Monthly Archives: February 2019

Preview: City Council agenda (February 26)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:30pm. The agenda is here.

This week: The last meeting was cancelled, so lots of stuff you’ve read about before.

If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Zoning: The Council will likely vote to rezone 223 Greenwood St. from a current designation of single-family residential to light manufacturing. There is a request to make 35 & 33 Wachusett Street zoned for business and part of the Commercial Corridor Overlay District.
  • Public and Private Streets: There are requests to make the private streets Riedl Place, Forkey Ave, and Sherer Trail public streets.
  • Police Body Cameras: Gordon Davis would like the Council to “establish policies for the use of police body cameras.” The city’s most recent union agreement with our police should have them starting a body camera pilot program this year. If you are not happy with the language in that agreement or would like more specifics this would be a good meeting to make some comments. (I don’t know anything about the specifics here.)
  • Violating Open Meeting Law: The Council will likely request the city’s lawyers opine as to whether Council subcommittees can do site visits if part of the site is not open to the public, or whether that would be a violation of open meeting law. Last meeting, at the prompting of Councilor King, the Council asked for a legal opinion as to whether we could get the state legislature to exempt the Worcester City Council from open meeting law. (This sounds crazy but this is what the minutes say, maybe this was misstated in the minutes.)
  • Network TV in Worcester: Councilor Rosen would like the Manager “to be taken to bring a network-affiliated television station to the resurgent City of Worcester.” Note that traditional television and especially network-affiliated television would seem to be on the decline nationally.
  • The Revenue of the Renaissance: Councilor Lukes would like a report from the manager as to whether we are seeing more property taxes the last couple years “resulting from the Worcester Renaissance.”
  • A Town, A City: Evan Corrigan requests that we start preparing for February 29, 2020 as “Worcester Day.” Since we were chartered a city on Leap Day, this is the closest thing to a 200th anniversary we are going to have.
  • Boards, Commissions, and Appointments: Michael Curtis will be appointed a constable, Mitchell Perry will be appointed to the Worcester Arts Council, and Chareese Allen will be appointed to the Board of Health. The Council will vote on appointing Carol Stovall to the Citizens Advisory Council.
  • Airbnb: A report from the city’s lawyer notes that there is now statewide regulation of Airbnbs and the like, including up to 9% taxes and the option for cities to pass their own regulations.

This week’s School Committee Agenda

And the agenda is here. Much of it, the–finally!–report of the superintendent on FY20 included, is items held from last meeting due to the three hours of public testimony on sex ed.

Relatedly, if for some reason you didn’t read Bill Shaner’s comprehensive cover story in last week’s Worcester Magazine on Worcester’s long and winding road to not getting anywhere on sex ed, you really should.

That FY20 report appears also to be the only place as yet that anyone has compared actual impacts of the three (as yet) bills proposed in the Legislature on reforming the foundation budget, ‘though of course it only does so for Worcester. Scott O’Connell asked Secretary Peyser about the lesser funding in the Governor’s bill in his interview covered in yesterday’s T&G, to which Peyser responsed that he thinks “people should wait to see how these proposals unfold,” before responding.

A number of the other items that have been held from the prior meeting are related to transportation, responded to here.  Also of note: going to subcommittee is this:

To review bid specifications for student transportation services and award contract to lowest responsive and responsible bidder for a contract term to begin in June 2020.

That’s the bid for school buses! If you haven’t been happy with the WPS bus service, now is the time to speak up (and keep an eye out for that Finance and Operations subcommittee meeting)! Goodness knows I plan to.

There are an array of recognitions, thanks, appointments, and such.

There’s also still a prior year payment (of $48 to Learnwell Education) and I am curious if anyone at any point is going to bring up that this is not good practice.

There is…I wouldn’t really even call this a response…an acknowledgement of the request for information on how the district plans to implement civics education (“we’re going to pilot some things” is not an answer). The bill is much longer than quoted, has many more pieces than referenced, and this doesn’t answer the question posed.

