January 31, 2008

Another Story in the Buzz

Roberta Schaefer of the Worcester Research has a story about privatizing some subsidized services. Read here, this is a list from the story:

Facility Tax-Pay Subsidy

ORH 700,000 (it is actually more then that)
Union Station 775,000 (not to mention the loans we are taking our for future tenenants)
Senior Center 915,000
Hope Cemetary 1,000,000
Auditorium 120,000
DCU Ctr 400,000
Green Hill 150,000

total $4,700,000

Allegiant 4th QTr Results

Executives at Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air said Wednesday that a 39 percent increase in fuel costs cut into fourth-quarter profits but the niche carrier still posted a double-digit margin for the year.

The low-cost vacation airline hauled in nearly $361 million in revenue for the year and made $44 million in profit, a margin of more than 12 percent. Allegiant stock rose 12 percent Wednesday, closing the day at $26.61 on the Nasdaq National Market. The stock, however, is still 18 percent lower than it was one year ago. Allegiant also announced a $25 million stock repurchase plan.

January 30, 2008

February Buzz Issue

You can find it in the Telegram or in various spots around the city, try to pick it up. There is a great story on the Tembenis Family and their son, Elias. Sorry can not find a link to the actual story, but you can click here to learn more about ForgeWorks.

January 29, 2008

FAA Part 139 Designation

CQX, thank you for your comments in regards to Cliver McFarlane's article. Although Clive was not aware that there are certain personnel that must be on staff to retain the Part 139 designation, I still want to thank Clive for at least bringing this discussion to the forefront.

Here is where I need some help from CQX and others. Maybe the question should be if we should downgrade from a FAA Part 139 airport? MassPort or whoever takes over ORH could always bring it back, right??

Look forward to all your comments.

January 28, 2008

Sub-Prime Fall-out

There are repercussions to everything. During the latest real estate boom the mortgages that were given were all based on the fact real estate values would just keep increasing 15% each year. Even if a bank gave some 100% financing with no documentation, what is the risk since you can always foreclose and still realize a gain from the equity. What happens, however, when real estate values start dropping??

We all know the answer that now. Owners of these 100% non-doc mortgages walk away, property value plummet, banks go out of business, credit markets tighten, foreclosures skyrocket and property values drop. Many people may be quite surprised when they see their 401(K) statement and see that their value have in their "safe" mortgage and bond account. It does not end there, however.

During this latest real estate boom the City of Worcester has loaned out millions and millions in HUD HOME funds in the form of "soft" second mortgages to help many first-time home buyers, mostly through CDC's, around the City of Worcester to buy houses. Here is how it works. You buy a property for $200,000 and get a mortgage for almost the entire amount from the out-of-control mortgage industry.

In addition to the first mortgage, there is a 2nd and sometimes a 3rd mortgage from the City of Worcester, but the home-buyer does not have to make payments, thus the term "soft" second. Although the first-time home-owner only pays back the 1st mortgage of $200,000, they may actually owe $240,000 or $250,000 if you add in the 2nd and 3rd mortgage. The deal is that the 1st time home-owner, who is low-mod income, does not have to pay back the "soft" mortgages if they hold the house during the "affordability" period or sell it to another low-mod income home-owner. Typically this "affordability" period is 15 years, although I have seen shorter and longer.

There are some very "hard" terms, however, to this "soft" mortgage. First the developer of the underlying property receives cold hard cash. Second, the "soft" mortgage needs to be paid back if onwnership is changed to someone, who is not low-mod income. Who needs to pay it back?

Answer: the PJ, which means presiding jurisdiction, the the City of Worcester!! In the above example if the underlying property was became owned by someone who is not low-mod, the City of Worcester would have to pay back $40,000 or $50,000.

Bottom line is that many of these "soft" seconds could come back as a liability to the City of Worcester. Please note again this is not a small number!!! Bottom line is that the City of Worcester has a vested interest to help home-owners, with "soft" seconds in foreclosure, since the possibility of a non low-mod income person or entity taking ownership could cost the city much much more.

RKG Study

Five year ago the City hired a consultant named RKG to do a housing study. It is on-line click here, hit reports and plans link on the left, look for Housing section. Looking back on it they were right in their assesment, we should have listened to them.

