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April 18, 2006

Comments

A Question

Can pollution cause nose bleeds?

thenoseknows

ya, bill..thats a great story..too bad its half true..and whats worse is that the mvtf is 7 years into holding up this project with no end in sight...BRILLIANT

Ron Newman

Which half is not true?

Mystic River Fish

MVTF is nothing but a liberal bunch of A-HOLES with nothing better to da then stir the pot against anything they can. None of their BS lawsuits hold "water" and the judges are getting sick of them. You wanna complain about your tax rate or your water rate? Blame them. They are holding up MILLIONS of dollars from making it to the city's coffers. A bunch of pot-smoking, 60's hippies with nothing better to do. Has anyone actually seen what is proposed to go into Assembly Square? It's awesome. It's residential, it's commercial, it's waterfront restaraunts with boat slips, it's JOBS and TAX DOLLARS. The EPA,the MBTA and OSHA, and everyone else is on board, why not MVTF? What exactly is their BITCH??

thenoseknows

why ron, what r u blind? the 5 points are the half thru part. bs is conveniently making it look like the mvtf has had the correct assesment of the assembly sq situation since 1998. well why not? sounds good to him and the rest of his buddies who are holding us hostage. anne tate? she should clean up her own property on winter hill,its a disgrace.....and ill ask again.who are these people? they will not come out of the closet and step up and say im so and so and im on board with the mvtf vision for a better somerville.if you think this is so great endorse it publicly.if you want to rob seniors,single parents and working families of tax dollars tell us who you are.

Fred Mahoney Sullivan

"rob seniors,single parents and working families of tax dollars tell us who you are."

thenoseknowsnot,

Where are these people going to live? They can not afford to live here if they are earning the wages paid at the Christmas tree shop! So we won't really be robbing them will we.

well gang

Yes, I think hearing both sides of the story would do us all some good. It is a big issue at stake here; it does affect all of us. We are all stake holders. Especially, our neighbors who live right next to this development. So why don’t we all try to understand it better. Let’s discuss the issues.
What is the true nature of the court case? What are the real arguments? Usually, once you take all the big legal words out, this kind of thing is pretty easy to understand. Can someone do this for us? Explain the issues and take the legal mumbo jumbo out for us? I think one of the lawsuits is actually about some family owned Steel company being forced to sell their land through "eminent domain". To me, that does not seem morally right, that someone is forced to sell. I mean what if they want lease their property for a profit instead? Shouldn’t that be their right? We talk about poor residents being forced out. But in reality this is a REAL example I can see of someone being forced out. Maybe I don’t understand the whole picture though. What are the details around this? You keep saying Somerville is going benefit from increase tax base? How? Won’t that drive up my taxes too? If it does, it will drive up rents and drive people out.
Also we are not the first town to go through this sort of thing. Maybe We can learn from people who have already been through this process. Like these guys http://www.culturechange.org/issue20/smartgrowth.htm

Bill Shelton

Nose, I would really like to know if you believe the lies that you broadcast. Please point out eactly what I have written that is not true, and I will prsent evidence published at the time to demonstrate that it is. If you can't do this, then the only purpose of your continued participation in this conversation is to advance propaganda and sow disinformation rather than to illuminate differences of opinion around the true facts.

Fish, your nonsense about lawsuits not holding water and judges tiring of them proves that you've never read the judges' rulings. In the lawshit over Home Depot moving into the mall, the judge wrote that the city had bent the law to accommodate the developers rather than requiring them to obey the law. In the current suit, the judge said that cities cannot treat one favored develper differently than any other land owner, but that was exactly the intent of the law that the alderman passed in April, 2003.

Well Gang, I will get into the details of each suit in future installments of this series.

Bill

Home Boy

Mystic Fish,

I believe that you are seriously misinformed. Maybe you've been listening to the Nose. Maybe you are the Nose.

Yes, I have studied the "proposal" that you refer to. The city is already subsidizing the mall building by providing city services that cost more than the taxes the city collects. We don't need more of the same.

There are only a few of the jobs that you talk about, and they are poorly paid. We do need entry level jobs for folks without experience, but the plan that Mystic View has been fighting for would create a lot more, as well as a lot more jobs at every skill level.

The developer's plan will never be built because the early parts of it create so much traffic that it will use up the roads needed for the rest of it.

The EPA and OSHA have nothing to do with development at Assembly Square, and the MBTA is not, as youy say, "on board."

