June 30, 2008

Home-Rule Foreclosure Law

Article in the newspaper today, click here. This makes no sense at all. If there was predatory foreclosing happening then I would agree with a moratorium, but that is not the case right now.

Loss mitigation units of mortgage companies are bending over backwards to come up with solutions to help the current home-owner. The last thing mortgage holder wants is another foreclosed property. At the same time there are some home-owners, who have just plain given up. Now the bank does not even have the ability to take owenership of the house for six months if this is passed.

"Just cause" evictions only. Why do we not hold the same standard for the three tenants next to the Hanover? Answer, they are tenants at wills. That means either party can end the tenancy with a 30 day notice. Do we really want the City of Worcester deciding on whether someone can exercise their own property rights?

Will this tighten the already tight credit markets in Worcester if the City of Worcester passes? One would think so when I read that a mandated review by the Superior Court or Housing of the foreclosure that will allow the judge to modify the mortgages?

Whatever happened to responsibility? There is a reason you need to sign your name 20 times to hundreds of pages of paperwork when you got the mortgage. If you do not understand everything then you should have hired a lawyer.

Everyone has good intentions on this but this idea makes no sense and will only make the situation worse.

June 29, 2008

Airport Commission May Meeting

Random thoughts;

  • Have you ever been on a board where you did not receive the budget numbers, especially when you are losing $2,000,000 dollars per year.
  • No monthly marketing report, per usual, and for now almost three years not one mention of ongoing discussion with any prospective airlines.
  • We do, however, have a review of old negotiations with Skybus, an airline that is no longer in business?
  • No discussion of the request to send information to Avports.
  • No discussion of negotiations with MassPort.
  • No discussions of the lone bidder for the land parcel last year.
  • IMG? We have paid them over $100,000 and we never ever get an update on them.

Hyannis AIrport

Saw a story about a Hyannis Airport Commission meeting in the Barnstable Patriot. Lets hope Worcester follows their example when our 20 Year Master Plan is finally released.

Downgrade To GA

Mentioned this last week, but might as well do it again. If the City Manager believes we can have ownership transferred to MassPort via outright sale or long-term lease in fiscal 2009, we should not downgrade now. Now, the city administration should prepare an analyis as to how much we can save if we were to downgrade per the recommendation of IMG in their $100,000 study.

In October/November if the prospects do not look good with MassPorts or another entity (Avports) and we do not have commercial service then we should take a look at the report detailing how much we can save by the downgrade and have a vote.

June 27, 2008

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May Board Minutes

Click here.

  • Members were briefed on the Skybus negotiations from August, 2005 thru January, 2008. The board members were never briefed about any of this until now?
  • Master Plan is ready but still not released

Foreclosure Moratorium Part 3

Any give me an example of how this would help?

Myrtle Beach Direct

One of the airlines on our watch list. They seem to be holding their own and new destinations like St Pete's and Montreal have been added. Cities they fly from are very ORH:

  1. Columbus
  2. Newark
  3. Scranton

Also start to see some news stories on a Casino Direct Air, we need to keep an eye on them.

June 26, 2008

Foreclosures Moratorium Part 2

Someone give me an example how this moratorium helps anything???

Currently loss mitigation departments of the mortgage companies are extremely aggressive and do anything possible to help the current home-owner and do not want to take the property back. Of course there are always going to be some home-owners that are just going to walk and not want to even try to work things out. Now we are telling these banks that they can not foreclose?

Seriously someone give me an example of how this helps anything??

Herald Story on Park

Story in the Herald on Young Park. Thanks Dave Z.

City Manager Grading Final Thoughts

I was just thinking how the City Manager is in the 2nd year of his five year contract. The fact that we gave the City Manager a 5 year contact doesn't it almost make the annual grading system irrelevent? What are we going to do fire the City Manager, have to keep paying him for the remainder of the contract and hire another City Manager?

June 25, 2008

Kudos To David Moore

If you read the attachment in last night's City Council agenda (9B) regarding the "moratorium", City Solicitor Moore points out the "unintended consequences" and how this passage could actually make the foreclosure process even longer.

