Three Thoughts on the Pit Bull Ordinance

I’ve been thinking over some comments from the last time I wrote about the pit bull ordinance. At the tail end of 508 episode 121, Mike mentioned how much he appreciates the comments and suggestions he receives every week. I, too, am always appreciative of feedback, positive and negative, because it helps me refine my thoughts and arguments.  Here are three short thoughts on the topic of pit bulls that I’ve had because of feedback.


Both Jim and Bill recommended better enforcement of the existing leash and licensing ordinances.  Jim specifically felt that “it is not the job of the City or what I ask of the City Council to make the City more ‘friendly’ to dogs.”

I think Jim and I are discussing two different classes of people.  He mentions “young men with pit bulls pretty casually letting the dogs ‘lead’ them and wonder[s] all the time if that owner could control a situation if their dog got out of control.”  I would venture a guess that those young men don’t really want to be dog owners.  They want an accessory to prove their masculinity, and if it isn’t a dog, it’ll be a knife or a gun.  The solution to that problem isn’t going to be unlocked by a pit bull ordinance, or by a knife ordinance, or by a testosterone ordinance.  There are bigger things at play there than a guy who can’t control his dog.

I was in Crompton Park a few Saturdays ago, and there was a young woman there who’d brought her daughter and her (unleashed, and likely unlicensed) husky to play. I have rarely encountered a better-behaved dog (or kid, for that matter). But this young woman was violating the ordinances in every possible way: no dogs are allowed in parks (though we see them there every day), dogs have to be leashed when off private property, and all dogs residing in the city must be licensed.

And yet this woman had accomplished everything contained in the intentions of those ordinances: a dog that wasn’t bothering anyone, a park where no one felt threatened.

Is that young woman in the same class as the “tough” guys?  Would she really be served by having an officer issue her a ticket?

In the (great) book The Last Season, by Eric Blehm, one national park ranger gives another a piece of advice: “The best way to teach the public isn’t with a citation, it’s with communication.” (p. 54)

Wouldn’t that young woman, and many dog owners who are willing to be responsible (but don’t always know how) be better served by education — whether in the media, through a targeted campaign from vets or other public health personnel, or — yes — through the police?  What if they could talk calmly to her for a few minutes about the importance of leashing her dog, the reasons why she should have her dog licensed, and the benefits of spay/neuter?  What if they could direct her to a dog park where she could safely bring her pet?

While some of us don’t feel it’s the City’s job to do this, the City has already said that it’s ok for the Gang Unit to be paid to paint basketball courts.  Why can’t we take the community policing approach with this issue?

One of the results of violent attacks in the Tatnuck Square area was a proposal to create a skatepark on the West Side (see item 10b) by the very councilor who’s proposing such strict rules about pit bull ownership.  So, at-risk youth get positive police attention and improved park facilities; why don’t at-risk dogs (and their owners) get the same consideration?


Kate Toomey wrote on Facebook that “Safety for all in our community is paramount.”  All this ordinance would (ostensibly) address is public safety, yet the example she cites is one of private safety.

All that muzzle will bring is a perception of safety.  It will do nothing to provide safety to the next second-floor neighbor with the unsocialized, unmanageable pit bull on the first floor.  The sign that will need to be posted on the property warning of a pit bull on the premises will only help those outside the property, not those inside.  The additional licensing fee that will need to be paid might go towards dog officers who are charged to help after something has happened, not towards proactively addressing potential issues.

Addressing any issue well requires a great deal of creativity and thoughtfulness, not knee-jerk reactions.  We’ve identified the problem (irresponsible dog owners), and now we’ve got a scapegoat (pit bulls).  This will do everything to make people feel better without helping those who actually need to be safer.


I feel that in this, as with many other cases, Worcester is reactionary instead of visionary.  When considering any decision, we should not just look to the immediate benefit, but also to five, ten, or even twenty years down the road.

We know that Boston is really no different after the ordinance than it was six years before.

If — in ten years’ time — Worcester has magically restricted the ownership of pit bulls so that only responsible people own them, we still will not have addressed irresponsible owners.  So we’ll have uncontrollable labs and greyhounds and chihuahuas on our hands, and we’ll be cursing those breeds, and will be no closer to our ultimate goal.

