Meeting Tim, Worcester’s economic development czar

By Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday, at the Worcester Common Ground CDC celebration at the CDC’s tot lot in the heart of our inner city, I got a chance to button-hole, “interview” the city’s two economic development guys. Guys I had been trying to track down the day before at ol City Hall. I had some questions about the city’s new take on building affordable housing for Woo residents. After all, almost half of Worcester’s population is eligible for affordable housing.

First Miguel Rivera, a guy who works for economic development czar Tim Mcgourthy. It was such a pretty day yesterday! Everyone seemed to be having such a good time at the CDC tot lot! You would think all the food and good vibes would have loosened Rivera up some. Nope. All smiles, he offered nothing of value. Said he couldn’t and wouldn’t discuss the city’s CDCs. Said he wasn’t allowed to.

After the event, I checked my email. I had gotten an email from his city hall secretary, Amanda R. Amanda said Miguel wanted to know what questions I would be asking him if I interviewed him. Better yet, could I email her the questions?

Who are these pointless people? I mean, is this New York City? Are we living in Gotham, for cripe’s sake? Third-tier Worcester deserves at the very least workman like, basic, human interactions. Nothing fancy. Stop the games and let me ask a guy, a city employee, some fucking questions in his fucking office. Public’s right to know and all. I answered Amanda’s email. Told her I had button holed Miguel at a city event and that people like her made city government … pointless. Were a detriment to citizens understanding their city. Thanks for nothing.

Why are so many women TOOLS? I mean, you can be a secretary and still think for yourself!

2. Tim Mcgourthy, Worcester’s Chief Economic Development czar. The guy who holds the keys, or at least some of them, when it comes to housing and business development in our city.

I was pleasantly surprised. Tim is a nice guy. Very nice guy. Awfully friendly. I would call him down to earth and even sweet. He is the kinda guy women call adorable. At the event yesterday, he gave a very nice little speech in support of the work the WCG CDC was doing. He hung around and talked with folks and he let me ask him questions and tell him my reservations about the city’s affordable housing policy, new and supposedly improved.

Tim said he supports the CDCs but that he wants to open up the affordable housing building game to more peeps. And he wanted more home ownership. He said if developers want federal funds to build units then they HAVE TO CHARGE AFFORDABLE RENTS FOR THE UNITS. Made sense to me. I told him it would be great if all of his department’s ideas, the city’s housing master plan, was made available to folks IN HARD COPY at neighborhood centers, the YMCA and YWCA, churches, barber shops, places where Worcester people could read it, digest it, discuss it. I said the city’s huge report, a tome or door stop if ever there was one, was hard to understand. Tim agreed, said there should be a way to get thus important information out into the community.

Then I said, I think if you want to make three decker home ownership a reality for more people, the city needs to set aside A HELL OF A LOT MORE MONEY FOR DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE, REHAB ASSISTANCE. I told him I was looking at three deckers in the inner city – all I could afford – and the buildings I saw were in horrible shape, often times vandalized. Cut up into teeny apts. Copper wire pulled out. Gutted bathrooms. How was a regular working person gonna fix those disasters? The city needs to put aside so much more money for rehab. Our great old buildings have been si abused.

I also told him all the city’s talk about homeownership for all seemed very pie in the sky. Very unrealistic. I told Tim at the last city economic development subcommittee meeting, the city sounded like President George W. Bush right before he created the housing bubble.

Tim listened to my concerns. Seemed to actually care about people making good housing decisions. He said some folks would be renters and that the city has to offer them good housing choices, too.

I believe Tim M. us a good person. He said he wasn’t anti CDC and I believed him. He is such a likeable person it was hard not to believe him, doubt his good intentions. The sun shone brightly on the folks at the WCG CDC celebration yesterday. It shone brightly on Tim Mcgourthy.

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