Tag Archives: Worcester City Councilor Konstantina Lukes

Three-decker porches (or: The Green Island slumlord, Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes)

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Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Below: Check out this ol’ photo from the Worcester Historical Museum! Embrace the glorious porches! When so many of our city neighborhoods had sturdy, even beautiful, decorative, back and front porches … You could park 4 or 5 of your old kitchen chairs on them, invite family and socialize … Or you could just amble over to a city park.

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photo: Worcester Historical Museum

Below: Worcester’s Green Island – my neighborhood – today! Very few front porches – most of them have been torn down.😥😥😥 The ‘hood loses some of its social spiciness! I remember as a kid standing on our back porch chatting with my next door neighbor who was standing on her back porch. You could also stand on your porch and yell up or down to your upstairs or downstairs neighbors who were hanging out on their porches!

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Ward Street

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Siegel Street

Harding/Endicott streets …

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… Streets most likely named after, like all the streets in my ‘hood – some of the oldest streets in the city💙 – Revolutionary War poo-bahs or Worcester industrialist hoo-hahs. I was born on (French general) Lafayette Street, my kid sisters had friends on nearby (General) Lodi Street. Was Harding Street the namesake of some military dynamo-killer, too?

Ahhhh, but I digress! Check out the new beautiful porches in my neck of the ‘hood! Take note of what the NEW landlord has done to Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes’s old (as in former) slum building on Harding Street: he’s torn down Lukes’s former, God-awful, rickety, dangerous, paint-peeling-and-faded, OUT OF CODE, eye-sore slum porches! He is putting new beautiful ones up! Ones that aren’t baby/toddler death traps! Yay!💗💗💗

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The new landlord has actually HIRED capable contractors – a move the cheapskate Lukes would abhor – who expertly REBUILT AND REPLACED Konnie’s old crap last week. Just a few months after buying Konnie’s urban mess…the one she and hubby Jim turned a blind eye toward FOR YEARS as she, on the City Council floor, preached urban core revitalization, tidiness and brightness yet owned the shittiest rental property. Of course, she and Jim lived on the swanky Woo West Side and vacationed at their Cape Cod home – far away from us hoi polloi!!!

Hah! Konnie, Ms. Crusading City Councilor … at Worcester City Hall railing against the disrespect shown inner-city Worcester at every turn, but shitting all over her in “real life”! The hypocrite!

When I saw the new porches being built the other day, I shouted: “GREAT JOB, GUYS!” to the crew working so hard in the summer heat wave. I gave them a thumbs up! They grinned and shouted back to me! The new porches: so safe and in compliance – a definite lift to the Harding Street/lower Endicott Street area, these pressure-treated, sturdy back porches!

Here’s what the porches used to look like (for years, up until a few months ago), when City Councilor Konstantina Lukes owned them/the building:

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Pathetic.

Jim and Konnie’s other rental property, a few streets away in Green Island, made the newspapers as photogs rushed in to take pictures of her apartments with their gurgling, non-functioning toilets and a single light bulb hanging from a cord in a kitchen – the only “light fixture.” Like in a 1940s prison movie.

Why did Konnie even pretend to care about Worcester’s urban core when she so blatantly hurts us?

Why is she still on the Worcester City Council?

Aside from Lukes’s voter-catnip always lowest residential tax rate stance, what does Konnie Lukes really stand for?

At this point in her overly long Woo political career,  nothing. Lukes is simply a REACTIONARY who adds zippo to the urban conversation. She was always the City Council naysayer: now she’s morphed into someone dangerous. Some one, like Turtle Boy-Aidan Kearney and his brigade, who shouts NO! to the new Worcester and the challenges she faces: refugees from the Mid East, Africa and other war-ripped regions; poorer people; hungry children – 1 in 4 Worcester kids goes to bed hungry; folks with no entry into the working class; heartless, absentee, do-nothing landlords in place of the old non-greedy, pretty nice, property-loving Worcester three decker landlords of just 10 years ago … a city core unable to right herself because the new global economy is just not there for the regular folks who live here.

For City Councilor Konnie Lukes – on the heels of the tragic deaths of the 2 Woo babies this past week, for her to intimate on the City Council floor that their deaths were a “refugee” problem is pure evil. A la the Turtle Boy brigade.

