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August 13, 2007

Comments

observer

Bill

You continue to be a fountain of misinformation... and frankly I dont know why anyone would cover your ramblings like your a serious contributor.

Dennis McKenna had many faults- and never recieved my vote- but that said it was never suggested he was involved in or was to be indicted in the Assembly Square (aka Curse of the Edson) mess that mired Somerville reputation in the late 80's.

Frankly, if you want something done in the City - stay away from it- because if you support it- that can do little but hurt the cause.


Born Here

heres a change for the City Charter, do away with Aldermen-At-Large. A nice cost savings for the citizens.

IgnatiusJReilly

Bill, good thoughts. A change is needed as this city is in the crapper and spiraling down with the current crop of noobs running things. The old timers/townies are all looking to feed at the public trough (no matter whose trough it is) and the progressives will screw things up and then say "Screw this place. I was just here for a few years anyway. Let's get outta HERE!!!" and then run off.

Question: Why not have SN start a grassroots campaign to get those 6000 signatures? Build a quick & dirt website (use Joomla and it will be up in a day) and get those sigs rolling.

Observer, if you're going to knock someone's opinions maybe you could at least point out what ideas you have. McKenna was waist deep in corruption.

Truth Fan

Neck deep, actually. The farm team paper covered this well, before it became a farm team. The prosecutors' decision not to indict was based on a great deal of intervention by "important" people asking for compassion.

Observer, what you "don't know" is exceeded only by what you imagine to be true but isn't. Do you imagine that your personal attacks and baseless assertions make you "a serious contributor?" You have been repeatedly asked to support your assertions with evidence. Your lack of response makes it hard to take you "seriously."

observer

Truth Fan or is that you Billy Boy?

I am stating facts. Dennis McKenna was not indicted for anything related to Assembly Square or anything else for that matter (with the exception of DUI). The fact that Billy BOY said he was about to be but was not because he was sick- is either an outright lie (most likely)- or another one of Billy Boy's statements that have not been properly researched. Take your pick liar or incompetent.

And, I say this as someone who thought Senator McKenna had many faults, and was someone who I never voted for.

And how do you prove your assertion that The prosecutors' decision not to indict was based on a great deal of intervention by "important" people asking for compassion. This is more baseless crap that makes me think Truth Fan is Billy BOY himself.

Bill Shelton

Despite how s/he expresses it, Observer has a legitimate grievance. My column, as published, has a serious factual error.

The first drafts of my column are usually twice as long as the finished product. The deadline for my columns is Monday mornings. This past week, I did not write the first draft until Tuesday morning. I was late because my sources were telling me some things that seemed to be contradictory, and I wanted to spend time at the library on Monday to review the documents of record.

In my the first draft, I wrote about both Dennis McKenna, who was the Alderman from Ward 3 and became Senator, and his son Michael, who subsequently became Ward 3 Alderman. They had distinctly different roles in this story.

In the column as published, I reported that “cynics” suggest that Dennis McKenna killed in the Senate the charter change that eliminated elected assessors, because his son Michael McKenna was married to Assessor Bobby Campo’s daughter. There is strong evidence for this, but it wasn’t the Senator’s only objection. The Fire and Police Chiefs and Unions had lobbied him against placing their departments under a civilian Department of Public Safety.

In the Assembly Square scandal, a different set of events, Ward 1 Alderman Tim Creedon testified that he had distributed $500 in bribe money to each of five aldermen. Ward 3 Alderman Michael McKennna was the only one that he named, saying that Michael had insisted that he (Michael McKenna) get at least $1,000. Tim Creedon ended up doing prison time. Michael McKenna was convicted, but confined to house arrest because he was incapacitated by cancer.

In my haste to edit my column down to acceptable size and on time, I collapsed two paragraphs and ended up misidentifying Michael McKenna as Dennis McKenna in regard to the second set of events. Then, I failed to proofread adequately before emailing the column to George.

Although there was a lot of speculation at the time, I don’t believe that Senator McKenna was ever implicated in these events, that revolved around a different senator. Truth Fan may be remembering this speculation.

So the responsibility for bad editing and slopping proofing is entirely mine. Mrs. McCarthy, the dean of Cambriville journalism, must be on vacation. Otherwise, she would be both giving us eye-witness reportage on these events and chiding me for my poor performance.

A number of people have asked me if I am really Truth Fan, or Fool on the Hill. Last week, an acquaintance asked me if I were HL Menken. I am flattered. Although I don’t always agree with them, each of these posters to our site clearly states what s/he thinks, explains why, and refrains from personal attacks. Where appropriate, they offer verifiable evidence to make their points.

