Inside Stories

AOC At it Again!

Thanks to AOC, the City of Lowell and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are largely shut down today for a “snow storm” that will be lucky to drop an inch or two of the white stuff on our streets, schools and City Hall.

Of course, we’re not talking about New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We’re talking about the other AOC, the one that has overtaken much of our daily governance in the snow flake age; Abundance Of Caution.

The overhyping of the latest weather event actually began late last week, when ominous words such as “Bombogenesis” and “Bomb Cyclone” began to circulate on the lips and social media fingertips of Meteorologists across our region. By Super Bowl Sunday, we started to see maps with color shades and numbers ranging anywhere from 1-14 inches, depending on the pretty color zone your city or town was located in.

Before you know it, Governor Maura Healey began shutting down the State by encouraging us all to “stay home, stay off the roads” and telling non-essential Executive Branch personnel to work from home.

Mind you, she won’t shut down the state for the arrival of tens of thousands of people she doesn’t have enough housing or services for, but the potential for a foot of February snow in Massachusetts is enough cause to exercise AOC.

From there, pardon the pun, the panic snowballed.

Courts, schools, city and town services, all began shutting down around the state. Most importantly, the patience to actually wait and see if the unpredictable New England weather would shift, shut down.

Shortly after 11am Monday, the City of Lowell announced a parking ban. By 1pm, trash and recycling pickup was pushed back to Wednesday. At 2pm, the LRTA announced buses would operate on snow routes. Not to be outdone, UMass Lowell proclaimed its own school shutdown and parking ban at 4:45pm. At around 7:30pm, Middlesex Community College announced its closure.

Local businesses soon followed suit.

Lowell Public Schools seemed to be bucking the trend, but at 8:30pm, the cancellation text arrived.

To cap off the night, City Manager Tom Golden informed folks City Hall would be closed today, though that info didn’t get published to social media until around 6am this morning.

Now, this is not to pick on Lowell or it’s institutions. They were clearly not alone in their overreactions, nor were they the first “closure” domino to fall. But as my parents always used to tell me, if you see one of your friends jump off a bridge, are you going to jump, too? (of course, they said it in Greek, but I’ll spare you the need to use Google translate)

In today’s day and age, I hesitate to be too critical when AOC is cited as a reason for safety measures. But there were plenty of early signs that the panic over this particular storm was unwarranted in our area.

At around the same time the Governor was issuing her edicts and the first closures/cancellations were announced, meteorologists began adjusting their forecasts for Northern Mass. Just like the snowfall total projections, the storm was moving south.

By 4pm, Boston TV stations were showing Greater Lowell in the 2-4 inch color shade. One map even showed us in the 1″-3″ shade. By the time most of us made our snow day adjustments and  had fallen asleep, the 11pm Boston weather graphs showed us potentially missing the snow completely.

Turns out, the dreaded “Bombogenesis” never arrived. The closest we came to any Genesis was if you had Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel on your playlist.

Yet as of our 11:00am press time, the parking bans have yet to lifted in Lowell. City Hall is still closed, though Mayor Danny Rourke says tonight’s City Council meeting will go on as planned. Hopefully by then, the participants will be able to park on the streets.

Again, if it seems like I’m being particularly harsh on Lowell, please remember our name (InsideLowell) and know that I’m fully aware this AOC  is a modern day national phenomenon, much like the Congresswoman of the same anagram.

Kudos to Dracut and Tyngsboro Public Schools for waiting to pull the trigger. They were rewarded by having their students in school today. Ditto Greater Lowell Regional Technical High School.

Some of us are old enough to remember when there wasn’t a rush to shut life down.

We knew a storm was coming, but we still went to bed at night knowing we’d have to wake up at the usual time for school, turn on our radios or television sets, and wait for the alphabetical school closing list to scroll by as Shelby Scott tried to keep from being blown away on the coast.

If we heard our city of town, there was joy. If we didn’t, we tried to fake being sick. Today, it’s even easier to wait as long as possible before making the call, thanks to all the digital ways to distribute information.

Point is, a little patience as better info accumulates (unlike the snow today) isn’t a bad thing. The world and our lives somehow continued to revolve prior to AOC (Abundance of Caution and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). There was never any need to panic, nor would there have been even if we got that foot of snow this time.

Now, about my cancelled haircut appointment…

7 responses to “AOC At it Again!”

  1. GMP says:

    Complete joke. When did the City Manager turn in to a school superintendent telling all of his giddy 9 year olds they had the day off? Will the City Hall employees make the time up like the teachers do? How about working a full day on Friday? Wait, Friday is winterfest but snow is in the forecast. I think it should be cancelled out of an abundance of caution!

  2. Scott Plath says:

    Funny! And so true. I thought for a 2nd you were actually blaming the congresswoman…too far Teddy! Haha. What a bunch of sheep “we” have become…or have we always been this way?? For the love of living life unafraid…stop watching the news!

  3. Teddy Panos says:

    You mean, out of AOC, GMP?

  4. Teddy Panos says:

    I plead guilty to a click-bait headline and photo, Scott. And yes, “sheeple” was one of my favorite terms. Should have worked it into this narrative!

  5. HaddaNuff says:

    In other storms there’s always that “rain or snow”line they can always blame. I think that line cuts the city of Lowell right down the middle.

  6. GMP says:

    Thoughts and prayers to the City Hall employees who have to brave the streets today to get to WORK.

  7. Sid Finch says:

    Nothing surprises me about Lowell anymore!

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