August 30, 2010

Philadelphia Housing Authority

Link to a story sent by Jahn 

Guest Commentator

Bill.....while I now live in Florida, I was born in Worcester. No relation to Jimmy O'Brien the Mayor, or any of your current elected officials, but I have flown in and out of ORH a fair number of times in my life.

I'm happy to see that Direct Air is starting nonstop service from PBI to ORH, but that airline sure has its challenges. If you look for comments about them online, the horror stories about their customer service would make you cringe. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, you are screwed. No other airline serves ORH.

Your comment about having shuttle flights from Worcester to Logan seemed strange to me at first, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. If you could get Cape Air to fly that route, you could connect right with Jet Blue. Go thru TSA security in Worcester, park real cheap, then change planes in Boston. I bet if they ran hourly flights, starting at 5am, it would work. Their planes only hold about 9 passengers, so it's not that big a deal to fill a flight.

I'm sure that Massport would not be excited about adding more small planes at Logan rather than larger ones, but if they're not co-operative, you could do the same shuttle between Manchester and/or Providence. I think JFK, connecting with Jet Blue, is another option for Cape Air type flights.

If you could start getting some passengers to try ORH, you just might be able to get some service back to other major markets.

Funny story. Years ago, I was flying from BWI to Worcester on US Air, shortly after they took over Piedmont. Small jets. Snowstorm. We were informed that ORH was closed, and we were being diverted to Hartford or Providence. They said they'd let us know. The next thing we hear, is for us to prepare for landing in Hartford. I look out the window, and I see the Rhode Island State House! They never corrected it. They said welcome to Hartford, buses would take us to Worcester! I rented a car in Providence and got myself to Worcester.

Barry J. O'Brien
Barry O'Brien & Co.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

August 28, 2010

Wormtown Fleet

Read's Nicole's blog, explains the project --dedication to Jeff.

Then check here   links posted to date

August 27, 2010

Telegram On-line

In my last post, I tried to access the Telegram Story that Steve mentioned.  When I did, it mentioned that I had to pay unless I was a subscriber and I had to register.   Five minutes later not knowing my account number or exactly what number we have the subscription under, I was unable to get in and was directed to call.   Have not done it yet.....

Imagine there must be alot of people like me out there, who actually subscribe to the Telegram but have not been able to access on-line???    Maybe the Telegram should have sent a letter out in advance to subscribers telling them to register that included their account number and whatever information that they needed to make this as easy as possible?

Mike Sottak's blog

Click here

A Blog-u-mentaryabout one family's experience moving from a tropical Caribbean paradise
to another type of paradise in the heart of Provence.

August 26, 2010

Letter to the Editor

Despicable and disgraceful does not begin to explain the situation described in the front-page story: 23 million taxpayer dollars, storefronts totally vacant as well as many apartments, now with back taxes owed and the developer made all his money up front (“Low-income rate of return/‘Upscale’ Hadley Apartments project now swimming in debt,” Sunday Telegram, Aug. 15). 

There also is the $36 million flooded-out May Street project by ex-City Councilor Stephen Patton, who is now a developer for Worcester Common Ground. They were granted millions for 5 Piedmont St. Again, first-floor storefronts are totally vacant as well as many apartments. Now there’s the Chevalier Furniture plans by Winn Construction, a politically connected company loaded with millions in tax credits, i.e., our tax dollars. 

These projects alone represent over $100 million. With so many vacant buildings, how was this allowed to happen? If this is pork, one thing is for sure: That pork is our hard-earned tax dollars. 

Let’s let U.S. Rep. James McGovern know how we feel in November, and any other politicians involved in this outrageous situation. 



Where's Jahn?

I called his number and left a message??

Stay tuned

August 25, 2010

Joppa Road

Foundation being poured today on Joppa Road 

August 24, 2010

Telegram on-line access fees

I realized the other day that the parent company for the Telegram is not going to charge for either the Boston Globe or NY Times on-line edition, but they are going to charge Worcester.  Does this make sense?  In other words they will use the Telegram as their trial and see what happens.   

