Monday, October 31, 2011

Say it With Me: Hong Net and Dan Cahill

The blog has taken on many different shapes in the past 6 years. Starting as a commentary on loft living in a rather empty downtown, it grew into a commentary on what I was learning about how messed up our city government seemed to be. That mess went all the way to the top seat and this blog soon became a very politically charged resource for challengers of Chip Clancy, namely Judith Flanagan Kennedy. Over the past year or so, we've been insanely focused on downtown activity and producing art in DTL. So much so, that the blog has taken a back seat to rehearsals, productions, etc.

Once again, we find ourselves amidst a very important election. We are faced with choices for Councilor-at-Large this year on November 8th at the ballot box as well as School Committee.  Time for the blog to get political for a month or so. My apologies to those who hate it when it gets this way. I can't wait for the hate mail. That's always the most fun.

I witnessed the largest travesty in Lynn voting two years ago when this city failed to elect Eugene Schneeberg to City Council. Eugene had intelligence, passion, and experience working with the youth of this city. Eugene, however, didn't have a last name that screamed "LYNN" to everyone at the polls. We therefore found ourselves at City Hall on inauguration day staring at a panel of middle-aged white men once again. Eugene is now working with the U.S. Department of Justice and advisors to the President in Washington, D.C.

We are now in 2011 and have another chance. Another chance to not only better reflect the face of Lynn in our city government but bring in a leader with the experience and passion to make an actual difference. That leader is Hong Net. If you haven't yet done so, please read Hong Net's responses to the 3 questions from

Hong Net has a great platform, fantastic ideas, and through his campaign and current work as a child support enforcement officer, he has shown that he has the energy and follow-through to really make a difference. His experience is exactly what we need. I hope in this year's election you will consider filling in the circle next to Hong Net.

This year I'm only giving you one more name to remember. Dan Cahill. Two names, Hong Net and Dan Cahil. Yes, you can vote for four, but don't.

As many of my readers know, I have grown to really respect Dan Cahill. He is currently serving as Councilor-at-Large and seems to me to also be a bit of an outsider. He doesn't have family members riddled throughout city hall and various other departments. He doesn't just go along with whatever the council president wants and he is often seen in the Downtown area supporting our local restaurants and attends all of the many Downtown events. More than I can say for any other candidate. Dan is very experienced with city finance, government policy, and the state's involvement in our city politics. He is often the voice of reason in council session and is always questioning what we all wish someone would question. Without Dan Cahill, I fear what we would have seen coming out of the council this past year. Whether we are overreacting (Adult Entertianment / Dog Muzzles) or under reacting (Parking Department, City Budget), he is always keeping the council in check. He really should be the council president and I hope he runs again this year for that spot.

Buzzy Barton and Tim Phelan seem to be shoe ins. The other two need to be Hong Net and Dan Cahill, period.

Please vote on November 8th and as always, don't take my word for it. Watch the debates on and make up your own mind. If you decide to be lazy though, that's ok -  just remember two names: Hong Net and Dan Cahill.

VOTE VOTE VOTE - If you want change, it's the only way you're going to get it!

Happy voting,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Councilor At-Large Debate - Highlands Coalition

My notes from the Councilor at-large Debate from Monday, October 24th, 2011.  Candidate Buzzy Barton was not present.

One week ago, Candidates were given a number of questions that would be asked and will have 1 minute to give an answer. 

Please remember these are my NOTES, not meant to be their words, but simply what I heard. I can't stand some of these folks, but try to be fair and honest about what was said. But as I always say, don't take my word for it. Go listen for yourself at

Commentary on the election as well as endorsements from will be available this weekend right here on this blog.  I'm not going to tell you who not to vote for, but I will tell you who to vote for. If you only like 1 or 2 candidates, only check one or two boxes. Period.  

Please stay tuned.



