December 31, 2008

Stop Barney Frank

First it was the banks. Then it was the car companies. Now Barney Frank, after lossening the requirements for mortgages which has led to the sub prime mortgage melt down and ensuing real estate market stall out, wants to bail out developers of affordable housing.

Click here for the entire story in the Boston Globe. That right 10 Billion, not million. Do you think any of these 31 stalled projects in Massachusetts are in his neighborhood? Great comments in the Boston Globe story.

Thanks Dewey!!

December 30, 2008

EPA Grant

EPA has given the South Worcester Neighborhood Center monies to clean up the former City Builders location and the future home of Southgate Place. Click here for the press release. It even refers to the project as being 19 rentals and 8 townhouses (with open green space?), but I digress.

Since the South Worcester Neighborhood Center is a non-profit, they do not have to pay this grant back. After completion of the clean-up, however, South Worcester is to transfer the cleaned up property to City Builders LLC, a for profit entity, of which they are to be a 51% owner.

Senator Jahn, what do you think of this?? Lets assume you have a piece of property that needs to be cleaned up, just call a local non profit and offer then 10,000 if they:
  1. take title to the property for $100
  2. have the non profit apply for an EPA grant
  3. after they get the monies and do all the clean up
  4. take title back for $10,000

Think the legal term that comes to mind is referred to as "self-dealing".

December 29, 2008

Southgate Place Time Line

January, 2006

Initial proposal stongly supported by neighborhood
  • 25 owner occupied units
  • 13 condos
  • 12 townhouses
  • 17 (68%) affordable

January, 2007

Neighborhood starts asking alot of questions and becomes quite concerned

  • 21 unit apartment building
  • 11 owner occupied townhouses
  • daycare center
  • not sure of the affordability requirement

January, 2009

Neighborhood does not support

  • 25 unit apartment building
  • no owner occupied units
  • no day care center
  • 100% affordable

In three years, we have seen a proposal for 25 owner occupied units (13 condos and 12 townhouses) with a 68% affordability requirement be transformed into a single building of 25 apartments with 100% affordability requirement. I challenge anyone (anonymous) to contradict any of these facts.

Southgate Place Proposed Rents

There are six Section 8 units, that go with the project not the tenant (1 one bedroom, 4 two bedrooms and 1 three bedroom)
  1. one bedroom 830
  2. two bedroom 1009
  3. three bedroom 1206

There are nineteen other units (2 one bedroom, 15 two bedroom and 2 tree bedroom).

  1. one bedroom 550
  2. two bedroom 710
  3. three bedroom 800

There are income limitations on the 19 units

  1. household of one can earn up to 32,380
  2. household of two can earn up to 36,900
  3. household of three can earn up to 41,250
  4. household of four can earn up to 46,140
  5. household of five can earn up to 49,860

If you make over these income limits, you can not rent one of the 19 units. Please note rents include heat not eletricity.

The thing that bothers me about this schedule is lets take a look at a young working couple, who have not bought a house but need an apartment. If they make over $36,900 combined, they can not rent an apartment here.

December 28, 2008

Better Comment

Here in Springfield some of us recognize it is always about the money and not about truly helping those who need a hand up - not a hand out. Warehousing the poor keeps them poor and stuck. The only ones making out are the developers and their non-profit supporters. Their money comes from US, the taxpayer, via government funding. We are fighting this travesty in Springfield. You can fight it in Worcester. Go online to and contact the group. It has taken them months and months to get media coverage, but hot dang, are they persistent and organized! Keep up the fight Worcester.
2:19 PM

December 27, 2008

Anoymous Comment

Been busy, but I had to post this anonymous comment:

the best thing about this article is that it goes againgst EVERYTHING everyone on this site has said about low-mid income housing! Thanks for posting. Integrating income levels IS the key to a vibratnt neighborhood. Im just not sure what the motivation was for posting this. If anyone things that Longhill Gardens, at well over 200 units compares to City Builders at 30 units you are dead wrong. Longhill was segregating, CB is integrating. Its just too bad the neighborhood gave so much opposition to the original plan. CB would have been much mcu MUCH better if it was mixed income as originally proposed. The neighbors (as always) had to fight a great proposal to get what they wanted, and ended up with the opposite. Oh well. still, though, 30 units of lo-mid income housing is still not "warehousing" and will overall be a positive thing for Canterbury ST.

