Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

City Clerk David Rushford: The Marrying Man?

By Rosalie Tirella

Let’s see: the city is cash strapped, the state is cash strapped (until the new MA state sales tax kicks in!) and the country is searching for the bootstraps it needs to pull itself out of this financial hell hole. What better time for Worcester City Clerk David Rushford to add as much as $95,000 to his base salary of $131,000!

Meet David Rushford – Worcester’s Marrying Man. This Sunday we learned that Rushford, who is already closing the Worcester City Clerk’s office a couple of hours earlier than 5 p.m (creating banking hours for himself and his staff while still collecting the same pay check) has been making some serious side money ON CITY TIME and CITY PROPERTY marrying people.  He won’t say how much he charges, but thanks to yet another whacky Massachusetts law, Rushford, or any city/town clerk in Massachusetts can charge $50 – $95 every time he/she officially marries a couple.

You would think that the fee would go to the city or town. After all, the momentous event is happening in a city or town hall. It is being performed by a city/town clerk who is working at his city/town job in a city/town hall (thus collecting his/her city/town pay check). You would think with all the whining David Rushford has done about losing a few city clerks and not being able to perform all his work with the staff he’s got, that he would be tickled pink if marrying people meant more moeny for the City of Worcester. Maybe then City Manager Mike O’Brien could rehire some of Rushford’s city clerks he laid off earlier. 

Nope. The dough goes to the city/town clerk doing the marrying.

Last year, Rushford married 950 couples. Do the math: 950  x $100 = $95,000!

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS STATE?! HOW NUTTY CAN WE GO? WE (City of Worcester) LAY OFF CITY NURSES AND TEACHERS AND PARKS PEOPLE AND STILL ALLOW RUSHFORD TO MAKE AS MUCH AS $95,000. WHY DON’T THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS IN WORCESTER GET RIGHTEOUSLY PISSED AND WORK TO HAVE THIS ARCANE STATE LAW CHANGED SO THAT THE MONEY GOES TO THE CITY OF WORCESTER? Not our city clerk who lives in an amazingly huge mansion on Mass Ave – for being little more than a glorified secretary.

Insane!

Here’s hoping city councilors do something productive during their two summer meetings. Let’s have them petition the state to rescind the law or at least pass some local ordinance that allows the City of Worcester to collect – and KEEP – the fee.

$95,000 could go to Worcester’s parks, city pools – city kids. It could go towards public health, AIDS awareness.

It amazes me to see how Blow Mag and many city pols just seem to enable/excuse this bad behavior. Why? Because they know Rushford. Because they are all in the same boys club, standing in the same swill.

Pathetic.

What ever happened to baby Michael Jackson?

By Rosalie Tirella

How unnerving to be at the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra  concert at Institute Park this weekend and have to listen to, of all things, a musical tribute to Michael Jackson – Whacko Jacko! There we sat in the middle of Institute Park, in the middle of what was billed as a “Salute to Disney,” a concert especially for kids, listening to “Thriller” and “Billie Jean” set to trumpet, violins and possibly kettle drum. Let’s see the MSO celebrated the work of (most likely) a pedophile at a concert that was filled with dancing four-year olds!

Somehow, some way – I don’t know why – people have decided to lionize – no, make that deify – a drug addled/addicted, prima dona, weirdo, “entertainer” who didn’t even write his own songs.

First let me say this: I loved (still do) The Jackson Five. On our WCCA TV 13 show “Straight Talk” (which airs Mon. 11:30 p.m, Thurs. 7:30 p.m. and Fri. 11:30 A.M.) I talked of how, when I was a little kid, I used to cut out the Jackson Five 45’s that adorned certain cereal boxes. It was so much fun to get the Alphabits cereal and have my mom pour out the stuff into a big mixing bowl to give me the now empty cereal box. I would then run for my scissors and cut that “record” out – no bigger than a saucer, really. Then I would slap it on my Close and Play portable record player and dance all over the house! Continue reading What ever happened to baby Michael Jackson?

