So instead of shutting myself in my room and continuously jerking off until a response to a reddit writing prompt came together in my head, I was on assignment for Worcester Magazine. The story: What is to become of the Notre Dame church in Worcester.
Worcester… is… an interesting place. City hall and especially this planning committee meeting were the distillation of that. Young and old, black but mostly white, and I’ll be honest– mostly old too. So over 70 mostly old, mostly white people were there to voice concerns about an upcoming development project slated for 5 Salem Sq.
Most in attendance were part of Preservation Worcester– a group dedicated to older architecture in the city.
Hoo Boy– there were some eloquent folks in that crowd. Among them Councilor at large Konstantina Lukes. I guess it’s understandable. Part of her job is public speaking.
But, for every rational person speaking– there were those that went off message.
Many spoke about the church after being warned not to.
Socialist Alternative then showed up and talked about wage theft and taking advantage of workers– something that the PLANNING COMMITTEE has nothing to do with. Yet, I suppose it was a forum to get the message out.
Then (I still chuckle thinking of it) One older woman compared the local Worcester city government to the totalitarian regime in Worcester. AND THEN called the apartment complexes springing up over the city concentration camps.
Over the two hours of testimony I just kept looking at the lawyers for the Development company. Ivan M. Baron (GET IT? I. BARON. AND HE WORKS FOR A REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER) was chief among them, delivering the presentation to the committee. (I should just point out that this guy’s suit was on fucking point and he looked like what the Fonz might if he went to Harvard or Whartons.) These guys sat stone faced for two hours, allowing only faint flickers of annoyance to pass over their faces.
All in all the whole night felt more like theater than an actual hearing. Still– made some money writing– so that was cool.