Tag Archives: Konstantina Lukes

Goodbye, Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes!🌺

By Rosalie Tirella

I’m ensconced in my new Woo shack, drinking my java AND herbal tea. Simultaneously. I set up my new coffee, tea and cocoa station yesterday, a la my late Mom🌻♥️, Cecelia.:
My K-cup coffee maker is still in storage – it will be hauled out during the last few hauls. (Aurgh! Still “moving in.” A big THANK YOU to my beatific pals!). pics: R.T.

At least I’ve got my lil’ French press to get me though the morning. Good for two cups of coffee in the a.m, and I’m enjoying the esoteric teas, courtesy of a Dorrie👼 Blessing Bag:

Miss Cece has reclaimed her rightful throne😉 …

… which makes me think of another Worcester princess, this one (gladly, I think) abdicating her velvet perch:

Worcester City Councilor at Large Konstantina (“Konnie”) Lukes.

What can we say about our former booster/gal pal/city councilor/school committee member/political outsider/West Side matron Konnie Lukes, now in her mid-80s?

A lot!

First, it’s the end, so we’re nostalgic and we’ll write nostalgically. But let’s – quickly – get the ugly stuff out of the way:

👑 1.Konnie was/is, along with ailing hubby Jim (whose illness she blames on me!!), A NOTORIOUS CHEAPSKATE, which has always led her to vote for the lowest residential tax rate (she lives here, don’t forget!)…But the years of penny-pinching have come back to bite her in her perennially pants-suit-clad butt, in very public ways that have destroyed a good chunk of her credibility, soured peeps on her:

👑Konnie and Jim, while Konnie was city councilor running for mayor!/residing in Worcester, registered their cars in the Cape Cod town where they have a summer home, to save a bundle of dough$$ on their car insurance bills. The summer home, which I recall, they visited seldomly, saved them a ton of money over the years. They could order that second drink at the Webster House restaurant, the no-more eatery that catered to seniors and began serving dinner at 4 p.m. For cheap – owner Chris’s yummy Early Bird Specials!

A win for Konnie!

But no!

Konnie’s detractors – when she was running for mayor – got hold of the information and called the daily’s columnists, who wrote their Konnie is a tight wad columns. Everybody found out! The city laughed. And Konnie got a new nickname: CAPE COD KONNIE.🌊 And lost a few votes during the election.

👑 2. For all of Konnie’s I’M FOR THE LITTLE GUY/GAL RHETORIC, she and Jim were two of the biggest slumlords in Worcester – in one of our poorest neighborhoods, Green Island, where Jim’s family owned a bunch of three deckers and a diner. The buildings reeled from the unsafe, sagging porches with popsicle-stick rails spaced two feet apart. There were holes in the walls as big as Volkswagens (never repaired). Non-functioning toilets, too. A single 60-watt light bulb dangling on a cord, hanging from the ceiling in one apartment. Hookers for tenants in another. Yellow garbage bags – non-city – galore.

It’s funny but when reporter Ron O’Clair broke the story in InCity Times and we went down to the Lukes’s Siegel Street property to “save” the 90-year-old lady “trapped” in one of the Lukes’s shitholes, the 90 year old rebuffed us in decidedly un-old-lady like terms!: GET THE FUCK OUT! GET THE HELL OFF MY PORCH! she yelled at us as we knocked on her back door (plywood for windows) pleading for an interview.

Rose: Can we interview you? We want to help you!!


Ron and I looked at each other, baffled. And walked away. We wrote the stories, though. And all the other rags followed our lead. Big chunks of Konnie’s armor flew off – her reputation took a big hit. Her husband had a kind of heart attack and ended up in a wheelchair. She blamed me and told me so, tears flowing down her face, when I bumped into her at the grocery store.

Rose: I’m sorry, Konnie. It was a news tip …

Konnie, red-faced, emotional, tired-looking, tears in her eyes: GET AWAY FROM ME! YOU KILLED MY HUSBAND!!

Then it was my turn to cry.

