Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Activist Group Starting Up in Southbridge! -- You're invited

Raciel Fernandez
Guest Contributor

There is an information vacuum in Southbridge that has perpetuated the discontent, apathy, complacency, or just plain ignorance in the town’s citizenry.  In order to fill this vacuum, a new activist group is forming from the ground up.     The goals of the group are to be an organized entity to give a voice to the issues that aren’t discussed, or are portrayed from only one side’s point of view – usually, those in power.  We will offer another perspective and present facts to a broader audience.  We will hold our elected and appointed officials’ feet to the fire and not treat them with kid gloves as our local news outlets routinely do.      We will demand that critical issues that impact the town and its neighbors negatively are addressed out in the open.  After all, open and honest dialog is at the heart of a democracy.

“An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.”  Thomas Jefferson

“An informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.”  George Washington

There is no allegiance or regard for any political party with this group. People from neighboring communities that are affected by our town’s issues are also welcomed.   If you know of someone who would be a good fit for this group, please bring them along, or forward this [article] to them. 

Our first meeting will be at the Quinebaug Valley Council for The Arts and Humanities’ Arts Center on 111 Main Street, Southbridge, at 7PM this Thursday (June 16th)! 

Short agenda to follow.

(Note from Ken O’Brien – be sure to visit Raciel’s blog, “The Political Trash”.)


  1. Sounds reactionary and a bit bizarre. Why exactly would any elected official care? Doesn't sound well thought out just angry. Tea Party any one?

  2. I, for one, am very happy to see that Councilor Spinelli is an independent thinker.

    Of Denise Clemence.

    Looks like they're independent, together.

    Both liars and phonies.

  3. Talk about bizarre. Raciel hasn't even had one meeting yet and "Tom M." is criticizing it as reactionary and bizarre. In one sentence Tom calls it reactionary, in the next angry. A reactionary is someone who opposes change. Someone who wants to keep the status quo. From what I've read above, Raciel proposes a return to democracy in Southbridge. Wouldn't that be a welcome change? I don't see anything wrong with having a meeting to try and organize people. The FOS people did it and look at the success they've had. Why would any elected officials care? Because a people united can affect an election, that's why. Doesn't sound well thought out? This is a first meeting to think things out. Tea Party? If you want to bring tea that's fine. I prefer coffee, but tea will do.

  4. Hi Ken,

    You might want to edit the date; you have July 16th, not June 16th.

  5. Do you think there will be a good response to this group? I'm thinking personally that the people that usually speak at Citizens Forum at the Town Council meetings will be the ones attending this since they keep up with the Town's issues/concerns.

  6. Hi Raciel. It will be interesting to see if you can get a grass roots organization up and running. I'll stop by tomorrow after the P&D meeting.

    The council does listen to the public. The fact that the Smart Cart program was sent back to the Board of Health because of the concerns raised by people at a council meeting shows this. If there was an organized group that advocated for the average tax payer you might very well see progress on water rates and property taxes. Right now, we have groups organized to support the status quo so I think it would be good to have a counter balance to them. Good luck!

  7. I think the fact that a citizen calling for organization of people (a basic right under a democracy) is immediately criticized shows that there is fear in its potential -- a standard response from the status quo. We're off to a good start.

    I will supply the wine and coffee. No tea, please.

  8. Good question, Anonymous. I think the response will grow - like any grassroots movement -- as we narrow down our platform and strategy. What I do know is that many people in town just simply don't know what's happening with our government. The news rarely tells both sides. When I have a conversation with someone and explain the other side (at least what I know of it), they are shocked and immediately change their view. I don't advocate them to change. I just let them know the other side. This is the void we will try to fill. Then, hopefully, people will make up their own (informed) minds.

    We would be very happy to see you there, Councilor Logan!

  9. Raciel good luck with your new group hopefully it wont end up like some of the others. most importantly be open to both side of an issue and not one sided like you are now (anti goverment) And Rich councilors dont listern to the people of this community just look how the vote is now 5 to 4 and before Spinelli it was 5 to 4 on all issues... You go along with Lazo and McDonald want and you will continue to..Justs like this side goes along with Clemence...things will never change...same game just differant players...4% sewer increase 3.75% taxes and this has gone on and on and on since you have been a councilor..look at the charter review your group has stalled that... good luck new group

  10. What I said was: "Sounds reactionary and a bit bizarre. Why exactly would any elected official care? Doesn't sound well thought out just angry. Tea Party any one?".

    That's not critical, is an observation based on the limited information you sent out. Just because Mike says it is doesn't make it so.

    When Fos started, they got into Clemence s pocket. Their success has still been next to nothing. Your RATS didn't succed either.

    Calling yourself activists makes you sound hostile. Counvilpr Logan os wrong. Logan and two others may listen. The others, if they have no use for you will ridicule you to death. I support your right to do it. But no group can change this town. Just ask the idiot who used to Tom this blog. What did he accomplish?

  11. Wow, it's more fun being on this side of a blog! First off, Ken, congrats on getting more hits in one month than MM has gotten in two years.

    You don't even have to kiss the royal behinds of Clark or Charette to do it!

    And all of this time, I was told I was making up the numbers...don't worry, the rest of the readers will join in soon and you'll add to it.

    As for Tom, I'll just address one question at the end, regarding what did I accomplish with SOS?

