Tag Archives: affirmative action

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus and the “minority” community

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus

Let us start with City Manager Ed Augustus’ great plus: the development of downtown Worcester. He certainly has taken credit for it, and yet the evaluation of its success for Worcester has not been made. Many others had the foresight to see that the Galleria would be a failure when the Wrentham Outlets opened. Other city leaders wanted to reopen Front Street.

The issue of the development of our downtown and other areas of Worcester has led to the city’s Affirmative Action goals for construction jobs for city projects. No one in the public really knows how successful this effort has been. The City Manager’s office is not releasing significant or timely data. Also missing is: Where do people apply and what types of jobs are available?

The City Manager has taken credit for Affirmative Action through the hiring of Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Carter. The success of this office and the number of jobs going to unemployed Worcester residents has yet to be evaluated.

The City Manager, unlike some other officials in the state, has maliciously prosecuted Worcester’s Black Lives Matter protestors. The judge in the case said that the very premise of the complaint filed by Augustus was wrong. The judge ruled that there was NO criminal action. At least one of the protesters was found not responsible of even the civil complaint. The City Manager failed in this area of race relations. He also failed by immediately selling the Mosaic Center building,  which has a long history in the Black community. This action was perceived as racist, as other unused and essentially abandoned City properties, such as the corner lot at Sunderland Road and Lake Ave. which are a hazard and an eyesore, lie fallow.

City Manager Augustus gets failing grades for snow removal. As a pedestrian in the city I ask: How is it possible that anyone can give Augustus an “exceeds expectations” when he cannot keep Worcester streets open and safe during a snow storm? Any competent executive can do this.

The issue of lack of transparency has been around for decades in Worcester city government.  Augustus has again failed the City and its residents when he refused to release the report on the racist hate speech by a high ranking City of Worcester employee, Mr. Traynor. This is a reflection of the institutional racism in City of Worcester government. Traynor is one of the people who is supposed to accomplish the City’s Affirmative Action goals.

The lack of transparency continues into the Worcester Police Department where Chief Sargent has indicated that he has a policy for the City based on the “Broken Windows” theory. This policy used in other cities has resulted in racist practices such as “Stop, Question  and Frisk” in New York City. When will our Police Chief and City Manager make known the details of this policy?

City Manager Augustus is quite ordinary in his bending to disparate impacts on Worcester’s “minority” community.

Go, Gordon Davis, go! … The road most taken

By Gordon Davis

The Boston Red Sox has agreed to sign right-handed pitcher David Price to a $217 million contract. I would like to wish both Mr. Price and the Red Sox well.

There is a price for this deal that is not only in terms of dollar and cents. Although Mr. Price is very talented and probably worth the money in our society that skews wealth and human value, he is also an unintentional symbol of success for many in the Black community. If asked, Mr. Price might say the same thing as did Sir Charles Barkley, “I am not a role model for your kids.”

For many in the Black community basket ball, football and baseball are seen as a way out of the adverse conditions that our children find themselves in. To some extent this gives them hope and encouragement to go to school and perform. For others making a lot of money through some business scheme is their hope. These hopes are not bad things by themselves. However, all of these things are misleading.

Historically, the way out of poverty and into the middle class for Black people have been unionized jobs and education. The migration of many Black people from the southern United States to the North during the Twentieth Century was facilitated by union jobs in the auto industry, steel industry and education. It was also facilitated by government jobs such as the military and the U.S. post office. My relatives and those of my wife were career soldiers or postal workers or city employees. This has been the experience of most Black people in the United States, not sports nor businesses.

Recognizing this, many in our communities have fought for Affirmative Action. It is the program that ensures companies consider us when making hiring decisions.

Unfortunately, one of the people I knew as an undergraduate at Holy Cross college, Clarence Thomas, used affirmative action to get to the Supreme Court and then started to burn the bridges behind him. I suppose he wanted to make sure no one else from our community could follow in his footsteps.

I remember growing up reading Jet and Ebony magazines which were widely read in the Black communities. The owners of the magazine became deservedly relatively wealthy. The same can be said for the cosmetics industry intended for Black women.

The Black businesses succeeded because many in the Black community had entered the middle class through unionized service and industrial jobs. The reality for us is that as a community Black, White, Hispanic and all people will make a living in the workplaces owned by the so called one percent. We as a community will not succeed on the playing fields or in small business. As many of us know, the time of the Mom and Pop stores is long over.

I see that there are unionization drives going on in the Worcester in the areas of domestic care workers, food workers and hospital workers. All areas with a relatively high people of color workforce.  I know that this is the way out of the adverse conditions of poverty for most of them.

So I might go to a Red Sox game to see David Price pitch a no hitter and carry the Red Sox to a World Championship. I know, however, that the road he has taken is not possible for everyone.