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August 22, 2006



and while I'm on this dissassociative rant, can any of the good Progressives of Ward 6 tell me if your Alderwoman attended the City's Recreation Department recent youth track meet at the Tufts Oval?

If she did, good for her. Now there might be hope.

If not, maybe she should broaden her horizons. There's more to your ward than saving "works of art" by artists that no longer live in the City. And, just my opinion, the families and their kids of the ward comprise more of the backbone of the community than out of work bullshit artists hanging out in a coffee shop all day long.



I didn't see the Alderwoman from ward 6 at the kids track meet and I was there the whole time. But guess who I saw there that was very involved in the whole proceedings....Jack Connoly.

Myself, I have been involved as a private citizen in many different aspects regarding this city over the many years that I lived here. Right now I volunteer for youth activities which I won't get into because I don't want to give any personal information away as to who I am. It has to do with a couple of different sports programs.

brickbottom to Jimmy D.


You Say: "Now, we don't even have an independent youth department. It's part of the rec department"

There is a women that works for the rec. dept., KH, who has done more for the youth of this city than any other person that I know of. She has commited herself to the youth of this city for many years and should have been appointed the director of the rec. dept., but she didn't have the political muscle. It is a shame.

My last posting addressed to Jimmy D. was a mistake....Brick

My last posting was addressed to Jimmy D. incorrectly, these pull down name menus are a pain in the butt and you've got to be careful to click on the right one.

Sorry bad!



I knew we had more in common than not.


To Andy Dufrensne

You had me,till your last couple of sentances
"But why leave it soley to the courts? Politicians ought to weight in too. Lets see MORE SMART DEOMCRATS - AND MAYBE SOME HONEST REPUBLICANS"
So are most Democrats stupid? and Republicans corrupt? Make your point, don't loose it in a stupid statement, stop the constant name calling.

Andy Dufresne

Which one of those were you offended by?

Let's fix Rec.

I'd like to weigh in on MM's tenure at the Youth Department. My recollection is that he was not a victim of cut budgets but of his own social agenda. Known gang members were allowed to hang out at the Youth Center, which eventually drove the 'good' kids out. This eventually drove MM out, although they must have cut a deal, because none of the goings on were ever made public. The person in charge before that geared everything toward his own kids (preteens), which also drove others (teens) out. Before that, when my kids were involved, it was a truly active department where they took part in field trips, outward bound experiences, a habitat for humanity-style venture which also taught carpentry skills, and even an exchange program with England. The kids that year were able to raise enough money for a memorable trip to London! That's when Kathleen H. was the director. If that's the person who someone who posted above thinks should be running Rec (she now works with special needs kids at Rec) then you could be on to something (by the way, it's now being run by the new football coach! "everything old is new again!"). If you're talking about the other KH who works at Rec, then you've had the wool pulled over your eyes by a lifer who was given a chance as the Acting Director and had to be replaced when it became obvious that she was in WAY over her head. If they don't put someone in charge and deal with the problems at Rec. it'll be gone completely within the year! As far as the Youth Dept being part of Rec., it makes sense on the surface. I think it makes sense for all recreation activities to be under the same umbrella, with different supervisors for each. THe other way was a waste of money.

panty raid

I have to laugh i loved the comment about when alderwoman and her friends should burn there bras LOL

Cement Head

I think that DPWatch is on to something.

When programs are created here, if they don't work out they are not eliminated. Instead they become permanent homes for patronage jobs. Then when the budget axe falls from the state for local aid, the city goes on this campaign to say how "essential services" have to be sacrificed. That means the guys from DPW, teachers, public safety, etc., but the patronage jobs always seem to remain.

The progressives have been as much a part of this as any other group. Programs for this and programs for that, etc. and usually for things that government doesn't belong in the business of. But someone's got to pay for it. That's where that "just a few cents more" if it were "earmarked" for this or that. Of course, once someone gets in that sort of position, that's when the empire building begins.

In New Hampshire, they have a lot less of that. The result of this all is that projects such as Dilboy Field get built faster because everyone isn't taking a cut along the way and there is much more accountability (argh! there's that word again!!). I'm sure the progressives out there will tell me that NH has inordinately high property taxes, but they STILL have a lower tax burden over all than we do. And they consistently score higher than Mass. in terms of quality of education and standard of living/quality of life. Some of that is systemic, but some of it is the result of 40 years of social programs that have been dismal failures in mass. but that are now so deeply rooted that they can't be incised.

