Well, I am glad that the Preliminary Election is over and eighteen people will be facing off in the General Election. Congratulations to each of you. It is not too early to say that anything can happen. Some candidates may have peaked in the Preliminary while some candidates may be in their “comfort zone.” I do not count out anyone, especially since the difference between ninth place and fifteenth place was somewhere around five hundred votes, I believe. That is not a very large difference and some of the candidates who did not place as well as they wanted have been hitting the highways and byways of the city doing Visibility, Canvassing, and Telephones. Now, as an English teacher, I know that those three things should not be capitalized but I am trying to draw attention to them. Whoever successfully does all three will move up. Except Rita Mercier of course. I have to give it to Rita, she is an indefatigable campaigner. Last night I saw three candidates at the football game, Rita was one, Stacie Hargis was another, and Eric Gitsheir was the third. Rita did not need an audience, she just put on a show. It can safely be said that everyone loves Rita.
Eric and Stacey were there, obviously not giving into disappointing Preliminary Elections results. Stacey told me, in the words of the song, that she is stronger and is going to move up. I believe her. Eric seems like a very nice guy, and I wish him the best. Veasna Noun is upbeat and positive. Those two qualities will become the gist of his campaign. So I look forward to a well-fought battle for the first nine places. Marty Lorrey asked me to place a sign in my yard and I of course said “yes.” I now have four signs in my yard, and it is not a large yard so they occupy a bit of space. With the new color in paint that I will be applying as we repaint the house, it should be an interesting color contrast.
Well, what else is going on? There is a wide-spread belief that this vote is about the City Manager, who I believe has done a very credible job. He should live in Lowell, but he has been good for Lowell, exercising discretion when needed and basically leading the city along the right path. Make no mistake, this election is about the City Manager. His goals, his opinions, and his handling of the issues of the day. I do not agree with everything he has done, but he has been there for Lowell, he understands Lowell, and he should continue on in Lowell.
I was once selected to be the Town Manager of Cavendish, Vermont, but I had to turn it down after a week because it meant moving and we were not going to move out of our favorite city. My wife was born and raised here, except for a few years in Chelmsford as a student in junior high and high school. So, we chose to stay here because this is, as everyone now knows, “the center of the universe.” Lowell has been a good place to raise our four children, all of whom can call Lowell their hometown. Part of me would have liked to be involved in a small town again but part of me is fully satisfied with our decision to stay. Besides, where else can you have sirens going off every fifteen seconds?
My only regret in the Cavendish, Vermont thing was that I might have been able to return to Lowell, after a few other immersions, of course, as City Manager in Lowell. That would have been perfect but my life took me back to Wang and eventually into teaching. Stranger things have happened. I went into education, spent three glorious years as a teacher at Notre Dame Academy and fifteen at Lowell High School. Illness caused me to retire. I have no regrets, and greatly enjoyed my years as a teacher. So, life has been good. I know more history about Lowell than a lot of people, and that is nice, and I am up to my own personal top levels in business. I own a business, as I have told most of you, in landscaping and right now I am booking for the fall clean-ups.
So those are my meanderings for today. Soon, as soon as the fall clean-ups are done, I will be spending more time bringing you history. Like what beverage did George Kouleheras like to buy his dates on Fridays at Page’s? Important things like that. The answer was a five cent Coke. That is in the archives at the Mogan Center. And, why did we lose all of those mill girls boarding houses? That answer is in the Homer B. of Union National fame, archives. He thought any advancement was good for the city, and in the 1960’s that was widely believed to be true. I remember my brother-in-law telling me that his vote that he most regretted was his vote to expenad the Connector and have it go through Belvidere. Fortunately, that vote did not pass. And, that was in the car on the way to pick-up a staffer. So that was a personal conversation that I trust he would not mind me sharing with you now.