Tag Archives: District 4

The Gaffneys invade District 4

By Rosalie Tirella

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pics: R.T.

Eating breakfast today, thinking Worcester politics. Thinking: You’ve got to be shitting me! Coreen Gaffney is running for Worcester District 4 City Councilor?! The wife of Worcester City Councilor Mike Gaffney – Michael Gaffney: our very own Alabama Governor George Wallace?!!? Our very own Donald Trump stuffed with Joseph P. McCarthy? – a guy whose made his politcal name in Worcester by throwing minorities under the bus? … a guy who exploits the “race issue” every chance he gets and throws our city into paroxysms of pain for mere political gain?

The insanity! The arrogance!

Manipulative and cynical are words that do not begin to describe Coreen’s chubby hubby, Michael Gaffney – a guy who, along with his consigliere – Worcester’s very own Jerry Springer: TURTLE BOY-Aidan Kearney – has done nothing but create racial discord in Worcester.

Every racially divisive, hurtful slug fest in Worcester these past few years can be traced to Michael Gaffney and Turtle Boy Aidan Kearney. For political gain (the Gaffer wants to be mayor – ha ha) and for click bait (Turtle Boy-Aidan Kearney is also a racist hater).

Sanctuary Cities.

Brenda Jenkins.

Melinda Boone.

The Worcester rally for immigrants and refugees.

ICE.

Gaffney has purposely misinterpreted each of these issues to stir up fear and hatred in our community and to destroy Worcester Mayor Joe Petty. And the Turtle Boy blog has been with him every pernicious step of the way!

And now – just because they’ve lived in Main South’s Junction Shops for a year – wife Coreen has decided to run for city councilor in District 4 – Worcester’s majority-minority district, a district where all the above issues play out daily, hourly … a district that has been ably and compassionately served by incumbent D 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera, a pastor, educator and local civil rights leader with deep roots in and a deep love for  District 4.

The gall of Coreen Gaffney!

To think that this political couple from hell – using Coreen as their tool – can win, or even make an electoral dent – in D 4 is laughable!

For Coreen to expect to get the support and votes of the hundreds and hundreds of Latinos, blacks, immigrants and their families AND the progressive community activists/hippies who live in Main South, Green Island, Lower Vernon Hill and Piedmont Street shows you just how arrogant and deluded she is. Just like her intellectually sharp but emotionally and spiritually ugly husband, Michael.

District 4  – the district whose people, issues, kids/students husband Michael has used as a political punching bag – Coreen  Gaffney is now running to “represent”!

Mrs. Gaffney, please chew on this …

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… You have a snowflake’s chance in hell of winning (winning over) D 4!!!

Who’s got the prettiest bloomers in Worcester?-part 2

So, I was in my beloved Green Island earlier today and was lucky enough to catch the lovely flower lady behind all the lovely bloomers I showered you with last week! She let me in her lush, lush, soothing yard. Met her nice hubby! … And took these photos!

FLOWER TO THE PEOPLE!

GO, GORGEOUS GREEN ISLANDERS, GO!
– Rosalie Tirella

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Then, just a five-minute drive away you have WORCESTER CITY COUNCILOR AT LARGE KONSTANTINA LUKE’S rental property.

A DUMP.

Konnie puts the slum in my neighborhood!

She has no respect for the people here!

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The porches are NOT up to code, City Councilor Lukes!!

Welcome to Worcester’s District 4!

Daily or 3 X per week trash pick-up for D 4! An itense, inner-city district like mine needs the extra TLC!!! Urban revitalization NOW! Public health is our concern, too!

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On the other hand, the Main South CDC is doing some wonderful work in D 4 (see below):

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Go, Steve Teasdale and Main South CDC, go!!

pics/text: R.T.

Happy Easter! … and then some!

Lilac donning her Easter bonnet!:

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Not-so-Happy District 4:

Charlton Street:
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Lower Endicott Street:

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Ward Street heading into the Canal District:

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This Earth Day these filth hot spots will be cleaned up by the best of the best. The next day they’ll be clogged with garbage. A chronic problem!

