Tag Archives: Mayor Joe O’Brien

Late-afternoon Gaffney musings …

Text and pics by Rosalie Tirella

Hanging with the mutts …



… and Miss Cece …


… drinking my java, thinking about local politics – thanking the dear sweet Jesus that former Worcester mayor, city councilor and school committee guy Joe O’Brien is coming out of his new-daddy-hood cocoon to run for public office again. Yeeeehaaaa!!! He’s running for Worcester city councilor at large, which means:  Mayor Joe Petty, who’s running for re-election, will, once again, win the mayoral seat and Joe O’Brien – because he’s well liked and a smart, compassionate and effective public servant – will be second highest vote getter and become the Worcester City Council vice chairperson, KNOCKING COUNCILOR MICHAEL GAFFNEY OFF THE COUNCIL VICE CHAIR PERCH, a perch he milks to no end! YAY! 🙌 🙌 HOORAY! Yipee! Reason enough to REJOICE that O’Brien is running  for public office! We are so sick of councilor at large Michael Gaffney – he’s brought Woo political discourse  to a new,  toxic low! Plus, by being vice chair, he trots out his mayor-in-waiting schtick at every turn. O’Brien’s strong win will make him #2, the new vice chair and …. keep Gaffney off that dias at City Hall! Rip the mayor’s gavel out of the Gaffer’s cold, clammy hands! Take the pinch-hitter title away!

Again, reason enough to be ELATED that Joe O’Brien is running for city council!!! (he’d never run for mayor this election cycle because he’s Petty’s friend and political ally.) But there are other reasons to be thankful for our soon to be new city council vice chair: First, O’Brien will be the antidote to the poison that is Michael Gaffney. Every time Gaffney uses race or class  to hurt one group of folks to win political points with the Turtle Boy brigade or twists the truth in the sickest ways a la sicko prez Donald Trump, O’Brien will call him out. Call out his twisted lies and counter them with TRUTH.  O’Brien is an articulate, progressive policy wonk who went to Harvard. He’s also a regular guy/dad/husband who loves/lives Worcester 24/7. He’ll brook no bull shit from Gaffney. For example, we could have used Joe a few days ago: The Gaffer was on his video channel crying over the fact that our City Council went on record supporting a statewide living wage of $15/hour. His cynical, slimey Gaffney intimation? That the living wage is a nefarious Socialist plot to subvert democracy! My late great mother who worked her whole working life for minimum wage and wanted a LIVING wage for the folks who came after her was NOT a Socialist! She LOVED AMERICA! SHE WAS A PATRIOT. She once told me SHE WOULD DIE FOR HER COUNTRY! Gaffney is no American patriot. He wraps himself in the American flag and sticks a WPD badge on his lapel to create the image of patriotism. It’s all marketing. For votes. Gaffney, like  Donald Trump, is a power-hungry con artist who lies to people to  win elections. Joe O’Brien will, on the council floor, rebut Gaffney’s slick lies.

Second, Mayor Petty, along with most of the other city councilors, is doing an admirable job at keeping Worcester, a Mass Gateway City, open to and PROUD of immigrants…making our public schools strong and the portal to a middle class life, a life of knowledge and a never-ending quest to LEARN MORE. Our parks are beautiful, our inner city ‘hoods need help, but we are all trying. Downtown may yet prove to be our own urban dance party – singing and swinging to a million different voices! I cannot wait! Michael Gaffney is the political thunderclap over our urban dance party. Immigration, refugees, a global multi-cultural Worcester, a Woo struggling with poverty and hunger in many of its quarters…Gaffney, like Trump, exploits all this and plays to people’s economic fears and racial prejudices. O’Brien is just the opposite – he will help lead the city council – and city! – to higher ground. He will help bring people together – not divide, to conquer.

