Tag Archives: preliminary election

Today, Worcester! Get out and vote!

By Rosalie Tirella

The Worcester of 2015 is multiracial, multicultural and multi-voiced. It’s a city with a healthy middle and upper-middle class and biz community. But it is also a Gateway City filled with immigrants, second generation Americans … lots of poor families, hungry children … youth violence, racial strife – BIG CITY CHALLENGES!

We need city leaders who can work our problems with: INTELLIGENCE, SENSITIVITY, OPTIMISM.

So, today, ELECTION DAY, please vote for:

Mayor – Joseph (Joe) Petty (incumbent)

Great person! Smart, thoughtful on the issues, won’t be swayed by the naysayers or the alarmists. Rebuilt Elm Park, pushed for a recovery high school AND a high school for the gifted, working to upgrade so many of our public schools, working with the police department to keep our schools safe, building playgrounds and safe spaces for our inner-city kids. THIS IS WHAT JOE PETTY IS ABOUT. COMMUNITY. All of us sharing the good things,feeling we have a say … that we ALL matter: black, white, poor, straight, gay, inner city, suburban style …

He’s our QUIET MAN – and we mean the JOHN WAYNE flick! Don’t let his modesty fool ya! Petty’s tough and determined! Go, Joe, go!



Councilors at Large


Joseph Petty (see above. You have to vote for Petty in this category too, if you want him to be re-elected mayor).

Morris (Moe) Bergman

A steady voice. A calm, thoughtful, smart guy who LOVES our public schools. He’s had three kids go/going through the system – so he’s not just talk! He knows the school buildings, the teachers, the courses. He is PROUD of what our public schools offer kids and their families. Moe is also for a brighter downtown, economic development … a better Worcester for all.

Juan Gomez

We love Juan! He is so real! Warm, yet tough! Fun and cute but biz savvy. We have been a Juan fan for years, back when he was a Worcester city councilor who was business friendly but never forgot the peeps! He was always honest about the issues, where he stood. Sometimes that cost him a vote or two but, for us, that spells INTEGRITY.

Ronald O’Clair

InCity Times writer and long-time Main South community activist Ron O’Clair KNOWS THE ISSUES, KNOWS THIS CITY. Ron is a life-long Worcester resident and truly enjoys the people and our zippy Woo vibe. He gets a kick out of the great things, but the guns, violence, drugs bring him down, like it does all of us. He wants to help us save our inner city – stop the violence and the drugs! And that is a wonderful thing!


Philip Palmieri

This District 2 guy wants to graduate to At Large! And why not?! The district Phil’s been serving for years encompasses downtown Worcester, the bustling Shrewsbury Street, parts of Green Island, pretty middle class neighborhoods – in other words: Worcester in microcosm. And Phil has NEVER been shy about weighing in on city-wide issues anyways – or beginning the conversation on some important Worcester issue, outside his district. This has always been a good thing for Worcester.

Phil Palmieri is an experienced Worcester city councilor, works the problems Hard and SMART, like there’s no tomorrow!

Worcester needs Phil! GIVE him your vote!

William Coleman

Billy Coleman has been a pal for years. What you don’t see when he’s kinda got the spotlight all to himself is: HE REALLY IS A VERY CARING, LOVING PERSON WHO IS THERE FOR ANYONE. Billy is a GREAT PERSON! Which means he’ll work hard for ALL THE PEOPLE OF WORCESTER – meet you, talk with you, hear your side of the issue. He’s a gentle soul who doesn’t hurt folks, and he is especially sensitive to the poor, the homeless, city kids … the people others sometimes forget.


District 2:

Vote for Candace Mero Carlson!

She wants to take Phil’s place – she’d be a great voice and advocate for D 2. Candy holds a special place in my heart because she is a GREAT DOG LOVER! Has had English bull dogs that are just gorgeous! And spoiled, like my Jett and Lilac. Candy is also people focused, has done so much volunteer work, community advocacy ….LOVES WORCESTER! She knows District 2 and would represent it with smarts, grace and intelligence.


VOTE TODAY! Vote for the Worcester you hope to see!!!!

