508 #275: Technocopia, part 2

posted by Mike on July 29th, 2016

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we tour Technocopia’s new downtown space with Nick Bold, Joe Forjette, and Adam Zelny.

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508 #274: Ionic Ave Creative Hub

posted by Mike on July 14th, 2016

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, Laura Marotta takes us on a tour of the old Boys & Girls Club and explains the plan to turn it into Creative Hub Worcester.

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508 #273: Urban Redevelopment

posted by Mike on May 19th, 2016

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk about the Worcester Redevelopment Authority’s latest Urban Redevelopment Plan with urban planner Paul Dell’Aquila.

[PDF of the plan.]

Audio: Download the mp3 or see more formats.

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508 #272: Mercy Matters

posted by Mike on May 5th, 2016

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, we talk to Mat Schmalz about his new book Mercy Matters.

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508 #271: Sneaker Nerds

posted by Mike on April 28th, 2016

508 is a show about Worcester. This week we talk to Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder about being a sneakerhead and that New York Times Magazine article on Worcester.

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A Day of Dorothy Day, March 15, 2016

posted by Mike on March 14th, 2016

There will be a day-long conference on Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement this week at Holy Cross College, in Worcester, Mass.

At 4:30pm at the Rehm Library is a public presentation by Robert Ellsberg and George Horton.

Mr. Ellsberg was managing editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper during the last years of Dorothy Day’s life. As editor-in-chief and publisher at Orbis Books, he’s written extensively about her, and edited books of her diaries and letters.

Mr. Horton is a Holy Cross alum who serves as Catholic Charities New York Director of the Department of Social and Community Development. He is working on Dorothy Day’s sainthood cause on behalf of the New York Archdiocese.

ellsberg

508 #270: Nerds

posted by Mike on February 18th, 2016

508 is a show about Worcester. This week’s guests are Victor Infante of the Telegram & Gazette and Chad Julian of That’s Entertainment! We talk about Supergirl, Dungeons & Dragons, and vinyl.

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Worcester #blacklivesmatter Trial: the notes

posted by Mike on January 7th, 2016

Update Jan 21, 2016: Verdict: Conner, Gibbs, and Jones “adjudicated responsible” and fined $100 each, Ksen “not responsible” and not fined, seeing as how he was in the street only briefly. Here’s the MassLive writeup. I predicted they’d all be found responsible; I was wrong.

The civil disobedience: January 19, 2015 (Martin Luther King Day), around 20 people blocked Worcester’s Kelley Square for 4.5 minutes to represent the 4.5 hours Mike Brown’s body lay in the street in Ferguson. Two months later, 4 of the protesters were charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

The trial: began today.

The verdict: was not announced today. It will be mailed to the defendants.

My notes: are below, for what it’s worth.

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Worcester’s third anti-panhandling plan: unconstitutional

posted by Mike on November 9th, 2015

In a decision filed today, US District Court Judge Hillman found both parts of Worcester’s 2013 anti-panhandling plan unconstitutional. [PDF]

The only parts he left stand were the City redefining “traffic island” and a couple other similarly minor changes to Worcester ordinances.

Untitled

Ever since the Supreme Court vacated a previous ruling upholding the ordinances, I think we all figured that the time-and-place restrictions, which set up hundreds of areas in the city where you couldn’t ask for help, were probably unconstitutional. I didn’t think the judge would also rule against the traffic safety portion, which says that if a policeman tells you to stop standing around on a traffic island or in the road, you have to get moving. (He technically also struck down the part that deals with actual aggressive behavior, but as he notes there are many other laws against that sort of bad behavior.)

In striking down the first part of the ordinances, the judge writes:

…I find that the entirety of Ordinance 9-16 fails because it is not the least restrictive means available to protect the public and therefore, does not satisfy strict scrutiny. While I find that none of the provisions of Ordinance 9-16 can withstand strict scrutiny as written, the City and other municipalities have raised some legitimate concerns regarding aggressive panhandlers and public safety. Post Reed, municipalities must go back to the drafting board and craft solutions which recognize an individuals to continue to solicit in accordance with their rights under the First Amendment, while at the same time, ensuring that their conduct does not threaten their own safety, or that of those being solicited. In doing so, they must define with particularity the threat to public safety they seek to address, and then enact laws that precisely and narrowly restrict only that conduct which would constitute such a threat.

In striking down the traffic safety portion, he writes, quoting extensively from a ruling on a similar case in Maine:

The City can point to specific medians and traffic islands as to which a pedestrian use should be prohibited in the interest of public safety (the traffic islands and/or medians in Kelly, Newton and Washington Squares come to mind). However, on this record, it has not established the need for the “sweeping ban … it chose.” “ ‘In short, the City has not shown that it seriously undertook to address the problem with less intrusive tools readily available to it.’ Instead, it ‘sacrific[ed] speech for efficiency,’ and, in doing so, failed to observe the ‘close fit between ends and means’ that narrow tailoring demands.”

(Emphasis added and citations deleted above.)

Other coverage:

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508 #269: Why to Vote

posted by Mike on October 28th, 2015

508 is a show about Worcester. This week is our pre-election special. We talk about LARPing ombudsmen, the expected value (in dollars) of your vote, and how to vote strategically in the election.

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Discussion questions:

  • Have any Worcester mayors since 1970 provided more leadership and agenda-setting than the City Manager?
  • Do you think the expected value of a Worcester vote is more or less than $10? Why?
  • In what situations do you think bullet voting makes sense?