Here are last night’s Bill Maher video clips. Maher, one of America’s most gifted satirists, has Trump pegged. But you can extrapolate and apply his satire to Gaffney, on a much teenier political scale, of course. Spiritually, Trump and Gaffney are identical twins:

Good discussion:

But enough Gaffer talk! On to:

Mike Gaffney’s wife, Coreen Gaffney. She is running for the Worcester District 4 City Councilor seat – a seat her fat patootie will NEVER warm! Not for one milli-second! Once again, the Gaffneys know/show no shame. Coreen, the wife of toxic Michael Gaffney – a politician who gets his political steam from castigating minorities, refugees and Sanctuary Cities – runs for office in Worcester’s majority-minority, mostly inner-city District 4. (And, no, Mike, it is NOT sexist to write in news stories and headlines that Coreen is married to you. IT IS NEWS-WORTHY.  You’re a CONTROVERSIAL COUNCILOR and you GET  YOURSELF INTO THE NEWS every other day. Think of it like this: If Hitler’s lover ran for Vice Fuhrer, wouldn’t you want to know that she was Adolph’s squeeze?) Yeah, D 4 could use better garbage pick up (more often – and street sweeping, too!), but that doesn’t mean we throw the district (my district!) out with the unrecycled water bottle!

Smile, people!


This November the dynamics of the Worcester City Council are gonna change – for the better!!😄😄😄😄💗💗💙💛

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!

Mayor Joe O’Brien to receive award

Boston – The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA) will honor Mayor Joe O’Brien, Home Again in Worcester and John Rosenthal of Meredith Management on Wednesday, May 18, at the eighth annual MHSA awards and fundraising event, Home for Good: Solutions Start Here, held at the Boston Marriott Copley Place from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

On behalf of the city of Worcester, Mayor Joe O’Brien will accept the Canon Brian S. Kelley Public Servant Award which was established to honor individuals and institutions who have contributed to ending homelessness in Massachusetts. Worcester is a leader in the Commonwealth for best practices and innovative approaches to ending homelessness and was able to close the People in Peril shelter on January 31, 2011.

Home Again, a Worcester-based collaboration, will be honored with the MHSA Cornerstone Award. Led by Community Healthlink and including the South Middlesex Opportunity Council/People in Peril Shelter, the Henry Lee Willis Center, Dismas House, Jeremiah’s Inn and the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance, Home Again worked with The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts to effectively end chronic homelessness in Worcester.

John Rosenthal, President of Meredith Management and Founder of Friends of Boston’s Homeless, will receive the Bob Ray Partnership Award. Rosenthal has been actively involved in the struggle to end homelessness for more than 20 years. Together with the city of Boston, Friends of Boston’s Homeless has raised more than $25 million and developed a full spectrum of emergency shelter, transitional housing, job training, employment services and permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness. Named in honor of the late Robert E. Ray, former vice president at The Gillette Company, the award recognizes the commitment of individuals in the private sector who work to end homelessness.

Regional Environmental Council (REC) is celebrating its 22nd Annual Earth Day Cleanup events

WHAT:   Press Event & REC Earth Day Cleanups Proclamation w/ Mayor Joe O’Brien

WHERE: Worcester City Hall, Levi-Lincoln Room, 3rd Floor

WHEN: Tuesday, April 26, 1:30pm

WHAT:   22nd Annual REC Earth Day Cleanups    

WHERE: 65 sites throughout the city of Worcester

WHEN: Saturday, April 30th, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Worcester – This year marks the 22nd Annual REC Earth Day Cleanups, to be held on Saturday, April 30, from 8:00am to noon at 65 locations throughout Worcester. More than 500 volunteers will clean our sidewalks, parks and neighborhoods.

Since REC began coordinating the event in 1989, Earth Day Cleanups have become an annual event that involves hundreds of neighbors and friends joining together to give our city a good spring cleaning.

Last year, 30 tons of trash was collected and removed from our streets. Sites are added each year when concerned individuals volunteer to coordinate a cleanup team in their neighborhood or in any area of the city that needs attention.

Please join us at City Hall on Tuesday, April 26 at 1:30pm as Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien helps us continue our Earth Day Celebrations by commending these volunteers working together to make a healthy, sustainable and beautiful Worcester!

The cleanups are organized by the REC in partnership with the City of Worcester Department of Public Works & Parks, National Grid, Superior Waste & Recycling and with the support of numerous other local businesses, community organizations, neighbors, youth and area agencies who come together to care for and ensure our neighborhoods are clean and safe.

Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien – Part 2

By Rosalie Tirella

After I wrote yesterday’s blog, I remembered this: You would think Mayor Joseph O’Brien has scored a few points with some of his detractors. After all, he is asking the city’s public school teachers to pay 25% of their health insurance premiums. (Good!) While a friend of labor, O’Brien knows that everyone – including our unions – needs to give a little these days, and Worcesterties will balk at paying higher taxes if they feel their money is simply going to the unions’ sky rocketing benefit packages. Going to pay 80% of our teachers’ health insurance! Worcester taxpayers are especially annoyed when folks in the private sector pay as much as 50% of their health insurance premiums – and our teachers are whining about paying only 25%. Worcester biz folks and rersidents balk at paying higher taxes when they have to listen to our teachers – most of whom make at least $70,000/year and many of whom pull down a salary of around $90,000 – think they are taking the moral high ground when they refuse to accept a 5% increase in their health insurance premiums.


So, of course, the Worcester Public School teachers union is giving O’Brien a hard time.

Then there is O’Brien’s support of Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Melinda Boone. Worcester is a provincial place – filled with people who accept no one outside their circles of trust (family, church, political groups, ethnic enclaves). This narrowmindedness is a black mark on Worcester because civic life doesn’t run that way in places like Hartford or Springfield or Lowell. These cities’ civic lives are actually enriched by all the new and varied voices! But here, in Wormtown, newcomers like Boone, will be dragged through the mud by yappers like Gary Rosen, Worcester School Committee member Tracy Novick, etc. The Goddard School MCAS test brouhaha was reason enough for Novick – who wants all of Worcester to know she is such a good Catholic – to lead a racially tinged witch hunt.

Mayor O’Brien has backed Boone with passion and grit. Kudos to him!

And finally, Mayor O’Brien has taken a bit of a shelacking from neighborhood activist and InCity Times pal Gary Vecchio. Gary (usually a very nice guy) is not behaving too sweetly these days. He will not let O’Brien forget that during campaign season O’Brien said he was for the lowest residential tax rate – Gary’s hobby horse. This past year, however, after meeting weith biz folks and carefuly considering the city’s future, O’Brien along with a majority of the Worcester City Council, voted to raise Worcesterites’ property taxes a teeny bit. Old people are exempt, really poor people are exempt. But if you are middle class, it means an increase of about 100 bucks or so for you. Some how this has put Gary Veccio over the edge – he won’t let O’Brien forget that HE WENT BACK ON HIS CAMPAIGN PROMISE. I wish Gary, who is a great guy, would lighten up and see O’Brien’s move for what it was: a desire to keep Worcester running smoothly during a nasty recession.

So, I guess, Gary and all the blue collar home owners in Worcester are now pissed at O’Brien – or that’s what Gary wants us to think.

Why not think this: O’Brien is not, as the Sunday Telegram stated in its headline, “an enigma.” Mayor Joe O’Brien is TRYING TO LEAD our city in very shaky times. He is asking ALL of us – residents, biz folks, municipal unions – to do our part to keep Worcester great.

Let’s rise to the occasion!

Re: the lousy Sunday Telegram story on our mayor

By Rosalie Tirella

Today’s Sunday Telegram article on our mayor blows – really blows. It dumps on a man with brains and heart and integrity. And it reaffirms my long-held belief that Worcester is filled with cheapskates and the T & G is largely a Republican, pro-business rag, totally out of touch with regular folks just trying to pay the bills/raise their families. The T & G article also showed me that S. Sutner, the reporter who threw the story together – and I mean THREW it together – has very little grey matter hiding beneath his cranium: Sutner doesn’t question the crap that some of Worcester’s “leaders” feed reporters he just transcribes it.

Why is the T & G and other greedy biz folks gunning for Mayor Joe O’Brien? Because he stood in a picket line with Clark University cafeteria workers who make around $9 an hour and have no health benefits and demanded – with the protesters – that a multi-million dollar institution like Clark University pay the poorest of the poor a living wage and decent benefits. Why do O’Brien’s detractors label him a “liberal” (a curse in lots of quarters in ol’ Worcester)? Because he lives in Main South and walks to work and sees Worcester’s poor people and knows their sturggles and says: We need to help them. We need to be there for them. We need more affordable housing for them – not less. We need great schools – not mediocre ones! We need landlords with four (I think five is a better number) apartments to pay more in property taxes so we can keep our parks looking good for our families, so we can have great swimming pools in our neighborhood parks, so we can have our library open seven days a week.