Joe O’Brien bows out of Worcester mayoral race

Worcester’s Joe O’Brien has decided not to run for mayor again. On Tuesday, September 20, city voters will still be able to vote for him – as City Counilor at Large.

Here is the letter (citing the reasons for his decision) O’Brien emailed to his supporters.

– R. Tirella


Dear Friends,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to not seek the office of Mayor. Instead I will only run for City Council At-Large.

This has not been an easy decision. I recognize that it will come as a surprise because I have already launched my Mayoral re-election campaign. But over the course of the last month I have come to realize that the pressures of running another campaign and then serving as Mayor for another two years would be too much for myself and my family at this time.

When I ran for Mayor two years ago I promised that I would be a full-time Mayor and I have kept this promise. In doing so, I created significant challenges for my family.

While I have been honored to the Mayor of this great city, I have struggled to balance the life of politician, husband, and new parent. My wife Lisa and I, in our mid forties, became parents for the first time of four year old twins from Ethiopia a couple of months after I took office. As everyone knows, while being a parent is joyful it is also a challenge. Our children need to have two parents who can commit themselves to their development and integration, particularly our son who has had some special challenges adapting. To do the job of Mayor right, the commitment required me to be out for many nights, weekends, and holidays. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of my family to do this for another two years. In addition, earning a part-time salary while serving as a full-time Mayor, in our form of government, has also created financial pressures that are not sustainable for our family at this time.

It has been a honor to serve the people of this great city as Mayor and it has been great to work with so many people to make s difference. Working with the City Manager, the City Council and our School Committee and administration we have accomplished a lot of great things, and undertaken some important initiatives. Today, two years after taking office, long planned construction projects are underway, our economy is growing, our city schools are improving and our neighborhoods are more stable. With extended office hours, neighborhood walks, the new Civic Academy, and almost daily visits to local community groups we have worked hard to engage the people of Worcester and bring a new sense of accountability to local government. The Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development produced a host of recommendations, most of which have already been implemented. We launched a Mayors Small Business Roundtable, and my office has helped lead a community initiative to improve the academic experience of our Latino students. I am especially proud of the work we have done together with our Immigrant and Refugee Roundtable to help our new Americans become fully engaged in our community. And we spent many hours working to insure that our working people have a voice at the table and that as we have grown our economy we have insured that good jobs were created for the residents of Worcester.  

I am proud of this record and I hope that with your help I can continue to support these efforts as a City Councilor at Large. I plan on working with the new Mayor to insure that many of these efforts continue and I will still be on the front-lines when needed to help advance our shared agenda.

I want everyone to know, as I exit the Mayor’s office, that our city is blessed with outstanding leaders in our City Manager Mike O’Brien and our School Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone. I have truly enjoyed working with them and I hope I will be able to continue to do so in the City Council.

Most of all I want to thank all of you for your friendship and support. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people who have helped with my campaigns and cared for me and my family. I could not have done it without countless people who have stepped forward to lend a hand and I will always be grateful that you helped me have the honor of serving the great people of this city.

I hope that we can continue to find ways to work together to make life better for the people of our city, state and nation. Some among us dislike politics, as if we could have good government without it. We disagree. For us politics is the way we turn citizenship into a verb. I hope we can continue to do our public work together.

Yours in friendship,


InCity Times candidate endorsement #2: Mike Germain for City Councilor at Large

By Rosalie Tirella

On September 20, we ask you to vote for incumbent City Councilor at Large Mike (Michael) Germain

Vote Mike Germain!

Readers of InCity Times may not see or hear Mike Germain, one of Worcester’s City Councilors (at Large), in our ICT pages very often. Sometimes we may not agree with Mike on some of the issues; sometimes we may. But on this crucial issue, one that is near and dear to our hearts, Mike Germain and ICT are absolutely simpatico:


Yes! This means no Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus for Worcester! Yes! This means no travelling bottom-of-the-barrel mini-circuses/animal shows – where exotic animals like lions and tigers and leopards are chained in teeny cages, rented out to various travelling hell holes for weeks upon weeks. Many die on the road from dehydration, heat exhaustion, stress, the cold. Just like they do with Ringling Bros. – a rich global organization that has the millions of dollars to hide the facts. Ringling Bros. Circus is making one of their bi-annual pit stops in Worcester in October.