However, readers will have noticed that I am not shy about expressing my own opinions or signing my own name to them, neither in my columns, nor in the discussion that follows them.

Ignatius, I’m sorry that I can’t respond to your suggestion. It is considerably beyond my pay grade.

The Patriot

If you're going to write about corruption, Bill, perhaps you should start with some of your "sources."

Milsson

Bill,
If you are depending on the library for sources of your diatribes maybe you really don't have a very good feel for Somerville's past. Who are the "shameless cynics" you refer to? Many members of the McKenna and Campo families still reside in Somerville maybe they can help you out.

observer

Billy BOY

Sorry your computer failed you in your haste to throw mud on the dead and buried.

I'm curious what you do for work now? Where are you from? How long have you been in Somerville? And, why did your employment end with the Somerville Community Corp?

thank you,

Observer

The Patriot

Just another coup attempt disguising as reform....the progressives want power, either by the traditional vote, or the rigged IRV vote, or a charter commission.
If all else fails, maybe Hugo Chavez and his militias could be convinced to invade Somerville hidden in a trojan horse, just like the 9/11 crowd did in the progressives' "Sanctuary Cities" in and around Boston.

Bill Shelton

Observer,

If your questions are sincere, meet with me face-to-face, and I will answer all of them. I'll have a few of my own for you, as well.

observer

Billy BOY,

To be honest, I have no interest in meeting you. I could take your invite as a thinly disguised threat- but frankly I don't really take you seriously.

I asked some honest questions- since you have spent so much time and energy pontificating about what Somerville should do. You also led the charge to hold up Assembly Square for over 5 years- and what we got out of it is less than the original deal by a long shot. Ironically while you and your coherts tied the city's hands in court- developers built what could have been in Somerville on the other side of the river- and what did Somerville gain? The direct cost to Somerville of your actions was at least $25 million in lost taxes- and just as importantly made any serious investors reconsider Somerville and most likely take their funds to surrounding communities during the last economic boom time.

My guess is that Assembly will continue to be a shell and dumping ground for the next 15 years thanks to your self interested actions. Unless of course you are happy with the crap that is there now.

So, that is why it would be nice to know your background and your vested interests.

If you dont want to reveal them- thats your call. Personally, I would not publish the crap you write without a full disclosure from you. But again- thats someone elses decision.

As for me wasting my time meeting with you- no thanks- I have a life and I think you would bore me to death.

a somerville developers' victim

Bill:

What stops the nine most popular alderman from becoming the members of the Charter Commission?

Bill Shelton

Well Observer, then here are some questions for you:

Do you believe that the mayor and every other public figure who has spoken on the subject are stupid or lying when they say that the city got much MORE from the developers because of Mystic View.

Do you have anything at all of substance to contribute to a discussion or can you only mouth clichés and make personal attacks?

Were you the cowardly bully in middle school or the kid that he picked on?

Are you just as mean and petty in real life as you are on this website, or do you use the website to vent what you are unwilling to express elsewhere?

What do you “do for work now?” And who do you work for?

How long have “you lived in Somerville.”

Why do you believe that a journalist should answer personal questions when you don’t have the courage to reveal your own name?

I put out what I believe to be true every other week, put my name behind it, and acknowledge when I make a mistake. Why can’t you even acknowledge who you are?

Bill Shelton

Developer's Victim,

Any Somerville resident can run, including aldermen. Ward aldermen would have to run in a city-wide race.

But it all comes down to who the people trust to design a fair and effective government structure. If a majority of the elctorate voted for a charter commission, they might believe at the same time that those who are embedded in this government structure are not the ones who they want designing a new one. Or not.

Democracy

Speaking for myself, I find Bill's articles quite stimulating. I have no time to verify the details of what's in them, but generally they make sense to me. Much appreciated. Keep up the good work.

Citizen

I’ve only posted a few times, and I don’t use my real name. It’s not because I can be punished by my employers. The truth is, I’m frightened of people like Observer. But, I’ve got to say a few things.

Most of us who grew up here can get angry about things that aren’t right, but we aren’t haters. We can be fooled about things like Assembly Square, but when we get the real facts, we can change our mind. Maybe we are too resigned to the way that things are, but we still despise corruption. And if you show us another way that we can believe in, we’re not stupid.

