By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member
InCity Times has been a strong advocate for our children in Worcester and has especially attempted to support educational efforts on behalf of those families who have no voice in the decision-making process. One of the questions facing education across the nation is what can be done to help our children learn at high levels. Can poor children and children of color achieve success? Is it possible for schools to help children who face the substantial obstacles of poverty and discrimination learn to read, write and become educated citizens?
As a former Worcester Public Schools principal and a long-time educator, I believe the answer is “yes.” The question is how to do it and is it being done? Robert Gordon, education advisor to U. S. Senator John Kerry, pleads passionately for us to recognize that if we rectify our most glaring and manifest shortcomings, then we can achieve a social miracle. We can have an America where birth doesn’t dictate destiny. Nothing offends democratic ideals more than the fact that a typical African American 12th grader reads at the same level as a typical middle-class or white 8th grader. Nothing is a greater threat to middle-class prosperity than mediocre schools. Continue reading Successful Strategies in Schools
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
By Rosalie Tirella
We hope Mayor Konstantina Lukes blows “Joe-Blow” O’Brien right outa the freakin’ water!
Amazing! Every election cycle the old Murray/Rushton/Donahue/Eddy brigade farts out yet another political wannabe. This time around the farted (oops! we mean annointed!) is Joe O’Brien, a guy with nothing to offer but his connections – and searing political ambitions.
Yes, yes, I know he has done some work on behalf of the schools, and he lives in Main South, etc, etc. But it seems to me O’Brien’s political work has always been in service to HIS POLITICAL CAREER – as if the ambitious O’Brien were just biding time until … the President came calling!
But President Obama hasn’t given O’Brien a ring-a-ding-ding. So O’Brien decides he wants to be mayor of Worcester -an idea that apparently popped into his head after spending a few years as Congressman Jim McGovern’s regional director. O’Brien’s job as McGovern’s top banana was a political plum thrown to him after helping run (so they say) L.G.’s Tim Murray campaign. (Talk about connections! Can’t the rest of us be connected too so we can get high-paying jobs for giving half-assed speeches on behalf of our pals?) Continue reading Joe blows!
By “Cheese Wiz”
I was furious when I read the piece about Joe O’Brien in the Telegram and Gazette by Dianne Williamson. But what made me even angrier was the lame system that the telegram has for “Comments.” Thankfully, I was able to recover my text below on two pieces I wrote about the apparent “coronation” of [mayoral candidate] Joe O’Brien by both Dianne Williamson and, later that afternoon, by Jordan Levy on his radio show. Is that how the system works?
1. Dianne and Jordan Levy supporting one candidate on the same day. Instant coronation, right?
Not so fast, Worcesterites! Let’s take a closer look at your shoo in and the stinky stuff underneath. Eww.
Dianne shows all the depth of Fox News covering Sarah Palin. And Levy, well, I was just grateful he had another topic this week besides Rushford’s obvious profiteering.
So, was that a real Dianne piece or was it a tryout for a P.R. job if the Telegram thing forces her into retirement? Continue reading T & G’s Dianne Williamson: public relations flak/hack for candidate Joe O’Brien
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
By William T. Breault
The former Public Inebriate Program, now the People in Peril Shelter, is the only “wet” walk-in shelter in the region for homeless individuals. People walk in, or are dropped off, or released from incarceration and given a place to stay. We now are working hard as a region to close this shelter. I have been working to do exactly this for decades. This article explains why.
There have always been two PIP Shelters at 701 Main Street.
The first PIP Shelter is the one that most people know. It is the safety net shelter for people with no options. This PIP offers people a refuge from the street, a place to sleep and get a meal, a place to see a doctor and connect with social services. This is the humane PIP – the PIP that recognizes that we are all legitimate, that we are all worthy of hope, and that we all deserve a place that will “catch you, time after time.” This is the PIP that helps us to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, a PIP that gives us a place to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to forgive the sinner.
The other PIP is the shelter that the neighborhood and social service providers for the homeless know. This is the PIP that enables self-destructive behavior on many levels, the place to go if you want to buy or sell drugs to feed addictions, to buy or sell bodies for sex, to fence stolen goods. Continue reading A tale of two PIP shelters