Tag Archives: Paul Collyer

TC! TC! (Or: So go the bikers, so goes the city)

By Rosalie Tirella

A motorcycle guy gets his chest blown away on lower Chandler Street this past Saturday night. His soul is thrown off his bike and floats to Heaven like some inner-city feather. And that is the end of his dream called life. His Saturday night, all Saturday nights. No more bodegas, pizzerias, BBQ chick, cell phone shacks, dreamy sunsets, kisses, or cold cheap beers with friends on a summer night.

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photos: Rosalie Tirella

The beauty of life in the here and now, in Worcester, gone forever. Poof. Like magic it disappears from him just as mysteriously as it came to him.

His 46-year-old body, however, is no feather. It dies a horrific death from massive internal hemorrhaging, crushed bones … the blood must be washed from the cement … physical and emotional shock. The pain keeps coming no matter how hard the EMT kids work on him.

A Honda plows into him on Chandler Street, and he plows into a Nissan. 2,000-pound hunks of moving metal.

What could he do? How could he win?

A slow motion dream for the dying man, this accident on the corner of Wellington and Chandler streets, but not for the gawkers. The witnesses know it is over – in seconds – at one of Worcester’s most deadly intersections. An urban space where many cars  often speed up as they race to the tony West Side of the city, drivers pretending not to see all the poor Latinos, Whites and Blacks who live in the crummy three deckers and apartment buildings that line the street. They criss cross it every day – at all hours. They walk, run, stagger across the wide 4 -lane Chandler Street. Sometimes they’re on bicycles or pushing baby carriages or holding the hands of their little kids – the 5 year olds holding on to Papa or Mama tight with one small hand and covering their ear with their other soft little hand.  The traffic is too loud for them!

The poor cross their busy street to get to the  street’s local restaurants, Chandler Elementary School, the Family Health Center inner-city clinic/urgent care, Community Health Link mental health center, a homeless shelter, the several storefront Pentecostal churches, friends’ houses. As a driver, you have to go slow, you have to be AWARE at all times cuz life comes out at you from all angles on Chandler Street. Four or so years ago, I was the center of mayhem as I rescued a stray cat at the exact intersection where the biker was killed. It was a young cat, really an older kitten like my Cece (black too!),

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and I almost got us both killed running out of my car into traffic, scooping up the kitten and running back to my car with the kitten clasped to my chest. But it was OK. The neighborhood folks – the community – were good and had my back as I navigated the stream of cars.

If only I could have saved the biker – but how?

They called him T.C…. Family, friends, the community, prayed TC did not suffer long. Of course, he did. A bunch of biker kids and men and their friends rode up to the site of his death a few days ago to mourn …

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… They left their not so pretty neighborhoods to gather at the not so pretty intersection of Wellington and Chandler streets to say GOOD BYE, TC!  To pay tribute to a fellow biker. To connect with him – and each other.

If you read my columns, you know I love these outsiders, inner-city bike guys and gals who cobble together these unlicensed, unloved sometimes kooky sometimes cool urban motor babies. They take their lives into their hands when they ride them. But it’s all they’ve got on a lovely summer day in the ‘hood. They want to feel free like the wind. Can you blame them? You were young once too! Their motto? Bikes Up! Guns down!

The bikers are loathed by Woo’s conservative crew … people like Paul Collyer (the Somerville-based political gadfly who runs FB pages CHANGE WORCESTER and WORCESTERS DIRTY SECRET where he posts Turtle Boy/City Councilor Mike Gaffney racist rants) and his toxic political allies, the always race baiting Woo City Councilor Mike Gaffney and Turtle Boy-Aidan Kearney who always gets the ugly ball rolling with a post that fires up people’s racial and socio economic prejudices and fears. Collyer, Turtle Boy, Gaffney AND PREZ DONALD TRUMP, cannot accept a global, often poor, always multicultural America, Worcester…a world that is messier than they’d like to see. These guys want to shut voices down … or they do not understand…know how to listen to the new global urban landscape.

