Tuesday, August 31, 2010

LET THEM EAT WATER!

     More than 100 residents joined in the Brockton Water Party to protest the billings and procedures of the Brockton water department. The water department has been in many cases going back and billing up to 12 years and citizens are receiving huge water bills. The water department is saying this is because the people have been receiving estimates all those years and have finally gotten an actual read and an actual bill. Many residents have asked for consumption reports and those that have gotten them like Robert Ford has said "according to their own reports they actually owe me money". Mr.Fords bill exceeds $10,000 and when he went to the water department they tried to adjust it to $4,700, but Mr.Ford says "They still couldn't explain to me how they arrived at that figure." Mr. Ford has a pool and his own pool holds 20,000 gallons of water and they are saying its because of his Pool.

Brockton police giving thumbs up for peaceful protest
     Mr.Ford has been billed for using over 1,000,000 gallons of water he would of had to "fill his pool about 57 times in the last 8 years to consume that much water" says Ford. All of the local Boston area TV stations were there as well as the Enterprise and Mike Melanson from WATD and Lisa Crowley of  http://www.brocktonpost.com/
City Councilors Michelle Dubois and Thomas Brophy were there along with several other political leaders from the Brockton Area. The rally began about 3:30 with Ayanna Cato telling a little bit about her story with the $100,000 water bill she received and then informing residents about the group that is forming and signing their names for future contact. Ms.Cato talk about the Brockton Water Rally sheet informing residents what else they can do to help change the current procedures that the Brockton water department is using.
    Overall you got a sense of frustrations from the residents. They were paying their bills and when they received the huge bills called or even went to the water department and got very little help or any real explanation as to why their bills are so high. Every thing has been blamed from leaky water faucets and toilets, to huge tree's growing outside people's house's to even don't run the water when you brush your teeth, even though this gentleman wears denture's.

Crowd starts to gather as rally begins
     The problem has been growing for years and this is the end result, it has blown up. The billing software needs to be updated, water meter batteries are failing and haven't been maintained. The water department uses different kinds of meters, some which need to be read manually. Now all this will be fixed with the new water meters that is costing the city 11 million dollars. So who do we blame. Is the department 50% at fault and the residents 50% or is the department 20% and the residents 80% at fault. According to Mr. Thoreson even though they have a problem the residents still have to pay these bills as he said on one of the TV stations last night.

    Residents are willing to accept that there is a huge mess at the water department and are agreeable to going back one year to collect, but they still can't explained as to how they got their numbers. Again how did they take a $12,000 bill and lower it to $4,700 without any explanations. The next meeting is on September 7th at 7pm in City Hall. Residents are asked to show support in this because they are asking for an audit of the department which is badly needed. Before the audit, action needs to be taken by our leaders to stop all the liens and interest and take back the bills that have been placed on resident's mortgage's.

Marianne and Ayanna setting up for the Rally
    The water commission which is a 5 member board appointed and non-salaried met last night in a closed executive meeting. They report to the Mayor and make recommendation's about the water department. When the minutes are available they will be posted here. I am looking into the exact power that this commission holds and what there recommendation's are. Patrick Quinn who was placed on the commission this April has spoken against the policies and procedures within the water department and has been a strong supporter of change in this department. He was also in attendance at the rally.
55k Bill
     The owners of this Condo association have been having trouble since 2007 with their water bills. After receiving a bill for $55k they were able to get the bill reduce to the correct amount. Thankfully in their case there was a positive resolution.
Condo association get results
Brockton resident who has water billing problems
Water bills don't add up
 City Councilor Michelle Dubois
Media starting to set up at Water rally
Start of the first speakers
 Paul Taylor shows his support for Brockton residents
Robert Ford speaking at the rally
Patrick Quinn from the water commission
Amy Littlefield of the Enterprise and Robert Ford
Residents making a change
Double click
     The agenda for the water rally and the focus of the group forming is outlined in the above form. Just double click to get a full view for what the next step in this process is. I asked Ayanna Cato what comes next and she said that within the next week or so that the group will becoming up with a name and they need suggestions, they will have their own website or blog site where residents can come and get information and with all the signatures given today they will have a means to start having one voice and a way of people staying in touch with each other and moving forward. I asked her if legal action is out of the question and she told me "if that's what it takes, that's what we will do."The group is also thinking of starting some type of legal counsel fund to take further action.