Page 106:

"The City of Worcester should find a balance in its affordable housing needs that benefits all of its residents. "

Page 107:

"The City's policy of using the many community developmemt corporations (CDCs) to develop low-income housing should be reconsidered. While their renovation work has helped stabilize neighborhoods, especially at a time when the redevelopment was needed, their subsidized redevelopment has alientated some local business/developers....... Another alternative to renovating triple deckers would be to thing out selectively some of these buildings and make sites ready for new single family homes in a townhouse style, and market the sites to a private developer for construction. The CDC's in the future should be considered more of a developer of last choice..."

Clive Give Me Five

From today's Telegram by Clive McFarlane:

The Worcester airport has not only been grounded for a while but has also been a big drain on the city’s finances. The airport’s total budget is $3.8 million, of which approximately $1.3 million represents current salaries. So, OK, a chief accountant for the airport who makes more than $60,000 a year might be a necessary position, although given the scaled-down activities of that operation, you would think that those duties could temporarily be transferred to the able people working in the city Finance Department.

The airport maintenance supervisor of operations, who makes over 56 grand a year, and three airport maintenance people, who make a combined $112,000 a year, are maybe necessary to keep things in relatively good shape until we are able to sell the airport. But what exactly are we getting in return for paying $85,000 a year for an airport liaison?

And while I am thankful that the city decided not to fund the positions of three airport parking lot attendants this year, is there really a need for five security guards and crash crewmen, making a combined $231,709 a year and being supervised by a principal security guard and crash crewman making $63,099 a year?

Worcester Living Mag

Question to Colleen Barrett, President of Southwest Airlines:

Wouldn't it be great if SouthWest Airlines made ORH its New England hub?


Yes--but I think it would take a true miracle to pull it off!

January 27, 2008

Southern Skyways

They are doing better then I thought, check out their route map!!


Telegram Opinion Section

What happened to it???

Thanks Jahn!! I actually "Insight", what happened to that section--is it gone??

Read the Nemeth story. What a nothing story. Again one would think a logical question for the Lt Governor would be question on rail service and the airport, but nothing!!

So do I have this right--is the Insight Section of the Sunday paper history?

January 25, 2008

Rockford To Myrtle Beach

Earlier in the week (busy week), Tom Bona sent me an e-mail that Kenny Tours was now official and that Rockford was now flying to Myrtle Beach. Not even thinking, I assumed it had to be Myrtle Beach Direct Airlines, but after finally looking at the article it is Southern Skyways.

January 24, 2008


The third six month extension through the end of 2008, I felt was absolutley horrible news and guaranteed nothing will happen in 2008 at ORH. Although I guaranteed a story for Mr Nemeth, we never got it.

Instead we got two "feel good"stories, the first about a charter company out of ORH, SkyLine Flights, that you can not find on the official web page. The second story pictured a large charter plane flying to Atlantic City, as if that happens everyday? Only to finish with the impression that we have 59,000 landings and take-offs per year at ORH.

Don't get me wrong, they were good stories, but why were they done now?? Wouldn't a better story have been about what happened to the G-13 jet that was suppose to be coming to ORH, will Winward Aviation buy the parcel of land that they won through the second RFP process last year that is under an extension or better yet, what has IMG been up to with $100,000 of our Small Community Air Service grant trying to recruit and retain commercial service?

Again I liked the stories not the timing. It would be like doing a story on the leader of the band on the Titanic as it was sinking, versus writing about the Titanic sinking?

Skybridge details

Click here


Think you all remember that I was against this since the whole "DIF" financing concerns me. Only increased state revenues stay with the City of Worcester. In other words if the Commonwealth Tax Revenues did not increase enough to cover the cost of the Skybridge, the remaining monies due on the bond would need to come from the General Fund (us).

This past week-end I stayed at the Copley Marriott. I gave my car keys to the valet, when arrived on Saturday. On Monday my car back was returned when I gave my ticket to the valet.

It is great there. The mall is right off the second floor so you never even have to go outside. There is even a Skybridge that connects you to the Prudential, more stores, food court, SkyWalk at the top of the Prudential and the Prudential T Stop. All the time again you never have to go outside.

Every time I was on the Skybridge, it was packed. This got me to thinking, who would have been on our Skybridge that connected a parking garage and a hotel??? It would have been empty 99% of the time.

My point is that you can have valet parking between the hotel and the garage, there is no need of a Skybridge here. The intent, highest and best use of a Skybridge is to connect retail buildings, not parking garages.