Konnie Lukes needs to go – not run for City Council and win office for the umpteenth time. Several years ago she told me she would not run for public office if there were new candidates she liked to replace her (read: reactionary, like Konnie…Calling Michael Gaffney and his tool, Coreen!!) I was pleased with Konnie’s decision. She was in her early 70s back then and had almost a half century of public “service” under her girdle belt. But Lukes can’t let go of the spot light – and all the free perks$$$ and the almost $30,000 per year Worcester City Councilor “stipend.”

This city has left Konnie Lukes and the Turtle Boy creepos way behind. And they cannot adjust to the new reality … . Konnie, like Aidan Kearney,  no longer “gets” her city, cannot embrace her new people/cultures/challenges. Her ignorance, her anger, her belief that to solve our social problems all we need to do is lock folks out of/turn folks away from Worcester, an IMMIGRANT CITY, is a REACTIONARY move. Dangerous.

This city’s evolution is about way more than Konnie’s old porches …

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… but Konnie’s old porches are a good place to start.

Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes’ Canal District dump!

Look at these porches! Behold our neighborhood dump! I am fixated on the hypocrisy of this losing situation – for tenants and neighbors alike. Would the City of Worcester allow a non-city councilor (read: regular ol’ landlord) to show back porches like these pieces of cobbled-together crap to the world? – allow rental property owned by anyone other than a connected politician to have porches so blatantly out of code – and ugly? And Lukes had the gall to question the aesthetics of the Pow Wow Worcester murals! Her Cape Cod house, East Brookfield lakeside cabin, West Side home and Park Ave Victorian office digs will never be victims of such shoddy “workmanship”! Only in the ‘hood that she claims she champions. And she was once mayor …

Pathetic.

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Lukes’ odious rental property is located on the corner of Harding and Endicott streets – check it out, folks! And … call the city’s inspectional services! (I did). Watch them look away!

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Just a few houses away, cuteness reigns! My Cece!

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A bon bon to Lilac! But to me…

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And just a 7 minute ride from Konnie’s dumpy dump funky rules at Unique Finds!

Check out the hidden gems at Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop – at 1329 Main St. – today!

Located at the corner of Henshaw and Main streets in Webster Square.

Convenient parking in back!

Open today until 7 p.m.

Open Monday, Tuesday … EVERY DAY!

BEST PRICES IN TOWN!

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Genius…How can you explain it?

text+pics by Rosalie Tirella

Clark U always in style! … props for YOUR next film at Unique Finds! …and City Councilor Konnie Lukes’ slum housing

Clark University to host conversation with international acclaimed film director Gurinder Chadha, Oct. 24

Clark University will host “Film Making, Creativity, Migrant Biographies, Diasporic Disruption,” a conversation with internationally acclaimed film director Gurinder Chadha and Clark Sociology Professor Parminder Bhachu…

CLARK UNIVERSITY

Monday, October 24

at 6 p.m. in Dana Commons, 950 Main St.

Free to all!

Chadha is one of the most successful female film directors in the world; she has directed more than 15 films.

Her internationally-successful film “Bend It Like Beckham” (2002) was the highest grossing British-financed, British-distributed film ever in UK box office history until the more recent success of “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008). Her other notable films include “Bhaji on the Beach” (1993), “Bride and Prejudice” (2004) and “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging” (2008). Her new film “The Viceroy’s House,” on the partition of India and Pakistan, will be released in early 2017.

Chadha started a media career in radio in the mid-1980s then moved into television as a BBC news reporter. She directed award-winning documentaries for the British Film Institute, BBC and Channel Four, and in 1989 released the documentary “I’m British but…,” which followed the lives of young British Asians. Many of Chadha’s films draw on her personal experience of being an Indian and English at the same time, and how she dealt with the duality of her identity.

Parminder Bhachu is a professor of sociology and an urban anthropologist from London who has been a citizen of Worcester for the past 25 years. She is a scholar of diasporic economic, cultural, and creative forms in global domains. Her publications and research focus on multiple migrants, whose second and third generation progeny – which includes Gurinder Chadha—are some of the most cutting edge creative agents in the world, spearheading creativity in the fields of technology, science, art, music, performance, architecture, and film. She was Henry R. Luce Professor of Cultural Identities and Global Processes for nine years and served as director of Clark’s Women’s Studies Program.

