Tag Archives: race

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus and the “minority” community

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus

Let us start with City Manager Ed Augustus’ great plus: the development of downtown Worcester. He certainly has taken credit for it, and yet the evaluation of its success for Worcester has not been made. Many others had the foresight to see that the Galleria would be a failure when the Wrentham Outlets opened. Other city leaders wanted to reopen Front Street.

The issue of the development of our downtown and other areas of Worcester has led to the city’s Affirmative Action goals for construction jobs for city projects. No one in the public really knows how successful this effort has been. The City Manager’s office is not releasing significant or timely data. Also missing is: Where do people apply and what types of jobs are available?

The City Manager has taken credit for Affirmative Action through the hiring of Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Carter. The success of this office and the number of jobs going to unemployed Worcester residents has yet to be evaluated.

The City Manager, unlike some other officials in the state, has maliciously prosecuted Worcester’s Black Lives Matter protestors. The judge in the case said that the very premise of the complaint filed by Augustus was wrong. The judge ruled that there was NO criminal action. At least one of the protesters was found not responsible of even the civil complaint. The City Manager failed in this area of race relations. He also failed by immediately selling the Mosaic Center building,  which has a long history in the Black community. This action was perceived as racist, as other unused and essentially abandoned City properties, such as the corner lot at Sunderland Road and Lake Ave. which are a hazard and an eyesore, lie fallow.

City Manager Augustus gets failing grades for snow removal. As a pedestrian in the city I ask: How is it possible that anyone can give Augustus an “exceeds expectations” when he cannot keep Worcester streets open and safe during a snow storm? Any competent executive can do this.

The issue of lack of transparency has been around for decades in Worcester city government.  Augustus has again failed the City and its residents when he refused to release the report on the racist hate speech by a high ranking City of Worcester employee, Mr. Traynor. This is a reflection of the institutional racism in City of Worcester government. Traynor is one of the people who is supposed to accomplish the City’s Affirmative Action goals.

The lack of transparency continues into the Worcester Police Department where Chief Sargent has indicated that he has a policy for the City based on the “Broken Windows” theory. This policy used in other cities has resulted in racist practices such as “Stop, Question  and Frisk” in New York City. When will our Police Chief and City Manager make known the details of this policy?

City Manager Augustus is quite ordinary in his bending to disparate impacts on Worcester’s “minority” community.

Millbury Parents Club’s 3rd Annual 5k and Fun Run!


Go, Millbury Public Schools, go!!!

Millbury Parents Club’s 3rd Annual 5k and Fun Run!

May 1

This is our biggest fundraiser of the year to raise money for the Millbury Public Schools to help pay for things that aren’t covered by the school budget including:

buses for field trips

science programs

reading programs and more!

It’s a 5K race and a one mile fun run for kids!

This is a great community event!

CLICK HERE to register and for more info!



From the Worcester NAACP

The Worcester NAACP will not hold our Community/General Membership Meeting today, Monday, June 22.

This is to allow everyone the opportunity to participate in this week’s [Department of Justice] community dialogues concerning “Media and Online Social Networks.”

At Worcester Technical High School

Dialogue begins at 6 p.m.

As a reminder, a light meal will be served from 5 pm – 6 pm

Childcare services will be provided

Shuttle bus service will be available from the bus shelter on Belmont Street (located at the intersection with Skyline Dr.) to Worcester Technical High School between 5:15 pm and 6:15 pm and then back to the bus shelter from 8:15 pm to 9:15 pm.

All that glitters is not golden public policy  

By Gordon Davis

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus released his report on how to make Worcester a more diverse city last week. His ideas are reasonable but late, inadequate and besides the point.

The ideas raised by Augustus (the list was published in the daily but REMOVED within 48 hours!) are mainly old ideas that have failed or old ideas that should have been implemented in Worcester decades ago.

The big idea in the report is the creation of a “Chief Diversity Officer” whose job is to make sure that different populations in Worcester know about and apply for City of Worcester jobs. This should have been an ongoing effort by the City with or without a Chief Diversity Officer. I suppose Augustus will now have a scapegoat to point to when, due to Worcester’s  institutional racism, the City’s work force does not reflect its population.

Another big idea that failed and is being reestablished is the so called Worcester Clergy/ Police Alliance. The problem with this “alliance” is that the well meaning Clergy do not have much influence beyond their own congregations. The police, the Mayor, and the Manager will get well meaning Clergy to stand behind them in photo opps, but do not expect anything substantial to come of it.