January 23, 2008

Telegram Story on Airport

Story by Shaun Sutner in the Telegram about General Aviation. . Note comment from blogger, Steve Foley.

Does anyone know how many of the 59,260 take-offs and landings are attributable to the flight schools? If you watch the flightaware activity at ORH, no way is there 59,260 take-offs and landings.

January 21, 2008

Banker & Tradesman January 14, 2008

Front Page

Berkeley Continues Search For Urban Village People

Lack Of Office Interest in Worcester's CitySquare Prompts Developer to Cut Project in Half

More then a year after a developer promised to transform the failed Worcester Common Outlets into an urban village, the project has yet to attract a single commercial tenant.

The Cornerstone of the city's latest effort to rejuvenate the downtown is CitySquare, a $504 million redevelopment of the former mall. Berkeley Investments has held out the hope of replacing the shuttered shopping center with a mix of medical and professional office space, condominiums, restaurants, retailers and theatres within steps of the MBTA's commuter rail.

But a lack of interest in offices at the proposed transit-oriented location has forced the Boston based developer to cut the project's initial Class A space component in half.

Worcester Mayor Konstantina Lukes, who has expressed skepticism over the project, said she is unhappy with the latest setback.

"Taxpayers are really frustrated. " she noted. "Many of us thought it would have moved forward by now, but the fact that the mall is still standing is a symbol that the project is stalled."

In October , 2006 Michael O'Brien, Worcester's City Manager, and Young Park, Berkeley's president, signed a 392 page agreement that touted $470 million in private investment and $94 million in public financing. At the time, they said the was a "significant milestone," and the "City Square and Worcester are poised for success."

Under the proposal, the empty mall and a portion of the parking garage would be razed. In its place would stand a medical office building, multifamily apartments, loft-style condominiums, senior housing, and retail spaces to accommodate restaurants, outdoor cafes, a multiplex movie theatre and a health club.

In addition, new roads would reconnect the downtown with Washington Square, Union Station, and Front and Shrewsbury streets. A 1,025 space underground parking garage also is planned.

But the three phase development, which is expected to take 8 years to complete, remains on the drawing board. O'Brien and Park did not return calls seeking comment.

Barbara Smith-Bacon, a Berkeley Vice-president, said construction was to begin once tenants were found for the 500,000 square feet of office space. The project was hindered, however, when St Vincent Hospital determined it no longer needed a new 275,000 square foot medical office building at CitySquare.

"If you want to put a negative spin on it, you can" Smith-Bacon said. "But we're facing economic realities and working with the city so that we can put tenants into the project in smaller bits. In this way, the city gets the same security of making sure they don't have to put money into the deal until tenants are lined up."

Smith-Bacon noted that it is not unusual for large development projects to take years to launch. Columbus Center, the $800 million air-rights project to be built over the Mass Pike between Boston's Back Bay and South End neighborhoods has yet to break ground, despite approved in 2004.

Smith-Bacon said factors that may have contributed to the CitySquare delays include cost of the real estate construction, where prices have increased 25% in the past three years, and a double digit vacancy rate in Worcester. As a result, she said, they will try to start a 250,000 square foot building.

"We are feeling very good about getting this started," she added. "But I cannot say it will start in six months because there's lots of work to do. We are having discussions with 10 to 20 potential tenants. The point is everyone at all levels are working extremely hard together to get the project launched.'

CitySquare has been touted as the largest public-private partnership outside of Boston in the Bay State's history. The project, which would be on 20 acres in the heart of Worcester, would total more then 2 million square feet of mixed-use development and reunite downtown streets that were taken during an urban renewal effort in the 1970's.

Philip Desimone, a managing director for the global real estate services and money management firm Jones Lang LaSalle,and a leasing agent for the project, refused to concede that CitySquare is in jeopardy.

"There are fewer challenges with this site then there are with others because it's permitted, ready to go and has broad support," he said. "If there is a challenge, it's finding someone who wants to locate in downtown Worcester and make it a signature spot for them".

For Desimone, the project is personal because his grandfather owned a haberdashery in the downtown and his father still practices law on Main Street. He disputed suggestions that time could run out and the developer might withdraw."

"Why does there have to be a deadline?" he asked. "What else are you going to do there? This is pivotal project to transform the downtown. A few years ago I visited New York's Times Square and noticed all the corporate headquarters there. That place use to be a dump. Now it's alive and vibrant. Maybe if CitySquare gets built, suddenly college kids will go there and it becomes the place to be."

