April 30, 2009

Two Worcester Businesses

Commonwealth Bank to be sold, click here. and the downtown Hookah bar closes, click here. Check out the comments for the Hookah bar story. It has been three weeks since the last time I read any comments and I promise not to read them again, I hope. The Telegram wonders why they are going out of business???

PS Rod Lee is no longer working on the Telegram.

Where's Gabe

April 29, 2009

South Worcester NRSA

Been busy the past couple of days working on an application that I submitted some 4 months ago under the NRSA (Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area) in South Worcester.

I applied for some grant monies, think $4500, to do the roof on one of my properties through the NRSA. After submitting my application and fee of $150, I waited about two months then received a letter that my application had been denied because my property was not owner occupied.

I contested this, since although owner occupants should receive preferential treatment, the mere fact my property was not owner occupied did not disqualify me. In fact I have been involved with the Chandler NRSA and we have given grant monies to non-owner occupied houses. The income of the tenants is actually more important then the owner occupance and all of my tenanats were low to mod income. After some discussion it was agreed that my application would be processed.

Next I was told that I had to submit $450 ($150 per unit) and submit a new application based on a "revised" appplication. Again I contested this since the fee of $150 was per address not per unit and has been the norm throughout the City of Worcester. It was agreed that the application fee should only be $150.

Then I was told that I had to resubmit my application on a new "revised" application. I am still waiting for this "new" application. In fact the past couple of days I even asked various people within the City Administration and nobody seems to know about this "new" application.

The NRSA has lots of potential, like our airport, but when it is run incorrectly it is a failure. Lets hope the South Worcester NRSA can turn it around.

April 27, 2009

Research Bureau Seminar

They had seminar today on the Central Mass Transportation Network. If I had know, I would have loved to have gone. Just got an e-mail alert from the Worcester Business Journal. Must read click here.

Here is part:

Freni said if Massport were to buy the facility, any profits gained by the city in the sale "would be placed back into the airport. Any funds paid to Worcester in the sale would be applied to the operations of the airport." He said the city and Massport could arrange a profit sharing partnership subsequent to the sale.

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, who moderated the panel, quipped after Freni's presentation that the city now knows where Massport will begin negotiations around the airport's sale. "I'm sure those negotiations will be tough," Murray said. "They always are."

Can we please start talking to someone else other then MassPort??

April 26, 2009

Cape Air Update

Cape Air will begin another new route in June, connecting Westchester County, N.Y., with Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, the airline announced yesterday. Service will consistent of daily flights starting June 12th.

Still can not understand why Cape Air is not flying ORH to Boston with their code sharing arrangement with JetBlue.

April 25, 2009

CSX concerns validated

Recently I read a story in Massachuetts Lawyers Weekly regarding the new Transportation Agency that would combine:

  1. Turnpike
  2. MassPort
  3. Mass Bay Transportation Authority
  4. as well as other state transportaion agencies

Currently these agencies are quasi-governmental agencies exempt from the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. This new state agency, however, would fall under the auspices of the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, which caps all civil liability at $100,000.

Must be nice to pass a law that caps the civil liability against one of your own agencies?

FAA Bird Hits

Press release


April 24, 2009


Next time you are in your local corner store or mini-mart ask the owner what has happened to their cigarette sales since the dollar per pack tax that was insituted last year. Depending how well you know him or her, then ask if they collect less or more money now? I personally can tell you that we collect less money now after the $1 per pack addition.

My point being the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is not an island. If you add taxes on to gas, soda, candy or add a sales tax, this does not necessarily mean that you will collect more revenues. Same goes for the income tax.

Yesterday I was talking to a guy who spends alot of time in Florida. He told me after reading how the income tax may be going up that he is definately going to do whatever he needs to do to declare residency in Florida. Not only would he save income taxes, but the estate tax is less and he would get a break on his property taxes.