3. 👑Konnie WAS a naysayer while on City Council. Oftentimes she had a point, saw something her councilor colleagues didn’t see. But sometimes she was just pulling “facts” out of her ass, disagreeing to disagree. With the guys. The guys who ran Woo politics and had a stranglehold on city policy, city jobs, the business community, the public schools … everything Worcester. Konnie, the daughter of Albanian immigrants, a daughter who worshipped her Dad♥️ and helped him in his Connecticut diner when she was a young girl, was from a different world. First Generation. A scrappy, self-made outsider. She loathed/and still does despise the Woo BOYS CLUB – men who ran/run Worcester politics. They hated/hate her, too. One day, two or so years into InCity Times, when there was a Democratic convention in the city, she called me, asking me if I had tickets to the political convention. I did. The guys, Murray, McGovern, Rushton, etc had frozen her out. Again. Skipped over Konnie, a Republican in Democratic undies, they believed. And still do. I gave Konnie my tickets. She didn’t really thank me.

👑Who can forget the birthday cake former Worcester City Councilor and Konnie-nemesis Ric Rushton presented to Konnie during a city council meeting, on the council floor? – filmed for the city government TV channel, covered by all the reporters – just so he could announce – to the world – Konnie’s age. Mean. And SEXIST.

And that brings me to the GREAT STUFF ABOUT OUR KONNIE:

👑 She knew she was operating in A SEXIST city – a crooked POLITICAL SPHERE.

A city where the Irish-American guys had always called all the shots – decided, on the council floor, or over drinks at Monihans, who got all the important city jobs, city contracts … controlled who was blessed – who got the $$$, city dpw, teacher jobs, etc. Usually it was their immediate family members or relatives or friends. Or friends of their relatives or friends. Quite the incestuous, closed-off clique. Not healthy for our city.

👑EVERY DAY City Councilor KONNIE LUKES RAILED AGAINST THE UNFAIRNESS, the bull shit. She wanted more people to have a piece of the civic cake:

Worcester's Birthday Cake 168 Years as a City.
Worcester’s Birthday Cake 168 Years as a City. ICT file photo by Ron O.

👑She helped start, years ago, the City of Worcester Advisory Committee on Women. She was director of the local chapter of the ACLU. She was voted on the Worcester School Committee. And she scolded her political colleagues – usually the guys – for being such clubby fatheads. And voted accordingly. Against Mills, for Boone – Woo’s first – and probably only – African American public schools superintendent. She voted against Augustus and for the cool Hispanic city manager candidate from New Mexico. The one who had experience AND the Harvard degree.





Just like a guy.

What a terrific role model!

For me and other Woo women…

👑I believe Kostantina Lukes was/represented the first wave of Woo feminists to come crashing on the shore of the arrogant, parochial, tight-ass, all-male Worcester beach. She had: Political guts. She made: great Political theater. Konnie knew the gold ring she was reaching for. For all of us Worcester gals.

“You’ll never be a handmaiden,” she told me once, when I was visiting her in her Park Ave law office. (she’s a practicing lawyer). I smiled back, beaming. “I’m not either,” she said. “Neither is Barbara (Haller),” she continued. “They hate that. They want you to be a handmaiden.”

She was right.

👑But it wasn’t all battle all the time. Konnie smiled, kidded … and loved being a politician. She loved schmoozing, going to all city, neighborhood meetings and concerts, loved people, loved government. It all made her very happy: the attention, the votes, the power, the hugs, the brawls. SHE, LIKE A GUY, WAS IN IT. A mover and shaker.

👑Konnie IS a people person. ALL PEOPLE. ALL COLORS. ALL GENDERS. ALL BACKGROUNDS. Even if you’re a poor kid from Green Island sailing on a dream called InCity Times/CECELIA. She’s not a phony. She’s real. All the time.

👑So … I thank City Leader Konnie Lukes for her years of city leadership and advocacy and, on a personal level, before our falling out, her friendship, her guidance, her toughness, her smarts, her ads, her wisdom, her spirit … her posing for the cover of the InCity Times swimsuit issue (she wore panty hose under her one-piece – Control Top! No fair, Kon-Kon♥️😉!) …

👑… and for being the first Worcester city councilor/city leader to support us and push for the banning of wild animal acts (Ringling Bros. circus) in the City of Worcester. She spoke to me in her office when I asked her to sponsor the order at the next Council meeting … she spoke compassionately about the lions, tigers, bears and elephants who suffer at the mercy of the whip and bullhook …
Evil, outdated ways – Konnie got it. pic: PETA

… and lead long lives of horrific deprivation!

👑Konnie got it. And sponsored the order. She spoke on the council floor, along with D 4 councilor Sarai Rivera, in favor of it. Of course, we went down. In flames. But we were ON THE ANGELS’S side. Ahead of our time.