The Rec Dept. is a perfect example of this. There are a core group of dedicated people there I am sure, and KH is one of them in my opinion. However, it always seems to be either a political pawn or a dumping ground and the result is kids suffer.

The city, in my opinion, needs to do some deep soul searching to see what really, truly adds value and what doesn't and then go after the things that don't but I won't hold my breath for that to happen.

Also, I echo brickbottom's comments. I'm also involved in city volunteer things and have been here for a long time but would rather remain anonymous on the blog here. It wouldn't matter if anyone knew who I were anyway. I'm not a city worker. Just another nameless Cementhead.

Let's fix Rec.

Cement Head: You're wrong about the Rec. Dept. There are very few people there who are committed and truly out for the kids. Most of them are out for themselves. KH (if we're speaking of the same KH) is in charge of the latter group. Just look at their programming. Almost everything they do is geared toward girls. For years they've been running camps, clinics, and leagues for girls basketball, but refused to do the same for boys. Most of the programs now include gymnastics and yoga. They started an after school program at the Capuano - looks good on paper, but they made Teacher Aides do any real work and completely ignored any special needs kids who they were forced to accept (Regular Rec Programs have a long history of excluding special needs kids). They run expensive programs or trips that are filled with their friends and relatives. They are not truly serving the kids of Somerville, and they need a real shake-up to do so!

Cement Head

Well then I guess you're right. Let's look at the redundancies in Rec and we'll then see where there can be cuts made that obviously won't affect the children at all since their not serving them anyway. Thank you for opening my eyes. I agree that there seems to be a lot more for girls but I never really thought about it in those terms. So your saying its just another bloated department where one person works and 20 people watch. I didn't realize about the aides at the Capuano. That's interesting. I'll have to observe that next time. Seems the volunteer groups (Little League, Youth Soccer, Hockey, etc. etc. do a better job and for a LOT less money to taxpayers. Thats what i was saying about value. They'd be better off just paying the cos of say Soccer admission for kids who can;t afford it and let the volunteers run the program. That happens a lot of times and its because you USUALLY find the truly dedicated people volunteering anyway.
I will say that FF who used to run the basketball at the HS on Saturday mornings for the kids seems like the real deal. He worked HARD all the time with the kids.

Let's fix Rec.

You must really be living in a bubble, or perhaps you don't have kids. FF was also in it for himself, and in the last few years barely showed up. HIs 'retirement' is an interesting piece of gossip! The new guy doing the saturday bball seems to be doing a decent job of actually teaching the kids. Good idea about using at least some of rec's money to pay for kids to attend existing volunteer programs.

Cement Head

Well it has been a number of years since the kids were in the program. Maybe your right and he got burnt out doing it but he did do a great job for a long time. Like I said in the other post though, sometimes these things work well for a while but then grow old or the people running them lose interest but the city never seems to dump them, it just perpetuates the programs with taxpayers money.

Frank Singnotras

When are you wimps going to talk about the real issues here. Which is:

Machine Politics, What is it and how do we deal with it? And why freshmen have to either play ball or get nowhere?

Why, if you do play ball you get taken care of. with some job aftwerwords? private or public?

And why we take care of our own, and don't really give a sh*t about about affordable housing and everyone else?

And why republicans like this discussion but don't really give a sh*t about anyone anyway(just kiding)?

Wo realy what is machine politics? how does it hurt us? and how do we change it?


To Let Fix Rec,

You said: "Almost everything they do is geared toward girls. For years they've been running camps, clinics, and leagues for girls basketball, but refused to do the same for boys."

Are you kidding me!!!!

It's about time that girls got some recognition in this city when it comes to playing sports! Boy's have been treated like kings in this city when it came to sports for the many,many years that I have lived in this city. When I was a kid the only recreation a girl could look forward to was to become a cheerleader.

So give a break about poor "Johnny" or poor "Mikey" that are being left out of rec sports (which is not true anyways) they have received the lions share of attention and money for years and years.

It's about time that girls are getting the opportunity to participate in sports programs that was only open to boys until recently.

Get you head out of the 50's and join the real world!!!!


Also "Let Fix the Rec,

You said: "They run expensive programs or trips that are filled with their friends and relatives."

Please name the expensive trips and programs that you are talking about. I have never heard of such.

You seem to have your own agenda when it comes to the rec, a real ax to grind. What happened? Did you or a friend lose their jobs from the past administration because of the present administration? Sour Grapes?

