Recent, controversial Worcester City Council votes

The Worcester City Council usually votes unanimously—any controversial stuff is sent to subcommittees, where it’s either turned into something broadly acceptable or buried.

Here’s a list of the positions current City Councilors took on controversial votes. Some of the spaces are blank, either because that City Councilor wasn’t serving when the vote was taken, or was absent.

(If you notice an error or misstatement, add a comment and I’ll note and fix them.)

  1. City Council reaffirmed its commitment to religious freedom. September 20, 2005. This resolution was a response to then-Governor Romney’s suggestion that mosques be wiretapped. Only then-Councilor Juan Gomez voted against it, saying it had nothing to do with running the city.
  2. Raise pay to $34,0000 for the Mayor and $29,000 for other Councilors. December 19, 2006. This was an 84% pay raise, as the salary had not increased since 1987! Various Councilors refused to take the raise in following years.
  3. Additional regulation on hawkers/peddlers and street vendors. August 8, 2008. After a couple restaurants complained that hot dog vendors were taking their business (!), the City Council added various new restrictions on street vendors.
  4. Write letters of complaint or divest from Arizona because of their new immigration law. May 11th, 2010. These motions were a mess of parliamentary procedure. The “votes” noted in the chart above are those who sponsored the failed measures. Those opposing the condemnation said it was because it had nothing to do with running the city. Arizona changed the wording of their bill after this item was proposed but before the vote.
  5. Additional regulations on pit bulls and similar dogs. September 7, 2010. This ordinance was widely criticized by animal lovers, including the MSPCA. There were many amendments added to this after the main vote.
  6. Traffic surveillance cameras. August 9, 2011. These cameras would detect and photograph people running red lights; after the evidence was reviewed by police, the motorist would be sent a ticket. These would require a change in state law; the Council voted to request that change.

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