I caught most of tonight's Council meeting via Streaming Video. I had thought there was going to be more discussion about the move of retired city employees over to Medicare, but as far as heated back-and-forth went, the bigger topic tonight was performance-based budgeting, and whether other cities "doing it better" was a result of, or was caused by, their relative affluence.
Anyway, one point that stood out for me tonight was Patrick Murphy's questioning of the downtown focus of iShopLowell 2010. To be clear, he wasn't questioning the program itself, or the public money used (roughly $1500 total, said CM Lynch), but the focus. He seemed to be saying, "There's a lot more to Lowell than just one neighborhood, so why does an initiative like this seem to ignore the great shops and restaurants outside of downtown?"
As a downtowner with an admittedly downtown-centric cityview, it definitely gave me pause, because it's not something that had even occurred to me before. I had even seen people on Twitter wondering why such-and-such a restaurant wasn't involved with it, or with Great Plates, but nothing questioning the geographical focus of either program itself.
Everyone in the room seemed to acknowledge the point to some degree, and CM Lynch said he would take it back for consideration.