Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Attleboro

      What a beautiful MLK day in Attleboro! Both ceremonies had terrific moments, whether at City Hall or Murray Unitarian Church. The music was wonderful, with a terrific senior high choir at City Hall that drew raves from the speakers. At Murray, we heard several moving numbers by the adult choir, a splendid brass, and woodwind quintet, and a closing Piano piece that shook the rafters as we all sang the spiritual “We Shall Overcome.”
      The theme was clearly Martin Luther King, Jr.’s thoughts about economic justice. We heard that the rich have grown by 12% in 2018 while the poor has grown by 11%, leaving an ever-decreasing middle class. This is scary to comprehend. Could our new tax laws be actually helping the rich get even richer, while the poor are increasing at an equally fast pace?
      We heard MLK speak about a poor people’s campaign/march on Washington D.C. that he was planning when he was assassinated. MLK’S message was steeped in the Gospel and teachings of Jesus. Martin cared deeply about both the spiritual needs of the poor, plus our financial needs. He wanted everyone to be able to have decent housing, a satisfactory income, plentiful food for the body and the soul, and hope for both our present and future.
      What would Martin be telling us if he gave his famous “I have a Dream” speech today?
      MLK’s vision of America would call us to love ALL of God’s children, whether they be native-born Americans or those who want to become Americans. MLK told us we are all God’s children. I believe Martin would speak out against a wall along our southwestern borders. MLK would remind us that our Civil War was fought so people of all backgrounds can grow into healthy, productive citizens.
      Martin had a beautiful dream.
     Today I heard our City Council vice president, Heather Porreca, tell us that Attleboro folks really care about one another. It doesn’t matter if we are wealthy or low income; white or have darker shades of skin; if we are children or elderly. Heather pointed out what a true community Attleboro has become. If someone is sick and without insurance, we can still offer health care at Sturdy Hospital. If someone moves here with special needs, we find a way to help special need children. If someone is hungry, we have food banks and free meals almost every night of the year. If someone is without housing, we are trying to find them a dry, safe place to hang their hat.
     Martin Luther King would have appreciated Attleboro. We aren’t perfect but Attleboro folks generally have a big heart. I love this city.
     Let’s remember MLK’s vision for the United States. A dream whereby children of all colors, races, and economic strata can proudly call home.
     THANK YOU, ATTLEBORO’s own MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY COMMITTEE!
     WE SHALL OVERCOME!
-Ty Waterman, City Councilor At-Large.

MLK Day in Attleboro by DoubleACS

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Council Connection: 1/17/19

Friends – I am starting a pilgrimage to visit principals, teachers, and students at each of Attleboro’s schools. Our schools are over 50% of our budget. We owe Attleboro’s children the best possible education we can give to them.

My first stop this past Tuesday was at Wamsutta Middle School with Principal Joe Connor and 572 students. What a gentleman! Principal Connor gave me a full hour, took me to several classrooms (art, music, gym, STEM, and a science class. The children were engrossed in their lesson in every class, independently working on their various projects. I saw a dozen children playing keyboards, an entire class working on a DNA project, a STEM class that was exploring why there is no sound in space (did I understand this concept correctly?). Wamsutta children appear really blessed to have such dedicated staff and administrators.

This learning goes forth despite an average of 28 to 30 students per class. A 20-year-old school that looks great at first glance, but it is pitted with leaks, the carpets are worn and the keyboards are 15 years old. The entire school has just one adjustment counselor. But I saw lots of enthusiastic, well behaved and interested children. I met several teachers who are clearly devoted to educating the children. And I met Joe Connor, a principal that really cares.

Wamsutta stats:

  • First language is not English:  18.1%
  • Students with Disabilities: 17.7%
  • High Needs: 43.8%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: 31.4%

It was a good day at Wamsutta Middle School. I bet this school has lots of good days.

Ty

Council Connection: 1/1/19

I have to admit it. Being a city councilor is fun. I get the unique opportunity to congratulate and help people. Most every week I am nominating interested citizens to the Library Board of Trustees, the Council on Human Rights, Council on Aging, Youth Commission, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Council on Disabilities, Cultural Council, Traffic Study Commission, and several more commissions and councils. It is an absolute delight to invite new volunteers up to the podium to introduce themselves and thank them for their interest.
If you want to volunteer to serve Attleboro please feel free to contact me or the mayor’s office.
I also had the special privilege to nominate Kourtney Wunschel as the superintendent of Attleboro’s Water Dept. and meet many of the Water Dept. city employees, a dedicated group. This Thursday I’ve been invited to go out to inspect the city ponds and reservoir with one of the Water Dept. staff.
On January 8th I will be nominating Catherine Feerick to the new position as Attleboro’s Economic Development Director. Catherine just finished serving almost three years as the Downtown Revitalization Specialist with the Appalachian Regional Commission, situated in Washington D.C.. She work to develop cities in 13 states. I enjoyed giving Catherine a tour of downtown Attleboro in the rain last week. She got to meet the staff at Pleasant Street Auto, our Senior Center, and tour through our Library, along with lunch at Morin’s Restaurant. Catherine is very interested in serving Attleboro and I believe she will do a fine job for our city.
Each week brings new opportunities to listen, greet and thank, and sometimes actually help people in Attleboro. Thank you for electing me as a city councilor. You can reach me at 508-577-1412.
All my best,
Ty

