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January 25, 2006


The Mole

Sorry to hear the bad news Mr. Lynch. If you have seen some of my other posts about Design Consultants, I wonder what the payments made to them for this fiscal year were for, now that the project is on the back burner? Makes you wonder huh!!!

Even if you get anything in writing you know it wouldn't be worth the paper written on. Keep the fight going and never let it go. Keep their feet to the fire so they can squirm even more. The more targets that are thrown at them will make their heads spin. Once inebriated, they will fall.


James Michael

I see I taught Joe well. The first thing is to promise them everything and then pull the rug right out from underneath them.

Why should the Mayor honor what he says to this guy? O'Donovan has the Magoun Square businesses in his back pocket. Hizoner and Sean don't need him or the revival of this pit in the city. Too bad guy. That's just the way it goes.


"does not translate into a lot of votes" You mean the mayor is going to do what the voters want instead? What is this world coming to? Somerville is a community , a neghborhood, not a small business distric with rotting dumpsters, broken cabs that leave you stranded and buisnesses that support the community. The community and voters don't owe these businesses anything! Especially the businesses who dont support the community. Tax revenu so that you can change laws to allow parking and traffic on streets so that you can make more money does nothing to help somerville's residents.

Solh Zendeh

Hi, I posted this a while ago, but the article I posted to was already old news, and I didn't get any feedback. I would really appreciate the folks that read this site's comments, good and bad.

Actually, forget the bad.

I’d like to address the 1.5 million dollars plan that has been proposed to improve the Magoun square area. I hope, after reading this, that you will agree with me that the best long term solution to many of the problems that we face in the Magoun square area, is a reduction in the number of lanes on Broadway, from 2 lanes each way to just 1.

I want to bring this up before we approve the current improvement plan. The reason is simple, the man who presented the current plan at the previous meeting said (I’m paraphrasing): “The traffic department *only* considers lane reduction if the intersection in question is really dangerous”. That means that after we do the planned improvements, there is a good chance that the traffic will be improved *just enough* to prevent ever getting a chance at reducing the lanes again. Basically, the band-aid will prevent us from getting the cure.

So I ask that you please consider this carefully, and decide weather you agree that long-term this is the best solution. Because this could be our last and only chance to make it happen.

Here are the areas of concern:

1. Car traffic during rush hour. There is a huge number of vehicles that cross through our square every day. Reducing the number of lanes on Broadway should not significantly affect the number of vehicles that are able to cross Magoun square at any given time – even during rush hour! Why?
• Broadway is only two lanes between Magoun and Ball square. The only use in having two lanes appears to be so that cars can pass each other. What you end up with is a stretch of road that promotes aggressive passing and speeding. People spread out for a little bit, before being forced to merge back into a single lane.
• While it is helpful to have an extra “feeder” lane at large intersections (so that cars taking a right on red from Medford Street onto Broadway can merge safely into traffic already traveling on Broadway), this can be accommodated by placing long bus stops right at the corners of Broadway and Medford street. This is a common and sensible double-use.
• The biggest issue is that the places people want to go *from* Broadway are tiny little neighborhood streets. This is the same reason that adding more lanes to 93 via the big dig appears to have done very little to help improve traffic conditions through Boston. Now you’ve got 10 lanes dumping into the same tiny streets instead of 6. Parking lot city.

2. Accidents and safety.
• As mentioned above, having two lanes for such a short distance actually encourages aggressive driving.
• With two lanes of traffic each way, there is a greater chance that someone, especially a child, could be waved across by someone in the near lane, but the second lane doesn’t see them.
• With just one lane, there would be room for a proper bike lane. Many people I know would bike rather than drive to work if there were proper bike lanes on our busy streets.

3. Pleasantness.
• Room for trees, benches, outside eating due to larger sidewalk area.
• More on-street parking available
• Room for proper bus shelters on the sidewalk.
• Room for a nice median

Somerville was designed with small streets to accommodate trolleys, pedestrians and some cars. There is no reason to think that any amount of tinkering with traffic signals etc will somehow reduce the traffic congestion significantly. My feeling is that we should spend our money where it will most improve our lives. Even if reducing Broadway from two lanes each way down to one creates 5% longer wait times (something I suspect will not happen), it will improve the safety and pleasantness of walking and biking, and just plain being in the square 100%. Isn’t that a trade-off worth investigating?


solh - sounds like something the alderman from Magoun Square should propose to the traffic dept. have you suggested it to him or them? If you did, did you get any feedback?

