Tag Archives: Worcester preliminary election

Black Lives Matter and Worcester Elections

By Gordon Davis

The elections in Worcester have been affected by the new civil rights movement Black Lives Matter.

Its effects are also being felt nationally. The effects are not always as obviously dramatic as incumbent Worcester City Coucilors not making the cut off of twelfth place on the Worcester ballot, but the effects are seen in new ways racism has played a direct role.  To a large extent the entire election season has been framed by racial issues not only in Worcester, but in the campaigns of Clinton, Stein, Sanders and Trump.

The race issue has been brought to the front by Black Lives Matter. There has been a wall of color blindness in past Worcester elections and other important issues, such as jobs and education. For example, many people still feel that the killing of Cristino Hernandez was not a racial issue; other people turned a color blind eye to the issues of disparate unemployment among dark skin people (people of color). Today the City of Worcester is working hard to pretend its policies of police accountability, jobs and education are not racially disparate. Just look at the fact that the City of Worcester has dissolved the Affirmative Action Committee and replaced it with a Diversity Committee which has nebulous responsibilities.

Black Lives Matter has changed most of this color blindness pretext for racially disparate policies.  When Worcester City Councilors Michael Gaffney and Gary Rosen got up on the council floor and said that they wanted an audit of Mosaic (a center in the poorest Worcester neighborhood) and that it is not an issue of racist retaliation, everyone in the City knows something different. These racists are some of the people whom Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes calls the “Trumps Effect” on which she is counting on to send her back to the Worcester City Council.  It has been made clear to many in the Black and Latino communities which politicians are pretending to be against racism and who is using racism to whip up the “Trump  Effect.”

Black Lives Matter has changed temporarily the way the police respond to complaints from the public. The police are more courteous and responsive for now. The police are will adapt transparency as a policy, as seen in the Worcester Police Department. The Massachusetts State Police has been named the most secretive police department in the country.  The City of Worcester’s malicious prosecution of the Black Lives Matter protesters shows that the powers-that-be are afraid of mass demonstrations and disruptions.

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus and Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme have spent a lot of time and money in the courts. These disturbances of the peace will likely happen again in the near future, as the police are likely to return to their old ways. The chant of Black Lives Matter and others of “No Justice, No Peace” has taken on new and significant meaning.

Black Lives Matter exposed City Manager Augustus for the pretender that he is. He could have negotiated with the Kelley Square protesters about real change in the City’s policies; instead he retaliated against them on the most frivolous and non-existent evidence. The City Manager then came out with a 28 point plan that is just a shell game shifting responsibilities from one department to another. Worse still the Manager initiated a laughing stock known as the Department of Justice Hearings.

Further to be said regarding the elections in Worcester: some people stepped forward to replace the old backward thinking incumbents. Black Lives Matter created the environment that allowed 11 people from the Black, Latino and Asian communities to believe they have a chance of effectuating change through Worcester City Council service. Unfortunately, many candidates did not make the required twelfth place preliminary for the at-large election or the second place finish for the district elections.

A takeaway from the Worcester preliminary election is that people of color will unlikely win elections in districts in which White people are a majority. There have been some exceptions: all women of color candidates have won at large elections.  No men of color have won any election since Charles Scott did so in the 1910s.

Based on my knowledge and belief there are only two districts where there are large enough so called minority’s voters to affect an election: The first is Sarai Rivera’s district 4 council district where she defeated Barbara Haller some years ago. The second district is Mary Keefe’s state representative district.

The effects of Black Lives Matter on society are not over and have not been fully felt.

Worcester, get out and VOTE next Tuesday, September 8


By Edith Morgan

Where will you be on September 8th?

Are  you one of those rare creatures who votes in every election since you got the right to vote, either by coming of age or by getting your citizenship?

Then I thank you, and you need not stay with me to read this column. “You deserve a break,” as the advertising slogan goes, and I hereby hope you go out and give yourself a well-deserved treat.

Now then, for the rest of you: What is so very important, so very time-consuming, so very demanding of your time, that you, a registered voter in Worcester, cannot make the time to exercise one of the most fundamental duties and privileges of living in a democracy?!!

You say: I forgot!

But there are so many reminders all about the day: lawn signs, ads on the TV and radio, phone calls from campaigns for the candidates, knocks on your door, signs being held at intersections – so many reminders in so many places that you would have to be brain dead not to notice.

You say you are so busy you cannot make the time.

Polls are open for 13 (yes, 13!!!) hours – and very few of you out there work 13 hours on a Tuesday!

You say you have no transportation.

Most of the candidates offer transportation … or perhaps you are friends with a neighbor or co-worker who votes and would gladly take you to the polls.

You say you don’t know the candidates because you have not been following the news and don’t know what they do, or plan to do.

At each polling place, we post a ballot listing all the candidates. Come a few minutes early and peruse those sample ballots.

You say you don’t speak English, or you don’t speak it very well.

Our ballots are printed in English and Spanish, and you are allowed to bring along an interpreter, if you need one.

You say you have a disability – cannot see well, cannot hear well, are wheelchair-bound, or are in some other way limited in the performance of this duty: but at every polling place there are special provisions for you so you can vote in comfort and ease.

I have been a warden at a polling place for many, many years. I know that everything has been done to make voting easy, fast, and comfortable. Let me take you on a “virtual“ tour of my precinct poll: We get there by 6:30 a.m. ( I have to be there by 6 a.m.); we put up signs identifying what ward and precinct we are, mark the handicapped entrance, put up sample ballots and other instructions for voters, set up two tables (one to check you in, the other to check you out.)The booths have been set up the previous night, and as soon as the policeman assigned to us arrives with the ballots, the voting machine, and all the papers  we need to perform our jobs, we are set up. We are very fortunate that our site is located at Dodge Park Rest Home, as we enjoy the many conveniences provided by the owners.

Everything has been done to make voting in Worcester quick, efficient, accurate and pleasant.

So why isn’t every registered voter in our city doing his/her duty?

It’s the least we all can do to show appreciation for the privilege  of voting.

Lilac is still too skittish for InCity Times’ high-tech, pressure-cooker election photo shoots! November, little girl!