And, for instance, why not ask these landlords with five apartments or more to pay a teensy bit more in property taxes? These landlords are running businesses – same as a person who owns a restaurant or clothing store. They can afford the extra couple of hundred bucks a year in property taxes. But if you listen to greedy idiots like landlord Geroge Valeri – who represents the main landlord group in Worcester – you would think he and his peers are barley keeping up, that they are starving, are about to lose their homes! You would think George Valeri, who vacations and goes to shows at the Hanover with his lawyer and lives an upper-middle class life, was two steps from the streets, a pay check away from homelessness.

Bull shit.

All the cheapskates IN THIS TOWN CRY POVERTY – so they can make even more money! Usually by exploiting working folks!

I pity Mayor Joe O’Brien. He starts his first term as Worcester mayor with the best intentions – makes a few reasonable proposals – really asking for a few hundred bucks here and there from folks who can easily afford it and you would think O’Brien was raping and torturing their kids! CHEAP Worcester goes postal! Cheap Worcester screams NO! NO! NO! Cheap Worcester moans and then threatens to leave or pass on their tax increases to renters who are already payng through the nose. And guess what? Worcester feels more like Lawrence every day!

Why do you think our city is home to more gangland style murders than ever (a la Hartford or Springfield)? Why do you think people are selling drugs and blowing each others heads off in cars? In the middle of our neighborhoods!? Times are tough. The poor feel it most acutely. We as a city have to give poor folks hope – we have to make housing costs in line with McJob paychecks so poor people can buy food and maybe even go to a movie after they pay their rent. We have to create stability in these people’s lives.

Why do you think Worcester Public School students are so transient? That lots of our schools have kids who go from one shitty apartment in one inner-city neighborhood to the next? With maybe a pit stop at a family homeless shelter? BECAUSE THERE IS NOT ENOUGH LOW-INCOME HOUSING IN WORCESTER – THE KIND THEAT I GREW UP IN IN GREEN ISALND YEARS AGO! My mom could give us half decent lives because the rent for our tenement was very reasonable. I lived in the same apartment for 18 years- went to the same Worcester Public Schools each year, had pretty much the same neighbors because my mom could pretty much pay the bills on a minimum wage paycheck (she worked 60 hours a week and my live-in granny helped, too)!

This doesn’t happen any more in Worcester’s poorer neighborhoods. Landlords are squeezing too much money out of their tenants, and greedy landlords help destabalize neighborhoods. I will even go so far as to say these landlords help drive up the city’s crime rate.

Mayor Joe O’Brien is seeing the big picture that is Worcester, and he is trying to do right and make things better and asking people to step up and do the right thing for their city.

And what does he get? People carping from all quarters. City Councilor Paul Clancy sticking it to him in the press, Polar Beverages – the people who run Wachusett Mountain, strip it of what should have been protected trees and make a kiling all the way around – bitching about him.

I bet when Joe O’Brien began his journey as Worcester mayor, he didn’t think Worcester’s middle class or upper-middle folks were such skin flints, were so selfish, had such teeny consciences, were so unwilling to step up and do the right thing … .

But O’Brien is stuck with us. Witness the pinheads who came out against State Rep. O’Day’s perfectly sensible proposal: raise the state income tax – but only on people who make more than around $62,000 a year. And then if you make $62,000 to more than $100,000 a year, you pay about $99 a year more in income taxes. That’s not even a freakn’ meal for two at the Chophouse – a meal that these wealthier folks help themselves to often enough. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

Mayor O’Brien is a guy with smarts, integrity, a guy filled with community spirit. He is not asking the good people of Worcester to make huge sacrifices for their city and yet they balk at every turn.

Lawrence, here we come.