June 24, 2008

Home Rule Petition

City Councilor discussed a home rule petition that would prevent a foreclosed owner from evicting a tenant for 180 days, unless there is just cause for the eviction. This is a very bad idea.

First of a foreclosed owner, typically a bank, does not want tenants and has every right to terminate a tenancy at will with a 30 day notice. That said a tenant still has rights in housing court. Bottom line a tenant given a 30 day notice by the foreclosed owner (the bank), as at least the 30 days and can usually stretch this out 2-4 months through the eviction process. Ask anyone, who has ever tried to evict a tenant through Housing Court.

Second at the end of six months what is going to happen? Answer: the bank will end the tenancy anyhow. What have we really accomplished? The underlying bank will not market the property until the house is empty so we have in essence slowed down the entire process and properties will end up in limbo now even longer.

The mortgage market is already tighten increasing cash down payments on multi families to 20%, how do you think lenders will feel that when they foreclose that they will not be able to evict tenants for six months. It can help. I can understant the good intentions of the people involved, but it will only make the situation even worse.

Lastly I find ironic that many people did not feel bad for three businesses that were asked to leave ( I agreed since they did not have leases), since they were tenants at will, but when a bank that has probably lost in excess of $100,000 wants to end their tenancy at wills?

City Manager's Scores

Have you ever watched the Olympics and wondered how they scored a gymnastic or skating event? That is how I feel when I see the City Manager's grade in the paper today. Maybe we can have Dick Button be a commentator during a City Council Meeting.

The thing that really amazes me, however, that in a 1-5 scoring system that many of the councilors have opted to break it down beyond the decimal point to tenths and even hundreths of a point. I got to ask what is the difference between getting a score of 3.7 versus 3.6, or better yet a score of 4.35? You got to love Councilor Clancy,however, not only does he use only whole numbers but he gave an 18 out of possible 20. I wish that I had him as teacher in high school.

On the serious side, I focus on Economic Development. Councilor Rushton gave him the lowest grade of a 3 and I am not sure if it should even be that high. On the other end, a 4.5 for economic development on the high end, am I missing something? Imagine if City Square, South Worcester Industrial Park, Worcester Univercity Partnership., the NRSA program and ORH were successful, what score would he get then?

Versus keeping this inane system, maybe the City Councilors should vote once per year on the City Manager either 1) you keep the job or 2) you are fired. Either the job is getting done or it is not. This grading system is a complete waste of time.

June 23, 2008

WoMag on Skating Rink

Click here

Thanks Jahn

June 22, 2008

Nick K

Warning!! Warning!! It is not Harry Tembenis in the paper, but me. Check out Nick K Story today in the Telegram. Believe me I do not do the blog or website to see my name in the paper, but truly believe transportation issues like the airport and reliable commuter service are the keys to the future success of Worcester.

To that end, I would like to thank Nick for helping get the word out on the "alternative ownership models". In the end MassPort may be our best option, but it is not our only option and we have a fiduciary responsibility to market the airport to anyone who may be interested in ORH like Avports, National Express, etc. Imagine a hug ad in the Wall Street Journal advertising our AIRPORT FOR SALE!

Now for downgrade to General Aviation recommendation, let me make a slight adjustment.

If the City Manager truly believes that we can finalize the future of ORH in fiscal 2009 then we should hold off on this for the time being. Why? A potential suitor like MassPort may want and need a Part 129 certified airport. Bottom line, leave the decision up to the new owner or manager of ORH. In the very least, the City Council should request a report from the administration asking how much would be saved to downgrade, as recommended in the $100,000 IMG report.

Our best possible shot to commercial service is Florida. If you were an airline, you would want to target November-March as your peak months. If that is the case then you would need to have everything locked up by September.

If four months (October-November) from now, we:

  1. Do not have commercial service to Florida.
  2. The City Manager tells us prospects do not look good to sell or lease ORH.

We will have the numbers from the administration calculating the savings to downgrade to GA and decide. Who knows maybe by then we will even have the 20 Year Airport Master Plan.