There is a multi-part response to an item on a specific dyslexia program (the link goes to the part that actually responding about the program; there is a summary of district sped literacy initiatives here, a summary of the dyslexia screening law here, a dyslexia evaluation checklist here, and what appears to be a copy of an individual’s discussion of types of dyslexia here), of which the upshot appears to be no, we’re not going to do anything with this.
Mr. O’Connell and several other members propose to comment on the state health education standards (which won’t be set out for public comment for a bit as yet).

Several members wish to support HR 141, which would make those who get a government pension, currently not eligible for Social Security eligible; you can read the argument from those in favor here. 


There’s a request for an update on bringing down school suspensions.
There’s a request to administration to change policy in the handbook regarding headwear (as that’s under policy, the committee can just do it).
There’s a request from Mr. Comparetto and others to use some of the taxes from marijuana for schools, and also to increase school funding “in light of new revenues coming into the city.”
Five members have co-sponsored an item to support the PROMISE act.
Mr. Comparetto also wants to reduce state spending on prisons and spend money on schools.
Miss Biancheria wants an update on the use of the Shannon Grant.
She also wants an update on lawsuits.
Mr. Monfredo, who is under the impression the school districts bans cell phone use in school (it does not) wants to consult with “secondary school principals” about their use. Perhaps we’re missing several groups of people to consult there?
Miss McCullough is asking for an update on graduation rates by ethnic categories.
Mr. O’Connell wants an update on a court case.
The Committee is being asked to approve:

There is also a posting for an non-specific executive session, which is not something that one can do legally under the Open Meeting Law.

Preview: City Council agenda (February 12)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:30pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Open meeting law, network TV.

If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Zoning: The Council will likely vote to rezone 223 Greenwood St. from a current designation of single-family residential to light manufacturing.
  • Public and Private Streets: Mimoon Alwash would like the private Riedl Place to be be made a public street.
  • Police Body Cameras: Gordon Davis would like the Council to “establish policies for the use of police body cameras.” The city’s most recent union agreement with our police should have them starting a body camera pilot program this year. If you are not happy with the language in that agreement or would like more specifics this would be a good meeting to make some comments. (I don’t know anything about the specifics here.)
  • Violating Open Meeting Law: The Council will likely request the city’s lawyers opine as to whether Council subcommittees can do site visits if part of the site is not open to the public, or whether that would be a violation of open meeting law. Last meeting, at the prompting of Councilor King, the Council asked for a legal opinion as to whether we could get the state legislature to exempt the Worcester City Council from open meeting law. (This sounds crazy but this is what the minutes say, maybe this was misstated in the minutes.)
  • Network TV in Worcester: Councilor Rosen would like the Manager “to be taken to bring a network-affiliated television station to the resurgent City of Worcester.” Note that traditional television and especially network-affiliated television would seem to be on the decline nationally.
  • The Revenue of the Renaissance: Councilor Lukes would like a report from the manager as to whether we are seeing more property taxes the last couple years “resulting from the Worcester Renaissance.”

Preview: City Council agenda (February 5)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 6:30pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Boards and commissions.

If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Zoning: Jonathan J. Thomas is asking for a bunch of parcels in the Malden Woods subdivision to be zoned Rl-7, residential with a minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet. This matter will be referred to the Planning Board.
  • Boards and Commissions: The City Manager is appointing Edward Moynihan and Angel Santana as Constables, and Priscilla Lippert to the Trust Funds Commission. The Council will vote whether or not to appoint Coretta McCarter to the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and Osaghale Aisagbonhi to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
  • Affirmative Action: The city is adopting a new affirmative action policy with “teeth.” The T&G has more.
  • Stop Violating Open Meeting Law: Responding to a request from Coucilor Lukes, the city’s lawyer confirms that a quorum of the Council is not supposed to discuss Council business except at public meetings.