By Rosalie Tirella
God, it will be tragic if retired Worcester firefighter Frank Raffa becomes Worcester’s new District 2 city councilor simply because he was savvy/sneaky enough to “work” the city’s charter. Our charter (a bedeviling document at times) creates a kind of elected official loophole: it states that if a Worcester city counilor/pol leaves office prematurely, the next highest vote getter gets to finish his/her term – even if that person is a last-second write-in candidate.
A write-in candidate who did no campaigning, has no position papers, spent no money for signs, mailings, etc, did zero standouts – but, you know, had a handful of pals write his/her name on the ballot.
Like Frank Raffa, who garnered fewer than 200 votes this past election, just did. That’s because Raffa heard that incumbent District 2 City Councilor Phil Palmieri may not finish out his term. According to Worcester’s charter, if Phil leaves, well then Frank Raffa – the next highest vote getter (ha ha) – gets to take Phil’s place.
Raffa saw that no one was running againt Palmieri, and he knew that Palmieri would run for Sate Rep. Vinny Pedone’s seat, if Pedone ran for Guy Glodis’ sheriff slot, if Glodis went for State Auditor Joseph DeNucci’s job … if DeNucci, didn’t seek reelection.
DeNucci announced this week he will NOT run for State Auditor next election cycle.
And so the game begins – especially for Raffa and for Palmieri who has changed his District 2 address (to his mom’s abode) so he can run for Pedone’s seat. Palmieri ran for state rep a few years ago against Jim O’Day – and was creamed. So he, the sneaky guy, changed the state rep district seat he can run for (and have a better chance of winning) by moving onto Shrewsbury Street. More Italians at that end = more votes (unfortunately) for Palmieri. Or maybe Phil Palmieri’s move is because Phil has just finished dumping his wife for the gal pal he was cheating on her with and together, Phil and his girlfriend, want to start a new life together – move in with ma. How very Italian.
But if Phil just uses the address as a front – not really live there – just so he can run for Pedone’s state rep seat, well, then, that is illegal and could land Phil in jail for several years.
Raffa is not playing the voter fraud game like Palmieri, Frank Raffa is playing another game. Raffa, who went a little buggy after the soul-wrenching Franklin Street warehouse fire in which six Worcester firefighters perished (horrible, horrible deaths), feels he can bring something to District 2. Well, Frank, you can’t bring a thing to District 2, if you can’t even mount a REAL campaign. if you can’t even spend the time talking to voters, knocking on doors, coming up with positions on various issues, etc. Raffa, who cannot seem to let that fire go and who, according to his ex-wife, wrecked their marriage because he was so obsessed with the fire. Divorced and on his own, Frank is still trying to find his voice.
We feel sorry for the guy, but no one should support a weasel. Worcester, we need to CHANGE OUR CITY CHARTER, making it impossible for a write in candidate to become a city councilor simply because a handful of pals scribbled his name on a ballot.
Frank, if you want a real shot at District 2, run a campaign like everyone else has had to do.