Tim Phelan  - Lifelong Lynn resident, family has been in Lynn since the early 1800s, son daughter, wife, attorney - have been a member of the Lynn School Committee, wife and sister are teachers in Lynn. Dedicated to City of Lynn. Not afraid to stand up and take a position that he believes in. Not afraid to say something that will offend somebody. He'll never sit on the bench, you will always know where he stand

Robert Clay Wlash - running because he believes the city is in need of someone new. Born in Lynn, MA. After work in the dot com industry, he decided to work for Walsh's Oil Company. Through delivering oil got to know many of the residents of Lynn and their issues. Worked on the waterfront as a youth. With the cities focus on the waterfront plan, it is important we have a councilor who is familiar with the waterfront and has opinions and experience.

Steve Duffy - He says he is the candidate that has the most in common with all of us watching.  He has a small electrical business for 4 generations. He hopes he can come across as just, the only difference between anyone out in the audience and Steve Duffy is that he puts his name on a bumper sticker.

Miguel Funez - From honduras, came to Lynn in 1993. Moved here with wife and two kids, kids are now in college. He sees the city changing and becoming more diverse.

Hong Net - Born in Cambodia and came over to the United States. Went to high school and graduated from UMass with a degree in Political Science. After college he worked with a non-profit back in Cambodia working to build back their government in areas such as education, job creation, and tourism. Has taught immmigration and citizenship classes. Has worked with the Health Center to help young children stay away from drugs.

Paul Crowley - He served three terms on the Lynn City Council. Accounting degree from Northeastern. Exec. Director of Greater Lynn Senior Services. Born on Green Street. His first girlfriend grew up just a few blocks from here. He brings to the table a deep committment to this city and a strong background in finance, accounting, and management.

Dan Cahill - Great to be hear in the Highlands. He remembers playing basketball here as a kid. Important to have these forums. Been a pleasure to debate amongst these candidates all of which has worked tirelessly. Live in Lynn, went to public school. Is an attorney. Just had first child several weeks ago so he's vested in the City of Lynn.

Question 1 - What do you believe to be the top issue facing the highlands and how do you propose to address the issue?

Phelan - The single most important issue is crime, public safety. We need to put more police oficers on the street. Need to increase the commmunity policiing. We need to increase the commercial tax base to increase tax revenue so we'll have the funding to do that.

Walsh - The top issue for Ward 4 is the pride and perception of Ward 4. Important as we move forward in the future to highlight the wonderful things about Ward 4. High Rock Tower, Lynn Shore Drive, Red Rock Park. Light up High Rock Tower like the Zakim Bridge. Get private funding for this. Wonderful that we have a community school, a garden, and the Highlands Coalition. All of this needs to be highlighted to help with the perception and pride of Ward 4.

Duffy - Walking around Ward 4 the last few weeks, the most concerning thing he's heard is the lack of ability to communicate with City Hall and politicians. When you go to City Hall there is nobody there that can understand what your needs are or how to go about helping you.

Funez - Unemployment and Foreclosures - No one is stepping forward to help the residents. He has experience working with the banks. Train those who are losing their jobs. We need to work on these two issues.

Net - It appears that public safety is the issue for Ward 4. We have so many abandoned homes in Ward 4 that are breeding grounds for crime. However, Highlands are becoming a model. Salem was here recently for advice on how to get community involvement going in their city. Information sharing throughout the city on what's working in the Highlands is needed.

Crowley - public safety is a concern. Like to point out what he's done in the past for Ward 4. In foreclosure area, Crowley met with housing authority and departments in the city of lynn. Made it a a requirement to register the foreclosed property and pay $350 per year and tell us who is managing the property and allows us to use those funds to manage those properties

Cahill - Seems there are common threads across the city - public safety, good jobs, good education - need to start looking at the city as a whole. For Ward 4, we need to get voting back to the higlands. Want to see more accesibility to voting to all areas of the city by making some investments to make this happen.

Question 2 (Yes or No) Would you vote to hire youth in Summer Job Programs through a lottery system?

Moderator comments - There are some teens in Lynn who have received summer job opportunities multiple times while others have received none.