Momentum for a fresh start for the downtown took shape in 2001 after Timothy Murray was elected Mayor. By 2004, longtime City Manager Thomas Hoover resigned and O'Brien, the city's former Parks and Recreation department commissioner, was tapped as the new manager. O'Brien had developed a reputation for strong leadership during his time at City Hall, city councilors said.

That summer, Murray called on the Worcester Common Outlets' owner to explore alternative uses for the site and threatened to take the property by eminent domain if a reuse plan was not devised. Berkeley stepped in and purchased the failed retail center and two corporate office towers for $30 million form Harford based Cigna Corp.

Since then, Murray has been elected lieutenant governor. In an interview with Banker and Tradesman, he said razing the mall and a portion of the parking lot is pivotal.

"It's not real until the first wrecking ball hits," said Murray.

January 18, 2008

Nemeth Sunday Column

If there was only a casino in Mass, I would drive to it right now and bet the house that Mr Nemeth will write about ORH this week-end and say how the 3rd 6 month extenion, added to the 2nd 6 month extension, added to the original six month extenion, on top of the three year agreement that followed the initial 5 year agreement is great for ORH.

On a serious note 28.1 million passengers out of Logan!!!! That is incredible!! What message does it send to potential businesses that may want to relocate to Worcester when one hour away we can not get 1 commercial passenger in 2007?

Logan Sets Record in 2007

Logan International Airport and Conley Container Terminal posted record numbers for traffic in 2007. Logan served 28.1 million passengers last year due to increases in summer, Thanksgiving and international traffic, surpassing the record 27.72 million passengers it handled in 2000.

ORH was only 28.1 million passengers behind Logan

Today's Plane

Tim MacDonald on a roll. You are right it was most like a Hooter's plane since they use to lease their planes from Pace. Here it the information on the plane we saw today:

PCE358 (all flights) Piedmont Aviation Services, Inc. D/B/A Pace Airlines "Pace"
Boeing 737-200 (twin-jet) (B73Q/L)
Manchester (KMHT)
Worcester Rgnl (KORH)

Other flights between these airports
Friday, Jan 18, 2008
17 minutes
Arrived over 2 hours ago (track log)

03:00PM EST
02:48PM EST
03:18PM EST
03:05PM EST
331 kts
11000 feet

Worcester Taxpayers Association

I was told this group use to have some clout, anyone remember it??

January 17, 2008

City Tax On Fuel at ORH

Since Allegiant left ORH, we all realized one of the biggest issues and maybe the reason Allegiant left ORH was the cost of fuel. In fact the month (August, 2006) before Allegiant left. Check the minutes ,the Airport Commission voted to end the City of Worcester tax on the sale of fuel at ORH.

One could only imagine that this was done to help keep Allegiant here? Maybe we should have showered the remaining monies from the Small Community Air Service instead, of which we still have $200,000 remaining and could potentially lose if we do use during the one year extension that the DOT has already given us.

Now some 16 months later, it looks like it has not been waived, according to the December, 2007 minutes? Why has it taken 16 months to change this, or am I wrong? Maybe we have a pattern:

  • G-13 that was coming but never happened
  • the name change, which we all talked about way too much, never happened
  • DJ Air --what happened?
  • the RFP for a parcel of land that had a winner but has not bought yet and looks like may never happen
  • the RFP for the restaurant slot that never happened
  • the modern ORH website that has never happened
  • the 20 Year Master Plan that has never happened
  • the consultant, IMG, that we have paid alot of money to and have no idea what has happened

Maybe we have a hattern here.

December Airport Board Meeting

Click here, hi-lights:

  1. Marketing--no report
  2. Master Plan--FAA reviewing
  3. Looks like Winward will not lease the one parcel that went out to RFP twice last year
  4. GOOD NEWS-Norwood Flight Center has come to ORH
  5. Rumors about the bad conditions at the Amity building look to be true
  6. Gas is still be taxed at ORH by the City, thought this was revoked last August?
  7. Airport name has not been changed
  8. MassPort 68% subsidy of operating deficit has been extended through December 31, 2008
  9. Worcester State has stopped leasiing the parking lot
  10. O'Coins, who are out of business, want to keep leasing the building on Goddard. They must have a great deal on the lease and will turn around and sub-let it pocketing the difference?

Capital Grille Coming

Rumor has it to Marlboro, not Worcester.