    Truth be told, I haven't a clue.

    Hope that clears it up for you.

  12. MM is Monique Manna, not Mike Matrketti...

  13. Martinek is an asshole. Lot of good he accomplished for you! Ha, ha!

    He's probably behind this. You morons still supporting him?

  14. This is just a pre-organizing meeting, to see if there is a consensus on the direction a group should take and the willingness to organize. I think some of you suspect there is no consensus nor willingness, but this can correct itself if people show up and find out they do agree with each other on what they want to do. On the other hand if it dissolves into bickering and fighting, then as a friend of mine in town reminds me often, we have met the enemy and "They Is Us" (Pogo's famous dictum). So let's give this meeting a chance. Everyone's invited including Tom M., Anonymous, Gabe, Dennis and Monique Manna.

  15. I have refrained from moderating comments on this blog.

    It has been my hope that by elevating the level of discussion, participants would refrain from unacceptable language.

    I have no particular issue if participants want to indulge in vituperative insults regarding others, provided that it does not become repetitive and a detrrent to serious conversation.

    However, I will require that participants not indulge in language that would be considered inappropriate in polite company.

    In this regard, I feel that Gabe has crossed that line.

    I will not delete the comment. But I hope that such language will not be repeated.

  16. Here's the funniest part of your response, Mr. O'Brien: all of his readers and not ONE person defends him?

    What a loser. This town is better off without him.

    Notice I didn't even have to use "bad" language this time?

    Your butt-boy is done!

    Long live the king, huh?

  17. The silence you misread was all of us nodding in concensus. He addressed it eloquently. Your follow up simply emphasized his point.

  18. Hi Raciel. Very good meeting last night. Lots of interesting conversation. Good luck getting your group up an running!

  19. OH YOU GUYS. I am going to have so much fun joining your party. I know most of y'all are old enough to be my parents but I DON'T EVEN CARE. <3

    muchos besos,
    Amelia P.

  20. btw, just FYI, tea comes in a remarkable diversity of flavors. just sayin'.

  21. Anonymous, I'm not anti-government. To be anti-government is to be anti-people; anti-U.S. The fact is, WE are the government. My one and only issue is when control of our government is taken from the masses and concentrated into the hands of a few. I don't mean in a representative kind of way. I mean when those few disregard whom they represent and disproportionately represent their own interests or those of their financiers. One of the critical mechanisms that allows this to occur is the control of message and information. That is the crux of the issue and purpose for this group. Do I have my own opinions? Of course! But as long as you vote the opposite way but are informed, I'll respect that. However, this town is uninformed and often times misinformed by the same people and institutions that are supposed to hold their regard.
    As far as seeing both sides, that’s the point. NO ONE IS SEEING BOTH SIDES! The side that is usually at odds with our town's decisions is marginalize, pushed aside, and gets no say at the table. Like Mike M said, everyone is invited. But be assured that if you come to share the prevailing message, we've already heard. It's already been printed a thousand times in our local paper. This group may not be a fit for you. If you feel it’s anti-government then you’re also in the wrong place. I would suggest the Tea Party instead.

    Amelia, I'm sure there is diversity in the tea party, but its voices are drowned out by the wackos, anti-imigrant, anti-tax, anti-everything wing at the moment.

  22. Funny thing is, for all this talk about a "new activist group", not a word about the outcome of your meeting?

    Perhaps that's because you're still waiting for someone to show?

    Tell us, who, if anyone showed and what is your mission?

    Enough rhetoric. We already got a lifetime supply of that from Whitney and Manna and their lifeless group.

    You can never change this town. As Nikolla has said, the people are lazy, andigs.

    Watch as this miserable wretch gets re-elected on her "Southbridge residents basically suck" and are stupid campaign.

    Talk is cheap.

  23. Well thank you for asking, Anonymous. The meeting went GREAT! Surprisingly, we had a good turn-out with such short notice. In attendance were people from all areas of our community -- republicans, liberals, democrats, moms, dads, environmentalists, gay, straight, young, old, and officials from the board of health and town council. Despite the diverse crowd -- which I think is more indicative of the town than what we see on the Council -- we all agreed on some basic issues.
    The meeting was only to see if a group like this could organize and our answer was a unanimous, "YES"! We even have our first action item which is to rally at the Town Council meeting tonight to oppose Dr. O'Leary's inevitable reappointment. Yes, this diverse crowd was all completely opposed to him having any influence on our health and our children's education.
    I'm sorry if that disappoints our anonymous readers, but I'd say we had a fruitful and encouraging meeting. Minutes and date for next meeting to follow shortly!

  24. Raciel:

    Thanks for the update.

    Many of us, including myself, who had hoped to attend but, for whatever reason, were unable, were curious to hear the outcome.

    I look forward to hearing about your future plans.

    Good luck tonight!

  25. Update on how it went last night:

  26. Sounds like this group is going nowhere!

  27. Sounds like "Anony Mouse" is frightened!

  28. Not in the least!

    Wait until Nicola, Levin and Vecchia win Tuesday!

    Bye, bye Lazo!

  29. OMG!
    This is the base of the Clemence coalition!
    They can't spell Nikolla!
    And they want you to vote for Vecchia who chickened out and didn't submit his papers.
    Finally, who the hell is Levin?
    Does anybody wonder why we have a problem?


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