Fast forward about 10 years: No more Ringling! No more sad elephant marches down Southbridge Street, with the elephants’s tired old feet on city concrete! Donning those obscene, garish rhinestone saddles and head gear! … And fewer wild animal acts world-wide!

👑And … no more Konnie! And fewer swings at the yellow moon …👑👑👑!

Go, Mayor Petty, go! Go, America, go!!! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

By Rosalie Tirella

This is how Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney describes tomorrow’s rally for refugees and immigrants. His every word toxic, divisive … DELIBERATELY misleading. He’s a bright guy – full of himself – he knows how to make his every word glow evil:

“Joe Petty, the Mayor of Worcester, calls for a mob to descend on our City to coerce local officials to violate their oath of office.”

Calling Joseph P. McCarthy! Calling Joseph P. McCarthy!

This, on the other hand, is how Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty and his office describe the event. Petty is a good, intelligent, sensitive city leader. He’s a great listener, a great bridge-builder between our communities – a perfect fit for the Worcester of 2017: diverse, striving, multi-lingual, up and coming!

pic: R.T.

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Good evening …

“Tomorrow evening, January 31 at 6 PM in front of Worcester City Hall, Mayor Joseph M. Petty, will be addressing a crowd that is peacefully protesting President Trump’s executive actions on immigration and recent, divisive city council orders.

“Hundreds are planning to attend the Solidarity Rally in support of Worcester’s refugees and immigrants.

“The event is sponsored by dozens of organizations.

“All are welcome to attend.”

pic: R.T.

Michael Gaffney, we’re begging you: Get some therapy! You’re not well. The mayoral seat isn’t worth all your scheming, your contorting the truth like a midway pretzel, your scapegoating minority groups … hurting so many people – that means the City of Worcester!


After the Thanksgiving feast, a few thoughts on Worcester’s turkeys

The future.     pic:R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

The family Thanksgiving Day dinner I attended with two friends was divine! Near the New Hampshire border in a farm house we gathered, seated ’round a long, dark wood table, the one my friend’s grandad had built for his farmhouse years ago. He set his big table under the sunniest window. … There were so many veggie dishes and desserts at this Thanksgiving feast! Many cooked from scratch. The wealth and comfort of my host, hostess and their kids, brothers and cousins made me think of – and talk to them about – my beloved Worcester ‘hood: its kids, our inability to get the public library book mobile to visit our neighborhood … so many struggles.

A few days later, a few pounds heavier, I am thinking about the people in my city who are destroying my city, my neighborhoods. Sure, the family in New Hampshire with whom I spent my holiday will do nothing for my people – there really are two Americas!! – but here in Worcester there are public officials who go beyond my dinner hosts’ indifference, detachment and cluelessness. These Woo leaders actively engage in destroying the city they were elected to serve, raise up …

For example:

The in-appropriateness of CDBG funds going to the church co-owned and run by D 4 Worcester City Councilor Sarai Rivera, who is also a pastor there, was trumpeted by At Large Worcester City Councilor Mike Gaffney in the most toxic terms on his most toxic YouTube show and on the city council floor where Gaffney sees himself as a modern day Douglas (ha!). His stupidity was aided and abetted by Aidan Kearney on his (formerly) pornographic, racist, classist and sexist Turtle Boy sports blog. These two Man-Boys are arguably the most racist public figures we have in Worcester today. They are leading this city down such a dangerous path!

Together, under the guise of “crusaders for justice” – an excuse for them to whip up racial hatred in Worcester in the same way Donald Trump has incited racial violence in Anerica – Gaffney and Kearney have destroyed several key progressive Black leaders/groups in Worcester. Groups and people who work to make Worcester’s inner city BETTER. Safer. Healthier. Smarter. Even happier. Gaffney and Kearney will have none of it! Since Day 1. Together. Working as Woo’s evil tag team. They have destroyed: Black (now former) Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Melinda Boone, the Black Lives Matter protesters at Kelley Square  and the Mosaic Complex, a tiny Black social welfare agency run by Brenda Jenkins. They have destroyed Brenda, too, a Black woman, a true community activist, known for her fearlessness when it came to speaking out against racial inequality in Worcester and her years of work with our inner-city Black men/youth around mental and physical health issues.

Poof! Gone!