You got to love this post. I love these guys who defend the project then post anonymously. For the record the neighborhood strongly supported the original plan which called for 25 owner occupied townhouses, of which 17 or 68% were for low to mod income. Let me stress this again. This original proposal had the neighborhood support!!!

It was only when this original proposal were replaced by a single 25 unit apartment with 100% low to mod income was when the plans were opposed. How is this integrating? Lets for arguements sake, say a professor at Holy Cross or a machinist from a local manufacturing company making 100,000 per yeat wants to live at Southgate Place, they do not qualify and will be turned away.

How can anyone say 25, not 30 units, of low to mod income housings is not "warehousing"? For the record I do feel Longhill Gardens does in fact compare with City Builders. What difference does the number of units make, whether it be 200 or 30. They are the same projects, based on the same model financed with tax payer monies. The only difference is the number of units.

New Sidewalk Ordinance

First of all, let me say I always shovel my walks and it really bothers me when other people do not shovel their sidewalks. Not only is it dangerous but it shows no respect to your fellow neighbors not to shovel your sidewalks. In other words I thought the original idea was a good one.

Last week on this blog an anoynymous commenter complained how the sidewalk near my building was blocked and that I should clear the walk. Problem was, as I explained, was that the parking lot next to my building is not owned by me and that it is up to the owner of the parking lot to clear the walks that abut his property.

Today, sure enough, I got a warning on my front door that I am in violation of the new ordinance.

December 23, 2008

Direct Air Picture

Thanks Rob

Springfield Forward Website

July 28, 2009: Springfield Forward member George Pappas speaks with WWLP reporter J. Cashman. Springfield Forward voiced opposition to the proposed redevelopment of Longhill Gardens into subsidized low income only housing.

Much has been said about our advocacy for a better option at Longhill Gardens, so here it is in our own words: Springfield Forward believes that the warehousing and segregation of the poor in high density low-income projects is not only mean spirited, it defeats the very purpose of helping those who need it most. Crime flourishes in high density low-income projects because criminals prey upon the most vulnerable in our society, and as crime flows outward into the surrounding City, the residents of such projects are further isolated, stigmatized, disempowered and disenfranchised. We need to do better than that.

Integrated neighborhoods where residents come from ALL socio-economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds, develop a sense of community where neighbors help neighbors and look out for each other. INTEGRATED NEIGHBORHOODS = STABILIZED NEIGHBORHOODS = GENUINE COMMUNITY. Integrated neighborhoods waste less financial resources. Once you stabilize a neighborhood, crime goes down. Once crime goes down, resources are used more productively and a base for economic development has been created. Springfield Forward opposes using $20,000,000 of OUR TAXPAYER MONEY to warehouse and segregate those in need while enriching the developer and bankers who feed at the government trough. Springfield Forward believes we need to take our time, rethink this project, and come up with something better where everyone wins: the City, the community, and especially those who most need our help.

December 22, 2008

WinnCompanies and Wilkerson

I am telling you low income housing development is BIG BUSINESS. Check out the ties between Wilkerson and WinnCompanies:

Boston Globe

Jamaica Plain Gazette

Springfield Forward

Check this out, click here!!

There is a group in Springfield realizing the very same thing that we are!!! Take a minute and check out their fight against a low income project in Springfield called the Longhill Garden Condos by WinnCompanies:

The Republican

The Springfield Intruder

Do you notice the trends. It is all about the money and it has nothing to do with what the neighbors want.

Southgate Place Update

Nothing we can do. It is a done deal. Although none of the abutters, I am one of them, want a 25 unit building for low income residents. People have to understand this has nothing to do with the needs of the neighborhood. THIS IS BIG BUSINESS!!!!

It is all about the money and nothing else. It is just that simple. The saddest part about this low income housing business is that it takes advantage of the neighbors that are the least organized, since they can not stop the project. Believe me this project would not be approved on, for example, Whisper Drive, but dump in and Main South--who is going to block it??

Truth be nobody can block and you can expect more of these developments to keept coming in the neigborhorhoods that can not defend themselves.

