Monday, November 05, 2007

Live Chickens? Seriously?

Turns out there was an article about Donnelly in yesterday's paper that I totally overlooked at the time.

Most likely I missed it because it was saying negative things about Donnelly, and so of course didn't have his name in the headline and was in the passive voice. Thanks for staying true to form, Sentinel!

Anyway, it was called A history of health-code violations and went a bit like this:
City Health officials have visited properties owned by mayoral candidate Thomas Donnelly 188 times and found sanitary-code violations in 95 instances during the past 23 years.

Officials found violations -- where a landlord fails to live up to the state's sanitary code -- in 65 of 101 inspections that were done in response to a complaint or during the application process for a rental permit, according to city records.
Oh, that's not good. No wonder they didn't have his name in the headline!

Going on:
Officials cited Donnelly's properties for a variety of violations, including things as small as an electrical plug that didn't work to more serious violations like holes in roofs, ceilings and floors.

Officials even cited one of Donnelly's properties at 93 Myrtle Ave. in August 2000 because one of his tenants had live chickens at the building.
Live chickens!

Now, I've lived in a few crummy apartments in my time. I'm no stranger to leaky roofs, or even the occasional mysterious hole in the bathroom floor (which was guaranteed to attract any item you dropped into it as if it were a black hole). But no live chickens. If you can get away with having live chickens in your apartment you have to pretty much assume that the landlord doesn't give a shit about anything.

The list of violations goes like this: chickens (natch), leaky roofs and water damage, mysterious holes, lack of heat or hot water, insect infestations, missing smoke detectors, leaky faucets, exposed live wiring (!), poorly-bolted toilets, rotten floors, mold and mildew, and birds living in the wall. I'm assuming the birds living in the wall weren't poultry, but who really knows?

Well those sound like lovely home accoutrements! Sentinel, why are you making such a big small deal about this?

There's also a lot of jibber-jabber in the article about how every rental property has some issues. Which is no doubt true. I'd argue that most don't have live chickens though. And none should have any of those things listed above. A missing smoke detector or leaky faucet I can understand, but holes in the floor and birds in the wall just shouldn't happen at all. Not to mention the exposed wiring or lack of heat.

Donnelly, of course, has a long record of blaming others for his shortcomings. Does it happen here? You bet!
Donnelly said sometimes tenants use the Board of Health to hold off on rent payments or to give the property owner problems.

"Sometimes people use the Board of Health as a game," Donnelly said. "Usually, not always, you'll have people who haven't been with us for a long time, you have people who have had problems with other property owners, they plead ignorant, or are ignorant."
Okay, I can believe that there are a few people who try to game the system. But Donnelly has 13 occupied properties, and 8 of those have had violation reports.

Additionally, note that first quoted bit up there. Sixty-five violations were found in response to a complaint or visit for a rental application. But 95 violations were cited total. I'm going to have to assume that the thirty violation difference is unrelated to devious tenants. And for that matter, that's a whole buttload of violations! How many nefarious tenants do you rent to, Tom? Perhaps you should review your application process?

I also have more than a bit of difficulty believing that people somehow poked holes in their own roofs or turned off their own heat in order to get out of paying rent. I'm not sure how they'd even do that, frankly. Firing off celebratory gunfire in the house during a sporting event, maybe?

Blaming the victim is pretty classy though. That's what I look for in a mayor!

The article also talks about how Tom's sale of properties to FSC (no conflict of interest there!) resulted in FSC getting some pretty shitty properties. Way to profit, city councilor!

Anyway, I guess the love-fest between the Sentinel and Donnelly has ended. A whole two days before the election. I wonder how long they've been sitting on this information. Wouldn't want to have jeopardized all those fascinating articles about how Lisa Wong's website is a communist plot.

Tom should have some extra free time after he loses the election tomorrow. Let's hope he puts it into bringing his rental properties up to code, for the sake of his tenants. And the chickens.


Capn' Bad-Ass said...

I'm so glad that this article finally came out!

It could have been so much more stinging though if they actually talked to some tenants. Make contact, go for a visit, show some photos. Typical Sentinel I realize, but the paper is what it is. A small town paper starved of funds, staffed by inexperienced, presumably underpaid, kids. I'm not one to shoot the messenger.

One of Fitchburg's major problems is absentee landlords. When business and industry collapsed in Fitchburg, folks came in and scooped up shitty, rundown properties for a steal, and began to rent them out as is.

Donnelly lives here, claims to love the city, and in fact is an absentee landlord himself! Dare I say slumlord? He admitted during one of the debates that he was briefly, a member of a group of slumlords. I believe it was at the exchange club debate. Check out FATV to be sure.

Someone should find out exactly what the steps were in FSC buying his buildings on North Street. Also during the debates, Donnelly stated that he always encouraged, or at least hoped that the college would start the migration and expansion down North Street. When did he buy those buildings? When did he start encouraging the college to move down North Street? While on the city council did he take himself out of any FSC related business? That would be a major, MAJOR conflict of interest. He ran slums on North Street, didn't put any $ into them, filled them with chickens, and waited for the college to pay.

Having Donnelly as mayor, enforcing building code, or at least being the head of the city, would be like Bush, an oil man through and through, setting energy policy. That's turned out so well.