Fourth of July special, courtesy of the Worcester Police Department!

By Rosalie Tirella

How sad this had to happen right before the Fourth of July:

About three or so days ago, a guy and a Worcester cop were infront of a Worcester pharmacy – the guy getting arrested. The guy gives some lip service to one of Worcester’s finest as he’s being arrested, and the Nazi – I mean Worcester Police Officer – would have none of the guy’s sass. So what did the cop do? He pounced on the guy and began whacking him in the balls! Again and again! And after he was finished, he swung his arm around several times – as if to say: Whew! That took a lot outa me! Gotta stretch the ol’ muscles!

“Happy Fourth of July, Worcester! 

– body blows and kisses from the WPD!” Continue reading Fourth of July special, courtesy of the Worcester Police Department!

How dumb can they get?

By Rosalie Tirella

Why is it that we have a plethora of yahoos on the Worcester City Council? First there is City Councilor at Large Frederick “Ric” Rushton, whose trials and tribulations I chronicle in “Dope-o-rama” – ’cause he’s so dopey. Whether Rushton’s talking about the “vortex” in his brain or browbeating his council mates with a half-baked version of some historical event, Rushton never seems to get anything right.

Then there’s City Councilor Joff Smith, who, when recently complaining about the Asian Long-Horned Beetle in sentences cobbled together with thumb tacks and dangling participles galore, took his moron-ness to an even higher level: During a recent city council meeting Smith said that some of his conversations with officials reminded him of “episodes of Scooby Doo.” Scooby Doo?!

For the uninitiated, Scooby Doo was a 1960s Saturday morning cartoon – the star of which was a goofy Great Dane named Scooby Doo. Scooby had all these silly adventures with four 20-something kids (they’re Joff’s age) – one of whom always yelled: “Scooby Doo, where are YOU?!” Continue reading How dumb can they get?

Cheers to WPI! (and don’t forget to credit Tony!)

By Rosalie Tirella

What a surprise! WPI, following the lead of the great Charles Monahan and his downtown college, has volunteered to make PILOT payments to the City of Worcester. More than $9 million over two decades! The money will be used to (re)open our flagship library on Salem Square. So now kids can go to the downtown Worcester Public Libray on Sundays or Mondays or Wednesday mornings (the times the library is now closed). InCity Times has been asking for this kind of commitment from Worcester’s private colleges for YEARS! And now, deep in the midst of a national, state and city financial meltdown, WPI has decided to do the right thing!

Thank you, WPI! Thank you, City Manager Mike O’Brien for brokering this ground-breaking agreement! Thank you (and we never thought we’d be writing this) District 2 City Councilor Phil Palmieri for hammering away at the colleges/nonprofits during city council meeting after city council meeting. City Councilor at Large Gary Rosen has also been wonderful, even suggesting that the colleges support our library system or open their libraries to Worcester families. And also thanks to District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller who was pro-PILOT (Payment in Lieu for Taxes) from the get-go – years back. Continue reading Cheers to WPI! (and don’t forget to credit Tony!)

Trust Obama!

By Rosalie Tirella

Some folks on the left are disappointed in our prez. Not I! He is cool, goodlooking, smart and progressive. How wonderful to turn on the tube and see a guy who speaks well, listens carefully, reacts intelligently, has a sense of humor (a wee bit smug, perhaps) AND is pretty much the community organizer I voted for last November.

President Barack Obama still cares about families, neighborhoods and kids. He wants a health care system that doesn’t break the bank – a system that serves the guy with cancer or the girl who just broke an ankle. Not the insurance companies or the HMOs. And no, there will not be rationing of health care. And like Obama said, if you have health insurance that you are happy with and you like all your docs – then keep them. But chances are you will be paying less money for their good services. Continue reading Trust Obama!