City Leaders may want to institute FREE GARBAGE PICK UP IN SOME OF OUR INNER-CITY ‘HOODS. The illegal dumping will never go away …

Some questions:

Is it financial hardship that keeps folks from plunking down 10 bucks for city trash bags?

Or: Is it a symptom of something deeper, a kind of depression/malaise that stops our folks from keeping their environs clean?

We can debate the causes all year long. Meanwhile, my neighborhood grows dirtier and dirtier.

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So wonderful when our readers show us the love:

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Like William here! To hear the enthusiasm in his voice a week ago as he picked up the latest issue of ICT! To be bombarded with his compliments! To experience his intelligence and thoughtfulness! Our readers make it all STILL GREAT. After almost 15 years!

THANK YOU!!

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My friend works in a flower shop. She “sent” me these beauties a few days ago for Easter!:

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Love the soft peach roses, gal pal!

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And love the hundreds of vintage toy trucks and cars – some of them actually antiques dating back to the 1920s – for sale at Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift store at 1329 Main St., Worcester. These guys really take you back! Who can remember the Texaco jingle?

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Lilac, my tenacious hunter, caught a rabbit (or squirrel?) a week ago:

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A brutal, but quick, ending for the little guy. You can’t break your dog of his/her high prey drive. … Lilac slept like a babe that night, true to her soul:

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Easter sans Lucinda? Never in a million Easters! Reposting one of my favorite Lu songs!

HAPPY, HAPPY EASTER!

– pics+text by Rosalie Tirella

Driving around District 4 today, I saw all this shit!

So I called the mayor, congratulated him on his win, and immediately began talking trash! I said: Joe! District 4 is awash in garbage! Get rid of it! We’re dying here! Some ideas: Nix the donation boxes! Hire two D 4 garbage collectors! … I’ve seen a rat! … Eeeek!!!!

Petty said in that steady, calm voice of his: Thanks for your support … the city IS working on this issue. Donation boxes ARE being removed. Their licences/permits scrutinized. We will get there.

This is what D 4 deals with every day. I am texting Petty the photos just as soon as I post them here.

Where’s your sense of urgency, Worcester City Council?!

– Rosalie Tirella

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Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme DELIVERS

By Barbara Haller

Everybody’s got an agenda.  Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme’s agenda is Successfully Making & Keeping Worcester a Safe City.

I have worked with Police Chief Gary Gemme since he was hired as Worcester’s Police Chief in 2004, most of this time as the District 4 city councilor (2002-2011) and in the last 3 years as a local resident and active community member.  While chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee we met nearly every month one-on-one to discuss community problems.  I also met many times with him and key staff members and neighborhood constituents to discuss specific problems and strategies.

I also know Worcester for many years in many capacities.  I went to school in the City (Worcester Junior and WPI), have worked in the City (NGRID), had a small business in the City (Gilrein’s).  I own my home in the City (Main South).  My daughter and her family live in the City (Newton Square); my grandchildren attend Jacob Hiatt.  My partner owns and manages rental properties in Main South.

I know the struggle to get community policing to work.  I know about problem employees, difficult people.  I know about guns, drugs, and rock and roll.  I know about partisan politics.  I know about agendas – hidden and public ones.

Here’s what I know about Gary Gemme:

  • Chief Gemme is the real deal when it comes to commitment and honor.
  • Chief Gemme is a professional in all the positive ways – in touch, engaged, informed, pro-active.
  • Chief Gemme has made and is making a significant impact on controlling and reducing crime.

When he agreed to be hired as Chief, he made it clear to then City Manager O’Brien that he would not compromise on his vision for the Department.  The Manager agreed to support his efforts to change the Police Department culture and our community engagement in solutions to crime.  The 2004 city council was delighted with Manager O’Brien’s success in hiring Gary Gemme as our Police Chief.