Kudos to Tracy Novick

She put a comment on the blog today and identified herself.  That could be a first, an elected official put a comment on my blog while identifying themselves.   Kudos to Tracy.

Alot of pols talk about transparency and communicating with their constituency, she actually does it.  If you have not done it yet, check out her blog.    Whether you agree with her or not, she uses the blog to do her job effectively and interact with the citizens of Worcester. 

This is what I would call transparency.

August 23, 2010

State Rep Race-Franco

Got an e-mail from a friend downtown today to go to Eric's Patisserie for an 11:30AM press conference for Paul Franco.  I stopped down and listened to an announcement from the Independent candidate that he was withdrawing and that he was going to put all support behind the Republican Candidate, Paul Franco.

Click here for his website

Although I have driven by his house a couple thousand times, lives on the corner of Olean and Fernside (mom lives on Stark), I really do not know the guy.  Just checking out his website and listening to him today, he seems like a real nice guy and has a good message (especially his answers on health insurance).  

Bottom line is that he stands a chance.

August 20, 2010

State Rep Debate

One other thing.  Kudos to Perroto and Sharry for nailing the answer on health insurance.  The DOI rejecting health rates filed by the carriers did absolutely nothing to control premiums.

August 19, 2010

State Rep Race

Too busy to get involved in this right now.  Tonight I was listening to a recording of the debate the night before.  Caught Diane Williamson asking a question about PLA agreements and listened to Joff Smith's response.

Personally I am against PLA's, but that said, using the Union Station parking garage as a reason why we need PLA agreements.   Then to say how a garage that costs us 21.5 million saved us money because of the PLA?

Seems contradictory to everything that I have read?   Story from Commonwealth Magazine.


think we should invite the Governor back to Worcester and have him tour all the stops indicted on the this map

August 18, 2010


I put up a post asking how condos would be taxed in response to the task force request to tax 4 unit buildings commercially.   JeepCJ85 explained how they would be taxed rsidentially even if the building had 4 or more units.

JeepCJ85 here is my next question.  If I have a 4 unit building and then file paperwork and turn them into 4 condos, I would only pay the residential tax rate.  If the City of Worcester were to tax 4 plus units commercially , do you realize that every apartment building in the City of Worcester with 4 or more units would turn into condos?

Telegram Story

Coverage of the tour yesterday, click here.    Note income guidelines on all the apartments.   Congressman Fresolo is 100% corrrect.  This project will be just like May Street and the Hadley.

A better idea would have been for the Governor to stop by Rotman's and ask them how they feel about the sales tax and how it effects their business.   Last week-end I drove by there and it was insanely busy.    Yesterday on the radio, I heard an add from Rotman's they were going to waive taxes again this week-end.

Better yet a drive by Pharmasphere.

August 17, 2010

Southgate Place

Governor Patrick stopping by to check out our latest affordable housing project at 2:30.   25 unit apartment building all low income husing costing 7  million or 280,000 per unit. 

Telegram story.

Do you think the coverage tomorrow will mention:
  • initially the project was suppose to be owner-occupied townhouses
  • once those monies dried up, the project changed to all rentals
  • 25 units of rentals --all low income or affordable
  • the project has no support whatsoever from the neighborhood and the abutters
  • matter of fact I was in essence told to leave the Board of the South Worcester Neighborhood Center tif I opposed it
  • at a total cost of 7,000,000 this equates to 280,000 per unit--bargain compared to the Hadley
  • half of the ownership of the project was given away to the architects for basically nothing.  Let me say that again South Worcester Neighborhood Center will only own half the project, the other half was basically given away.
  • the land has been parked in the hands of the South Worcester Neighborhood Center so as to be able to receive EPA clean-up grants that do not have to be paid.  
  • no bids were solicited from any local General Contractors
  • I have only seen one local contractor on site

August 16, 2010

Direct Air Flight--passenger comments


I flew from Sanford on a 2:15 pm flight Thursday 8/5/2010 and I though that you should know how the passengers were treated by the crew of the aircraft. As usual it was unbearably hot and muggy in Florida. There was a weather system over DC that afternoon but the crew still boarded the passengers and had us bake on the plane for over an hour while they took on additional fuel and waited for permission to fly. That was not the worst thing that happened that day. Myself and other passengers requested some water to fight off dehydration. We were told by the first class flight attendant that "they probably will be bringing some on the plane".

