I Brake for Trolls

Darlene, we’ve got to stop meeting like this.

I can’t tell whether you’re Rose Tirella, Q’s best friend, or if you just hate Hall & Oates with a passion that rivals my husband’s.

In any event, please keep commenting, because I love writing whole posts as riffs off your comments.

To one of your comments — “So what’s the point of this rant?” — I believe that you mean this wonderfully well-written letter, and not this post, which is a reminder that I need to do more library tips

“Do you think that anything you or anyone else says about this matter will influence any decision on what happens?”  I believe I actually said in the aforementioned awesome letter that I didn’t think it would convince anyone but that I found writing the letter cathartic.  Thanks for asking! 

Now, if it’s a question of why to blog at all…Tracy and I were discussing  blogging last week, and she said that her husband hears far fewer rants about educational policy now that she has a blog.  Similarly, my husband doesn’t have to listen to me whispering sweet nothings about Mike Germain into his ear right before we go to bed.  Now I write posts for the world to read, and instead I not only get feedback like yours, but I also receive one-sentence emails from my husband like, “Don’t you ever use spell-check?” and “Less, not fewer.”

In other words, blogging saves marriages.  (Also, keeping thoughts like “If Albert Southwick were 60 years younger and could do major plumbing repairs, you’d have no shot with me” to yourself will add at least a year to any marriage.)

To your comment “It’s in the hands of lawyers… they’re a lot more savvy in such matters than any mis-informed and know-it-all blogger”  — I will say this: one of my parents is an attorney, and one of my siblings is finishing the last year of law school.  So, that makes me a lawyer twice removed.  Or a know-it-all blogger.  You decide.

And finally, “You and everyone else have to get over it. There’s more important things to worry about. Right?”  No matter what the decision regarding One Montvale, I am sure that the City of Worcester will provide new examples of suckitude for me to continue to write about for weeks to come. 

On a more serious note, thanks to everyone who has commented on my posts.  I continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness, respect, and constructive criticism so many of you have shown me.

The Power of Wishful Thinking

I agree completely with Jeff regarding the PharmaSphere situation.

I don’t know when “If You Wish It, It Will Come” became the mantra of the City Manager’s Office, but this reminds me of one of my most unfavorite Dianne Williamson columns of all time (September 19, 2006), in which Dianne extolls the wonders of Tim Murray:

Not one for grandstanding, he often operates under the radar, but his fingerprints are stamped on Worcester’s most important initiatives: CitySquare, the promotion of commuter rail, the successful partnership between the City Council and City Manager Michael O’Brien.

More than three years ago, Tim Murray was getting a big “mission accomplished” on CitySquare, credit for “promoting” the commuter rail (note that Dianne couldn’t lie and say that more trains were running, or that the service was more reliable), and a wonderful relationship between the City Council and the City Manager.

A wonderful, non-combative relationship between the Council and City Manager has gotten us to the point we’re at now: CitySquare is still just around the corner, three years from the writing of the column quoted above; the City Manager continues to receive high marks in his review despite the people of Worcester not having the right to know about what Officer Mark Rojas may or may not be accused of; the City has invested $2.5 million (not to mention $2m in road improvements, and selling a building for $1) in a project that may generate 40-50 new jobs, 51% of which are supposed to go to Worcester residents.  At least the train schedule is a bit better!

So, let’s talk job creation.  The City of Worcester has paid $2.5 million (excluding loss on the building, road improvements, and any money from the feds or the state) for 50 jobs (I’ll be generous) that have not yet materialized.  That’s $50,000 per job. 

But wait!  Only 51% of those 50 jobs need to go to Worcester residents.  So, for 25.5 jobs that may or may not ever come to fruition, we have paid approximately $98,000.  That’s not counting road improvements, and that’s not counting federal and state dollars.

Anyone want to go in on creating Pyramid Investments?  Or at least starting a countdown to Spring 2011, when PharmaSphere will be “selling product“?  (Does anyone else think their whole business sounds and looks like Logan’s RunCarousel!)

Finding Committee Agendas on the City website

I’m not a big fan of a lot of the navigation within the City of Worcester website, and my feeling was confirmed last week when I spoke with a fellow attendee of the Economic Development Committee and she said that she couldn’t find the agenda on the city website.  

I can’t blame her — as far as I can tell, it takes five non-intuitive clicks to get to a committee agenda. 

The city should provide the link to the agenda in the “More Information” section of the calendar item — see this calendar entry for the Inauguration for an example of what should happen for every meeting.  You should also be able to click on Mayor & City Council, then Standing Committees, and get an agenda for a selected committee.  Alas, that’s not the case, either. 

Here’s how you find the committee agendas: 


Step 1: Click on the Mayor & City Council link in the City Government section of the left menu. 







Step 2: When you are brought to the Mayor & City Council page, click on the Agendas & Minutes link in the Related Pages section of the left menu. 






Step 3: When you are brought to the Agendas & Minutes page, click on the Standing Committee Journal Archive link in the middle of the page (right part of the screen).    


 Step 4: When you are brought to the Standing Committees page, select the committee of your choice in the Related Pages section of the left menu.  (Note to the city: the completely undescriptive “Related Pages” should not be the heading for half of the left-menu items.) 








Step 5: You’ll be brought to the Agenda & Minutes page of the committee you selected.  Click on the link for Current/Upcoming [Committee Name] Agenda to get the agenda for the latest meeting.  The drop-down lists by year contain minutes for the committee meetings.