City Council liveblog 12/23/08

7:20: And we’re off! Ronal Madnick of Worcester’s ACLU chapter started off the meeting by asking the council to establish a Civilian Review Board. Why would we ever need an outside organization overseeing the city’s public officials? Council supports the request.

7:28: Let freedom ring?  Lukes asks for a city manager’s report on freedom of information requests. “Are there routine delays?” she asks on behalf of citizens without resources about such things. “I am embarrassed by T&G situation,” she says. She asks the administration to respond within 30 days. Not best to be late in such a matter, she emphasizes. Councilor Palmieri notes that it’s not good to be too hasty when it comes to protecting citizens privacy.

7:40: Council discusses a piece of legislation that supports electrical conduits being put underground throughout the city starting with a 2-mile radius around City Hall. And when did the council originally decide on such a measure? 1902. Councilor Rushton discovered that over a century ago the City enacted an act that requires wires and cables must be placed underground within a two-mile radius of City Hall. Councilor Clancy warns that following through with such a law might cost too much and put an inordinate burden on electric companies when lines need to be repaired. Wonder if similar concerns were voiced over 100 years ago?

7:55: Council is clearly not on the fence when it comes to 103 Holden Street, a property that’s been the site of a 23-year housing struggle over a house that Councilor Rosen calls a “haunted shack.” In terms of the house’s “fence issue,” the item is still in litigation, City Solicitor Councilor Petty reports. ” A shameful act on the part of the shack owner,” Rosen declares.

8:07: Resident Jo Hart wants council to consider that rather than plowing snow onto city sidewalks, why not have the city be required to remove the snow from the sidewalks? Hart cited other cities where clearing sidewalks falls on the city. The reason why the non-property owner is so adamant about the issue? She wants to walk on the sidewalk. Imagine that.

Councilors weigh in. Palmieri suggests maybe part of the solution can come from imposing fines on plow operators if they continue to pile massive amounts of snow on corners of streets. Councilor Germain says the new ordinance “is not a panacea by any stretch of the imagination.” He estimates he saw 20 pedestrians walking in roadway becasue people have not cleared sidewalks, however he makes a point that the city doesn’t possess sidewalk clearing equipment and asks the issue be dealt with by the police department.

8:30: Councilor Toomey asks that more consideration should be made for people with physical disabilities and the elderly to be protected from facing fines from a new ordinance that asks residents to remove snow from their sidewalks.

8:40: City Manager Michael O’Brien says that the new ordinance is about education at this point, not fee generation. A note about the ordinance will go out Dec. 31 in their tax bills.

8:47: Councilor Eddy makes motion for members of National Grid to meet with the administration to discuss issues surrounding supplying power to residents in light of the recent storm.

8:50: That’s all folks!

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1 Comment

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One response to “City Council liveblog 12/23/08

  1. Councilor Clancy was sitting in Councilor Germaine’s seat this evening…

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