Solh Zendeh

Hey somerspeak,

Thanks for the suggestion, I may do that. But I kind of wanted to get a reality check from people that aren't my girlfriend before I did anything like that ha-ha.

Anyway, if you have any thoughts on the idea I'd love to hear them.


i live near magoun square. i went to one of the mayor's community meeting hours, and talked to him about how dreary, dull, underserved, and gross magoun square is. I mentioned, of course, what I liked- the stained glass place, wangs, the salvation army-- but everything is always closing, and all teh city did was put in YET ANOTHER chincy cheap plastic drug and gazingus pin store. . . CVS. Anyway, when I told him i'm a musician, and i thought it might be a good place to put a community art space(for EVERYBODY, yu know, not just people who call them,selevs artists or college kids, but for ANYONE to use), he went off about union square, union square, and union square. I told him that it takes me a logn time to walk to union square, and that i couldn't afford to live there anymore anyway, and about some really cool projects i'd read about in other cities, but he was really focused on the green line and union square. . .. i think he wrote down what i said about the 89 bus(that it blows). . . .

Thing is, union square doesn't NEED any more. money, the way magoun square does.

i read through the comments about traffic, but I think i'd have to look at a picture of it, i'm not sure i understand it. . . . it would really help alot of they put some good stores in there(maybe a 24 hour diner(a REAL one, not chunkin blownuts), or internet cafe with CHEAP coffee for a change, or a bookstore, or (miracle of miracles) a REAL: affordable non-snobby food co-op, well, i could go on for sure. . . )-- it'd also be great if that big park were a REAL park, and not a place where you are ONLY allowed to play baseball and ONLY with a permit. . . . couldn't they put some benches, some trees, around the edges?

what about a farmers market?

how 'bout a music venue? olde magoun saloon woudl probably do really well if they hooked in with all the people who do folk music, irish music, bluegrass, and so forth- club passim is mad crowded these days. . . . .

or murals? like that one over on mystic ave by the housing projects there?

--sigh-- i just wish there was more energy going into the place. . . . i didn't even KNOW there was a business association there! well, if anyone wants to explain teh traffic problem to me with a picture, feel free ro contact, and best wishes all 'round. . . .

Ron Newman

Nearby Ball Square used to have the Willow Jazz Club. The licensing board shut it down, which I always considered a very short-sighted move for a city that proclaims its interest in the arts.

the willow was a dangeerous dive

ron, the willow jazz club was a true den of iniquity that was rightly shut down due to its numerous violations. also, it was known as a haven for drug trafficking.


The Willow Jazz Club was shut down by the City of Somerville for illegal drug dealing on the premises and at the insistence of the surrounding neighborhood residents.

Mr. Newman, the success of an arts establishment, bar or restaurant many times depends on the healthy relationship it establishes and maintains with its business and residential neighbors.

The Real Deal on Ron

You really summed up the great differences between the old and the new residents of Somerville. You said the City "used to have the Willow Jazz Club. The licensing board shut it down, which I always considered a very short-sighted move for a city that proclaims its interest in the arts."

The Willow, as it was EXCLUSIVELY called was nothing morte than a front for Mob activities in the City. A FEDERAL sting operation sent members of that crime family to jail and implicated numerous city officials, to include firemen and police officers. No, they didn't go to jail but they should have. The fact that the sign outside the door said "Willow Jazz Club" doesn't mean there was any music going on in there. Oh, there were some jazzy characters in there doing some "line" dancing (if you were from Somerville you know what that reference meant) but they weren't musicians.

You Progressives look at the face of everything and think, "Gee, that's wonderful, we need more like that." Dig a little deeper and seek the truth for once.

Here's a newsflash for you Ron, the Powderhouse Pub is not a historical society.

Coleman's, despite the shamrocks on the sign, is not a Irish cultural meeting place.

Khoury's State Spa is not a Roman bath.

What's shortsighted is your view of Somerville's history. If you want this kind of culture, petition the BOA to zone these establishments in your neighborhood. Soon, you'll understand why the Willow was closed.