I believe that Mr. Shelton is honestly trying to suggest ways to change our political culture without attacking individuals. I believe him when he says that it’s not about individuals, it’s about the system, and I believe that just about everything he’s written about Somerville political culture is right

He says that the Somerville political decisions aren’t about solving problems, they are about rewarding people who support you. He says that political discussion isn’t about the evidence, it’s about attacking people on the other side.

Well, most of the responses to this column confirm his point. Ignatius, Born Here, and Somerville Developer’s Victim all raise serious questions. Everyone else attacks the writer. They don’t in any way come to grips with what he’s written.

Observer points out a error, says nothing about the ideas in the column. Mr. Shelton admits the error, explains how he made it, and corrects the record. Observer makes like he’s blamed his computer.

Observer saw Mr. Shelton’s offer to meet with him and answer his questions as a thinly disguised threat instead of as an offer to communicate honestly. That says a lot. Yes, its time to change politics here.

Publius

Amazing how clear, how responsible, and how unusual are Citizen's observations, and how they contrast with the drivel and cupidity of posters like Observer. There's a particularly vicious kind of fake-towny, fake-progressive who claims long history or great knowledge and uses that claim (not the facts it masks) to beat people up. Fake progressives pretend the city's awash in mafia crooks, and fake townies pretend it was always a better place than Uncle Lala or the various honorables down to today's great commissioner of public works.

That's all crap. In fact we now have a Board of Aldermen that's about as un-representative of the city as we've ever had. For a city that's overwhelmingly new and immigrant, we've a board that's overwhelmingly Irish old Somerville, and survives largely by bullying and scaring out their opponents by ganging up and last minute scandal. We have a political system that thrives on trivial scandals and smears in the last 2 weeks of campaigns, thrives on fake third candidates to distract credible opponents, and blossoms in the detritus of crooked contractors, sleazy insurance deals, and outrageous zoning exemptions. We've a system with dozens of commissions that do very, very little other than pretend to engage a few random folk who cover for the dirt or gossip for virtue.

We also have a strong Mayoral system that hides real budget figures from the public - with federal and state grants buried off-budget - and shields responsible public officials from any real accountability. That gathers huge amounts of data under SomerStat, but produces pretty thin metrics on what works - if anything - in or among City agencies. That now pretends, for example, that there are actually 25 different neighborhoods in a city of 4.1 square miles, mostly to keep people going to tiny and meaningless meetings rather than challenge any of the elect with their failure to guarantee a Green Line or their continued and dogmatic fear of holding Assembly Square developers - and others - accountable to deliver affordability and economic diversity. That's neither progressive nor old fashioned: it's merely cheap pols hiding from fair accountability.

In fact, in spite of much of the rhetoric of the past ten years, there's very little that separates progressive from immigrant from towny other than the rhetoric and manipulation of a few very third rate bureaucrats and crooks. Somerville still has the highest density of FBI observers, the richest and stinkiest of developer deals, and nearly the highest ratio of patronage in the schools and city government. The city still can't write an honest water bill, still can't manage tax assessments and collections honestly, and still has cops hanging with hookers in several after hours news and video stores. How many Aldermen have relatives on the payroll? how many supervise "projects" like the Powderhouse School's mothballing or the Argenziano over-spending? how many squeeze out bilingual staffing foror foreign languages before high school with political family hires? When a lonely member of the school committee suggests 1% minority hiring per year - in a system with 20% turnover every year! - and gets buried by bureaucrats and other electeds there's something that simply stinks. It's not progressive, nor is it any ideology. It's just lazy, unaccountable, and sloppy government, run by a few for their personal greed and family hires.

That's what happens when voters think they don't make any difference: they fulfill a self fulfilling prophecy. The way to change it is to open the whole, rotten system and look it over in a brighter light with more debate and less defensiveness. Right now, any criticism is considered blaming, since no one wants to take on the challenge of changing anything. That's crap. Blame is blame. Fix it or - whether yuppie or long term resident - get the hell out of the way.

Truth Fan

Amazing how clear, how responsible, and how unusual are Citizen's observations, and how they contrast with the drivel and cupidity of posters like Observer. There's a particularly vicious kind of fake-towny, fake-progressive who claims long history or great knowledge and uses that claim (not the facts it masks) to beat people up. Fake progressives pretend the city's awash in mafia crooks, and fake townies pretend it was always a better place than Uncle Lala or the various honorables down to today's great commissioner of public works.