Thanks to the fiery lies and hatred fanned by Gaffney and Turtle Boy Aidan. In the Worcester blogosphere and in Worcester City Hall every Tuesday night. Then oozing into our community life …

Instead of trying to foster thoughtful discussions, open dialogues about important issues – many racial because of the city’s evolving demographics – these two man-boys fan the flames of hatred. They confused Worcesterites,  lied to people. Played to folks’ prejudices. Racist Kearney posted unflattering photos of Brenda Jenkins on his Turtle Boy blog – the community roared!!! – then there was his photo of Boone’s head pasted on top of a grave stone – the community roared again!!!!

City Councilor Gaffney has called City Councilor Rivera a soldier in THE “MCGOVERN CRIME FAMILY.” Is this any way to lead a Gateway City in the 21st century? What kind of city councilor talks the way Gaffney does – especially about one of the country’s most progressive  congressmen, Jim McGovern? A man who has spent his entire political life fighting for the hungry, the poor, the disenfranchised?… Many in our city.. . Gaffney’s fact finding missions on behalf of the community are sick and twisted. He uses them as an excuse to publicly mock, denigrate and destroy leading people of color in Worcester. In this way racist Gaffney keeps people of color down – in city government, in city politics, in city life, in Worcesterites’ heads.

Lately, City Councilor Konnie Luke’s has joined Gaffney and blindly jumped into the racist fray – calling for lists, names and addresses of Worcester’s refugees and immigrants. She’s stupidly supported many of Turtle Boy and Gaffney’s hate-inspired crusades. I believe Lukes hasn’t thought things out – she is not a racist but she is getting there. She is paranoid and can be sucked into Gaffney’s – or any fear-monger’s – tsunami.

The Rivera church-CDBG issue WAS a valid issue – city officials shouldn’t look like they’re getting city sweet heart deals. But if we take the longview, sweetheart deals have been going on in Worcester city government for decades. DECADES!!!! From hiring, to firing, to job contracts, to neighborhood beautification – the only difference being that, up until recently, the “winners” (or should we say “sinners”?) were white, male and Irish Catholic.  So, naturally, everyone looked the other way.

It’s a new world, kids! – and many in Worcester are unwilling to accept the fact. Gaffney and Kearney keep the blinders on.

It’s called Burning the Future.

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

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.

Our “vaca” ends and a new Green Island Grrrl column: A tale of two ladies

Well, our hiatus is over! We have moved into our new apartment! “Vacation” is not the word to describe what we’ve experienced these past three weeks. Siberian death march, heart attack, anxiety attack, tears, laughter, wine, slush, snow, ice, soggy socks, frost bite and deep freeze are way more appropriate adjectives. Try moving a HOUSE – a house!!!!! – full of stuff in 1-degree weather, on ice, in snow, in snow storms from a third-floor apartment to a FOURTH-(!!!) floor apartment – sans movers or even a fucking UHaul van! AURGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thank God for the 20 or so wonderful friends who donated their time, muscle, trucks, SUVs, lovely dinners, wine, moving gloves, hugs, etc to my move. You all worked so hard! I worked so hard! It was brutal, it was surreal. Now we all have … winter colds. Pass the Nyquil!

I love you all. I will not forget one kind gesture you gifted me. Thank you, Ronny, Melissa, Donna, David, Steve, Tito and guys, Sue, Sue and more Sue!, ROBERT, Diane, Wendy, Oscar, Isaiah, Adelle, William and Gordon!

Now … WE’RE BACK at the ICT helm!

Here’s my first Green Island Grrrl column for the new year! – R. Tirella


A tale of two ladies

By Rosalie Tirella

Lady #1 – Donna Vayo

Have I told you about my pal Donna Vayo? She is an artist. paints beautiful murals all over Worcester. She is the owner of FEAR NO ART art studio on Greenwood Street (in Quinsig Village) where she offers one hour art classes to kids – supplies and materials included – for a pittance – $10 an hour, and creates the coolest window display in Woo. Donna and her hubby have rescued four small dogs, two cats, a rabbit and a parrot – all of whom make their little Vernon Hill home lively and … noisy!!! Donna loves old people. She donates her time to create craft projects for senior citizen groups. Leads them in these beautiful classes. Donna also cooks fantastic, homemade dinners for her friends. She rustles up a kick-ass salsa she shares with EVERYBODY. This winter I have seen her gives homeless people hugs – and free black knit gloves that she buys en masse at the Dollar Store. Just for the street people. She is cool and passionate and energetic. SHE IS TOUGH REAL LOVE. If Jesus came down to earth today and needed a new set of apostles, Donna Vayo is the first person he’d recruit.