Who says you cant fight City Hall

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BROCKTON RESIDENTS PREPARE FOR BROCKTON WATER PARTY.

     Brockton residents came out today to prepare for the Brockton water party to be held Monday, August 30th at Brockton city hall at 3:30pm. Residents joined forces to make signs and to brainstorm last minute details as various media outlets showed up during the day. The residents met at 12pm at "the one with the 100k bill" house. WBZ radio and tv stations filmed and interviewed residents along with NECN that also did an interview.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

JONAS BROTHERS SOFTBALL GAME A BIG HIT!

     The Jonas Brothers sofball game today at Campanelli stadium in Brockton, Ma was a big hit. Over 4000 fans showed up for the event and all seemed to enjoy themselves. They played for 7 innings and in the excitement of it all I didn't get the final score but I do know that they won against the Marquis Jet Flyers. Here are the pictures of today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CONGRATULATION'S TO THE PAPA FAMILY!

     The raffle was held today for the 4 tickets available for the Jonas Brothers "Road Dog Softball Tour".
24 people entered the raffle and the Papa family has won. The Jonas Brothers team will be playing at Campanelli Stadium on August 26th at 12:30pm. Over 4000 tickets were available and all are gone.
Brockonbeat will be covering the game and hopefully will have some good pictures and video of the game. Thank you to the Papa family for entering the contest and congratulation's.

Monday, August 23, 2010

LORD ALMIGHTY, I FEEL MY WATER BILL RISING! BURN YOUR BILL!

     The City Council met tonight at 8pm and one of the topics on tonight's agenda was about the problems at the water department. The City Council motioned to have a meeting at the finance committee scheduled for September 7th. This motion was passed so that the finance committee can make recommendation's on hiring an outside firm to audit the water company.
     About 8 residents who have had ongoing water billing problems showed up at the meeting but you could see that their frustrations and patience have been spread thin. One of the residents Mr.Ford has been dealing with this problem for about a year now and in his own consumption report and according to his calculations he is actually owed money by the water company and is contemplating sending them a bill. When asked if he thinks they would pay it he said "I highly doubt it."
     One of the first persons to break the story was Ms. Cato who received a water bill of close to $100,000. She has been trying to find out how they came up with those numbers and has had every excuse given to her by the water department. The huge tree in your yard is taking up the water and you have a leak somewhere. Ms. Cato has gotten the bill down to $17,000 but still has not been given a reason why her bill is so high. Faulty water meters to missing reports.
     City Councilor Michele Dubois has been very supported in this matter and this week alone has talked to five people in her ward that have had billing problems. The frustration could be felt by the residents and also by some of the councilors at the water problems. Tom Monahan, Thomas Brophy and Michele Dubois have basically taken it upon themselves to find out how the water department runs. They are actually interpreting bills for people and trying to figure out what exactly the problem is. The sense is that many things are going wrong at the water department and the department itself seems not to know what is going on.
     Many of the residents have been asking for their consumption reports and are not getting it. The overall tone is that the water department is blaming the residents and can't seem to give any legitimate reasons on the estimated billing being so high, why they haven't replaced faulty meters, how they can adjust bills on the spot from $12,000 to $4,700 and just total disregard for the residents of Brockton. Many people who are truly concerned about this and have always paid their bills on time want to resolve this but are getting no assistance from the Mayors office or the water department but actually resistance and hostility.
     So for tonight's meeting the water problem goes to the next step, another meeting. So while the department is in disarray and people are paying interest on their bills and having liens placed on their houses and on their property taxes, we have to go to an outsider to tell us.
     I spoke to a lady on the phone today who was in tears, she always paid her bills on time and never had a credit problem and is feeling guilt because she has an outstanding bill. This women has lived in Brockton almost 40 years and probably has given in property taxes and water bill payments well over $100,000(I pulled that number out my ass,like the water dept. does) her bill is so high because she has long hair and takes long showers, this is what was told to her. 
     The rally is set for August 30th at 3:30pm at City Hall. Brocktonians bring your signs and lets protest the water department and get things moving. People are stressed out over this and are losing their houses and having health problems over this.