The Worcester Police force knew how to listen to the TC crowd! The Worcester police officers who went into the big crowd on that summer day and talked softly and dispersed the group without so much as raising their voices understood the community’s pain. They did not fan the Collyer/Gaffney/Turtle Boy flames of hatred, racism, ignorance. Nope. THEY WERE OUTSTANDING police officers who did an excellent job of keeping the situation from blowing up. They got traffic moving again, kept everybody calm and, best of all, respected the bikers’, outsiders’, pain, feelings. They smiled, chatted, WORKED smart so the situation did not escalate…THEY DEFUSED THE SITUATION. Kudos!

Watch the videos. They make me sad. A bunch of bikers, people of color, mostly poor, mostly cut off from the mainstream…scores of them gathered  at lower Chandler Street and riding their bikes up and down where TC died. They did “burns” in his honor and chanted TC !TC! TC! and made more videos on their cell phones to share, to tell the world TC MATTERED – ALL LIVES MATTER! In a video you see one big black guy looking choked up, confused, softly muttering TC, TC … and shaking his head. Not the face of violence.

Not at all.

The TC “wake” was political, was peaceful, was REAL. It was a statement. It was a love song. Like a bird on the wing.

Worcester political gadfly Paul “Paulie” Collyer …

By Rosalie Tirella

… is, like Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney and his (Collyer’s) lawyer, local right-wing attorney Margaret Melican, and local hate-blogger Turtle Boy-Aidan Kearney: Deeply Negative and BULLYING. Especially when it comes to our City Manager, Mayor and District 4 City Councilor and, when you think about it, Worcester in general.

Paul Collyer is a political player wannabe who gets zero traction in Worcester (or his hometown-base Somerville) and is eternally frustrated because he is bellowing and no one is listening. So he lashes out. At the mayor, at the CM, at the D 4 councilor.

Paulie’s pissed that no one in Worcester – or few folks – ever jump on his Paulie urban agenda bandwagon – with all its negative and BULLYING bells and whistles – noisy as hell. Paul Collyer has tried – FOR YEARS – to hog the Woo urban conversation, and the locals, after they get to work with him say on the Chandler biz association or some other civic group, all come away with just one thought: Collyer’s a nut. A colorful nut – but a NASTY, BULLYING nut. An ultimately dangerous nut. A nut who is not what he appears to be… A showboating nut, too. Big turn off for most Worcester folks, who have blue collar roots and can be modest…

Collyer got his urban-agenda way with former City Manager Mike O’Brien – a guy who gave Paul his ear – and our inner-city neighborhoods the finger – after being brain-washed by the charming Collyer. The Paul-Mike bromance was on! Beers together at night under the stars! The jokes! The laughs! The sharing of hopes and dreams and French fries! O’Brien, thanks to Paul Collyer, began to think Worcester’s road to urban renewal was/is Somerville’s – Paul’s homebase. Worcester is MOST DEFINITELY NOT Somerville! Somerville, at this point in its history, has become a suburb of Boston – Cambridge #2. Worcester is a GATEWAY CITY – filled with immigrants from all over the world. And their kids and grandkids.  Its urban challenges are very different  from Somerville’s because of intense poverty,  childhood hunger, the opioid crisis, a struggling under-educated workforce lost in the new global economy, refugees … Yeah, the educated, well off millennials are attracted to the new Woo and her new restaurants, stores etc and the kids are setting down roots. That is a good thing. But with gentrification comes a two-tier city: the haves and have nots…

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Green Street

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Green Street

Worcester cannot become a mini Boston or New York: the well off and very poor – and no middle! Worcester is a compassionate city! City leaders will not forget the least amongst us! And they are working to grow a working class!

