Monthly Archives: February 2009

No more cell phones at city council?

We spoke too soon.

Earlier this week, we pointed out Billerica’s new rule prohibiting cell phone use and texting during council meetings, and fretted about what would happen to our own text-happy councilors if a similar rule was proposed.

Gadfly Steve Quist has taken our hypothetical to heart.

Somehow, we don’t see this passing.



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Foothills Theatre situation ‘dire,’ may close

Foothills Theatre executives are launching a last ditch, all-hands-on-deck effort to save the theater, which may have to close in the next week or so if it can’t raise $100,000.

Judge Mel Greenberg, the company’s Chairman of the Board and Artistic Director Russell Garrett appeared on The Jordan Levy show yesterday; today, a FAQ of the theater’s situation appears on its webpage.

“How bad is the situation?

To be perfectly honest the situation is dire. We need to raise approximately $100,000 between now and the beginning of next week in order to continue producing The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Once that has happened we will need to raise another $100,000 to finish out our current season. If we can successfully finish out through You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, then we will need to raise an additional $200,000 to make next season a reality.

When will the closing happen and what about the rest of the season?

If we are unsuccessful in raising the necessary funds by the beginning of next week the closing will be imminent. We will close out the run of Rainmaker but we will not be able to begin the run of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. We will also be forced to cancel Doubt and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. This would leave an incomplete season for season ticket holders. Details have not been finalized regarding subscription holders and can not be finalized until we have the results of this public appeal. Although this is a very painful thought to all of us at the theatre there is a possibility that subscriptions will have to be terminated with no refund available.

Read more and give here


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School committee meeting blogged

School committee candidate Tracy Novick liveblogged the School Committee meeting last night; we’re most struck by committee member Jack Foley’s apparent response to City Council criticism earlier this week that the schools weren’t feeling the same level of budget cut pain as the city.

“we’ve had our problems over the past six years”…688 positions cut, 8 schools closed, “we’ve also faced troubles over the past years”

Ahh yes…love is in the air between City Council and School Committee.

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Latest city candidates to pull papers

Konstantina Lukes, At-Large City Councilor

Marc Trotto, At-Large and District 2 City Councilor

Joffrey Smith, District 1 City Councilor

Dorothy Hargrove, School Committee

James O’Brien, At-Large City Councilor

Stephen Buchalter, At-Large City Councilor

Kola Akindele, At-Large City Councilor

Sean Maher, District 1 City Councilor

William J. McCarthy, At-Large City Councilor
Take this list with a grain of salt: Anyone can pull papers, but it could be for another candidate(Steve Quist pulled papers for several unnamed candidates last week) or in another person’s name.  For example, James O’Brien was telling people this week that he had no intention of running, and that the papers had been pulled in his name by friends.

Still, it’s good to see a few new names intermingled with some old standbys.  The big question now becomes who actually turns in papers with the required signatures.

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City Manager dissed at recruit graduation

Yesterday’s Police Department academy graduation was a bittersweet ceremony for all involved—despite graduating, all 32 members are being immediately to save money.

Apparently, some “friends and family” of those graduating recruits think that the money should have been saved somewhere else.  Today’s Telegram reports:

“City Manager Michael V. O’Brien received a copy of the invitation yesterday from “friends and family of the recruits.” It stated, “If you can’t support these wonderful women and men who have given up so much and worked so hard, you are not wanted at this ceremony… shame on all of you.”

Police Chief Gary J. Gemme, noticeably upset with the letter, supported the manager. He said without Mr. O’Brien, the class would not have been brought in at all. He said a year ago he expressed concern about bringing in a class during tight fiscal budgets and opposed it.”

This is emblematic of one of the huge barriers city officials, elected officials, and unions have in dealing with each other.  There’s an inherent “you’re either with us or against us” overtone to every conversation; indeed, we’ve heard parties elected officials and unions say those very words.

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1 in 100 FastLane trips overcharged

Let’s get this straight:

Tolls need to go up to increase revenues.  Totally unrelated, the antiquated FastLane system – which apparently needs to be upgraded – is overcharging 1% of the time?

That means the average daily commuter could be being overcharged at least twice a year.

[via Boston Herald]

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Germain getting in mayor’s race?

The race to be Worcester’s mayor seems to be heating up, even as expected candidate Rick Rushton drops out.

Earlier tonight, Michael Germain told Jordan Levy on WTAG that he was strongly considering a mayoral run, especially in light of Rushton bowing out.  Councilor Kate Toomey has all but confirmed that she’s running for the top seat, and Mayor Konnie Lukes is expected to run for re election.  Gary Rosen wouldn’t give us a firm answer on Tuesday night as to his intentions, but some insiders think he may try to recapture and build on his strong showing from 2007.

So without consideration for outside candidates, there may already be four names in the pool, all from entirely different political backgrounds.  Could make for an interesting few months.

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