April 23, 2009

Zobach on WTAG

He was great today. There were two things that he brought up:

  1. Current School Administrator never has had a licence to be an Administrator, although she indicated that on her resume.
  2. There are 15 people at the School department who have waivers, which means they do not have the proper certification to have that particular job but those requirements have been waived.

Stay tuned for me. Maybe there is more on this in WoMag today.

April 21, 2009

Airport Privatization

Two stories that I hope you find interesting.

  1. Click here. Look like the credit markets have sunk the idea of Midway being privatized.
  2. Click here. How Branson started off as a private airport and has succeeded!!! Investors have put down 155,000,000 on Branson!!!!!! Now tell me that there is nobody out there that would invest in ORH.

Couple things that I have been very consistent on in this blog. First, the City of Worcester does not belong in the airport business. Second, if or when MassPort takes over ORH, it will be a big improvement. Third, for the life of me I just can not figure out why we did not put the entire airport up for sale via a long-term lease or outright sale?

In fact is there not a fiduciary responsibility for to get the highest price for a public asset like ORH? I am not being a Monday morning quarterback here either. Although MassPort will be better then what we have now, I can not help but ask what we missed out on.

Downtown Investments

What do the last three projects in downtown Worcester all have in Common?

Answer: TIF
  1. Hanover
  2. 184 Main Street--across from new courthouse
  3. City Square

Each of these TIF's locked the current assessed value for a stipulated period of time, averaging ten years. Why not make the whole downtown district a TIF zone and copy what they did in Philadelphia to attract investment?

April 20, 2009

How to fund an airport

Link from Jeff.


Allegiant First Qtr

Press Release

"The first quarter was superb, with an all-time high 31.3% operating margin" stated Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., CEO and President of Allegiant Travel Company. "This quarter marked a return to capacity growth after last year’s pullback, with modest growth in departures amplified by increases in passengers per departure and load factor. At over $108 per passenger, we slightly exceeded the range of total scheduled fare per passenger we guided for the quarter. Also consistent with guidance, we increased year-over-year total scheduled RASM by 2.1%. Costs were down substantially, driven by a nearly 50% drop in the per-gallon cost of fuel. The result was a near-tripling of operating margins and record EPS for the company.


In light of NOLAFest on July 11th and that all profits are going to the National Autism Association, I found this story about "sensory friendly" movies in Natick, ironically on Doug Flutie Way . Full story from Metro Daily News.

Small part:

Working with specialists from the Autistic Society of America, Kansas-based AMC began showing movies with the lights up and volume down for viewers made uncomfortable by the dark or by loud noises. "Now it's a national program for us," said Huffstickler.

April 19, 2009

Updating Blog

Trying to make some changes to the blog. Bear with me.... Misc thoughts:

  1. nothing from Mr Nemeth on the airport?
  2. guy a know told me that when he got on the MassPike yesterday in Auburn it was backed up right away. Turns out the back was from the Sturbridge tolls all the back to at least Auburn.

April 18, 2009

Driving Range

Hit a bucket of balls in Auburn yesterday and on the counter was some promotional brochures on how golf and gambling at Mohegan Sun. Posters advertising Direct Air out of ORH to Myrtle would be nice.

Here's hoping Robert Z Nemeth writes about the airport tomorrow.

April 17, 2009

Airport Update

Listened to Ed Warnick today on WCRN. Sounded upbeat, but it looks like we may have some service cuts, which was expected, during the summer months. He mentioned maybe one flight stopping at Sanford then traveling on to Punta Gorda.

Also Pogo airlines is no more.

April 16, 2009

Executive Director Compensation

Jahn, you ask. You shall receive. It always bothers me when a private person who invests their own money, as opposed to receiving grants from the City/State/Fed, are called flippers?

Executive Director pay needs to be in the non-profit tax return, although you need to look for it:
  1. go to attorney general website
  2. type the charity- Main South
  3. view the IRS 990 for 2007
  4. Executve Director compensation on page 20

Just went on Citizens for Enegy Return (page 26 and 27), Joe Kennedy compensation if you add all the numbers together 77,698 + 7,341 + 233,094 + 234,000 = 574,157.