I have no idea whether Donnelly is a nice person or not. Judging from the recent mailings, coupled with the misleading, false statements and press releases about the tax issues, I certainly wouldn't trust him with the future of Fitchburg. Hopefully the voters won't either.

The Unicow said...

He admitted during one of the debates that he was briefly, a member of a group of slumlords. I believe it was at the exchange club debate.

Yeah, I remember that. At the high school (which I guess was the exchange club debate). Pretty weird thing to admit to in a debate.

But obviously accurate.

Capn' Bad-Ass said...

What do you think they did with the chickens? Stuffed them into the gaping roof holes? Insulated with the feathers? Finished bolting the toilets to the floor? I read on the intarweb that chickens make good bolts.

The Unicow said...

Dead chicken make good bolts. These were live ones. They squirm around too much to bolt anything down.

I'm going to assume that they were used as portable heaters for when the heat was turned off. Chickens are surprisingly warm!

fitchburg-shuffle said...

You must not know about the underground cock-fighting culture that may still exist around here. A friend of mine who works at the post office told be stories about live chickens being delivered to some Asian families. It's a big part of their culture, gambling and cock-fighting. At least you can eat the loser. No Mike Vicks here!

1970s Abraham Lincoln said...

"Sometimes people use the Board of Health as a game," Donnelly said. "Usually, not always, you'll have people who haven't been with us for a long time, you have people who have had problems with other property owners, they plead ignorant, or are ignorant."

Donnelly is starting to remind me of someone else:

Also, Seney said some of the violations were caused by tenants who have been late on their rent for months and then look for an excuse to not pay.

"Usually what happens with these apartments is people use the system to their advantage," he said.

Capn' Bad-Ass said...

Tenant: "I'll show these do-goody landlords!"

"I'll unbolt my toilet and repaint my entire apartment with lead paint! That will somehow show them."

"Now...Where do I find lead paint?"

Unicow do you mean that chickens are warm, like, on a personal level?

Also, is it true that you're going to have a big "Who is the Unicow?" reveal tomorrow night at Partner's Pub? Around 10PM?

fitchburg-shuffle said...

I'm down with the Unicow showing his face but can we choose a better place then Partners? I'm tired of standing in piss when I take a leak!

The Unicow said...

Yeah, I'm totally revealing myself tomorrow!

Sneak preview: I'm actually local radio dickbag Chuck Morse! I resemble George Costanza but without his rugged sensuality.

ReallyRachel said...

Aw gee, something just made me nauseaus. Possibly the Partners Pub pissy mens room comment, but more likely the Chuck Morse reference.

Wonder if that negative nincompoop with no ties to Fitchburg will stick around when he doesn't have any more campaign crap to stir up.

Hey Unicow, I heard you passed up his invitation to debate him on his widely distributed radio show!

Shalom and vote in good health.

The Unicow said...


I bet you heard that from when I posted something about it!

Yeah, he invited me on one day and I turned him down. Interestingly, at the time he said in an email that he wasn't going to endorse anyone for mayor (because he's not qualified/informed enough), but favored Wong.

Tonight he officially endorsed Donnelly for mayor. Dickbag.

ReallyRachel said...

He was waiting until the last minute to endorse DeSalvatore if he ran a sticker campaign.

A little birdy tole me... or was it a chicken....

Personally I like poultry. :-)


1970s Abraham Lincoln said...

Tonight he officially endorsed Donnelly for mayor. Dickbag.

Ah yes, a winner endorses a winner... Sales Rank: #4,673,429

ReallyRachel said...

Oh this guy is scary. How many more books is he going to write about running for Congress? Two in one year that no one has bothered to read? And he calls himself the "most controversial commentator in America"? More controversial than Bill O'Reilly and the anti-Jewish Ann Coulter? Then what the hell is he doing buried in a 5KW AM radio station in FITCHBURG? Oh 'scuse me - it's 1KW after sunset. I guess Fox wasn't interested.

Look (sorry Rupert), I'm an avid reader and I don't just read books that affirm my point of view, but honestly is there anything on this list worth polluting a mind?

The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism: Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini by Chuck Morse
(I read this one. Perhaps he should have stuck to history instead of hateful political commentary.)

Durruti in the Spanish Revolution by Abel Paz, Jose Luis Gutierrez Molina, and Chuck Morse

Thunder Out of Boston : Collected Columns of the Most Controversial Commentator in America by Chuck Morse and Samuel L. Blumenfeld

An Anti-Authoritarian response to the war efforts.: An article from: Synthesis/Regeneration by Marina Sitrin and Chuck Morse

A Massachusetts Conservative in the Cradle of Liberty: My Run for Congress in Massachusetts-2004 by Chuck Morse

A Chance To Serve: A Republican Runs For Congress In Massachusetts by Chuck Morse

Barney Frank and the Law of Unintended Consequences: How the Frank Amendment Helped Terrorists get Legal Visas by Chuck Morse

(Wow! I wonder if that also makes Barney Frank an "information terrorist"!)

Why I'm a Right-Wing Extremist: Collected Columns of Chuck Morse (Collected Columns) by Chuck Morse

The Gramsci Factor: 59 Socialists in Congress by Chuck Morse
(Was McCarthy reincarnated?)

The Difference Between Us and Them: America Confronts the Radical Islamic/Leftist Axis by Chuck Morse

Well, if anyone reads one of these please provide us with a book review!