Joseph O’Brien

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Good bye to Worcester City Council’s Bill de Blasio …

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

By Rosalie Tirella

We’re talking of soon-to-depart Worcester City Councilor and former mayor Joseph O’Brien, of course.

I think I speak for all the progressives in Worcester when I say: Glad you’ll be back working for your old boss and Woo liberal lion Congressman Jim McGovern, BUT WE REALLY NEED YOU ON CITY COUNCIL. PLEASE DON’T GO!!!!!!!!!

We loved it when Joe was mayor of Worcester! He was our Bill de Blasio, New York City’s mayor-elect!! Joe was, like Bill, for average working families, workers, public school students, the environment, open/accessible government, freedom of speech, immigrants/the new arrivals to America, refugees . He was for expanded after school programs in our public schools. Pre-K programs for all our kids. (In Worcester if you are mayor, then you head the Worcester School Committee. ) He was for District representation for school committee. Fair wages, opening up city jobs to minorities, closing the ever widening gap between rich and poor, trying to make sure more Worcesterites get into the middle class, creating affordable housing … . Our Joe, like NYC’s Bill was for it all.

I was in heaven! And when Joe sided with Woo’s scraggly Occupy Worcester contingent, wanting them to meet with City Manager Mike O’Brien, so they could continue to occupy our city hall common, I was thrilled and wished for a STRONG MAYOR FORM OF GOVERNMENT for Worcester instead of what we’re forced to swallow these days.

As a city councilor O’Brien’s big-hearted vision, presented to the council and public with his usual intelligence and thoughtfulness, was an antidote to some city councilors who felt we couldn’t weigh in on Arizona’s undocumented worker issue cuz we were in Woo and my God, what are we communists for Christ’s sake??!!! Please! Back to pretending our municipal work force is open to minorities!

But Joe just kept jabbing away at the issues, the IMPORTANT ISSUES. Last month, he was at the carpenters union headquarters, spearheading a rally to raise the state’s minimum wage. In Green Island doing the right thing for the people government tends to forget, the working poor. Yet one out of five families is eligible for the federal government’s food stamps/ SNAP program. They are working two or three Mc jobs and they still can’t feed their families or pay all their bills.

So not like the America I want to live in. Or Joe. Or New York City’s Bill.

But here in Worcester, O’Brien was given the cold shoulder by lots of folks who made fun of his vision. They called him Lenin and Trotsy combined. City Manager Mike O’Brien didn’t return his phone calls. He was person non grata in the city manager’s eyes, and the cold shoulder treatment may have played a role in O’Brien’s decision not to run for reelection to the Worcester City Council. Seems like lots of Worcester voters think, stupidly, that this is ok.

Meanwhile, in New York, New Yorkers have gone absolutely ga ga over Bill de Blasio. He won the mayoral race in a landslide. Voters said they wanted the TALE OF TWO CITIES, courtesy of outgoing mayor Mike Bloomberg, to become IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Cuz working-class families should be able to rent or own in the fabbest city on the planet. Right now The Big Apple is the most unequal city in America, followed by Boston, #2.

New Yorkers want the immigrant experience to unfold in their city like it did in the 1930s and 1940s. They want multicultural, real, alive. Not glossy sushi eating rich folks – calling Woos Paulie Collyer! – surrounded by a ton of impoverished folks. They want affordable apartments and condos. They want increased minimum wage – all the recent protests for the increase began at NYC’s McDonald’s!!! They want universal pre k. They want an end to stop and frisk. THEY WANT JOE O’BRIEN’s world. His world view.

We do, too.

Vote Tuesday, Nov. 8! InCity Times candidate endorsements

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Do Worcester (and yourself) proud! Please go out and vote!

Thank you!

- R.Tirella

INCITY TIMES ENDORSES THE FOLLOWING CANDIDATES/Please vote for:

Mayor: Konstantina Lukes

City Council District 4: Barbara Haller

City Council District 1: Virginia Ryan

City Council-at-Large:

Konstantina Lukes
Bill (William) Coleman
Mike (Michael) Germain
Joseph O’Brien

Worcester School Committee:

Hilda Ramirez
John Monfredo
Jack Foley

Ballot Question
Vote YES for School District Representation! YES!

