Tag Archives: Sarai Rivera

Worcester City Councilor District 4 Sarai Rivera’s time has come …

By Rosalie Tirella

… to be mayor of Worcester, to lead our city, to reflect our city to the world, to advocate for its people – many struggling under the sledge hammer of racism and poverty. The languages, the music, the goals of our people – a new Worcester blooming every day – Rivera can understand them in ways that our Irish pols – the guys (and gals) who’ve lead our city for decades – can’t – no matter how empathetic and smart they are.

District 4 Worcester City Councilor Sarai Rivera should be Worcester’s next mayor.

It only makes sense.

It’s her time – it’s ours.

Providence, Lowell, San Francisco, Los Angeles – all these 21st century cities have mayors who reflect their hubs’ panache … souls. They fit each other…like a glove. The people look to their mayors for leadership because they are TRUE REPRESENTATIVES of their metropolises!

Rivera is where the city of Worcester is going. Is at! All the multi-colored, multi-ethnic, multi-tongued folks, many immigrants new to rough and tumble America, lots poor, lots at the mercy of drugs and guns and our mean streets, lots entrepreneurs looking to make it happen for them and their families in America. Filled with hope!

Our people, their complex dreams, our complex neighborhoods evolving in ways that Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney denigrates, exploits … for fear and racist votes. Ultimately, Gaffney doesn’t understand the city. He’s from Webster – don’t be too hard on the arrogant rube. Mike Gaffney is a nowhere pol. He is a throw back for all those voters in Worcester who want white, Catholic, Irish – a rap on the head with a wooden ruler for the kids in our public schools who disobey their teachers. A 1950 world where a Mareen Binenda, 65 and Irish, would make the perfect Worcester school superintendent. But old prejudices die hard!  Our Worcester School Committee members – terrified of district representation, terrified of losing their votes and POWER – have given almost ready for retirement Maureen the job! How incredulous!  How old Worcester!

The powerful will fight to hold onto their entrenched power until their intestines leak out.

Power: read: influence, great jobs, money, nice neighborhoods … THE WORKS. And the quiet forgotten Worcester middle class who pay the city’s bills will vote a Gaffney out of their prejudiced resentment at a city they can no longer understand and accept. …But they too cannot escape the real Worcester. Their xenophobic eyes can only be closed for so long! They can only rant and rave on Aidan Kearney’s racist blog for so long!  Former Woo School Committee woman Mary Mullaney’s son Aidan can carry on her prejudiced past for only so long!!

The numbers are against Kearney and Gaffney.

The numbers are for Rivera.

Our public schools are already majority minority.

Walk down our streets – mostly you’ll see people of color making their way down them.

When you cross Park Ave, our city neighborhoods – from Green Island to Piedmont to Vernon Hill to South Worcester to Webster Square to Downtown to Main South – are majority minority. Our old Catholic churches are dying, crumbling down …

It’s a new Woo – and I don’t mean the artisan bread eating boutique shopping white kids who,  if they left Worcester, would be replaced by white kids that GET THE REALITY OF OUR CITY. And would work to include people of color and the poor in their farmers markets, etc. And they would buy houses here. And their white little kids would go to school with Black and brown  little kids – and it would be a good fit. We don’t need to beg and crawl to the phonies. The right cool progressive Millenials will find us. The wrong ones will buy real estate in  the suburbs and move away and send their kids to the suburban schools! It’s always been this way in Gateway Cities. It’s self-correcting city living. The beat goes on!

I’ve watched the beautiful Worcester District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera for several years now. Our relationship has not always been placid and warm. But over the past few years when our paths have crossed – at city meetings, at festivals – she’s been smart, sweet, tough, funny, warm, determined … and open. She has, through her several years on our Worcester city council, STOOD FOR RIGHT. A HUMANE WAY of solving Worcester’s new city problems. People first. Integrity first. Compassion first. Whether it be the  long suffering elephants and lions in the circuses who come to town, the small biz guy or gal, the inner city resident dealing with drug dealers, the drug addict overdosing, the young kids of color looking for a voice in city government Rivera has lead with grace, intelligence and not a little style (she wears the coolest, sexiest, prettiest, most colorful clothes!)! She is a great listener and makes her decisions, casts her votes intelligently. I’ve always been proud of her votes for people … and animals! I am proud to call her my district city councilor!

Rivera, in her early 40s, is happily married with a gaggle of boys. She has a few college degrees under her belt. Runs her own church, sings her own song! Loud and strong and proud!

SARAI RIVERA FOR MAYOR!

Driving in the old Green Island neighborhood …

By Rosalie Tirella

… a few days ago. Millbury Street, my old stomping grounds. Saw a guy being handcuffed by a cop outside the Honey Farms store. I thought to myself: Some things never change. All the canal fests in the world, all the frou frou street lamps in the universe can not wipe away poverty, desperation.

Criminals never look like the actors and actresses who portray them in movies and TV shows. In real life petty thieves look a lot like the guy I saw outside Honey Farms: underfed, skanky, poor. Like a guy who needs a good meal and some new, warm clothes.

I wonder how a slots parlor in the old hood will affect local businesses like Honey Farms. You know – the small stores on Millbury Street that cater to the residents of Lafayette, Lodi, Ellsworth , Sigel, Grosvenor and Meade streets, etc. The streets of Green Island. The streets where poor/working class folks live, usually in three deckers. More crime? More poverty?

Yesterday, still alarmed by the prospect of a slots parlor at Wyman Gordon, I went a callin’ on an old family friend on Lafayette Street. Let’s call her ‘Mary.’