Professor Bhachu is the author of “Dangerous Designs: Asian Women Fashion the Dispora Economics” (2004) and “Twice Migrants” (1985), and is co-editor of “Immigration and Entrepreneurship: Culture, Capital and Ethnic Networks” (1993) and “Enterprising Women: Ethnicity, Economy & Gender Relations” (1988). She is currently working on a book, “Disruptive Diasporas: Migrant Creativity and Innovation in Hyper-Connected Worlds.”

Both Chadha and Bhachu share a multiple migrant diasporic biography, their families being a part of the Indian diaspora in East Africa. Both are honored in their respective fields for their work on the subject; Chadha was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Queen for her services to the British Film Industry.

This event is funded by the Office of The President, Office of the Provost, Cultural Studies and Communication, the Geography Department, History Department, the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Screen Studies Program, the Sociology Department and the Political Science Department through the Chester Bland Fund.

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Some unique props at Unique Finds – 1329 Main St. (Open SAT, SUN, MON, TUES…7 days a week!!! Until 7 p.m.): pics:R.T.

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And if you’re looking to shoot your movie in a slum atmosphere, head to Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes’ rental property: the three decker on Harding/Millbury streets, Worcester. It’s the neighborhood eyesore! – R.T.

Today, around 5 p.m.:

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Look at these windows! pics:R.T.

Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes’ slummy back porches

I was driving around Crompton Park a few days ago when I stopped at a red light and was able to take a good long look at Worcester City Councilor Konstantina (aka Konnie) Lukes’ Millbury Street property – specifically the back porches of the three decker. Pathetic.

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I went out with a contractor for several years who knew all about buildings and building codes. I learned that little kids and babies are important, and they can fall off a poorly constructed three decker back or front porch. One IMPORTANT construction reg: the railings on your back porches should be sturdy – not made of shit wood – and they should be be spaced so many inches apart SO THAT A BABY OR LITTLE KID CAN’T STICK HER HEAD THROUGH THE SPACE OR HER BODY THROUGH THE GAP AND FALL TO HER DEATH. There are building code regs, LAWS, that address this. A construction worker would be doing his job illegally if he/she failed to build the porches correctly, make them “up to code.” It goes beyond doing a “Mickey Mouse” job.

Look at Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes’ back porches: See the huge spaces between the cheapo sticks of wood? Dangerous and illegal.

Where is the City of Worcester Building Code Department?

Is everyone asleep at the wheel on Meade Street? ! Or are they just looking the other way because Lukes is a city councilor? Is it OK to slap some particle board across the mess on the third floor and call it a day?

The Lukes must have known they were endangering little kids’ lives because they slapped big, ugly brown particle board planks ACROSS the railings to reinforce things. Make the back porches “safe.” What a joke. You’ve still got ugly, ugly unsafe back porches. I’d like to meet their “licensed” contractor – ha ha.

THANK YOU, Worcester City Councilor Konstantina Lukes for stooping so low! Your HYPOCRITICAL, slumlord heart knows no boundaries as you talk the talk about making Worcester a world-class city and then pull THIS SHIT in our urban neighborhoods.

I will be down to Meade Street, this afternoon, with these photos, Konnie.

– Rosalie Tirella

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The WPD: City Manager Ed Augustus and the Worcester City Council’s tool of retaliation and harassment

By Gordon T. Davis

The harassment of the Black Lives Matter protesters by the Worcester Police and by some on the Worcester City Council is unethical and possibly illegal.

The City government is wasting Worcester taxpayers’ money and time by looking for new laws to harass the protesters. Instead, it should be having open discussions about real policing policies, including police misconduct.

The following are some issues for which the Worcester City Council should be setting policy, but is not:

prostitution in Main South

increased shootings in Worcester

increased heroin overdoses in Worcester

the need or lack of need for stationary license plate readers

the use of body cameras on Worcester  police officers.

What are the Worcester City Council’s respective policies that it wants Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus to instruct the Worcester Police Department to effectuate? Do not expect anything controversial …

At the January 13, 2015, Worcester City Council meeting Worcester City Councillor Konstantina Lukes said the Worcester Police were reduced to the tactics of harassment to drive out the people she did not like near her rental property in the Canal District.  The same seems to be taking place again with the Black Lives Matter protesters.