InCity Times candidate endorsements and more …

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Please vote tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 20!
It’s our city’s preliminary election, which will narrow the field for Worcester city council at large candidates and candidates for districts 1 and 5.

We ask you to VOTE FOR:

AT LARGE city council candidates:

- Michael Germain
- Konstantina Lukes
- Joseph O’Brien
- William (Bill) Coleman

District One (1) city council candidate:

Virginia Ryan

All the above folks are good people who have a moral compass and will do right by ALL the people of Worcester. These candidates are also hard workers, folks who will study the issues, advocate for YOU and return/will return phone calls! They are passionate about public service!

Vote for them! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

Thank you!

Rosalie Tirella
*************************************************

Now this from the Mass. ACLU:

Massachusetts law permits organizational T-shirts at polling places

In advance of tomorrow’s (Tues., Sept. 20) election, ACLU concurs with Worcester Elections Commission that people may wear T-shirts supporting organizations such as Neighbor to Neighbor at polling places.

WORCESTER — In advance of the preliminary election in Worcester on Tuesday, Sept. 20 – and in light of recent controversy over T-shirts worn at polls by supporters of the community organization Neighbor to Neighbor – the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts concurs with the recent ruling of the Worcester Elections Commission, which affirms the right to wear organizational T-shirts at polling places.

Today the ACLU issued the following statement, attributable to staff attorney Sarah Wunsch:

“Massachusetts law provides for a zone of 150 feet around the entrance to a polling place, within which no one can engage in activity aimed at influencing how a voter will vote on candidates or ballot questions that are on the ballot in that election. Wearing a T-shirt with the name of an organization is not prohibited advocacy.

“Those who tried to get the Worcester Elections Commission to prohibit the wearing of T-shirts bearing Neighbor to Neighbor’s name are not only misrepresenting the law for their own political purposes, they are trying to divert attention away from real issues about access to the polls, such as efforts to intimidate and deter people from voting. Wearing a T-shirt that supports a community organization like Neighbor to Neighbor, the Main South Alliance, or the Worcester Homeless Action Committee is not prohibited at the polls under state law, and people willing to assist with and observe the elections process should not be attacked for their commitment to our democratic system.”

Joe O’Brien bows out of Worcester mayoral race

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Worcester’s Joe O’Brien has decided not to run for mayor again. On Tuesday, September 20, city voters will still be able to vote for him – as City Counilor at Large.

Here is the letter (citing the reasons for his decision) O’Brien emailed to his supporters.

- R. Tirella

***************

Dear Friends,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to not seek the office of Mayor. Instead I will only run for City Council At-Large.

This has not been an easy decision. I recognize that it will come as a surprise because I have already launched my Mayoral re-election campaign. But over the course of the last month I have come to realize that the pressures of running another campaign and then serving as Mayor for another two years would be too much for myself and my family at this time.

When I ran for Mayor two years ago I promised that I would be a full-time Mayor and I have kept this promise. In doing so, I created significant challenges for my family.

While I have been honored to the Mayor of this great city, I have struggled to balance the life of politician, husband, and new parent. My wife Lisa and I, in our mid forties, became parents for the first time of four year old twins from Ethiopia a couple of months after I took office. As everyone knows, while being a parent is joyful it is also a challenge. Our children need to have two parents who can commit themselves to their development and integration, particularly our son who has had some special challenges adapting. To do the job of Mayor right, the commitment required me to be out for many nights, weekends, and holidays. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of my family to do this for another two years. In addition, earning a part-time salary while serving as a full-time Mayor, in our form of government, has also created financial pressures that are not sustainable for our family at this time.

