Tag Archives: residents

Councilor Bill Eddy, welcome to Barbara Haller’s world! OR: Let’s see what you’re made of, Eddy!

This in today’s T & G:

“South Middlesex Opportunity Council has put in writing that the triage center for homeless people will vacate the former Anna Maria Rest Home property no later than Nov. 15 next year.

“Officials of the Framingham-based social services non-profit made that promise at a meeting of more than 300 neighborhood residents last week, but some of them questioned SMOC’s credibility.

“City Manager Michael V. O’Brien added his own assurance to the neighbors of the property at 1398 Main St. that the triage center will be gone from the neighborhood by Nov. 15. In addition, SMOC signed a four-page Good Neighbor Agreement Nov. 22 that outlines the responsibilities of SMOC and of neighbors for maintaining the property and safety and good conduct around it.

“SMOC notes that the Good Neighbor Agreement represents the intentions of the parties but is not a legally binding document. It provides the telephone number of Jayde Campbell, the top SMOC official at the triage center, so that complaints can be conveyed to him.”

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So … now Worcester City Councilor Bill Eddy has a headache on his hands. The mess is in HIS district! Eddy will now actually have to prove he’s got a brain – actually work for his $27,000 a year city councilor “stipend.”

Councilor Eddy, you think you have headaches?! D-4 Barbara Haller has had to deal with this for almost a decade! Almost a decade of PIP/SMOC/enraged residents/enraged social service advocates re: the PIP’s/SMOC’s Main South site.

Let’s see what you’re made of, Billy Boy!

New Triage Center Site Meeting tonight! Discussion during City Council meeting tomorrow night!

Yikes!

– Rosalie Tirella

Green Islanders out of the loop (and pissed about it!), re: the building of new WRTA garage across from Crompton Park

By Maureen Schwab

I am writing regarding the April 21 press conference, announcing plans for the Worcester Regional Trasnsit Authority (WRTA) to move operations from Grove Street to the empty NSTAR lot on Quinsigamond Ave., across from Crompton Park.

I am a resident of Green Island, and live across the street from Crompton Park. So naturally, I am very interested in any development that may impact my neighborhood and, more importantly, the use of our beloved Crompton Park.

This move, according to District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller was a “done deal” before anyone in the neighborhood had a chance to review the plan and hear how WRTA operations would impact life in Green Island and use of the park.

The first I heard about this plan was several months ago when it was mentioned at one of the Crompton Park meetings held by the Worcester Parks Department (that’s another story). There have been several articles about the sale in the T & G over the past few months.

The only reason I was at the press conference yesterday was because I was walking my dog and saw a tent going up on Quinsigamond Ave. and asked about the event. I was told it was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new WRTA headquarters.

Let me make it clear: No one from the neighborhood was invited to this event, even though it was mentioned that the neighborhood welcomes this move. I spoke with Barbara Haller and Mayor Joseph O’Brien after the event to voice my opinion and to make it very clear to the mayor that the neighborhood was not involved in the decision, and no one from the neighborhood was invited to attend the press conference.

Green Island neighborhood activist Lorraine Laurie may have known about the plans for the move (not the press conference), but she is telling me that the weather was too harsh for a meeting and that this is private property that can be sold to anyone.

I strongly disagree. Even building on private property has to have any plan approved by the City of Worcester Zoning Board and Planning Department, at the very least. I am planning a meeting with Mayor O’Brien to review the plan and will eventually bring it to the people of Green Island. Lorraine may be setting up a meeting with Steve O’Neil, director of the WRTA.

As a resident of Green Island, I see this as the death knell for the residential aspect of Green Island.

Do you remember what Millbury Street looked like 10 years ago, before the Route 146 connector went in? I would like to see these operations – WRTA and Mass. Department of Transportation – moved to the old Wyman Gordon property on Lamartine Street. According to Lorraine Laurie, WRTA was not asked to buy the property. More importantly, it is probably more money than the WRTA wanted to spend.

In my opinion, buy the land, get grants to clean up the toxins in the soil, and turn it into an extension of Crompton Park!

I would appreciate knowing the how’s and why’s of this move.

One of the reasons the WRTA may be leaving Grove Street may be because of the noise and pollution the huge bus garage/operations center brings to the neighborhood.

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.

Pathetic.

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!