That's all crap. In fact we now have a Board of Aldermen that's about as un-representative of the city as we've ever had. For a city that's overwhelmingly new and immigrant, we've a board that's overwhelmingly Irish old Somerville, and survives largely by bullying and scaring out their opponents by ganging up and last minute scandal. We have a political system that thrives on trivial scandals and smears in the last 2 weeks of campaigns, thrives on fake third candidates to distract credible opponents, and blossoms in the detritus of crooked contractors, sleazy insurance deals, and outrageous zoning exemptions. We've a system with dozens of commissions that do very, very little other than pretend to engage a few random folk who cover for the dirt or gossip for virtue.

We also have a strong Mayoral system that hides real budget figures from the public - with federal and state grants buried off-budget - and shields responsible public officials from any real accountability. That gathers huge amounts of data under SomerStat, but produces pretty thin metrics on what works - if anything - in or among City agencies. That now pretends, for example, that there are actually 25 different neighborhoods in a city of 4.1 square miles, mostly to keep people going to tiny and meaningless meetings rather than challenge any of the elect with their failure to guarantee a Green Line or their continued and dogmatic fear of holding Assembly Square developers - and others - accountable to deliver affordability and economic diversity. That's neither progressive nor old fashioned: it's merely cheap pols hiding from fair accountability.

In fact, in spite of much of the rhetoric of the past ten years, there's very little that separates progressive from immigrant from towny other than the rhetoric and manipulation of a few very third rate bureaucrats and crooks. Somerville still has the highest density of FBI observers, the richest and stinkiest of developer deals, and nearly the highest ratio of patronage in the schools and city government. The city still can't write an honest water bill, still can't manage tax assessments and collections honestly, and still has cops hanging with hookers in several after hours news and video stores. How many Aldermen have relatives on the payroll? how many supervise "projects" like the Powderhouse School's mothballing or the Argenziano over-spending? how many squeeze out bilingual staffing foror foreign languages before high school with political family hires? When a lonely member of the school committee suggests 1% minority hiring per year - in a system with 20% turnover every year! - and gets buried by bureaucrats and other electeds there's something that simply stinks. It's not progressive, nor is it any ideology. It's just lazy, unaccountable, and sloppy government, run by a few for their personal greed and family hires.

That's what happens when voters think they don't make any difference: they fulfill a self fulfilling prophecy. The way to change it is to open the whole, rotten system and look it over in a brighter light with more debate and less defensiveness. Right now, any criticism is considered blaming, since no one wants to take on the challenge of changing anything. That's crap. Blame is blame. Fix it or - whether yuppie or long term resident - get the hell out of the way.

Ignatius J Reilly

Bill, as many of us have stated earlier your articles seem to always make for interesting debate and thinking. I just wish SN would do more to back some of those ideas - like standing behind charter change.

On Observer: Maybe you did the 'ol in/out-in/out with Observer's galfriend back in high school? Who knows, but he does seem to have a hair across his ass when it comes to your articles.

Trusth Fan/Publius and Citizen, both great posts. This was one of the truer statements that I've read in quite some time: "The city still can't write an honest water bill, still can't manage tax assessments and collections honestly, and still has cops hanging with hookers in several after hours news and video stores."

Cops hanging with hookers I could care less about, but the dishonest water bills and the hamfisted way this city taxes it's residents is nothing short of criminal. When you fight these noobs (most of whom no longer live here!) they tapdance, tapdance and then do ...more tapdancing until you finally just say "I can't deal with this amount of stupidity!" and give up. What a way to govern.

Democracy

What objective evidence do we have about these two points, though? I mean, something more than anecdotes one can believe or not?

"The city still can't write an honest water bill, still can't manage tax assessments and collections honestly"

Democracy

Bizarre that the same post was made under two different names. Did Truth Fan forget this morning that he/she had already posted the same thing the night before, under the name "Publius"? Regardless, good post.

This is obvious and it has got to change:

>> a board that's overwhelmingly Irish old Somerville, and survives largely by bullying and scaring out their opponents by ganging up and last minute scandal <<

Ignatius J Reilly

Democracy, have you seen your water bills? Did you read your tax bill this year? If they can get away with extra revenue and jamming it to residents - they will.

I fought the tax bill and got the assessment close to what an appraiser had it at (for that period too) - though it took me having to have them come out twice to get it there. When I got the bill I burst out laughing - that's how silly it was.