State Rep. Bob Spellane spills out …

By Rosalie Tirella

… of himself again! Like the perfect idiot that he is! Like someone who should have been arrested (and would have been, if he were black and poor and this face-off occured in Main South’s Crystal Park).

If John Fresolo had just done what prima donna State Rep. Bob Spellane had done – thrown a hissy fit at a Worcester Little League game, attacked his ex-brother in law, come within a hair’s breath of mixing it up with his ex-wife … demanding the $19 bucks he said she owed him for a new pair of sneakers for their son (I predict four score and seven years of psychotherapy for the Spellane kiddies!) –  the rotund Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson (she got that way from eating all that red meat and smoking!) would have written a delicious column on him. We would have read all the kooky details: like Spellane went ballistic over half the cost of a pair of kid sneakers! That Spellane went postal AFTER last year’s mess, the one is which he used his political position and his father in law’s good name to pay ZERO mortgage payements on a country house he bought. AFTER his wife’s family gave him (for which they are now suing him) $150,000. After Spellane had to pay the state a fine for coming within spitting distance of breaking state ethics laws. After Spellane and his wife graced the cover of a Worcester glossy magazine as one of the main characters in a cover story about Worcester’s illustrious – and happily married! – political couples. After Spellane cheated on his wife with a girl reporter from a local cable TV news station.

How big a crumb bum can this crumb bum get?

Much bigger, we suspect! During the recent (now infamous) Little League game, supposedly to cheer his son on, Spellane acted like the kind of kid coaches “bench” every game: a stupid and selfish bully. Spellane shoved his smarmy face into the face of his ex-brother-in-law. They chased each other around a picnic table, for Gawd’s sake! REAL grown ups had to pull him off the other guy.

But, hey, this is Worcester. Spellane is “connected,” and  Dianne Williamson swims in the same fetid sludge in which Spellane and his political bros doggy paddle. Of course, Williamson is going to protect him!

But Worcester knows a hypocritical Telegram  & Gazette columnist when she sees one. And she also knows a fool pol when she sees one – a fool pol who apparently knows no bounds when it comes to making a perfect ass of himself.

The Friendly House sports and recreation programs – an 89-year tradition

By Rosalie Tirella

When the Friendly House, Worcester’s premier social service agency, opened its doors in 1920, its beginnings were as humble as those of the Italian and Syrian immigrants who also made the Grafton Hill neighborhood their home. Located at 38 Wall Street, the place looked like a very large home. But, oh, what an abode! Inside: the first community-based dental clinic in the country, First Aid classes for the neighborhood moms, cooking classes for the girls, and “SNAPs” tables for the boys. Every spring in the ’40s, a Friendly House Doll Carriage Parade wended its way through the neighborhood, with little girls’ doll carriages festooned with flowers and little boys’ bikes decorated to the hilt. The “works of art” would be judged and first-place prizes awarded.

“In the beginning,” says Friendly House executive director Gordon Hargrove, “there was a lot of arts and crafts, music, drama. The Friendly House really didn’t have sports – the more athletic activities. In the ’20s and 30’s, the adults in the neighborhoods had their own baseball teams. The Groton AA.” Hargrove laughs. He is delighted to have the chance to take out the photo boxes and show a visitor all the vintage photos and share the history of a Worcester landmark, a landmark that he has been a part of since the 1950s and headed since the 1970s. To know the Friendly House is to know Gordon Hargrove. Continue reading The Friendly House sports and recreation programs – an 89-year tradition

And don’t forget … Pondering the pools

By Rosalie Tirella

My Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray patronage post (see “Hush! Hush!” post below) is missing the following important factoid: the Republican fundraiser who raised thousands of dollars for Murray – and whom Murray had to dump after grousings from the gov, his boss, and after a critical Boston Globe story – was “rewarded” by Murray, after he gave Murray the big bundle of bucks. Murray appointed the guy – a nursing home developer type  – to a board somewhere (I think) in Brockton. Murray gave the guy the position as (and let’s not be coy) as a reward because it was a position that would have enabled Murray’s fundraiser pal to do good by his biz interests. Talk about quid pro quo! Which, of course, doesn’t get talked about in Worcester, when it comes to Murray or any of our politicians, really. Which is why we get the shenanigans of a Bob Spellane (see post below).

