Not addressing the problem

You might have noticed item 11d on tonight’s City Council agenda proposing the following:

Emergency Preamble


Whereas, The deferred operation of this ordinance would defeat its purpose, which
is to immediately provide relief from the obligation to remove snow and ice from
sidewalks on state highways abutting rear lot line of properties, therefore it is hereby
declared to be an emergency ordinance, necessary for the immediate preservation of
the public convenience.

Now, Therefore, this ordinance is declared an emergency ordinance under section
2-9 of the city charter such that it shall be passed with finality in one meeting of the
city council and shall, thereby, take effect immediately.

Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Worcester, as follows:

For one hundred-twenty days from the effective date of this ordinance, the provisions
of section 23 of chapter 12 of the Revised Ordinances of the city of Worcester shall
not require any owner or occupant of any property whose rear lot line abuts any city
street or state highway to clear any sidewalk on that portion of the state highway so
long as any such property owner or occupant otherwise complies with said section 23
with respect to any other sidewalk on any city street or state highway abutting the
property on any front or side lot line.

In other words, this ordinance would be adopted to that the folks on Meadow Lane would not have to shovel along 122.

The problem with Meadow Lane was not that the city is making elderly folks shovel their walks.  If those folks had a district councilor who worked hard, he could have contacted one of the organizations on the city’s list and gotten them snow shoveling services.

The problem is not an ordinance that makes people clear sidewalks.  People should clear sidewalks that abut their property.

The problem is that the city feels that the City-with-a-capital-c and the Commonwealth are exempt from said ordinance.

The problem is that when the city thought that the state was the abutter, they were in no way inclined to make the state shovel the walk.

The problem is that when Bill takes pictures of the Pharmasphere sidewalks, that the city should be clearing those walks, as the city still owns that land.

Councilors Eddy, O’Brien, Petty, Rushton, Palmieri, Germain, Lukes, Smith, and Haller — that is, those who are sponsoring this piece of legislation — are rewarding a few folks who have vocally opposed doing their civic duty, and by their silence on the larger inequity are also rewarding the city, which is equally committed to not shoveling something that no one will hold them accountable for.

This ordinance is, unfortunately, a knee-jerk reaction instead of a thoughtful investigation into what aspects of the ordinance are not working and which ones are.  But one can’t expect too much more in an election year.