On the water bill? Yeah... I was one of those folks who had a 2 year water bill > $13,000. I fought them for 1.5 years, met with them multiple times, but ultimately their stance is you have to proof you did NOT use the water. I had a notarized letter from my plumber saying "no leak"... they came and found no leak... and still they didn't waive 1 cent of that bill. If you don't pay it they will put a lien on your property. Oh... and my water bill (last 1.5 years) is ~ $300 every 4 months (makes a lot more sense than > $2000 every 4 months). No explanation from them as to how that could happen.

I really do believe that there was/is a little pack of these City & DPW cronies who dreamed up an idea - when the Real Estate market was still rising - of hitting owners with high tax and water bills to grab properties from people. Throw a lien on someone's house, force them to sell and then these slobs pick it up cheap.

Luckily I had the $13K and could pay it, but I have to ask how many people did not have the money to pay and were forced out?

Democracy

Ignatius, wait a minute. For the sake of discussion I agree to believe that your bill was > 13K (but obviously, nothing can be verified with anonymous posts online). I have a water meter in the basement, and I check it regularly; it advances very slowly. Are you saying that they can control the meter remotely and make it run faster, somehow? How? Via the electric lines? If so, why do they need to come and READ it outside your house then. Are you arguing that the meter was defective that time? Are all water meters made by the same company? Do they have information on failure rates? I doubt these meters are perfect, a percentage of them are bound to malfunction at times.

Ignatius J Reilly

Democracy, the bill came about via estimates (all reasonable) and then the actual READING and WHAMMY ($13K). No the meter was not spinning - as I immediately checked and then called them and my plumber - the meter was "fine". During those estimates they had access to the meter - why didn't I get a real reading then???

They now have the electronic sensor where they drive by and read the meter. When I found out they had that ability I demanded it. I told them I better not get another estimate. My agreement (in writing) to stop pushing this - for now - was based on them changing my meter and having my old meter tested. If it was defective then I would be reimbursed... if the meter was fine then I would be satisfied that somehow that water did go through the pipes. Seemed a reasonable agreement to me.

Have they done that yet? No. Will I pursue this further if they do not come out soon? Yes.

Democracy, if I may ask...do you own property or a business in the city? I own both - and I know these clowns from way back and the bullshit they pull. Sadly, you have to watch every bill they send and fight them on every bill. It shouldn't be that way.

cabbie

Democracy -

If you're questioning the wild variance in our water bills, both in the time between water bills and the crazy difference in water usage bill to bill - well then you must not own property in Somerville. If you rent, that's fine your opinion is valid...BUT...if you're getting a water bill you're the only person I've heard of who's bill isn't jumping all over the place.

Now Ignatius - if you didn't get a water bill for two years, sure that's a mistake of the city's ---- BUT --- MAYBE --- POSSIBLY--- you should have had the foresight to know a bill would be coming at some point in your future. That said the figure you quoted only works out to over $500 a month which is unbelievable....but with our water bills possible. And don't think they'd consider doing anything about it despite the fact that it's just IMPOSSIBLE that you used that much water.

Ignatius J Reilly

Cabbie, agreed on both counts - I know I won't get a penny back and even though the estimates were in line with the previous year's and years of bills I should have said get me a real bill now. That costly mistake will never happen again. That why I say "Sadly, you have to watch every bill they send and fight them on every bill. It shouldn't be that way."

My only concern and main point is if it does happen again - though I doubt they'll pull it on me again - you just have to suck it up and pay them. That there is no recourse or real process for relief is something that needs to be addressed (Hint: good article material SN). The burden is all on you proving you didn't use the water - how the hell can you do that unless you stick your own water meter in line with theirs?! Though I have been thinking about it.

Democracy

I own a house in Somerville. I used to get estimates too. But they did seem on the high side. So, I requested they install a meter (or whatever they call it) outside the house so they can come in and read the goddamn numbers. Interestingly, at the beginning, the numbers on the bill did not match up at all with the numbers on the meter. I called them a few times and they did fix it, I paid nothing for 6 months because they deducted whatever they had extra charged me until it was even. I agree, the water bills fluctuate in odd ways. No idea why. If they cannot control the meters remotely, then where is the source of the fluctuation? I don't water my garden. We only use water for showers, since I buy bottled water for drinking.
In any case, my experience with the Water Department has been moderately frustrating, but not a nightmare. I'd give them a 6 on a scale from 1 to 10

Democracy

Could it be that the estimates were off for many years (i.e., a bit lower than your actual usage), and when they finally put a meter there was a huge cumulative difference? But it was about past water usage over the course of many years? As I said, in my case, after installing the meter and getting the first actual read I basically got a refund because my estimates had been too high and so over the years I had paid more than necessary.

