12 Biggest Blunders in 2012 in Central Massachusetts
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
The blunders ranged from Twitter miscue by a police chief to candidates make charges that were a bit inconsistent with their own positions.
Many of these GoLocalWorcester.com stories were picked up by other leading news organizations - Politico, Huffington Post, Associated Press, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and CBS News.
#12 Gemme and Twitter
Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme made himself the focus of discipline when he used Twitter to attack the media/GoLocalWorcester.
His frustration boiled over after a series of articles looking into a range of police management and crime issues in Worcester.
#11 Patrick Hits Ballet
While Worcester Airport was rolling out the red carpet for JetBlue's CEO, Governor Deval Patrick was nowhere in sight.
Where was the chief executive of the Commonwealth? No, not in Washington lobbying for federal support. Nor was he working to bring a big employer to Massachusetts.
He was on a tour of the Boston Ballet.
#10 Warren Tax Charge
GoLocalWorcester asked Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren about her position on publicly disclosing tax returns and she told GoLocal that Republican Senator Scott Brown should release 20 years worth of taxes.
The only problem - Warren had only agreed to release four years.
The GoLocal story went national and was picked up by leading news organizations like Huffington Post and Politico as well as locals like the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.
#8 Warren Missing
Early in her campaign for U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Warren was looking a bit like Martha Coakley. A GoLocal story that probed why Warren was ignoring Central MA went national.
Politico and other leading news organizations picked up the GoLocalWorcester story and within days, Warren opened a new Worcester HQ.
#6 Pedone Goes Shopping
Pedone, who stepped down to take another state job, chose not to return donations or donate his tens of thousands. Instead, the Democrat took his fellow legislators out to Ruth's Chris Steak House for $1,000 plus numerous other dinners and trips to the Apple Store and Best Buy.
The total? More than $17,000.
#5 Mass Port Worcester
For years, Worcester Airport has played second fiddle to Boston's Logan Airport. A GoLocal investigation found that MassPort had failed to take action to improve the airport.
Moreover, the investigation showed that MassPort's revenue would be adversely affected if Central Mass travellers flew out of Worcester rather than Logan - lower parking fees, no security surcharge, etc.
#4 Gay Couple & Diocese
The Catholic Chuch's decision to reverse track on the sale of property to an openly gay couple was one of the biggest blunders in Central MA.
Attorneys for James Fairbanks and Alain Beret claim that the following e-mail from Monsignor Sullivan demonstrates the Diocese's bias:
"I just went down the hall and discussed it with the bishop. Because of the potentiality of gay marriages there, something you shared with us yesterday, we are not interested in going forward with these buyers. I think they're shaky anyway. So, just tell them that we will not accept their revised plan and the Diocese is making new plans for the property. You find the language."
#3 NY Times Haz Waste
The NY Times Corp purchased the Worcester Telegram decades ago. During the years, the New York Corporation has cut the staff, closed the printing facility and sold the Franklin Street building to a local non-profit. READ the story.
The problem? The former Telegram building was contaminated with hazardous waste and more than $1.1 million in clean-up costs.
The non-profit then sought federal clean-up grants from the US EPA's Brownfield's program. The result, the corporation leaves the contamination and taxpayers are forced to pay for the clean-up.
#2 Dangerous Students
In the past year, Worcester colleges were rocked by two incidents of students demonstrating threatening and disturbing behavior.
First, an Assumption student openly praised Norway's mass murderer. The student, Kevin Forts, said that the murder of 77 individuals last summer was brutal but necessary. Read the article.
Just recently, Holy Cross student and cross country captain, Gregory Hamalian threatened to shoot people in a movie theater. The all-academic athlete was charged with four counts and is being held for $1m bail ($100,000 surety). He was arrested just one day after the shooting at Newtown.
#1 Spending Out Of State
While both Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown claimed they were committed to creating jobs in Massachusetts, a GoLocalWorcester investigation found that both candidates spent just over 20% of their more than $60 million with local vendors.
Warren spent just 20% of her millions with local printers, designers, mail houses and consultants.
Brown did only slightly better - just 23% with MA companies.