Home / Archive by Category "Current events"

Archives

More than 100 attend strategic planning forum for Worcester Public Schools

WORCESTER, Mass. – More than 100 people attended a community input meeting at Claremont Academy in the city’s Main South neighborhood to discuss what they think Worcester Public Schools should look like in the near future. The event was hosted by the Worcester Education Collaborative (WEC) and organized by students, parents, and community activists as the final of several forums designed to gather  qualitative data to help shape a community-created strategic plan for the school system – the first in more than a quarter century. While numerous viewpoints on varied issues were shared, it appeared that the overwhelming majority of those in attendance were highly concerned about race and racism in the school system. Alexizendria Link, a teacher at North High School and union activist,…

In crafting schools’ new strategic plan, a grassroots approach

WORCESTER, Mass. – On Jan. 24, local residents will again have an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns about the future direction of the Worcester Public Schools (WPS), as an unprecedented, community-driven data gathering process continues, the ultimate goal of which is to create the schools’ first new strategic plan since Will Smith was still The Fresh Prince. The need for a new plan “One of the shocking realities is that we have not had a strategic plan for the district since 1992,” said Jennifer Carey, executive director of the Worcester Education Collaborative (WEC), the community organization spearheading, along with the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, the drive to create the new plan. “That was the year before education reform, which changed the landscape for…

Gaffney, Turtleboy done: Time to move forward

Worcester’s far-right political bloc was obliterated in yesterday’s elections, when voters overwhelmingly decided to toss council member and Republican City Committee chair Michael Gaffney into the dustbin of history, and then blocked every one of his allies from the city council and school committee. In doing so, Worcester strengthened the hand of the currently leading center/progressive alliance and reaffirmed support for those who have strengthened the ongoing renaissance, as well as given a mandate for policies that have made Worcester, as Mayor Joseph Petty calls it, a “welcoming city.” Gaffney disappeared Gaffney has since deleted his public Facebook page and deleted the series of bizarre “Cheers Worcester” videos he routinely posted to Youtube. Gaffney severed his ties with the Turtleboy Sports blog, which had previously…

Worcester elections: the current tasks

It’s almost Election Day. Ballots are about to be cast by several thousand people across Worcester, deciding who will run the city for the next two years. I’ve been active in several campaigns, and supportive of many others, and have written extensively on our local politics. Given that, I think it’s worthwhile for me to put forward my thoughts on who are the best candidates – my “endorsements,” if you will – as well as some thoughts on the overall tasks for progressives now and going forward. Currently, the majority bloc on the city council is a center/left coalition that represents, sometimes uneasily, the interests of the vast majority of Worcester residents, including working people of all backgrounds, the racially and nationally oppressed, and women…

Gaffney: still campaigning, still a threat

It seemed too good to be true, and maybe it was: Michael and Coreen Gaffney announced Oct. 16 that they would be dropping out of their races for city council. That was good news to Worcester voters, a large majority of whom have tired of Gaffney’s campaign rhetoric, based mostly on making up lies and slander about his opponents. However, it appears that he might still be campaigning. Several people have reported receiving Gaffney literature on their doors, and others have seen Michael Gaffney’s signs (which are rather odd: they appear to be leftovers from when he was campaigning for mayor, but have the word “mayor” crossed out) appear after he ostensibly quit. Just this past weekend, I was canvassing for another candidate by Coes…

Gaffneys out, Turtleboy nearly irrelevant: time to work even harder

Sad Gaffney sign

Michael and Coreen Gaffney’s announcement yesterday that they were withdrawing from the race for city council was something of a surprise, but not at all unexpected. It was also confirmation of a point made on this blog several weeks ago: what seemed like a powerful far-right movement in this city, led by Michael Gaffney and vocalized by Turtleboy Sports, has collapsed. Turtleboy still has a website and a bunch of (easily bought) Facebook likes, but where is their influence? Like Gaffney, they couldn’t corral votes in the preliminary elections for their “Turtleboy ticket,” and it seems that no one in Worcester even bothers with them anymore. Look at their page: they took weeks to give away five coffee cups at one of their few remaining…

Labor, community groups and elected officials say “Vote for Dante Comparetto”

WORCESTER, Mass. – Labor leaders, elected officials, and representatives of community organizations gathered at the Educational Association of Worcester’s headquarters this morning to announce their support for Dante Comparetto’s bid for a seat on the city’s school committee. Supporters highlighted argued his years of advocacy for Worcester families and support of working people’s rights make him the ideal candidate. “He’s been an absolute staunch advocate for the educators in Worcester and the members of this union,” said EAW president Roger Nugent. “We are very pleased to unanimously endorse him.” The 2,800-member EAW represents Worcester’s teachers, many administrators, instructional assistants, bus drivers, and other school employees, and is a local of the National Education Association. City Council member Candy Mero Carlson, chair of the Worcester Democratic…

Worcester sends amor, support to Puerto Rico

City leaders addressing crowd

WORCESTER, Mass – More than 100 people gathered at the Christian Community Church today to pray for Puerto Rico and to strategize how best to help the island after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Opening the meeting, Sarai Rivera, the city council member and CCC pastor who organized the meeting, said that Worcester had its part to play in the rebuilding efforts. Referring to the story of the Wall of Jerusalem in the biblical Book of Nehemiah, Rivera said that many small groups worked, focusing intently on their part of the wall. “Eventually we saw the full construction.” In the same way, communities across the U.S. could each do their part to help rebuild Puerto Rico. As might be expected, the meeting was at…

Gaffney/Turtleboy bloc collapsing – Nov. final push needed

Election commission

The hard-right faction that has come to dominate the Republican Party in Worcester seems to be on the verge of collapse, symbolized most recently by its leader, Michael Gaffney, indicating hours ago that he would not stand for election as mayor this coming November. While that bloc’s defeat is not a foregone conclusion, it appears very likely that Gaffney’s standing down could represent a recognition by him and others of a failure to build a local stronghold for a hate-filled, extremist faction within the Republican Party. This grouping, of course, is represented nationally by Trump and his allies. Their failure in Worcester is a dramatic shift of events, and could strengthen the hand of the moderate-progressive alliance currently in office. As late as several months…

Recent election: Rose, Wally winners; Gaffney, Turtleboy losers

Preliminary elections on Sept. 12 in Worcester signaled what could be a resounding defeat in November for the Trump-allied faction of the Republican Party around city council member and Worcester Republican City Committee chair Michael Gaffney. Also apparently losing influence is the notorious Holden-based alt-right blog Gaffney supports, Turtleboy Sports. Gaffney, it should be remembered, is the candidate who has been busy lately telling the press that “there are consequences” for articles that don’t glorify him. By any account, Worcester’s center and progressive forces moved forward, while those Gaffney and Turtleboy Sports supported took, as George W. Bush once put it, “a thumpin’.” Two districts in Worcester, District 1 and District 5, had enough people vying for a the seat that a preliminary election was…

1 2 3 4