Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cities and Towns

Inspired Mike Benedetti's post over at Worcesterite the other day I went to the city council website to write Phil Palmieri about the street vendor issue. While I was there I noticed that all of the councilors have their addresses up right on their profiles. I was curious.

Paulie over at Paulie's Point Of View has really been making a point to enlighten us about the fact that only one of our eleven city councilors actually lives within the urban core of Worcester, that one being District 4's Barbara Haller. Since I think it is pretty loosely defined and I am sure there will be some questions asked, I define the urban core pretty much by squares running from Chadwick Sq down Park Ave to Webster Sq down Cambridge St into College Sq, down 146 and up Providence St into the Rice Sq area and down Plantation across the hill to Lincoln St and Brittan Sq. That to me that is urban Worcester. You live within those boundaries and you are living in the city of Worcester. You live outside of that and you are living in the town of Worcester. Worcester really does exist on two different levels. You get outside of that urban core and it really is hard to tell you are in a city. Most people would say that is a plus, and I guess they are right. Here is the kicker though and here is the crazy crazy thing I found out.

I opened up map quest and threw all eleven of the councilor's addresses in there to find out if this was in fact true. It really is only the queen of district 4 that lives within the dirty scary filth that is Worcester's urban core. It is a fact. What I also found out though was even more disturbing.

Six of our councilors , more than half, live less than a mile from the end of the Worcester city limits. Along with Barbara, only Phil Palmieri (District 2), Paul Clancy (District 3), Gary Rosen (at large) and our Mayor Konnie Lukes (at large) live more than a stones throw of getting the hell out of Worcesterville. The other six councilors barely live in Worcester. BARELY! That's right Mike Germain, Joe Petty, Rick Rushton, Kate Toomey, Joff Smith, and Bill Eddy, I am talking to you.

See here is the thing. I lay my head down every night in the City of Worcester. When I walk outside to my car I do it in the City of Worcester. I probably spend about 120 hours a week in the City of Worcester. At least Mr. Palmieri and Mr. Clancy live a stones throw from the urban core, just outside of Brittan and Rice Squares respectively. Mayor Lukes and Mr. Rosen live on the West Side but in the most vibrant part of the West Side close to Chandler St and Tatnuck Square. The other six can't possibly know what my day to day is like. How I can't find a place to get a quick bite to eat in the downtown of the second biggest city in New England past 7pm. How people will not come into my neighborhood because they think it is "scary." How when I got mugged a few years ago on Beaver St a cop actually advised me that it would be better if I "just moved to the West Side." I like city living. Scratch that. I love city living. I live in a city however that just so happens to be two entities. A city and a town at the same time. Most of the money and influence resides in the town. It also happens to be run by an 11 member city council form of government, 10 of which don't actually live in the city.

If you are reading this and live within the urban core of Worcester do me a favor, next election vote these people out. If you enjoy city living and want your quality of life to be better, vote these people out and vote people in who actually live in the urban core. The Suburban 6 do not know what city living is all about. They for all intents and purposes live in the suburbs and you know what their dirty little secret is?

Go to any other desirable city in the US and take note of where the good parts are and where the bad parts are. Really all you have to do is take a look at where the bad parts are. They are on the outskirts. They are not in the center. The city part of Worcester is being left to die by people who have no stake what so ever in seeing it succeed. It would sure be nice and all but it is not even close to a priority for them. Look how long it takes to get stuff done! The one thing Worcester has in spades that every other city has is the negatives. The crime, the drugs, the homelessness, the grime, the pollution. The general unsightliness. This stuff is kept tightly inside the urban core. When was the last time you walked out of the White Hen at the corner of June and Chandler and someone asked you if you had any change? Worcester is being kept from sprawling within it's own city limits. You want to really give people who can only afford low income housing a nice place to live? Build them a nice high rise on the shores of Lake Quinsigamond or Indian Lake. Stop screwing my neighborhood up. Please! I am begging you!



John said...


Good Post. In fairness to Smith & Eddy thier districts are not in the Urban Core & the other 6 are all At Large Councilors. If the Urban Core is to be better represented then district 4 should be split up or more councilors from the Urban core need to be elected from the area in At Large positions. This is the product of 20 percent voter turnout.

Gabe said...

I actually didn't stress enough in the post that the main problem I have is that six of the councilors barely live in Worcester at all, never mind the urban core. Look it up. Six of them live within walking distance of being in other municipalities. I would like to see more living in the urban core ideally but I really have no problem with where Lukes, Rosen, Clancy, and Palmieri lay their heads. It's the other six that say to me with their addresses that they would probably move the hell out of Worcester if they could. As it is they barely live here to begin with.

cascadingwaters said...

Thinking back over the last election: would it have made any difference if the other person (in the elections that were contested) had won?

You can't vote people "out" if no one runs against them.
Plus, John's right: you do need to keep in mind where the district lines are. There's only so urban some of the district councilors can be.

Gabe said...

Again, look up the six I mentioned. They live as close as you can to the borders of the city as you can without living outside the city. Six of them! I could see it if it was a couple but I find it really disturbing that 6 of them feel the need to live that far on the outskirts of the city.

And there are 6 at large councilors. You would think ONE of them would love city living enough (you know being on the CITY council of a CITY) to live in the urban core.

Jim O'Connell said...

I'm not a fan of Lukes, but to be fair, she lives a lot closer to Newton Square than Tatnuck Square.

Anonymous said...

What difference does it make if a councilor lives in the urban core? None!
Haller lives in Main South - on the front, so to say. But that doesn't make her any more effective.
She's a one woman show and can only do so much. She spends a lot of time PR'ing. The fact is, she goes after the low hanging fruit. They all do in fact.
The other thing is the number of (6) at-large councilors. What a dumb concept. They are in fact pretty useless.
Worcester should create 11 districts so that every councilor has a shitty section to deal with. Maybe things will get done?
Last year prior to the elections, I wrote (several times in fact) all the council candidates asking them for a resume and a list of achievements and goals, and what they offer the electorate vis-vis their opponent. Not one responded. Why is that you may ask? Lazy? No, its because they have very few achievements or the new ones have little to no experience.
So what are the qualifications for the job? It's a popularity contest, nothing more.
Will Worcester ever improve?
Not in our lifetime.

Jim said...

Dude - are you aware someone got seriously stabbed outside the White Hen at June and Chandler about three weeks ago?

Gabe said...

West Siders must be losing their mind Jim.