But I digress! Back to Paul and Mike! Former Woo City Manager Mike O’Brien was all ears when it came to Collyer’s urban agenda and quickly lost his feel for our city – and lost his job (that is, he was no longer a good fit for Worcester, could no longer lead her – everyone saw this – so he quit and moved to a ‘boro). O’Brien lost his feel for the heartbeat of Worcester – after following Paul Collyer’s advice. The same is happening to City Councilor Mike Gaffney, who has become  Collyer’s mouthpiece at City Hall. The same goes for Gaffney’s wife, Coreen, who is challenging Woo District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera – Paul’s arch urban nemesis. Coreen is probably running against Sarai cuz Paulie told her to – charmed her hat into the ring, so to speak. Coreen’s really Paulie’s political tool – not her husband’s – as I wrote earlier!

Last night at the Woo City Council meeting when the Council evaluated the City Manager and a few weeks before that, all of Collyer’s reactionary foot soldiers took a hit! Down went Margaret Melican from her ZBA dream cloud! Down went City Councilor Konnie Lukes when she, an old bag who’s out of touch with the new Woo, tried to save Melican, another old bag who’s out of touch with the new Woo! Gaffney sounded insane last night when he read his evaluation of City Manager Ed Augustus – emotionally over wrought, in pain, like he was reading his eval with a knife sticking in his right eyeball. On the social media front, Collyer’s not so secret FB page – Worcester’s Dirty Secret – where he writes about Woo trash and recycling gets no traction with officials, so Paul has gone rogue on it and instead writes about/trashes City Manager Ed Augustus, Mayor Joe Petty and D 4 City Councilor Rivera – anyone who is not drinking the Paulie Koolaid. He is brutal in his incoherent way.

And now this: TOTAL REVOLUTION! Paul’s been stymied, he’s stuck … SO HE HAS STARTED ANOTHER FACE BOOK PAGE – CHANGE WORCESTER!

(can’t we change Paulie?!😈)

Paul’s new Facebook Page has, for its profile picture, a red ballot box. His home page commands: GO VOTE. We are presuming for all the candidates/city board candidates that Paul Collyer wants you to vote for: Michael Gaffney, Margaret Melican, Coreen Gaffney, etc. Paulie even did his own little City Manager evaluation last night, along with our city council: he gave EVERYBODY a D+.

This new Paul Collyer SECRET nutty Face Book page is just another WORCESTER’S DIRTY SECRET, without the trash – though I’m sure Paulie will get around to shoveling plenty of that in soon enough! Into his new Woo-altering social media SECRET SPECIAL platform! Ha ha ha!😂😂😂!

To Paul: Good God, man! You’re 54 years old! Grow up! Nut up! Stop playing with the lives of the people in the second largest city in New England! For your ego’s sake. Just to win. Please! Go away! Marry Susan and buy a bowling alley in the Catskills and live happily ever after! That’s the ticket 4 you – really! – Paulie!! Or: Just run away … run for dog catcher … in Wakefield. Take your super conservative, poor-people trashing, bullying, dystopian urban world view and go! To any city or town other than my beloved Worcester💗💗💗!

On today’s 4 p.m. meeting at City Hall re: Affordable housing in Worcester

By Rosalie Tirella

For far too long our CDCs have been the whipping boys of the “a new Woo on the rise” – or should we say “ruse”  – crowd. Developers with lots of dough (some good, some bad) who paint the CDCs as little more than “projects” filled with “pajama people,” people “who do not contribute,” women who are shacking up with boyfriends – all the usual racial and class stereotypes called up during discussions like the one the city will be having today at 4 p.m. at the Worcester City Hall. TODAY!

These developers claim that by putting the kibbosh on the CDCs and cutting back on the city’s affordable housing stock, Worcester will be reinvigorated with newcomers. People who will come to our city with new ideas, new … money. These developers  paint the bleakest picture of Worcester (because our people do not conform to their preconceptions) – it is a false snapshot of my city. Worcester IS a Gateway City, but it is a Gateway City that is doing a thousand times better than the state’s other Gateway Cities, such as Springfield (they almost went bankrupt a few years ago), Lawrence (poor, poor,poor) and Lowell. Worcester, with its upper-middle class neighborhoods (the kind you would see in the better parts of Brookline, for instance), its many colleges, teaching hospital and hospitals and AMAZING AMOUNT OF GREEN SPACE is miles ahead of these other Gateway Cities. But it is no tourist town either – a place where people can go to forget the world and their problems. Worcester is, in its own wide open, clean, relatively safe, tree-filled way a huge family town and a little Statue of Liberty – welcoming people from all over the world. Take a walk through Main South or Piedmont and you get the picture – the feel: Great ethnic food, clothing, languages, cultures, traditions. Again, we have a ton of middle and upper class neighborhoods in the city that are as Leave it to Beaver as you can get. Our inner city hoods are exciting, real and diverse. Let’s keep them going!!!