Burn my BRA

Sure i will burn my bra. lets have a rally at the site where the lincoln park school was. also i will burn my panties how cool will they be.
Burn bra burn


Lincoln parks has been through enough!

Just a Somerville Parent

Can I put in my two cents regarding Rec? I'm just someone with a boy and a girl who have been involved with some Rec activities over the years. First off, I think the poster above is confusing Rec. with youth sports like Little League, Soccer, Pop Warner, etc. These are private organizations while Rec. is city-funded and programs should be equitable - they are not. Right now their web site lists a girls basketball program, but not a boys program. However, they are running 'Rhythmic Gymnastics with Streamers' which boys are welcome to join!? By the way, the cost is $50 for 5 lessons - a little steep for a city-funded program, I think, when private youth sports average around $50 for a season-long activity. They're also running an outing to a play in Boston - cost $94.00!! That ought to give lots of needy Somerville kids a fun day out! And don't forget their arts and crafts program for 'Teens and Tweens', lots of pre-teen boys I know want to design flip-flops, or be-dazzle their jeans! And I know in the past they ran a very expensive Golf Program, not a lot of kids coming out of Somerville for that either! What are my taxes paying for if this is what we're getting? And 'Let's Fix Rec.' is correct about them being exclusive - they have a history of not advertising certain programs, and turning away special needs kids, till they were forced to do both!

brickbottom to Somerville Parent

To Just a Somerville Parent,

I am not confusing the two. Just a few weeks ago in the "other paper" they had photo's and an arcticle regarding the week long boys basketball program that cost $50.00. I don't have time right now to get into other activities that they offer boys, but I will.

To Brickbottom:

Brickbottom: They run the same week-long basketball program for girls. It ended last week.

Born Here

Mayor Joe forced out FF because he wanted to make the SYL a moneymaker. When FF ran the league NO KID was EVER turned away for lack of money. How about some blame with the whole John Hannah B.S. WE made him a 80K. a year HS football coach....that didnt win ONE game. JH did little to help the Rec. either. The program is dead, except for some good young people who organize these "clinics" themselves for little or no pay...boys AND girls basketball was offered.
The smell of rot is coming from the top of the fish. Thats why there is an uprising of private citizens organizing a private non-prof. to fund some local program, WITHOUT the "sticky fingers" of City Hall involved.

Cement Head

Born Here,

The uprising of private citizens organizing a non-profit to fund local youth sports programs is proably the best thing to do and as you say keep the sticky fingers of City Hall out of it. Who are the people doing the organizing since I want to get involved and not for any money. Just give me their initials I'll figure the rest out myself. The thing I liked about FF's program was as you say that no kids were ever turned away and that's what I was getting at previously. maybe things didn't turn out the best they could have but I personally have nothing bad and only good things to say about FF and for that matter KH's girls basketball program which I credit for a lot of the success the SHS girl's program has had in recent years.


"Brickbottom: They run the same week-long basketball program for girls. It ended last week."

And your point is?

You claimed they had no boys programs.

Born Here

Cement Head
I will post the website ASAP, they want to help the kids of Somerville WITHOUT the City touching the cash. Its many well known former Somerville athletes that actually care about the kids. I think they have a fundraiser coming up too. Thanks for asking, it seems we all need to keep the City officials hands off the money !



To start up a program like that you would need INSURANCE. That in itself is a backbreaker. Believe me I have looked into it.



"KH's girls basketball program which I credit for a lot of the success the SHS girl's program has had in recent years."

You are right on the money with that quote!


Try this one on for size: the girls' basketball coach at my high school also ran the intramural boys' league on Saturdays.

At the same time on the other half of the gym, all the girls' teams were in and out all morning for informal shootarounds, extra coaching whatever.

Boys being boys, not everyone on a team would show up at the appointed time, so Coach spotted us a couple of the girls, who more than held their own.

Not much wondering why they wound up 18-1 or something like that every year. I don't think the guy got extra compensation for running the IM program; the extra wins more than made up for it...

Born Here

He probably didnt want credit because he was violating state rules regarding out of season coaching. I think we can all agree that the problem lies with city officials, not the kids or the many good volunteers.

To: Brickbottom, et al

Brickbottom: Yes, they now run a summer bball program for boys, only because the high school coach started it. That's the thing, they don't look at what's needed, they offer what they choose (yoga, gymnastics, arts & crafts, etc.). For years, there was a well-run program for girls in grades 2-8 (I have to give KH some credit for that), and a hap-hazard program for boys in grades 5-8. Where's the equity there? And to the people posting about why FF left, you've probably heard the official story, but the Real Story is a little different, and lot more interesting......


