Tag Archives: Mary Keefe

We’ve been writing about politicians for …

By Rosalie Tirella

… almost 13 years, here at InCity Times. But no one, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, draws the kind of animosity State Rep. Mary Keefe does. From voters, from people in her neck of the Woo (Piedmont neighborhood), from nuns!, from local small biz folks, from people who’ve tried to work with her, from people who’ve tried to FIND her.

Case in point: Within the last half year I’ve received two middle-of-the-night phone calls from ICT readers who called me to bitch about state representative Mary Keefe. Express their ire, disgust, disappointment … to fume. They told me how Keefe was Missing In Action (or should I write “Inaction”?!) at the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center, when she was executive director there. How she made nothing, positively ZIPPO, happen down there. One caller, I am not 100% sure because it was 12:30 at night when he rang me up, also had issues with Keefe’s knitting habits. Weird, but hey, it was ’round midnight.

Donna D., the NUN who runs the Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen on Piedmont Street, and has been a Piedmont icon for almost 30 years because she has dedicated her life to helping Piedmont’s downtrodden, also hates Keefe’s guts. Several years ago, when talking with me, Donna had nothing but disappointing things to say about Keefe. How, for instance, during Thanksgiving Keefe got very choosy about the poor people she was gonna give free turkeys to as head of the Pleasant Street neighborhood network center. Seemed, according to Donna, you had to be part of Keefe’s Network Center in-crowd clique to eat a meal on that holiday. Donna believed: JUST GIVE THE POOR A FREAKING TURKEY! Keefe got passive aggressive over … gobblers.

As the editor of ICT I’m always out and about in the Piedmont hood. For years whenever I went into her neighborhood center, looking to talk with Mary Keefe, she was never there, a sad fact of Piedmont life which became fodder for one of my columns: WHERE THE FUCK IS MARY?!

I got congratulatory phone calls for that one!

We’ve been told by several savvy inner-city voters that they are behind Keefe challenger and Worcester City Councilor Phil Palmieri BECAUSE THEY CAN’T STAND Mary Keefe. They will vote for Phil out of pure bile for Mary!

Seems like half the voters in her district can’t stomach Keefe and at this point would throw their support behind a sprig of parsley, if it decided to print some push cards and run against her!

She is right on the issues but so is Phil Palmieri. Plus, Phil works so much harder, is an absolute pit bull when it comes to advocating for his district and is truly open to small biz folks and truly wants to AND WILL work with everybody.

Best of all: HE’S NOT MARY KEEFE!


Enjoying my home-made Broadway restaurant icecream while praying Mary Keefe doesn’t get re-elected to her state rep seat!


Get the good stuff on Water Street!


Dump the bad stuff on Pleasant Street!

When she was director of the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center, state rep Mary Keefe ran her own personal, petty little clique out of what should have been a vibrant, open, HELPFUL, busy inner-city neighborhood RESOURCE. A TRUE NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER.

Instead, Keefe’s network center, located on Pleasant Street, in the heart of Piedmont, was closed off, not open to different voices, dismissive, plain ol’ snooty. Just the way executive director Keefe could be, if she didn’t like you. (We still think her pal Kevin Ksen ran her state rep campaign out of the network center – totally illegal …). We hate to quote the Piedmont blob, but Paul Collyer was SPOT ON when he said: “Mary won [the state rep seat] because the chubby ladies [Kate Toomey and Dianna Biancheria] split the vote.”

Well, this fall there will be no chubby ladies to split the vote.

Just challenger – and experienced, hands-on, hard-working city councilor – Phil Palmieri. This election cycle Phil has a very good chance to send Mary Keefe back to Crown Hill, where we hope she will stay – in her home, knitting …

– Rosalie Tirella

Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center …

… Board of Directors (public information/record). The usual suspects: We have Mary Keefe (of course!), Kevin Ksen (of course!), etc. Call them/visit them today! Ask them: Who’s the new executive director of the center? How open will the hiring process be? Will the center be more welcoming – open its door to all folks in the hood, even the ones this bunch doesn’t like? Will the center be more helpful to the very poor folks who make up a big chunk of Piedmont? Will the center be more hands on such as: giving out emergency food, clothing; running after school programs, ESL classes, GED classes, citizenship classes? Will there be more FREAKIN’ LIFE AT THE CENTER???

There are so many folks in the community who think Mary Keefe would not have won the race for state rep if  the other two candidates, Kate Toomey and Diana Bianchiaria,  BOTH had not run  for the seat. A guy in the hood told me: “The chubby ladies split the vote.” We agree.  If either Kate or Dianna had the East Side all to themselves, we would most likely have a different state rep. today. And most folks think Kate and Dianna are more main stream Dems who are more in line with the goals and values of the majority of the folks in the district.  Time will tell if I endorsed the right lady! – R. Tirella


What the fuck is going on at the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center?