So, naturally, my jaw fell to the floor when I learned that this community activist POWERHOUSE, this beautiful, unique lady, did not get the job she so wanted – and that I believe would have fit her like one of her black knit gloves: Director of the Quinsigamond Village Neighborhood Center on Greenwood Street. The job was open a year or so ago. Donna sent in her resume and said she so wanted the job. The board of directors of the center and the loser director at the time – Dave Johnson – saw her resume and immediately … threw it out. Johnson, a guy who spent 20 years at the QVNC essentially doing nothing but kissing the right local pols asses – I worked with his fantastic predecessor THE LATE, GREAT KATHY SULLIVAN, an amazing director! – had no right to do what he did. Say: Donna? No way! The tight ass board members also had no right to determine the fate of a community center and a woman and a neighborhood they grow increasingly away from.

Donna Vayo kisses no ones’s butt, especially the rich or the politically powerful. She speaks truth to power. She cares about the most vulnerable in our city. She is giving. She is strong. She is FUN! The opposite of the now cancer-ridden divva Dave Johnson who refused to step down as executive director of the neighborhood center and even sneaked in his incompetent girl friend to run QVNC while he battled the caner. There were no programs, no advocacy, no craft classes for kids … nothing. Dave should have been honest with the City of Worcester, the board of directors and his boss, Gordon Hargrove and stepped down. But he wasn’t. He was too much of an egomaniac.

The “Village” has changed. No or few Swedes live here any longer. Many poor families, many hungry kids, some street people – folks who need a full-functioning Quinsigamond Village Neighborhood Center in touch with TODAY’s QUINSIG Village – call this Woo hood home.

So when the poo bas decided that Donna was too MUCH to handle and dumped her resume, they lost out. Big time. Cuz my pal Donna would have:

* Run art classes for the neighborhood kids

* Run art classes for the area’s adults

* Run a kick ass food pantry, making sure hungry families got the food they needed

* Painted the center’s walls with her big, colorful, gorgeous murals

* Advocated for the families and kids in the hood

* Made sure the city funded all the center’s programs

* Begun a community garden

* Spotted an abused kid a mile away and work like hell to make him or her safe

* Sit down and talk with and counsel folks – whether to buck them up, share her wisdom, joke around … you name it

* Give homeless folks lots of hugs and treat them like kings and queens!

* Have free coffee and tea and cocoa at the center

* Make folks political!

* Make sure everyone had a coat, hat, gloves and scarves to survive the Woo winters

* In other words: KICK ASS!!!!

But it was not to be. Some drippy guy was hired. He ran the center into the ground. There are no programs running out of the center – just a food pantry.


Shame on our city leaders and social service providers for not recognizing – and using the talents of a super lady – Donna Vayo!


Lady #2 – Worcester City Councilor (and former mayor) Konstantina (“Konnie”) Lukes

You can imagine how appalled and sickened I was when I got this call this weekend:

Help us! City Councilor Konnie Lukes and her husband Jim Lukes – our landlords – SUCK!

What do you mean? I asked.

Wendy Diaz of 21 Seigel St., in Green Island told me of the crumby Lukes apartment she and her mom and her grandkids were stuck living in. Her report was confirmed by a City of Worcester employee, who was shell shocked by the what he saw at the Lukes digs and told me this:

This past brutally cold winter weekend, when it was two degrees out and colder than Konnie Lukes’ tit, the pipes froze in Diaz’s apartment. She called the Worcester Fire Department. They went to 21 seigel Street. They were appalled at what they found. They thought: Wow. Yet another Worcester slumlord. They checked the record: property owned/manged by Jim Lukes clan. When the fire officials called Konnie and told her she and hubby Jim needed to hire a plumber PRONTO so their tenant could have running water, they balked. As of today – right now – the Lukes’ tenants STILL have no running water!

The tenants, also, courtesy of our city councilor who paints herself a champion of the little guy and gal, this ILLEGAL shit to deal with (for which up until this month, they were paying $450/month rent. They stopped after the city official told them to withhold their rent and go to housing court.):

* A hole in the kitchen floor so big a person fell into it

* No smoke, carbon monoxide or radon detectors in any room in the apartment

* Five broken windows which have never been fixed and are letting in the brutal winter cold

*A lousy, old kitchen stove that the city official says isn’t a legit kitchen stove

*All the light fixtures are dangling down, says Wendy Diaz

* She also told me: No hinges on the front door of the apartment

* Bathroom wall cracked

Diaz said she has told the Lukes about all the problems and they never righted the wrong. Wendy is worried about the health of her grandchildren. She says the day they stopped getting running water was her mother’s birthday.


