Way to go State Senator Hairy Balls. Wicked smart Lynchie. On paper I can see how “saving” the RMV in Lowell seems like a good idea. Having an RMV branch in Lowell is convenient for residents and good regionally. The city owns a largely vacant garage earning far less than projections and remains a thorn in the side of those who voted for it.
On the flip side, does this move achieve the long term goals for the downtown or Lowell overall? Hardly.
One of Lowell’s greatest planning blunders is to confuse public spending with downtown viability. The city has a role in the process that is vital and necessary to creating a viable downtown… then they take it too far. In downtown proper, public spending with the NPS Visitor Center, and LeRoy Garage are positive. But then the greedy pigs of Lowell step in under the cover of “helping” Lowell and douche it up. Public and elderly housing is the vast majority of housing in downtown. This population has very little disposal income and do not enhance the downtown. How many people have you seen hanging around on benches and riding around on power scooters in the downtown? Are they going to restaurants and spending? Nope. Are they unpleasant for visitors? Sometimes. Would they be better served in a different area? Yes. Would the downtown be better served if this space had market rate housing? You bet.
Another example is the Bon Marche Building envisioned by the Lowell Plan, Jim (Tower News) Cook, George Berhakis, and Nick Sarris. Jordan Marsh left. OK, I understand that’s bad for downtown. Someone wants to step up and renovate the building, that’s good. Then there’s a sharp left turn. Public money is used to renovate then the building is pretty much given to a couple of cronies for a song. The building can’t be rented out, so who do they find as a tenant… the school committee! Wicked smart! Now for several years the school committee pays an exorbitant amount of rent and lines the pockets of Berhakis and Sarris. They return the favor by supporting politicians friendly to to them and the downward spiral begins. Does anyone remember the deal with the Lowell Senior Center? Same type of bullshit there and we’re still paying for it.
It doesn’t end there though. This year, the school superintendent does the right thing and decides not to renew the lease at the Bon Marche building. Sounds reasonable. Then GOB Bill Taupier becomes the mouthpiece for Berhakis and Sarris and warns of the impending collapse of the downtown if the school committee vacates the Bon Marche. Really? No, it’s just that Berhakis and Sarris believe they are from Lowell and the city owes them. Assholes. Allegedly, promises are made to school committee members that if they stay in the Bon Marche, they will be rewarded. Rita Fatcianti allegedly threatens Chris Scott. Court case and headlines costing Lowell money and bad press. Who gets screwed? We do. The residents, taxpayers, and school children who are having resources wasted.
Getting back to the issue at hand… the RMV. How many cronies and retarded relatives of cronies are employed at the Lowell RMV? Quite a few. Just like the sheriff department employs Rita Mercier, and Regina Fatcianti what favors are owed to State Sen. Steve Panagiotakos, state Reps. Tom Golden, Kevin Murphy and David Nangle for this move? What influence did DPD have with this action? I haven’t seen Adam (Lil B) Baacke holding a meeting to discuss the pros and cons of this move. Given the traffic impact to the neighborhood, was a single study done, were businesses and residents in the area asked? I don’t think so. This was shoved down the throat of Lowell by Senator Hairy Balls. Lynch bent over and accepted because he wants to be Senator Hairy Balls some day. The City Council bent over because they have pals employed at the RMV and there too dumb to recognize that this is a bad move to the viability of downtown.
My prediction… gridlock. Local businesses hurt by a lack of parking. Disgruntled RMV customers leaving as fast as they come. Early Garage parking problems, slowing growth and development in the area. The complete opposite of why the garage was built.