I watched the City Council Meeting the other night and blog favorite, Gary Rosen, commented on how he had read about criticism of Wayfarer program on a blog and disagreed. He thought it was a good idea. I still do not get it and the cost by the way the cost is approximately 2.3 million.

Before we invest 2.3 million can someone do something about the concrete block that was set on sidewalk outside of my office on Pleasant Street that was suppose to have a sign posted about 6-7 years ago to help people find their "way" around the City of Worcester. The sign was never set.

Lincoln Plaza

I was down City Hall yesterday and found a display about the creation of Lincoln Plaza across from the City Clerk's Office. It was pretty neat, very Back to the Future. If you are downtown, you should check it out.

January 16, 2008

Telegram Editorial

Click here to read, it is good that they have extended contract negotiations? Have we not already invested 8 years, 6 months and 16 days into negotiations alreadys? Don't get me wrong, MassPort:

  • Has been great for ORH, subsidizing our operatings deficit not debt service
  • Buying us time to get our act together, but we have not
  • I do not blame MassPort either for not turning ORH around, since they would never realize any true return under any of these agreements. The only way that they could realize any return was if they outright owned or had a long-term lease (99 years) at ORH. it was up to us to make ORH into what Rockford is today.

At the latest, we should have been out of the airport business at the end of the 2nd operating agreement, July 1st, 2007. Not only should we be talking to MassPort, but companies like National Express, that is not tax-exempt and would pay property taxes? If you were selling your house would you only talk to your next door neighbor?

Why are we only considering MassPort as a potential buyer or leassee? AIRPORT FOR SALE!!

Airport Privatization

We have been talking about this on the blog for three-four years. For you new readers on the blog, read here (scroll down a little) for brief on airport privatization. Just found this more recent story that is a must read. This guy, Robert Poole, from the Reason Foundation is good.

Kenny Tours

Mentioned Kenny Tours a couple months back, who may be starting flights out of Rockford to Ireland. Found this story from the Lansing State Journal . Kenny Tours's Shamrock Express Perfect would be the perfect airline for ORH. Small part of story:

Kenny Tours is looking to launch the Shamrock Express in Lansing and five other smaller airports this year, including those in Mascoutah and Rockford, Ill.; Columbus, Ohio; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Buffalo, N.Y. Travelers may buy a packaged Kenny Tours vacation or fly only as ticketed passengers. Roundtrip tickets are expected to start at $799.

Imagine if we just had something like this and Myrtle Beach Direct at ORH?

January 15, 2008

TF Green

It is bad enough that you have to look at a huge billboard for TF Green Airport driving through Worcester by CK Smith/Morgan, but to have a City Councilor need to leave the City Council meeting to pick a family member up at TF Green--that hurts.

MassPort Extension

In the Telegram today, it looks like we have another six month extension thru December 31 st of this year, added to the six month extension that ends June 30th of this year, which was added to the six month extension that ended December 31st of last year, which was preceded by a three year agreement that ended June 30th of 2007, that followed the five year agreement that ended June 30th of 2004.

The key element being MassPort will continue paying 68% of the Operating Deficit, but none of the Debt Service. That leaves 32% of the Operatings Deficit and 100% of the Debt Service for the tax-payers of Worcester. Looking at page 120 of the City Auditor's 2007 fiscal, it appears to me that last year the total deficit was 1,520,762, of which 664,018 was Debt Service and thus the Operating Deficit would be 856,774. The tax-payers of Worcester in turn pay 32% of Operating Deficit or 274,158 and 100% of the Debt Service or 664,018 for a total of $938,176. In other words it costs the tax-payers of Worcester $78,181 per month to keep ORH open.

This is even more bad news, an airport in limbo, for ORH. Do you all remember the lone bidder of the land parcel that, although they won the bid, they have not bought the land? I believe their deadline to pay up was March of this year. Not knowing what the future holds, I would imagine makes their decision more difficult and they will most likely pass on the bid.

I only hope that we actively solicit potential buyers like National Express, etc to come buy our airport and not only deal with MassPort. As someone, who believes in ORH, the tax-payers of Worcester can not afford to keep paying for "untapped potential" and we have to market this airport to every Airport Authority, Airline, Casino, Craigs List, Wall Street Journal that we have an AIRPORT FOR SALE.

This is very bad news for ORH.