Worcester Tea Party

Great Event, glad I attended. Photos.

April 15, 2009

Non-profit Tax Return on line

I need to download alternatiff, but it is well worth it.

  1. Click here for the Attorney General page.
  2. Enter Charity Name
  3. Click the charity you want to see
  4. Here you will need to download the "alternatiff" software.
  5. once you do that you can view whatever you want

I just reviewed Main South CDC 2007 return--- $679,666 in development fees!!!! This low - mod income development is huge business!!!

TIF For City Square

Telegram Story

I kind of knew once Hanover received a 7 year freezing of their assessed value and waiving of all their permitting fees, Berkeley would want the same thing. In fact I commented to that effect many times.

Overall I think both TIFs are good for Worcester and can only help expand our tax base. My only concern is that I hope there is something in the TIF that prevents City Square and Hanover to sell the property at the end of the TIF to a non-profit entity.

Now we need to expand upon this and target certain areas and or parcels of properties to lock in their current assessment for 10 years and waive permitting fees:

  • South Worcester Industrial Park
  • Wyman Gordon Parcel
  • Targeted abandoned buildings
  • Downtown District

April 13, 2009

Great Story Again

Seriously, a little long but you need to read the link below and why we need to have an airport in Worcester.

Great Story

Click here

Why Your Community Needs Its Airport

Thanks Steve

April 12, 2009

Additions to list

  1. Ritz Camera
  2. New England Surge

Kind of hoping for a story from Robert Z Nemeth on the airport. No such luck.

April 11, 2009

Chris Fitz Band

Paulie's NOLA Festival

Click here for the website. The Festival will be held July 11th from noon till 11:00PM at Paul's house, right behind John and Son's Deli on Chandler Street. From until then I will be blogging alot about this on the blog.

Besides being alot of fun, we are raising monies for the National Autism Association. Right now we need help. If you want to see some great bands, check out the line-up, buy a ticket on line and send me a message (I have tickets). The cost is $15 per ticket.

We also need sponsors.
  • 2 Gold Sponsors for each stage which will bear the name of the sponsor--$5,000 .
  • 12 Silver Sponsors--$1,000. Banners will be posted with your company name and post on the website
  • Friends --$100. Name will be listed on the website

We really just started and have one Gold Sponsorship (BA Events --Paul Colyer) and one Silver Sponsorship (Advantage Benefits--me). If you know anyone who may be intested in sponsoring the event to benefit the National Autism Association, please let us know.

April 10, 2009

Importance of high passenger loads

Having Direct Air has been great since it re-established air service and helps us get to the 10,000 passeneger level to retain primary air status and get $1,000,000 from the FAA. More importantly it sends a messsage to other airlines.

LeHigh Valley currently has Allegiant flying to:
  • Punta Gorda
  • Sanford
  • Saint Pete's

They also have Direct Air flying to Punta Gorda. I was expecting to see Allegiant announce new services to their 4th Florida location (Fort Lauderdale), but they got beat to the punch by Airtran. I doubt Allegiant will want to compete with Airtran.

Allegiant stock at all time high, 4 florida locations now. We blew it with Allegiant.

April 09, 2009


I started doing this Twitter stuff recently. The verdict it still out, but I got to tell you one neat application. Blute has his own Twitter account and monitors it while he is on the radio in the morning.

Maybe you want to ask a question, but do not want to call or you are in the middle of getting ready for work. You can send him a Tweet and they will ask the question for you. Today I send in a question for Karen Polito and within 5 minutes the question was being asked.

Not bad.

New Ordinance

There was a story in the newspaper how some people do not want the City of Worcester to ask job applicants if they have have been convicted of a crime. Click here for story.

I am all for given a person a second chance and have had many people work for me that have a record. At the same time I want to know about someone's criminal record when I decide to hire them or not. Do not think the City of Worcester should not ask this question either?