Years ago, Wusta’s newcomers could have found decent paying work in the scores of factories in our city. If they, like many of my Polish immigrant relatives, worked hard and saved their paychecks,  they could even become homeowners – buy a so-so three decker in neighborhoods like Green Island, South Worcester. As  homeowners in these working class hoods, my relatives stabilized parts of the city the well off didn’t want to be a part of – and they offered shelter from the storm of life to relatives and friends.

No more. Today, Worcester’s factories are dead. Our newcomers – many who struggle with English and have few skills – do not have the economic opportunities their counterparts had in the 1940s and 1950s. Video gaming and bio tech jobs will not close Worcester’s job gap. However, this doesn’t mean our new people should be shunned or shunted away from Worcester. The minimum wage needs to be raised, city leaders must – like New Bedford has – hustle to bring new, light industry to Worcester, so that today’s Wusta immigrants and under-educated folks can have decent paying jobs so they can pay the bills – have a shot at a stable, working class life.

IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID. NOT THE CDCs!

In fact, the CDCs are saving Worcester’s butt! The economy has wreaked havoc on the housing market. Inflated prices for crap housing stock, housing stock bought by developers (some out of towners) who either flip the buildings or cut up the apartments and charge high rents. People – renters – are exploited. By building safe and affordable appartments and condos through the years, the Main South CDC has stabilized many families and rescued Main South – a total pit in the 1970s, a place where my uncle, getting out of his car to pick up a prescription at Moynihan’s in the middle of the afternoon, was pounced upon by a prostitute. A good egg, and Worcester boy, he took it in stride and went inside the pharmacy to get his prescription. Much of the grime and icky housing stock, thnaks to the Main South CDC,  has been  replaced with beautiful units or reclaimed. The housing has been rented out/sold to working folks who need safe, affordable housing and a landlord that will not jack up the rent, treat his tenants like shit, flip his property, be lax with his property, etc. The way many developers are. I am not saying all developers are low lifes – I know a few nice ones – but they are outside the norm. Most landlords want to make as much money off their tenants as possible. Their properties are a business to them – not a social contract. Often times families in Woo apartments are living in cold water flats … and struggle to pay their bills and feed their families – or save $$ for a better fuure. Off they flee, in the middle of the night sometimes, ahead of the constable. The kids suffer in school, parents are stressed … .

The CDCs take the anxiety out of the picture, and, contrary to what some developers in town tell you, THEY DO HAVE AND FOLLOW INCOME GUIDELINES. My friend, a wonderful single mom with kids and a full time job, could not get into CDC housing because she did not make enough money! The CDC housing stock is not filled with “pajama people.” The condos and apartments are filled with working class people – many of them immigrants or immigrants’ kids – who contribute, hold jobs and make our city vibrant.

Worcester is Worcester. We have our challenges but we are a family town with a healthy middle class. Unfortunately, many of these wealthier folks are not spending their money at sushi bars – places where many developers want to see them, kind of upper income urban hipsters. We have those folks. But many of our upper income folks are not cruising bars  … . They have kids and family responsibilities. Many are socking away their dough in college bank accounts for their kids. Some are saving for a vacation home at the Cape. It is a more conservative way to spend expendable money, but these wealthier folks create the Worcester I want to live in: family focused, strong, green and safe.

Don’t dump on CDCs, the working class or affordable housing! Worcester is a great city – and don’t you forget it!!!