Born Here,

How do you know that it was the High School girls that he was coaching and not the Pride or AAU teams that he coaches also?

Born Here

I dont know who was coaching who. My point was the MIAA rules are pretty broad. Even coaching middle school kids by a HS coach can be deemed "recruiting". Believe me, I dont agree with the rules, but check out and check it out.
But lets not talk about HS coaches that blatently violate the rules, lets get some help for the younger kids in our city, they are the ones suffering from this administration.


Born Here,

"lets get some help for the younger kids in our city, they are the ones suffering from this administration."

You are correct Born Here, as long as the kids are occupied with sports or other helpful activities then it's a win win situation for all. Thanks.

Two Cents on Rec

After reading all the post's concerning Rec I would like to chime in with my two cents worth. Rec is dealing with the changes in this City as well as as they possibly can. They have offered many outstanding programs to the youth of the City(boys and girls) and advertised in every reasonable way. Very few kids are attending most of the programs.
Maybe Parents aren't pushing their children to attend these programs.
Kids are content to stay home and watch TV or be on the computer.
There are obviously less kids in the City than ever before.
The minority and less fortunate kids can not get to the program.
Or because language and communication issues exist they don't know about the activity.
Over protective parents don't trust City run activities.
My opinion is that the current full-time staff is competent and trying to do the right thing. However it is not a diverse staff. A male acting superintendent and six 50ish caucasian women. Who's fault is that?
The part-time and seasonal staff are made up of outstanding and diverse young and dedicated adults.
I don't have the stats in front of me but many excellent well-advertised affordable programs have offered and have been poorly attended. A real shame. Parents need to push their children to attend these programs for Rec to continue running them.
As far as FF is concerned, he did an outstanding job for many decades running the SYL for little compensation. Unfortunately he did not leave on his own terms, not sure why. It appears that a lack of respect from some City officials, and his own inflated ego, caused a less than graceful departure.


Two Cents,

You say:
"Maybe Parents aren't pushing their children to attend these programs.
Kids are content to stay home and watch TV or be on the computer.
There are obviously less kids in the City than ever before.
The minority and less fortunate kids can not get to the program"

Excellent observations! Unfortunate, but true.

Move into the 21st century!

Many of your points are correct: too few kids in the city, kids aren't motivated to join (too much fun at home with computers, On Demand TV, IPods, etc.), but I think you still have to look at the content/cost/quality of the programs being offered at Rec. This year they finally agreed to eliminate the Park Program, because sadly kids just weren't coming anymore. It was a relic of the past. But, once again, programs which attract mostly girls (KH has done some good things, but WILL NOT run a program for boys), and programs which are too costly (stained glass, golf, theater trips) are putting people off. You need to figure out what the kids would be interesetd in and then offer that. Look at the BOys and Girls Clubs - packed all the time, because they adapt to the times and offer activities that attract the kids.


Move into thwe 21st,

You Said: " Look at the BOys and Girls Clubs - packed all the time, because they adapt to the times and offer activities that attract the kids."

You are right on the money......I brought my kids down there ONE time and what I saw there was disgusting!

The profanity, disrespect and bullying by the kids hanging out there that was on display in there was disgusting.

They sure did adapt to the times......let the kids be punks and have no accountability.



Why don't you have the mayor send out a reverse 911 call telling the people with kids about REC and that they need to get their kids involved?

Cement Head

I finally got to read some of the responses from the different people on here about the Rec Dept. and other things.

I would like to add this to the talk. One of the reasons in my opinion that the high school football is struggling is because there are no more junior high schools. We had football at that level and there was where a lot of kids were taught the game. So then we get this headliner name in JH to come in and everyone thinks it wil be the answer to it but there's no culture of football or other youth sports activities and so he was basically trying from what I could see to start from jump street with the only playbook he had and that was way way too complex for these kids. I know we have a great Pop Warner program in Somerville and have for many years thanks to a bunch of dedicated and good people, but a lot of kids either don't know about it or probably can't swing it or think they can't swing it. That's my opinion. Plus, we lose a lot of the good players in PW to the private schools at the high school age level it seems. And there aren't as many kids in the city as there used to be and families are smaller, but that's not just here.

I liked reading everyone's posts about this though, especially brickbottom. Like I say, let's look at what was done with the young lady's basketball program by KH and emiulate it with the other sports.