    
 

Friday, August 20, 2010

JONAS BROTHERS COMING TO BROCKTON!!!!!!

     The Jonas Brothers' "Road Dogs" softball tour makes a stop at Campanelli Stadium on Thursday, August 26th at 12:30pm. They will be playing their fifth game of the season against the Marquis Jet Flyers. The Stadium holds over 4000 and by 2:30 today less than 100 tickets were left. The tickets were given out today August 20th at 9am for free with a limit of 6 per guest. The gates will open at 11am on the day of the game and parking is at 1 Memorial Dr. Allstate is partnering with the softball tour with its "X the TXT" campaign to raise teen awareness about texting while driving.
     During the softball game, fans can join the Jonas Brothers' and take the pledge by adding their thumbprint to a banner that will be traveling with the “Road Dogs” tour. Pledgers will receive "TXTNG KLLS" thumb bands to wear as a reminder of their pledge. During the game, fans will also have the opportunity to win a meet and greet with the Jonas Brothers or autographed t-shirts.

To take the pledge not to text and drive or for more information about the tour, visit
 www.facebook.com/XtheTXT  

     BrocktonBeat was able to obtain four tickets for the game. Email your name and address and telephone number to Brocktonbeat@hotmail.com and a drawing will be held at 10am, August 24th on Tuesday. The winner will be called that day and have the 4 tickets. One email per person per household allowed. So go for it!
There are no more tickets available at the Rox Tickets office for this, so this may be your only chance to win them.You can click on the Rox link on the right side of this site for more information.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS! NICKEL IF YOU CAN TELL ME WHEN THE WATER DEPARTMENT MEETS?

         The water department held their meeting today August 17th, 2010 at 9am at DPW headquarters at 39 Montauk Road. I for one will go on record that this meeting I was looking forward to and couldn't get any information on it at all. The water department was called about the next meeting and nothing was on the city's website as of Monday morning. Several residents have complained in the past as to why the Brockton Water department has its meetings when most people are at work and given very little notice when they do have a meeting. This is a crisis and to call a meeting and give little notice once again shows that this Brockton water department acts like its own government, accountable to no one. They are slapping residents in the face by not given ample time for people to attend.
     The crisis at the Brockton water department and calling for an audit will be on Mondays night agenda at the city's council meeting on August 23rd at 7pm. City Councilor Tom Monahan and City Councilor at Large Thomas Brophy will file an order for outside auditors to bid for the internal audit at the water department, they plan to introduce it at Monday's night meeting.


     THIS DEPARTMENT IS HAVING MEETINGS WITHOUT GIVING ANY NOTICE OR VERY LITTLE IN A CRITICAL CRISIS LIKE THIS. THEY ARE LIKE A SECRET SOCIETY, A BROTHERHOOD, A FRAT CLUB.

HERE IS THE FLYER FOR THE RALLY. DOUBLE CLICK IT AND PRINT IT OUT. TELL EVERYONE TO BE THERE. WAKE UP BROCKTON.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

THE BROCKTON WATER PARTY

     The calling of the largest protest demonstration against the Brockton Water Department is being held on August 30th at 3:30pm at City Hall. The rally is to bring attention to the City of Brockton that the people are not going to be taxed with representation. The water department is estimating bills in some Case's up to 10 years and this year has done actual reads and having residents bills as high as $100,000
    Every reason has been given for these bills being so high, the meters being outdated, to leaky toilets and not having residents home to do actual reads. Brockton Water is one of the only companies that have high estimated billing of a third of its customer and as long as 10 years in some cases of estimated reading.
    I have called several private and municipality runned water companies and none of them have heard of these types of procedures and billing practices. Under DPU regulations a Water Company has to have an Actual read every other bill. Brockton doesn't fall under the DPU regulations. I have spoken to several residents with high bills and estimated readings and in one case the persons last actual read was in 2003. This year there was another actual read and they got a bill for $17,000. When they went to the Water Department. They were asked for $4,700 to settle the bill. I asked if the resident payed it and they said no, because they don't know where the department pulled that number from.
     As I have investigated more into this I have come to the conclusion that something is very a foul at this water department. I have 3 questions?