The restructuring of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee is just a reshuffling of papers. Nobody in our city government listens to them, and the good people there do not want to get on the bad side of their sponsors by being too critical.

Like other city committees, the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee serves at the pleasure of the City Manager.

The issues of police body cameras, cruiser cameras, and lock up camera should have been done years ago.

It is being done now because of the pressure of the Black (all) Lives Matter new civil rights movement.

As the manager’s report says, the use of these items are being “investigated.” What is not in the report is civilian review of the police. Neither the City Manager who is the boss of the police nor the Worcester Human Rights Commission has a mention in the reports as a means of review by the public of any alleged police misconduct.

The other items in the report regarding education, voting, youth jobs, etc are already being implemented.

There is nothing new in the report.

I am sure all of the city’s politicians, including new political candidates, will be happy with the report, as it relieves them of the responsibility to tell the truth about the lack of transparency in Worcester government.

Some of the city’s right wing politicians will be critical because they do not want to do anything about diversity and are ready to move out to Holden when the Worcester becomes too diverse.

People I like to call “misleaders” who ingratiate themselves with the politicians will be scrambling to take advantages of some of the so-called new ideas in the report. Many of them are now thinking about how they can be hired as the city’s  “Chief Diversity Officer.” Others actually like to be photographed with the leaders to show they have political “juice.”

The schedule of Department of Justice hearings on race and Worcester

ALL OF these public hearings are scheduled for:

Mondays ………. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


May 18:

Overview of dialogue process and setting the stage for dialogue

YWCA of Central Massachusetts, 1 Salem Square

June 1:

Representative Government

Quinsigamond Community College, 670 W Boylston St.

June 8:

Public Safety

Belmont AME Zion Church, 55 Illinois St.

June 15:

Youth and Education

Worcester Technical High School, 1 Skyline Drive (tentative)

June 22:

Media and Online Social Networks

JCC – Jewish Community Center, 633 Salisbury St.

June 29:

Economic Development

Friendly House, 36 Wall St.

July 13:

Report back and next steps

Worcester City Hall, 455 Main St.


SPEAK UP! Speak out!!

For more information, contact humanrights@worcesterma.gov or call 508-799-1152.

Worcester gets a visit from the Department of Justice

By Gordon Davis

It was announced recently that the City of Worcester invited the Department of Justice to hold discussions on race.

The question arises: Why doesn’t the City hold these hearings directly? People have been demanding that there be increased scrutiny of the police department, a review of the seemingly racist overreaction at North High School, and the lack of written city policies on developers hiring Worcester residents for their Worcester construction projects.

Many people have said our public schools are underfunded and a part of a system that will have negative racial impacts.  The people who have gone to Worcester City Council meetings, Worcester School Committee meetings and other meetings are still here and no one from City Hall has asked them to begin a “discussion” on race.

The Department of Justice will work with Worcester through the Worcester City Manager’s Coalition against Bias and Hate. This group consists of very well meaning people, but as a group it has not spoken out against the racist murders of unarmed working class people, especially Black men. It has not spoken out against the racist over-reaction against North High students. It remained silent when the issue of jobs for Worcester residents was raised at the former Worcester County Courthouse. The Coalition against Bias and Hate is run by the Worcester City Manager to give him cover on issues of race.

This cover for the City is seen in that it went to the media first before it contacted any Black or Latino person who has raised his/her voice against racism.

The Coalition has said it would announce a schedule for the race discussions on April 24. This makes no sense, given the urgency of the issue. The arrest of a police officer for allegedly beating a handcuffed prisoner at the City lock up adds more urgency to the situation. I don’t think that the City’s Coalition against Bias and Hate has the experience or will to do anything  substantial against racism, given its track record. However, I will keep an open mind on the issue.

The discussion of race should include the urgent discussion of police conduct and that of Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus. He and Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme are seeking charges against two people who have participated in the Black Lives Matter new civil rights movement and were at the Kelley Square Black Lives Matter protest. This is an obvious attempt by the City of Worcester to intimidate other people who have raised their voices against racism. There is no evidence that can be used in court against the two people, but the City is going forward with its prosecution next week, on April 15.