We need to stop creating pieces of legislation that won’t stop the situations that inspire that legislation.


For those of you who are interested in encouraging responsible dog ownership, I recommend reading Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America by Nathan J. Winograd.  While much of the book is about no-kill shelters, it also calls into question a lot of the rules many communities have (like severely restricting the number of pets per household) that should also be discussed if we really want more responsible dog owners in Worcester.

The New WoMag: Now With Less Faces!

Worcester blogs tend to alternate between two topics: complaining about anything and everything in the Telegram, and asking what the heck is going on at WoMag.  This one, obviously, will be about the latter.

It’s turning out that the one consistent way to keep track of the (all-too-frequent) staffing changes at WoMag is — as Victor found out — to take a periodic review of the Faces page.

The latest casualty in Gareth Charter‘s quest to not “have a reputation for laying-off employees and [not] want[ing] to earn one” is Sam Bonacci.

I don’t know Bonacci, and I don’t know Charter, but we already know that the latter lives in a land of doublespeak, where laying off employees is not “a reduction in the work force”, but “bringing resources to bear from a much larger company.”

Here are some suggestions for Charter:

When asked to explain why WoMag has had three editors in the two years since it was acquired by the Landmark, Charter could just explain that he’s keeping things fresh.  Really, really fresh.

When asked about his inability to keep young writers (O’Keefe, Cross, Bonacci), Charter can simply reply that he’s working on a plan to keep young writers for longer periods of time.  Because if you help interns get college credit, they’ll need to work at least one semester!

When asked whether he’s “suburbanizing Worcester Magazine“, he can say, Of course not!  We’re just trying out an experiment to see how many articles two people can churn out week after week before they pass out from exhaustion!

(Yes, we can have a more serious discussion about community newspapers, alternative newspapers, and what WoMag should be doing soon.)


I was discussing the pit bull question a bit with Jeff today.  (I mention this because anything decent that may follow might have been completely stolen from him.)

Councilor Eddy has mentioned that 2% of city dogs are pit bulls, and that they cause 25% of the dog bites in the city.  It’s been estimated that there are 10,000 dogs in the city.  That would mean there are 200 pit bulls in the city.  Raise your hand if that sounds really low to you.  (A brief look at the WARL dog list on Petfinder today shows 17 pit bulls.  To put it another way, that would mean WARL is in possession of 10% of all the pit bulls in the city.)

And, of course, Councilor Eddy hasn’t told us how many dog bites actually occur in the city.  I’ve asked Councilor Haller, and she’s told me that she still has not received any dog bite statistics.  Now, the cynics among us might feel that Eddy’s stats don’t pass the smell test — if Haller, the chair of Public Safety, doesn’t have reliable figures, where is Eddy getting his?

We know that the ordinance won’t prevent dog bites on the owner’s property, because dogs won’t need to be muzzled.  We know that the ordinance won’t protect police from situations where they may enter a home with hostile dogs because — again — in a home, a dog doesn’t need to be leashed or muzzled.  We know that the dog officers get reports of 5-10 loose dogs a week, and that the vast majority of residents obey the leash law.

We know all this, and the councilors know this, and yet our sympathies go one way, and their votes go the other way, time and again.

I’m inclined to appeal to reason, and — while I am not a fan of canned testimony — I do like to give people tools to be able to appeal to reason.  And Jeff pointed out to me, as others have, that that’s just not how this Council works.

Here’s how things work:

A citizen complains about something.  In this case, a perceived threat from pit bulls.  A councilor latches onto it because it gives the government the opportunity to address an issue which isn’t really a problem, but which makes everyone feel good.

Those citizens who would be adversely affected speak up.  They believe in what my philosophy professors called good faith; that is, that they can contact their representatives in the government, that those representatives will listen to all constituents, weigh the facts, and vote accordingly.

Those citizens attend a meeting.  They give testimony.  They see those councilors they sent emails to, those councilors they spoke to before the meeting, and they hope against hope that their words will be listened to, that they will be shown respect.

The Council, of course, has already made up their mind, long before testimony.  The Council’s mind was made up when the item was first brought up, when it was obvious how this would play to all those people sitting at home on their couches.  You see, it’s the people on the couches they really listen to, not the people sitting right in front of them.