December 20, 2008

Week-End Flights


  • 1st flight went off on time
  • 2nd leg, ORH to Sanford running a little behind (30 minutes).
  • 3rd leg. Sanford to ORH ran 60 minutes behind.
  • 4th leg... ORH to PGD is off the ground and 90 minutes late behind.


  • 1st and 2nd flights have taken off, but riunning about an hour behind right now. oot
  • not sure what happened with the 3rd and 4th flight.

This was good news and may still be... Anyone know how the last two flights went? Even if they were cancelled, that is o'kay since flights were delayed and cancelled going into Logan. People understand cancellations in this situation.

December 18, 2008

New Airport Director

From the Telegram yesterday, click here.

I am going to reach out to him for a blog interview. Any questions that you would like asked, post in comments.



December 16, 2008

Power Is Back

Sorry for the lack of posts but no electricity at my house (Holden) or my mothers (Tatnuck Square). It seems like I have just been driving back and forth across the city to the hotel in Auburn. By the way there are some 4 hotels within a 1/2 mile stretch in Auburn and 3 of them are relatively new. I know the Mass Pike exit is right there, but do you think the low commercial tax rate may have prompted hotels to build here versus in Worcester?

I am back!!!

December 13, 2008

Net New Revenues

This week the Special Finanace District will have alot of "net new revenues" this month. For those of you on the west and north side of Worcester, you know what I mean. Complete devastation in my neighborhood in Holden I simply do not see how there will be power at the earliest the middle of this week.

Yesterday I started making calls to hotels, starting with the Crown Plaza near my office. There was not a hotel to be found but I got lucky and remembered the new Holiday Inn in Auburn and got one of the last rooms. At check in, there were people walking to the counter looking for rooms who were then referred to Dayville, Ct and they took them.

Hope everyone is well.

December 11, 2008

Anonymous Comment

Here is a post from anonymous:

Anonymous said...
Thursday's flight from Punta Gorda arrived in Worcester on time despite the freezing rain and zero ceiling. Plane was de-iced and took off again on schedule. What now "doomsayers"?

This is soo stupid at soo many levels where do I start. First, we all know who this is so why does the anonymous blogger post his name?

Second. Just because someone disagrees with something does not make them a "doomsayer". Nobody is a bigger supporter of the airport, but suggesting a policy whereby bus transportation is provided to Boston in the event a plane can not land at ORH is not only practical, but good business and may convince someone to fly out of ORH.

Thirdly one of the reasons ORH has not succeeded is because we do not have someone like the Airport Director at Rockford out front selling the airport, instead we have silence and the occasion "anonymous" comment.

December 10, 2008

Allegiant Air

They just became the 2nd airline to start service to Punta Gorda, the other being Direct Air to ORH. They will be flying twice weekly to Greenville SC and Knoxville, TN. We should stay in touch with Allegiant.

How is Allegiant doing?

Allegiant Air, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Allegiant Travel Co. (ALGT: News ) Wednesday reported a 9.8 percentage points increase in November load factor. Traffic during the month increased, while capacity recorded a decline.

November traffic of Las Vegas, Nevada-based Allegiant Travel increased 1.1% to 302.84 million revenue passenger miles from 299.47 million revenue passenger miles in the comparable period a year ago. Capacity, however, declined 10.3% to 348.06 million from 388.02 million in the prior-year period.

November load factor increased 9.8 percentage points to 87.0% from 77.2% in the year-earlier period.Departures during the month showed a 2.6% decline at 2.82 million, compared to 2.89 million in the same month of the prior year.Scheduled service passenger traffic rose 1.9% to 279.65 million from 274.50 million in the same month a year ago.

Meanwhile, capacity measured in available seat miles dropped 10.6% to 311.25 million from 348.07 million in the prior-year month. Load factor was up 10.9 percentage points at 89.8%, compared to 78.9% in the year-earlier month.The company recorded a 7.9% increase in passengers traveled during November, while departures declined 6.7% from the same month last year.

ALGT closed Wednesday's regular trading at $39.20, up $0.41, on a volume of 0.49 million shares.

