Dan Butler, who has gained prominence as a voice of Southbridge tornado victims, posted the following on the Southbridge Tornado Relief FaceBook page on May 8.
UPDATE on the "Rebuild Western Mass" rebate crooks: about 3 weeks before the 1 year anniversary of the tornado and we have STILL yet to see a dime from this ripoff program and they just continue to give us excuse after excuse. today i got a phone call from them, and the guy told me that he received a call from Peter Durant's office claiming that we had issues with the program....
i told him "yup, i called the state rep and told him you guys are a scam and a waste off our tax dollars". so he then tries to go over the program with me again and i told him "look, it's been almost a year. i have spent countless hours on the phone with you guys, filling out paper work, allowing your inspectors to come into my home TWICE and i am sick and tired of you wasting my time....either tell me we qualify or hang up". he then tells me that they need some more paperwork: proof of purchase on our new doors which we already submitted, we need to fill out a W9 form and he needs a statement from out insurance company proving this damage was tornado related. THEN, he proceeds to tell me that through further review, our new doors won't qualify because suddenly now the UV rating has gone up to 5.0.....we have 2.9 doors which are brand new energy star doors! he also said our ceiling and wall insulation won't qualify because its not a high enough rating either...despite the fact that THEIR INSPECTOR told us what insulation to install when he came out to the house when it was still just studs!!! anyone else having any luck with these idiots!!!!????
Well we found out earlier this week what Southbridge will be doing to help them. The same elements that were behind approving $172,000 to buy a second street sweeper rather than allocate resources to relieve their plight have come up with another slap in the face.
Their answer – “Let’s have a cookout”.
Town Council chair Nickolla announced at Monday’s meeting that the Future of Southbridge group would sponsor the event. It would take place in lieu of their annual “meet and greet” which has been held in prior years to “impartially” benefit their favored slate in the annual town election.
When councilor Laurent “Butch” McDonald criticized such an event, council vice-chair Clemence (a favorite of the Future of Southbridge stalwarts) launched into an impassioned pique of righteous indignation. The matron of outsourcing Southbridge jobs to Canada has never passed up an opportunity to capitalize on bemoaning the misfortunes of tornado victims while doing precious little in concrete terms to benefit them. Mr. Butler’s post is relevant in regard to his lack of help from State Representative Durant given the close association between the Stat Rep and Clemence.
This poses an interesting contrast to the manufactured furor over former council chairman Steve Lazo’s presence on the day of the tornado helping residents clear downed trees. The fact that Paul Zotos was in the vicinity and recorded some of his efforts and showed them on Southbridge Cable TV was later a strong subtext in Zotos’ removal from the position of Director of that operation.
The victims of the tornado, and indeed all Southbridge residents, should recognize the callous way in which their situation has been and is being exploited by political opportunists.
They should start a fund raising program for the tornado relief effort selling T-shirts emblazoned with, “My House Was Destroyed And All I Got Was A Lousy Hot Dog”.