April 08, 2009

You Tube Video

Hockey Goal

City Square deserves the Hanover Treatment

Why not waive permitting fees and lock in the current assessed value for City Square the next 7-10 years like they have done in Philadelphia or like we did around the corner at the Hanover Theatre. Someone give me one reason why this makes no sense?

In essence is that what we have given them the last 4 years since they have paid no permitting fees and the assessed value has remained the same or even dropped? At least if we did this we would have a corresponding increase in the tax base 7 to 10 years later.

If it is good not for the Hanover why not expand it?

April 07, 2009

Philadelphia Plan

Great story, click here from the Philadelphia Post Gazette.

Then, 10 years ago, Philadelphia approved tax breaks on offices and hotels that were converted into condos. The builders and subsequent unit owners still had to pay property taxes on the old value of the property, but the improvements would be tax-free for 10 years. In 2000, the abatement was extended to new commercial and home construction, not just conversions.

This policy has lead to many new developments. This is pretty much what we did for the Hanover Theatre, why not expand upon this. Here are some ideas:

  1. Take any industrial park with vacant parcels and offer to hold the assessed value for ten years or maybe you can tax it at the residential rate for ten years?
  2. Pick an area downtown where we want housing and offer to lock in the current assessed value for ten years for housing development, but no low income projects.
  3. Target abandoned buildings with the same plan.

We need to build the tax base, other then just trying to find new ways to tax or raise fees.

Dog Ticket Follow-up

My friend on Camp Street, who received a ticket from the animal control officer for the unlicensed dog, has paid the money to renew the license. Yesterday he told me that the City Clerk's office could not have been more helpful and that they would call the animal control department and tell them to void the ticket.

Kudos to the City Clerk's office and staff.

April 06, 2009

Direct Air Loads

Thanks Steve. I knew they would be low, but I was thinking more in the 55-60% range. Nobody can make money at these loads. At the same time, we need to keep in mind that this was the first two months and our first service in over a year.

I know the loads got much better from January-March. Lets hope they are in the 80% range.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has published the figured for November and December of 2008:

  • Nov In Pax/Load: 588-44%
  • Nov out Pax/Load: 473-35%
  • Dec In Pax/Load: 1857-50%
  • Dec Out Pax/Load: 1393- 37%

Virgin Atlantic is the only carrier reporting operations in or out of ORH for Nov and Dec.

Kate Toomey

She mentione that she utilizes Twitter at last City Council meeting. Does anyone have her account name?


Kate Toomey Twitter account, click here. I am going to follow her and she is following me.--thanks Brendan.

April 05, 2009

Direct Air

Picture by F-rilla

He has some Worcester pictures in his photo stream


Lets assume Jahn and I have two similar businesses where we both draw customers from the same catchment area. My business is run properly and thrives, while Jahn is losing money through his own mismanagement

  • He comes to me asks for some help. Why should I help? Well, what if he sells the business to some who knows what he, or she, is doing and they start taking some of my customers away.
  • I structure a deal where I take over management of the business and cover any of the losses to keep his business open. Eventually when Jahn decides to sell me the business, he agrees to credit me at closing for all losses that I cover.
  • Why should I turn his business around? If I turn it into a success, he will realize what he has. If I keep running it into the ground, I get credit for whatever losses I cover and I lower the overall purchase price.
  • Finally Jahn has had enough and agrees to sell the business. Even when we sign the paperwork to transfer his business to me, we do not even have a price established and will determine that later.

I am Massport and Jahn is ORH.

Sale of ORH

For four years, we have called for the privatization of ORH by either outright sale or long-term lease. The City of Worcester has proven that it does not belong in the airport business and the tax-payers simply can not afford to cover a $2,000,000 loss between the debt service and operating loss. Albeit a large portion of this has been and is being covered by MassPort.