By Rosalie Tirella

A few weeks ago we asked: Where the fuck is Mary? As in where is our State Rep Mary Keefe, when the Henry Lee Willis Center went belly up?

Now the question is: What the fuck is happening at the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center? The Piedmont neighborhood center Mary Keefe worked at, RAN AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR A DECADE?

Since Mary’s been gone, and she promised she would give up her job at the center, we have a kind of clubby atmosphere at the center. One big clique, actually. Clickety, clack, clack, the city’s unemployable, 40-somethings, all with college degrees and certainly capable of legitimately making their way in the world, have begun squatting there.

You know, the usual suspects. Kevin Ksen, Dante, Dante’s girlfriend. People who were always around when Keefe ran the place. People whose wide butts seemed and still seem perenially glued to the old sofa at the Network Center. If anybody can make an inner-city neighborhood center seem exclusive and unwelcoming, it is Kevin Ksen and his full-of-themselves pals. None of whom seem to have jobs, EVER. Even though they are middle-aged and educated. Whenever I pop into the center, next door to the Pickle Barrel restaurant and deli, I never see them doing any work. It seems more coffee klatch, political meeting space for future Democratic candidates for local elections.

I walked in right before election time last year and found Kevin Ksen sitting at the computer typing away.

Without my even asking, he said: I am not working on election stuff.

I replied: Of course you aren’t, Kev.

I hope none of these arrogant pretenders aren’t pulling down a paycheck, getting tax dollars to run their pals’ political campaigns, plot their next political move out of what should be an inner-city neighborhood center. You know, a place where neighborhood folks, many of them poor, could scan a bulletin board for job openings, maybe pick up some emergency food, clothing or even gain some new job skills. Take a citizenship class or computer class or ESL class.

I doubt any of this is going on. I know of some folks who feel shut out of the center’s clicky club atmosphere, PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE HOOD AND WANT TO USE THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER.




Where are our tax dollars going? To pay Kevin Ksen a salary to run a political consulting biz out of the office? Rent free, we may add. Dante C.  So arrogant and so useless. Are we paying him money to squat at the neighborhood center?

What are the center’s intentions? Will its board of directors get off its ass and hire a new executive director or are they too afraid of Kevin Ksen and his pals to make a move, get things going FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOLKS, MANY OF WHOM NEED THE BASICS? Holding anti-foreclosure meetings is good, but the center needs to do so much more if it is to keep getting the public funds the state and city keep pouring into it.

Now that Mary Keefe is supposedly outa there, let us make the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center a true inner-city neighborhood center, a place that is open TO EVERYONE IN THE ‘HOOD, A PLACE THAT REALLY HELPS PEOPLE IN A HANDS-ON WAY.

Not some clubhouse for Kevin,  Dante, Dante’s girlfriend, etc. These over grown, arrogant children must unglue their arses from taxpayer-funded sofas, in taxpayer funded neighborhood centers and start WORKING. TRANSPARENCY has never been this group’s strong suit. But now that Mary is gone, let’s hope a new day is dawning.

Where the fuck is Mary?!

Missing person! If you see State Rep. Mary Keefe, please call us at 1-800-No-Show!

By Rosalie Tirella

That seems to be the question lots of folks are asking these days when it comes to the abrupt closing of the Henry Lee Willis Center and new state rep Mary Keefe. The Willis Center and its myriad programs, many of which served and employed minority and inner-city Worcesterites, was forced to close after the state stopped contracting for services. This meant a loss of millions of bucks for Worcester’s premier minority run social service agency, with a deep history in the city’s African American community. A big source of pride for many people of color in Worcester.

City leaders are still trying to get answers from the state. The state is being coy, telling the city they pulled the funding plug on Willis because of the center’s shoddy finances and not so hot client care in the Willis Center homes, agencies, etc.

You would think that amidst all the hand wringing, hair pulling and cries for help we would be hearing from Mary Keefe, the state rep supposedly created, tailor-made, for just such a crisis.

After all, the Willis Center has its branches in Keefe’s district. Many of Keefe’s constituents were either employed by Willis or were clients of Willis. As the former executive director of the inner-city Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center – for a decade! – you would think Keefe gained the knowledge and connections to work the problem, big time. Though some may say Keefe was MIA at the neighborhood center, too. Drawing a salary for her full-time job there, she never seemed to be at the neighborhood center actually doing her job. Many a times I would drive by the place, next to the Pickle Barrel restaurant, and I would see someone else sitting at her desk, usually the unemployable Kevin Ksen. Which made me think: WHERE THE FUCK IS MARY?! How is she able to make $34,000 a year in absentia?