This must be stopped/protested!

By re-electing Mike Germain to the Worcester City Council, I can promise you this: We will always have a vote on the city council – along with a few other of our progressives – for BANNING wild/exotic animal acts from Worceser. For keeping the cirucs OUT OF OUR TOWN! A vote for compassion – a vote against cruelty to animals.

Last year, InCity Times tried to get the ball rolling in terms of having the Worcester City Council keep Ringling Bros and other animal (torture) shows out of Worcester. We tried to make the case to our city councilors that Worcester is economically healthy enough to do without these shows. We have great restaurants, museums, the Hanover, etc. We DO NOT NEED THE BLOOD MONEY that Ringling Bros. brings into our city when they come to town every fall and spring. The march of the elephants down Soutbridge Street is heart breaking! I cry every time I see pics or film footage!

But there is hope! I was ELATED when Mike Germain told me last year: YES! YOU have my support! You have my vote to ban exotic animal acts. Then Germaine went on to say how he and his girlfriend took her little child to a travelling “animal show” in Worcester. He said they walked in, saw how the animals were stuffed into cages, saw a kind of freak show with some of the animals having two heads and some dead – in a jar and pickled in formaldyhyde.

“”We walked in – we walked out,” Germain told me, shaking his head and looking sad.

I knew then I would always vote for Mike Germain.

Germain, an animal lover who is the proud owner of lovely parrots, told me what he was against exposing kids to such horrific sights and having animals experience such cruelty.

Recently, upon hearing the circus was coming to town again, we again went to Germain and he just shook his head in sadness … . We know the lions and tigers and elephants have the love and support of Mike Germian. We want to keep his voice on the Worcester City Council. (To learn more: Please look at our past blogs and read all about “The Cruelest Show on Earth.”)

This is why I am voting for incumbent Michael (Mike) Germain next week, Sept. 20, and why you should too. We believe InCity Times, Mike Germain and a few other of our city councilors – Mayor Joe O’Brien, District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller and City Councilor at large Konnie Lukes – are way ahead of the curve on this one – joining Western Europe and, in Massachusetts, Cambridge, Northampton and Revere.

By voting for Germain, a man who can appreciate the beauty and intelligence of some of the most magnificent animals on earth, you are also voting for a person who is compassionate – a person who cares about vulnerable beings, and that includes our children, and our elderly.

Good people make our great city!

Vote for – re-elect – Mike Germain!

Sept. 20 please vote for Virginia Ryan, District 1 City Council candidate

InCity Times candidate endorsement – Virginia W. Ryan – District 1
By Rosalie Tirella

InCity Times asks the voters of Worcester to
make their voices heard and get out
and vote September 20! These trying
times require bright, honest and com-mitted
commuity leaders For this pre-liminary
election, voters must narrow
the City Council at Large, District 1
and District 3 fields.

We are asking that you vote for:

District 1: Virginia W. Ryan

The readers of this column know
how pointless I believe incumbant
Joffrey Smith is – from his half heart-ed
attempt at serving his constituents
to his half-assed movie career as an
extra to his half-finished house in the
West Side. Yeah, it was once cool that
he was young and running for office
several election cycles ago, but now
Smith is not so young and has proved
himself to be just like every other
entrenched incumbent: doesn’t return
phone calls, doesn’t act on constitutent
requests, has no real ideas/passions
about anything and (as proven in last
election cycle) wanted to use his city
council seat as a catapault for new,
higher office Well, Smith ran for state
rep a few years ago and lost big time
He took a drubbing – finished way way
behind the two front runners. Which
means: Smith is most likely stuck in
his Worcester City Council District 1
seat and District 1 is stuck with this
totally lackluster character who thinks
because he is cute you should give him
your vote.

Don’t! He’s a cypher!

But at least he’s not a criminal the
way Tony J Economou is – the next
person running for District 1.

Economou, a real estate agent ILLEGALLY
tried to scare poor folks
out of their homes after they had been foreclosed
upon. Why? To get them out ASAP and turn around and sell the propeerty – to make a killing in the real
estate market.