Phelan - Yes
Walsh - Yes
Duffy - Yes
Funez - Yes
Net - Yes
Crowley - Yes
Cahill - Yes

Question 3 (Yes or No) Would you sign a pledge to restore voting at the Ford School?

Moderator comments - After voting stopped at the Ford School, voter turnout significantly dropped off in Ward 4.

Phelan - If the School's Compliant with the America's Disability Act
Walsh - Yes
Duffy - Yes
Funez - Yes
Net - Yes
Crowley - Maybe
Cahill -Yes

Question 4 (to incumbents only) - Cite an example of a measure that you introduced to better our city. What challenges did this proposal face?

Crowley - (continuing from his last question) Force the banks to keep properties up and develop a fund using those fees to diminish the potential impact of blight on the neighborhoods. Move through the foreclosure process without decreasing property value.

Cahill - Trying to reduce people's alarms - businesses, car, home alarms - police having to go to these places over and over again. Dangerous when so many false alarms are taking away our fire and police from real emergencies as they must respond to every alarm to ensure it's not real this time. He put together a small measure that is having great success.

Phelan - This past year the head of the Lynn Restaurant Association started making incquiries into where he could put a strip club in the City of Lynn. Put together an ordinance that prohibits strip clubs coming into the city of Lynn. Caught a lot of heat for it from people in the Restaurant Assocaitions. Wrong message to send that show the morals of our city. Someone wants to go to a strip club, they can go to another city and not to the city of lynn.

Duffy - Buildings issue. Worked with Inspectional Services over the last few weeks in order to change the way we do business with the exterminator. Proposing to put on two full time exterminators, put on through the year and get a handle on this problem many neighborhoods in Lynn are facing.

Question 5 (to challengers only )  What is your top issue as a new candidate?

Walsh - Encourage new businesses to come to Lynn so we can provide jobs and create tax revenue. Solutions suggested is to create simplified guides to those who come to city hall. We need to expand the features of our website to do more online. Suggested forming a cabinet between department heads and local business leaders. Freeze the commercial tax rate.

Funez - One problem we have in Lynn that is concerning is the youth population. What are we doing to educate our youth? Create jobs for them and keep them occupied. Reduce the crime as when they reach 17, 18 years old they will be in the workforce and not on the streets.

Net - Unify Lynn - Want to work to empower residents to clean up our neighborhoods, share information, and participate in our government and our city. Would bring neighborhood crime watches and involve local police. Want to promote trust in our community. Vast experience doing this in Cambodia.


CAHILL - The residents make the city. That is the focus. With him, his decision making process, is after having conversations with people. We have a city that has some great infrastucutre.  Sometimes we focus too much on the negative, our own worst enemy. We need to work together and make this city a great place. Make sure the young people do want to raise their families here.

CROWLEY - Thank you to Dr. Crane and the Higlands Coalition and to all the candidates here tonight. In closing, Would like to say that he deeply cares about this city. It shows on a daily basis. Very capable in respect to finance and accounting and works to help make decisions that help this community.

NET - From listening to people I have seen Lynn pride in action.  Lots of sub-cultures, talents in this city. I believe we can make huge strides if we find ways to promote community engagement with the government.  He will continue to listen and learn from everyone to make Lynn a better place

FUNEZ - The city is a growing city of deiverse people. We need to elect officials that will work with the Mayor. People who will listen to you and bring those issues back to city hall. He says he is that person. His job is to listen.

DUFFY - Thank you. One of the things that has always... ten years on the school committee... remember Dr. Crane came up with a proposal ( missed the name of it ) where she didn't give up, didn't reverse. Duffy enjoys working with people like that. With the willpower of the people in this room, you guys will make the difference, it won't be him. He promises to do the best in the best interest of everyone and he will not side with one group and he will be open minded.

