“WHO RUN IT?” by Steve Siddle
December 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
So Worcester, It Hurts.
“Who Run It?”
by Steve Siddle
I hesitate to continue. It’s hard to go on bitching about the city I live in the wake of such a devastating loss. Last week Worcester, Ma lost a young firefighter in an early morning blaze on Union Hill. The death of Fireman John Davies occurred only days after the anniversary of the historic Worcester Cold Storage Fire that claimed the lives of six Firefighters.
I believe that it is important for us to stick together and stay positive in the face of tragedy and, in many ways;Worcester is at its best during the toughest times. I will never forget feeling for the first time, true pride in my hometown in the days and weeks after the Worcester Cold Storage fire.
I stood silent, with thousand of others, on Gold Star boulevards the funeral procession for the six firefighters drove slowly by, and I listened on a small radio at work as President Clinton spoke at the funeral service. For the first time in my life,Worcester, Ma was on the national news.
Now, once again, our hometown is on CNN for the same damn reason. We lost one of our bravest in a fire that shouldn’t have happened. Twelve years ago it was an abandoned factory building that killed, this time it was a condemned triple-decker. These are the monsters that haunt our city.
Never the less, we must take the opportunity to look at our city through the eyes of outsiders. What would you think of Worcester, Ma if you only heard about it after some tragedy? What would you see in the brief clips shown on CNN, on Newscenter 5, and on Inside Edition? Would you feel anything more than pity for this old working class town?
In many ways,Worcester shows its best side in the wake of a tragedy. We show ourselves as a tough, dedicated community who stick together when times get hard. We look like a rugged, rough around the edges, but endearing bunch of old school New Englanders. And we are.
But in these important moments when, for whatever the sad reason, the nation turns their eyes upon Worcester, who speaks for our city? Where is our Mayor?
Look at a photo of last week’s press conference and try to find the leader of the city. Who looks like he (or she) is the one in charge during our hardest hours? Is it the Fire Chief; is it the City Manager or the Lt. Governor? Can you even see our Mayor standing behind everyone else?
Look, I like Mayor Joe O’Brien and I don’t blame him for his insignificance. I suspect that he senses the lunacy of his powerless position and that is why he decided not to run for re-election. Perhaps he has greater ambitions. I hope he does.
Part of the problem with Worcester is that the only people who would want to be Mayor must have little to no ambition. Because of our outdated City Government structure, we will never have a “Strong Mayor.”
In 1947 Worcester residents voted for a “Plan E” type government which takes power away from the Mayor and distributes it among 11 city councilors. It is a groupthink mentality applied to government and it breeds indecision and inaction. Essentially we have been denied a true leader and given instead a bunch of low-level bureaucrats. And it shows.
At 3 pm on January Second, the inauguration of Joe Petty as the new Mayor of Worcester will take place at North High School. I voted for Joe Petty but I couldn’t really tell you why. I know next to nothing about the guy.
Unfortunately, I found out after the fact that Petty has already been a city councilor for twelve years, so he must be entrenched in the petty (pun intended) bullshit that our city council chooses to focus on. Still, I have hope.
We need to let this new Mayor know how important his role will be in the fight for our city. Send Joe an email and encourage him to buy a new suit or take voice lessons or something. In other words, tell Joe that he needs to act like a real politician with grand ambition. Tell our new Mayor that we need a leader who looks and acts stronger than we know he really is.
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