Could this just be more Piedmont Mary? It should not be! Keefe wanted more responsibility, not less. SHE IS NOW A STATE REP, SOMEONE WHO TRAVELS TO BOSTON DAILY, WORKS WITH OTHER LEGISLATORS AND SUPPOSEDLY HAS THE ABILITY TO ASK SOME QUESTIONS. She has the power and connections to ask questions AND GET, DEMAND, ANSWERS! It is her job to do so. She campaigned this fall as an advocate for the inner-city folks in her district, as a PROGRESSIVE. She is expected to act like one.

Keefe owes the people in her district that much. The asking of questions, THE ADVOCACY.

This aspect of her job seems to elude Mary Keefe, a candidate who in the fall promised to kick ass in Boston, fight for the poor in her district, represent the minorities in her newly created district, A MAJORITY MINORITY DISTRICT. Worcester’s first. Yet Keefe, who comes from Sutton (but now lives in the Crown Hill section of Piedmont), is acting like the perfect suburban, older woman. Quiet as a mouse. Not making any waves.


Next Tuesday, Nov. 6, please vote for Mary Keefe for state rep, District 15 …

By Rosalie Tirella

OK, so state rep (Worcester District 15) hopeful Mary Keefe and I will never be best buds. And we won’t be drinking our vanilla creme Green Mountain coffee with her campaign manager Kevin Ksen any time soon. But we have to admit: We have always agreed with these two on the issues – and backed them up. Prickly personalities, aside.

Kevin Ksen and ChaCha Connor were able to run a huge piece in Incity Times on the state of our municipal pools. Cha Cha and Kevin led the charge to have our neighborhood pools fixed and even went so far as to get estimates from contractors down South. We ran EVERYTHING because 1. they worked so hard and their work deserved to be seen by the public and 2. WE AGREED WITH THEM. We wanted the city manager to get behind Kevin and all the neighborhood folks who were behind this project. That didn’t happen. The neighborhoods were betrayed.

We also agreed with Ksen re: rebuffing the COPS show from Worcester. That reality TV show would have made the City of Worcester one freakin’ big stereotype – hurt the very people the show claims to want to help (bull!).

We were and are fans of Barb Haller, and believed she was better for District 4 than Keefe, who ran for that council seat several years ago. But when it comes to District 15, Keefe is the gal for us. We urge you to vote for her. We urge you to vote for Mary Keefe NEXT TUESDAY because she is RIGHT on all the issues.

Mary Keefe will:

* fight to keep low-income residents in the Piedmont neighborhood. There are some efforts to do a bit of gentrifying in the ol ‘hood. We are OK with making things prettier and yummier, but we are AGAINST displacing good neighborhood families or men/women just because they are poor. Keefe is promising to keep the low-income housing complex on Pleasant Street low-income, so families who have lived there for years can continue to live there.

* Bring jobs to Piedmont. Forget about the coffee barristas! We want jobs in Peidmont! We want light industry there, factories where people can get jobs that pay $11 or $15 an hour. Not great dough but better than minimum wage jobs. Better than the Work a Day crap lots of Peidmont residents must take to keep on keepin’ on. We are tired of poor people being exploited. Mary Keefe will work to make sure they are not exploited.

* Keefe will also fight to increase the state minimum wage, which is a joke. She herself said that given high housing costs and daily living expenses, the minimum wage “just doesn’t cut it.” Right on, Mary! Go, girl, go!

Minimum wage blows. I was raised in Green Island by a (wonderful) single mom who had a minimum wage job (when the minimum wage was actually worth much more than it is today). She worked 40 hours for regular pay and 20 under the table. BRUTAL. For her and us kids. We never had a car. We never went on vacations. We just all worked, ate, studied hard at school and prayed for better days. A tough way to live. Keefe gets that. She will work to make sure that if you work full time in Massachusetts you will earn a paycheck that will allow you to survive – pay your bills – and maybe then some.

We must stop punishing poor people. Mary knows this.

We also like wahat Keefe has done as director of the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center. She has run a youth jobs program (which she wrote about in InCity Times several years ago). She helped women get together and create the Winslow Peace Park after a neighborhood youth was gunned down and died. The neighborhood women were welcomed by Mary Keefe into the neighborhood center, where they mourned the death of the youth but moved beyond the pain and created a lovely park in the middle of the innercity – in his honor. A symbol of hope.

We see Keefe as a symbol of hope for all the folks who need some lifting up! We know she will represent District 15 – all its people – with honor and grace!

Vote for Mary Keefe, District 15, state representative.

Go, Mary, GO!!!!