Councilor Rourke?

This is just an opinion on some things that are passing for politics. I must admit that, when I saw how many signs went up for Dan Rourke, I was impressed until a friend told me that the candidate was the cousin of a State Representative. Then, things became a bit more focused for me. But, I was still interested and my interest was piqued by the knowledge that certain close friends were very involved in Mr. Rourke’s campaign.

You see, I had not heard one word from the candidate himself as to what was causing him to run or why he was doing it. I finally got a brochure in the mail that was supposed to explain these queries. In the brochure there were many pictures of the candidate and even one of the candidate and his cousin, State Representative Tom Golden. No specific issues were hghlighted, just a general overview of the candidate’s reasons for running. I quote:

“I am committed to making our community the best place to work, live, and raise a family. I respect our proud past, unterstand the issues facing our communities today, and have a vision for the future. Leadership is about bringing everyone to the table to find solutions.”

In 1999, I came up with the original idea to make Merrimack Street a two-way street. I based that on what I saw in Ipswich. I was also the first person that I know of to ask that we make an effort to get a “Christmas Tree Shops” in the Bon Marche building. No where in this candidate’s literature does he seem to come up with a list of what our problems are, or how to fix them. In the quote above, nothing is said about how the candidate proposes to right those wrongs that make Lowell, well, Lowell. He does state that he is focused on,

“Economic Development – Fully Funding Public Safety Initiatives – Private and Public Collaborations – Establishing a citywide After School Program”

but he does not say anything about what that development might encompass, how he will “fully fund” in a recession without raising taxes, what in heaven’s name private and public collaborations are, or how to fund a citywide after-school program. Now, I have the greatest respect for the Golden family. They have proven themselves to be almost as much in love with Lowell as I am. This is not meant to be an attack on the Goldens or on Mr. Rourke. Rather, it is a call for a substantial discourse on the issues affecting this city. A staggering amount of money comes to our School Department to run the schools. How do we guarantee that that money continues flowing into the city? Mr. Rourke is not alone in his refusal to talk about how we go about making Lowell great.

Two candidates are being specific. One is Stacie Hargis and one is Ed Kennedy. They are talking about ideas and solutions to our problems. At least it appears that way in their literature.

However, basically the issues this year are being tossed aside by candidates who are willing to hide behind their name, their relations, and their previous employment. No one is able to answer the simple question, “How do we get from Point A to Point B.”

I hope that some start answering questions like that. This election should not just be a popularity contest. Some good ideas have flowed in the candidate’s forums but it just seems to me that candidates are staying away from the issues. One large concern is what happens to Jackson Street. I have only seen Ed Kennedy talk about that. It is also in his literature, if I remember correctly. Prior to this, I had never thought of Ed as issues oriented. I admit I was wrong. I do not agree with Ed on a number of items but he is “fighting the good fight.”