Lastly I noticed that Winward is no longer listed on the Airport Website so evidently they did not exercies their lease option on the parcel that they won last year and had asked for an extension into this year.

49B Housing in Worcester

Check this out!!

Worcester has 13.50% of housing is considered 40B, well above the state minimum of 10% based on March 2006. Wonder where we are at now and where we will be after all the developments on the drawing board are done. Maybe we can catch Springfield--17.3%.

Illegal immigrants over 20% based on 2000 census numbers.

June 21, 2008

All Powerful Jahn

Today's front page story in the Telegram , as blogged here when Jahn dropped me a line on May 30th. Beware of the Jahn, he is everywhere.
Now for his latest. The Blackstone Visitor Center is coming in many millions, as high as 10 million?, over budget thus no construction has started.

June 20, 2008

Linear Air at ORH

There is a story in the Telegram, that I can not find the link, but Dave Zimage sent me a link to NECN. There were other planes.

Great story, but was anyone aware of this event? Yesterday was a great opportunity to market the general aviation possibilities of ORH to potential passengers and businesses. Why wasn't this event marketed in advance?

June 19, 2008

PIP Shelter

What does City Manager O'Brien mean when he says "it will take 30-50 more permanent new housing units". Let me get this right. We have a tough time monitoring one PIP shelter so we want to replace it with 30-50 smaller PIP's spread all around the City of Worcester?

I do not get it..

O'Brien Targets Airport

This is good news that one of his goals is for MassPort to take over for fiscal 2009. As we all know, we should not only not be in the airport business but we should also not be in the golf course business. That said the best part of the story in the Telegram was:

"Administration will also be researching and developing a contingency plan to transition the airport to alternative ownership models, if necessary, as called for in the airport master plan."

Finally!!! Bring on the Avports, National Express, other airport authorities and anyone else who may be interested. What I found ironic was the reference to the airport master plan. Where is it??? Remember this is the 20 Year Master Plan that has been worked on for 5 years.

Let me make one thing clear. If we actually can trnasition ownership during fiscal 2009 then it may not make sense to downgrade to General Aviation since the new owner or leasee may want commercial activity.

My favorite line in the paper today belongs to Chief Gemme. KUDOS to the Chief "We have to work continuously on that, because ultimately the taxpayer has to pay."

June 17, 2008

Worcester Business Journal

I picked it up today.

  • 245 million Chance on Grafton Science Park
  • 20 top venture capital deals- Westborough had four ranging from 10 to 37.5 million. Worcester had none.
  • Four year project in Charlton called Yankee Crossing will total 600,0000 at the intersections of Route 20 and Route 169

Jahn, what do all of these projects have in common? I know that I am accused by some of being negative, but we need to look at the facts. Private development is happening all around Worcester, while all we get are either public financed projects or more low income housing.

We need to address the problem and not pretend all is well.

Wyman Gordon Parcel

I only caught a small piece of the City Council meeting on the Wyman Gordon parcel property. Not sure why we are talking about about someone else's piece of private property, when we have many of our own parcels of property that we need to take care of.

Agree with Councilor Palmieri to take it off the monthly Economic Development Agenda. Lets focus on assets like the Airport, the Aud and Green Hill Gold course. His motion was rejected.

Also Councilor Clancy mentioned that the proposed mixed use development did not proceed because the buyer and seller could not agree to a price. If I recall correctly, and I am 99% sure, was that the proposed buyer could not get the zone change to finalize the deal.

Skating Rink

Construction has begun. The whole idea has actually been quite funny but to actually see the grass that was planted, over the old reflecting pool, ripped up enclosed by fences, it is not so funny anymore. This should have gone the way of the SkyBridge. My goodness.

Have I mentioned that we should:
  1. Downgrade to a General Aviation Airport, per IMG 100,00 study, and no longer be Part 139 certified.
  2. Post the information that Avports wants right on the website and utilize some of the DOT monies and maybe use the $250,000 in savings to market the airport to other airport mgmt companies, other airport authorities and who knows who else?

