Roosevelt took office with the specific goal of helping the poor and middle classes.  Trump has benefited the wealthy.  Roosevelt reviewed the past, took on the wealthy, especially the trusts.  He depicted the present situation in most of his messages to Congress; and he forecasted in great detail the future of the country.  He lived up to his promises.  Trump likes to say that he is living up to his word in the election.  But, as I believe I pointed out, few billionaires, given billions more in tax breaks, are going to necessarily give away or invest in risky bets.  That is what the stock market is, and that is why it bombed on February 1, 2018.    Roosevelt had a plan, and only when it was pointed out to him that he could do it that way, did he use his Executive Orders to make the Interior Department and circumvent the Congressional bickering.  He introduced the liberal use of the Executive privilege to save the greatest land masses in the Union.  He started the National Park system.  He was a conservationist.  Trump wants to use that land to make the rich richer.  It is our land and we should take pride in it and take care of it.  At least, that is my opinion.

*Copyright by James A. Peters  ISBN 1-5323-2802 – 5

Keynesian Economics and Republicanism

I had a conversation with a Congressional candidate and I brought up Keynesian Economics and Keynes’ book, entitled “How to Pay for the War.”  The entire gist of Keynes’ book is that it is alright for nations to float loans in times of heavy economic demand if they pay the loans off afterwards.  In America, we gave up balanced budgets again and again.  Now, with twenty one and one half trillion dollars of debt, the United States is not in a position to pay off its debt.  It will take years.  During his 1992 presidential bid, Paul Tsongas warned against the difficulty of paying off one trillion dollars in debt.  Both Bush and Obama did not soften the impact of poor debt repayment by paying much money against the debt.  Well, Obama tried but could not fix the situation.  Bush did not even try.  Neither did his father.  I admire the Bushes, but I have to agree that they did not try.

Clinton tried, and succeeded but largely through dipping into Social Security money.  No President has actively attempted to pay off the enormous debt by making the firm and necessary motions to pay back the debt.  We are becoming a third rate country, especially with Trump.  Mr. Trump does not seem to believe in anything resembling paying off the debt.  I doubt that he has any idea how hard it is going to be just to pay off the trillion and one half dollars that he passed as a stop-gap measure for supposed middle class tax cut(s).  We did not get tax cuts, we got a tax increase of a trillion and one half dollars.  Whether there will be a tax response showing individual billionaires willing to do what Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft supposedly promised, by expanding his wealthy empire with a new paper mill because of the trillion and one half debt incentive, is going to take some time to process.  If others take their large gift and use it as a business incentive, then possibly Trump’s gamble will have worked.  Only time will tell.  I have not seen too many people willing to part with billions of dollars when it has been given at the largesse of the public.  I do not expect that they will either.

In his book, “The Imperious Economy,” David Calleo says that President Jimmy Carter expected to  cut the federal budget by 12.2% in fiscal 1977, and 7% in fiscal 1978, while I paid 16.6% interest on my home in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Financiers keep trying to push federal cuts to the budgets as long as forty or more years ago.  Jimmy Carter’s cuts would not have done much for my bottom line given the high interest home loan I had to pay on, and pay off.  He called for a balanced budget a number of times but he also increased the fee paid by balancing the budget by raising Social Security taxes on the expenditure.

France and Germany of that day realized that “the United States could not end its deficits abruptly without great disruption.”  (Pg. 53)  If that was true in 1978, it certainly is true now.  We cannot end our deficits of 21 1/2 trillion dollars “without great disruption.”  The current president has said that he will build a wall and “make Mexico pay for it.”  (LTC Coverage of 2014 election).  Mexico at no time has indicated that it would pay for a wall to hem in the United States of America and Mexico.   That has forced the president to state that someone will build the wall, but he apparently does not know who.  His predecessor, William Jefferson Clinton, also used Social Security to balance the budget.  Social Security is a program which is paid for by its constituents, it is not a federal tax.

The presidential candidate “…must deal with the whole structure of leadership in a state, just as a President must do in dealing with a foreign nation.”  (The  Embattled Presidency)  In short, the average President is thrown under the wheels of the cart while he or she tries to determine what his or her parameters are in America.  That type of reflection has not hindered the current holder of the office.  He does not seem to mind being thrown under the cart.


I often ask my Republican friends how they can make this president into a good man when he exhibits so many anti-Republican tendencies.  They commonly, but not always say that he is a product of a divided party, and that he is not a Republican but a Progressive, in the oldest sense of the word.  I think that this may underscore his vulnerability.  He is the wrong man living in the wrong time.  He needs to be disposed of and some other man or woman take his place.  He has served his purpose, that being the remaking of a white citizen.  Whites, and I am one, seem to think that they are closer to God, closer to the American dream, and closer to the Constitution than others.  It is up to the rest of us to decide if that is true.

We are a nation that prides itself on its inherent superiority.  Winston Churchill thanked President Truman for his saving of democracy.  Of course, that took a group or maybe millions of people to  accomplish that but credit was given to Truman.  Truman once said that it takes forty years to get a fair appraisal of one’s presidency.  He then proceeded to live those forty years with his wife in Missouri.  He then wrote about his accomplishments at great length.  His presidency was deemed a success, maybe not so much now as at the end of the forty years.  He was quite a man, and his longetivity was incredible.  He lived the end of his life without Secret Service protection.

