Tag Archives: CDBG funds

Worcester news for you! … Dickens and (CDBG) demo!

First the fun stuff!

pic: R.T.

From Doherty High School

Highland Street

December 7 and 8

Next week the Doherty Performing Arts Department will be presenting “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

The show will be performed by more than 70 Doherty students, 1 Forest Grove student and 3 Midland Street School students!

We will also be performing an elementary school matinee December 7 for students from Midland, Tatnuck and May Street schools.

The bulk of the show will be performed by the Theatre 2-3-4 classes, with help from the Madrigal Singers and the Jazz Band.

The show starts promptly at 6:45 p.m. and tickets are a mere $5.

Hope to see you there.

Jim Fay
Theatre Director


Now the muckety muck …CDBG DEMOLITION GOALS, the process …

Cece says: Can’t we all just chase string and cuddle?? pic:R.T.

From the City of Worcester …


(Rose has made some sentences bold.):



Re: Council Questions Concerning the Recommended Finance Item for Demolition Purposes

In response to the City Council’s questions regarding the recommendation to transfer 126 190 00 from and to various CDBG accounts to provide sufficient funding for anticipated project costs for the demolition of six buildings, please accept this report.

List of [the CDBG-demo] Properties:

11 Dixfield Road —The Estate of Amelia and Lincoln Crozier

15 Uxbridge Street The Estate of Rose Jordan

147 Belmont Street S. Paquette, Trustee of Belmont 147 Realty Trust

20 Alvarado ROLLO The Estate of Rocco and Lame Mercadante

18 Charlton Street Edilson Souza

89 Austin Street Iglesia Cristiana de la Communidad

The city has a responsibility to maintain safe neighborhoods. The demolition of dilapidated, dangerous or decadent buildings falls under that role.

Demolition of such properties is an eligible expenditure of block grant funds because one of the national objectives of the ONES program is the elimination of spot slum and blighted properties.

The annual block grant allocation includes a sum set aside for demolition of eligible properties.

The City [of Worcester] places a lien in the amount of the demolition expenses on the property by recording a lien in the Registry of Deeds shortly after demolition.

The lien is then included with the annual tax bill, just as any outstanding water, sewer charges and betterment assessments are included in the tax bills).

The city tax lien takes priority over any mortgages on the property.

Therefore, the bank or person taking a mortgage on a property subject to a demolition order, not the city [of Worcester], takes the risk that there will be no surplus value after the city lien is paid.

(In the case of tax exempt property, the demolition lien is committed to the treasurer who treats the property as taxable for purposes of either collection or foreclosure to satisfy the lien).

The city [of Worcester] uses two avenues to assess fines to property owners who fail to maintain their property in compliance with building, health and safety codes:

The first is the ” clean and lien” process whereby the city causes repairs to be made and then records a lien on the property for the amount expended.

This process is used to address emergency situations (no heat, imminent structural failure, etc.), where the property is in foreclosure, or, where the responsible party fails to appear in court.

This process is also used to clean weeds and trash from properties creating a nuisance to the neighborhood.

Secondly, the city fines property owners for code violations through the code enforcement/housing court process. That process involves a sequence of code inspections and enforcement orders, a referral to the law department for housing court action, the imposition of a preliminary injunction commanding that repairs
be made, and, if necessary, a series of court actions where the court imposes
fines on the owner to secure compliance and, failing that, the court will hold the owner in contempt and commit them to jail until repairs are made.

While properties with debilitating code violations can be condemned to demolition, properties without any pre- existing code violations, but which have
suffered substantial, structural damage due to fires are eligible for demolition.

(In fact, four of the six properties listed above are being demolished because of structural fire damage).

It would be fair to say that, in all cases, the property involved is “made safe” per order of the [City of Worcester] Code Commissioner.

This is typically accomplished by boarding windows and keeping people at a safe distance with fencing.

The policy in this program is to make every effort to save properties from
demolition through private rehabilitation.

There is usually a period of several
years between the recording of a demolition order and the actual demolition of a property.

Cases with extreme deterioration or fire damage move to the top of the list and, to the extent that funding sources allow, are demolished more quickly.

Except to determine the owner for purposes of the issuance and service of
orders, the city [of Worcester] does not perform periodic title examinations of properties condemned to demolition.
As noted earlier, the city lien takes first priority over encumbrances recorded both before and after the recording of the demolition
order. The economic risk falls substantially with the private financier.