Publius

Geez you guys get flakey. I just mention an obvious mismanagement and that's all you talk about. The issue is one of the Charter, dummies, and one result (of many) of an unexamined political system is water bills, parking tickets, and a host of other random acts of public charity demanded of a public that neither votes nor complains loudly or effectively enough to throw the bums out.

While you're at it, you might also ask how many of those $5,000 cell phones Alderman Trane's brother sold the city last year still work? Are they the same phones Guiliani sold his firemen (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/12/us/politics/12giuliani.html?ex=1187582400&en=08073e4e3f0da506&ei=5070)and thereby killed 120 of them on 9/11? Or is Somerville the exception? The word I hear is that they don't work, and, for the cost that Trane justified at hearings, one might wonder where he'll work next.

Don't get caught with these details, however, since it's not just a matter of Paul or his brother, nor even of $500,000 for cell phones. It is really a matter of a stinking kind of city administration, impervious to review, insulting to the public, and inept and crooked even to each other.

Truth Fan

Just checking in and I saw the double post. I really don't know how it happened, and I don't know Publius. I didn't write it, but I wish I had. Just a couple of things Publius: What does cupiditiy mean? And is "Publius" related to public or pubic?

I really like the overall theme: this hysterical emphasis on old timers versus progressives/yuppies kind of obsures the fact that we're all getting screwed. I'd like to here more along these lines.

But then, Publius, you lose me when you say that we're all dummies. You might have been smiling when you wrote it, but we can't see the smile.

Bill's questions for Observer have inspired me to ask observer some questions too.

What, exactly, were we going to “get” from the “original deal?”

What, exactly, will be get based on the Mystic View Task Force’s settlement agreement?

Where, exactly, would this “at least $25 million in lost taxes” have come from? What properties over what time?

Why do you believe that Mystic View’s accomplishments “made any serious investors reconsider Somerville?” Which investors building what kind of development?

Why do you believe “that Assembly will continue to be a shell and dumping ground for the next 15 years?” Do you believe that high value-developers will imagine that the united efforts of the city, developers, and Mystic View to attract them are just diabolical deceptions to get them to lose money? Do you know of any other city in Greater Boston that his this kind of cooperation going for it?

Do you believe that a giant Home Depot, which Mystic View successfully opposed, would be better than the “crap that’s there now,” which Mystic View also opposed?

If you "don't know why anyone would cover [Bill's] ramblings," then why do you read them, much less take the time to comment on them.

Democracy

Exactly, you mention ONE example, and even this without any serious proof. And then generalize. You've got to do better than that, precisely BECAUSE you are not talking to dummies.

>>
I just mention an obvious mismanagement...
>>

Democracy

Whatever. Either Publius and Truth Fan are the same person or one of them was trying to spoof the other and got confused. As far as I can tell, Publius (or whomever you are) you are just making accusations left and right without any evidence. It does not take a very smart person to make stuff up.

HLMenken

To Publius, I want say that I think we all know that Somerville's political system is all about loyalty to the king and taking care of friends. I think we know that without having to think much about it. But thinking about changing it feels kind of hopeless. So we talk about a concrete example of how bad things are that we can get our arms around.

Voting for people who would change the system isn't going to work if most of the incumbents don't even have serious opponents. Bill's idea about changing the charter makes a lot of sense, but who is going to collect the signatures? Ignatz' suggestion that the SN get behind it is a good one, but I think that the owners are to much a part of the old system.

To Democracy, I'd like to say that just among my friends, I know four people who have gotten water bills out of nowhere in the thousands of dollars. They are told that they must have a leaky faucet or toilet, but its an absurd explanation. In the end, most people just pay the bill. And if I know four, there must be hundreds or thousands.

Ignatz's experience is part of a pattern, and I don't think that there's some mysterious meter connection to water central. I think it's just incomeptence and then stonewalling. I don't think the water peple themselves even understand how they are screwing up, but they understand CYA. It WOULD make a great story if SN would do some serious digging. I also know two cops who say their phones don't work and it's a joke at the PD.

If Truth Fan and Publius are the same person, he or she must be a great "actor." Look at the difference in their prose styles.

observer

Billy BOY,

I have to say your questions are one's I would expect from a child ......

You asked: Do you believe that the mayor and every other public figure who has spoken on the subject are stupid or lying when they say that the city got much MORE from the developers because of Mystic View.