Those are the kinds of people who want a pit bull ban, though they’ll settle for the muzzle law.  And, unfortunately, those are the kind of people who vote in this city.

So we end up with 11-0 votes, or 10-1 votes, or 9-2 votes.  Occasionally a Councilor will throw the rational citizens a bone (no pun intended) and vote their way.  But, in this city, in this Council, collegiality is big.  And — in their dictionary — collegiality equals consensus.

We keep asking the wrong questions about the right issues.  We keep wondering why college students don’t stay here, we keep wondering why nothing goes right in the downtown, we pine for passenger flights out of the airport.  We know what the issues are, but we aren’t willing to have a conversation whose direction isn’t predetermined.

In the case of the pit bulls, we are bypassing the questions we need to be asking in exchange for a temporary feel-good measure.  We prefer to fool ourselves into thinking that this will prevent horrible situations.  Goodness knows we shouldn’t see how well this is working in other cities, or ask the WARL whether this will cause an uptick in pit bulls at an already-overtaxed shelter.  We only care about the now.

What if we decided to encourage instead of discourage?  What if we decided we wanted to encourage people to be responsible dog owners?  What if we decided to waive a lifetime’s worth of dog license fees for those dogs who are altered and have completed a program like Canine Good Citizen?  What if we decided to open a dog park, to encourage responsible dog owners to live in Worcester?  What if we worked with veterinarians to identify dog owners who might be the perfect fit for a pit bull in need of a home?

What if we looked at pit bulls not as a problem to be tackled but an opportunity to distinguish ourselves from other communities?  What if we decided that, instead of punishing behavior that’s already against the rules, we decided to make it a rule to incentivize good behavior?  What if we decided to be the community for dog owners in Massachusetts?

What if we decided to be informed and act accordingly?  What if we dared to act differently — by doing so thoughtfully and creatively?  How about we stop being hung up on how we compare to Providence, but instead concentrate on how we can become the best Worcester we can be?  Knee-jerk ordinances don’t get us there — let’s educate ourselves, listen to those in Animal Control and rescue agencies, and craft a set of animal control laws that combine common sense and creativity.  And then let’s make sure that Animal Control has the staffing to enforce what we enact, since there’s no point to having laws in place that we’re unwilling to adequately enforce.

Why no one wants me as campaign manager

Catchy slogans often help a candidate’s name stay in the mind of a potential voter long enough for her/him to get to the poll and cast their vote for the name they remember best. Rhymes are also helpful, but some candidates are just out of luck when it comes to rhymes. Take, for instance, poor Lew Evangelidis. If he were running for sheriff of Sparta or Athens, perhaps we could come up with something the voters might find catchy. Over here in Worcester County, however, non-Greek rhymers would be stuck with either appendicitis or elitist, depending on how well they know how to pronounce Lew’s surname. Sorry, Lew.

I was also stumped for poor Keith Nicholas. I asked my husband “What rhymes with Nicholas?” and he replied “knickerless”, which means little to New Englanders (old Englanders would know it means “lacking panties”, and it certainly wouldn’t make for a flattering campaign slogan). The only (admittedly lame) thing I could come up with was “Keith Nicholas does the trick, alas”.

Scot Bove is a treasure trove (no pun intended), if we allow for some flexibility in pronouncing his name. If we pronounce the “ove” as in “stove”, we could say “Scot Bove, by jove!”. If we prefer to pronounce the “ove” as in “dove”, we could say “I love Bove!”. And if the “ove” sounds more like the one in “prove”, we could say “On the move with Bove!”. (Are you groaning yet?)

My favorite is to imagine that Scot’s ancestors lost an acute accent at Ellis Island, and that it ought to be spelled Bové. This offers us all sorts of “ay”-sounding rhymes — here’s mine: “Up, up and away with Bové!”

I’d best keep my day job.

South Worcester Industrial Park, a brief history

Inspired by this episode of 508, and with (unfortunately) much less music in the background, here’s a timeline of events in the fifteen-plus-year development of the South Worcester Industrial Park.  (I’ve read more about brownfields than I ever wanted to.  At some points it seemed like there was a bus tour of brownfields every week.)

August 7, 1994 – initial proposal for South Worcester Industrial Park (SWIP).