December 09, 2008

Wallace Civic Center

Admittedly this is much smaller then the DCU Center, but I read this story today. There renovation project cost 2.5 million, while the DCU is slated for 25 million which we all know will be 30 million. How will we pay for this? The extra "net new" revenues from the special downtown district, as well as a hotel on Plantation Street, is suppose to spin off enough "net new" revenue to pay the debt on 25 million?

This needs to go the way of the Skybridge and the City of Worcester needs to consider a long term leasing or outright sale of the CDU Center and let the new owner or leasee make their own improvements. This is exactly what Fitchburg, throught the college, is doing. Below is from the story:

College officials hired FMC Arenas, based in Pembroke, to manage the Wallace Civic Center on a temporary basis, then sought a request for proposals from firms looking for a long-term contract. Mr. Antonucci said college trustees will be discussing a proposal from FMC tomorrow for a 25-year pact. Trustees have been pleased with the work done by FMC, the president said, and the lease includes a substantial reinvestment in the building itself

December 08, 2008

December 07, 2008

Nemeth X-mas Airport Story

Click here for story. Wow.

  • "Nasty attempt by a Boston Television to malign ORH." Reporting facts is considered a nasty attempt to malign? If you asking me it was nothing but fair and accurate. In fact it could have gotten in much more detail.
  • "Confusion involving flight cancellation due to bad weather". I still am not sure why the flight was cancelled was it really bad weather then where? Was it the winds in Florida or the visibility at ORH. Then could it have been the flight crew had logged in too much time?
  • "Negotiations aimed at taking over the agency are still on track." The first 5 year contract that ended July 1, 2004 was suppose to end with MassPort taking over ORH. The second 3 year contract that ended July 1, 2007 was suppose to end with MassPort taking over ORH. Since that time we have had three 6 month extensions of the current (MassPort pays 79% of operation deficit, Worcester pays 21% and 100% if the debt service) that was suppose to end with MassPort taking over ORH. Now it looks like there is an additional two years being tacked on and it is suppose to end with MassPort taking over ORH. How can nine and half years to date with two more years planned be considered "on track".
  • "Advisory board with a regional representation." Maybe I do have a chance?
  • "Current system has long been outdated." Nine and half years this system has been in place with at least two more to go and now we find out it is "fraught with difficulties".
  • "The role of the Airport Commission itself has been in limbo". Again nine and half years laters with at least two more and we find this out?

This column should have focused on three things:

  1. Discuss arrangements that have been made by Direct Air in the event a flight can not land at ORH, but could land in Boston. A true "act of god" fliers understand, but when flights are able to land/take-off from Providence, Hartford, Manchester and Boston but not ORH, people do not understand or accept. A policy whereby a bus would be paid for by Direct Air or ORH that would transport people to and from Boston in this even would help sell more tickets at ORH should be instituted.
  2. We should put out an RFP for the entire airport and solicit bids for long term lease or outright sale. Nine and half years of negotiations is neither acceptable nor "on track" and ORH will fall through the cracks as MassPort looks into taking over the MassPike, 2.5 BILLION of big debt debt and the Ted Williams Tunnel.
  3. Virgin America (kudos to Harry). It is great Direct Air has brought service to ORH, but the big target here is Virgin America. Not only more flights, but how about leasing the airport to them and convincing them to make ORH their base of operations on the East Coast.

December 05, 2008

Southgate Place

You may think my last post was a joke, but it was not. If you take a look at the Southgate Place project this is an essence exactly what is happening except that the developer is not even buying the land, the South Worcester Neighborhood Center is supplying the land. Upon completion of the this project the partner in this project with South Worcester, who is having all their expeneses paid from the $7,000,000 projected cost, will be a 49% owner.

Not a bad deal. Word gets out on this stuff and even more developers of "affordable"housing will flock to Worcester.

December 04, 2008

Jahn and I Start a New Business

We have begun a new business to help non-profits raise money, here it works:
  • we find a struggling non profit that needs money
  • we partner with them to buy a parcel of land at our expense
  • we then apply to the City and State looking for grants to build low income housing using the non-profit as the front guy
  • we then get letters of support from the politicians
  • work with the city to get the appropriate variances, sidewalks/streets repaired by the city, permit/water/sewer fees waived
  • eventually we get all of our funding of which 90% are grants, since the units must be rented to low to mod income peopler for 20 years, pay ourselves back for the land purchase as well as any other incurred expenses of course
  • big ribbon cutting to announce the project
  • we can move property into the non-profits name to get EPA grants that we do not have to pay back.
  • big ribbon cutting when the project is done

We owe very little to the bank since most of the monies were grants, get all our up-front money as well as incurred expenses back, pay a mgmt company to handle the day to day problems, but here is the best part. We split the profits from the rentals with the non-profit 50/50!!!

