InCity Times is seven! Now, the important stuff …

By Rose Tirella

Happy seventh birthday to us! That’s right! InCity Times is seven years old, and we’re proud to be here. But we’ve no time to rest on our hot little laurels because the city that InCity Times loves is under siege and we have to write it about it. So here goes:

We don’t know what’s happening with the Worcester City Council this term, but this group of politicians seems to be in dire need of an enema. We don’t know how they feel about anything! They need to emote, pour out their feelings! We don’t know what they want to do – really do – about anything! They say one thing – City Manager Mike O’Brien proposes another. They demurely agree with O’Brien and the tail wags the dog!

They say: Save the City Pools! City Manager Mike O’Brien says: close four of them next year, including Crompton Park’s and the one in Great Brook Valley. Never mind that they are two inner-city swimming pools that serve the minority and low-income community and are being used like crazy this year because gasoline, electricity, food and everything else is so expensive!

And while we’re at it, why in hell is O’Brien and Department of Public Works and Parks Commissioner Robert Moylan allowing these two pools to be used this year by children before they fixed thebathroom stall doors? That’s right! The doors to the bathroom stalls at Crompton and Great Brook Valley PUBLIC swimming pools are gone! We talk about safeguarding our children and stranger and danger, and pedophiles, and the City of Worcester lets any old sicko engage his/her sick mind when it comes to our poor, innercity kids. Message to O’Brien and Moylan: get some doors on these bathroom stalls! Pronto! Before something horrible happens! Throw something together, boys! Have a few of your guys – the ones who hang out on Ellsworth Street, for instance, in the middle of the afternoon twiddling their thumbs DOING NOTHING – cobble together some two-by-fours, add some hinges – and voila! A bathroom stall door! Or call the carpenters’ union, if your guys are incompetent! The local carpenters union (located right across the street from Crompton Park) repaired all the benches and foot bridges in Elm Park three or so years ago after InCity Times ran a mini-expose on the park’s deplorable condition!

Crompton Park and Great Brook Valley pools, guys! (Pay attention, WHA head honcho Ray Mariano- the GBV pool is your turf!) And if a sense of “decency” (excuse the pun) doesn’t motivate you, think of the potential lawsuits the City of Worcester will avert, if you put doors on those bathroom stalls!

And a “shame on you” goes out to the two-tongued City Manager O’Brien who last summer promised this writer that Worcester’s inner-city pools would not be closed (after the first published scare/report)! How ironic that he made his promise to me in the lobby of the Greendale YMCA! At the chi-chi suburban Y of Worcester, where he was, no doubt, picking up his kids, who no doubthad taken a dip in the Greendale Y’s great, clean, safe swimming pool. With bathroom stall doors! The O’Brien’s have bucks, so they don’t have to worry about access to swimming pools or peeing or pooping in door-less bathroom stalls.

Seriously, what’s wrong with you, Mike O’Brien?

Another bee in our bonnet: The city councilors say: Help Worcesterites get homes. City Manager Mike O’Brien launches a kiss-ass homeownership program designed to get the out-of-town yuppies who work at Clark University and UMass to buy homes here, basically edging out blue collar Worcesterites! Scrore one for the real estate agents! And the kick in the nuts goes to the little guy/gal – again!

Just to update, my readers: There is a huge City Of Worcester housing package that was recently mailed out to the “professional places” in Worcester like hospitals and colleges and biotech firms, touting Worcester and its amenities. I saw it in the City Manager’s office in City Hall but the little intern/geek who was colating the package wouldn’t give me one – not even a one piece of paper with one scrap of information from that blasted packet! Who do these people think they are? Where do these assholes come from? Is it all nepotism and connections?!

I had to call all over to City Hall and ask for a packet to be sent to me! (Still haven’t received it!) Thanks City Manager and staffers!

This huge Worcester housing packet was being sent to these “bigtime” companies (hello Fallon, Hanover, etc! To hell with the small businesses of Worcester!) who will then supposedly push them onto their employees (many who probably live in the Boston area and rent), basically begging these middle-class renters to buy units/homes in Worcester so that our city won’t slide down the crapper!

All of this doom and gloom about the middle-class leaving the city is such b.s! There are great houses in Worcester! There will always be professionals moving into them – always.

The city and some of the city’s snootsville businesses are getting into the act, too. In the package you will see all sorts of inserts – perks, both little (and I mean little – 3 months subscription to the comatose Telegram and Gazette! How unlucky can these new home owners get?) and not so little (lawyers in town who will reduce their fees for folks if they decide to buy a home/condo in Worcester). Why aren’t these people lining up to help the family that works at Price Chopper or WalMart?

If we could box the City Manager’s ears right now, we would do it! And the city councilors? Where do they stand? We’ll never know!

The City of Worcester needs to do outreach to the renters in the neighborhoods, the folks who have been paying rent for years in places like Quinsgamond Village or Vernon Hill and would love to own a place of their own. Where, City Manager Mike O’Brien and City Council, are the huge packets of info for the locals, the people who make Worcester Worcester?.

This is not the Worcester InCity Times envisions. It is the Worcester Worcester’s real estate agents envision. Pathetic.

Another stupid idea from those who believe they are enlightened: a skating rink in back of City Hall.Why build a freaking ice skating rink in back of City Hall for thousands and thousands of dollars and close innercity pools or, even more infuriating, forget to put doors on their bathroom stalls? I’ll tell you why: To give those new Worcester residents – the ta-ta’s from Sudbury and Framingham – something to do once they leave their Boston area apartments and buy a little (formerly foreclosed) house in Worcester. Most Latinos (and this Italian American!) wouldn’t be caught dead iceskating in the dead of winter. They (we) do, however, love to swim! They (we) use the city’s swimming pools! And the Worcesterites who enjoy ice-skating find their way to Elm Park pond every year and skate their hearts out – every winter! But we need this stupid little ice skating rink as a tourist attraction for the out-oftowners who will be buying up our homes.


And we can thank Allen skillethead Fletcher – a guy whose foundation is worth $22 million – a guy who has millions of dollars and not a care in the world – for starting this trend. For trying to impose a rich person’s playgroun in the center of our city. Allen sends out a little email to folks about what’s happening in the Canal District – he lives on Ash Street – and the addition of bars and booze clubs to Green island is the most exciting thing that’s happening to Allen, if you read his note. You would think Fletcher’s emails were written by a 28-year-old kid just looking for the next cool dance, fad, drink or easy lay!

And so Green Island has no Community Development Corporation advocating for Green Island residents. No CDC to develop affordable housing for them or help fledgling Green Island business, who may want to do something as mundane as sell groceries. Nope! It’s Allen Fletcher’s way or no way at all! Seven years ago, when I started InCity Times, I was at a public meeting about the “new” Canal District (the old Green Island – my birthplace and stomping grounds).When I got up to speak to a reporter about my concerns, Fletcher skulked behind me and wrapped his creepy hands around my neck – as if to strangle me! He thought this was so funny! Seven years later and much wiser, I can tell you this: If Fletcher were to try to pull such a juvenile and arrogant move today, I would take whatever sharp object I was nearest to – rock, martini glass, you name it – and push it into his flaccid face and twirl or 2. call the police to let them know some creep has assaulted me!

I was so sweet and naïve back then.

InCity Times is seven years old – and we’ve seen a lot – and we won’t get fooled again.

Go, little newspaper, go!