Best of Worcester – Thank You!

I usually check on the WoMag Best of Worcester list to ensure that my cousins’ business wins the Best Grinders category, and that various friends win in the categories they should.

So I am, of course, really touched that readers thought well enough of this blog to vote it as the best local blog in 2012.

I started writing this blog because I liked what I saw going on in the Worcester blogosphere and wanted to add my voice to that mix.

I’d like to thank those of you who’ve read and commented here, and everyone who blogs, tweets, or tumblrs about our city.

Here’s to another year of street signage bloopers, library news, and an inappropriate obsession with Mike Germain.

It’s Contagious

A year and a half ago, we identified a disease we now know as Gary Rosen Disorder.

The disorder manifests itself in the following ways:

  • The subject serves in a position of some prominence and does quite little with the power he has.
  • The subject leaves that position.
  • The subject then writes column after column taking back votes he made when he was in that position of power.

(Incidentally, Gary Rosen Disorder can eventually progress into full-blown Jordan Levy Syndrome.  The progression from Rosen Disorder to Levy Syndrome is most evident when you go from handing out plastic combs on a street corner to being a blowhard on the public airwaves.)

Gary Rosen, as evidenced by his latest column in Worcester Mag, is still in the intermediary stages of progression.

His latest cry is for the city to change its charter to a strong mayor form of government.

There are three basic ways to push for charter change.  The first, and most arduous, is to gather signatures of 15% of the city’s registered voters (over 13,000 people) to ask for a charter commission.  The second would be for two-thirds of the City Council to vote for amendments to the existing charter.  The third would be for the City Council to ask the state legislature for the creation of a charter commission.

Note that the two of the three paths could happen through the City Council.

If Mr. Rosen believes so strongly in repenting of past mistakes and pushing for charter change, then perhaps he can stand at busy intersections with a petition to that effect rather than his signature combs.

Another fellow Rosen disorder sufferer is Ravi Perry, formerly head of the Worcester NAACP, who seems more than willing to call people out for not doing enough to promote diversity in the city while conveniently forgetting that he was in a position to do just that.

In a recent column in FourLoco, he wrote, “to have a city council that never had two members of color serve simultaneously is simply another sad case of affairs. To have a charter with a neighborhood council provision with no authority and subsequently, no representation in government, is just – sad.”

Actually, what’s sad is that Mr. Perry — in his position as the head of the Worcester NAACP, or as a private citizen — could have worked towards having more people of color run for office, or could have begun work on the first neighborhood council, or could have encouraged the city to reach out to different communities to ensure representation on boards and commissions.

Instead we have another case of someone who could have done something when he was in a position to do something, but now feels like his do-nothing-ness has given him the right to complain about problems that he could have helped fix.

You want something to change in this city?

Get to it.

It’s ok to start with small, manageable goals, and it’s ok to acknowledge that you can’t do it all by yourself.  It’s ok to ask for help.

But I am getting more than tired of folks doing nothing and then telling me how much better the city would be if only everyone would listen to them.

Don’t talk, just do, indeed.

Treading the line

I have to confess that my knowledge of Jose Canseco consists of repeat viewings of The Surreal Life, Season 5, so I was primarily excited that the Worcester Tornadoes had signed someone who had repeatedly slept in Glen Campbell’s old house for money.

I had no idea that Canseco was a master of the short, fortune-cookie-like poetic form we know as Twitter.

For the past couple of weeks, the residents of Worcester have lived in a Twitter drought.

I haven’t written about the closing of @911Chief.

I haven’t been sure what to say.

On the one hand, the personal attacks were inappropriate in the extreme.

On the other hand, as was expressed on 508, there was something terribly refreshing about a public figure who posted his weekend reading and who — for a few short moments — answered questions about The Wire and clarified comments about gun ownership in the city.

Can a true public dialog consist of 140 characters at a time?

No.

But it’s a start.

In a weird way, those 140 characters — the choices the character limit forces the writer to make — can give you an insight (correct or incorrect) into that person’s sense of humor, attitudes, and character.

It’s too bad Chief Gemme didn’t amass enough tweets for us to fully see his nuances and to start a longer dialog with those of us on Twitter.

I still believe that there’s a place in our city government for social media, and I think that we need to work towards having true dialogs not only in person but online.

The great Twitter accounts — the ones I like best — tread the fine line between totally sane and slightly off.

So — until we see a city official who’s able to tread that line, who is able to be funny and informative, and especially) engages with their constituents — there’s always Jose:

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/h5b7th

CWW: Free Rides on the WRTA this weekend

From the WRTA website:

The WRTA will be installing a new farebox system the weekend  of April 28 & 29, 2012. At this time, a new pass system will be implemented  that will work with the new farebox system. Free fare will be offered on all  fixed route buses on Saturday, April 28, 2012 and Sunday, April 29, 2012. WRTA  ticket representatives will be at City Hall Plaza for the entire weekend to  explain the changes in the passes and to help riders with ticket exchanges.

Prescription Drug Take Back This Saturday

National Prescription Take Back Day will be this Saturday from 10am to 2pm at the Worcester Senior Center (128 Providence Street):

Do you have medications at home that you don’t use anymore? Do you want to dispose of them but don’t know how?

Safe disposal of prescription drugs protects children and pets from accidental ingestion as well as prescription drug abuse or misuse.

Bring any medications that you don’t use anymore for safe disposal. This service is free and anonymous – no questions asked. No sharps will be accepted.

This program is made possible by the City of Worcester’s Division of Public Health, the Worcester Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

CWW: Outdoor Family Activities this weekend

There are two activities of interest to families this weekend:

Saturday, April 28, 2-4pm – Sanctuary Celebration at Broad Meadow Brook
All Welcome!
Celebrate our new solar pavilion, nature play area, and Frog Pond boardwalk.

Join us in recognizing and thanking Saint-Gobain for its generous donation and support for the Solar Pavilion. Help us cut the ribbon at the new Nature Play Area, now finished and ready for family fun.
Solar Pavilion at Broad Meadow Brook
Special guests include:*John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations

*Joseph Petty, Mayor of Worcester

Music provided by the South High Marching Band.
Refreshments provided by Worcester Technical High School Culinary Arts Students.

Sunday, April 29, 11am-3pm – Cookson Park Day

At Kendig St. entrance.
Birdhouse building, scavenger hunting, park tours and more.