Did you ever have one of those days during which the smallest things become crystal in their clarity? I had one the other day. For sixty years I discovered I had been unwrapping Hershey Kisses incorrectly. I just pulled the aluminum foil off, ignoring the piece of paper with the Hershey Kiss name on it. Last week I was cheating on my diabetic diet and I pulled the piece of paper and, lo and behold, the entire aluminum foil wrapping came off! Sometimes I like to sing the song from the “Wizard of Oz” “If I Only had a Brain.” It sometimes seems fitting. This was one of those times.

I have had trouble getting to the Blog because I am writing a history of the Lowell Motor Boat Club. It promises to be relatively short due to the fact that fifty years of history was lost to the Flood of 1936 when the entire building swept downstream and over the falls, with all of the history in it. I am grateful to the Lowell “Sun” archives because they provide a great deal of information on the boat club during this missing period.

Leahy’s Recusal

John Leahy finds himself between the proverbial rock and a hard place. He wants to vote in favor of his brother-in-law’s chance to become City Manager, but he is, after all, his close relative. The Lowell “Sun” of Sunday, March 23, 2014 states that “he’ll zag” because he is his father’s son. I empathize with him, I really do. I was the brother-in-law of Paul Tsongas, who never “zagged” for me in any job situation. I became the Cavendish, VT Town Manager without any assistance from Paul. In fact, sometimes relatives weigh you down, they do not pick you up. I gave up that opportunity because my wife was seven months pregnant, we had just moved into our home, and my brother-in-law had contracted cancer.

I took the principalship at a Catholic School because I earned it. There were no letters of recommendation from Paul. I did not take after my father, much. I learned to zig when I maybe should have zagged. Having a father who was in politics had nothing to do with getting that job. I got it because I was nervous at the interview and they felt that that showed a certain amount of humility.

If anyone knows how difficult it is to not use your relatives to make a job opportunity happen, I believe it would be me. John Leahy has to do what is right. If he “zags” then it would be proper to vote him out of his seat in the next City Council election. He cannot vote for his brother-in-law because, contrary to what the Ethics Commission says, a person married to your sister is very much like a brother.

Rita Mercier is right in telling John Leahy to recuse himself and not vote for Mr. Ramirez. The relationship is just too close and, if Mr Ramirez wins, Leahy would behoove himself to stay away from votes involving those that assist or help his brother-in-law. A little bit of Tsongasism would work here, Paul would say, I believe, that the relationship is too close and Mr. Ramirez needs to get the other votes from other members of the Council. That is just my take on the situation. Mr. Leahy has my empathy and understanding, but I hope he chooses to do what is right, not expedient. I hope he “zigs” and not “zags.”