๐Ÿ’’Column by Edith ๐Ÿฆ… and … Thursday wrap-up ๐Ÿฆ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒฟ

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Notre Dame church, summer 2018. CECELIA file pic: R.T.

All Is Not Lost – Worcester Can Adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA)!

By Edith Morgan

In Worcester it seems to take about 10 years, from start to finish, to win a battle. It took a group of us 10 years to reclaim Green Hill Park from its status as a city dumping ground. It took 10 years to finally get the state-of-the-art Worcester Technical/Vocational High School. It took 10 years to finally get the great Senior Center up and running. And in every instance, after the 10-year battle was finally over, we ended up with a superb facility,

We won all those battles.

We’ve just lost the battle to save the iconic Notre Dame church – I suspect if we had had the time and support, we would have won that one, too. But have no fear, just around the corner are many more opportunities to do battle for our favorite projects. One of my favorites is the area at the north end of Main Street, at Lincoln Square, the intersection of Lincoln and Highland streets. There we have still standing, in various stages of neglect, the old courthouse, the Worcester Auditorium (the AUD), the Ionic Boysโ€™ Club, and the world War I monument that used to sit in the middle of the rotary that once was at that intersection. All are unused and in various stages of deterioration. As with everything in this nation, the problem seems to be money or priorities.

And that is where the Community Preservation Act (CPA) comes in. Yes, we have lost the plea to have the Worcester City Council put the question on the November ballot (Do we Worcesterites want the CPA?), but we citizens can still get it on the ballot by getting over 5,000 signatures. So, probably the same people who have been working so hard to get the thousands of signatures needed for September and November candidates will now have to once again get out the petitions and gather signatures.

The CPA will, if adopted by Worcester (more than 10 Massachusetts communities have already adopted it and are collecting the matching funds from the Federal Government) will involve a small increase in our property taxes (the amount to be agreed upon later, varying from less than 1% to no more than 3%, with exemptions for some designated groups (perhaps low-income folks, seniors, etc.).

The reason I am supporting this initiative is that the money will be earmarked for three things โ€“ one of which is preservation projects. Had we had this money when the problem of Notre Dame arose, we could probably have been able to appropriate the funds needed for its rehabilitation! And perhaps we could have even created a haven of nature and beauty there, amid the ugly boxes that house the hotels and parking garages.

Once we have voted the CPA in, we can haggle about the details and consult our citizens about what projects should receive priority. But for now, the job is to get the signatures to put the question on the Worcester November ballot. We have saved Union Station and Mechanics Hall โ€“ but there are so many other majestic and historically significant Worcester icons needing attention!

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June 28 – a letter from Ted Conna, co-leader of the SAVE NOTRE DAME ALLIANCE:

Hi all,

I have struggled in recent days with my own discouragement, with not wanting to discourage anyone else, nor wanting to perpetuate false hopes. I have not done the best job with that–I’ve been off my game for the past few days, and with hindsight, and there are a few things I would have done differently. That said…

Believe it or not, this is still not over. We’ve learned a number of things recently, most of it not ready for prime time, that give us hope for a last-minute change of course for Notre Dame. There may still be a surprise ending. We are proceeding to develop our legal case and we’ll go on trying to make our case publicly in the media.

So this is not the time to let up, and please don’t! Dale’s letter to the editor, Randy’s oped, Elaine’s letter today, Steve’s and Toni’s social media operation, and all the other things you’ve been doing or thinking about doing should continue in full force. We need to keep pumping our message out to the community, keep contacting the city councilors, keep the heat on to the bitter end–or better yet, to the sweet new beginning.

Thanks,
Ted

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And …

The Save Notre Dame Alliance is pleased to announce the award winners chosen by a panel of jurors from the 100 eligible entries to our Show us your Notre Dame online art exhibition. The jurors were Juliet Feibel of ArtsWorcester, Luis Fraire of the Sprinkler Factory, Honee Hess of the Worcester Center for Crafts, and Jim Welu, former director of the Worcester Art Museum.

There were nine adult awards chosen, and a single youth award will be split three ways because the jurors felt there were three equally deserving entries.

We are extremely grateful to all of the more than 70 artists and musicians who performed and submitted work to Show us your Notre Dame. The arts community publicly embraced our effort to save Notre Dame with enthusiasm when many other community leaders who want us to succeed have been hesitant to do so. Many of the artists have also joined us, with their artwork, in our activist appeals to the City Council, and their work graced some of our press releases and printed materials.

The Save Notre Dame Alliance hopes to organize a gallery exhibition of all the submitted artwork in the near future, which will give the artists and the community an opportunity to meet and share the beauty of Notre Dame, as well as reflecting together upon the long and continuing struggle to save it for future generations of art lovers.

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Go, Jim, go!!

Ranking Member McGovern Condemns House Republicans for Considering Resolution Designed to Undermine the Special Counselโ€™s Investigation

While providing cover for President Trump, Republicans fail to provide any oversight of an administration defined by scandal

Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern today condemned House Republicans for considering H.Res. 970, a resolution designed to undermine the credibility of Special Counsel Robert Muellerโ€™s investigation into Russiaโ€™s interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. By bringing this resolution to the House Floor, Republican leaders are enabling the extreme wing of their party to spread conspiracy theories while ignoring many very real oversight issues.

โ€œWe know this isnโ€™t a serious attempt at oversight because this Republican Majority apparently doesnโ€™t believe in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities,โ€ McGovern said this morning on the House Floor. โ€œRepublicans today are completely missing in action under President Trump. This is an administration that has been embroiled in one scandal after the next. It is an administration dripping with corruption. Apparently the Republicans only believe in oversight if it involves President Obama or Secretary Clinton.โ€

While Republicans focus on providing cover for President Trump with this resolution, they are abdicating their duty to conduct any legitimate oversight of the Trump administration. Judiciary Committee Democrats have constantly been stonewalled in their attempts to provide oversight. In total, Judiciary Democrats have sent 75 letters to the administration and 43 letters to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Majority addressing oversight issues and every single one has been blocked or denied.

Additionally, since Chairman Gowdy has assumed his role leading the Oversight Committee, he has not issued a single subpoena despite the refusal by the Trump administration and private actors to respond to dozens of requests for documents.

Chairman Gowdy issued 13 subpoenas during his tenure as Chairman of the Benghazi Committee. In contrast, since President Trump has been in office, Oversight Committee Republicans have blocked 45 subpoena requests.

โ€œOnly with the Trump administration can you have one scandal start at breakfast only to have another one by the time you sit down for dinner. We should be doing our job getting to the bottom of whatโ€™s happening and holding people accountable! But instead weโ€™re throwing sand in the gears of the Russia investigation,โ€ continued McGovern. โ€œThis is about whether this Congress is going to fulfill its oversight responsibilities or sweep possible wrongdoing under the rug.โ€

House Republicans are considering this measure under their 90th closed rule of the 115th Congress, which block all amendments from both Democratic and Republican Members.

This breaks their own closed rule record, making the 115h Congress the most closed Congress in history. A report released recently by Rules Committee Democrats highlights how Republican leaders have used restrictive rules to block measures to create jobs, bring down the cost of prescription drugs, and make education more affordable. These important policies deserve a debate on the House Floor, yet they are routinely blocked from even being considered.

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