The Chief delivers.

He reorganized his department using the split force model allowing for effective reaction to crime and pro-active prevention.  He put together a leadership team with targeted responsibilities and expertise.  He takes action on firing ranges, gun permits, porn houses, knives, officer discipline, technology, party houses, street crime.  He improves and grows partnerships with youth and youth-serving organizations, religious leaders, ethnic groups, athletic organizations.   He works with the Office of Human Rights to improve officer training.  He, working with Manager O’Brien, broke barriers among city departments to successfully develop inter-departments teams to address persistent problem properties.

The Chief’s commitment to neighborhood crime watches, foot beats, along with rapid response to data-driven hot-spots and developing crime trends is nothing short of great.  Last week at my local neighborhood crime watch meeting, our community impact officers were engaged – giving updates on progress for previously reported problems, listening to neighbors’ concerns.  Rather than standing up and telling us what to do, they sat with us and brainstormed possible solutions.  The feeling of partnership was strong.

All this being said there are always those who look for opportunities to criticize. For those of us who are not dogmatic in our beliefs or who feel uninformed, these people cause us to pause and reconsider if we are going in the right direction.  And sometimes they are right.  And sometimes we change our views.  And sometimes needed change comes.

And then there are always those to look for opportunities to misrepresent, demean, and incite.  My experience is that these people have some grudge, a need to see their name in the media, sell papers, get elected, and/or feel obligated to always act against authority and position.  There is an agenda and some ulterior motive.  They too cause many of us to pause and consider.  But we are mistaken if we allow them to lead us to change.

My experience with Police Chief Gary Gemme comes over many years and in many situations.  His commitment to his job and Worcester runs deep.  His motivation is honor and justice.   We don’t have to always agree with him; we don’t have to like him.  But we should respect his knowledge, expertise and professionalism.

We are fortunate to have Chief Gemme in service to our City.  Those who are attempting to misrepresent his accomplishments, demean his character, and incite others to do the same are not acting in Worcester’s best interest.   We would do well to ignore them.

The Straight Scoop on Worcester’s Community Development Corporations (CDCs)! Connect the dots!

By Barbara Haller, Main South Community Development Corporation Board member, former District 4 City Councilor, and Main South resident

There are several things going on that impact CDCs. Connecting the
dots correctly is difficult. Lots of people have lots of different
opinions. Lots of people are wrong. I believe that I can help ICT
readers understand some of the realities CDCs and the City are facing.
How I know what I know:

Over the past almost 25 years I have been involved in our Community
Development Corporations. Before being elected District 4 city
councilor I served as a board member for Worcester Common Ground and
Main South CDC. While city councilor I no longer served as a board
member but was an active advocate for the work of CDCs across the
City. Since leaving office I rejoined the Main South CDC as a board
member.

What I know:

Dot 1: Local political climate has shifted towards more support of
business development.

Dot 2: Local political climate has shifted towards downtown
revitalization.

Dot 3: Demographics show Worcester is losing its middle class.

Dot 4: Local political climate strongly favors home ownership over
rental properties.

Dot 5: Federal money for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is
declining.

Dot 6: CDBG has been used for lots of things including Code
Inspections, Operation Clean City, Friendly House, Henry Lee Willis,
South Worcester Neighborhood Center, Centro Las Americas, and much
more. It has also funded CDCs for some of their work in the community.

Dot 7: There are other Federal and State funds for developing
affordable housing — HOME, NSP, Lead Abatement. CDCs and private
developers have been awarded use of these funds either by the City
directly or under the Cityâ€Ts supervision.

Dot 8: There have been some scandals associated with some of these
funds. 5 May Street (private developer) was given money without
doing the work. Hadley Building (private developer) was completed
with public money but at excessive cost. Former Ionic Ave Boys &
Girls Club (private developer) was given public money but was never
developed. Lead removal program was corrupted by bribes.

Dot 9: There have been lots of questions around costs for developing
affordable housing. Many think it is too expensive.

