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From Jeff Carlisle –
As a long-time political observer and 10 year resident of Lynn, I thought that I would comment on the mayoral race between Mayor Kennedy and State Senator McGee. I have looked at the city’s last three budgets; the audited financial statements; candidate profiles, websites and history; and, the current landscape of Lynn.
The first observation concerns the candidates’ views on hiring a City Planner/department. I agree with Mayor Kennedy that the City cannot afford one. In fact, I would go further and say that we do not need one. The ‘vision’ for Lynn’s future should come from the people, through their elected councilors, with professional consultants used sparingly. Adding a city planning department, as Sen. McGee proposes, is counter-productive to his inflated claims of a city budgetary deficit, and is the typical knee-jerk State House reaction of increasing the government payroll without any guarantee of seeing any return on that investment.
What the City should do is encourage continued development of the downtown area. We do not need a city planner to echo what dozens of studies have already shown – the most successful method of revitalizing a city is to concentrate on the downtown area. When growth is concentrated at the edges of a city, then the city decays from the inside. Abandoned buildings attract crime, disease and a loss of tax dollars. Development projects such as The Vault, along with the updated and active auditorium will only further encourage new restaurants and other small businesses. It would be prudent for the Mayor to strongly insist that the Athanas and Dean families sell their properties, which are no longer in use. Leaving them vacant, in such prime locations, is tantamount to spitting on the city that has provided them with such a comfortable living.
Along the lines of revitalization, I find it puzzling that Sen. McGee, after reading through his website and legislative history, cannot name a single significant accomplishment. He sits on eight committees, including Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation and Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding, CAPEX, and State Assets. Is the Blue Line any closer to Lynn than when he began his tenure on the Transportation Committee 14 years ago? The Lynn Ferry is a nice, summertime trip, but at $7.00 each way, this is not the solution Lynn needs. And, I disagree with Mayor Kennedy, that Lynn does not need the Blue Line. It would cut a commuter’s time by half, going into Boston, and reduce traffic congestion and pollution caused by the endless parade of buses.
With regards to Sen. McGee’s Vice Chair seat on the State Assets Committee, was the addition to North Shore Community College the best use of state funds for Lynn. Granted, it makes the building look much more interesting, but it is largely made up of open space for students to study and a few new classrooms and offices. But, what NSCC gave up, and what would have benefited Lynn tremendously, was the Culinary Arts School/Center, in the former Eastern Bank site, which would have anchored Union Street’s rebirth. It would have provided jobs, job-training, and a restaurant/café open to the public. Such a terrible decision and a slap in the face to Lynn’s efforts to grow.
I have heard for some time about Mayor Kennedy’s lack of a work ethic needed for the job. And, I have studied Sen. McGee’s record of sitting on countless committees, yet delivers so little. So, in a state that has its fair share of Seven Dwarf candidates, I will take Sleepy over Dopey every time.
Vote to re-elect Mayor Judy Flanagan Kennedy.