And how coincidental is this? The $100,000 + UMass Medical School job that Murray got for his best pal Leary – after a few phone calls, no doubt – is a NEWLY CREATED JOB at UMass (just for Leary??) and IT PAYS the exact same salary  Leary is now making as Murray’s #1 aide in the State House.

The pools

What a tragedy! After all the neighborhood meetings, after all the heart-wrenching testimonials from neighborhood folks, after all the PROMISES from city officials, City Manager Mike O’Brien, with the blessings of the City Council, has closed our nine city pools for the summer. Most of the pools will most likely never have a kid cannonball into them again. How tragic!

Last year, they were fine – 8 of the 9 were opened to the public. The public being lots of minority, poor inner-city folks with not a lot of money/options for summer fun. This year, according to city officials, the pools are lethal! With killer drains, according to DPW and Parks head Robert Moylan! Killer drains that could reach up and grab a flutter-kicking leg and … Gak! It’s the attack of the Killer Drain!! Call the Ghost Busters! Or the Worcester Police Department!

Stop demonizing the drains! Fix them! And with the $200,000 set aside so far for private, non-progfit pool openings in the city, O’Brien could do just that. We do not warm to O’Brien’s contingency plan for summer 2009. Lots of the nonprofits that have offered help have just (so far) opted to expand pool hours for their members (or kids who want to join their organizations). The Boys Club, Girls Inc, YWCA, Main South YMCA have not – so far – opened their pools up to non-member inner-city kids. They must do this if they want to help …

But even if they do step up to the plate, we fear kids will not: take the city sponsored buses to the sites, have enough time to really have fun before they are pushed out to make room for Syncromaid practice or family “dip” for Y members. Our kids will just be squeezed in and made to feel second best. 

So let’s take the money that O’Brien has set aside for lifeguards, buses, support staff, etc at the nonprofit pools and call on a few fantastic blue collar guys (contractors/plumbers) to fix/spackle three or four of the city pools. The rest of the money can be used to hire lifeguards, etc.

What we think happened was this: O’Brien and Moylan (even while they were hearing the pleas/testimonials from inner-city kids!) were planning to close all the city pools – many in poor neighborhoods. Which is why they didn’t even begin to hire/train life guards, hire support staff, etc this year.  And of course they could cover their butts with: “We’re in a national, state and city recession! We have no money! We are laying city workers off left and right! Pools are an extravagance at this time!”

Bull shit. Their city-leased SUV’s are an extravagance! (and the dozen or so big wig in City Hall who have them, complete with free gas, don’t want to geive them up!) Worcester cops making more than $150,000 a year are an extravagance! (just regular ol’ patrol men/women!) Neither cops nor fire dept will join the real world and pay 25% of their helath insurance premiums. This is where the city budget fat is. This is where we could get the money to fix and open ALL OUR CITY POOLS!

Let’s be real – honest. 

 

Search committee, smearch committee

Jeff B. sent me a comment about my last post (see below). To this, I say: Jeff, you are tres naive! To think that an official “search committtee,” made up of “board members” (8!) and all the other bells and whistles that go along with announcements/pronouncements from the state make the Leary sinecure legit/without political strings is … plain goofy. I stand by my post. Shame on the Telegram and Gazette for not attacking the story the way the Boston TV stations did. Worcester Telegram reporters John M. and Nick K. are often nothing more than personal stenographers for the powers that be (especially where Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is concerned). They should both get a box of melted chocolates for National Secretaries’ Day. (So should you!)

– Rosalie Tirella