The Goddard School, MCAS scores and political grandstanding

By Rosalie Tirella

There they were – women who reminded me of my mom: first-generation Americans holding minimum-wage jobs, trying to keep their kids safe in a tough neighborhood – pinning all their hopes and dreams on their kids, realizing that if ever they were to become “something” in America it would have to be through public education. There they were – mostly Hispanic – going up to the mic and defending their beloved Goddard School after it was torn apart – brick by old brick – by a few insensitive Worcester School Committee members.

Goddard parents came up and stood before the crowd to tell the Worcester School Committee that Goddard School was tops in their book. The school’s teachers and staff were dedicated, the school-wide reading program – excellent. Some of the Spanish-speaking parents used their kids as interpreters. School Committee Mary Mullaney called the public hearing “a beautiful” experience – seeing the families and hear them all speaking so lovingly of their Main South grammar school.

What we all witnessed was a reaffirmation of America and what it means to be an American. It has nothing to do with being rich or connected – it has everying to do with how hard you try, how diligently you work. If your parents were from Equador – cool! Join the American family! Here is your grand school! Here are the teachers who want to see you read and write and grow up to be teachers and doctors and community leaders.

The American public school system. Books, learning, knowledge. Schools like Goddard that not only teach kids but feed them and welcome their families and anchor an entire neighborhood.
It was wonderful to hear a Goddard parent – a Ms. Ortiz – laugh and speak with pride about her daughter complaining that she is getting too much homework at Goddard. And that it is so hard. Hooray! was Ms. Ortiz’s response. Keep challenging my daughter, keep making her grow and learn!

But let’s back track: The Worcester School Committee held this meeting/public hearing because of a bad thing that happened: the state department of education’s decision to invalidate all of the Goddard School MCAS test results.

It was the kind of meeting where the “people” shone and the politicians bombed. I believe the meeting will make or break the political futures/careers of school committeewomen Tracy Novick and Dianne Biancheria. The two women – especially Novick – believe they have staked out some sort of moral high ground in calling for total access to the state’s Goddard MCAS investigation/findings. Long time (and popular) Worcester School Comittee member Brian O’Connel – who amazingly joined the two women in their foolhardy quest – will most likely come out of this creepy episode in WPS history relatively unscathed. And besides, he sort of backpedaled during the school committee meeting, sounding not half as harsh or accusatory as his two colleagues, even though he signed on to their misguided petition.

And what do Novick and company want? They want to SEE EVERY STATE DEPT. of EDUCATION DOCUMENT re: the Goddard MCAS test investigation that lead to the state chucking all of the Goddard students’ MCAS scores. Novick and company want to see every note, every name, every nuance in the case. They say they want to shed light on this “scandal” and that transparency is golden.

Poppy cock.

The state dept. of education has conducted a thorough investigation, remedies will be made and Goddard School will move forward.

That is all we need to know.

Not Novick and pals. Apparently, they are determined to discover which teachers at The Goddard School were a bit overzealous when adminstering the state MCAS tests. They want to know which Goddard teachers were nudging their student test-takers in the right direction (read: right answers), writing out more of an answer than what a child dictated to them (for the special needs kids with IEP plans) and encouraging students to put down more detailed answers.

Inquiring minds want to know!

Dr. Boone, Goddard School and four of the Worcester School Committee members have accepted the state findings and, like me, want to move forward.

This is not a cop out. The state, working with our school superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone, conducted an exhaustive investigation and has come up with a remedial plan for Goddard School. Months of interviewing teachers, confering with Dr. Boone, poring over the tests – and what Worcester got from the state was this: a reprimand, an official reprimand (not a firing) of Goddard School Prinicpal Mrs. Guerra, and a change in the way the test is adminstered in Goddard – from now on the district takes over. Also, the state is mandating a city-wide training program of all our public school prinicpals during which time they will re-learn how to properly administer the MCAS test.

Everyone accepts this, accept Novick and Company.

No one but Dr. Boone and (I’m assuming Goddard staffers) have seen the state paperwork. The Worcester community just knows the results – outcomes. This is fine with me. This is also fine with Mayor Joseph O’Brien, head of the Worcester School Committee, and three other Worcester School Committee members: John Monfredo, Jack Foley and Mary Mullaney. They have accepted the state’s findings, reprimands and want to move on.