September 9, 1994 – city gets $15,000 for a site study for SWIP

February 3, 1995 – a T&G editorial mentions Clark University’s involvement in SWIP

May 5, 1995 – Governor Cellucci signs a bill “creating the Central Massachusetts Economic Development Authority to clean up polluted industrial properties … at the site of the former Standard Foundry on Southgate Street, Worcester.” As reported a few days later, this bill provided $1million to “improve roads and sidewalks in the neighborhood of the proposed South Worcester Industrial Park area.”

March 12, 1997 – the Council requested that the city acquire the SWIP land.

July 8, 1997 –  The Commerce and Development Committee “approved a plan to study acquisition of five of the 18 acres proposed for the South Worcester Industrial Park. The study would cost $100,000, the source of which is yet to be identified.”

October 17, 1997 – Stacey DeBoise complained about the stagnation around SWIP.

October 28, 1997 – Maritza Cruz, then-candidate for District 4 Councilor: “Then there’s the South Worcester Industrial Park that has been studied to death and still isn’t close to the drawing board.”

December 2, 1997 – In a larger discussion about brownfields, there’s mention of “the proposed South Worcester Industrial Park, located in a neighborhood where poverty and unemployment are twice that of the city as a whole. The manufacturing complex where the industrial park would be located in an 18-acre industrial area along Gardner and Southgate streets that is largely unused and vacant.”

March 16, 1998 – The newly formed Central Massachusetts Economic Development Authority (CMEDA) “is … considering other projects for cleanup and redevelopment, including the South Worcester Industrial Park and sites proposed by a handful of other suburban communities.”  A day later, they received $200,000 “for projects to clean and redevelop Fisherville Mill in South Grafton and the South Worcester Industrial Park in Worcester.”

March 29, 1998 –  “Among sites that could take advantage of brownfields legislation is the South Worcester Industrial Park, a complex of unused parcels and vacant buildings owned by different parties that covers about 17 acres off Canterbury Street. As first steps toward the park’s redevelopment, the city has received a federal grant for site assessment, and the state has committed $1 million to provide more efficient access from Southbridge Street.”

October 7, 1999 – “Stephen F. O’Neil, director of the city manager’s Office of Planning and Community Development, said an estimated 1,760 new jobs with a payroll of $45 million could be created at the blighted South Worcester Industrial Park, a 25-acre complex of old buildings. The city estimates it would need $27 million to clean the area.”

November 20, 1999 – Setback as CMEDA loses funding.

January 9, 2000 – A mention of SWIP, but the article is notable for its title (“Hopes, dreams don’t materialize with city projects”), which is appropriate for any year in Worcester’s history, and the following quote from then-at-large Councilor Tim Murray: “But we need to act carefully, otherwise, our downtown vision of Worcester will be one of boarded-up McDonald’s (restaurants), Pee- Wee’s arcades and for-lease signs.”

March 11, 2000 – Worcester lobbies the federal government for $6 million (of the $27.7 million total pricetag) for SWIP.  (A year later, the total pricetag is $12 million.  Not sure what the reason for that is.)

June 8, 2001 – CMEDA regains funding.

June 26, 2001 – infrastructure improvements: “The city has a $1 million Public Works Economic Development grant from the state to do [lower Southgate Street where it passes under a concrete-arch railroad bridge]. That money will pay for improvements to Southgate Street, starting at Southbridge Street, and including work under the bridge.  The city has also applied for a $1.4 million Economic Development Administration grant so that the street improvement work can continue westerly along Southgate Street.”  A $1.3 million grant was announced a few months later.

May 1, 2002 – “The City Council last night created a special economic development zone within the proposed South Worcester Industrial Park that will enable the city to negotiate with potential developers.”  A few days later, the city received $1 million to set up a revolving loan fund to clean up contamination on the site (though this money was not restricted to SWIP).

Of interest from a May 5, 2002 article:

The city had previously issued a request for proposals for the parcel. While several parties did express interest in it, Mr. Niddrie said, the city received no formal responses.

He said one of the roadblocks was that some of the interested parties wanted to negotiate certain issues with the city, such as the remediation of brownfields. But Mr. Niddrie said the city was prohibited under state law from negotiating with them under the request-for-proposals process.