Ever passenger on that plane knew that there was water on the plane already and all that he had to do was open the cart. When we finally did get into the air the flight attendants brought out the carts and SOLD us the water that they denied us on the ground. I have flown all over the globe on business and never have I seen a flight crew disrespect and out right lie to passengers the way that your crew did on that day.

If all this was not bad enough the Pilot made the most armature landing I have ever experienced in all of my flights. That includes landing on a snow packed runway in Greenbay and on an open field in an Italian stunt glider. He came in hard and fast, hit the ground with so much force that the passengers started screaming and then it all turned into a contagious laughter of relief that we were going to be alright.

I had decided to just put the whole incident behind me but I just can't let it go without telling someone in control, someone that can try to make this right so that it doesn't happen again to another group of passengers.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

Stephen Theriault

Perfect Example

Remember a month ago, or later, there was a story about the mansion on Salisbury Street.  Looks like Russell Haims has bought it.  He will fix it up with his own money and make it look great for sale or rental.
In Main South opportunities like these for private developers are taken away by tax-subsidized community developers.

Ribbon Cuttings

The thing that I found the most ironic is that whenever any of these projects are announced there are huge ribbon cutting cemeromies.  Maybe we should have a ribbon cutting following up ceremony for this project so everyone can see what has been developed at what cost and to make them think before they blindly give monies and endorse more projects like this.

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you:
  1. 93 Grand Street
  2. Maon Street
Maybe a good time to check out my map. 

August 15, 2010

Hadley Apartments--511,000 Per unit

We have discussed this for years on this blog, now I know why it was not featured in any of the recent no-income bus tours.   For now I will not comment and simply ask people to read, click here

Gabe, we had several lively comment sections about the Hadley in the past could not help but read some of these this morning.    Told you two years ago that we may never see any market rate housing or a parking garage and this will be just another low income housing project.  Looks like, sorry to say, I am right.  

Don't feel bad the same thing is happening on Southgate Place.    They have promised owner-occupied housing, a daycare center amongst other things but for now they need to start with 25 units of low income housing.    In the end that is all we will get.    Next time you are down in this area you need to check out the size of this place and how it absolutely does not fit into the neighborhood.

Thank you bloggers

Don't know why I started doing this?   Actually, I do kind of....        Many times people would ask me to shut up,  run for office,  and work to make changes.   Right now in my life, however, I simply can neither afford to nor have the time to "run for office".   Although some day, I hope when I am retired I will be able to run and say:

  1. don't want the pay 
  2. opt out of the benefits
  3. pledge that I will only run for two terms
In the meantime I have this blog to try and make a difference?  Maybe I haven't or maybe I have--who knows..    More importantly, I have enjoyed doing it and have made alot of great friends .  

The one thing I have learned to appreciate more then anything else, however, is the other bloggers.   Even those I don't agree with, they are all good and make me think.     On the other hand, it really bothers me that more public officials (other then Tracey Novick) don't use blogs to explain their positions and get feedback.    

Tonight, I just want to thank all the other bloggers, Jeff in particular, for doing what you do.    I truly believe we are making a difference. 


Bill Randell

August 14, 2010

Direct Air to Puerto Rico and the Dominican

Palm Beach Post.

San Juan Airport
Direct Air now  flying from West Palm to the Dominican and Puerto Rico.     There you have ORH's next two destinations:

  1. Domincan
  2. Puerto Rico

August 10, 2010

20% owner occupancy exemption

In other words, if you had two identical houses.  The one that was owner occupied could have up to a 20% lower tax bill then the house next door that may not be owner occupied.    In essence we would have not two classifications, but now 4:

  1. residential owner occupied housing with 3 units or less may qualify up to a 20% reduction
  2. residential non-owner occupied housing with 3 units or less
  3. residential housing of 4 units or more will be taxed commercial
  4. commerical
Let me ask you this question.  You are a developer looking to take an old factory and turn it into residential market rate housing; for example, the Lincoln Square Boys Club.  Taxing these projects commercially will discourage these types of investments, which we need desperately. 