It is a win for us since in the end, we have nothing invested in the project and get half the profit and the non-profit entity is happy since they have a new stream of income. On our way to the bank each month we garner awards as great humitarians, versus the greedy profit motivated developer.

Everyone wins!! Except the City of Worcester, but who is counting.

Accepting ideas for the name of our new company. Please note will even take monies from large corporations for naming rights.

December 03, 2008

NRSA Transfer

Check out item number 9.39 item C from last night City Council. The sume of 100,000 of unused NRSA funds being transferred to Main South NRSA (Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area) for 93 Grand Street.

Paul, myself and others (Laurel from Banknorth--President, Andy from Serrato Sign, Rich Kazarian and Artie Mooradian) had been doing alot of work on the Chandler NRSA and have had several successes:
  • Facades on Chandler/Pleasant (Suney's, Bahnan, Alan's Lock, Roland's Office) to name a few think there have been 7 in all
  • Helped people with home improvements up to 15,000
  • working on Assumption coming to MLK
  • Video camera systems for businesses
  • clean up crews on Chandler Street during the summer
  • amongst other projects

In other words, we have achieved some level of success and it is too bad that $100,000 was not transfered to projects like these. Instead it was transferred to 93 Grand Street. What is 93 Grand Street?

You guessed it Worcester's number 1 growth industry--more low income housing. In Worcester all roads lead to more low income housing.

December 02, 2008


Why couldn't we have bused people at ORH to Boston, flew the Sanford plane to Boston, unload the passengers, put them on the bus, bring them back to ORH and then load the people on the plane to fly to Punta Gorda?

Direct Air Cancellation Update

Click here for the story. The flight was cancelled because of visibility and freezing rain at ORH. Why were flights not cancelled at Bradley, TF Green, Manchester or Boston? This really worries me. If you ask me the weather obviously was not good, but really how bad was it Sunday?

What is worse is the attitude of the CEO, Judy Tull. It is the second week at ORH, which has not had a very good track history, and a reporter from the Telegram (Lisa Welch) is one of the people stranded. If I was the CEO and the reporter got me on the phone, I would be issuing travel vouchers and provide food and lodging. Think of the good public relations this could have created, if Direct Air had taken care of the passengers in Sanford and Worcester??

This is an awful way to run a business. Now I read that the people working the counters are hired from a Ohio based company called QuickFlight. The call center is not their employees, the people working the counter are not their employees, the plane and crew are Virgin America. Other then Judy and Ed, how many employees does this airline have?

Bottom line is that we need high loads on these flights and a story like this, which is deserved, hurts the airport. Last thing we need.

December 01, 2008

Good Comment

I up to Worcester last week on Direct Air and was supposed to fly back tonight. Tonight's flight was cancelled due to poor weather along the east coast. I'm very impressed. The plane was beautiful, it was clean, roomy and was a comfortable flight. It took me 15 min to get from my home in Punta Cana to the airport and 15 minutes to get from Worcester airport to my daughter's house. Tonight, the flight home was cancelled until tomorrow due to weather in Florida and along the eastern seaboard. The staff at Worcester could have just told us the flight was cancelled and that we were on our own. On thier own accord, they contacted a local hotel and worked out a deal for stranded passengers...service does not get any better.

See you in Florida

Sunday Afternoon

The third (Sanford to ORH) and fourth (ORH to Punta Gorda) legs were cancelled yesterday. NOT GOOD!!!! Why? Reason given--weather.

Makes no sense. My concerns about their lack of capital and aggressive growth plan may be coming home to roost. This is not good news at all for ORH and I will try to find out more today..

A plane left Sanford this morning (Monday) at 7:55AM to take these people back to ORH and will most likely pick up the people waiting in Worcester and bring them to Punta Gorda.