Category Archives: InCity Voices

Undocumented workers

By Richard Schmitt

May 1 has come to be one of the days when the advocates of undocumented workers demonstrate their support for immigrants. It is also a day for their opponents — mostly persons who feel threatened by the job competition of the immigrants — to emphasize that the immigrants are here illegally.

Alan Greenspan, for many years the head of the Federal Reserve and now, in his retirement, the grand old man of the business elite of this country, used the occasion to declare that “illegal immigration has made a significant attribution to US economic growth by providing a flexible workforce.”

Translate that into English: businesses can pay undocumented workers very low wages. That saves them money. It also allows them to pay less to American workers because there is always a threat of being replaced by the undocumented low-wage workers. Undocumented workers have no protection from laws or from unions. You can hire and fire them at will. Continue reading Undocumented workers

Change the future of a Worcester child!

By Celia Gnoza

Did you ever want to be a hero? Did you ever wonder if you could ever make a difference in this world? Well you can! Anyone can be a hero by becoming a Foster Parent. Some of the greatest champions in our city are every day people who have chosen to foster children in the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
It’s about caring for a child in need and extending love to a human being
Many of the children come with a history of trauma and the difference you can make is huge.

There are currently many children in the Worcester area alone who are living in foster care. We need your help to provide these children with a safe and loving home.

While it is often the case that children twelve years of age and older wait longer than their younger peers to find an adoptive family, these children never give up hope for a permanent home. Within just the past six months, the Central DCF Region has legalized the adoptions of five children, all placed as teenagers with non-related families. Here are there stories.

Before reaching 15, Tashanna’s birth mother had died and her three younger siblings had been adopted. She always wanted a family but knew that her photo that appeared in the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) manual drew few inquiries. During the spring of 2007, an adoptive couple with no previous children saw her picture in pre-adoptive training and said it was love at first sight.” Tashanna’s adoption worker, her therapist and members from the couple’s church helped to support the placement. The family encouraged Tashanna’s passions and interests while simultaneously introducing her to new opportunities. Tashanna is a well accomplished 16 year old whose parents are so proud that when they talk about her with others, they often well up with tears of joy. Continue reading Change the future of a Worcester child!

The Worcester Police Dept. investigates itself

By Ronald O’Clair

I thought that you would be interested to know the outcome of the Worcester Police Department investigation into my complaint – an account was published in the February 13 – 26 issue of InCity Times.
As I knew before filing the complaint, the charges against both officers involved were declared “not sustained” and “unfounded” in the letter the Chief of Police sent me to inform me of the resolution of my “case.”
I had three witnesses, besides myself, and though they were not exactly stellar witnesses, they do hear and see well enough that they saw and heard what they did.

No matter how many indignant citizens complain to the WPD’s “Bureau of Professional Standards,” the result is the same, time after time: “unfounded” or “not sustained.”

That is why I think that the Chief is so reluctant to release the records that the public has a right to be informed about. He does not want to let the people see how one-sided the so-called investigations are being conducted so that the police department can retain what shreds of dignity it has left, which are not many if you ask me. …

It really is not very funny when an injustice happens to you at the hands of those who are sworn under oath of office to “serve and protect” your rights as a citizen of the City of Worcester.

It is not funny when you take the time to protest the injustice, only to have them white-wash the incident to make it appear that the officers acted responsibly and in a professional manner, when any fool can see that they did not, and do not practice these policies on a daily basis here in the inner-city around the P.I.P. shelter. Continue reading The Worcester Police Dept. investigates itself

Goodbye, GM

By Michael Moore

June 1, 2009

I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.

As I sit here in GM’s birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?

It is with sad irony that the company which invented “planned obsolescence” — the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one — has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh — and that wouldn’t start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the “inferior” Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to “improve” the short-term bottom line of the corporation. Continue reading Goodbye, GM

Black like me: Worcester’s Black leaders – a brief history (part 1)

By William S. Coleman III

I will always remember the night of November 4, 2008. On this night America elected a qualified man – a black man – to be the next President of the United States of American and leader of the free world.
That night I joined a packed house of people gathered at a Green Street pub to watch the election returns.