August 09, 2010

Condo Association

Would a condo association with 4 or more units be taxes:

a) Commercial
b) Residential

Task force recommendations

Read through it briefly.  The one that jumps out at me is seeking special legislation to tax 4 units or more of residential housing at a commercial rate.     Bad enough we have  a dual tax rate:
  1. Commericial
  2. Residential
Now we in essence will be having three three classes
  1. Commericial
  2. Residential (3 units or less)
  3. Residential (4 units of more)
Let me ask stupid question, why should a 2 or 3 unit residential be considered residential, but once you hit 4 now it is commercial??? 

August 08, 2010


Story in today's paper, click here.   I never understand these stories.  The truth is there always going to be two knds of landlords:

  1. Good
  2. Bad
For those tenants that have bad landlords, they have rights and right on Main Street in downtown Worcester on the third floor there is a Housing Court.  The do an excellent job protecting tenants.   Legal Aid will even represetn income eligible tenants for free. 

The City of Worcester has an inspectional services division run by Amanda Willson that does an excellent job.  Call her.

To top it off if a tenant has subsidized rent through the WHA (Section 8), they have an unreal inspection now.   The littlest thing needs to be corrected.  

Seriously where is the story here.   The simple answer here is if you have a bad landord a tenant has recourse or they can simply move?  The thing that jumped out at me more then anything was the sale.    This was happening all the time.

The scheme was simply.   Let me give you an example:
  • I find a guy or girl who does not care about what happens to their credit, lets call him Jahn
  • I sell my 3 decker to him for 350,000
  • We get him a mortgage and an appraiser who works with us
  • Once the deal closes I get my 350,000 but kick 30,000 back to Jahn who I tell to beat it . Don't collect any rents don't pay any mortgages.  Hey, I might even keep collecting rents and not even tell the tenants I sold the place
  • Eventually the mortgage forecloses and I offer to buy back for 50,000

August 07, 2010


  • Front page story today about CSX acquiring properties via eminent domanin in the Telegram.  How long has Jahn been predicting this???
  • Also Saltus Press closes.  Think we mentioned this earlier on the week on the blog.  
  • Lastly on a sad note, Sam Bonanno passed away.  Real nice guy ran the Wigwam on Lake Ave and Canterbury Street. 

August 06, 2010

CitySquare--Donald Trump

Now that we have been able to stage a bet that Z can finally win.....   We all agree that the residential component is the key to reviving downtown.   Better commuter service will be a huge help but this is going to be very difficult to pull off.

Any bank will look at the demographics and the surrounding housing and say why the hell am I going to back this project?   That is what Berkeley found out.   That is why I feel the new Housing Policy, or should I say change in Housing Policy is so important.  We need to have a ground swell of marketing rate housing around downtown not more affordable housing , or should I say "work force" housing?   Every day I drive by the old Odd Fellows building (next to the Mart) and the Hadley, do you think either of these projects help attract more market rate housing to downtown???

Think Eppinger is great but no way in hell does he sink his insurance reserves into this risk and no way in hell will a bank lend on it.   The residential component needs a kick start!! Don't laugh but what about the Donald??     Trump Worcester.

Check out

Trump Miami

Trump Toronto

August 04, 2010

Zimage Bet Part 3

My god, how much does this guy owe me??

1)  Remember his first bet when he bet me Berkeley and UNUM would have deal by the end of 2009?

2)  When he lost that one I extended the deadline a month and bet double or nothing.  On top of that, I bet him that Hanover was going to take over from Berkeley in February of 2010 before any deal with UNUM. 

I could bet on market rate housing be unfair.  He would take the bet and I would win way toooo easy!!      Lets bet on the parking garage.  I have seen alot of movement down there, but I would be willing to still bet that none of the old parking garage will be torn down by the end of the year..

If I lose, we are all even.   If you lose again,what do I get.