June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Hope everyone has a nice Father's Day, even to the anonymous posters. Thankfully Super Bore did not write a story on the Celts hopefully avoiding the Super Bore jinx. By the way Rocco Mediate is not out of this US Open and keep an eye on the other old guys-Els and Jimemez.

One serious item. I was driving home and the El Delicioso, which has been a magnat for trouble, that was typically parked on Benefit Street late night has moved. It was on the street next to State Liquors across the street from the Old Lord Vasils and Dohertys. There is no doubt in my mind there this will be the scene of future problems. Seems to be a common theme in Worcester, just move one problem from one place and spread it around the city; for example, shut down the PIP and move it somewhere else like Newton Square and now Elm Street.

Recently there were problems at Golden Pizza and they were required to have a police detail like Kennedy's Chicken a few years back.

  • Why are these guys not held to the same standard?
  • Wonder if they pay any sales tax to the Commonwealth?
  • Do they have all the approrpiate licenses?
  • Also with all the requirements that a food establishment has to maintain, what standards in place for an operation like this?
  • Wonder where they dump the grease when they are done cooking?
  • Do these trucks have inspections like your typical eating establishment?

June 13, 2008


Great comeback and I missed it sound asleep at halftime. How many fans missed the 2nd half? NBA is messing up big time with the times of these games. Even if the Celts win the championship, I would still trade for a Pats win over the Giants.

Dick Chernisky Letter to the Editor

Friday, June 13, 2008 Worcester neighborhoods being ruined

The dumping on Worcester continues. Housing mongers and service providers are looking to trash every neighborhood in Worcester. Neighborhood leaders need to rally the voters. Why is it that junkies, ex-convicts and prostitutes can be dumped on Newton Square, Arthur Street and Elm Street, but these same social misfits cannot be dumped in Paxton, Grafton or Westboro?

Answer: Because Worcester’s politicians are not protecting Worcester the way town politicians protect surrounding towns. Example: Some city politicians support PIP even though it’s killing Main South, but if you tried to move PIP to West Boylston, the West Boylston politicians would fight tooth and nail in defense of their community.

It’s time for neighborhood leaders from Greendale to Main South and from Tatnuck Square to upper Hamilton Street to come together as a citywide organization and stop the dumping. “Worcester United” could represent a powerful voting block of thousands.

The Elm Street neighborhood should not be standing alone against Healthlink. Neighborhood leaders across the city should speak out in defense of Elm Street. Arthur Street should support Newton Square and Newton Square should support Arthur Street. A united Worcester needs to zero in on the politicians who support only their political careers and not Worcester’s neighborhoods. “Worcester United” needs to eliminate the politicians that are funding the service providers and housing mongers and their diabolical plan to turn Worcester into another Springfield. RICHARD L. CHERNISKY Worcester

June 12, 2008

Central Mass Chronicles

I just watched it and there was a segment on the airport, I do not even know what to say?? Actually I have two words, in the words of Howie Carr-- MY GOODNESS. Actually there was a guy there named Andy Myers, I think, who made some good points.

Maybe I have not said this before but:
  1. Downgrade to a General Aviation Airport, per IMG 100,00 study, and no longer be Part 139 certified.
  2. Post the information that Avports wants right on the website and utilize some of the DOT monies and maybe use the $250,000 in savings to market the airport to other airport mgmt companies, other airport authorities and who knows who else?

Federal Square Pocket Park

Sorry did not want to spend the 1.95 for the archived article, but here is a portion from the Telegram:

Neglect turned park into eyesore
Published on July 28, 2006, Article 9 of 35 found.

WORCESTER - At noon on a recent day in a small city park once touted as the centerpiece of a $10 million downtown restoration, a homeless man was sleeping on a rusty bench.

The overgrown shrubs behind him are littered with empty vodka bottles, cigarette butts and discarded soda cans. A grimy sleeveless white T-shirt lies in a now-empty blue pool at the base of an ornate cast-iron fountain that has been disconnected for a long time. Welcome to Federal Plaza Park, renovated with $960,000 of (Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA), 902 words.)

Driving today in my car listened into Rush for a bit and heard him mention Worcester and a story by Clive McFarlane in the Worcester Telegram something about Seabury Heights apartments and how they have to keep the heat on until June 15th?