People would visit his house and steal pieces of the structure of the house, like pieces of his clapboarding, which he always instructed his employees to rebuild at his expense.

In all fairness to history, Truman probably eclipsed Franklin Delano Roosevelt in accomplishments while in the Presidency.  While FDR oversaw the building of the first atomic bomb, Truman used it to stop the war with Japan.  While FDR stated that things had to change in our relations with minorities, Truman passed legislation doing just that.  He integrated the armed forces.  He was apparently more conscious of discrepancies in the treatment of Black servicemen than FDR was.   He was a unique man, who used part of his time in the White House living at the Blair House while the termite-infested White House was rebuilt into the magnificient fortress that it is today.

Getting back to John Maynard Keynes, he did not see the world as being in constant debt with one another.  “The figure which we have taken ..for the increased expenditure of the Government is 1,850 million pounds, of which 150 million pounds could be taken out of accruing depreciation not made good at home and 350 million pounds from assets and borrowing abroad before allowing anything for noble saving.”  In other words, spend the money that is necessary, even though it seems disingenuous, because the war had to be paid for, no matter how much seemed to be tied up in debt.

He asks if the rich can pay for the war.  He finds that that is not a logical conclusion.  The rich want to stay rich.   That is what we are finding in today’s trillion and one half trillion “Middle class tax cut.”  As I stated, the rich want to stay rich.  We have a credit card approach to our current deficit.  We just pay more and more against the debt, especially the interest.  We do not seem to be very interested in how  high that interest becomes.  Like a credit card.

So that is where we are.  We are literally between the proverbial “rock and a hard place.”  We can no longer say we are involved in Keynesian Economics.  We are far beyond that, and the only reason some of our lenders have not called on us to pay our debt is because they realize that calling in the debt would bankrupt the premier economic engine in the world.  We will have to pay it eventually.  Right now, we cannot afford it.  For many years I have been arguing that we raise the tariff.  A couple of days ago, President Trump called for the same idea to be practiced.  Also, one of the biggest mistakes we have made is to ignore our debt.  I hope we have enough time to fix it.  My younger brother calls the United States a “third world country.”  He bases his stand on the fact that so much of our labor is unused.  He thinks that our trade deficit is partially because of NAFTA, and I partially agree with him.  NAFTA was an ill-conceived notion.  It needs to be renegotiated.  American car companies hardly build in America today.  Some of those plants are going to the cheaper labor in Mexico.  Millionaires need to be held accountable for their business decisions.  If that happens we might be getting somewhere.  Time will tell.





Cholera Again and other Government Inefficiencies

In 1892 the Lowell Sun newspaper discussed the cholera problem.  They mistakenly thought that cholera was a virus, not a bacterial infection.  They reported that there were cases of cholera in the medical journals of the day, and that one case had been removed to the hospital.  They used that information to state that “This is considered to be a direct admission that the case is one of genuine cholera.” (Sun, September 20,  1892)  If they did not think that it was a genuine case, I guess they would have stated that fact.

Progress, says one man I admire, “moves at the speed of government.”  That is not lightening speed.  It is not even turtle speed.  It is virtually a ‘stuck in the mud’ speed.  Cholera would eventually kill many in Lowell who drank directly from the Merrimack and Concord Rivers.  Water was not processed then.  It is now.  The people, who carried no live illness that could be transmitted to another, drank whatever was in the water of the Merrimack.  This was at a time when the mill water was mixed with cloth dyes and transferred to the main current of the river.  In Lowell, the threat of cholera resulted in the realization that you would be drinking feces and urine with your water.  Police from the state were sent upstream from Lowell to the New Hampshire border and the discovered and shut down a welding operation which allowed employees to urinate into the direct flow of the Merrimack River.  Yes, they could culminate in adding their feces to the river water.  The doctors at Lowell General were given to warning people about drinking the water, and it was eventually purified, but it took some time before that happened.

I was enjoying a brief history of the Electoral College system in a book today.   I recently wanted to test my hypothesis that we knew what the Founding Fathers wanted in the Constitution because James Madison took prolific notes on the formation of the Constitution.  To find out what Madison thought, we only needed to read his notes on the forming of the document.  It worked.  I read a book entitled “Miracle in Philadelphia, the Formation of the U.S. Constitution.”   I recently finished the book.  There was a great deal of drudgery, and a great deal of knowledge in that original document.  If it had been up to some states like my own, Massachusetts, we would never have had a Constitution.  But, fortunately, little Delaware saw the handwriting on the wall and became the first state to join the Union.  The other states came in as soon as their legislatures allowed.  It was not a pretty sight, but it worked and the document was published, heckled, and pored over.  So, when I think of that man’s admonition, “It moves at the speed of government,” I have a better understanding as to how much speed he is referring to, and how fast or slow it progresses.