Respectfully submitted,

Edward M. Augustus, Jr.
City Manager

Gordy parked in fashion … Worcester city councilors Gaffney and Lukes and a few dollars more

Worcester City Councilor Mike Gaffney and Turtle Boy blogger Aidan Kearney engage in the same kind of race baiting as the divisive Donald Trump. pic:R.T.

By Gordon Davis

When thinking about Worcester City Councilor/Reverend Sarai Rivera’s Austin Street church building controversy and the Worcester City Council, Malcolm X, Southern Black churches and the White Citizens Councils come to mind.

The Worcester City Council has given its support for the partial removal of federal block grant money from the fund to demolish six condemned properties in Worcester. One of the six condemned properties is a building owned by Rivera’s church. The controversy arises because Reverend Rivera is also a Worcester City Councilor.

Rivera is co-minister of the Christian Community Church which is open to all races and serves a mostly Hispanic congregation. Rivera has been an outspoken critic of the Worcester Police in the past. Rivera has also shown support for the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement. To be fair, she has also expressed support for the Worcester Police, especially in its efforts to remove trail bikes from the streets.

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has defended his decision to include the property owned by Rivera’s church in the federal block grant for demolition of condemned properties. The property met the same criteria as the other properties on the manager’s list.

The appropriateness of the money going to the church was raised by Turtle Boy blogger Aidan Kearney, who is known for his racism. Michael (Mike) Gaffney, a white Worcester city councilor who has been characterized as a racist, brought the issue before the Worcester City Council.

It is not the first time Gaffney has attacked Reverend Rivera. He has attacked another woman of color when he sought to close the Mosaic Complex.

Malcom X said black coffee loses its essence if too much milk is added. For a long time some people in  government and elsewhere said they were “revolutionaries” – or at least progressives. These people, I suppose, were well meaning, but they misled the struggle for racial and economic justice.

The southern Black churches during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s supported their ministers independently of white folks, the white community. It was known that taking the “man’s” money brought ambiguity to whomever the ministers were ministering.

Closer to home, here in Worcester, in 2016: A predominantly Black church’s minister was on the board of directors of the Mosaic Complex. The minister abruptly quit Mosaic’s board when Gaffney and Turtle Boy plunged it into controversy. It is known that this minister also serves on at least one City of Worcester Committee – with some funding involved for his projects.  A reasonable person could conclude that instead of ministering to his flock, there is ambiguity in this minister’s responsibilities.

“Divide and Conquer” by racists like Kearney and Gaffney also existed in the old Civil Rights movement. It seems to be extant in the new Civil Rights Movement. We have learned from the old Civil Rights movement that the strongest organizations have been multi-racial organizations. Unfortunately, many progressives still have difficulty grasping this; even the right wingers have their “tokens.”

Wikepedia gives the following definition: “The Citizens’ Councils (also referred to as White Citizens’ Councils) were an associated network of white supremacist organizations in the United States, concentrated in the South. The first was formed on July 11, 1954. After 1956, it was known as the Citizens’ Councils of America.”

Although the Worcester City Council is not anything like the so called Citizen Councils, our city council comes to mind on this issue. The Worcester City Council, to some extent, is a representation of the old Worcester. The old Worcester was mostly White and seemingly comfortable for many White people. It was not so comfortable for many Black and Latino people back then.

This nostalgia by some Worcesterites for Worcester’s exclusionary (based on a person’s color or ethnicity) past has allowed Worcester city councillors like Michael Gaffney, Gary Rosen and Konnie Lukes to remain in office.  Councilor Lukes has recently sought a report of arrest records of recent immigrants to Worcester. This is a form of terrorism, as it has caused much anxiety and emotional distress for many law-abiding residents of our city. Lukes could have instead sought a list of hate crimes and harassment of the newcomers to the city in an effort to mitigate the racist Trump effect. She didn’t.

Councilor Riverai’s church’s board of directors should say it did not ask for, nor does it, at this time, want any federal block grant money for the demolition of its condemned property.

The church should remain separate from government – especially when in the struggle for justice.

I suppose each generation will have to learn anew the lessons from the old Civil Rights movement. People with one foot in each camp will eventually mislead us and the man’s few dollars will be the downfall of some and the heartbreak of others.