AIrport Board Minutes & Marshalls

Officially three months today since the last posting of the airport minutes, October 15, 2007. Add Marshalls to the list:

1) Parker Companies
2) Pressmet
3) Woodmeister
4) Tatnuck Boookseller
5) Morgan Construction (sold)
6) O'Coins
7) TiNova (I have a gift certificate)
8) Allegiant Air
9) Salter School
10) Barbers Crossing
11) EB Luce
12) DeScenza Jeweler
13) Bancroft Tire and Car Sales
14) Applebee's downtown
15) Mayfield Plastics to Millbury
16) Palsons Office
17) Union Station Restaurant
18) Blues Club at Union Station
19) Vincent Jewelers
20) Bob's at Webster Square
21) Sh'Booms
22) Parker & Harper on Dewey Street
23) Manoog Plumbing
24) Fidelity on Belmont
25) Sheraton Lincoln on Lincoln
26) L Hardy
27) Shaws on Grafton Street
28) Java Hut
29) Marshall's Greendale Mall

January 13, 2008

Myrtle Beach Direct Expands

Compliments of the Adirondack Daily:

Myrtle Beach Direct Air, an air service based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has announced new non-stop jet service between Plattsburgh International Airport and Myrtle Beach every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday beginning March 15, 2008. Passengers may also continue on to St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida two days a week with a brief stop in Myrtle Beach.

January 11, 2008

Welcome to the Jahn-gle Week-end

No Posts this week-end. Must read interview with Jahn below, unless Mr Nemeth bumps him with an airport story. This is HIGHLY UNLIKELY, since Mr Nemeth never writes about the airport anymore. Please note Jahn is not in the picture to your right.

Jahn Interview


I will stick my neck out here

We absolutely, will not see any new construction in 2008

CS has a "progress payment" due June, 2008 of $750K. I predict this will be modified, moved to a future date, and /or reduced. The city has no choice, as CS holds all the cards. He who owns the gold makes the rules. Ask your self what are the realistic options for the city if things do not fall into place soon? CS is on the hook now for $250K. They can easily walk away from this and pay any other penalties and be unscathed .

So they probably get off the hook temporarily for the June payment of $750K and in exchange agree to commence razing the parking garage. Anyone see any parking garages listed on Ebay or any Craigs List curb alerts for a free parking garage in Worceser?



The city is having major problems meeting its daily operational costs. Witness this years budget debacle that wasnt settled until October. I will go out on a limb here and say that the 2009 budget is going to be even worse. Mr OBrien will be unable to concentrate on other issues because he'll be too overwhelmed by the budget. The state has a $1B deficit for the current year we're in now, so how much help can we expect from Beacon Hill for 2009. I am not an advocate for help from Beacon Hill. The city should pay its own freight

Should we even be taking state and federal money? We're too quick to grab the upfront cash and not look at the consequences five or ten years down the road.

We are a $500M dollar business but we do not operate in a business like fashion. The examples are too munerous to mention and I'd just be mostly repeating myself. But regardless, here's one I saw I the other day. Traffic "Control" Cameras. Rather then buy the cameras, pay to have them installed, and realize 100% of the traffic fine proceeds...we instead tout this idea as costing us nothing to implement (per T&G, per Mr Petty) and we give a portion of the fines collected to the owners (?)/installers of these devices. This is crazy, but it's done because we dont have the money to pay to install the units so instead we pay for the so called free installation by granting the installers/( owners?) an annuity for how long?? This is analgous to me paying for a photocopier by allowing Canon to charge me on a per copy basis, rather than just buying the thing upfront and paying for it myself.

Also, keep in mind the City is BANKRUPT. We have a pension obligation to current and future retirees of $120M. That's $120M that we would have to come with Today to place into the pension fund and earn investment returns to pay future obligations. Don't even ask what the future obligation is to fund health care for these same retirees or to fund the sick days that employeees have accumaluted during their tenure with the city.

One might ask, "Well gee I just read in the paper that our debt ratings are good/improving" Well the way we accomplish that is the pension "company" is kept on another set of books called something like the Worcester Retirement System. In other words the obligation has been moved off the city books. Out of sight and out of mind.


The council and to a lesser extent the school committee, because they are a political body, have allowed the city to be hi-jacked by city employees and labor interests and this is going eventually push us over the edge. There are 5300 city employees. They dont all live in the city, but you have to realize that in their totality (especially when you consider these employees and their immediate families), they represent a huge voting block and people vote their pocketbooks and their spouses pocketbook first and foremost.