Government can move fairly quickly.  In his book, “Political Man,” Seymour Martin Lipset says “When a nation faces a crisis-major changes in its social, economic, or political system or in its international position-the electorate as a whole takes a greater interest in politics.” (Political Man,  The Social Bases of Politics).  Between 1876 and 1906 in France, the universities charted the course of voting trends to see if there was in fact a stronger current working its way towards progress.  They felt that there was.

In “The History of the American People,” Anthony Scott noted that the Emancipation Proclamation fulfilled its goal.  It kept the Europeans out of the war and allowed the Union to prevail.  Specifically, it stated that “From now on the Civil War was a war to end slavery.”  (The History of the American People)  “So great was the feeling of Europe against slavery that no European government, least of all the British, would dare help the South.” (ibid.)  Lincoln managed to keep the lions at bay by making the war about slavery, when he had looked upon it as being about the fate of the Union.  Slavery, Lincoln learned, was a much more strong pull on the fiber of the republic.  “The cost of the Civil War amounted to three billion dollars” according to Topics in American History” by Milton Jay Belasco.  Workers at this time made approximately $200.00 to $300.00 per year.  Three Billion dollars was a great deal of money.

So, in its fight against Cholera, in its formation of the Constitution, in the Emancipation Proclamation, and in its recognition of the cost of waging the most ferocious war in our history, all types of flexibility was practiced to make our government work.  It does work, however slowly.

This is an election year, meaning that this is one of the years that an election was dictated to happen by the Founders of the Constitution.  Our number of voters is seldomly higher that twenty-five percent.  In  the early days of communist Russia, it was noted by the Soviet government that the best Constitution in the world was in Russia.  Women were part and parcel of the people recognized as being involved in the government.  Slavery did not exist.  The rich had run out of space.  In short, it seemed to be a marvelous document.  But, there was one line to it that made it susceptible to criticism.  That was the last line of the document, which stated that only members of the Communist Party could be covered by the Constitution.   The other seventy-five percent were not covered and not allowed to vote.  They had to be members of the Communist Party to enjoy the freedoms of the document.  That meant that, automatically, twenty-five percent could vote.  That was all.

The United States, which claimed that close to one hundred percent of the union could vote, lost track of one small detail.  That was that of the voters, one hundred percent could vote, but only fifty percent of the population was registered.  Fifty percent could vote.  In addition, it was noticed that of those fifty percent, less than one quarter of the population, voted in any given election.   So, it was noted, the voting population of Americans was the same as the voting population of Russia.  But, take it a step further.  Less than 25% actually voted, making the level of participation in the American governmental system less than the total number of Russians who could vote in the Communist system.  Often, the voter turnout in the United States is down to fifteen to twenty percent of the population.  Democracy, the Greeks in Athens had learned in a short one hundred years, was a very challenging system.  It was hard to be democratic.  Especially in an election system.

That is my observation for today.  We do not vote, and if we do not vote, we have no right to complain.  So let’s get those people who have given up voting out to the polls once again.  Let us try to get those people who are not even registered, well, registered.

Somewhere in the future I will tell you about the closest vote that took place for statehood in the United States.  It is a clear indication of how important it is to get one vote.  See you then.



The Snowstorm of the New Year – 2018

I am a bit too busy.  Three television shows yesterday, and an aborted radio slot tonight.  Thank you, Sam Poulten.  Two days ago, the Lowell City Council and the Lowell School Committee held their bi-annual feast in celebration of the newer and not-so-new members.  The temperature on Tuesday was -4 or -5 degrees.   My dishwasher froze up, and I could not do dishes with a dishwasher until this morning when the temperature came up to 27 degrees.  The freeze matched the great freeze of 1917 for days that it lasted for, I believe the television said that it was of a significant duration, six or seven days long, matching 1917.  I know that my descriptive use of  English is a little labored, but hopefully you get the idea.

I met with two Congressional candidates thusfar, first Bopha Malone and Rufus Gifford.  Both are friends, Bopha has been a friend for many years, while Rufus is a newer friend.  Either would do well.  I noticed that I have 309,937 contacts on my blog’s list of the number of people who answered your blog.   Pretty nice for a guy from Iowa.

I am a little worried about my daughter today, because of the 13 to 18 inch snowfall.  Her car died last night.  It has to be repaired.  And my son is going out tonight to snowblow driveways and sidewalks.  So I am a little worried about him too.   There are supposed to be heavy winds and snowdrifts, so I hope that I left him with plenty of insulation.

Cars continue to vex me.  They work at their behest, not mine.  His truck is new to him.  Hopefully it holds up.  But again, motors vex me.  Hopefully, after  some TLC, they will all work.  My son takes care of me.  Actually my wife, my sons, and my daughter watch out for me.  My grandson makes me laugh, as does my grand-daughter.  There is nothing like grandchildren.  But, back to my son, he does my walk, my leaves, and all of the things that a bad heart keeps from you.  So I have no complaints.

The television shows are doing well.  I like getting up early for CityLife, which broadcasts from six in the morning until eight in the morning.  It wakes me up, and I cannot tell you I am scintillating  at that time of the morning.     I hope I am not  boring.