What’s especially sleazy about Economou is when the bank fore-closed
on the home, Economou took it
upon himself to make out fake legal looking
documents and taping them to the
people’s homes – giving them a few
weeks to move out or else.

This is totally illegal! People do not
have to move out immediately when
the bank forecloses! They can spend
months in their home as their case
makes its way through the legal system.

If Tony Economou had had his (illegal) way,
these folkswould be living at the PIP homeless shelter – and
he would be stuffing his pockets with cash – thousands of dollars!

When InCity Times called him on
this and published a story, Economou
bull shitted – told the public that it wasn’t him making
notices – it was Freddie
mac/Fanny Mae, to which these non-profits
said NO WAY, we neverd o
that, we never gave Tony Economou
such forms to paste on doors.

What a lying low-life, Economou is. No upstanding businessman from the community – no matter how hard he tries to pretend. This guy is simply greedy and will do anything for a buck – even if it is lying and breaking the law.

Do the people of Worcester’s District 1 really want a low-life
llike Tony Economou representing

D oes Worcester want this guy to voice the concerns of the people?


Which brings us to the person we want you to vote for: VIRGINA RYAN

Yeas ago, when I was a student at
Burncoat Senior High School, Virginia
Ryan was a biology teacher there. She
was tough and no-nonsense – and I
was a little afraid of her. The 15-year-old me was glad when I learned I got the sweet and brillliant
Mr. LaBelle as my 10th grade biology
teacher, But my good pal Paula T. had Miss Ryan
– and liked her.

The years have gone by and we (meaning I – Rosalie)
have toughened up. We have
learned to look beyound a person’s
exterior to find, in Miss Ryan’s case at
least, a very good, hardworking,
straigh-shooting person. And we like Ryan’s platform.

This is what District 1 and the Worcester
City Council needs: someone
(Virigina Ryan) who is going to fight
for home owners (Ryan’s for the lowest residential taxr ate), our schools (she was a WPSchool teacher for years and years, our students (she was committed to all her kids learning!). Plus she was a biology teacher – so she will/and has done her homework on the Asian Long-horned beetle and Worcester’s trees.

District 1, if you folks
elect Virginia Ryan, will be getting a person
with a ton of energy! I know she is
retired and I know that retirees’ contributions
and their premiums via City of Worcester was what put Ryan in the limelight, but she has many more interests/goals.

Ryan cares about being fair – and she
is not afraid to speak her mind. She has a ton of energy – has
been going door to door meeting a ton
of District 1 voters!

This is a good

But why do I like Virginia Ryan? It’s the personal stuff – the small stuff. The kind feelings she has shown me through her letters and even actions these last three years. For instance, over
these past few years Ryan has sent me leeters to the
editor. They have not been about her or the retirees of the City of Worcester. They have been about kids and poor
folks. For instance, one letter she wrote
us detailed how for years and years she
took the Worcester Public Schools students
to all kinds of cities and countries
via the Burncoats/WPS field-trip system.
And I remembered Miss Ryan did do that – every
year taking a bus -oad of Burncoat students
to Washington DC to learn about our Capitol and our government. She did this every year!
Would I, as a sanity-loving adult,
want to do the same? Take a bunch of teenagers to DC? Heck no! Well, Miss Ryan beleived in kids,
in history, in our nation’s history and DID IT!
Put it all together with her yearly
field trips to Washington. She did this for
years. The letters she wrote to me
talked of keeping the field trip system
alive and well in our public schools. Ryan knew that going
to DC or Canada or maybe even France was a
cool thing for kids – was yet another way for
students to learn. Learn other stuff
than what she was teaching them in bio

Finally, one of Virginia
Ryan’s last letters to the editor to me detailed this incident: Virginia was shopping at Wal Mart in
West Boylston – it was wintertime and
she was appalled, just appalled, that the
cashiers of Wal Mart had no real barriier
between their cashier stations and the cold/cold wind
– that is the cashiers were working
right in front of the automatic exit
door. She wrote the wind was cold and was
whipping in every time a customer paid the cashier and walked out of Wal Mart. And they didn’t even
have coats on! What a crumby way to
work for five or so hours! Where,
Virginia Ryan wanted to know, was
the barrier that protected these workers
from the elements? Why didn’t
Wal Mart errect some kind of partition?
Do the right thing? I think she even
complained to Wal Mart.