When I told a few pals about the situation, they said: Rose, lots of people know that Konnie Lukeas and her husband are slum lords. Didn’t YOU know?

No I didn’t.

Now I do. And I am mad as hell with a “lady” – City Councilor AND FORMER MAYOR –  Konnnie Lukes – I thought was a friend, a good person, a LAWYER who claims to know and defend the rights of the peeps. A woman who is the daughter of Albanian immigrants and who has said during campaign speeches that she knows first hand how immigrants and first generation off spring can be exploited in America.

She is doing to the Diaz family what might have been down to her Albanian father and mother when they first stepped foot on American soil and built lives for themselves in the very gritty Bridgeport, CT.

The City of Worcester needs to play fair: Hold Worcester City Councilor (and former Worcester Mayor and Worcester School Committee member) Konnie Lukes and her husband (Ph d) Jim Lukes accountable. Do not be afraid of repercussions, Woo City Workers and Inspectors!


A slumlord is a slumlord is a slumlord …

Occupy Worcester and City Manager Mike O’Brien’s tight-ass-ed-ness

By Rosalie Tirella

Last Worcester City Council meeting, “official” Worcester showed its true colors: an emotionally constipated city that cannot – and will not – tolerate the new and different. More over, it shows how autocratic we have allowed our city manager, Mike O’Brien, to become.

Maybe it’s time for a Strong Mayor for Worcester – someone who can actually lead the city in confusing times, someone who can actually lead. Period. Maybe speak to the angels within our souls.

But hey, this is Worcester. Konnie Lukes and the grinches will prevail!

By voting this past Tuesday night to back up City Manager Mike O’Brien’s decision to not deal with Occupy Worcester – shut them out – the Worcester City Council showed itself to be a few degress short of fascist and (their real goal) gave a kind of carte blanche to the Worcester Police Department when it comes to booting Occupy Worcester out of Wormtown. Violence may be used by the WPD. Who knows. The City Manager and the WPD have it all under control – we the people – through our short-sighted city council/elected officials – gave them the right.

We Worcesterites and anyone with a heart, an interest in free speech or an intertest in righting the social/economic ills in this country can just take a powder. Occupy Worcester will not be speaking for anyone here in this town. The second largest city of New England will be silent in the OW movement. So different from Boston (national heroes!), Providence and small cities in Vermont, etc.

We will, thanks to City Councilor Konnie Lukes and the other city councilors who last week signed onto her screwy order to back up CM Mike O’Brien’s decision to freeze out OW, have stifled OW. Except for Ric Rushton and Mayor Joe O’Brien – who voted to support Occupy Worcester’s very American right to protest, to speak against social ills, to gather on our city and town commons to protest injustice or just to meet. The City Council put a billy club over the questioning, unweildy and idealistic head of Occupy Worcester.

Not exaclty a very scary bunch of folks. Many of OW’s trrops are young. Many are older. There are even a few retired Worc. professors thrown into the mix. For Lukes and company to treat the OW brigade members as if they were a few steps away from being Worcester’s premier drug lords and hoodlums. People who will wreak havoc on Worceseter! People who will bring guns, drugs, etc to the fine streets of Wormtown is nutty.

For the most part this movement is beyond peaceful – it’s almost too egalitarian. So egalitarian that it has yet to come up with specific goals and issues it wants to get behind. (See below posts for some ideas from Michael Moore). But they are great polticial street theater. They are calling attention to America’s BIG ISSUES/BIG PROBLEMS. And they are inspiring other AMERICANS to say enough is enough! More and more people are catching the OW vibe -which is things don’t have to be this crumby. Big banks don’t have to have the regulatory freedom to bend all the rules, go under and then expect the American taxpayer to bail them out.

Talk about socialism!

So three cheers for Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien and Worcester City Councilor Ric Rushton for remembering that America was founded on some of the things that OW is trying to do in 2011. Three cheers for their respect for free spech and the right to gather peacefully.

A kick in the nuts to Konnie Lukes for getting all paranoid and treating OW as if they are … Abbie Hoffman! And shame on all the city coucilors who voted to support her order to support Miker O’Brien’s lousy snubbing of OW.