I was watching the weather on television and there is a great deal of flooding going on.  Houses in Gloucester are, in some stories, showing three feet of flooding in their living and dining rooms.  Schools are out again for tomorrow.  We are just hunkering down.  My father wrote a book entitled “We Muddled Through,” about growing up in the Great Depression.  It is an entertaining book.  And that is exactly what we are doing today, we are must muddling through.  This might be a long winter, if I had to bet based on today, I would say it will be.  Even my brother and his wife in South Carolina got hit by snow today.  And my little sister living in Florida saw sheets of ice on driveways and some streets. Some people don’t believe in climactic change.  I do.

A Victorian Christmas

A number of years ago, one of my student’s fathers bought a wealth of photographs from the 1800’s.  When we reviewed them, we found pictures from a Victorian Christmas at an English home.  We also found pictures of old trains, decorations, and a picture of the original Middlesex Canal.  It was quite a Yard Sale find.   I was surprised to find a Victorian Christmas decorated house.  Instead of Christmas trees, which the Anglican Church apparently did not take to, there were pine garlands wrapped around the fireplace.  The garlands were all around the rooms of the house,  but there was no tree.  The Germans brought over the Christmas tree.  The Germans and the English were not really talking at the time, and a Christmas tree was against the mores of the time.

Dickens wrote a Christmas book back in 1852.  I have a copy.  There are many mentions of Christmas but the quote I liked was about New Year’s Day.  It ran like this;

“The Year was old that day…The New Year, the New Year.  Everywhere the New Year!  The Old Year was already looked upon as dead; and its effects were selling cheap, like some drowned mariner’s aboard ship.  Its patterns were Last Year’s, and going at a sacrifice, before its breath was gone.  Its treasures were mere dirt, besides the riches of its unborn successor.”  (Stories for Christmas by Charles Dickens)  It is kind of interesting that Dickens was enamored with the New Year more than Christmas.  In this “Christmas Story,”  Christmas is not even mentioned.  Interesting.

This is the time period when some of our favorite Christmas songs were composed.   One horse open sleighs were the proper way to get around.  Now there was a problem with excrement from the horses but the City Fathers anticipated this problem.  They hired young boys to pick up horse manuer off of the cobblestones and even the snow.  “Silent Night” was written at about this time.  It was a guitar song, like some of Billy Joel’s songs.  It was a good guitar song, written for a guitar when the church organ was not usable.

Mistletoe was a big thing.  Young couples in love were supposed to find the mistletoe and kiss under it.  Everybody could see who was a couple.  That is basically early Christmas’s.  There were presents, often homemade.  There were books on how to make everything from wooden trains to small towns and cities.  Christmas was a time of intensive work in the workroom.  Women knitted or sewed, men worked with wood.  The results were deeply appreciated.  I remember when my parents made all of us toys out of everyday items.  My mother sewed small octopuses made out of yarn.  I loved mine.  It had eyes and a mouth.  I talked to it.

I have a great deal to talk about in my favorite school system, Lowell, Massachusetts.  I would first like to thank the 309,014 people who have responded to my blog.  That is quite a number.  Thanks to all of you.  I will try to get back to some of you, but I cannot get back to all of you so I am using this as my opportunity to acknowledge your many kind notes.

The Lowell School Department was started in 1826, when Lowell was incorporated as a town.  It continued on through the start of the Incorporation of the city in 1836.  In that time the great experiment, education of the mill girls on their own time, necessitated the start of a high school, which was formally founded in 1834 and built on Merrimack Street.  For some reason the start and location of the high school was stated to happen in 1831.  School Meeting Minutes of the School Committee stated that it was 1834 which was the start of the high school, and that it was not founded in 1831 on Middlesex Street, but in 1834 on Merrimack Street.  The legal document here was the act of the School Committee which started the high school.  That happened in 1834.  The new high school was ready for an August deadline.

So that is that.  Looking over some of my notes, I notice that the schools were the pride of many of the citizens of Lowell.  We were the first, probably in this country, to establish a night school program.  That was done so the average mill girl could attend school at night and learn to read and write.  That catapaulted the students to write.  Lucy Larcom was an example but certainly not the only one.  She is the one, however, we made a downtown park in her name.

Lowell was known for its water power.  The Merrimack River followed its own pathway until the canals and dam were built around 1826.  They were based on the brilliance of Frances (his friends called him Frank) Cabot Lowell.  He wanted the people working at the mills to have a good life.  He instituted a church for the girls to attend, and a downtown in which they shopped.   There were close ties between the mill owners and southern plantation owners.

One mistake, if you were looking at it from Kirk Boott’s perspective, was the hiring of the Reverend Theodore Edson as the pastor for what became the girl’s church.  They were mandated to go to church on Sunday, and that would be the only day that they could meet their boyfriends after church services.  There were parks for the girls, and schools as well.  Theodore Edson was closely tied to the schools, becoming the Chairman of the School Committee in 1826 and taking it upon himself to reach out to all of the girls in his domain.  For this he incurred the wrath of Mr. Boott.  The two remained enemies for years.

