Inside Stories

For City Council, Eight is Enough

Another quick night of work is in the offing Tuesday night, when the Lowell City Council convenes in chambers for their weekly meeting.

For the third consecutive week, there are only eight motions on the agenda, which combined with only four Manager’s Responses listed and the brisk pace at which Mayor Danny Rourke moves the sessions, could have them out of the building by 7:30pm.

As for why a group that never met a motion it didn’t like has lately adopted the Dick Van Patten 70’s sitcom, Eight is Enough, as it’s new motto, well, your guess is as good as mine.

Perhaps the Councilors threw so many punches (motions) in 2022-23 that they’re now out of gas, like George Foreman falling prey to Muhammad Ali’s “Rope a Dope” tactic during the Rumble in the Jungle. (unlikely)

Or maybe things are going so well in the city that there’s nothing left to fix or complain about and we’ll soon see a motion to give Manager Tom Golden a new 10-year contract. (even more unlikely)

Whatever the reason, it’s actually a refreshing change to be able to put the kids to bed on a school night without an ear bud in place in case something of note occurs. For that, thank you Councilors.

As for the agenda itself, the one topic that could make for an interesting night revolves around the new parking rates.

In the past, proposed changes in downtown parking policy or rates have resulted in a traffic jam of speakers at the podium. Which is kind of amusing, because over the last decade we’ve been inundated with this narrative that people are flocking to downtown living so they can eschew automobiles in favor of walking or peddling their Schwinn to all the nearby amenities. But the second someone mentions a parking rate increase or extending the meters till later in the night, the “we don’t want no stinkin’ cars” narrative ends and suddenly downtown living becomes unbearable if you can’t park your vehicle 10-feet from your front door from 5pm till the “Tick Dick” starts his shift the next morning.

Believe me folks, I’m with you in wanting my car close by instead of some parking garage I have to walk to and pay for. That’s why I don’t live in a downtown. But I digress.

The other interesting item is that of the eight council motions, three of them involve the crumbling Smith-Baker Center.

Councilor Paul Ratha Yem appears interested in saving the place. Councilor Vesna Nuon wants to know how how much of a public safety danger it is. Councilors Erik Gitschier and Corey Robinson seem to be asking the most relevant question; when are we either going to poop or get off the pot. In other words, are we fixing it or tearing it down. Time to decide one way or the other.

There’ve been prior attempts to salvage the structure, but ultimately all have fallen through for some reason or another. Which leads me to believe if even the Coalition for a Better Acre can’t make that thing work, nothing will.

Personally, I’d be channeling Pacino’s Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in “Scent of a Woman”: (Click here or on photo to view a re-enactment of how to best deal with the Smith-Baker issue)

Let’s see if tomorrow night’s discussion leads to a future motion asking the city to purchase a flamethrower.




One response to “For City Council, Eight is Enough”

  1. Acre Resident says:

    Councilor Robinson represents Centerville, NOT the Acre. While I comprehend the roles of at-large councilors Gitschier and Nuon, I, as an Acre resident, did not vote for Robinson to involve himself in Acre district matters. Why is his name attached to a building in my neighborhood? He needs to stick to his Centerville’s issues and more importantly his own personal issues.

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