We are not getting efficient use of our tax dollars when trash collectors are working 4 to 4.5 hour work days, when the average city employee takes 10 sick days per year, and when no one knows what it is costing us to provide city services.
We should be able to tell with just a few keystrokes what it costs us annually, monthly, daily and hourly to provide custodial serices for the library, to collect trash, to operate the vice squad,etc,etc.

We should be looking into privatization of city services but it will never happen because too many politicians would be run out of office by the city labor voting block. The Worcester Municipal Reasearch Bureau continually makes recommendations to the council and school committte and they are ignored. One that comes to mind is to privatize school custodial services. Mr Caradonio says this would upset the family of school department employees. Mindsets like this is what will eventually result in receivership.

4. IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING IN WORCESTER ( I am going to name two) ?

a. Put as many city services out to bid as possible.

I would hire an outside agency to come in and INDEPENDENTLY FINANCIL EXPERTS assess EXACTLY what it costs to provide all city services and then put out to bid as many of these services as possible. The bids would be awarded and initially monitiored by ANOTHER INDEPENDENT AGENT. None of this baloney of having department heads low ball their costs so they can maintain their power and turf. Obviously not all services lend themselves to privatization.

b. Term limit councillors to either two or four years ( one to two terms). This will prevent them from doing things that help them get re-elected as opposed to doing what right for taxpayers.


I am ABSOLUTELY DEAD SET against a strong mayor. Changing the political organizational structure does nothing to address our underlying municipal problems which are operational and financial in nature. Many will point to Boston and Providence as examples of a successful strong mayor, but these comparisons are flawed because these are capitol cities, seaports, and are served by MAJOR, MULTIPLE TWO DIGIT interstate road systems. Worcester is only directly served by one 3 digit connector interstate. Road growth equals economic growth. Then there is also Springfield (in receivership) which no one seems to be using as an example of a viable mayoralty

Strong mayoral cities also seem to attract what i call lunch bucket, democratic mayoral types. Witness Menino and Cianci. I really dont know much about Marino in Springfield. This notion that strong mayors are somehow responsible for the economic viablity of their city is ludicrious. Mayors do not make citieswhat they are . No one person is that powerful. Private industry and private money drives economic success. Just because Providence Place happened on Ciancis watch or because Bostons skyline improves and grows on Meninos watch does not mean that they as strong mayors had anything to do with it. They just got lucky and happened to have things occur on their watch.

All municipalities have some corrpution. It's probably inevitable. Strong mayors seem to breed more corrpution and more nepotism. Not that it doesnt happen here in Worcester to some extent, but strong Mayors who are popularly elected tend to put their unqualified or less qulaified cronnies into municipal management positions.

January 10, 2008

Rockford-2nd Best Year Ever

I know this is getting repetitive, but Tom Bona/Rockford Register on how great Rockford Airport is doing--click here. 2nd best year ever 215,009 passengers, meanwhile:
  • ORH had zero passengers
  • most recent airport board minutes on-line are from October 15, 2006
  • where is the 20 Year Master Plan
  • how is IMG doing
  • will Winward buy the parcel of land that they won from the land RFP
  • where is the G-13
  • what is IMG doing to recruit and retain an airline
  • where do we stand with MassPort

January 09, 2008

Pike Entrance Proposal For Route 56 Resurrected

Thanks Tim MacDonald!!! This was in the Telegram yestreday, but I only think it ran in the South Edition.

Please read. How many times and how long have we mentioned this?? We need to get the Worcester delegation behind this. Not only will this benefit ORH, but it will great improve the East-West flow of traffic across the City of Worcester. Many people West of Worcester will opt for this connection to the Mass Pike versus fighting their way across Worcester.


About two years back there was a press release in the Telegram and I am pretty sure in the Airport Minutes (October 10th is still the most recent one on-line) about a G-13 leaving Hanscom and coming to ORH. Since that time I remember nothing.

Can anyone fill me in on what happened? Did the plane come? Is it coming or not?

January 08, 2008


Skybus arrives at Stewart courtesy of the the RecordOnLine.com.

January 07, 2008


I just drove by the Wayfarer marker that is in front of the Hanover Theatre. Honestly I am trying not to be negative, but does anyone understand this Wayfarer deal???

Actually I just found a website that explains the program and it is called the "Worcester Way". Read some of it and I am completely baffled

This is hilarious, check out the presentation on-line. Can anyone explain to me the Main South logo??