On January 20, 2015, Worcester Police Chief Gemme said he was looking into the actions by the Black Lives Matter protesters who stood out at Kelly Square on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. About 50 protesters, some holding signs on the sidewalk and others standing in the crosswalk, held up traffic that day for four and one half minutes. They did that to bring attention to the four and one-half hours Michael Brown lay dead in the street after being shot by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer.

Like Councillor Lukes admitted at the Council meeting: Worcester police have been again reduced to a tool of retaliation and harassment.

The evidence that Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme is retaliating and harassing is the fact that he could not articulate any charges that could be brought against the protesters. His comments that he was looking into a “variety” of charges is evidence of the pretext. City Manager Augustus has said it was he who directed Police Chief Gemme to charge the Kelley Square protesters. He claimed they were disrupting people’s day to day lives and putting folks in danger.

The protesters who blocked I 93 near Boston two weeks ago were charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and willfully blocking an ambulance.

None of these charges apply to any of the protesters in Worcester. Worcester sidewalks and crosswalks, like any municipal walkway, are public spaces and there was not a trespassing violation.  The Worcester police did not witness any disorderly conduct. There were no arrests and therefore there could not have been any resistance of arrest. The protesters allowed an ambulance to pass without the ambulance even having to stop.

The Worcester City Council will have to create another oppressive ordinance to charge the Black Lives Matter protesters like it did when it banned panhandling or shooed the We Are The 99% protesters off the Worcester City Common.  Then Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien wanted to meet with the protesters, but they were anathema to then Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien, who kept them off public space, often used through history for the community to gather together – our Worcester Common. Once again, city officials will hide behind the straw man of “public safety.”

At the City Council meeting of January 20, 2015, Councillor Lukes and others compelled the Worcester City Manager to explain the “protocols” for demonstrations. Although the Black Lives Matter demonstrations have gone on for months, City Manager Augustus has not said much about them. Now Augustus is tamping them down.

The Worcester City Manager is supposed to be the “civilian” review board for Worcester. It is clear that Augustus is not capable of making any necessary reforms to the Worcester Police Department.

I can’t remember any time that the Worcester City Council deliberated any policy for the Worcester Police Department. As a rule it allows the Police Chief to do as he sees fit, and our city managers have just rubber-stamped police activities. It is ironic that police policy was deliberated at the January 20, 2015, City Council meeting –  when the issue was the Black Lives Matter protesters.

I was told that the City Council has requested about 40 reports from the City Manager about the activities of the Worcester Police and none have been given to the Worcester City Council. Police Chief Gemme uses as an excuse for his non-compliance the lack of police personnel to do the research.

No one really knows what is going on in the Worcester Police Department.

A few surprises at the January 13 Worcester City Council meeting

walk_outsingingWalking out singing …

By Gordon T. Davis

There were a few surprises at the Worcester City Council meeting on January 13, 2015.

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus spoke a few words about the good things being done by the City of Worcester to resolve issues. He said these efforts were not well known. He said the next class of City of Worcester police officers was half “minority.”

The surprise is not that what the City is doing is unknown to residents, but that City Manager Augustus spoke at all. He has been an absent voice.

When, during the city council meeting, the Black Lives Matter people rose up singing and walked out after the passage of Worcester City Councillor Konstantina Luke’s community-splitting resolution, that moment was a surprise.

As the Black Lives Matter folks were leaving the city council chambers, Worcester Mayor Joe Petty thanked them for their input. This was an interesting surprise, as it showed that there are people in the City who do not see themselves as interlocutors between the people and the powers that be.

Indirectly related to the events in Worcester: the blockade of I-93.

It is a surprise to many how much energy this issue of police accountability is generating. It should not be a surprise if this actually becomes a new American Civil Rights Movement. And Worcester is 20 paces behind.

It was not a surprise that the Worcester City Council voted for Councillor Lukes’ resolution to support the police unconditionally and at the same time bash the Black Lives Matter protesters.

It was something of a surprise that two City Councillors voted against it. This might have been a Profile in Courage moment in their political lives. Their votes might affect their political careers. I think City Councillor Rivera is fairly safe and will get reelected. She is a District Councillor in a district that likely supports better police accountability. The same cannot be said for At Large City Councillor Rushton. He may pay a price at the polls for his political courage.