Not Novick and Company.

Why torment an entire school? Why publicly point fingers at kids and teachers? Why make a school that is heroically serving poor inner-city families ashamed?

Novick and Company want to know who did what at Goddard and when – and why. They want to know what went on in each and every Goddard School classroom the day that the MCAS test was adminstered to the entire school. They say they aren’t conducting a witch hunt but that is exactly what they are doing. They say it is all information that the WPS committee and the public should be privvy to.

Oh, yeah?

And here is where Novick and company lose me. So they can do what? Say what? Recommend what? These people – the Worcester School Committee – set policy for the WPS. They do not run our schools, they do not adminster school tests to our students, they do not hire or fire school teachers or principals. Many of them are not school teachers – have never taught kids in a classroom. Novick and company cannot change (in any way) the manner in which the MCAS test is given or the tests’ content, test-taking rules, etc.

I believe this is all about a privileged, white, out-of-touch, stay-at home-Mom – Tracy Novick – and her quest for the spotlight. She is dragging Goddard School students into the mud with her on some self-righteous quest. A quest that serves no one, certainly not the students and staff at Goddard.

Novick took to the bully pulpit with a relish I have not seen in a long time: Yes! Good People of Worcester, she seemed to say, I will save you! Save you from the horrible MCAS tests! Save you from the horrible Mr. Chester at the state ed dept. I will fight for the autonomy of the classroom teacher! Help me dissect all that happend on the horriffic shameful day – so every one – especially the kids – relivesthe horror – the instances when it all went wrong. Then the enitre city will know who these imperfect teachers are and (let’s not kid ourselves) who the underperforming students are.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be the two or three or five or ten Goddard students who made the mistakes that cost the entire school their MCAS test results?

If the MCAS is as irrelevant as Nocick says, why belabor the state results? Why go over tests that she feels are pointless – even detrimental to the stukdents of WPS students? Maybe that’s the answer: This Goddard mini-scandal has given Nocik the chance to UNDO the MCAS and become a hero to families all thorugh the state.

Novick needs to cool her heels – and review the public access channels filming of the School Committee meeting. She looks shrill and immature.

Bianchiaria? God knows who put what in her Kool Aid. As I watched the school committee meetings and heard people testify for and against the state results – Bianchiara came off as the dopiest person in the room. By the end of the hearing, she could bearly talk – had lost her voice. We only wish it had happened earlier. Bianchiria kept saying she was out of the loop – intimating that she was not one of the favored school committe memembers who she thinks have a prtivate phone line straight to Dr. Boone’s desk telephone.

This could not be further from the truth. Other shcool committee members have told the disgruntled Bianchirai that Dr. Boone has a “call me anytime” policy and that all Bianchiria needs to do is to pick up the phone.

There are some observers who have this theory: Dianna Biancheria lost her great job at the Worcester School Department (she worked on Irving Street) and has an axe to grind.

Neither I nor any of these school committee folks are proponets of cheating, believe in cover ups or wish to harm the students of the Worcester public Schools. In fact, people like O’Brien and Monfredo, are passionate about inner-city kids and reaching them in any way they can to improve their lives.

Mayor O’Brien lives in the heart of Main South and said during the meeting that he knows many of the Goddard School students and their families. Monfredo, is one of the most selfless people I kknow. I had him as a fifth grade teacher in the old Lamartine Street School when I was 10. He was – and I can say this with all certainty – the best, the BEST teacher I ever had. He loved all the Lamartine kids and worked so hard to teach us and to help us grow as citizens of the world. Books, games, pocket pets, field trips, song writing contests, cool arts andcrafts projects, etc – this is what Mr.Monfredo did for all of his gradefive students – and the school.
Mr. Monfredo went on to become Belmont Community School principal – one of Worcester’s poorest schools in one of the city’s most challenging neighborhoods.

Mr. Monfredo retired and immediatley began writing a column for my paper – InCity Times – and ran for Worcester School committee – and won. Big time. Every parent in every poor neighborhod of Worcester knows or knows of the great work Mr. Monfredo has done for the neediest kids of Worcester. And did I forget to mention he and his wife, Anne Marie, a former teacher at Nelson Place School, run a county wide book drive, getting thousands and thousands of books donated to their volunteer group Worcester, The City That Reads. The group distributes the books to needy kids, families and schools.

