Mayor Joe O’Brien: First impressions (on his first city council meeting)Written by admin on January 9th, 2010
By Rosalie Tirella
It was disappointing to watch Worcester’s new mayor, the exceedingly hoarse Joe O’Brien, at last week’s city council meeting. “Zero gravitas” I told myself, as I watched the guy attempt to run (never mind lead) his first Worcester City Council meeting last Tuesday eve. He was nice enough – but not serious enough. He gave folks their turn to talk – but didn’t do much talking about anything important. He should have. He seemed to have nothing more to offer than a goofy smile when City Councilor Konnie Lukes’ suggested Worcester cap its affordable housing. (By the way, she was much more mayoral than O’Brien. She spoke with confidence. She was articulate. She grabbed that mic and held it – with authority!)
I love Konnie Lukes, but I disagree with Konnie Lukes. Totally. Strongly. Passionately. Shame on O’Brien for not coming to the rescue of the inner-city or inner-city families or inner-city kids (who he wants to make sure get the best urban education in the country). First he lives in Main South and sees the effects of poverty daily. Second: He should know a kid can’t get a first-rate education, if your family is on the run from slumlords or stressed to the MAX paying high bills or scrimping on food or clothing to pay Worcester’s $800 rents. Ya want smart kids, Joe? Then give them safe, clean apartments run by parents/guardians who dodn’t feel the wolf is at the door. ALWAYS!
Worcester needs MORE affordable housing! So many of our residents are struggling! (especially at this time in history!) So many of our landlords are indeed slumlords who milk the system. They get away with violating all sorts of codes, re: fire alarm systems, drainage off buildings, lying about number of units in building so they can have building assessed for less dough and thus pay less taxes) And the inspection guys and gals on meade Street let them get away with it, are soft on the “investors.” Often because they know them. Crooked Connections count in this city. Even it means letting people die in a fire trap (no sprinkler system – no hardwire fire alarm system outside apts)
We need our affordable housing scrutinized!
Which is what the always articulate, thoughtful and brilliat District 4 City Councilor Barabara Haller got up to say. She lives practically next door to Joe O’Brien in Main South, one of Worcester’s inner-city neighborhoods. She – not Joe O’Brien – came to the rescue of working families in Worcester. She, like Konnie Lukes, was more mayoral than Joe O’Brien.
And to make himself even more unimpressive, at one point, when O’Brien got up and left his seat to get a drink of water (Konnie took the gavel), he actually kinda hopped out of his chair – the way a high school kid would leave his desk to take a piss in the boys room. Long leg over the chair! There we go!
Like I said: The guy’s got no gravitas.
Or (much worse): he’s a clueless little boy.