There will be a rally on April 14, 6:30 p.m., at Worcester City Hall, Main Street, in support of the people being persecuted by the City of Worcester. On April 18, 1 p.m., there will be a discussion of race and police conduct sponsored by the Massachusetts Human Rights Commission and the Progressive Labor Party at the Worcester Public Library, located at 3 Salem Square in downtown Worcester. Be there!

Worcester City Councillor Konstantina (Konnie) Lukes owes the City and its residents an apology for her “support the police department absolutely” resolution. Her resolution and statements made by Michael Gaffney have made it that much harder to appropriately scrutinize police misconduct. This issue should also be discussed during the DoJ discussion on race.

The Department of Justice coming to Worcester and the arrest of the police officer in Worcester for alleged civil rights violations are a sign that the Black (All) Lives Matter new civil rights movement is making an impact. These things would not have happened, if it were not for the protests, meetings, workshops and marches of the people speaking out against racism.

Five things you won’t hear Scott Brown say (i.e. the truth) about his tax record

By Jason A. Stephany, MassUniting

At a noon press conference in Randolph on Tuesday, US Senator Scott Brown delivered what his office claimed would be a “major policy speech” on taxes. To the surprise of few in Massachusetts, Brown’s remarks turned out to be nothing more than the stereotypical, failed tax rhetoric of his Republican colleagues in Washington. More telling were the facts Brown failed to mention about his voting record on taxes. Here are five true statements we didn’t hear from the junior senator in Randolph:

1. “I voted to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.”

Scott Brown voted to filibuster the Creating American Jobs & Ending Offshoring Act, a bill would have ended tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs or build plants and offices offshore to replace American facilities. The vote came as thousands of American workers face impending layoffs while training their replacements from China, India, and elsewhere. (US Senate roll call vote #242, 9/28/10)


2. “I gave $24 billion of your tax dollars to Big Oil.”

In the face of drastic budget cuts, Scott Brown voted three times to give more than $24 billion in taxpayer funds to the oil industry over the next decade. The top five Big Oil companies – BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell – are amongst the most profitable corporations in the world, posting $137 billion in profits in 2011 alone. (US Senate roll call votes #187 6/15/10; #72, 5/17/11; #63, 3/29/12)


3. “I’d really like to take more money out of your paycheck.”

Scott Brown voted to filibuster legislation to extend the payroll tax cut for working families – holding low and middle income workers hostage to shield the wealthiest Americans from a small surtax on income over $1 million. In effect, Brown cast a deciding vote to raise taxes on 113 million working families. In Massachusetts, the surtax would have affected just 0.6% of taxpayers with an average income of more than $2 million. (US Senate roll call vote #219, 12/1/11)

4. “I support tax breaks for millionaires…just not middle class or low-income families.”

Three times in 2010 and again in 2012, Scott Brown voted to kill measures that would extend tax cuts for the middle class. Like his vote for payroll tax hikes, Brown used the same rationale to justify his votes to raise taxes on middle and low-income families: those making $250,000 to $1 million or more each year shouldn’t have to pay their fair share like the rest of his Massachusetts constituents. (US Senate roll call votes #258 & #259, 12/4/10; #275, 12/15/10; #184, 7/25/12)


5. “I filibustered tax credits and loans that help small businesses grow and create jobs.”

Despite his claims of supporting job creators, Scott Brown repeatedly filibustered and opposed major legislation that helps small businesses grown and create jobs. Brown twice voted to filibuster the Small Business Jobs & Credit Act – a bill that connected growing small businesses to credit through community banks and offered significant tax credits to small firms that create American jobs. When his filibuster failed, Brown voted again to kill the legislation. The Massachusetts Bankers Association stated that failure to act on the bill “would be a missed opportunity that our struggling economy cannot afford.” (US Senate roll call votes #218 & #221, 7/29/10; #237, 9/14/10)


Per usual, Senator Brown took no questions from constituents or reporters, ducking out a back door immediately following his speech. But anyone who takes issue with Brown’s out-of-step voting record on taxes – or any other issue, for that matter – may contact his office at (617) 565-3170.

The drug days of summer horse racing

By Kathy Guillermo

There’s quite a buzz surrounding the possibility that I’ll Have Another will cross the finish line first in the Belmont Stakes June 9 and become the first Triple Crown Winner since 1978. The subtext to this public discussion is a lot seedier: I’ll Have Another’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, has a long rap sheet of drugging violations.