Andy Dufresne

Let's be honest, we've all shopped at Target, the Christmas tree shop, K-mart and other retail stores. They have low prices and provide one-stop shopping; a prized asset with Boston's worsening traffic. So why should we work to stop more of them from being built and consider moving our patronage to other stores further away or higher price mom and pop stores? The fact is, no matter how convenient or budget-friendly big box retailers may be to us, they have an enormous negative impact on the community. Like blisters mistaken for healthy growth, they stress nearly every aspect of our community as they gobble up land, hundreds of thousands or square feet of floor space at a time, leaving mothballed hulks in their tracks and their traffic issues that create more pollution for us.
What are we doing to increase our neighborhood protections from this? I know some of the changes are well intended, but it may take time to separate those changes from the ones designed to give developers absolute power. Developers have an opportunity to appeal any decision made by bureaucrats, boards or commissions of our board of alderman. In fact they see law suits as just another tool in their toolbox that they use often. Neighborhoods, local stakeholders and citizens deserve the same opportunity to appeal decisions that directly affect them.
Let’s give neighborhoods a chance to win other battles, which will be fought uphill the entire way against developments going on all over Somerville, in your neighborhood and in mine.
Should we champion the neighborhoods fighting the big box in Assembly Square? Should we ensure that opportunities at assembly square for mixed use and neighborhood integrated small-scale retail are not lost? Right now the developers have chosen to create a big box heavy mall that will undoubtedly fail for us in the near future. Let’s see the office space and affordable housing then! Where is it? We have to see to believe it. I believe our town is being taken for ride here.
Every big box retailer adds cars to arterial streets by the tens of thousands, clogging already congested intersections and thoroughfares. If big boxes are to rein over Somerville, they must be held responsible for the traffic and other issues they cause.
An issue that receives far too little attention is that the vast majority of big box retailers are non-union. Even as starving students, the money saved by shopping at Home Depot instead of Ricky’s contributes to a company that sees nothing wrong with paying its employees minimum wage with no benefits while preventing them from organizing. Personally, I prefer to pay an extra 5 dollars for a Christmas tree or 25 cents for a box of Kleenex at the corner store and know that I'm not contributing to the degradation of the people checking me out.
Locally owned businesses also suffer with the presence of big boxes. Some people undoubtedly see no value in "mom and pop" businesses, but they are an important part of our community that prevents the homogenization of Somnerville.
We need to start thinking about Buffer zones for neighborhoods and time restrictions for truck deliveries and garbage pickup. This may seem extravagant at first glance, but picture for a second living with a family and a baby only several feet away from 24-hour parking lot lights, loitering customers, outdoor fertilizer and potting soil displays, idling trucks and a giant red sun in the shape of a "K", crowds of people leaving Bars at 3 am. Do neighborhood protections and fines for messy businesses still seem so frivolous? And not just for assembly square but for crowded neighborhoods with new development all over Somerville.
Few people consider that we heavily regulate where pornography - a perfectly legal product - can be sold simply because we "don't like" stores that sell it and "don't like" their impact on our community. I'm not advocating removing any regulations on pornography, but the analogy shows the importance and legitimacy of limiting business rights in our neighborhood. Why aren’t we fining the local bar that has thousands of cigarette buts outside and rats out back?
The big box issue will remain at the forefront of our City’s agenda. Let's hope that Somerville will fall under the category of "never again." The decisions for Assembly Square are not final. Some may consider big boxes to be an issue only for elitist liberals. I prefer to believe that a larger group of people can appreciate the seriousness and complexity of these issues.

Yorktown Street

Well Gang wrote, "You keep saying Somerville is going benefit from increase tax base? How? Won’t that drive up my taxes too? If it does, it will drive up rents and drive people out."

I think I can explain that one. The land at Assembly Square will be worth more when it is built up. Therefore, the City government can collect more taxes on it. So, even though residents like you and me pay the same, the City comes out ahead.

Increasing the tax BASE means that the City can collect more money without raising your taxes or mine. It's different than increasing the tax RATE, the percentage that we all pay.

In fact, you increase the tax base and you don't have to increase the tax rate. In other words, when businesses pay more to keep the City running, residents can pay the same or less and still get good services. Does that help make it clearer?

RAT

JL already has his first grievance in front of Macaluso.
WOW!! This kid didn't take long to start being a bug up the admin's butt.
JT is grieving her supervisor, LD.
Holds no water.
0 for 1 already.
Is this kid alright or what?
He better get SM to pick him up for another ride-around to calm down before Joey Mac decides that 10 till 2 isn't needed either!
This is gonna get really fun for me.
I'm right in the middle and they have no idea.Stay tuned..............

thenoseknows

hey bill,nice to hear from you.well a few years ago i saw a great plan for the land at assembly sq.it had parkland,ball parks.underground parking,retail,cafes,bookstores,residential,office space,a marina and more.you remember this plan.the mftf had a lot to do with it and ill tell ya, it was well received by a majority of elected officials and also gravaster, the developer at the time.what happened was some members of the mvtf wanted more and no one on the mvtf has the ,oh i dont know for lack of a better word,balls, to say no to one of their own, so you asked for more the developer said no, and so the law suits. why couldnt you just compromise at that point and let the development begin?if you think for one minute the mvtf did every thing right and the administrations involved were all wrong then i will lose the last bit of respect i have for any of you. i will say, first remove the 2 by 4 from your own eye so you can see the splinter in mine.

theearshears

Thenoseknows,

It sounds like Bill is trying to tell it like it is, from what I hear so far these folks have done a lot of work for our town and should be commended no matter the outcome. A lot of people think slower development is better for the town anyway. I have to say, Mr. Nose, you sound a little bitter? Why? How has this affected you in particular?

thenoseknows

ears, its frustration, not bitterness.i am a live long resdent of this great city. my grandparents came here around 1910. three generations of my family graduated from our school system. how about some mutual cooperation and then some progress. this stalemate is more than frustrating, its annoying. who the hell are these people,mvtf, did i ask them to speak for me. did i vote for them.if they were around 30 years ago we probably wouldnt have the t in davis sq.they agree on nothing with anyone even each other. lets move ahead its called progress, your progessives arent you? you dont even do what your political affiliation implies. that should tell you all someting

theearshears

dude you are crazy!