Dot 10: CDCs take the sites with the most problems, in the worst
conditions, using money with the most strings attached, and
revitalize neighborhoods.

Dot 11: Local political climate wants more money to go to private
developers, home ownership, more middle class neighborhoods.

Dot 12: Federal audit of CDBG for past 3 years found City mismanaged
at least $2 million and maybe as much as $5+ million. A large portion
of these dollars were given to the CDCs. The audit is critical of the
City Administration contracts and monitoring of the contracts.

Dot 13: The dollars were used for operations that the Feds say were
ineligible under the program.

Dot 14: There is no indication that there was any misuse of funds by
anyone. No double-dipping, no excessive salaries, no slush funds.

Dot 15: The City has said it will go after the CDCâ€Ts for the money.

Dot 16: Those opposed to using public tax dollars to build affordable
housing are connecting the dots to say that it is time for CDCs to go
away or at least consolidate.

Dot 17: Those who want to protect the Cityâ€Ts Administration are
connecting the dots to say that it is the CDCs who messed up.

Dot 18: Those who want to protect the CDCs are connecting the dots to
say it is the City Administration who messed up; CDCs did as they
were contracted to do. If the City wrote contracts that scoped work
that was not covered by federal CDBG funds then it is the City who
erred, not the CDCs.

I firmly believe that the CDCs are vital to our City’s success. I
believe that the CDCs did nothing wrong and that CDBG funding was
used to fight neighborhood blight.

I also believe that the City Administration is not interested in
partnering with the CDCs anymore. I believe that the City Council
supports the City Administration’s plan to shift more resources to
other parts of the city and to and reduce affordable housing
development by CDCs. I believe this is a mistake for lots of reasons.

You can connect your own dots, but the way I see it inner-city
neighborhood revitalization is in for a serious slowdown.

District 4 Blues

By Ron O’Clair

I was picking up the latest copy of InCity Times and happened to be around when ICT Chief Rosalie was delivering the new edition. We exchanged greetings and hugs, and during our brief conversation a topic came up: our mutual friend Barbara Haller, former long time District 4 Worcester City Councilor.

That got me thinking about all the things that Barbara started in motion that are now paying dividends in my neighborhood after many years of abject neglect and indifference to the plight of the decent, hardworking residents of the area who collectively suffered for many years while our neighborhood was besieged by hordes of criminal minded types that constantly despoiled the peace and serenity of the area.
One of those long suffering residents: Mr. Gerard (Jerry) Michaud, of whom I featured in an article printed in InCity Times. He was a long time resident here in the 700 Block of Main Street and a longtime resident of the building I manage here at 707 Main Street. He just passed away this past week, the fourth week of August, 2012.

Jerry, as everyone called him, had the best view out of this building onto what was a constant parade of lawlessness, seven days a week, and all throughout the night as well. He lived directly above the corner of Main & Charlton Street in the largest room in the building known as: “The Charlton”. He had three windows that faced Main Street, and two that faced Charlton Street. He saw, and heard it all, all day, and all night. It was chaos, plain and simple. The poor guy suffered from emphysema and could hardly breathe towards the end, but he stayed the course living here right up until he died this past week.

He died in the hospital, where he had been spending much of his time recently. Jerry was the type of guy who did for other people, and was very active in the A.A. Program of recovery, as am I. We both had over 30 years of continuous sobriety from alcohol, and were very active in helping bring the message of recovery to those still suffering from alcoholism, or drug abuse.

Living here there were many opportunities to reach out a hand to help an active alcoholic achieve sobriety. Before he took ill, Jerry was the caretaker at the Notre Dame Des Canadien’s Church at Salem Square, where you would often see him at the noontime A.A. meeting that was held there for many years. He was a staunch believer in the program of recovery from alcohol and drug abuse that A.A. has come to serve as a dual purpose recovery program.

