By Rosalie Tirella
Tuesday (Nov. 29) night’s Worcester City Council meeting re: the SMOC Triage Center was a night of broken promises, a night of dumping on the poor and powerless, a night of forgeting about all the inner-city/Main South small biz folks and residents who have had to endure the people who PREY on a place like the PIP – scum who have made life a hell for everyone.
It’s not the SMOC clients; it’s the drug dealers, the users, the abusers – all the hangers-on who prey on/will prey on the clients of the PIP/Triage Center. How can District 4 ever get well? How can our inner-city neighborhoods recover – and begin to flourish?
Well, at least we can say this: Mayor Joe O’Brien and District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller proved themselves to be class acts – people who stayed true to their word (they voted against the move back to the old PIP building – 701 Main St.)
It is heartbreaking that the end of Haller’s stellar – and I mean stellar – terms on the city council should end in a vote that broke her heart. She was right when she said Main South residents were not given the chance to voice their opinions. But – here’s the problem – unlike their middle class peers near the Anna Maria rest home (the proposed SMOC site that was shot down by almost 800 Apricot Street area residents), the folks of Main South are up to their eye balls in challenges – economic, social, etc.
Makes it hard to agitate for your rights, poverty does.
I grew up in D-4, very poor. My mom was a single mom with a minimum wage job. She worked 60 hours a week and tried to keep me and my two sisters safe, well fed and happy. She was always there at PTA nights at Lamartine Street School and Prov. Jr. High, but she could never take the time out to leave her HUGE RESPONSIBILITIES to engage in heated civic debates. I remember her conking out, quietly snoring, head back while sitting on the sofa, watching TV with us kids – at about 8 p.m. She was in bed at 9 p.m. – out like a light. She had to get up at 5:30 in the morning to begin our daily routine (school, lunches, her job at the dry cleaners, a.m. house work/breakfast) etc the next day.
My mom was too poor/overwhelmed to canvas neighborhoods, get ultra involved. Factor in my shit-head dad who came in and out and wreaked havoc on our little fmaily unit and the result: my mom was overwhelmed.
This is the story of a lot of families in Main South – a stone’s throw from the PIP.
Barbara Haller and Joe O’Brien know these stories/families and validate them – every day. They honored them Tuesday night by their votes.
Bravo, Joe and Barb!