1. Why is Brockton Water the only water company in this position?
2. Why cant we get any straight forward answers from the Department?
3. Why is the Water company still putting the blame on the homeowners?

     We don't know if Brockton is loosing money, if we are under or over billing or is there money missing from this department. We know that numbers are being pulled from somewhere and it smells like shit.
The demonstration is to take place August 30th at 3:30pm any question's or if you have a billing problem please contact me at brocktonbeat@hotmail.com

SPREAD THE WORD, IF WE IN BROCKTON LET THIS SLIDE AS A COMMUNITY, THEN ANYTHING GOES FROM NOW ON. THIS IS TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY. THE WATER DEPARTMENT WILL PUT THIS ON YOUR PROPERTY TAX.

AUGUST 30TH 3:30PM OUTSIDE CITY HALL PEACEFUL PROTEST/RALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BETTER CARE CAMPAIGN COMES TO BROCKTON

     Health care for all is the leading advocacy group leading the way for health care reform in Massachusetts. They are dedicated to making quality, affordable health care accessible to everyone, regardless of income, social or economic status. They seek to educate and empower the citizens of Massachusetts about our health care system and seek peoples input and idea's on how it is affecting their lives and to become involved in changing it.
State Representatives Christine E. Canavan & Michael Brady
      They are concern about everyone when it comes to health care but especially the uninsured, elderly, disabled, children and immigrants. They provide policy analysis, information referral, personal and legal advocacy, community organizing and public education.
     Tonight's forum was hosted by Brian Rossman, Research Director for Health Care for all and Amy Whitcomb Slemmer the Executive Director. The invited guest were the public and State Representative's Christine E. Canavan and Micheal Brady.


State Representative's Christine E. Canavan & Michael Brady
     The Better Care campaign is just one of many that Health Care for all has sponsored. This is the latest campaign and opens dialogue with the public and our legislators who represent us and help make our laws and policies regarding health care reform. Have you ever had an insurance claim denied or is your care affordable. The public could of had their voice heard at this community forum focused on achieving better care.
     The Better Care campaign is aimed at health care payment reform and the health care delivery system. Shifting incentives to promote accessible, coordinated, patient-centered care that focuses on health and disease prevention. Payment methods should simplify the process of individuals, promote primary and preventative care, encourage collaboration among providers and between providers and consumers, and include accountability for patient health.
     As the meeting began Both Representative's had opening statements in particular interesting because of her nursing background was Representative Canavan and one of her statements that " the people who design the system and hospitals really need to ask the nurse's and the people that actually work in the field." She spoke for about 10 minutes and then Representative Brady spoke and gave his perspective on the health care reform and included in his talk was how his own doctor changed one of his medications because it was too costly because his health care plan changed his deductible on that medication. video
     After they spoke one of the members of the Massachusetts Campaign for Better Care, Commonwealth Care Alliance spoke about their pilot program that takes people on Medicare and Masshealth and get a set fee depending on their health status and provides care for them. They provide a team approach were they are involved in the patients life. They do a home visit and also provide a Case Manager for each of their clients. They are a non-profit group and have contracts with clinics and hospitals and provide full care along with drug prescription. The big difference with them and other insurance companies is that they are actively involved with every aspect of patient care, even when the patient in not in the hospital or sick. video
      They are like social workers who check in on their members and treat each member as their needs arise and even before they arise. One member they got a fire extinguisher for, who was having anxiety about this and helped to relieve this clients anxiety for less than $25.00. They are hands on and involved with their members. This approach has been successful and has about 3000 members in Massachusetts right now.
     Several members in the Audience asked questions including City Councilor at Large Jass Stewart who was in attendance. The evening brought together members of the community, State Representatives and Professionals who are involved in moving forward with health care reform. Below are the links for the websites to Health Care for all and Commonwealth Care Alliance.

