It was never about saving the taxpayer a penny.
Mayor Patrick Murphy’s said his motion calling on the City Council to approve a home-rule petition allowing the city’s public legal notices to be posted on the city’s website rather than paying to have them published in The Sun — as state law requires — was intended to save money.
But the City Council saw through Murphy’s vindictive ploy and convincingly rejected Tuesday night Murphy’s motion to tweak The Sun, 8-1.
Murphy estimated the city has spent more than $100,000 in each of two recent fiscal years on legal notices. A Sun tally indicates the city has spent between $30,000 and $50,000 in legal notices in The Sun so far for the fiscal year that ends June 30.
A councilor knows he’s in trouble when a motion they sponsor doesn’t draw a second, which is necessary for discussion. Councilor Kevin Broderick — no surprise there — stepped in at the last minute to spare Murphy further embarrassment from seeing his motion die an incredibly quick death.
The City Council has a prickly history with home-rules. Usually, the body asks the State House delegation to waive the preliminary election. Remember several years back when Sen. Steven Panagiotakos warned the City Council against asking again, but it did anyway? That was about saving money, too.
Had Murphy’s motion been approved, it likely wouldn’t have been unanimous — which is an informal prerequisite for any home rule petition to triumph on Beacon Hill.
Had it moved out of the City Council Chamber, the city’s State House delegation comprised of Reps. Thomas Golden, Kevin Murphy, David Nangle and Sen. Eileen Donoghue would not have provided it with much spark on Beacon Hill.
Even Donoghue, the administration’s biggest friend in the delegation, expressed skepticism when interviewed by Teddy Panos on WCAP Tuesday morning.
“Administration” refers to City Manager Bernie Lynch, whom many believe is Murphy’s comrade-in-arms, at least on this issue. Councilor Rita Mercier even asked Lynch if he was behind it. Lynch laughed it off with a big smile, but he spoke in favor of exploring Murphy’s idea. Of course he did!
All this goes to prove what Murphy was out to prove: The Sun is the Evil Empire in his view.
Murphy has his reasons to be angry with newspaper. For example, The Sun wrote about the unceremonious way he went about dumping longtime mayor’s assistant Diane Bujnowski.
The Sun also highlighted the political fallout from his decision to name Councilor Vesna Nuon as chair of the public-safety subcommittee, then un-name him.
Interesting to note, Murphy has posted on his personal website Sun stories about initiatives he has pushed, such as his motion to increase city investment in local banks.
In arguing for his motion, Murphy said there are ways people can access information without buying a newspaper. “I don’t necessarily think the way we are doing things now is the best possible way. We can increase the people we reach so we have more due process and not less.”
But Nuon, his confidante, said: “For now the newspaper is our best option in terms of being responsible and efficient with that aspect.”
The city’s own survey that found that 52 percent of those who responded get their news and information from The Sun. Furthermore, the legal notices Murphy is referring to remain on-line at lowellsun.com for 30 days.
Referring to The Sun, Edward Kennedy added: “It is independent, it’s permanent and it provides a record.”Explore posts in the same categories: The Column