WALSH - Everyone who knows him knows that he comes from a blue collar family. Growing up nothing came easy. Sympothizes with the struggles of the people of Lynn. However, believes Lynn is on the verge of a changing tide. If you have seen him working at K of C, Friend of Lynn Woods, or even on his own campaign you know how hard he works. Vision is to encourage new business, develop the waterfront. We can bring back business to lynn, create jobs, and increase tax revenue

PHELAN - He could talk about what the city council has accomplished, but he is not about what happened yesterday. Stop patting ourselves on the back and move forward. I don't want you to vote for me because you know me or know someone in my family. I don't want you to vote for me because you like my posters or my bumper stickers. I want you to vote for me because you think I'm qualified and you think I'm fair. If you don't, you shouldn't vote for me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Councilor-at-Large 2011 - Tim Phelan continues it's Election series with a Councilor At-Large roundup. I asked each of the candidates 3 questions. Here is the response from Tim Phelan.  To see more on this series, please visit the Lynn, MA Councilor At-Large 2011 Series.

1. Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What on your resume or in your life experience makes you qualified for this office?

I was born in Lynn Hospital and have lived in Lynn my entire life. My mother and father are both from Lynn as well. My family has made Lynn their home since the early 1800’s. I choose to stay in Lynn and raise my family here because I love this City. I grew up on Kings Beach Road and spent countless hours on the beach playing with many neighborhood kids as well as my brothers and sisters. I went to Brickett Elementary School, Eastern Junior High, currently called Thurgood Marshall Middle School, and graduated from Lynn English High School, as did my 8 siblings, father and grandfather. I earned a BA in Humanities from Providence College and JD from New England School of Law in Boston.

I worked for Neighborhood Legal Services in Lynn providing legal assistance to an indigent client base, as well as being a prosecutor in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office (SJC 3:03). I have also been a substitute teacher in the Lynn Public Schools and a tutor at North Shore Community College. I am a member of the Massachusetts Bar, the U.S. Federal District Court in Massachusetts, the U.S. Court of Military Appeals and the American Bar Association. I have worked as the Human Rights Coordinator for S.T.R.I.V.E and served on many boards raising money for important causes such as Catholic Charities North. I have volunteered and coached many youth teams over the years in Lynn Youth Soccer and St. Pius CYO Basketball. I am currently a practicing attorney. My family had a business on Nahant Street for 40 years. In 2003 the building was burned to the ground by an arsonist. My family again decided to invest in Lynn and purchased an old run down building in downtown. It was falling apart and infested with rats and pigeons. Since that time through a lot of elbow grease, hard work and investment the building and business is up and running currently hosting Dito’s convenience store on the first level. However the thing that makes me most qualified to run for office is that I am a husband, a father of two children, a homeowner and a taxpayer.

2. Why are you running for Councilor At-Large?
I am running for Councilor at Large because I believe I can make a difference. Since being in office I have always remained independent. I have made a point of this so I would never be beholding to any single group, organization or political action committee. The formula for failure is the elected official who tries to keep everyone happy or do what is politically correct or expedient. I do not live by this motto. I do what I believe needs to be done for the best interest of the City of Lynn, period. I will continue to do so for as long as I have the privilege of holding public office.

I believe I would be able to list a long list of accomplishments in my tenure being on the City Council. However I will not do so here because what happened yesterday is not important. It is what is going to happen tomorrow that is important. I bring energy, passion and fight to this position. I am not afraid to speak my piece and take hard stands for our City. You will always know where I stand on an issue as I am not one to stay in the background or sit on the fence. I will fight for the people of this City. That is why I am running.

3. What do you see that is in most need of change? How will you change it?

There are many issues that need changing. The foremost is the concern of Public Safety. Without safe streets and neighborhoods everything suffers, i.e. real estate values, downtown development, schools, the perception of our City, etc. The trickle down or domino effect of this is tremendously negative. We must increase funding for police, increase community policing so that they can get to the youth at a young age and educate children in our schools to the negatives involved in crime. If you do not keep kids busy, more likely that not, many will get in trouble. This starts with the availability of after-school programs to keep kids off the streets.

Thank you,
Tim Phelan

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

POWER of Lynn Event at Lucia Lighting

Great way to check out Lucia Lighting and support a great cause! 