  1. Downgrade to a General Aviation Airport, per IMG 100,00 study, and no longer be Part 139 certified.
  2. Post the information that Avports wants right on the website and utilize some of the DOT monies and maybe use the $250,000 in savings to market the airport to other airport mgmt companies, other airport authorities and who knows who else?

June 11, 2008

Westover 20 Year Master Plan

Westover has released their Master Plan. Click here for the story in the Republican. Only 56.6 million to complete the recommendations.

Did not watch City Council, did anyone bring up the idea to downgrade to General Aviation?

June 10, 2008


In the newspaper again today. Can we go one week without seeing or hearing Paulie and/or Harry in one media format or another? What next a picture of Jahn in the Telegram with Charley Farley...

June 09, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • Ice Skating rink starts today
  • WCRN moves downtown today but has no phone lines
  • CSX on the radio all the time now
  • Rumor mill says Mayo Group has given up on Worcester
  • Picked up some mag called Central Mass Insider, I think, about high school sports and there was a story that Fenway was thinking of moving to Worcester Airport. Was this the April Fool's edition?
  • Will I ever see anyone in the new pocket park on Winslow/Pleasant once it is done.
  • Shrewsbury Street merchant told me that his windows have been broken 4 times this year.

Quick question driving around I see construction at:

  1. Winlsow/Pleasant
  2. Skating rink
  3. Burwick Furniture
  4. Union Station Garage
  5. Washington Square
  6. May Street

Jahn, what do these 6 projects have in common?

June 08, 2008


Nick K has a good section in his column on the airport, click here. Where has Super Bore (AKA Robert Z Nemeth) been on the airport?

For those new to the blog Mr Nemeth, he was on the airport commission and may have even been the chairman, came to my office when I first started the website/blog to find out who I was and to tell me "nothing gets done at the airport unless it goes through him." After explaining to him the concept of privatiztion, he directed me to turn in any suggestions in wrting to the airport commission, note page 7 of the Feb, 2005 board minutes .

We should have been working on privatization of ORH the past three years with packages readily available for companies like Avports? Do you think they even discussed my suggestions? I doubt it and needless to say I have never submitted any other ideas. Have I mentioned yet that we should:

  1. Downgrade to a General Aviation Airport yesterday and no longer be Part 139 certified.
  2. Post the information that Avports wants right on the website and utilize some of the DOT monies and maybe use the $250,000 in savings to market the airport to other airport mgmt companies, other airport authorities and who knows who else?

June 06, 2008


I am going to post this every day until someone actually brings it up at Council:

  1. Downgrade to a General Aviation Airport yesterday and no longer be Part 139 certified.
  2. Post the information that Avports wants right on the website and utilize some of the DOT monies and maybe use the $250,000 in savings to market the airport to other airport mgmt companies, other airport authorities and who knows who else?

Jahn did you see Dorrie Hargrove's reason why we should not consider privatization of custodial services, they are "part of the family."? Imagine someone in management makeing a business decision using this line of reasoning.

June 05, 2008

Forbes on Allegiant

Full story

"Then there's Allegiant Air, owned by Allegiant Travel (nasdaq: ALGT - news - people ), which sends travelers to leisure destinations like Las Vegas and Florida. It's trimmed some of its flights lately due to fuel costs, but the company's revenues increased by 58%, and its profit margin has jumped by nearly 8% on the year. Apparently, it pays to focus on customers who are ready and willing to spend money."

Have I ever mentioned that we really blew it when we lost Allegiant? Maybe I am in a bad mood today, maybe the information that Avports has requested should be posted on the airport website so anyone interested in ORH can readily access the information?

Master Plan! No lie we must be going on the 5th year working on a 20 Year Master Plan. Why bother with this when the reports that we already have nobody follows anyhow. IMG recommended that if we can not get commercial service, downgrade to General Aviation.


  1. Downgrade to a General Aviation Airport yesterday and no longer be Part 139 certified.
  2. Post the information that Avports wants right on the website and utilize some of the DOT and maybe use the $250,000 in savings to market the airport?

