Tag Archives: Billy Breault

Gordy parked in fashion … Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes backs Billy Breault’s proposed racist dragnet

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People against Billy Breault’s petition picketed his meeting.        photo: Gordon Davis

By Gordon Davis

Worcester City Councilor Konstantina (Konnie) Lukes has been a Worcester politician (serving on the Worcester school committee and city council) for almost 40 years. Lately, she has been scapegoating refugees and immigrants. In September 2016, at a Worcester City Council meeting, Lukes said, “We see signs here basically accusing us of being racist. I have yet to hear anybody tell me what I have done that is racist… Give me names, dates, times.”

Two months later, on November 15, 2016, Councilor Lukes voted to harass and terrorize immigrants and refugees. She targeted Muslims and Hispanic people. Lukes voted in favor of a petition before the Worcester City Council regarding the “financial” and “criminal” impact of newcomers to Worcester. The petition was drawn up by and is being pushed hard by William Breault.  Here is a small part of Breault’s petition – he wants the following from the city manager:  “… information from the City Administration on the financial impact incurred by the city for processing refugees or asylum seekers during the past five years, including the location of housing provided for them and the source of funding for that housing.”

Worcester city councilors Michael Gaffney,  Moe Bergman and Lukes signed onto this financial petition – how much money it costs the city to house and process newcomers and refugees.

Lukes was the sole Worcester city councilor who signed on to the criminal section of Breault’s petition. She voted to seek the records of immigrants arrested by the Worcester police.

Lukes could have acknowledged the positive impact that immigrants and refugees have on Worcester/America. She could have sought the number of hate crimes committed against  refugees and immigrants in Worcester. Instead, she sought the opposite.

Billy Breault, a longtime Main South resident, is known for many of his controversial, sometimes racist stances, such as trying to stop a funeral home from conducting the preparation of a Muslim man’s body for burial. On November 17, 2016, Breault tried to get support for his anti-refugee petition at a neighborhood meeting, which Lukes attended. Incredibly, instead of Councilor Lukes disowning Breault’s overtly racist petitions, she doubled down in her support of them. (Some folks have called Breault’s petitions Nazi policies.)

There was a protest outside Breault’s meeting – pushback by many people in the community, including  the groups Show Up Against Racism, the Progressive Labor Party and Catholic Worker. These groups and others held signs. One sign read: “Stop Nazis’ Hate and Lies”; another sign said “No Racist Immigration Laws.” Inside the meeting some people engaged Breault and Councilor Lukes in heated discussion.

Councilor Lukes’ stance reminds me of the recent racist rants made by the Governor of Maine, Paul LePage. Governor LePage has stated that Maine’s opioid crisis is caused by Black and Hispanic people moving to Maine from Massachusetts. He has used the word “niggers” and “cunts” in his racist and sexist rants.

Like Lukes, Governor LePage has asserted that he is not a racist and that the people who are calling him a racist are themselves racist.

A reporter in Maine, Gattine, said the following:

“LePage floated the remarkable notion that calling out racism is equivalent to using racist and sexist slurs during his radio interview Tuesday, saying that being called racist is ‘like calling a black man the ‘N’ word or a woman the ‘C’ word. It just absolutely knocked me off my feet.”

After 40 years of political life during which time she showed much paranoia and wallowed in sensationalism, it is time for City Councilor Konnie Lukes to retire. In response to Lukes’ stance on this latest issue, many of her opponents are preparing to resist her – and President Elect Donald Trump’s fascist policies of mass deportations and a Muslim registry.

Crime watch meeting: Worcester landlords running illegal rooming houses

By Ron O’Clair

At the last Main South Alliance for Public Safety crime watch meeting the issue of landlords renting multi-bedroom apartments out to more then three unrelated tenants brings up the issue of running unlicensed rooming houses, as the State Law says that renting to more than three unrelated people to at least a second degree of kindred is against the law in an apartment, unless a rooming house license is obtained.

In order to get a rooming house license, these apartments have to comply with more codes than they would as an apartment. For instance, working sprinklers and fire alarms have to be installed in order to qualify for a rooming house license. There are currently no requirements to have sprinklers in Worcester apartment houses.

What is happening now is that landlords who own large rental properties with multiple bedrooms rent the rooms individually which leads to violation of the code when there are more than three unrelated individuals residing in the same apartment. This happens most frequently in neighborhoods surrounding one of our many colleges and universities. College students “room” together in an apartment they share and pay for. It’s usually three or four or more students per apartment. The landlords make a killing on the students.

These illegal rooming houses create problems with parking in the affected neighborhoods, as there are far more cars being parked in the neighborhood when several people occupy a unit that was designed for only one family.

Many other three decker owners resort to this practice when they have vacant apartments to rent, as they can get more money renting out single rooms to four people than they can get renting out the apartment to a single family.

Not many of these owners know about the law that states that renting out to more than three unrelated people is illegal.

