Sleight of hand

If you’re on Facebook, please LIKE the Save the Chandler Magnet Ball Fields page and write to the School Committee, City Council, and City Manager to stop this now.

We are now approaching Phase Six of the Typical Worcester Scheme that the Chandler Magnet Field situation is turning into.

Phase One: Worcester State University and the neighbors hold meetings together in a neighborhood council.

Phase Two: WSU has secret negotiations with the city administration for a year regarding land that the administration has no control over.

Phase Three: The administration presents the plan to various non-quorum groups in a secretive way that will not violate the Open Meeting Law.

Phase Four: Neighbors and other concerned parties find out, inform public.

Phase Five: Administration scrambles, says that the neighbors don’t have all the facts and that the full proposal will be presented in a few weeks’ time. Frequently uses phrases like “not being too hasty”, which is Worcester-speak for “and we would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”

Phase Six, where we’re at right now, is the part where the administration is faced with opposition, and their approach will be to divide and conquer, to blame those who are not responsible for the problem, to divert from other solutions, and to present selling 15 acres of open space as the ONLY solution.

To wit:
The City Manager will blame the School Committee for Worcester State University expanding without having appropriate parking facilities. This isn’t the School Committee’s problem, and it’s not theirs to fix.

He will also try to solve unrelated issues and blame the School Committee. Gates Lane School has some attendant parking issues. However, the City Council, not the School Committee, is the final arbiter of schools that are built. Not the SC’s problem, and it’s unclear where he will find additional parking — perhaps take the nearby laundromat by eminent domain?

Despite what Worcester Mag (as mouthpiece for the City Manager) asserts, residents do NOT “need to pitch a better plan.” It’s not their fault if WSU can’t handle their parking problems, so it’s not up to the victim (citizens) to come up with solutions for a neighbor that has been working behind their back, against them.

We shouldn’t act as if putting a 700-800 (!!!) car parking lot in a residential area is no big deal. (To put this in perspective, that is 2.5 times the size of the McGrath Lot next to the library.)

Mr. Augustus has said that “If this doesn’t happen, I don’t know what the solution is.”  I’m sure the trustees of Worcester State are grateful that they’re getting his brain at no cost, but the rest of us would appreciate it if he worked for us for a change and let Worcester State put its own great minds to work at solving its problems.

Mr. Augustus would like us to think that we can take away 15 acres with a magic wand and be happy with the same patches of land we have now, 15 acres the poorer, except with artificial turf on two of them.   He also thinks this parcel is only worth $1 million.  These two propositions alone strain credulity.

For the next couple of weeks, we will see the city administration try very hard to divide those who would like to preserve the land by buying some off with perqs elsewhere, and to blame the holdouts for blocking the “progress” and “only solution.”

Now, for the Finale, watch the Administration perform the Dance of the Desperate while citizens grow angrier and angrier.  There will be highs and lows, dips and twirls, but don’t be distracted by the flashy moves.  They don’t have your best interests at heart.

Once the land’s gone, it’s gone.  Once it’s paved over, it’s not available for folks to hike and play, and for animals to live.  No amount of fake turf or parking spaces can bring it back.

3 thoughts on “Sleight of hand

  1. Excellent, excellent, post.

  2. Walter Crockett says:

    Seeing if this will let post with my own name.
    Great post, Nicole. I haven’t heard it said better. You should write an op-ed for the T&G on this.

  3. These steps are pretty much how City Hall’s slots parlor effort went down too.

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