June 04, 2008

City Council and the Airport

City Council discussed the airport last night, click here for Telegram article. The long and the short of it was to stop paying our portion of the operating deficit (628,799) and to force MassPort's hand? Editorial note, we would still pay the debt service of approximately $600,000.

I can understand the council's frustration, but I am not sure exactly how this would force MassPort to make a decision. Putting that aside, here is a much better plan:

  1. Stop maintaining Part 139 certification and downgrade to GA (General Aviation). This should lower the operating deficit substantially. This was recommended in the IMG report.
  2. Actively talk with other airport management companies like AvPorts to take over management of ORH.

Steps are most logical and need to be taken immediately.

June 03, 2008


Public Service Announcement (PSA). Am I the only one to be solicited for the money merge system??? It is the latest pyramid selling scheme that only cost a couple thousand (2,000 to 3,000) for a software system that shows you how taking out a home equity line to pay all your bills pays off your mortgage early??

Trust me if you have not heard about it yet, you will. You have been warned.

Avports Story

From Bnet:

New York City Economic Development Corporation president Andrew M. Alper announced that AvPORTS was selected as the long-term operator of the city-owned heliport at East 34th Street. AvPORTS proposes to operate the facility for 10 years and invest $2.2 million in capital improvements, including $350,000 dedicated to amenities for the community such as sound and blast-proof fencing, a bike path and a pedestrian walkway. AvPORTS has been operating the heliport on a short-term permit since 1997

June 02, 2008


Here is a great summary about AvPorts, click here. I have also asked our airport liaison to let me know when the information requested by Avport is mailed to Mr. Harden.

Letter to the Editor

In the late 1960s, during contract negotiations, Bruins defenseman Donald Awry told team executives that he wanted his salary raised to $50,000 per year. When questioned as to why that salary, he simply stated that, “You just signed Bobby Orr for $100,000, and I’m definitely half as good as he is.” Good logic and simple reasoning.

Therefore, I would suggest to City Manager Michael V. O’Brien to expect our police and firefighters to ask for a 12 percent raise the first year, as opposed to a 2 percent raise, simply because they are certainly half as good as the city manager’s cabinet members. Most people would say probably as good and maybe better.
Good logic and simple reasoning.


June 01, 2008

Springfield Urban Compass

The similarities are scary. Here is part of a blog.

According to control board executive director Philip Puccia’s recent memo to the board, issued in tandem with the city’s new budget, an aggressive reform approach has affected Springfield’s finances, administration, public safety and schools, summarized in the memo as follows:
  • Health insurance plan design changes and the transfer of city employee and retiree health insurance to the Group Insurance Commission. This year, the increase in health insurance rates is only four percent, compared to the city’s historical annual 18 percent increase.
  • Adoption of Chapter 32B Section 18 of the Massachusetts General Laws which makes Medicare the primary payer of retiree health insurance costs, saving $18.7 million for the city and retirees over a three year period (FY06 – FY08).
  • Successful negotiation and implementation of all city and School Department labor contracts, most of which are long-term contracts, and all of which provide for improved departmental management and predictable, affordable wage increases.
  • Implementation of MUNIS, an integrated financial management system, for the city and School Department. This system will improve accountability and transparency, streamline inefficient processes and eliminate the vast majority of (often redundant) manual processing for municipal processes.
  • Collection of $25.8 million in overdue taxes, including fees and related interest charges.
    Transfer of Retirement System assets to the Commonwealth’s Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, a decision which increased retirement system earnings by $25 million in one year, compared to the city’s prior investment performance.
    Implementation of performance-based budgeting to increase the accountability and efficiency of service output.
  • Utilization of a comprehensive payroll system that has improved efficiency, reliability and has helped us to improve many other areas of municipal operation.
  • Increase in the size of the city’s Police Department and Fire Department through hiring, and by transferring dozens of sworn personnel from desk duty to street patrol and fire suppression duties.
  • Significant investment in a system to track and manage repairs in the city’s infrastructure of parks, schools and other municipal buildings