They will not go away, Mike O’Brien. And if one of your cops gets too free and easy with the billy club or pepper spray, Worcester will make national headlines.

Abbie Hoffman would be proud of OW! I wish he were here to help lead the way today!

Vote Tuesday, Nov. 8! InCity Times candidate endorsements

Do Worcester (and yourself) proud! Please go out and vote!

Thank you!

– R.Tirella


Mayor: Konstantina Lukes

City Council District 4: Barbara Haller

City Council District 1: Virginia Ryan

City Council-at-Large:

Konstantina Lukes
Bill (William) Coleman
Mike (Michael) Germain
Joseph O’Brien

Worcester School Committee:

Hilda Ramirez
John Monfredo
Jack Foley

Ballot Question
Vote YES for School District Representation! YES!

Konstantina Lukes for Mayor!

By Rosalie Tirella

Tough, smart, classy, fearless. Konstantina Lukes, former mayor of Worcester, and one of 2011’s mayoral candidates, goes toe to toe with the boys in this boys town. She is not afraid to stake out her own territory – yet she will listen and evolve. (Lukes gave City Manager Mike O’Brien a perfect score during his job evaluation this year, after being a friend of former Worcester City Manager Tom Hoover and hating the way he was pushed out of his job.)

She is anti-chicken but pro-homeowner, voting for lowest residential tax rate for years and years (unlike opponent Joe Petty, who will most likely vote to raise it).

Konnie is fun – even though many people think she isn’t.

Konnie is progressive. If it weren’t for Konnie Lukes (acting as head of the Worcester School Committee, when she was Worcester mayor), the Worcester Public Schools would not have Melinda Boone, PHd, leading our schools. The first female, African American school superintendent for Worcester, Boone is the epitome of professional. She is also caring and committed to all the students in the WPSchools -white, brown, black.

Konstantina Lukes was a cool mayor last time around. People thought, when Lukes was elected mayor four years ago, that she would be a bit tough to handle. She wasn’t. She worked with everybody, treated everyone with respect, opened her office doors to all. She represented our city with grace and spirit. She attended ceremonies but she also did the day to day stuff – not very sexy but necessary.

This time around she promises to be a full-time mayor once again – unlike Petty who has a full-time job in Boston. (If you count the 45-minute commute to Boston in the a.m. and p.m., Joe Petty will be missing from Worcester for 10 or so hours a day, courtesy of his Boston job. That’s pretty much daylight hours!)

And unlike th e T & G, we do not think Petty is “well-spoken.” We actually think he is inarticulate – watch the City Council meetings and you’ll see for yorself. Konstantin Lukes is well spoken! She can speak passionately and eloquently about anything – using complex, compound sentences! (something Joe Petty has yet to master!)

And finally, to all you gals out there, when a woman wins, we all win. When a lady like Konnie – a lady who is no handmaiden, a lady who is strong and strong-willed – wins elections – without have to be goofy, whorey, kiss-upy, when a lady wins political office being exactly who she is, that is a WIN for all of us strong-willed ladies. You know, the ladies who color outside the lines sometimes. The ladies with dreams. The ladies who don’t define themselves through men.

When a woman like Konstantina Lukes wins, all women of all shapes and colors and personal preferences win. In the work place, in society, even in our own families.

Vote for Konstantina Lukes for Mayor Tuesday, November 8.

From ICT website reader Stanley …

A) Why are you being so kind with Joe Petty?

Thanks goodness that you, Miss Tirella, are firmly putting the words down that describe that flaccid, impotent, puppet aka Joe Petty.

Mr. Petty says he wants to “continue the work of Jim McGovern and Tim Murray” all the time. First, this: it tells me that Petty lacks original ideas. Second, it tells me he is a lapdog for the “machine.” Third, it says he approves of all the work of Murray and McGovern.

So I guess balding Joe is OK with the secret, sleazy emails that Jim McGovern did behind closed doors for the St. Vincent Cancer center.

(BTW didja notice that Rushton was the other lapdog who called into Jordan Levy to smooth over the email fiasco on that deal the day after it hit the press? Thanks, Ricky. You’re another one)

b) Paul Giorgio — what else needs to be said about … (except we aren’t too sure Petty has a pulse)

c) The anti-Konnie conspirators

There is a large gang of anti-Konnie folks, starting with Tim Murray and Jordan Levy who hate this great lady.

They don’t even like to mention her name! They are seething. But she stands up to the sleazy deal makers and questions the facts that need to be questioned.

