An Open Letter to Clive McFarlane

Dear Clive,

I couldn’t tell which part of today’s column made less sense: the argument that activists are somehow to blame for not spending all our time lobbying the legislature about problem gambling and the Willis Center, or that the solution to problem gambling is a slots parlor.

The reason some of us didn’t fight for the Willis Center is that we — and at least one of our elected officials — were not invited nor allowed to the meeting.

As you may recall, there was a closed-door meeting about the Willis Center at City Hall.  Keith Scott tried to get in and was turned away.  Konnie Lukes was not informed.

How is that the fault of activists?

We are the ones who lobby for a more open government.

We are the ones who show up at the meetings no one else wants to attend.

If our elected officials could get no answers and no clear resolution to the Willis Center fiasco, what exactly were we mere engaged citizens supposed to do?

Slots are a bad idea for Worcester for many reasons, not just moral ones.

And a process that puts the cart before the horse — that asks people to evaluate a plan with no details, to vote on mitigation before knowing anything about the developers, the buildings, the traffic studies, the public health and public safety reports — is in no one’s interest.

Not the supporters, not the opponents, and certainly not those who are undecided.

Mr. Farlane, it seems you care about a great many things that are wrong in Worcester.  Occasionally you even write about them.  But instead of lambasting those people who cared enough to come out and be heard against the proposed slots parlor, instead of assuming that these same folks haven’t fought a dozen other “good fights” and lost … how about getting your eloquent hindside out there and join us in some of these crusades?  Then you’ll discover which citizens are single-issue activists and how very many more are actually championing multiple issues citywide.

We are out here, fighting, because we are more invested in this community than $240 million of “blood money” can ever be.


Nicole Apostola
Central Branch YMCA Youth of the Year, 1992

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