By Rosalie Tirella
My Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray patronage post (see “Hush! Hush!” post below) is missing the following important factoid: the Republican fundraiser who raised thousands of dollars for Murray – and whom Murray had to dump after grousings from the gov, his boss, and after a critical Boston Globe story – was “rewarded” by Murray, after he gave Murray the big bundle of bucks. Murray appointed the guy – a nursing home developer type – to a board somewhere (I think) in Brockton. Murray gave the guy the position as (and let’s not be coy) as a reward because it was a position that would have enabled Murray’s fundraiser pal to do good by his biz interests. Talk about quid pro quo! Which, of course, doesn’t get talked about in Worcester, when it comes to Murray or any of our politicians, really. Which is why we get the shenanigans of a Bob Spellane (see post below).
And how coincidental is this? The $100,000 + UMass Medical School job that Murray got for his best pal Leary – after a few phone calls, no doubt – is a NEWLY CREATED JOB at UMass (just for Leary??) and IT PAYS the exact same salary Leary is now making as Murray’s #1 aide in the State House.
What a tragedy! After all the neighborhood meetings, after all the heart-wrenching testimonials from neighborhood folks, after all the PROMISES from city officials, City Manager Mike O’Brien, with the blessings of the City Council, has closed our nine city pools for the summer. Most of the pools will most likely never have a kid cannonball into them again. How tragic!
Last year, they were fine – 8 of the 9 were opened to the public. The public being lots of minority, poor inner-city folks with not a lot of money/options for summer fun. This year, according to city officials, the pools are lethal! With killer drains, according to DPW and Parks head Robert Moylan! Killer drains that could reach up and grab a flutter-kicking leg and … Gak! It’s the attack of the Killer Drain!! Call the Ghost Busters! Or the Worcester Police Department!
Stop demonizing the drains! Fix them! And with the $200,000 set aside so far for private, non-progfit pool openings in the city, O’Brien could do just that. We do not warm to O’Brien’s contingency plan for summer 2009. Lots of the nonprofits that have offered help have just (so far) opted to expand pool hours for their members (or kids who want to join their organizations). The Boys Club, Girls Inc, YWCA, Main South YMCA have not – so far – opened their pools up to non-member inner-city kids. They must do this if they want to help …
But even if they do step up to the plate, we fear kids will not: take the city sponsored buses to the sites, have enough time to really have fun before they are pushed out to make room for Syncromaid practice or family “dip” for Y members. Our kids will just be squeezed in and made to feel second best.
So let’s take the money that O’Brien has set aside for lifeguards, buses, support staff, etc at the nonprofit pools and call on a few fantastic blue collar guys (contractors/plumbers) to fix/spackle three or four of the city pools. The rest of the money can be used to hire lifeguards, etc.
What we think happened was this: O’Brien and Moylan (even while they were hearing the pleas/testimonials from inner-city kids!) were planning to close all the city pools – many in poor neighborhoods. Which is why they didn’t even begin to hire/train life guards, hire support staff, etc this year. And of course they could cover their butts with: “We’re in a national, state and city recession! We have no money! We are laying city workers off left and right! Pools are an extravagance at this time!”
Bull shit. Their city-leased SUV’s are an extravagance! (and the dozen or so big wig in City Hall who have them, complete with free gas, don’t want to geive them up!) Worcester cops making more than $150,000 a year are an extravagance! (just regular ol’ patrol men/women!) Neither cops nor fire dept will join the real world and pay 25% of their helath insurance premiums. This is where the city budget fat is. This is where we could get the money to fix and open ALL OUR CITY POOLS!
Let’s be real – honest.