Fact Check – Chris Doherty’s negative politics and baseless attacks

AUGUST 25, 2010

Lowell, MA – Chris Doherty continued his negative and baseless attacks against Eileen Donoghue yesterday, making inaccurate claims about Donoghue’s record on the City Council in his latest mailer.   Doherty’s claim:  “While Eileen Donoghue was in office, the Lowell city budget exploded – growing from $155 million to $260 million.” FACT: Lowell’s annual share of state revenue increased by $50-$60 million during Eileen Donoghue’s time on the City Council, and investment in the City drove home values for all residents to record-breaking highs.  When Eileen Donoghue took office in 1996, Lowell received roughly $60 million per year from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Chapter 70 school aid.  When she left office at the end of 2007, that number had grown to an annual average of more than $100 million, and at times exceeded $110 million.[1]  General local aid also grew significantly during Eileen’s tenure.  When she took office, Lowell received roughly $20 million per year in Local Aid.  By the time she left office that number had increased to more than $30 million per year.  Apparently Chris Doherty thinks bringing in more money from the state is a problem.  Chris Doherty also seems to think that positive economic growth is a problem.  During Eileen Donoghue’s time on the Lowell City Council and her tenure as Mayor, Lowell’s revival led to a tremendous increase in property values throughout the city and helped to significantly bolster the city’s revenue.  From September 2000 to November 2007 alone, Lowell’s annual home value soared more than 65%.  According to the City of Lowell’s Department of Economic Development: “Since early 2003, investment in the Downtown Lowell Historic District and Acre Neighborhood District has been unprecedented, with over $200 million in development completed, underway, or planned among 33 projects through 2006.”[2]  Eileen Donoghue is proud of her record of leading investment in the City of Lowell and driving economic development and job growth.  Doherty’s claim:  “For her performance, Eileen more than doubled her own pay.” FACT: In her twelve years on the City Council, Eileen Donoghue made less in total salary than Chris Doherty made in just the last two of his many years on the public payroll.  In 1999, the Lowell City Council voted unanimously (9-0) to raise the Councilor’s salary from $7500 per year (where it had been set in the 1980’s after the first increase in 40 years) to $15,000 per year.  The raise took effect in 2000, after the voters of Lowell elected a new City Council.  During her twelve years on the City Council, Eileen Donoghue earned an average of $12,500 in salary – less than Chris Doherty earned every two months in the DA’s office last year, when his salary was $86,000 per year.   “The latest Chris Doherty negative attack is just another example of dirty tricks campaigning from a typical politician,” said Donoghue spokesman Scott Ferson.  “Chris Doherty has spent his entire career on the public payroll, is being bankrolled by special interests from outside the district, and is relying on gutter politics and gimmicks to win at all costs.  The voters aren't buying his typical politician game. Our internal poll shows that voters choose Eileen Donoghue more than 3-1 over Chris Doherty and his dirty politics. Voters are clearly responding to Eileen's reputation for integrity and leadership."[1] Source – City of Lowell, Prepared Budget, FY 2011[1]

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