Until then, restrain your liberal rants. I used to think you were trying to be funny and failing. Now I know you are just an idiot.

sadly ron newman

ron, sadly your well intentioned liberal views illustrate what is wrong with this city -- ethnic oriented joints like coleman's and the willow run un-operated mean mafioso related activities and contribute nothing to the city. But interfere with their operations and see what happens ronnie. The problem is mayor joe is going to have to break a few of his own good ole' boy necks to get control of what he wants. what he does with this control remains to be seen...

Weeping Willow

Whatever its other faults, the Willow certainly was a jazz club. Its former booker now runs Willow Entertainment, named after guess what. Berklee College's web site has a long elegy to the place: Coda: Lessons Learned at the Willow

Snowflake's Eleven

I now believe the ones who told me stories of Ron The Newmanator about the time he showed up at the front door of the old "Elephant Walk Restaurant" in Union Square. The rumor always said the Ron always showed up at the front door with a five pound bag of peanuts in one hand and a jar of peanut butter in the other hand expecting to see real live elephants! To his surprise it was a Restaurant! But I still wondered to this day. What was Ron going to with the peanut butter??????

I know somethings

To Ron,
You're right. In the 80s, the Willow WAS
a jazz club. Talent was booked by Brien Wakeley of 'Willow Entertainment'.
A taste of some of this talent can be heard on the opening of the "Tonight Show."
As for the negative remarks, show me any jazz, hip or any hangout place, where vice is not present, and I'll be quite surprized.
Example; Good Time

Mrs. McCarthy

Ah, the Willow, the Willow. Now let me see. Yes I remember it like it was yesterday. 1997 as I recall, I was still a looker at that time............. now let me see if I can recall the past and current elected and appointed officials that sat on the other side, catcalling to the "dirty hippies" on the club side, all the while playing that God awful Sinatra rendition of "My Way". Oh but that's a story for some cold winter's night.............

If only the walls could talk in the 600 block of Broadway in Ball Square...... or do they?


Hope the tummy is getting back to normal,mon cheri.

Mrs. McCarthy
Former Piano Singer
The Willow Jazz Club

The Day we took back our city from the Willow Jazz Club!

I remember when The Willow Jazz Club on Broadway was shut down by the City of Somerville. It was great seeing our police department and our elected officials reclaim our city from those undesirables lowlife loser thug-wannabe that occupied this city for so long run by a old broken down named Neil Mazza. These were the same shitheads that were related to the founders of the then famous "Pin Ball Scandal". I also remember when there once was a nice restaurant in Union Square called "Sir Franco's" with a nice lounge called Penguins. It was there until these derelicts bought into it by loaning the owner of the establishment monies to pay his mortgage that was almost in default with the banks and later renamed and transformed the rear section of the restaurant into the drug infested "Club Stephanie's" named after that big fat loser Big Al Sap's niece. Big Al Sap allegedly was a well known major player in all the drug,loan sharking and crime activities that overshadowed the two clubs. It wasn't long after that the Feds, SPD and the city moved in, closed them down and cleared them out. Rumors tell us that Mazza being the unintelligent person that he always has been was caught up in the major sting operation dealing with a Federal officer. The same officer that had previous testified against Mazza's prior partner's criminal trial by testifying on the stand just seven months before. It appears that Neil didn't recognize him. Lol,lol! Something tells me the Neil should of booked an eye exam at Pearl Vision center first! As for Big Al Sap, rumor has it that he ended caving in like a little baby crying his eyes out and even trying to commit suicide in his jail cell afraid that he had to do time and couldn't handle it and live up to the big part that he played for so long! He later was proven to be a big dud and released after cooperating with the law! So the moral of this story is: Don't judge a book by it's cover especially if it says Willow Jazz Lounge!


Boy can I remember the days of old. Willow Club, Memory Lane in Davis Square. Them were the days where people just sat around and shot the breeze. Occasionally, there would be a couple of incoming shots but nothing huge.

Mrs. McCarthy would be the one to answer some of those memories. I know I did not do the bar room in Davis Square justice, Friscardi's but spelling incorrectly, but that is where Mrs.MC would come into play....


Here we go again with another delay in the revitalization of Magoun Square. How many times are we going to go on this merry-go-round trip? First it was this then it was that. Now the City says it will still be done but not right away and later on. We need to get straight answers. Who will speak with fork tongue is a liar.

Me Too

I am with you Joe. It seems every time we get close to something this Administration seems to find a way to take it away. Why would that be?

This is the second time efforts on both sides were made and this is the second time this Administration has pulled out. It sounds to me like they don't want to improve the Magoun Square area.

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