This impressed me the most! This made me
think: Virgina Ryan is sensitive and moral – she cares about
folks most people don’t think twice

So, based on my adult dealings
with Virgina Ryan, I say she is a biologist,
a champion of kids and public school education. She is someone who will always do
the right thing!

She is not a politician like Smith and, God forbid, the creep-meister Tony Ecomou – kicking folks like the Wal Mart cashiers Ryan defended out of their homes!

Please! No sleaze ball Tony Economou for District 1.

Vote for Virgina Ryan – District 1 City Councilor

Voter apathy and how we can “rock” the system

By Chris Horton

Retreat of the “Obama voters”

I’ve participated in 10 election campaigns in the past seven years, including President Obama’s, and the voters – my neighbors, many of them – have taught me a lot. The regular people of our city and commonwealth, are fed up with politics. “Black” or “white,” native or immigrant, Republican, Independent or Democrat, we’re all fed up. On the bread and butter issues like Social Security, Medicare, jobs, war and peace, who should pay the taxes and not letting the banks take our homes and drive us to ruin, most of us agree. But what we want doesn’t seem to matter. So a majority of the people in Worcester have just given up on voting.

And who can blame them? We keep re-electing a great Congressman, yet things keep getting worse. We elected – and hopefully will re-elect – a young, populist mayor, yet things seem to stay the same. And we turned out in near-record numbers to elect a dynamic young President who talks like the second coming of Jesus. Yet things keep getting worse.

So why bother?

When Grace Ross campaigned for City Council a few years ago, our strategy was to find the people who don’t usually vote but who had turned out to vote for Obama. I went door to door talking to these “Obama voters,” and I caught an earful. Many agreed that we need a change in City Hall and that Grace sounded really good, but on the day of decision the Obama voters stayed home. The most common reason I heard for not voting was … Obama! I heard many versions of “We turned out and voted for Hope and Change and what did we get? Nothing!” More proof that voting doesn’t matter, that politicians are all lying to us, that once they get into office they’ll get sucked into the system and forget about us, and anyway they can’t change anything.

(The number two reason cited by people was the city pools! Over 600 people turned out for the public hearings the City Council organized. Hundreds spoke and nearly every one wanted all the old pools repaired. Yet the City Council turned around and voted for the City Manager’s one-pool plan as though the hearings had never happened! I would argue “that’s why we need Grace on the city council.” Some would nod and agree, but what they were really saying was “why bother voting?

It’s not apathy! It’s a boycott!

Do people care? They know a lot about what’s going on in Worcester. They’re concerned. They care enough to show their anger! And they’re clear about why they’re not voting! They, and sometimes their parents and their grandparents before them, are making a point. They’ve been boycotting the elections, for generations! They suspended their boycott to vote for Obama – and the result has confirmed their worst fears. So now they say they’re all done!

And yet, vote we must, so long as we still have that right. Not just to elect people who will truly represent us, but also for getting organized and learning how to stick up for ourselves and for each other.

Elections are times when people come together to talk about all the issues we face, to talk about programs and ideas that will bring us together, the times when we see how all of our struggles are part of a bigger picture. We need those conversations. We need to learn how to use elections to get together, to get organized, to build unity and community. But how?

Stop doing what doesn’t work!

The things people are doing to get elected these days are the very things most regular folk are sick of. If we want a different result from elections we need to admit what isn’t working and let go of it.

First, television spots, slick post cards, robo-calls, but most especially phone banking – volunteers calling computer-generated lists of most likely voters – may swing some of the usual voters, but are such a turn-off to most regular folks that they only increase the level of disgust and non-participation. Even door to door work in other people’s neighborhoods is pretty useless these days. People are only going to be moved by someone with whom they have some kind of connection.

