Our neighbors in Lowell seem to be going through a period of political turmoil, and one wonders if Dracut is next.
Some in the city want to change the method of electing the City Council and School Committee to proportional voting.
I must admit that even after interviewing former Lowell city managers Taupier and Sullivan last week on the radio show, I still don’t completely understand the concept.
Sullivan, a Lowell resident also managed the city of Cambridge where proportional voting has been used since 1941, doesn’t like the change, but Taupier does. Efforts are ongoing to get the signatures to put the question on the ballot.
The underlying cause for all of this is, of course, that some haven’t been happy with city government and want the rules of the game to change.
Translated, it’s about political power. Who has it and who doesn’t.
Which brings us to Dracut, and the acrimony that has played out over several issues this summer.
Strong personalities frequently clash over issues, and voters have shown a willingness to make changes when they see the need. Our school board has been changed dramatically as a result of controversy surrounding their handling of the position of superintendent of schools.
Dracut’s latest political battleground, the acquisition of 1476 Mammoth Road, also known as Louisburg Square, for senior housing appears to be headed for a defeat.
The current owner has told selectmen that he will not extend the deadline of Dec. 31, or renegotiate the price.
The Housing Authority says they can’t meet that deadline and it doesn’t like the price.
Unless someone has a change of heart, it’s over.
Nonetheless, the Housing Authority appointed new members to a subcommittee to work with selectmen on the matter, and the discussion was interesting.
While explaining the importance of the two boards working together on the project, Housing Authority Chairman Ken Martin told those in attendance that it would be good to get the working group “away from the cameras.”
Now Ken is a smart guy and he’s probably right. Maybe given what the two boards have been through, it might be more productive to have these meetings away from the limelight.
But didn’t selectmen just get taken over the coals for questioning cable TV showing up at one of its work sessions? What happened to the public’s right to see their government in action?
Will the subcommittee be surprised if during one of their work sessions, the camera shows up at the behest of one of their political adversaries?
Louisburg Square may well be dead, but the political scars from this one will be around for a while.
Very much like Lowell, Dracut is in for political turmoil the likes of which it hasn’t seen in many years.
Warren Shaw is a former Dracut selectman who hosts a popular Saturday morning radio show on WCAP-AM from 6 to 10.