Health Care for all

Commonwealth Care Alliance

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

LATE NIGHT, LIVE! WITH THE NEW CITY ORDINANCE

     Tonight's meeting with Hearing Officer Attorney Sean Noonan with City Councilors at large Tom Brophy, Jass Stewart and City Councilor Thomas Monahan in attendance started at 7pm. 26 late night establishments were called before the hearing to present their safety policies, protocols, procedures and what safety equipment they have installed at their establishments like security cameras, plastic or even bullet proof partitions for protection of their employee's to lighting outside and even loitering signs and why they need to be open from 1am-5am. The business will have to pay a $100 dollar application fee and $300 annually for the permit which will go to the general fund.
     The Ordinance which passed last year is aimed at locations that are open after 1am excluding bars and taverns and to curtail spots were people gather late at night and also cause disturbances. This is the first step in the process in which the businesses that were called tonight could speak in a public forum and make a case for there business. Hearing Officer Sean Noonan made it clear that the business did not need to make an appearance as long as they had their application in.
     The ordinance would allow Brockton to curtail the hours of certain businesses that have repeated disturbances and allows the City to impose stricter enforcement like the hiring of Police details or even having an outside Security firm as Attorney Creedon pointed out for his client The Hess Gas chain as were Brockton doesn't have enough police as it is and highly doubts that Brockton would even be able to fill in the paid details by these businesses.
     As Hearing Officer Sean Noonan called the first establishment, 7-Eleven with 2 locations, one located at Oak Street Extension a corporate owned store and the other at 662 Belmont Street a franchisee store. A representative from Southland Corporation spoke for both of the stores. He went into detail about the camera system and the lighting in the parking lot and about how they are security conscious. Mr. Noonan then presented the representative like he did with all the establishments that showed up the number of calls that the police department responded to those establishments particularly between the hours of 1-5am. At this point inquiries were ask as whether they would be opposed to a police detail being hired or their own security and the representative didn't oppose something like that. The incidents were primarily huge crowds gathering, fights in the parking lot.
     Councilor-at-Large Tom Brophy at this time stood up and asked about employee protection and does the Belmont street store have a partition for the store. The representative said that the store doesn't have one and might present a hardship for the owner of that particular store. Mr. Brophy suggested that this is something that should be looked into for the safety of the employee's.
     At this time Mr. Noonan asked if any citizens had any opposition to this store on Belmont being open and this store had the most response's. 3 people spoke out against the hours of this particular location because of the noise disturbance, the amount of traffic and racing that happens in the parking lot. The drinking in the lot and the amount of harassment that happens in that neighborhood. This more than any other establishment got the most opposition at the meeting. The night continued with Mr. Noonan calling the various establishments and they came represented by their lawyers or themselves. Several of the larger stores like CVS were represented by 4 people, the district manager and 3 other managers. The Hess Gas had Attorney Creedon representing them along with a representative from Hess.
     Hess Gas has 4 locations in Brockton but has been associated with some of the more horrific crimes in the area including murder in or near the lots. The Hess Gas has taken tremendous steps to prevent this by having a lock down system for there stores and not allowing patrons in the stores after certain hours. When asked if they would be opposed to hiring details the Representative from Hess said not at all. Attorney Creedon pointed out that Brockton Police probably wouldn't even be able to fill the details because of the shortage of police.
     Out of the 26 establishments with late night hours, some did not come in to represent themselves they had to just get the application in time and then they will be forwarded to the Mayor. One establishment that did not represent themselves were the Brockton Shell gas station on East Ashland. Mr.Noonan still had to call out the name and use the police reports given him. This particular gas station has numerous robberies,fights and disturbances and many in the audience were surprised when they didn't send a Representative. Mr. Noonan still had to ask who supported and who didn't support, in either case no one did.
     All in all it was a night in which Mr. Noonan assured the businesses that this was not a witch hunt and that we are working to make it safer for everyone involved. Mr. Brophy also did a great job in asking questions to establishments about their safety measures and the main concern was getting these establishments that are open to be safe and if they do have trouble, the city now has an ordinance in which  the city could impose a curtail of hours or even have additional measures added to that establishments such as police details. The next step is for the Mayor to take into consideration the hearing and recommendations and she is expected to give approval.