There were all races of people: male and female, 21 and older, digital and analog. We came together to witness history and hoped history would be on our side that night.

The room would erupt, as the election returns would come in first from the East Coast: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, and then New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, and the big shocker, Florida – all for Barack Obama. Continue reading Black like me: Worcester’s Black leaders – a brief history (part 1)

Proposal for an annual Worcester “Car of the Future Conference”

By Jim May

A unique opportunity exists in 2009 for the futures of both Worcester and WPI. The long range opportunity could be enormous. In the short term it is still a very attractive marketing opportunity.
Not that long ago, the last place on earth you would have found me on my Fourth of July weekend was Lincoln Square, the epicenter of the Summer Nationals car show. However, over the last five years I have come to increasingly appreciate the passion that the car restorers have for their craft which is not unlike my own: remodeling older homes and historic buildings in the Highland-WPI area.

Needless to say, I am a pretty “green” kind of guy: anything pro-environment is a plus for me.
I responded strongly to the forward thinking appeal of Obama’s messages of fuel-efficient cars, alternative solutions and providing incentives for inventors. Continue reading Proposal for an annual Worcester “Car of the Future Conference”

War and genocide

By Richard Schmitt

It’s this time of year again, the season of genocide remembrances and conferences; President Barrack Obama went to Turkey and without using the dreaded word “genocide,” spoke harshly about the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Turks. It is the time of year to remember genocides and its victims.

The local paper displayed a bar graph of different genocides: 200,000 persons killed in Bosnia – Herzogovina from 1992 to 1995; 800,000 in Ruanda in 1994; 2 million in Cambodia under Pol Pot, 1975 – 1979; 6 million in the Nazi Holocaust, 1938 – 1945; 300,000 killed by the Japanese in Nanking, China, 1937- 1938; 7 million killed in Stalinist Russia during the forced collectivization of agriculture; 1.5 million killed in Armenia in 1915. Continue reading War and genocide

“We the People” to “King of the World”: “YOU’RE FIRED!”

By Michael Moore

Nothing like it has ever happened. The President of the United States, the elected representative of the people, has told the head of General Motors — a company that’s spent more years at #1 on the Fortune 500 list than anyone else — “You’re fired!”

I simply can’t believe it. This stunning, unprecedented action has left me speechless. I keep saying, “Did Obama really fire the chairman of General Motors? The wealthiest and most powerful corporation of the 20th century? Can he do that? Really? Well, damn! What else can he do?!”
This bold move has sent the heads of corporate America spinning and spewing pea soup. Obama has issued this edict: The government of, by, and for the people is in charge here, not big business. John McCain got it. On the floor of the Senate he asked, “What does this signal send to other corporations and financial institutions about whether the federal government will fire them as well?” Continue reading “We the People” to “King of the World”: “YOU’RE FIRED!”

The government’s work

By Richard Schmitt

In a recent guest column in InCity Times, Harvey Fenigsohn wrote wisely that after eight years of George W. Bush we are entitled to have some fun at the expense of the former president but, more importantly, we need to learn from the failures of the previous administration.
They did a pretty terrible job because from President Bush down many bigwigs in the government were incompetent. But they also did a horrible job because they believed a lot of things which are plainly false.
One of those falsehoods is the dogma that government cannot do anything right and that if you want something to be done properly you need to allow private enterprise to do it. For the Bush people this became a self-fulfilling prophecy. They underfunded government agencies; they deregulated whatever they could. On their watch the government was therefore not able to do many of its jobs. Continue reading The government’s work

Is there an upside to the capsizing economy?

By Chris Holbein

It’s hard to find a silver lining in a recession. Stocks are plummeting, 401(k) plans are shrinking and businesses are either scaling back or folding. But there is one bright spot: Food magazines have stopped force-feeding their readers recipes featuring foie gras.

Gourmet and Bon Appétit have reportedly forsaken foie gras in favor of more budget-friendly options, and the editor in chief of Food & Wine recently announced that the magazine will no longer feature “recipes that involve loads of foie gras.” That’s a good thing. It’s just a shame that it took a tanking economy—rather than an ethical revolution or even a sense of revulsion—to make some foodies give up diseased duck livers. Continue reading Is there an upside to the capsizing economy?