It has been a honor to serve the people of this great city as Mayor and it has been great to work with so many people to make s difference. Working with the City Manager, the City Council and our School Committee and administration we have accomplished a lot of great things, and undertaken some important initiatives. Today, two years after taking office, long planned construction projects are underway, our economy is growing, our city schools are improving and our neighborhoods are more stable. With extended office hours, neighborhood walks, the new Civic Academy, and almost daily visits to local community groups we have worked hard to engage the people of Worcester and bring a new sense of accountability to local government. The Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development produced a host of recommendations, most of which have already been implemented. We launched a Mayors Small Business Roundtable, and my office has helped lead a community initiative to improve the academic experience of our Latino students. I am especially proud of the work we have done together with our Immigrant and Refugee Roundtable to help our new Americans become fully engaged in our community. And we spent many hours working to insure that our working people have a voice at the table and that as we have grown our economy we have insured that good jobs were created for the residents of Worcester.  

I am proud of this record and I hope that with your help I can continue to support these efforts as a City Councilor at Large. I plan on working with the new Mayor to insure that many of these efforts continue and I will still be on the front-lines when needed to help advance our shared agenda.

I want everyone to know, as I exit the Mayor’s office, that our city is blessed with outstanding leaders in our City Manager Mike O’Brien and our School Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone. I have truly enjoyed working with them and I hope I will be able to continue to do so in the City Council.

Most of all I want to thank all of you for your friendship and support. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people who have helped with my campaigns and cared for me and my family. I could not have done it without countless people who have stepped forward to lend a hand and I will always be grateful that you helped me have the honor of serving the great people of this city.

I hope that we can continue to find ways to work together to make life better for the people of our city, state and nation. Some among us dislike politics, as if we could have good government without it. We disagree. For us politics is the way we turn citizenship into a verb. I hope we can continue to do our public work together.

Yours in friendship,

Joe

Mayoral candidate Joe O’Brien: lackluster, aloof and … a bit of a snooze

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

By Rosalie Tirella

Worcester – I caught some of the mayoral debates that are taking place all over our fair city, all the time, it seems. What struck me was how lackluster “the new, fresh” candidate Joe O’Brien seemed. Candidate Kate Toomey didn’t count. Doesn’t count. So I’ll skip her and focus on Mayor Konnie Lukes’ main opponent: O’Brien – the guy who is being touted as the Second Coming.

Unfortunately – or fortunately for Konnie Lukes – this guy isn’t the Second Coming. If you watch the debates, he isn’t even interesting. What’s more, during these mayoral debates and forums, O’Brien comes off as … kind of bored … a bore – an aloof, passionless guy who isn’t enjoying any of this. Watch him and you see a candidate who seems to be doing this from rote, the kind of candidate who sees running for Worcester Mayor as a task, a (thankless?) job. Maybe that’s because O’Brien sees being Worcester Mayor as a stepping stone to bigger and better … offices (state rep, state senator, etc). With his eyes ultimately on a bigger prize, it’s no wonder this ride is a bit of a snooze for Joe O.

If he wins this mayoral race, most likely he will dump Worcester by the next election cycle. He will then be an official politician and can begin his political career in earnest.

At least that’s what people in the know are saying.

State Rep. Joe O’Brien? He lost to Vinny Pedone years ago. Why do it again?

This is O’Brien’s last, best chance of jumping into ELECTIVE politics. He is in his 40s; time is running out. He has to jump at an open seat – a seat with more pizzazz/prestige than regular ol’ City Councilor.

So here we go, Worcester! Let’s all be subjected to O’Brien’s political ambitions.

Again.

T & G’s Dianne Williamson: public relations flak/hack for candidate Joe O’Brien

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

By “Cheese Wiz”

I was furious when I read the piece about Joe O’Brien in the Telegram and Gazette by Dianne Williamson. But what made me even angrier was the lame system that the telegram has for “Comments.” Thankfully, I was able to recover my text below on two pieces I wrote about the apparent “coronation” of [mayoral candidate] Joe O’Brien by both Dianne Williamson and, later that afternoon, by Jordan Levy on his radio show. Is that how the system works?

1. Dianne and Jordan Levy supporting one candidate on the same day. Instant coronation, right?

Not so fast, Worcesterites! Let’s take a closer look at your shoo in and the stinky stuff underneath. Eww.

Dianne shows all the depth of Fox News covering Sarah Palin. And Levy, well, I was just grateful he had another topic this week besides Rushford’s obvious profiteering.

So, was that a real Dianne piece or was it a tryout for a P.R. job if the Telegram thing forces her into retirement? Click to continue »