I asked Mary, a smart, once fiery lady, what she thought of the slots parlor in her neighborhood. This life-long resident of Green Island knew exactly how things would play out in Wusta, land of the connected, home of the spineless politician. She said the slots were coming because none of the area’s leaders were gonna make a big effort to stop them. The deal has been made, she said. Without any in-put from Green Islanders, as usual.

Funny. She brought up Allen Fletcher. She said: Where is Fletcher on this? He has got his big school house on Ash Street. He lives near Wyman Gordon.

I told her I heard he is against the slots parlor but not really saying so, in a vociferous, public way.

Mary just smiled and shook her head and said: He knows on which side his bread is buttered.

I agreed. Allen is against slots, but why make waves and piss off the city manager and other city officials? People who have given him his frou frou street lamps on Millbury Street/Green Island. Why bite the hand that has been feeding you all sorts of goodies – of no real import to real Green Islanders – for years?

And so it goes. The grit in Green Island remains. Things will most likely get grittier as the locals make their way, WALK DOWN, to the slots parlor on Madison Street. To get lucky. But for the most part, they will leave uthe slots parlor poorer than when they entered its whirring, ringing, binging environs. More Green Islanders will struggle to pay rent and bills. A few desperate souls may rob the Honey Farms on Millbury Street. None of this will be pretty; some of it may be bloody.

We can count on ‘neighborhood leader’ Allen Fletcher to keep his rich, flaccid mouth shut. For the most part.

And do not get me started on our pointless city councilor, a pastor with a pastor husband. District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera is keeping her opinions to herself. Not coming out against gambling and its social ills, like a good pastor should. Not leading on this issue. Not advocating for her district. She has a big mouth when she wants to have one. Now, when we need it most, she has decided to shut her pie hole. Pathetic. Call her PASS-THE-BUCK RIVERA!

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.

Sarai Rivera, pastor of a Pentecostal Church and the recent election …

By Rosalie Tirella

How dare Sarai Rivera, while running for District 4 city councilor, call and demand DEMAND incumbent D-4 Barbara Haller long-time friend and Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien, call O’Brien and demand that he NOT endorse Barb Haller, his dear friend? How dare Sarai Rivera and her troops, on the day of election, call Congressman Jim McGovern and bawl him out for coming out for Barbara Haller, holding a Haller sign for his friend and a woman who helped him make the Kilby Gardner revitalization project a reality? How dare Sarai Rivera call Family Health Center and scare its executive director, Fran Athenes, into pulling her name from a mini-ICTimes story on Barbara Haller getting the local health center’s outreach center some thermometers for inner-city families during the last flu epidemic? And force Haller to press me to run a correction? When we wrote the truth?

Who the fuck does Sarai Rivera think she is?

God?

Perhaps.

This is dangerous … . This is something Worcesterites and any city leader who ends up working with Rivera needs to know:

As a Pentecostal Preacher with her own inner-city church, Sarai Rivera is this: 1. Someone who “speaks in tongues.” In the Pentecostal religion people are chosen by God – the preachers – when then spew out what many secular folks believe to be a bunch of gobblydegook. This, according to Rivera’s religion, is the Holy Spirit/God. The person who was chosen by God IS God – and parisohoners treat the pastor (in this case Rivera) as GOD!

Yikes!

2. As a Pentecostal preacher, Sarai Rivera is someone who gets her “parishoners” to tithe – a way to get each family/individual to give Sarai a huge portion of their money/income – sometimes 10% or more. Not like Catholics or the WASP denominations, where you can give a penny or milion dollars or nothing. Pentecostal churches aren’t supported by the Bishops Fund, etc. They are independent … businesses, really. Businesses where pastors can make a killing. Some would say they are businesses that give comfort to the most downtrodden of people, but also exploit them – especially Latino immigrants, the poorest of the poor. When they come to America, they do not join our local Catholic churches (even though many come from what used to be traditionally Catholic countries). They join their storefront Pentecostal churches right down the street from their homes – a two minute walk, in some cases.

These Latino immigrants worship, absolutely worship, their pastors – and will gladly give them their money – and their votes.

When Sarai Rivera, as a Pentecostal preacher, tells her church and spreads the word to the multitude of District 4 Penecostal churches (one on every corner/every other store front in D 4, it seems), to VOTE for her, to MOVE a mountain (check out her weird quote in the Dianne Williamson column) these church folks – downtrodden and seeing GOD himself in Sarai Rivera – will do exactly what God/Sarai Rivera tells them to do! Vote for her!

This is one of the biggest reasons Rivera got into office last week.

This is another reason why Rivera is acting like such a freaking princess! Like God! Because she is used to preaching and pushing and really ordering around, though some may call it leading.

But does a leader threaten a Helath Center? Does a leader threaten the Mayor of Worcester? Bitch to a congressman? Expect them to just roll out the red carpet for the savior of D-4?

Cool your heels, Sarai!

This is politics and city governemnt. You cannot call the shots – from on high! You cannot think everyone is to genuflect, kiss your ass, do as you says because some how you are part of some kind of cultish religion where you think God speaks LITERALLY through you and you are GOD.

Scary.

Truth be told, incumbent Barbara Haller is as close to a savior as Distrcit 4 will ever get.

We hope we don’t tune into City Counil meetings in January and have to listen to sermons, fire and brimstone, blah, blah from Sarai Rivera. Hopefully, she’ll mostly shut up when it comes to the uplifting crap and talk to the issues and work her ass off for District 4.

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.

Does District 4 City Council 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.

Does District 4 City Council 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.