I place credence in a select few elected official on certain items- and I dont need an elected official to tell me what is true or false. In my view Assembly Square is an unmitigated disaster thanks to you and weak leaders who should be giving you a kick in the ass. Truth be known despite the public grandstanding- most intelligent elected officials will tell you in private that Mystic View screwed Somerville big time. Bottomline, I believe the window closed on a great development opportunity for Somerville because it was delayed by more than 5 years by Mystic View. The boom cycle has ended for now- and Somerville is stuck with crap once again.


You asked: Do you have anything at all of substance to contribute to a discussion or can you only mouth clichés and make personal attacks?

I don't recall any cliche's. As for the personal attacks- most where actually questions you so far wont answer. Further, my comments are based in fact- not made up rumors and comments about people. As I said, the window is closed- case over. You guys cost the City many millions of dollars and oppportunty for nice jobs and good housing.

You asked: Were you the cowardly bully in middle school or the kid that he picked on?

LOL. Are those the only two choices?

You asked: Are you just as mean and petty in real life as you are on this website, or do you use the website to vent what you are unwilling to express elsewhere?

Another attempt by you to skirt the real issues? Curious as to why you wont answer some straight questions I posed...

You asked: What do you “do for work now?” And who do you work for?

I'm not the one trying to peddle things to Somerville and, or, blocking progress in the city. Further, I have never accepted any money from anyone involved with Assembly Square - nor do I have any vested financial interest in Assembly Square- beyond that of a taxpaying citizen.


You asked: How long have “you lived in Somerville.”

Another childish question- but I am confident that it is MUCH longer than you.

You asked: Why do you believe that a journalist should answer personal questions when you don’t have the courage to reveal your own name?

Do you really consider yourself a journalist?


Democracy

Summary of observer's points above: "@$!##@* !@&!%!!@#((!%#^!@#@@!!!!!!'
Summary of objective and verifiable points made: ...
Summary of what readers can hope to learn from the above post: ...

it *is* funny

Yawn.

Diogenenes

Observer,

Bill Shelton's questions were (justifiably) indignant, and you answered them with BS. Truth Fan's questions went right to the heart of your allegations, and you didn't answer them at all. Perhaps you don't have the capacity to do anything more than make empty allegations. If so, please confine your ravings to rest room walls and leave discussions of reality to the grown ups.

observer

Diogenenes

Interesting comments. But it was Billy who refuses to answer the questions- not me. And, then he asked me question I would expect from a child.

In reality we know the truth so it really does not matter now does it Billy BOY.

lol

Democracy

"We" meaning you and your other split personalities?

>>
In reality we know the truth
>>

observer

LOL.

If you place credence in Bill BOY then you get what you deserve.

You and I know Somerville has taken it in the rear due to his and the rest of the me first Assembly Square crowds selfish and self interested actions at Assembly Square.

The fact is the window of opportunity has closed for now... on what could have been a great cornerstone for Somerville... which would have generated over $5 million in taxes... and hundrededs of good jobs.... What has your group produced? The place is still a disgrace and a haven for crime...

Diogenes

Observer,

We don't know any such thing, and apparently, you don't either. Otherwise, you could answer Truth Fan's questions, and not have to continually recite petty personal attacks.

Diogenes

Observer,

We don't know any such thing, and apparently, you don't either. Otherwise, you could answer Truth Fan's questions, and not have to continually recite petty personal attacks.

observer

To Truthfan

answer to your questions

What, exactly, were we going to “get” from the “original deal?”

The original deal was a combination of high end housing, hotel(s), and restaraunts, and a series of commercial developments that would follow... it also called for developers to turn Assemebly Square into a waterfront park...

What, exactly, will be get based on the Mystic View Task Force’s settlement agreement?

Delays and investors/ developers who dont want or need to put up with the headaches created by groups who would rather delay things for 5 years in court than work out reasonable compromises..

Where, exactly, would this “at least $25 million in lost taxes” have come from? What properties over what time?

The original deal was a combination of housing, hotel, and restaraunts, and a series of commercial development... and would have turned Assemebly Square into a waterfront park... the commercial and real estate market where HOT 5 years ago... we may not see a cycle like that again in our lifetime... the projections where a minimum of $5 million in added taxes per year PLUS some jobs..

Why do you believe that Mystic View’s accomplishments “made any serious investors reconsider Somerville?” Which investors building what kind of development?

Quite clearly... I think most opted for Boston, Cambridge, Medford, Watertown, and other places where people work with them... not place them in court for 5 years... Boston has more commercial investment online than they have ever had in its history... Somerville has squat...