On the Trail with Ty: 10/27/18

1. This was a whirlwind of a week!  I was invited to a Halloween party for children, sponsored by Attleboro’s Youth Commission. It was fun watching small children playing games, politely lining up to receive candy from the city councilors, and having a good old fashioned Halloween. Kudos to our Youth Commission!
2. The highlight of my week was the City Council/State Representative debate at city hall. Once more, I was proud to live in Attleboro as we discussed local issues. The most important question concerned respect for our mayor, our city councilors, and one another. I absolutely respect the efforts of Mayor Heroux and each of our councilors. We don’t have to agree when debating issues but we darn well need to be courteous and polite. I applaud anyone who tries to create a better world, a better Attleboro. Civility is essential in our society.
3. As your city councilor I pledge to listen to your concerns, questions, and views. I will try to help seniors with their property taxes, children with their schooling, and constituents who contact me with their personal concerns. i will listen to you.
4. I spent several hours last week at gatherings with John Davis and Nick Lavoie, who are running for City Council. John and Nick are fine gentlemen. They truly care about Attleboro and both of them would be excellent city councilors. Attleboro will be well served if you vote for either of these men.
5. Today I dressed up in a wig with a Manny Ramirez Red Sox’ uniform. We held signs and waved at cars passing through County Square for a couple of hours. Cars were honking and people were smiling and laughing as they passed us. A good time for everyone.
6. During this final week of the campaign I will be knocking at doors until sunset on Monday, November 5th. I will also be speaking this Tuesday at 11 am on the Paul Healy show on WARA. Please call the radio station if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts.
7. If you decide to vote for me, I will give you my best effort. I look forward to being your public servant.

On the Trail with Ty: 10/6/18

A few moments from Saturday during my campaigning in Ward 5B along Oak Hill Avenue via my bike:
1. I was exposed to a screaming tirade from a middle aged man who immediately questioned my political party. I said. “the City Council is non-partisan but I am a registered Democrat.”  The next moment he was yelling at me about Democrats lack of support for our president and Justice Kavanaugh. I stood quietly in his driveway, wondering if I should hop on my bike and get out of his range. During a brief lull in his tirade, I quietly said, “I didn’t come to your home to argue.” He firmly responded, “I am not arguing either.” He never took my palm card, doesn’t have any idea what my campaign thoughts are, and never asked me a question except for my political affiliation.
I turned and left without another word.
2. Ten minutes later, I was greeted by a younger man asking if I was Ty the social worker. He shared with me his experience with the Dept. of Children and Family Services. He and his wife have raised a nine year old girl for the past three years after she was removed from her home by DCF. They have been working towards an DCF goal of adoption. Then the case was switched to another city and the goal suddenly changed to reunification. The girl and her foster parents are dismayed and confused. The girl does not want to return to live with the birth mother, who is currently homeless.
Not sure how this will eventually work out, but I appreciated them seeking my council and did my best to help.
3. I was invited into an 85 year old man’s home. He lamented on the changes in his world and said he wouldn’t want to be growing up now. He lives alone with six children scattered around the country. We both enjoyed chatting for a few minutes at his dining room table. He repeated that he didn’t know too much about politics and hoped I’d come back and visit again.
I felt honored to visit this gentleman. I hope we can help him with a break in his property taxes in this home he’s owned for at least 50 years.

On the Trail with Ty: 10/6/18

1. The past two days in Ward 5A have really been fun. (5A is the area immediately South of the center of the city.) I was invited to put up signs in front of four homes on East Street, one home on Union Street and James Street. Everyone I met was enthusiastic and gracious. It was a humbling experience. One of the highlights of our campaign.
People are concerned about seniors housing. Today, an elderly man told me he’d owned his house for the past 75 years. He’s afraid he’ll have to give it up because of rising property taxes. Attleboro doesn’t want anyone to lose their homes.
We will find a way to help seniors live in their homes as long as possible. If Houston, Minneapolis and other cities around the USA can give their seniors a break…. so can Attleboro!
Jim Hawkins is working on several bills in the state house to give seniors hope. I will support our seniors when those bills reach the City Council.
Meanwhile, our children need smaller classes. If we can build a new high school we can certainly figure out how to reduce the class sizes. I am constantly meeting students who are lamenting that their classes are very crowded. Are we listening to them? What are we communicating to them?
To help seniors and children we need more revenue. Our proposed new Economic Development Director could help by attracting new businesses to Attleboro.
2. I stopped at East Street to look at my map when a car with two ladies slowed down next to me. The passenger leaned out the window and asked if I was a census worker. I smiled and handed my palm card to her. “No, Ma’am, I’m hoping to be a city councilor.” She laughed, took my card, and told me to knock them dead in City Hall. Off they drove.

On the Trail with Ty: 9/20/18

Today I met with a couple who live in Ward 4B, near the Norton line. They are retired, still have a mortgage, and their tax bill has recently increased from $4,000 to $5,200 a year. They are expecting next years tax bill to climb over $6,000 on their fixed income. This is a story being played out all over Attleboro.
In this case, the couple is seriously considering moving to North Carolina where taxes and housing costs are a lot less expensive. Most seniors either can’t move or don’t want to leave their extended family behind. We need to help those folks who choose to stay in Attleboro.
In recent weeks I have seen a dramatic increases in homes for sale. I hope these are people choosing to live in a better home. But some of them may be moving into apartments or downsizing because they can’t afford their current homes.
I love Attleboro and plan to stay. But I want to help Seniors that are in danger of losing their homes. Our State Rep., Jim Hawkins, has informed me that three bills are working their way through the state house. The goal is to help seniors get a cap on their taxes or a loan to help them through a housing crisis. I haven’t seen the details but I hope to vote for one of these housing bills as a city councilor.
Affordable housing is one of our deepest needs, especially when we live on fixed incomes.