Some of these owners are aware of the law, but choose to ignore it, and those are the ones that the City of Worcester has problems with. I believe there is a pending court action in regard to one of these cases as I write this, at least that is what I got from the meeting that I attended. City of Worcester Code Enforcement has the duty to ensure that landlords comply with the housing laws and take action when notified of these violations.

It is illegal to house more than three unrelated individuals in one apartment under current State of Massachusetts law.

Good news: The problems facing the Main South CDC are troublesome but not fatal

By Barbara Haller, Main South Community Development Corporation Board member, former District 4 City Councilor and Main South resident

The Main South CDC continues to work on strengthening its neighborhood in many rich and exciting ways.  The MSCDC continues to manage a large portfolio of affordable and livable apartments and to support home ownership.  The MSCDC is part of a growing community collaborative to improve educational outcomes of its children.   In short:  the Main South CDC is alive and kicking.

Bad News: The public altercation between the Main South’s CDC executive director Steve Teasdale and board member Billy Breault  was regretful.  If I could turn the clock back and make it not happen I surely would.

Steve has led the organization from the beginning. While progress in Main South has been all about teamwork,  you would be heardpressed to find anyone who would deny that Steve – his dedication, intelligence, talent and controlled ego – is the leader of the pack that made it all happen.

Billy has been the voice of public safety and neighborhood development.  He is both a leader and a cheerleader for Main South.  He lives in Main South.  His parents lived in Main South.  He is tried and true in his burning loyalty to his neighborhood and City.  He was Chair of MSCDC Board for many years and always a Board member.  He has represented the MSCDC very well.

But lines were crossed last month when Billy verbally attacked and threatened Steve – first in a voice mail and then in the MSCDC parking lot.  The partnership broke, the team fell apart.  The media were notified and fed information, it became a “story” to be reported.  The reasons for anger and extreme hostility?  Who ever really knows why these things happen, but there was mention of unsafe intersection in the neighborhood where Billy’s partner’s family was injured, there was mention of the   painfully drawnout federal audit of the MSCDC’s use of block grant, there was mention of the MSCDC’s involvement in Main South Promise Neighborhood, there was mention of the MSCDC’s pending sale of 93 Grand Street.  So it appears that this outburst had been festering for some time.

As an active Board member of the MSCDC I can assure everyone that neighborhood outreach continues to keep residents, businesses, and partners informed and engaged.  Likewise I affirm that the MSCDC is finding ways to address the troublesome intersection, is engaged in getting to the final needs of the federal audit, is committed to strong partnership in Main South Promise Neighborhood, and is working on the sale of 93 Grand Street to stabilize the MSCDC’s financial position on this property.  All with Board knowledge and support.  No secrets, no misconduct.

Those of us connected to the Main South CDC and to Billy Breault are saddened.   Both are good.  Both make great contributions to our City.  Together isn’t working anymore.  But life will go on.  The Main South CDC will survive.  Billy will find new ways to boost Main South.

Sigh.

 

Sex Offender Registry Update and The Good Samaritan Bills

Sex Offender Registry update

By District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller

Since 2005 I have provided attendees of Main South’s National Night Out the opportunity to look at the photographs and descriptions of convictions of Level 3 sex offenders who live or work in Worcester. This year’s event was no exception.

I have updated my book of Worcester’s Level 3 (high risk) Sex Offenders as published on the Massachusetts State Sex Offender Registry. The information was provided by the Registry on July 31, 2009. The Registry states on its web page ‘… the risk of reoffense is high and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety interest is by active dissemination ….’

Attendees at the National Night Out had the opportunity to look through the book. My intention is that as a result of making this information readily available that families will sit together and talk about the threat of sexual crimes. Sexual crime is a fact of life and the Level 3 book shows that in living color. Continue reading Sex Offender Registry Update and The Good Samaritan Bills

The PIP shelter and what it means to Worcester

By District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller

The story of the PIP Shelter is long and complex. While there have been many individuals who will testify to its success as a safety net of last resort, there are many more who will testify to its internal chaos, especially before SMOC took over control in 2005. Founded over thirty years ago to provide protection to public inebriates after the decriminalization of public drunkenness, there are few who would deny that the PIP has grown to be an enabler and magnet for anti-social behavior.

Over the past twenty years my position on the PIP moved from a call for better management, to supporting an effort to relocate it to an industrial area, to a cry for closing it. I came to realize that a 150 person warehouse for individuals experiencing homelessness for a wide variety of reasons couldn’t be fixed – regardless of who ran it or where it was located. Over time the city council, the city administration, and the community have come to join in common voice to close this shelter at 701 Main Street.

During those years of pushing for the shuttering of the PIP, the question of “where will ‘they’ go?” was part of every discussion. My answer to that question was always to explain that it is not the responsibility of the struggling neighborhood around 701 to bring solution to homelessness, but rather it is the responsibility of the whole community. I served on every task force as we searched for the best answers. All of these efforts failed to close the PIP but they each served to get us closer by educating more people to the complexity of the challenge and increasing the resolve to do better. Continue reading The PIP shelter and what it means to Worcester