Preview: City Council agenda (August 19)

The City Council meets Tuesday, August 19 at 6 pm. The agenda is here. This week: charter change, murals, heroin, switching cable companies, the old courthouse, homelessness, the City Seal, and ebola.

  • Billy Breault’s one-man war on soft drugs: Mr. Breault has a citizen petition asking the city to “enforce existing ban on the distribution or sale of certain herbs coated with synthetic chemicals . . . that mimic a marijuana or THC derivative high, sometimes sold in head shops, convenience stores or gas stations in Worcester.”
  • Charter Change: The Worcester Community-Labor Coalition has an item requesting that the city hold public hearings starting in October to discuss changing our form of government.
  • Worcester Revolution of 1774: Another item regarding this anniversary, asking the Council to support the commemoration of “the acts of over 4,600 Worcester area militiamen in overthrowing British rule on September 6, 1774.”
  • Murals: There are a couple of items accepting murals from the Crown Hill Neighborhood Association and the QALICB Corporation. It has been a year of public art
  • The old courthouse: The city now officially owns the old County Courthouse. The state gave us $3million as part of the deal, to fix it up or demolish it or whatever. While we find a buyer, we’ll be leasing out the parking lots.
  • Sex offenders: A couple of Councilors have asked if we can limit where Level 2 and 3 sex offenders live. The response of the city law department is that it would be tricky but possible.
  • The City Seal: The worst use of the Council’s time this summer will undoubtedly be their effort to limit the use of the City Seal. A local e-cigarette shop has a logo that’s a takeoff of the seal, so the Council is considering a new ordinance that would establish a $300/day fine for using the city seal, or a close copy, either physically or electronically for non-City purposes. How they are going to enforce this against electronic uses, I have no idea. If some smartass in Holden uses the City Seal as his Facebook profile pic, or a business in West Boylston adds the seal to their signage, how is a Worcester municipal ordinance going to apply?
  • Heroin overdoses: There have been many fatal heroin overdoses in and around Worcester this summer [T&G]. There are several items on the agenda relating to this. If you would like the city to do something more than it’s been doing, or something different, this would be a good meeting to share your opinion.
  • Cable: Worcester’s cable provider is probably switching from Charter to Comcast next year. The Council has several items relating to this, one requesting that we consider creating our own broadband internet provider, another asking the Manager for a report on how else we can respond. For more, see Brendan’s notes.
  • Dog park: Councilor Rosen would like the City to consider putting a dog park in Beaver Brook Park.
  • Keeping homeless people from sleeping in the parks: Councilor Rosen asks the City for a report on homelessness, especially on what we’re doing to keep homeless people from sleeping in parks and tossing out their drug paraphernalia.
  • Ebola: The usually-staid Councilor Lukes has had several interesting agenda items this summer. This week: “12gg. Request City Manager report on what measures are being taken locally regarding the ebola virus.”

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