Old-timers’ in the halls of A.A., which would apply to Jerry and myself, would tell you that the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is about recovery from alcohol, and only alcohol. That is the primary purpose of A.A., to bring the program of recovery to those that still suffer from alcoholism. In reality, it has morphed over the years into a combination of A.A., & N.A., and no one can tell this old timer any different. Anonymity is essential also, and normally one would not profess in press, radio, or television their full name, I am breaking one of the Traditions of A.A., by putting my name out there as a member of A.A. while still alive. It has been long a tradition to acknowledge membership by name after a person dies, but not before. There have been exceptions, mostly those that are glory hunting and want to take credit for the good works of the fellowship as a whole, as if they were directly responsible for the recovery of this or that member.

In the halls of A.A., Gerard was known as: Jerry M., and I as; Ron O.
Jerry helped a lot of people by leading them into the recovery phase of addiction, and many owe him a debt of gratitude. May Jerry rest in peace, he was a good person, and gave unselfishly to help those less fortunate than himself. I will miss Gerard Michaud, there are not that many like him left in this world of ours today where most people are thinking only of themselves.

This brings me back to Barbara Haller.

Far from thinking only of herself, Barbara represented this district, and all of its inhabitants with a fierce determination to not allow the rights of the people to live in a safe community go unheard.

She was the voice of the people of the 4th District, and worked tirelessly to represent their interests in the Council Chambers. It was primarily due to her efforts that the police patrols that were so instrumental in reclaiming this neighborhood came into reality. Since the crackdown that resulted, the neighborhood has improved dramatically. The hordes of the unwashed, foul mouthed, ignorant, and rude multitudes have found new places to sell their illegal drugs, and to prey on the hardworking residents of the city elsewhere.

It was not all Barbara, all the time, many people worked to change the neighborhood alongside the police, myself included, but Barbara was the magnet that pulled all the pieces together towards one goal, the improvement of an intolerable situation. People would have had to have lived through it to understand just how bad it was. I wrote many articles on the subject to highlight the problems and work towards bringing about a solution.

I never sought, nor received any praise for my efforts to reclaim this neighborhood, and did not bring about the transformation by myself either, but we all put our oars in the water to steer the boat in the right direction. The unifying force behind all the transformation was indeed all Barbara. Without her being in the District 4 seat, none of the action would have happened.

Barbara Haller, if you are reading this: Please run for an at-large seat on the City Council the next time around, you have my vote, as you always did, and I bet there are many other people that did not vote the last time around that regret they did not return you to the post that you so effectively used to transform this nightmare into a semblance of a normal neighborhood.

It was through our collective efforts that the transformation happened, and the police have seemed to have a new attitude as regards the long suffering resident’s rights to a peaceful and quiet neighborhood as to the rights of the lawless to continue to disturb the peace. It never would have happened without you at the helm of the ship that all our oars helped navigate through the troubled waters of an uncaring City Council.
No one did more than you Barbara, yet many were involved in their own little ways. Without all the pieces of the puzzle that you helped put together, none of what has transpired would have taken place.

Poor Jerry spent his last days here in relative peace and quiet, and he never would have had that blessing without your efforts Barbara.

Barbara Haller, District 4 needs you, the City of Worcester needs you, please if you decide to leave the peace and tranquility of Vermont, and come back to Worcester, please run again for the council. The peace and tranquility is not of the sort you are getting used to, but after all the troubles, it is a godsend and you should come to see what you helped achieve.

If you enjoyed this article, or if you hated this article, I would love to have your feedback at: ronaldoclair@hotmail.com

What are Sarai Rivera’s plans for District 4? She hasn’t told a soul!

By Rosalie Tirella

It’s funny, but with all the hero-worship/cult of personality going on around soon-to-be D-4 city councilor Sarai Rivera and all the threatening phone calls Rivera’s team has made to people who worked for D-4 incumbent Barbara Haller during the recent election (irrate calls to our mayor, to Congressman Jim McGovern, to the family health center and (yesterday) to me! I knew you all would call – and whine about reverse racism. (Let’s hope the Sarai Rivera camp doesn’t play the race card every time someone disagrees with her or gives her a thumping (just like most polititicians experience in the press – I have taken city councilors Ric Rushton, Joff Smith to task for years!).