The other mill owners were not quite as stringent as Boott.  The Merrimack Mills, part of which were owned by the Lowell family, started the first school in the mills.  Lowell High School was always open to either girls or boys.  It was always integrated, with some free African Americans in the school.  The Lew family would barber and clothe African Americans running from slavery.  The better they looked, it was thought, the better their chances of settling in the North.  Linus Childs was the Manager of a mill.  He raised enough money to buy a slave known as Mr. Nathaniel Booth, back.

Interestingly, Preston Brooks, a southern Congressman, beat Senator Charles Sumner almost to death with his cane.  Mr. Sumner came back to his Senate seat but never was the force he was before the beating.

The city of Lowell was not as adverse to the issue of slavery as most of the North.  Slavery, it appeared, kept many of the mills in cotton, which they needed every day.  Lincoln did well in Lowell, but did not get one Electoral Vote from the South.

Lowell was a major cog in the path to freedom for many blacks.  People in Lowell had Underground Railroad leanings, but were very effective in assisting one another.  So the railroad, as it was called, was very effective.

Lowell was not as conservative on the slavery question, as people seemed to be.  Despite the fact that in the 1830’s they came out in droves to cheer for President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder, they maintained a strong feeling on slavery and its need to be curtailed, right through the 1860’s.   Men by the hundreds, or maybe even the thousands, signed up to be the first volunteers active in the army as a result of state secession.  The 6th. regiment was based in Lowell, and the first two soldiers to die in that bloody war were members of a Massachusetts infantry unit, Ladd and Whitney, whose graves were dug outside of what eventually became Lowell City Hall.  They are still there.

Well, I did not get into much education today.  Suffice it to say that Lowell did its part in the Civil War, with over 700 dead and their names etched in stone in the Memorial Library.

Andrew Jackson’s Battle Against the Native Americans

Hymn Before Action

(by: Rudyard Kipling)

                                  The earth is full of anger,

                                   The seas are dark with wrath;

                                    The Nations in Their Harness

                                      Go up against our path!

                                      Ere yet we loose the legions-

                                       Ere yet we draw the blade,

                                       Jehovah of the Thunders,

                                        Lord God of Battles, aid!…

                                         Lord, grant us strength to die!

     This poem was written in 1896, when war was thought to be honorable and necessary.  Rudyard Kipling also wrote a poem to honor the machine gun, because it made the business of colonizing that much easier.  I do not list the verses to that poem because it is so vicious.

     Before we get into Andrew Jackson and his battles against the Native Americans, we should point out one historical discrepancy.  Many have heard of the Battle of Hastings in the early Middle Ages.  In it, King Harold the Saxon is killed by an arrow through his head, which is listed in history as being launched by the hands of King William the Conquerer, who shot the arrow in the 1100’s.  The Saxon people are part of the group that invaded England in the 500’s AD.  Over the 500 years of their occupation, they merged with the Anglo’s and succeeded in taking over the nation, which was, under King Arthur, believed to be formed when the eighteen kingships of the Knights of the Round Table, were decimated in battle.

     Enter the Plantagenet era.  The Plantagenet line was a line of kings who emanated from the loins of King William the Ist.  It was a family that was to rule England for five hundred years.  Where am I going with this.  Well, about ten years ago they found the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, who was defeated in the War of the Roses, by Henry Tudor, the bastard son of the sitting Plantagenet king.  Henry Tudor fought against Richard, if my memory serves me correctly, and killed him.  He then made himself the King of England.  He declared the Tudors to be the Kings of England.

     Here is my problem.   In order to identify the remains of King Richard III, it was necessary to do a DNA test by finding a member of the royal line of the Plantagenets.  The Windsors, who currently occupy the throne, had to find a direct descendant of William the Conqueror, and they were not it.  The man they found was a direct descendant of the Plantagenets, and as such, in my opinion, is the rightful King of England.  His line is directly connected to Richard III.  The Windsor’s have no direct line to the rightful Kind of England, William the Conqueror.

     I just thought some of you might find that fact to be interesting.

Andrew Jackson and his Treatment of Native Americans

     The current president likes to compare his presidency to that of Andrew Jackson and there are parallels.  Both spoke directly to the people, both thought that they were speaking for the people.  Both had a low account of their poorer people, and both were probably, in history, the lowest ranked presidents in History.  Andrew Jackson debunked the Bank of the United States because he felt that it was too powerful, much like Mr. Trump and his protection of the wealthy.  Mr. Jackson felt that President of the Bank of the United State, Mr. Nicholas Biddle, had too much say over the banking processes of the federal government.  He was fired.

     What Jackson replaced the bank with, was a slew of smaller banks, including National Banks, which were empowered to make their own national bank currency.  There the comparison ends.  We have no real idea where Mr. Trump is taking us.  President Jackson was very clear in his stated goals.  Most of his term was dedicated to furthering the manifest destiny of the United States.  He wanted to move the Native Americans and found room for them in the  Southwest.  Now, early Eastern nations, and they were not tribes, they were nations.  They should have been treated as such.  Instead they were treated like non-citizens.  They had no rights.  Jackson just moved them west, leading the Cherokees to travel their “Trail of Tears.”  That is how great the deaths were in the forced march out of the Cherokee nation in the Eastern United States.  Jackson’s actions killed thousands.