POWER of Lynn welcomes you to join them for their Annual Fall Scholarship Fundraiser: Talk, Shop & Have a Pop! The event will be held on Thursday, October 20th from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at Lucia lighting and Design, 311 Western Ave. in Lynn. The event costs $10 (cash or check) at the door and includes food and wine tastings.

This evening includes a dozen tables of local artisan vendors offering jewelry, accessories, silk jackets, skin care products, note cards, pottery, artwork and much more. Enjoy a glass of wine while you shop and network and then take a break to enjoy delicious finger foods some favorite local restaurants. All proceeds from admission and raffle ticket sales go to this year's beneficiary, North Shore Community College.

POWER of Lynn is the no-cost, no-rules networking group made up of women who live, work or just love being in Lynn. All are welcome! Sign up at

For more details on the event click here:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friday Night - Award-Winning Cabaret Artist Jan Peters Comes To Lynn!

Arts After Hours and SPIN will present It’s a North Shore Thing featuring cabaret artist Jan Peters with the Tom LaMark Trio on Friday October 21st, 2011 at LynnArts on 25 Exchange Street, Lynn, MA 01901. Tickets are $35 for cabaret table seating and $25 for general seating. For more information, visit http:// or call the box office at 781-205-4010.

Prior to her move to Pennsylvania five years ago, Jan Peters was awarded every honor you could bestow on such a performer in Boston. The Improper Bostonian Best Cabaret Act of 2005, Independent Reviewers of New England Best Female Cabaret Artist of 2002, Bay Windows Best Cabaret Performer of 2002, and a 1999 Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Symposium Fellow, to say Ms. Peters is critically acclaimed would be an understatement.

The show, It’s a North Shore Thing, is a mix of old and new songs, some of the numbers people have come to expect and enjoy, some new material, and some funny tunes. There is an audience participation number planned, and a great trio led by musical director/pianist, Tom LaMark. Selections from Broadway and The Great American Songbook are all woven together with funny stories to celebrate her return to Massachusetts and to her new home on The North Shore!

“I have very fond memories of The North Shore,” says Jan Peters. “When I was a kid my family would spend many summer Sunday's visiting my Aunt and cousins and going to the beach. My fear of heights originated right on the Revere Beach Ferris wheel. It got stuck at the top when they were loading up new riders. I can still remember swinging in the breeze high above the beach holding onto my Dad's hand for dear life!”

The show will take place in the state of the art Rantoul Black Box Theatre right in Downtown Lynn’s Central Square. “The arts scene in Downtown Lynn is becoming more and more collaborative every day,” says Corey Jackson, Managing Director. “Ms. Peters was introduced to us by a local Central Square businessman, a supporter of Arts After Hours, and someone who has followed Jan Peter’s amazing career for years. When we got to sit down and listen to her thrilling voice, we knew we had to bring her to Lynn.”

This show continues Arts After Hours and SPIN’s collaboration on several cabaret and jazz events to increase cultural activity and drive more people Downtown. Mark DeJoie, Executive Director of SPIN says, "It's great to see so many people coming downtown to engage in the arts. The cultural activity and commerce that occurs in the Downtown as a result is truly having a profound impact on the Lynn community as a whole."

Free parking is readily available near the theatre. For directions to LynnArts facility, visit http:// For tickets, visit or call 781-205-4010.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Permission to leave Downtown - Go to B&N in Peabody

Join LynnArts and the Lynn Museum for their book fair at Barnes & Noble in Peabody Saturday, October 15th.. If you purchase any books, magazines, or food items that day at any Barnes and Noble store they will donate a portion of the the sales to LynnArts & The Lynn Museum. You can also shop on-line from 10/15-10/20. Just be sure to say that you are shopping for the LynnArts/Lynn Museum Book Fair! BOOKFAIR ID 10551455. They’ll be organizing all kinds of great activities at the Peabody store including live music, special activities for kids and an art exhibition. The Peabody Barnes and Noble is located at 210 Andover Street in Peabody (behind the North Shore Mall). So start your holiday shopping early and support arts and history in Lynn! For more information visit

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