Chandller NRSA in Telegram

Coverage in Telegram yesterday

Group seeks plan for Chandler Street corridorPaul Collyer said he's heard enough about the Canal District being the sole proprietor of “funky” in the city.   “The Canal District doesn't have housing,” Mr. Collyer said. “Edgy young people want to live somewhere edgy.”   Mr. Collyer said the Chandler Street corridor from Park Avenue to Main Street fits the bill of an edgy, urban core experience. A resident of the Chandler Street neighborhood, Mr. Collyer puts on the annual Paulie's NOLA Jazz & Blues Festival.

And as different pockets of the city start to gel and market themselves to younger, more urban-minded folk, members of the Chandler Business Association said they think they are uniquely positioned to revitalize what has long been one of the city's struggling main corridors.  With the help of a group of thinkers in the Clark University orbit and some federal money to spend, members of the group feel they are ready to move beyond façade projects and tree plantings.

The group, a joint effort by the Chandler Business Association and Worcester Common Ground, used the neighborhood's designation as a Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area to spend $350,000 in grant money to date on everything from façade work, home improvements, roofs, siding, and security camera systems.   In 2006, the city designated five low-income neighborhoods, which are home to about 25 percent of the city's population, as recipients of $2 million worth of federal Community Block Grant money, which was to be used in revitalization efforts. William Randell, a local businessman and member of the Chandler Business Association, said the group wasted no time in spending the money.

“We had so many in line, the city had another $250,000 in federal stimulus money, and it went to those who were on our waiting list,” Mr. Randell said.   The group recently decided to spend $12,000 for a master plan it hopes will give the neighborhood a long-term vision that will transform it into a place where residents live and spend money.

Meeting at the EVO bar and restaurant near the corner of Chandler and Park Avenue on a recent afternoon, Mr. Collyer, Mr. Randell, and Andy Serrato, owner of Serrato Signs on Dewey Street, replied almost in unison when asked what the most important issue the neighborhood needs to resolve to truly prosper—more owner-occupied housing.  “The most important thing is home ownership,” Mr. Serrato said.

Mr. Randell said the neighborhood needs an infusion of working-class residents who are willing to invest in the neighborhood. Mr. Collyer and Mr. Randell suggested that the city needs to devise some sort of property tax break for residents willing to take a chance on Chandler Street and in its surrounding neighborhoods. “You've got to give people incentives to buy,” he said.

Working with the Community Development Training Institute, a group overseen by Clark University master's degree students that provides community and economic development assistance to local governments and nonprofits, the Chandler Street group recently completed a preliminary report that it will use as the basis to put together a master plan, which should be completed by December.

Zaliah Zalkind, co-director of the CDTI, said the next step is to go out into the neighborhoods and find out what residents would like to see their neighborhood look like.

Just saw this

O’Brien, McGovern To Visit Small Businesses


Worcester Mayor Joe O'Brien and U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Worcester, are kicking off a series of business tours around the city with visits to Webster Square and the Martin Luther King Jr. Empowerment Center today.
The first event will begin around 1:30 p.m. and will include meetings with minority-, women- and immigrant-owned small businesses in the Webster Square area.
Then, O'Brien and McGovern will meet at the MLK Empowerment Center later in the day to discuss federal and city business incentives.
The tour is the first in a series planned by O'Brien and McGovern.

Buy Local

I vow to only to smoke pot grown at the Pharmaspere Plant in the SWIP.

Institute for

August 03, 2010

Pharmasphere Update

Nobody is going to believe this one but it is true, click the link here.      Here is the headline:

Converted Organics Announces that PharmaSphere Systems, LLC Agrees to License Its System to Grow Medical Marijuana for Rhode Island Non-Profit

Can't wait for the next parcel to go out to RFP.  Only good thing is I know alot of people in the area who have alot of experience growing pot, who may get hired. 

Congressman Weiner

August 02, 2010

Saltus Press

Unconfirmed rumor

They are in alot of trouble?

New Blog

I am starting to follow Gone Galt by David Goldberg.


I have alot of fun with the blogs and met alot of nice people by doing this.  Just wanted to post this in case you have not checked out Jeff's blog, I think you should.