But I digress.

You would think some of the folks at Sarai Rivera’s camp would actually encourage her to behave like a public leader/new city councilor and come out with some IDEAS and PLANS for District 4.

Plans, goals, ideas – even campaign promises!

She hasn’t! Ever!

I have never ever seen or heard of any Sarai Rivera policy points, campaign issues, etc.

What are Sarai’s plans for District 4?

Pro-halfway house folks have written to me, hinting that Rivera will support them/the houses in District 4. On the other hand, Sarai met with funeral director and Main South biz owner Peter Stefan a few weeks ago and told him NO WAY was she an enabler – no way were folks going to get something without work. Peter said Sarai sounded an awful lot like … City Councilor Barbara Haller. Or at least Sarai did then, with Peter – at that moment.

What does Sarai Rivera stand for? Really?

Worcesterites need to know.

One thing’s for sure: The anti-Haller brigade got behind Rivera, just like they got behind past Haller challengers Grace Ross, Lynn Simonds. They have always failed because most people in D-4 liked the way Haller was caring for the district. This time around the Haller-haters (Kevin Ksen, etc) were sharp enough to keep the pro-PIP/half way house/social liberal/Bill Randell-real estate developers-who-hate-the-Main-South-CDC-and have always come out against Haller AND combine this brigade with a new group of people: Latinos, Latino church folks.

This turned out to be the killer combo – their usual anti-Haller brigade and the new Latino/Latino church contingent.

But the question still is: What will Sarai do for District 4?

Residents need to know.

Does D-4 candidate Sarai Rivera stretch the truth?

By Rosalie Tirella

… Or fib? Or bull-shit? Or pad her resume?

District 4 voters need to know.

Incumbent District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller has so much integrity. She works tirelessly – at everything. Her relationship with the Main South CDC goes back years. She and director Steve Teasdale are friends who have worked on countless projects together through the years.

So why did her challenger, Sarai Rivera, attach a doctored Main South CDC logo to her campaign literature? Why did she bull shit the community and make it seem like the Main CDC was endorsing her candidacy, when, according to Teasdale, it was most clearly NOT. The CDC was shocked that Rivera would do such a thing.

Sarai gave a weak excuse.

This kind of bull shit must stop.

Another example of Sarai Rivera’s “stretching the truth”: during the recent debate between the two District 4 candidates a few nights ago, the daily reported that Sarai said something like to the crowd: I am already doing all the work of a city councilor and I will continue to … .

No, Sarai, you are not doing ALL the work – especially all the work that City Councilor Barbara Haller does for her district. Pretty much from the morning to night – all the time. For years …

Let’s stop stretching the truth, Sarai Rivera. Voters don’t want to elect liars.

Of course, creepy rabble rouser Keven Ksen is running Rivera’s campaign. The 40-soemthing Ksen does not even have a job – living off his parents bucks/trust fund, no doubt. And – of course – he is not getting paid by Sarai. More “volunteer” work for Kev! Keven was pretty much fired by the City of Worcester from his Common Ground CDC job after an incident with the Worcester police over his camera. Ksen, whose short fuse makes him scary-mean, saw the funds for his job at Common Ground magically disappear after that incident – years ago. He hasn’t made traction since – but he always makes it a point every election cycle to try to destroy Barbara Haller. Every election cycle Ksen throws his weight behind Haller’s challengers – any challenger really. Which is what a few biz owners/property developers on Chandler Street do, too. Cynical moves, really.

So now it’s Sarai for Kev. Or Kev for Sarai!

But not for District 4 – we hope! Because they are playing the election game a little dirty.

Another question: Sarai claims she is a pastor and then claims she is a social worker. Which is it? What does she do?

Voters need to be respected. Not finessed.