Well, when you have to eat crow, you have to eat crow. Dan Rourke did very well in the election as did Rodney Eliot. I strongly believe that Rodney Eliot will be the leading candidate for the next Mayor’s slot and I wish him well. I was a little worried about his dealing with the School Committee, especially when the Committee will be choosing the next Superintendent of Schools, a job near and dear to me. I just do not see Mr. Eliot and I agreeing on who should get the job. I supported Patrick Murphy because I was fairly certain that he would be able in his dealings with the School Committee. There is an election that we have to get through over the course of the next few weeks, but based on the Councilor’s second-place finish in not just this preliminary election but also last election’s final result that saw him taking second place behind the indefatigable Rita Mercier, I think that Mr. Eliot in all fairness should be given his chance to be the next Mayor.
I heard on WCAP, the statement that everything was not decided. They said that candidates like Derek Mitchell and Stacie Hargis must be wondering about their election chances now. I do not know Mr. Mitchell, but I must say that he did better than I thoght he would. I know Stacie Hargis, and she is a fighter. Being one of only two women on the ballot, she will undoubtedly run an aggressive campaign over the next few weeks. I cannot see either of these two people giving in. And Mr. Doyle has promised to campaign heartedly against the City Manager. That should be interesting.
For those just tuning in, the real issue here is the City Manager. He hangs on by one or two votes, and his backers and his detractors are campaigning very hard, keeping their eyes fixed on the Manager’s seat. I personally would hate to see the Manager as the main issue.
To me, taxes are the main issue. Lowell has never had a Prop 2 1/2 vote to raise taxes because, in my opinion, every year we have circumvented the need for such a vote by assessing properties higher than their actual value. During the worst of the Depression, and I believe that is exactly what it was, assessments on individual houses stayed at their pre-Depression levels or went up, I believe. Few assessments, I feel, went down to reflect the actual value of the property in that depressed market. Thus, the people next door to us, who bought at the height of the “fever” in house prices, paid more than they could ever get in today’s market. I am not saying that there is a conspiracy here, I am just saying that in times of falling house prices, our assessments stayed the same or went up. Also, a personal pet peeve is the fact that businesses are taxed at the second highest rate in the state, just behind Boston. Lowell is the fourth largest city in the state, so why are we the second highest taxed city. Should the second highest tax rate in the state be the second largest city in the state? We have steadily lost ground to neighboring Chelmsford. Industries that used to call Lowell home now call adjacent cities home. And, in my opinion, that is an issue the new City Council is going to have to tackle. So I restate that we need this election to be about issues. Mainly taxes, is my guess.
So I am eating crow tonight. I apologize to Mr. Rourke for making his brochure the target of my last article. It certainly looks like he will become Councilor Rourke and I wish him and the Golden family the best. They have run an excellent campaign.