     Conversely, the Creek nation in Florida and southern Georgia was wiped out by Jackson militarily.  He attacked the Creek towns and villages in force.  From November 1813 to March 1814, he had nine separate battles with the Creek people,  and many of the dead Creeks were women and children.  Native American towns were burned to the ground and hundreds of Creeks were killed.  “The end came at the battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River.” (History of the American People)  On March 27, 1814, he fought the Battle of the Tallapoosa River, where he killed, or had killed, over one thousand men, women, and children of the Creek nation.  The Mississippi Valley was finally open to American trade.  But the cost was too high.

     As a result of his victory, he became the head of the American Army in New Orleans.  In New Orleans he successfully turned back the British invasion by utilizing the cover of a dried canal and using the muskets like they were automatic rifles.  As each soldier readied his musket to fire on the British, he stepped off of the dirt mound in the canal, readied his rifle, and fired when it became his time to fire into the British wall of soldiers.  His commanders even told the soldiers to fire at the part of the British uniform that crossed the chest.  With such an easy target, he was able to have his men severely kill almost every soldier.

      It was a battle fought after the cessation of the war, but it was a decisive victory.  The Americans took the ground by doing what they learned to do in the Battle of Concord, Massachusetts.  They fought from behind trees, the canal bed, and a brick house in the middle of the battlefield.  The victory eventually made the simply dressed General President of the United States.  As President, he invited on Inaugural Day, the common man to the White House, much to the chagrin of the people who used the White House as their place of employment.  He fired most of them over time, and had the positions filled with friends or friends of friends.

     As President, and this is why he is considered a great one, he oversaw the hiring of people that he knew, but who were not tested, as his administration.  He used patronage to its greatest level.  He worked with President of Texas, Samuel Houston, to solidify the desires of certain Texans, including President Houston, to make Texas a state.  Texas became a state by one vote, the vote of the Indiana Senator to the United States Senate.  The effort quickly became a movement to include the southwestern states and California as the Manifest Destiny of the United States.  What that meant is that the United States, without caring about the Native Americans in its way, was to occupy the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.  It was a popular move at the time, and the first cross country railroad was built under the eyes of Abraham Lincoln.

     By taking the banks and turning small banks into banks that could do everything, including printing money, he destabilized the banking system to the point that Woodrow Wilson had to start the Federal Reserve System to make the economy solid once again.  He was a brilliant general, a far-reaching President, but his administration was filled with holes.  That is why I do not share the view that he was a great President.

Reporting Versus Reviewing

I like to say that CityLife does not just report the news, it also makes the news.  As an example, I use George Anthes’ statement that we need a City Architect, while I agree with him.  But, I often say to George that we are not reporting a news item, we are trying to change the structure of the city administration.  That is not reporting news, that is making the news.  It is a very sensitive area.  The Lowell Sun on Sunday, the twenty-second of October, did the same thing.  There is no doubt that the Lowell Sun does this type of thing, headlines often are not what we would like to have them be, instead they are goals that the reporter tries to acheive.  Someone at the newspaper makes a decision to headline a story and it is not worthy of a certain type of exposure.  In that case, the news organization “makes the news,” and does not just report it.

In my opinion, that is what happened in the Sunday Sun on October 22, 2017.  The Sun did put it on the front page, but saved the largest title for an innocuous story about whether or not students from the high school are attending after-school programs in the various programs that are available to them.  The main headline in the Sun was pushing an aspect of support for the Cawley option.  It read, “LHS Near Services, but Usage Not Great.”  Then the article is about the number of students who do not go to after-school programs available to them.  This is a direct swipe at a major point that the Downtown group makes, the swipe being that downtown is not necessarily used by a great many students from the high school.

In reality, it is probable that no students would take the time to go to those after-school programs if the high school was outside the perimeters of the downtown.  It would just be too much trouble to go back downtown to attend a program offered after school hours.  The Sun contradicts itself when it says “There appears to be at least dozens of students who walk after school to programs at places like the Lowell Community Health Center or the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Lowell.”  The Sun then goes on to say that that is “a small number in relation to the school’s student body…but a significant number to the agencies that provide them services.”

You cannot have it both ways, Lowell Sun, dozens of students is a significant  number.  Even the Superintendent of the Lowell National Park is quoted as saying, “If you’re just across the street, it’s a quick transit.”  Obviously Cawley would not be across the street.  It would be about two miles away.  That is a significant walk.  Especially in bad weather.

As I said, a real tragic thing happened in Lowell that  same edition, and it should have been the main story.  Instead, the Sun made a main story out of “Easy downtown access, but survey indicates no clear flood of students.”  Surveys are easy to make up,  I use to audit and come to conclusions for Wang all of the time.  I have completed hundreds of surveys.  They  are just pieces of paper that carry virtually no weight.  In my opinion, the Lowell Sun wanted to find survey results that echoed the premise that students were not attending after-school programs at various provider’s locations.