To get around that problem, the City Council last week, on the recommendation of the city administration, created a special economic development zone that pertains only to the 67,000-square- foot city-owned property within the park site. Mr. Niddrie said the special designation will enable the city to negotiate with any interested parties on various issues related to the site.

September 18, 2002 – Road construction begins on Southgate Street.

(In 2002 and 2003, there was some discussion of relocating the DPW garage to the SWIP; obviously, that didn’t happen.)

October 4, 2003 – reconstruction of Southgate Street Southbridge Street and Southgate Place was completed.

November 13, 2003 – CBL & Associates proposes a shopping development at SWIP. This will not go anywhere.

During some discussions about an airport access road in 2004, there was mention that mitigation money might be used towards SWIP.

Februrary 21, 2004: “further reconstruction of Southgate Street from Southbridge Place to Gardner Street, as well as the reconstruction of Gardner Street from Southgate Street to Canterbury Street. This phase is planned [to begin in June 2004 and] to be completed by summer 2007.”

March 3, 2004 – $2.45 million loan “allows the Main South Community Development Corp, the lead organization in the project, to prepare the Creative Packaging plant and other highly contaminated buildings within the massive South Worcester Industrial Park for demolition.”

March 11, 2004 – discussion of applying for state Urban Renewal Grant for the site.

July 21, 2005 – another grant, from the EPA, for $300,000, at least part of which is for cleaning up SWIP.

September 27, 2005 – discussion of whether or not it’s appropriate to take some parcels on Southgate Street by eminent domain.

May 17, 2007 – “The city was awarded $200,000 [from the EPA] to assess the cleanup of the former industrial property at 65 Armory St., part of the planned South Worcester Industrial Park.”

January 3, 2008 – Pharmasphere comes on the scene.  “PharmaSphere LLC plans to invest about $5.5 million to build and equip a 50,000-square-foot facility at 49 Canterbury St. … PharmaSphere formed about eight months ago but uses technology and practices that were developed by TerraSphere Systems LLC of Canada for the cultivation of produce such as strawberries, according to Mr. Hamlin. Under its deal with the city, PharmaSphere will pay the city $1 for the parcel. PharmaSphere will also pay for site work to prepare the parcel’s soil for construction. If that work costs less than $250,000, PharmaSphere will pay the city $25,000.”

February 25, 2008 – “In December, the council designated 49 Canterbury St., within the South Worcester Industrial Park, as a Priority Development Site under Section 43D of the state’s general laws.  That designation was adopted by the state’s Interagency Permitting Board last month. That qualified the city for a one-time technical assistance grant of $147,500 for the purposes of developing and implementing an expedited permitting process.”

March 19, 2008 – “This week, the project received another financial boost, a $500,000 brownfields grant from the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency.  The grant will help rehabilitate contaminated sites that are owned by the city at 17 Southgate Place, 25 Southgate St., and 65 Armory St.”

June 16, 2009 – Pharmasphere, a year and a half later, still committed to making things work.  Still not plunking down $1 for the site.

July 30, 2009 – The City Council gives Pharmasphere an 8-year, $2.5 million Section 108 Loan.  Pharmasphere president and chief executive David A. Darlington “said the project will be financed through $6.5 million of equity from Quarry Hill Partners, $4.9 million from the sale of federal tax credits under the New Markets Tax Credits Program, a $3 million, eight-year, Massachusetts Development Financing Agency bond and the Section 108 loan.”

October 10, 2009 – various buildings demolished at SWIP.

October 16, 2009 – $3.8 million in ARRA funds for SWIP development.

October 21, 2009 – groundbreaking on Janice Nadeau Way, between Southgate Street and Armory Street.

December 20, 2009 – Planning Board gives Pharmasphere the go-ahead to be the SWIP’s first tenant.

Pit Bull Ordinance

It’s finally upon us.

I’ve written about pits before, and what will likely happen tomorrow night is that the Council will refer the ordinance to the Public Health & Human Services subcommittee.

I know (because I’ve emailed her about this) that Councilor Haller has asked for detailed dog bite statistics, and that (when I emailed her) she had not yet received those statistics.  I had also contacted the dog officers and had been told that the figures I wanted on dog bites were not available.  One can only wonder where the Worcester statistics are coming from.  I will follow up with Councilor Haller again to see if she has received those statistics.