Late Night Establishments:

7-Eleven                   65 Oak St. Ext
7-Eleven                   662 Belmont St.
A.L. Prime Gas        570 N.Montello St.
Brockton Mobil       1012 Belmont St.
Brockton Shell         253 East Ashland St.
Burger king              606 Belmont St.
Cumberland Farms   1205 Belmont St.
CVS                           316 N. Pearl St.
CVS                           1933 Main St.
East Side Mkt.         364 Center St.
Dunkin Donuts         101 N. Main St.
Hess Gas                  261 N. Main St.
Hess Gas                  287 N.Pearl St.
Hess Gas                  1234 Belmont St.
Hess Gas                  1614 Main St.
Taco Bell                  Belmont West Plaza
Laundromax             528 Main St.
McDonalds               908 N. Montello St.
Dunkin Donuts         317 N. Pearl St.
Super Wash              626 Centre St.
Wash Hour               139 Pleasant St.
Wendys                     1900 Main St.
Wendys                     660 Oak St.
Westgate Mobil        303 N. Pearl St.
Westgate Shell          945 Belmont St.
Yasso Stop&Gas       81 Warren Ave

Friday, August 6, 2010

OVER 100 TURN OUT FOR OPIOID OVERDOSE CANDLELIGHT VIGIL

     Over 100 people turned out for the 2010 Opioid Overdose Candlelight Vigil held tonight at 7pm.  Hillary Dubois of the Brockton Mayor's Opioid Overdose Prevention Coalition hosted the event which also was sponsored by Learn to Cope, BAMSI's C.O.P.E. Center, High Point Treatment Center and several other community based groups that coordinate in the reduction of Opiate Overdose thru the use of Narcan and Community intervention, Treatment and Education.
Reverend Keith Jackson giving the Blessing

     State Representative Christine Canavan and Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti were in attendance and the Mayor was the first to speak giving statistics on the use of the Community Based Narcan project which allows a citizen to administer Narcan, a medication nasal spray used to treat overdose victims of Opiates. Since the introduction of the program overdose deaths in Brockton have declined.

video
   
     After the Mayor spoke Ms.Dubois introduced several people who lost family members to this disease. They each spoke of their tragedy and the message of hope and how they live each day. Jackie a member of Learn to Cope was followed by Suzanne also a member of Learn to Cope and Bob one of the Founders of the Southeastern Massachusetts Chapter of Grief Recovery After Substance Passing(GRASP).
Mayor Balzotti and State Representative Canavan
Drug Education literature and Narcan Education
learn2cope.org
video

     After the family members spoke many people in the crowd were crying and hugging each other giving each other support. As the night came to a close, the wind would pick up now and then and the coolness of the night was upon us that allowed for people to sit and listen without the humidity that has been with us lately and was liken as a sign that this was meant to be by one of the members of the gathering.

video

      The crowd listened to a young man sing a song he had written about a friend of his that has died from this disease and as the evening came to a close everyone was asked to light their candles in memories of loved ones who are Sons and Daughters and Brothers and Sisters, Fathers, Mothers, Rich and Poor, Great and Small all who have left this earth and have brought  over 100 hundred of us together, some complete strangers who for one hour stood in harmony and unity and gave us a gift tonight of peace and love and a spirit that through there death someone Else's life will be saved.
Lighting of Candles
Lighting of Candles
Two of the Founders of GRASP
video

Monday, August 2, 2010

TEEN LOOSES CONTROL OF CAR ON LAUREL AVE.

A 15 yr. old male lost control of his Rodeo on Laurel Ave. after making an extreme turn off of Augustine St. and ended up in the bushes of a house. It became embedded and was unable to be driven out. Fire Dept., ambulance and police arrived and called a tow truck. The young male was unhurt and the owners of the house were at work at the time of the incident.


Entry of car through bushes.


Car ended up.

Police & Fire Departments


Tire skid marks.

View from back yard.
Pictures and story from one of BrocktonBeats contributors.