Bill Shelton

Nose,

I genuinely understand your frustration. Somerville once enjoyed one of the strongest, richest communities of human relationships in the U.S., and much of that fabric has disintegrated. Our children and many other good people are being forced to live elsewhere because newcomers have bid the price of housing out of reach.

Those newcomers bring skills and experience that could contribute to our city, but many of them direct their focus elsewhere, perhaps to the careers that give them the income needed to pay the housing prices. So many things cry out to be done, and all of them urgently, yet our tax base can barely support the status quo.

The way things look to me, the forces responsible for these conditions are the same as those bringing big boxes to Assembly Square, rather than liberals or progressives. BTW, I have never thought of myself as a liberal, and if I knew what a progressive was, I could say whether or how I am one.

Nose, I was moved by an earlier post in which you expressed your disappointment that we don't all work together. And yes, I hear it as frustration rather than bitterness.

Our city has done remarkably well over the last quarter-century in managing demographic changes that in most communities would have produced ongoing drive-by shootings. We tolerate each other, but we haven't figured out how to understand each other and work together.

I believe that happens when, across cultural and class differences, we find something that we all care about and we work together to make it happen. The focus isn't on "How are we going to get along?" but on "How are we going to get this done." But in the process, we learn to appreciate, trust, and understand each other. Eight years ago, I was hoping that transforming Assembly Square could be such a focus. I guess that I was naive.

Nose, I am doing the best that I know how, based on all of the evidence available to me. to describe how we got here. I take exception to suggestions that I am lying or distorting history. The accounts that I hear today do distort that history, and I think that we need to understand it if anything good is to come out of it.

I am not suggesting that I know everything, or that even my opinions, based on what I do know, are right. If other people have evidence, I would like them to present it. On both sides of acrimoniue issues, I hear neighbors who adjust reality to fit their ideology, and I acknowledge being one of them in my 20s and 30s. As I get grayer of beard and longer of tooth, I see ideology as a barrier to cooperation, and I'm only influenced by evidence.

Which leads me back to your remembrance. Yes, I do remember a plan with a ball field. However, no develpoer has ever proposed undergound parking, unless you are referring to IKEA's proposal to put parking on the first floor of their store, like they did Avon.

I will search the materials that I have to find that plan, talk to Mystic View folks, and give you straight answers on if, how, and why, they opposed it. If you can remember who proposed it, or when, it would help.

I can tell you this. Mystic View's criteria for good development have remained the same since the Good Times Emporium meeting that I wrote about this week. Rather than continually upping the ante, they made significant concessions on those critera, first to IKEA, and more recently to FRIT. Both companies declined to negotiate.

Maybe we can't work together, but let's try.

Bill

To Yorktownstreet,

Sure you answer the question on the basic non-causual level. But lets see how it is applied here. An increase tax base could cause low income people are forced to move out of their neighborhoods because rents become so high that they can't afford to pay them. This usually happens when services get better and people that make more money start to come in. As quality of life gets better, it gets harder for low-income folks to afford to stay in the community .

Yorktown Street

So, it sounds like you're saying if we get more taxable industry in Somerville, and we can offer better services at no additional cost to the taxpayers, then more people will want to live here. They will bid up the price of real estate, and that will make it harder for low-income people to stay. Is that the scenario you're worried about?

It's possible. But the answer, I would say, is not to suffer with what we have instead, and it's not to watch middle-class people flee Somerville because schools, parks, etc., are inadequate, either. We need to make housing more affordable in residential neighborhoods at the same time we're building up the tax base. Also, we need to help low-income people earn more, and create good-paying jobs in Somerville!

Bill Shelton

Yorktown,

I may be tho thick to understand your first post, but I believe that your second one defines exactly what we should be working for.

Bill

thenoseknows

bill, the plan with the parkland,marina ballfield,bookstore with cafe, ect was presented by gravistar around 2000-2001. it was the last plan before the you talked that innocent women from starting this lame lawsuit. it pushed gravistar to the edge. they bent over backward for this development but backward isnt enuff for the mvtf. they want the developers to bleed.so they quit sold,the land made, a huge profit,thanks to you guys,and moved on.now you have a developer with even more money who will ride this mess to the end.look im not picking on anyone i just want this land to have a development that will make most people happy and is good for most of us. you know that no one can please everyone all the time.

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