Though I am no huge fan of Mary Mullaney, she had all of her kids (several – a gaggle of them) attend the Worcester Public Schools. She was very very involved in all her kids’ school careers.

Let’s side with these folks in saying NO to Novick and Company’s misguided crusade!

Pat’s Towing company- give ’em the heave ho, Joe!

By Rosalie Tirella

Word’s gotten out that Mayor Joe O’Brien is hoping to convince city officials to give the assholes at Pat’s Towing the heave ho when it comes to renewing the city’s towing/impounding contract with Pat’s Towing company of Shrewsbury Street, Worcester. (their contract is winding down) For year’s Pat’s Towing has had a lock on the City of Worcester’s towing – earning hundreds of thousands of dollars, probably millions of dollars, while giving Worcesterties the finger – up the ass, twice. Mayor O’Brien, like all the other city councilors, wants to give another towing company – one run by HUMAN BEINGS – a chance at the lucrative deal. A chance to pick up Wormtown’s illegally parked cars during snowstorms, etc, summer concerts, etc, or on city streets where there is no/limited parking (or other parking violations).

Anyone who has lived in Worcester for longer than, oh, five minutes, quickly learns what bastards the cretins at Pat’s can be. They have turned a city job into a bold, get-outa-my-way-or-I’ll mow-you-down-AND-I’ll-charge-you-hundreds of dollars to get your car back into a weird kind of civic blood-letting. They have had Worcester in a nasty head-lock for years – for way too long.

Two examples:

Last winter, my old dog, my Nova Scotia Retriever, Bailey, was dying of cancer. Nasal cancer so that despite being on chemo and anti-pain and anti-inflamatory pills (we had the tumor biopsied – it was malignant), my Bailey Boy had a bump on his once elegant long nose (the ever growing tumor) and snot and blood dripping from his left nostril, due to the tumor – which I lovingly wiped away with Kleenix. I loved my Bailey so much and he loved life so much (still running after squirrels – caught a skunk!; barking at skateboarders with abandon) that we hung on to Baily as long as we could – as long as HE wanted to hang on to us. Well, one day I had some business in the Denholm Building. I parked in the adjacent lot for five minutes – with my Baily in the back seat. I come out and POOF! The car was gone!

“Pat’s! Fuckin’ Pat’s” I screamed in the middled of the lot. (I just knew) “They took my dog! They towed my dog who is dying of cancer!!! (They would have towed a car with an infant in it!)

Crazed with tears and fears, I called my guy – and told him everything through choked sobs. He was on a job in the Fitchburg area. It took him about an hour to come down to Denholms.

“Bailey!” I screamed to him when he drove up to Denholms. “My Bailey Boy! He’s going to die! He’s going to die!”

It was as cold out that day as it is today – bitter cold.

I jumped into the truck and we drove to Pat’s. Up Shrewsbury Street we sped – and there in the Pat’s lot was my car with poor old Bailey inside, the snot dripping down his nose. He was sitting up straight and tall in the back seat – waiting for his mommy like a brave little man. Serious looking – as if in the “stay” position. He looked “pale,” if that makes sense. My old dog looked cold.

“A hundred dollars,” the attendant/fiend at Pat’s said. ($100 for 2 hours)

“The dog has cancer. He’s 12 years old. You had to tow?” I cried at him, giving him the $100 bill.

He told me my dog was OK. He didn’t remove my dog and keep him in the warm service center. Nope. Bailey was with the vehicles. But he was OK. This “vet” knew.

Shortly after the Pat’s Towing ordeal my Bailey died. He was dying before Pat’s got their hooks into my car, but the bumpy ride, the two-hour wait in 20-degree weather did my dear old Bailey no good.