Here it is: Petty was the machine’s choice after Joe O’Brien backed out. And Rushton will be the next fall guy should Petty fail in this election.

The switcher-oo! (OR: This is why no one votes in Worcester!)

By Rosalie Tirella

Why did just 9% of registered voters in Worcester go to the polls in the recent city preliminary election? Moves like this one: After Mayor Joe O’Brien announced he would not seek re-election, Worcester At Large City Councilor Joe Petty, one of the boys in the Murray/Rushton boys club – the boys club that has been running this town for years, decided – just hours later – to run for Mayor of Worcester.

Petty made his announcement in less than 24 hours!

Just like that! Amazing! Spectacular!

I bet Petty wasn’t planning on running for mayor of New England’s second largest city, had no pressing issues he wanted to champion, had no special vision of the Worcester that he wanted to realize. He simply got a phone call from the boys club and they said: Run, Joe, run! Run for mayor! KILL KONNIE LUKES! RUN AGAINST HER SO SHE WON’T BE WORCESTER MAYOR AGAIN! (Lukes was mayor prior to O’Brien) And Petty, the good soldier, said OK. No biggie.

What a cynical move – on Petty’s part and the Boys’ Club. What a cynical way to run your politics. What a crumby way to run a city or present yourself to the voters.

This is why no one votes in Worcester! What’s the point? voters ask themselves. It’s all pre-planned, pre-ordained.

Hell, Petty is a good egg, but he has zero charisma and has never displayed any kind of leadership on any city issue – and I have been watching our city council for years. Yes, he wants Verizon’s tax loopholes closed; yes, he wants our cable contract with Charter looked at very carefully. But that is all I remember Petty getting passionate – well, not exactly passionate about – but at least leading a discussion about at city council meetings.

Other than those few times, you don’t hear a peep from Petty on Tuesday nights (when the city council meets).

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Does the city of Worcester need another gas bag/blowhard city councilor a la City Counilor Phil Palmieri, who can blather on and on and on and on before his colleagues and TV cameras, reporters? I mean, Palmeiri can actually make his eyes well up (they are filled with crocodile tears, no doubt!) as he takes a stand for or against something! An academy award for Phil! (those melodramatic Italians!!!)

Then there’s District 3 Paul Clancy who – as the “dean” of the city council – feels obliged to get up on all Tuesday nights and put things in perspective (historical, social, psychological – you name it). Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Shuddup already, Paul!

But Petty is not an egomaniac like these guys. He actually speaks when he has something to say – when he wants to make a point. He usually follows the Rushton/boys club lead but sometimes he stakes his own ground.

Still, Petty’s performance/record as city councilor doesn’t indicate a mayor in waiting – a mayor just waiting to be born. Someone who is going to WOW this town.

Why is Joe Petty running for Worcester mayor then? Because he got a phone call from the Murray boys club. The club that has made Worcester politics/governement and the City of Worcester workforce so incestuous. And the club – lead by Tim Murray and Rick Rushton screamed: DON’T LET KONNIE LUKES BECOME MAYOR! THROW YOUR HAT INTO THE RING! WE WILL HAVE ALL OUR TROOPS BEHIND YOU!

And Petty, like the good “pol-bot” he is, said OK.

Not exactly the way folks want their mayor to “arrive.”

Realty check: Worcester loses when politics are “played” this way. New ideas don’t come to the fore. New people don’t bring their new perspectives. The same characters and ideas are recyled election “cycle,” after election cycle.

So why should voters vote for a person/system that has locked them out for years? It’s true. Most Worcesterites are locked out of good paying City of Worcester jobs (they all go to the city councilors’ pals and relatives), good Worcester careers (political and municipal – it’s who you know), good Worcester real estate deals, the inside track – on anything really. Their lives don’t change in big ways. The unions get fatter, our teachers get more high maintenance and tax payers foot the bill.

Voters are fed up! That is why they aren’t voting.

If Worcesterites know they are simply going to re-annoint the person – Petty – who has been annointed by the Power Club, they say: To Hell with it. I will stay home. It is always the same old same old in this town.

Being the mayor of Worcester is a great job! It is a great, important job that needs to be mulled over for years maybe, dreamed about for years, prayed for even. Not something to just say OK to just because you got a phone call telling you to run for mayor, just to keep another person – Konnie Lukes who truly wants to be and loved being our mayor – from holding the office. The position deserves a person who is serious about the job – and also wicked excited about it!