So, they did.  I could write a directly opposite survey result by talking to the students who attended these after-school programs.  It would be a valid survey and I could conclude that many students visited the National Park or the Boys and Girls Club, or some other place.  I could conclude that students were attending those after-school programs in droves.  And they are, it just was not published in the Sun.  Because, and this is just speculation, the Sun has come out for the Cawley option.  They want to win and they will do what they can to do that.  Isn’t politics fun?

Interesting Historical Educational Facts – Lowell, Massachusetts

I found these historical facts among some of my papers on my desk.   You do not want to go searching on my desk.   Heaven knows what will emanate from the stacks of papers.

In an early carnival, in 1911, there was the “Golden Balloon” ride, where you would ride in a balloon and look over the terrain below.  It was a very popular ride.  The Mayor even would sing “Up in a Balloon Boys.”  There are no records of harrowing adventures or people hanging on the outside of the balloon.  It was a very safe ride.

At about the same time, the Lowell schools were finally built.  The jewels were the new High School consisting of one well-built building with the capability, in what became known as “Coburn Hall,”   of holding up to 1,000 students in the hall under the eye of one solitary teacher sitting on a perch above the students.  They sat at tables throughout the hall.  When I went to Lowell High School, Coburn Hall was still there.  My father knocked it down by replacing it with six normal sized schoolrooms.

Outside the high school, the plan was for President Taft to tour the first automobile racetrack and start the festivities attached to the holding of the first automobile race of its size.  That was in 1911.  The high school was already filled to capacity and in a decade, the larger old building, referred to as the 1922 Building, would hold students in relative comfort for the next eighty years.  In 1983 a new building would be built across the canal, over the Locks and Canals Corporation’s claimed “air-space.”  That building is at the center of the current controversy on the building of a new high school.

In 1893, successive buildings were added to the Lowell School system.  The Bartlett, Moody, Butler, Pawtucket Memorial, and smaller schools would be described as the jewels in the throne.  Around this time, Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes said that the First Amendment did not mean you had the right to yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater.  He also said you could take all of the medicines in the United States, put them on a ship, sail it as far as it could go, sink it, and not be any the worse for the lack of medicine in the country.  There is no information on what Lowell’s patent medicine industry had to say about this.

Most medicine, he pointed out, was alcohol.  Medicine was to become very popular during the exercise called Prohibition.  That was because of its alcoholic content.

At the time, an injunction against auto racing would not pass muster.  Drivers got ready for Lowell’s answer to what would become the Indianapolis, Indiana’s “Indy 500.”    Meanwhile, in education, in Lowell at the time, the Directors of the Greek community opened a Greek school.  Teachers were at the Greek School and would be taught in Greek and English.

On the racing circuit, Al Poole ran the oval in eighteen minutes  and twenty-eight seconds.  We know that the mills closed for the race, it is assumed that the schools did too.  There is no verification for that, though.

Students were not overlooked by the race officials.  In 1911, there were no licenses apparently because the race officials put aside a new car for a lucky boy or girl.  It is unknown who won the drawing, or which lucky boy or girl walked away with the prize.  But, he or she could legally drive it home.

On an earlier note, the Irish School, which was opened by the early Lowell School Committee, was closed because all of the Irish distrusted the English and Americans so much that they refused to enroll their children in a Protestant-oriented school of the city’s making.  They went to Catholic Schools.  There was a test of basic skills which was to be coordinated by publishing the times it was to be held in the “papers of the time.”  Each of the above examinations would take place at two o:clock.  Ten Primary Schools were included.  The unfortunate Irish School was still funded at the amount of eighty dollars per year, which it was not to exceed.       Around the year 1834, long before the Lowell Auto Race, Lowell High School was to occupy a spot on Merrimack Street at the Concert Hall, which was rebuilt to hold the students from the high school.  The School Committee paid $95.00, a princely sum, to Mark Rogers to make desks and seats for the students.  It was largely because of the expense of making seats and desks, that students were soon acquainted with the fact that education was seen as a feeder system for the mills and their projects.  Now, meaning today, in education, it is believed that the reason for such regimentation was to keep the students ready for the discipline and rigor of millwork.

The high school was not omitted.  William Dauncey was to be “admitted to (give) examinations for admission to the high school.”  The seventh grader, at this time, was old enough to be a school teacher so she or he did not need a high school education.  The mills put so much time into this effort that it was noted that the Hamilton Corporation had three primary schools, with paid teachers.  To give you a better sense as to how much the aforementioned money amount of $95.00 was, the man who was hired by the Hamilton Corporation to sweep and clean  the stoves in the school received fifty cents per week. (School Committee Minutes)

There was a proposed rhetoric to be used in the high school.  The city was growing and had seventeen schools organized by twenty eight instructors.  A comparision was made to Charlestown, which had 9,000 inhabitants, with 1581 students; compared to Lowell’s 2,300 students who were supported by the schools.

The School Committee of 1834, was determined to be ready to open the high school on the 25th. of August.  A “Committee of Two (to) be appointed to make the necessary inquiries respecting a Master for the High School.”  They “recommended to the Committee some suitable power for the appointment.”  (of the Master of the High School).  The Committee recommended that Members Austin and Barnaby “be a committee to ascertain what suitable room can be obtained for the use of the high school.” (Committee Minutes)  They settled on someone and voted that the salary of the Master of the High School be “One thousand dollars.”  (July 23, 1834).