I would like to remind the readers who care about this issue that the last time an amendment to the dog ordinance was proposed, I was the only citizen of Worcester to show up at the Public Health & Human Services subcommittee meeting.  It does not matter how much you care about an issue.  If you do not contact the City Council and show up at a meeting, you cannot expect your views to be heard.

So — if you care passionately about this, here’s what you need to do:

After this is assigned to committee, write to city councilors.  You should focus on the members of Public Health (Palmieri, Haller, Lukes).  If this gets killed in Public Health, it will not come back to the City Council for review.  Focus on those councilors.

Remember that at the Council meeting in February where this was originally discussed, Phil Palmieri had a much better idea for a responsible owner ordinance.  I think it would be fair to ask him why we’re going to target a certain type of dog, versus irresponsible owners.  He was on the right track, and now we’re taking a step back.

I also think Councilors Haller and Lukes would be sympathetic to responsible dog owners’ concerns.

If you’re inclined to write, you should let the councilors know that the Boston dog ordinance does not, in fact, work, and that many incidents of dog bites would either not be covered (because they’re on the owner’s property) or are already covered by an existing leash law (from the examples in this post).   Tim Hart, previously interviewed on this blog and on 508, put together an excellent brochure about this issue as well.

Also, you need to show up when this is discussed in committee.  I cannot stress this enough.  Write emails, make phone calls, and show up at the meeting to discuss how this will affect you, or how wrong-headed it is.

Please let me know if I need to write in more detail about this topic.  (Or if you’re completely tired of hearing about it!)

If you read one Letter to the Editor this week…

…it should be this one:

I’m the owner of the terribly vicious pit bull in Barre, “Selectmen put conditions on ‘pit-bull-like’ dog” (Telegram & Gazette, June 29). Yes, the dog killed a chicken when his chain broke and he roamed 100 yards down the street to a neighbor’s house.

I’m sorry this happened, but I cannot undo it. I’ll be paying the owner for the replacement of the animal.

The article made me sound like a terrible, irresponsible person who has no regard for my pets or other people and their pets. I’ve worked full time at the same job for 26 years. I’ve raised my son since his father passed 15 years ago. I attend church weekly. I’m a member of the Barre Recreation Commission. I care for my sister’s and neighbor’s pets when they go on vacation. I’m straightforward and honest.

My pit bull is one of the most loving pets I’ve ever owned. He lives in the same house as one other dog and three cats. One cat was nuzzling up to the dog as he was being led away by the dog officer. He is, however, an animal with animal instincts. As with any animal, their instincts will prevail at times. Cats kill mice, snakes and birds. Does that make them vicious?

I could go on to point my finger at those with such strong opinions against me and my dog. I just choose not to relate to them if I don’t have to. I do accept responsibility for my actions.

JANICE [redacting the last name for blog purposes]


And if you read one comment on that website this week, make it this one:


After reading your comments, I rattled off a diatribe that would have been taken just the way I meant it. Out here, in the middle of nowhere and in front of what could be millions of strangers. But the truth is, we’re neighbors and we should behave as such. We should keep high fences but never be afraid to poke our heads over and speak our minds, even if our voice shakes a little. But the move is yours to make. I’m not going to knock on your door and demand an apology.

After the melee, I was pretty upset about Dexter, Dot and Cutlet. Dexter laid the blue and green eggs and Dot would actually sit down next to me while I was working on one piece of crap truck or the other. And as for Cutlet, she had no significant aspirations and didn’t really care if she dropped an egg or not. In any case, the chickens had names, as does Elka. Our animals have names.

Going back and forth is pointless. You will always defend Elka and I’ll always wish I was there to put three 9mm slugs in her (his?) chest. It’s my legal right to do so and I’m a pretty tight shot. But really, all of that is old and tired, let’s move on.

In any case, I truly do have compassion for Elka and forgiveness for you. Living with the restrictions set in place by the town is not a dog’s life. Apologizing for something you still can’t seem to believe, for whatever reason, is pretty tough too. But Janice, the orders for the dog have been passed down and you need to accept the truth: The dog is dangerous outside of your house. It got out. It tasted blood and feathers and knows where to get more. There were three chickens. But above all that, honest, direct and face to face apologies are still honest apologies, even if they may feel like they’re a little too late. Our mailboxes are less than a foot away from each other and we both know that I’ve seen you get your mail. If you see us outside or if you see the lights on in the barn, stop by, we don’t bite.


