By Rosalie Tirella
When did Worcester cease being the city of my childhood (rough and tumble working-class town with so many shining stars!) and become the Worcester of 2015? Kids with guns killing kids, home break-ins galore, folks addicted to heroin dying in stairwells, slug-fests at local high schools with teachers taking it (literally) in the chin, poverty so encompassing many of our school children look like they’ve walked out of a Charles Dickens novel?
It is heartbreaking to see what former president George Bush (and before him prez Clinton and vp Gore with NAFTA) have done to this once great country.
Cities and towns all over America suffer because of our warped economy – one that rewards and perpetuates a healthy upper middle class but creates a bigger and bigger under class every day.
The factories are gone, the mines shut down, the farms industrialized … and the good paying American jobs that immigrants and uneducated folks used to catapult themselves and their families into the American middle class are gone with them.
Now it’s service jobs galore and everyone makes $8, $9, $10 and $11 an hour. Everyone lives pretty much on the cusp of homelessness. No wonder we see hunger, violence, drug addiction … despair in cities and towns all over this great land – Worcester, included.
Have you ever seen so many Dollar Stores in Worcester? You used to see them in the poorer parts of the South. Now they are here and all over the country – and doing gangbusters.
Where are the stores for the working middle class in Worcester? The old American Supply on Front Street? The old Sylvia’s Dress Shop on Franklin Street? All gone. Yes, we can blame Wal-Mart, but it’s their cheap prices that drive working families there. Stores built for the $9 an hour paycheck.
Where does the Mayor of Worcester, a supposedly ceremonial job, fit in with all this?
Why should we care so passionately about giving the Worcester MAYOR’s job to incumbent Joe Petty or challenger Mike Gaffney in a few weeks? (We love Bill Coleman but, seriously, he’s gotta get a new hobby!)
Because THESE TWO GUYS HAVE TOTALLY OPPOSITE WORLD VIEWS … DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED SOLUTIONS TO THE SOCIAL ILLS THAT ARE EATING away at Worcester – and America’s – soul.
It’s more than Democrat (Petty) versus Republican (Gaffney).
It’s more than KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY POCKET BOOK (Gaffney) versus IT’S NOT THE POCKETBOOK – GOVERNMENT IMPROVES PEOPLE’S LIVES (Petty)…
It’s about TRUST, DECENCY, NO GAMES and FAIRNESS/RESPECT FOR ALL OUR CITIZENS.
That’s what Worcester needs now and Mayor Joe Petty, who is running for re-election, has all of the above!
Today’s Worcester has a huge amount of people who are poor. The Worcester of 2015 has a majority minority school system. Our housing is expensive and our people don’t have the dough to pay for it and all the essentials. THIS IS AMERICA. THIS IS GRINDING POVERTY that never lets up for lots of Worcester families. Plus: So many of our kids and families are folks of color, come from different parts of the world. This adds more layers to our challenges. So many Worcester families are under duress – racism, poverty, domestic abuse, shitty apartments, violence in the streets …
Mayor Petty has worked to RELIEVE THE PAIN AND BUILD BRIGHTER FUTURES FOR ALL WORCESTER FAMILIES.
He gets that we have a diverse population with lots of needs. He believes good government helps meet some of those needs.
Mayor Petty has:
Pushed for the RECOVERY SCHOOL for Worcester kids once addicted to drugs and now ready to learn in a supportive classrooms
Pushed for an ACADEMY FOR THE MOST GIFTED WORCESTER PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS. Sorta like a mini Boston Latin housed in Doherty High School
Beautified Elm Park so it is gorgeous and there for all folks to enjoy
Worked effectively and sensitively with Worcester folks of all colors and creeds
Pushed for city programs that support Worcester inner-city youth and families
Pushed for several playgrounds and playscapes to be built at some of Worcester’s neediest inner-city schools in some of Worcester’s poorest neighborhoods
Championed Woo’s inner city neighborhoods and small businesses
Has taken an even-handed approach to the violence that erupted in the city and around our public schools. Petty did NOT bash anyone, was no alarmist … HE JUST WORKED THE PROBLEM and things got better. And he took the heat from morons who had a less nuanced view of the problem.
That’s the word!
In the Worcester of 2015 we need NUANCE! We don’t need folks screaming:
WE HATE DR. BOONE!
BRING IN THE NATIONAL GUARD!
KILL THE CDCs!
WHITE TEACHERS IN WORCESTER RULE!
MAUREEN BINENDA FOR WPS SUPERINTENDENT – OR ELSE!
CUT OFF THE MOSAIC FOLKS AND STICK BRENDA JENKINS HEAD ON A STICK!
These folks, on a very deep SUBCONSCIOUS level are racist/classist, but will never see it. They are not living in the Worcester of 2015. THE WORCESTER OF TODAY.
Or maybe they feel the societal/economic changes in Worcester and they’ve panicked.
They want to preserve the old Worcester World Order – one where you CALL IN THE COPS, GET THE IRISH TEACHERS WPD BACK-UP, STOP BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING, EXERT SOME TOUGH LOVE.
This is the Old Worcester World Order that Worcester city councilor at large and Worcester mayoral candidate MICHAEL GAFFNEY IS EMBRACING AND ESPOUSING.
It ain’t gonna work, Mike!
GAFFNEY IS SO WRONG FOR THE WORCESTER OF TODAY IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY.
IT’S DOWNRIGHT SCARY!!!!!!!!!
Like presidential candidate Donald Trump, Worcester mayoral candidate Gaffney reflects the fears and prejudices of people.
Also their rage, disappointments, longing for an America, a Worcester, that simply no longer exists. That is gone FOREVER.
It was always complicated, but the big factories and big employers that gave folks – in America and Worcester – the foundation (filled stomachs, bills paid, a little house maybe) from which to solve problems is GONE. Now we’re in crisis mode. And people are wicked freaked out.
You can vote your fears and prejudices and vote for Gaffney November 3.
As a city councilor Mike Gaffney’s done shit. He’s for cutting everything. Then he demagogues the problems that he helped create with his scorched earth politics.
Sure he’s bright and very articulate and a good writer, but so were the Harvard professors and scientists who years ago published papers on the intellectual superiority of men over women because women’s brains were physically smaller. The brilliant professors papers were elegantly written and people all over the world bowed down to their brilliance. But they were still full of shit. STILL WRONG.
They had used their intellect to SUPPORT PREJUDICE. They had elegantly, scientifically backed into their era’s deepest prejudices.
This is what Mike Gaffney is doing today, in Worcester.
Let’s vote for a guy who is bright, hopeful, open and willing to admit great ideas can come from any one – even a gang banger’s mum, even a former drug addict, even a slip of a black girl running up Harrison Street to get to Union Hill School on a lovely Worcester autumn day.
VOTE JOSEPH PETTY FOR MAYOR OF WORCESTER!