They also voted that “Mr. William Hale of Millbury be the Master of the High School.”   Rent of the Concert Hall was decided on being $120.00 per annum.  They further decided that Messrs. Barnaby and Austin be a committee to prepare the hall for the use of the high school.

“The town voted to choose a general superintending School Committee to consist of seven and that Theodore Edson, James Barnaby, John W. Graves, Joshua Merrill, Eliphalet Case, and Samuel F Hueun, and William Austin were elected to fill”… “the vacancy on the Board.”  Samuel A. Coburn was the Town Clerk, and Theodore Edson, pastor of St. Anne’s downtown was the Chairman of the School Committee.

Around the same time, at the Third Grammar School, they elected Mr. Isaac Whittier  as Assistant Master.  No salary was given.  At the North Grammar School Mr. James Bean was voted in as “Assistant Master to fill  the term of Mr. Healey.”

In a remarkable move, they voted for a woman as “Assistant Master also at the North Grammar School.”  The South Grammar School had a woman as Assistant too.  Her name was Mrs. Marsha B. Daves.

Not all of the schools were ready by the end of August.  They voted that Mr. Austin “be a committee to provide a stove for the Third Grammar School room.  Make the necessary arrangements for its commencement.”  (School Committee Minutes)

The purpose of this exercise was to put into some perspective the lives of the average person of the time.  I started with the 1911 race because those notes were more in depth than those related to 1834, although, as you have seen, the 1834 notes were very voluminous.  So I could have reversed it a bit, but I wanted to show the school department as it existed in 1834.  Hopefully, I did that adequately.   The race information was recently discussed on a television show called “Lowell Remembers.”

This document is Copyrighted by James A. Peters.  No aggrandizement will be tolerated.

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

I spent twelve years working as an auditor and accountant.  I took accounting courses at UMASS-Lowell, as well as Suffolk University.   I do not talk about it because I loved teaching, but did not care for my previous work.  But I think I can use my experiences to make a simple statement about the Cawley site.  It makes no sense.

We have a useful building for a high school.  The 1922 building by itself is worth millions of dollars if used as an academic building.  The 1893 building further accents the argument.  It is in very good structural shape, and is a useful academic building.  The problem is that we are, if we choose another site to build on, throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Now, that saying comes from an old Pioneer custom, hot water on the Plains was hard to come by, so the first bath went to the head of the household.  After he was done, the second bath went to the mother.  As the water slowly cooled down the third bath went to the oldest child, and that continued until the water was so dirty that the baby was the last one washed in it.  It was easy to lose the baby in the muddy water.  He or she was the last one to use the by then, muddy water.  Losing the baby in the bathwater was a real possibility.  Thus the saying.

The baby in the high school argument is the 1980 building, it is perfectly useful but not currently in great shape.  That will come if we choose the right option.   It  will end up empty if we choose the Cawley option.  The 1922 building is the mother using the father’s dirty water.  She has to be utilized or the bath was a waste.  Finally, there is the 1893 building.  It can handle students but gets closed down while being perfectly useful in its handling of students.  The Freshman Academy is just out there.  Nobody wants to move it but it cannot, with the Cawley option, stay in the educational loop.  Each building can be used, we have just given up on them.  I know more about the history of those buildings than most people.  There is no logical reason to throw them out.  They are useful and pragmatic.

We are asking too much of the Cawley building.  It cannot do all of the things the current high school can do.  It will be too small and we are going to have to put in multi-millions of dollars to make it useful.  As is, it is too small for a swimming pool.  We have to be prepared for the building failing.  Millions are going to be spent to keep the aging building, and it will be aging in just a few short years.  It will not be new for long, because the constancy of  being like the 1980 building is great.  Leaky roofs are probably being factored in by the earliest architects. The Cawley will have problems from the beginning.  John McDonough  has a bunch of sheets on which are the need for maintenance of every school, including the newest ones, and the list is massive.  The Cawley building will be old before its time.  That is not being pessimistic, that is being realistic.

We have a full campus at the existing high school.  If you placed an educational value on the current high school, it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Let’s say 250 million dollars.  If you add the 336 million dollars offered by the state, we could have one heck of a building adding those two sites together and keeping the Freshman Academy where it is.  The minimal value would be 586 million dollars.  We would have a new high school for slightly over a half a billion dollars.  That means that the new building, which will cost approximately 336 million dollars, will be one heck of a building.

As I said, I was an auditor at Wang.  I once, working by myself for a day, found one million dollars for the corporation in maintenance costs which were not being billed.  That is one million dollars per year.  If Wang was still in business, and simply had that one audit intact, times twenty years since the inception of the audit, Wang would have an extra 20 million dollars.  We have some City Councilors who pride themselves on being able to add and subtract.  They should spend a lot of time adding and subtracting the cost of having Cawley as the high school.  I think that they would  be as surprised as I  was when I decided to determine the cost of not using the current buildings.  It is very sobering.

That is just my take on it.   I am using life experiences to come up with my arguments.  But they are good experiences.