Born Here

Cement Head,
Here is the link for the group of people that actually care about kids and sports in Somerville. Hopefully they can work without the sticky fingers of City Hall.
Hey J.N. maybe contact the group and do a story......just an idea, check out the website !

No thanks.

This 'Private' Recreation organization that you're promoting is really very interesting. First, if you're creating a charitable foundation and you want to have a website that people take seriously, hire someone who knows how to hit the 'check spelling and grammar' button on their computer. I'm not even an English Teacher, but some of the errors in their web site really grate on my nerves! Second, why would I want to support an organization that I think is being formed to shore up the Rec. Dept. ineptness? Several Board Members are current or former Recreation Commission Board Members and several people who have made donations are Recreation Department employees. Let's start by someone (finally) forcing them to account for their time and money, and actually providing quality programming that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. If they still need help, we'll talk. However, I don't like the idea of a City Department being funded by a private organization. Where's the liability if they offer risky programs? Who's in charge - City Hall, or their Board of Directors? Too many questions and too much mismanagement at the Recreation Department. If the money being raised is meant to be handed over to the Recreation Department, then heaven help us!

Born Here

thats fine, instead of bashing people with good intentions, whats your big idea bozo ?
The City has turned its back on the kids, someone needs to step up.

Charlie on the MTA

"No Thanks" - why so grumpy, is it your turn to bring the donuts to your fellow City Hall workers today ?

No thanks

As a matter of fact, I don't work for the city of Somerville at all, but if someone's going for donuts, I'd love some! I'm not grumpy (or sneezy or bashful for that matter!), I've just seen too much go on at the Recreation Department over the years, and I don't think I should be asked to bail them out! There are too many hack lifers there who don't want to work, and won't offer programs which are truly needed. I haven't seen any big cuts in their budget, so why is there suddenly a problem with $$, and they're blaming that for their lack of good programming. Maybe it's because Somerstat is forcing them to account for their money, and they no longer have total control over it to do what they want. This is a good thing, but I'm sure they don't like it. Remember the big write-up in last years' Journal about their yoga classes? Adult yoga classes and all of the participants pictured were from outside of Somerville. Perfect example. Meanwhile, East Somerville residents are trying to create their own drop-in center for teenagers, because noone else was doing it. It's really sad that the kids are being ignored here.


somerspeak said:

Ms. Gewirtz, it takes a lot more than "listening" to "issues" to get the full faith and confidence of the people who voted for you.

The clock is ticking. How about some results?

You want results but suggest no subject? Do you just want random results on no particular matter? I would suggest finding something that is within her responsibility, and talking to her about it. That is evidently what everyone else is doing. And the only crituque you have is that she is responding to them. You have no argument, is it because you have no problems but want a donkey to pin nonetheless? Rebekah is not your donkey, sir.

Saving the cafe: Saving jobs and keeping consumers in Davis instead of sending them to Harvard.

Saving the mural: Urban beautification, with a social message of equality and community.

Responding to citizens: Doing what a public servant should do. Why don't you give her a call? It sounds like there is a concern regarding youth rec programs.


"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

Harry S Truman, August 8, 1950
33rd president of US (1884 - 1972)

Car 54, Where Are You?

There were lots of posts here a month or so ago about the Rec. Department and their programming for girls vs. boys. Well, in their fall newsletter they list three separate ceramics programs, the ever-present gymnastics with streamers and yoga, lots of programs for little kids and adults, and the following basketball program for GIRLS: "Fall 2006
Somerville Recreation September 2006
Back to Basics: Girls Basketball Clinics
All Sessions at the High School Field House Cost: FREE
Come when you can, bring your friends! Sept.26-Nov. 21-2006
5th Grade: Tues– 6:30-7:45PM
6th, 7th, 8th Grade: Tues– 6:30-7:45PM, Thurs– 7:30-8:45PM
TOPICS COVERED: Stretching & Conditioning, Ball Handling
(Passing & Dribbling), Shooting, Rebounding, Individual &
Team Defense, 2 & 3 person Defense"

Yet, there is NO basketball program for boys. And people wonder why boys in this city have so many problems - there's nothing for them to do!
And by the way, where oh where is the Department's fearless leader (when he's not coaching football, that is!).

Where are you, Harry?

You're right on about the Rec. Department programming. Needs up-dating badly, and equitability (is that a word??).
But I was surprised by the other rumor.......Harry M. has left? Was he driven out by the problems at Rec., or did he just 'move on'?

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