January 06, 2008

Worcester Telegram

Mr Nemeth had nothing on ORH. Right now I am convinced he may never write about ORH again. As for the rest of the newspaper, what jumped out at me was:

  • WRA and the old church on Summer Street
  • City Square editorial
  • South Worcester Industrial Park editorial

Couple all of these stories with the 1.25 million which includes a $700,000 loan that City needs to invest in Union Station, the Hanover Theatre and the myriad of stories about the various CDC's in the City of Worcester that we read each month. What do all of these development stories have in common? The involvement of the City of Worcester.

I am not saying any of these projects in and of themselves are bad, but what the City of Worcester is missing right now is true private dollars being invested in the City of Worcester, other then the hospitals or colleges. How can we spur private development? Versus hiring a consultant we should merely copy what other cities have done to spur private development; for example, Philadelphia.

A friend of mine from college lives there and has told me about how everyone was moving out of Philadelphia. About ten years ago the City of Philadelphia targeted an area for residential development by locking in the assessed value for ten years for anyone who developed residential property. It has been a huge success, check out this New York Times story.

In the City of Worcester we should target areas and buildings, specifically abandoned buildings which pose numerous hazards and offer, for commercial development by offering:

  • 10 year freeze on assessed values
  • waiving of all permitting fees including water and sewer connections

In essence this is exactly what we did for the Hanover Theatre.

January 04, 2008

Airport Board Minutes

In case anyone was wondering the last minutes on-line are from October 15th, 2007. Meanwhile Rockford has their November 15, 2007 meeting on-line. In addition I checked in some of their minutes, they actually call Executive Sesssions. None of the minutes I have ever read from ORH has ever had an Executive Session so when exactly are sensitive subjects discussed?

Rockford even has financial results and budgets on-line.

Jahn to be Interviewed

Right now I am putting together 5 questions for Jahn, that do not necessarily have to be about the airport. Suggestions welcome!!!

January 03, 2008

Struck Cafe

Just tried to eat at the Struck Cafe, but they were "closed for renovations". Maybe I am being naive, but how many restaurants do you know that close for renovations in January right after the license fee is due to the City of Worcester?

I hope that I am wrong and that they are "closed for renovations", but if they are in fact closed I wish them luck in the future at whatever they do. The owner and his daughter were always very nice and gave great service.

Next Blog Interview

Accepting Nominations, and volunteers....

Niagara Airport

Great story about Niagara Airport in the Niagara Gazette. They report strong sales from Myrtle Beach Direct, someone we should be looking at, as well as interest from Kenny Tours out of Maryland, who just was announced at Rockford, and Skybus. Bottom line is we do not need consultants to tell us what airlines should come to ORH, but merely watch what airlines are going to similar airports.

More importantly Niagara has committed to 26.7 million terminal renovation, thanks to the Seneca Niagara Casino. Wonder what Harry will have to say about this?

January 02, 2008

Skyline Flight

Nice front page story about Ken Brown's Air taxi service, Skyline Flight. Too bad the Official City of Worcester Airport website does not mention them?

I just went through the Airport website, there is no mention at all of this service at ORH?

January 01, 2008

City on the Move

Has taken a new meaning:

  1. Parker Companies
  2. Pressmet
  3. Woodmeister
  4. Tatnuck Boookseller
  5. Morgan Construction (sold)
  6. O'Coins
  7. TiNova (I have a gift certificate)
  8. Allegiant Air
  9. Salter School
  10. Barbers Crossing
  11. EB Luce
  12. DeScenza Jeweler
  13. Bancroft Tire and Car Sales
  14. Applebee's downtown
  15. Mayfield Plastics to Millbury
  16. Palsons Office
  17. Union Station Restaurant
  18. Blues Club at Union Station
  19. Vincent Jewelers
  20. Bob's at Webster Square
  21. Sh'Booms
  22. Parker & Harper on Dewey Street
  23. Manoog Plumbing
  24. Fidelity on Belmont
  25. Sheraton Lincoln on Lincoln
  26. L Hardy
  27. Shaws on Grafton Street
  28. Java Hut
  29. FDR Museaum
  30. Plumbers Museum
  31. Luciano's (restaurant downtown)
  32. Kay Bee Toys (Grafton Street)

Any others that I may have missed?

Watch List:

  1. McFaddens