Story #2

A friend of mine told me an old man – in his 80s – had his car towed by Pat’s Towing. He went over to Pat’s Shrewbury Street holding-pen and asked for his car back. He didn’t have the bucks needed to get his jalopy out. Well, the lovely “boys” at Pat’s taunted him. They teased and teased the old man, and the old man rushed at them, rushed at their fence, a feisty guy, trying to beat the crap out of these young thugs. And guess what? The octogenarian almost gave himself a heart attack trying to mix it up with Pat’s Towing “boys.” He finally called my friend who went down to Pat’s Towing and paid the money. Blood money. The old man got his car out but he had lost his dignity.

And this is the towing company that the City of Worcester wants to rehire? This is the towing company city leaders want to represent Worcester? The people of Pat’s are pond scum – speeding down resdential streets at 50 miles an hour, blasting through urban centers as they race, absolutely RACE to make their next killing, their next Tow Job, while the city of Worcester gives it a Blow Job!

Mayor O’Brien is right! We’ve had enought of the sadism! We want a towing company -not a gang of thugs!

So let’s get rid of these demons – a huge tow truck going 50 miles an hour down neighbrohood streets to pick up a car with a dying dog in it is not what we need. Lots of other blue-collar guys in other blue collar businesses know and HATE Pat’s Towing. They won’t do business with these wolverines because they are so rotten. These blue collar guys and their businesses use other towing companies – a lot of them like Boulevard Towing.

Nice guys, is what they say when they talk about Boulevard Towing.

So why not, City manager Mike O’Brien? Why not follow the lead of Mayor Joe O’Brien and ditch Pat’s Towing – NOT RENEW THEIR CONTRACT? Try Boulevard Towing. Hell, try anybody BUT Pat’s.

The citizens of Worcester – and guests to our community – deserve to be treated with a bit more respect. That is tow, if necessary, but use your heart, have some common sense and SLOW DOWN and stop ripping folks/the city off!

Oh, Brother! (or: Mayor Joe O’Brien sighting in Holden!)

By Rosalie Tirella

How demoralizing. How weird … .

A week ago I tried to make an appointment with Worcester Mayor Joseph O’Brien. Nothing controversial – just an issue near and dear to my heart. I told this to his appointment people – Ms. Gonzalez and Ms. Berthiaume. I told them both I was approaching the meeting as a citizen – this wasn’t an interview for InCity Times or anything like that.

Well, the ladies told me our mayor was soooo busy! He had no time for walk-ins (a la former Worcester Mayor Konnie Lukes)! He really had no time for day appointments either – as he had so many appointments! In fact, O’Brien was booking weeks in advance. And if I did make an appointment for 3 or 4 weeks down the line, I could be dumped for something bigger and better. Everything was so tentative!

The mayor’s staffers were really pushing for me to see Mayor O’Brien during a 15-minute span of time an hour or so before the city council meeting every Tuesday – his open office hours for the citizens of Worcester, the people who voted him into office. Just like his professor dad probably does at his college. You know the drill: professors always have office hours a few hours right before class – to save them the hassle of doing two jobs at two separate times. Continue reading Oh, Brother! (or: Mayor Joe O’Brien sighting in Holden!)

So the Worcester Public School teachers want a contract …

By Rosalie Tirella

… and they, of course, are making asses of themsleves – totally out of touch with America’s 14% poverty rate, and almost 10% unemployment rate, totally oblivous to the fact that few AVERAGE American workers (professional or blue/collar) bring down $100,000 a year salaries – the way many of our Worcester Public School teachers do. Our school principals make around $130,000. Other professionals in our public school system make more than/around $100,000, too!


Which is why Mayor Joe O’Brien this week called for an “objective” court-appointed mediator to step in and save the City of Worcester from these hogs.

I had lunch with one of my former Worcester Public School teachers a few months ago – a wonderful human being. A person who, like many teachers in the good ol’ days of WPS, went into teaching because she was absolutely passionate about kids and learning. “To be with you kids – oh, it was so special – … ” (How many WPS teachers would say that about their former pupils?)

Anyways, this former WPS teacher, a person who worked overtime many a day in our city schools (FOR FREE) and did wonderful things for students (FOR FREE) like rescue hundreds of used WPS text books out of WPS dumpsters to drive them to a boys’ residential school, was amazed – absolutely amazed! – that today the City of Worcester has a boat-load of teachers who make around/more than $100,000 a year! Continue reading So the Worcester Public School teachers want a contract …