Mike sounds like the kind of neighbor most people would be happy to live near.  I am in awe of the civility of his response and his willingness to forgive.

According to the original article, “Selectmen voted to give the owners until July 16 to satisfy the dog officer’s requirements for return of the dog. They expect a report by their next meeting, July 19.”  Let’s hope that things work out for the best for everyone involved. 

Is that a smile I see?

Note: I have no opinion on the Sheriff’s Race, except, as you will see, a sartorial one.

Remember how the old Scot Bove ads on the telegram website looked rather…severe? 

I think he was using a picture similar to this:

Except it seemed grumpier.

In the latest ad, he’s ditched the uniform, and put on…a half smile!

 I totally get the difficulty of creating ads for a sheriff’s candidate.  You don’t want to appear too happy, because — hey! — this is a serious job.  Originally, Bove’s team obviously wanted to highlight his law enforcement background, so they used a picture of him in uniform.

I’m not sure why the half-smiling, vaguely passport-style photo works a lot better; perhaps it’s just a more comfortable-looking shot.

Perhaps this also brings Bove a little closer to the pictures that Tom Foley and Lew Evangelidis have on their website.  Those two candidates are wearing suits, not uniforms, though neither of Foley nor Evangelidis is currently in law enforcement.

What about the independent candidate, Keith Nicholas?  I like that his website addresses the other candidates’ stances on issues and his take on them (really, read his take on Evangelidis’ statements about illegal immigrants; unfortunately, you’ll have to scroll for both), and goodness knows I can’t resist statements like “I am not a flamboyant politician that is merely spilling words that people want to hear. I believe in facts, reality and truth.”

But this picture has got to go:

Not the handcuff lapel pin…that definitely works.  But everything else — the severe hairdo, the red shirt with coordinating (?) shiny pink tie — screams “I’m running for Sheriff of Las Vegas circa Mad Men“, not “I’m running for Sheriff of Worcester County in 2010.”

Nicholas is at least as active on Twitter and Facebook than many of the other candidates (Evangelidis on FB gives him a run for his money; Foley on FB; Bove on Twitter and FB) and almost has as many followers on FB as does Bove (which kind of surprises me).  But he still needs to buy a white shirt.

I have to give Evangelidis credit for taking a stereotype and running with it, though.  He’s the only candidate I see who has a picture with a baby:

Now there’s guts!

Classical Music in Worcester This Summer

We went to the Massachusetts Symphony concert at Institute Park on Sunday evening.  My husband found it a bit lowbrow (“Couldn’t they alternate between Beethoven and the Disney tunes a bit more?”) but — unfortunately for him — when you’re married to someone who’s seen every episode of Knots Landing at least twice (that is, yours truly), I think you’ve pretty much hitched yourself to the lowbrow train.

There’s another concert on Saturday night with classical and Broadway music.  The kids and I will be there.  With balloons.

For those of you with more highbrow tastes, there are a couple of concert series of interest.

Worcester Opera Works will hold their Summer Concert Series on Wednesdays starting next week (July 21) at Briarwood Community Center.  Concerts include Broadway (July 21), American Songbook (July 28), Scenes from Opera & Broadway (August 4) and Opera Gala (August 11).  Tickets will be available at the door and are $10 general admission, $5 for students grade 12 and under.

Worcester Chamber Music Society is holding a number of concerts this week and next (the first was last night; the next is tomorrow night).  The concert schedule is here; they’re at 8:00 pm (with a pre-concert talk at 7:40pm), are held in Miriam Hall at Anna Maria College, and the cost is $20/concert.  They will also host two free recitals from students at the festival (Friday, July 16 & Friday, July 23 at 3:00 PM).

In non-musical highbrow news, the Worcester Shakespeare Company will have pay-what-you-can previews on Tuesday, July 20 and Tuesday, August 3 (both at 6pm) at Green Hill Park’s Memorial Grove.  (The shows are Taming of the Shrew and Shrew, Too.)