It didn't take long for Corey Erickson and Tobes from Sons of Franky Cabot to jump in...or for me to follow up with another point last night.
Here's what I said: Some people in Lowell are quick to throw down their "Cambridge" card when they want to criticize any new, interesting outside idea. The feeling, however, is not mutual.
For the past 40 years or so, Cambridge has been run by a Lowellian (and not just ANY Lowellian, mind you, but a former Aide to Mayor Howe). The people of Cambridge love him...so much that they've paid him a salary comparable to that of the PRESIDENT for much of this time (yes, I'm being serious...and yes, you can look that up), and put his name on important buildings, like the police station kinda sorta near the Galleria.
Boston isn't afraid of Lowell or Lowellians, either...just look at their nationally-renowned Police Chief.
Anyway, on my way into work today (I TA on Thursdays now...easy work for good pay), the sign you see here in the pic caught my eye.
Here's why: What it's implying is that when you take/borrow/steal the BEST ideas from the BEST minds, you then become the BEST.
Lowell is already the best Gateway City in Massachusetts. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't live there. And while I may be plotting my escape from downtown, I plan to stay in Lowell for quite a long time -- that's as strong of a statement as I can make for my personal *investment* in the place.
What's going to keep Lowell great is the presence of civic leaders like Patrick Murphy, Dick Howe, Bernie Lynch, Cliff Krieger, etc....people with a WORLD view who aren't afraid to open their eyes, ears, and minds to the big world outside and see where it can fit inside our little slice of America.
What could truly make Lowell a backwater in a way that would hurt ALL stakeholders (yes, it's a huge middle-class/working-class city with lots of families) is a reactionary, not-invented-here mindset that's terrified of things that are "from away."
...And if the complete, knee-jerk, reactionary rejection of all things "from away" is what you seek, you might be able to find it in some remote parts of Maine. Shake down enough downtown yuppies, and maybe you'll be able to scratch together the fare for a one-way.