Why do you believe “that Assembly will continue to be a shell and dumping ground for the next 15 years?”

Take a look at it now. Do you expect it to change for the better in the foreseeable future? If so- articulate your plan.

Do you believe that high value-developers will imagine that the united efforts of the city, developers, and Mystic View to attract them are just diabolical deceptions to get them to lose money?

No I dont think they see people involved as diabolic. Just not people worth doing business with and, or, risking millions in capital during a down market.

Do you know of any other city in Greater Boston that his this kind of cooperation going for it?

Look at the development that is going on in Boston, Cambridge, Medford, Waterown under our noses.... all have seen unprecedented boom in commercial development... while Somerville tied up its golden goose in court for 5 years

Do you believe that a giant Home Depot, which Mystic View successfully opposed, would be better than the “crap that’s there now,” which Mystic View also opposed?

Of course not- but if we had a beautiful waterfront part with high end housing, a high end hotel, nicer restaraunts, a bookstore, and some nice commercial development the rest may have followed ... under the Mystic View victory look what your stuck with... a giant home depot, kmart, ... and essentialy a trailer park for trucks...

If you "don't know why anyone would cover [Bill's] ramblings," then why do you read them, much less take the time to comment on them.

Free Speech my friend

Democracy

But but... The Mayor just sent a glossy leaflet with plans and diagrams of how nice the Assembly Sq area will be very soon!

Yorktown Street

"Publius" is the pen name that the authors of the Federalist Papers used when they were trying to convince New York state voters to ratify the U.S. Constitution back in 1787. It is related to "public," coming from the same root in Latin. The authors' real names were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.

Say No More

Radicals...

CheechChong

terrorists and evildoers!

Bill Shelton

I think that Observer sincerely believes the answers that he gave to Truth Fan, but they are just not true.

The "original deal" was a giant Home Depot, and an Ikea with a ball field. Under pressure from Mystic View, the Gay administration negotiated with ASLP the addition of a small office building, to be completed at some unspecified future date, and a restaurant. With IKEA, two small office buildings to be built in some unspecified future and ground-floor retail.

The city accepted ASLP's proposal for Yard 21, but as history has shown, it was just a means of ASLP gaining site control over that parcel so that they could exit Somerville with $30 million in profit. They never wanted or intended to build there.

I know that other reputable developers, such as Forrest City, were interested in Assembly Square, because I tried to recruit them. Their hesitation had nothing to do with Mystic Viewe's goals or actions, which they believed would imrpove the site's value.

Instead, they perceived that the ASLP was "wired," and that preparation of proposals would be a wasted effort. And in fact, the city rejected another proposal which was in every aspect superior, including a comnmitment to pay double what ASLP offered, and immediately. The city is still holding this property and receiving no tax on it.

Nevetheless, after this decision, Forrest City was negotiating to buy out ASLP and build a high-value development when the Board of Aldermen undercut the deal by gutting Assembly Square zoning. Bill White asked them to dealy the vote until conclusion of these negotiations. They did not.

Today, the housing market is in the tank, but the office market is strong, as we predicted. If office development had begun when we were advocating it, we would now be enjoying substantial new city taxes that generate more revenues than costs. The retail market is now neutral, but that is what we need least.

The "plan" for Assembly Square's future, as negotiated in the settlement agreement and accepted by the city is 5 million square feet of offices, 1.4 million of retail, 3 million for residential, and 800,000 of "flex." We also negotiated a $15 million developer contribution to the Orange Line station, a reduction of daily trips from 100,000 to 50,000, additional open space, water access investments, pedestrian connections to East Somerville and Ten Hills, and a variety of other benefits.

I for one, don't know any other city that has developers, city officials, and community activists cooperating to market office development.

Fool on the Hill

That's a pretty good summary, Bill. The big-lie propaganda at the time demonized Mystic View and promised that we would all get tax relief if the city gave ASLP what it wanted. Curtatone was politically astute enough to discontinue this hate campaign, at least publicly. And after ASLP got him elected and he persuaded the Aldermen to give ASLP what they wanted, it didn't matter anymore. So now we can all be friends.

But some people, like Observer, have so much invested in the myth of Mystic View wrong doing that they are unwilling to examine the reality on the ground. The truth is fairly obvious now, but few are paying attention, and calling attention to it would be an embarassment to the Board of Aldermen.

You've got to give Observer some credit though. He or she is not buying the mayor's propaganda about how he saved Assembly Square and we'll all live happily ever after.

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