Second, words aren’t enough. The candidate reaching us with his or her message isn’t enough. No one can top Obama for great speeches. Heck, he got a Nobel Prize for his speeches! But as my Grandma used to say, “Words butter no parsnips.” We’re so done with speeches and promises! We need campaigns that call us to action, to do something, to make a change, win or lose on election day.

Third, campaigns are not enough. Campaigns that are the personal property of the candidate, campaigns that end on election day, build nothing. Campaigns that put all the information gathered in a drawer, all the networks they built forgotten until the candidate decides to run again are a kind of theft from all the people who contribute to them, who go out organizing for them! That has to stop!

Finally, campaigns that pit the people who choose to run against each other have to go. In the City Council race of 2009, progressives Grace Ross, Kola Afolabi, Mary Keefe and Joe O’Brien ran for City Council, competing for resources and volunteers. If everyone who worked on their campaigns had worked to get all four elected, if they had coordinated, all three would have won. Instead, only O’Brien won, mostly with support from the usual voters.
O’Brien lives in District 4, and campaigned there. So the “Obama voters,” the ones who didn’t turn out for Grace, didn’t turn out for him either! Unless he can help change that, his base is shaky.
So how do we build a different kind of campaign?

First, every campaign should be real community organizing, real relationship building. Door to door canvassers should look for potential leaders on each block and get them together with the candidate; then support them in talking to their neighbors, talking over the issues, setting up events to meet the candidate and then geting each other out to the polls.

Organizers should be finding and drawing in the natural leaders in the District from every group and organization, getting conversations going in workplaces, community centers, religious and social communities, unions, finding ways to draw everyone’s interests together around the campaign.

Second, the campaign should organize people to struggle and win concrete things they need, during the campaign! Maybe including dramatic actions like stopping an eviction, a sit-in at City Hall until they vote to do something they promised, or a community takeover of an abandoned building! This makes clear what the election is about, not just issues, but power. Our power to make things happen when we stand together.

Third, campaigns should be about building grass-roots organizations that stand for something and belong to the members. Campaigns should belong to the people, and continue on from election to election and in-between. They should leave behind ward-level, precinct-level and block-level organizations, with precinct and block captains who will stay connected to their neighbors, lead them in struggles to stop an eviction or keep a food pantry open, and to hold the people we elected to account!

The walking lists, databases and notes – or copies of them – should stay with this organization and with the campaigners. When the next election comes around the office-holder should have to go back to us for support. So the officeholder would feel the need to keep coming back to the campaigners, coming to our ward and precinct and block meetings to explain themselves and take instructions from the people about how to vote!

Last, this great grass-roots organization, with block committees and precinct committees throughout the city, should decide who runs for us, and would become the ready-made kernal of thir campaign!

The way we’re doing it now is stupid and wrong. With all respect for some very good people we’ve elected that are trying to do their best, it’s not real democracy.

The challenge; rebuilding our democracy

Once upon a time we had parties that had a mass base. They were called Machines by the press, their leaders were called Ward Bosses, their activists were called Ward Heelers. The “reformers” – folks with money, mostly – organized to do away with them by making local elections – the heart of politics – “non-partisan.” Those “machines” were not democratic enough and were often corrupted, but they connected working people and their government every day, and turned working people out to vote.

Those “machines” elected Franklin Roosevelt four times, and helped win the New Deal. Boy, could we use some of that now!

We need something like that but controlled by the members. We could try rebuilding the Democratic Party, but the non-partisan election law may force us to build outside of it. A political movement that will give people a voice, connect us with each other and with our government, and draw all our other movements together. One that will require the politicians answer to and work with us, not just on election day but every day.
So my challenge to all the candidates for this City Council race is this: Build your campaign to last. Build it around connecting people, not just with you, but with each other, with our neighbors and all the leaders among us. Build it by design to go on fighting for our needs between elections, win or lose, with your leadership so long as you go on earning it. Fighting for things like stopping the foreclosures and saving Medicare and Social Security and saving or making jobs and making sure no one goes to bed hungry. Build it so it can resume campaigning for the candidate of its own choice in the elections next year and the year after that and the year after that.

Give it its freedom, and then go on being the leader we would choose again!