Before the Worcester City Council meeting it was reported that the Mayor sought some compromise either from Councillor Lukes or from the so called minority communities, or both.

Councillor Lukes was at one time a reasonable person and would have compromised, but her personality has changed within the last few years. She refused to change one single word of her resolution. This was not a surprise.

In a meeting with the so called minority communities Councillor Rivera came up with wording that softened Councillor Lukes’ resolution and a decision was made to make the new wording a friendly amendment. This was surprising, as Councillor actually went out on a limb for previously marginalized communities.

A group of protesters and residents spoke against Councillor Lukes’ resolution. This was not a surprise, given the numerous protests that have continued since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Councillor Luke’s reactions to the Black Lives Matter protesters were a surprise.  She became very emotional and said police could not help her drive out trouble makers who live near her property in the Canal District. She never made clear the connection between her resolution and the trouble in her Canal District property.

Councillor Lukes sounded distraught when Mayor Petty came to her rescue by telling the audience that she deserved respect.

It was not surprising that Councillor Gaffney – some people say he is a member of the Tea Party –  gave a “I am not a racist “ apology for voting with Councillor Lukes. Gaffney spoke on how he had to work hard to get where he is. He went to school at Worcester State College and worked a full-time job at the same time. Like Councillor Lukes getting distraught over crime in the Canal District, the connection between Gaffney’s hard work and the black experience – and Lukes’ resolution – was unclear.

It was not a surprise when Mayor Petty would not allow the friendly amendment written by Councillor Rivera to come to a vote.

Instead, he bowed to the wishes of Councilor Lukes.

The Mayor allowed Councillor Rivera’s amendment to be voted on as a separate resolution. It was not a surprise that City Councillors seeking political cover voted for this separate resolution.

 

The Worcester City Council and its ping-pong-ball sized balls

By Gordon T. Davis

Once hidden or papered over, the open conflict of the duties of the Worcester Police Department, the policy obligations of the Worcester City Council, and the demographic changes in Worcester will be like an open sore for all to see at tonight’s – January 13 – Worcester City Council meeting (7 p.m., City Hall, Main Street).

The Worcester City Council will pass a resolution supporting the Worcester Police absolutely and attacking the growing number of people, especially the so called minorities, who protested against police misconduct in Ferguson, Missouri, and in Worcester.

It is a foregone conclusion that the resolution written by Worcester City Councillor Konstantina (Konnie) Lukes will pass unchanged, its tone still provocative. There were some who thought City Councillor Ric Rushton would revise Luke’s resolution so it would be less provocative and leave open the door for dialog.

Many people are angry, disappointed, and feel betrayed by the actions of the Worcester City Council. Not one City Councillor has said that he/she will vote against the resolution tonight.

There is discussion among the opponents of the resolution about how to respond to what we consider another in a long line of racist disparities disguised as neutral policy.

Communities United is planning a MLK Potluck Dinner on January 19 to win support for their efforts and to reclaim the passion of Martin Luther King Jr. and infuse it into a new civil rights movement.

Communities United and others have taken a lead in the protests at City Council.  Their efforts have put the City somewhat on the defensive. Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme has come out in the press with a “Black on Black” news story. The number of shootings in Worcester has increased. The statistics and the police’s policy is hard to know, as the City Council has no policy regarding the police actions and Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus is mum, pretty much letting Chief Gemme do as he sees fit. This issue should be addressed, but the fact that it came out hours before the City Council meeting is evidence of its pretext.

The Police Department has put the pressure on the City Council by alleging that the delay of Councillor Lukes’ resolution has caused morale problems among the ranks.

City Manager Augustus, who is the supposed boss of the police, is nowhere to be found on these issues.  How is it possible the Police Chief can speak for the City department and the City Manager says nothing?

Evidence of racism disguised as neutral policy has been the elections of Councilors. No male person of color has been elected to the Worcester City Council in my almost 50 years living in Worcester as an adult! Lenny Cooper, Bill Coleman, Juan Gomez could not get elected, although Juan Gomez was appointed when a councillor resigned.  Women of color have been able to win elections and their elections are well deserved.

2015 is a City Council election year and no one councilor wants to be seen soft on crime. The City’s demographics are changing. We shall see who votes against Luke’s resolution tonight and his/her fate in the fall elections. Playing the neutral, non-racism card seems to be getting harder to do in Worcester.