For more than a decade, O’Neill has been in trouble over and over again for administering substances illegally to horses. Just last week, the California Horse Racing Board suspended O’Neill for 45 days in that state and fined him $15,000 for a drugging violation. Statistics show that the horses he trains suffer catastrophic injury at twice the rate of the national average—an indication that somehow (anti-inflammatory drugs? Painkillers? Muscle relaxants?) horses are raced when fatigue and injury should dictate rest and recuperation.

To those of us not involved in thoroughbred racing, the questions are obvious: How is it that this man can still be training horses? How can it be that someone who wouldn’t even be allowed to unload a horse van on a track in one state is garnering accolades as he prepares to run a horse in another? And why has the racing industry embraced him and not kicked him out on his chemical-laden can?

So here’s a message to the racing industry: Stop blaming your bad image on the animal protection organizations that work to improve living, racing and retirement conditions for thoroughbreds. Quit your griping and clean up your act.

Thoroughbred racing needs a zero-tolerance policy. This means much more than a multiyear debate about whether or not furosemide, also known as Lasix or Salix, should be allowed on the day that a horse races. The discussion about this drug, which purports to prevent bleeding in the lungs during exertion, is the racing industry’s delaying tactic: If they focus on this one medication, they won’t have to talk about the 25 or 30 injections of drugs that are often given to horses in the week before a race.

“Zero-tolerance” means that repeat offenders need to find a new career.

The misuse of legal drugs to keep unfit horses racing is what is killing racing—and thoroughbreds—in America. Everyone from the groom to the top trainer knows it, but few are willing to admit it, with notable exceptions. At a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission hearing on race-day medications at which I testified last fall, famed thoroughbred owner Arthur Hancock commented: “Therapeutic drugs are given to a horse who is ailing or recovering. Is every horse in every race ill or injured?”

Retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens recently testified before Congress on the use of drugs to keep horses running: “Horses need down time. … Horses need time off to heal naturally. … [A] lot of good horses would still be running today, if medications weren’t used in the way they are. Would you inject your son or daughter so they could run in a track meet? I don’t think so. You would let them heal and miss a race or two until they could come back and not damage themselves more. So why would we do it to horses?”

Because there’s no federal oversight of horse racing, the Jockey Club, too, is trying to deal with the deadly proliferation of drugs. They’ve proposed sensible rules and penalties that could get the worst of the offenders out of racing altogether. But they need every one of the racing boards in 38 separate states to buy into the plan.

It’s clear that these racing heavy-hitters can’t stop the excessive drugging by themselves. The entire racing industry needs to embrace reform instead of syringes. Every trainer could start by firing the veterinarians whose answer to an ache is a regimen of drugs instead of rest. Every thoroughbred owner should fire or not hire trainers with violations. This would mean a good many track vets and trainers would be filing for unemployment. But it might also mean the beginning of clean racing—and this means fewer injuries and deaths on the racetrack.

Until this happens, don’t go to a race and don’t bet on one. If the racing industry won’t do the right thing for the right reasons, let’s make sure their already plummeting profits fall through the floor. Maybe then they’ll quit doping the horses.

Hooray for Mayor Joe O’Brien!

By Rosalie Tirella

Well, finally, our new mayor shows some cajones! Mayor Joe O’Brien has snubbed Joff Smith (at the moment an At Large Worcester city councilor with an at-LARGE ego but a Missing-in-Action brain) for the gal from Elm Street – Margot Barnet. He will formally endorse Barnet for the District 13 State Rep seat that Mr. Hottie Pants, Bob Spellane, has decided to give up after a number of horrid/stupid mis-steps (political and personal).

Barnet, a lady who has been president of the fab Regional Environmental Council, one-time home to the equally fab REC Director of Development Josie Shagwert and equally bright and articulate (and fab) REC ex-executive director Peggy Middaugh, is the kind of person we want to represent District 13. Smart, intelligent, honest.

We were getting so bummed out over the field of candidates – especially Joff Smith, a guy who, just because he looks cute in a suit, thinks he is somehow destined for a political career, a chance to lead “the people.” He’s been waiting for a chance like this for, let’s see, forever.

Why is it that men’s egos grow in inverse proportion to their IQs?

Smith’s ego is FUCKIN’ huge – and his contribution to the City of Worcester is so small! He has contributed next to nothing as a Worcester City Councilor, and despite his efforts to grand stand and jump on the hot issues like A.L.Beetle-mania, he is ultimately pointless. Continue reading Hooray for Mayor Joe O’Brien!