We sited many examples of the years, but my favorite is Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York, which was floundering similar to ORH. In 1999, there was a 99-year lease agreement executed between the Governor of New York with National Express Group to operate Stewart International Airport. National Express Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiary SWF Airport Acquisition Inc., will lease Stewart International Airport from the State Department of Transportation. The lease entails initial payments totaling $35 million, plus 5 percent of gross income on the earlier of the lease's 10th anniversary or after traffic exceeds 1.38 million passengers.

Guess what happened? National Express completed turned the airport around and the Port Authority of New York, who needed more space anyhow, finally saw the potential here and bought National Express out of their lease. Although National Expresss spent $35 million up front and subsequently invested about $16 million of its own money and about $24 million of other people's money -- primarily grants from the Federal Aviation Administration -- in the airport. How much do you think they made in a profit in less then ten years?

National Express made a profit of 24,000,000!!!! Click here for a story. Maybe someone should give National Express a call? I myself have called Avports, another great airport management company, who said they would be interested, but although I passed this on to the City of Worcester. Nobody has invited him to Worcester?

As Harry has mentioned many times, why not invite Virgin, who is flying out of Worcester, to come. Who knows what Richard Branson may think? Better yet I would invite the authorities that own TF Green, Bradley and Manchester to Worcester. Although I am happy to read about the sale of ORH in the latest legislation in either the House or Senate, it really concerns me that there is no mention of the price in any of this legislation? Last Sunday I even urged the City of Worcester, in the very least, to get an airport appraisal.

In closing privatizing ORH is great news for the tax-payers of Worcester's bottom line, but not getting the fair market value of a great asset that has just been run horribly does not make sense to me.

April 04, 2009

Today's Paper

Thanks Jahn. Can you blame CSX for being concerned about their liability.

The Massachusetts Senate weakened a proposed cap on legal damages paid for public transit accidents in its version of a transportation reform bill. Gov. Deval Patrick and a blue-ribbon panel had sought a $100,000 cap on damage awards, and the Senate agreed in a version of the bill it passed last week. Yet before the vote, the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee added a loophole that exempted cases involving “serious bodily injury or death.”

Dawson Road Update

Direct Air Review

I get alot of e-mails from people who fly Direct Air out of Worcester. Got to tell you the overall response that I get from anyone who flies Direct Air out of ORH has to be in the A to A+ plus range.

The only overriding complaint I get is the toll free number. People seem to stay on hold for a long time and many often just hang up. Some my advice is thjis:

  • use the Direct Air website
  • go direct to ORH when the Direct Air ticket counter is staffed Thursday, Saturday or Sunday

April 03, 2009

Worcester Tea Party

Worcester Tea Party

From the website, not me::

You can complain all you want, but now is the time to stand up and let our leaders in Washington know that you have had enough of their insane spending and taxing spree! Join us in Lincoln Square, Worcester from 4 -6 pm on April 15 to take part in the Worcester Tax Day Tea Party. Bring your signs, your loud voice, and all of your friends and family. Check back here in a few days to get more details regarding details like sign ideas and parking availability. The Worcester Tax Day Tea Party is one of over 300 Tea Parties taking place in all 50 states.

April 02, 2009

Comment Moderation

Off for now

Mayor Hawke rules

He has been fighting a housing plan (16 unit supportive sober house) by SMOC right on their main drag (Pleasant Street), that the preceding Mayor had actually endorsed. Read the story on the Telegram.

My favorite is, however, SMOC was seeking to call the building eductional use to avoid property taxes. Hey is the building on Newton Square considered educational use and tax - exempt? In addition the plan had little or no parking, sound familiar?

Bottom line is Mayor Hawke is winning this fight.

April 01, 2009

New City Motto

Housing Vouchers Encouraged

9 May Street Banner

There is a banner on the front of the building advertising apartments for rent. Couple interesting lines:

  • "Income Restrictions Apply" --- in other words if you make to much money you can not rent here
  • "Housing Vouchers Encouraged" self explanatory