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May 29, 2006


SPOA Scare Tactics/ distorting facts

SPOA consists of a handfull of selfish property owners that are using scare tactics via mail to distort the proposal made by the city.


And so this debate will continue in an emotional way until we get the facts.

Let me ask the Somerville News to inform its readers with the facts:

What does the current ordinance say concerning conversions and how does that compare to the proposed ordinance?

How many complaints has the responsible city agency received concerning the examples the Mayor cited("jacking up the rent" "little or no prior notice")

How many of the hundreds of condo conversions in the last 4 years have been undertaken by Somerville residents converting their triple deckers or two families, versus developers that have decended on the city for financial gain?

I received the SPOA mailing. I read the Mayor's commentary. Neither party has fully convinced me that they are telling the whole truth.

We know how JN feels about the issue, how about giving us some hard facts and let us make the decision.

C Me in Civil Court

I just want to let the landlords of Somerville know that if your Alderman pass this proposal, I will be seeing a lot of you in my court. For if your tenant(s) contest your proposed increase in rental fees, they will file it with us.

Read carefully every passage in the proposal. The words are selected very carefully. The word condo is masking the rental fee increases you will be subject too if this passes. This Administration by far, never does anything that would favor YOU. This passage of the condo conversion is going to benefit the developers to the max. Why else would Joe propose this type of legislation?


Was it a condo in the float?


OK, so where on the city's website is this proposal? I'd like to read it. Can't find it so far. Anyone have a link?


I also looked on the city's website and can't find it.

Longtime resident who respecrts their neighbors

Let’s face it. I lived here for most if not all of my life. But I would like to quit kidding myself with this “we have culture” thing. There are several absentee owned properties on my street that have caused nothing but problems in my neighborhood. There are also some people that can not afford to take care of their property and the several animals that live there. From numerous code violations to shady characters through the gamut to smells that find their way into my house when I am serving dinner and unsightly garbage piled yards I wish these people would sell their properties! Even if it means converting them to condos!

I am paying a lot more taxes than I use too. I (and you) deserve a cleaner safer neighborhood. So let me ask you this? How did the neighborhoods in Porter and Davis Squares get so cleaned up and get so much control over city services that other areas are neglected as a result? It seems like the neighborhoods with the most neighborhood meetings and groups like Somdog are just much better run. Subsequently they get more than there fair share of city services. Is it because of their alderman or the condo buyers that organize? I want to protect my investment too. And a big part of that is raising the bar for our expectations of city services and collaboration from elected officials. Let’s put “public service” back into “public service.”

To start with, let’s discuss the fact that 90% of city ordinances, rules and zoning laws concerning special permits that are designed to help neighbors are only enforced in either select neighborhoods are within 100 yards of an Alderman’s house. If these conditions are not met the rules are completely flown out of the window. Zoning and other rules will have a profound affect upon the future desirability of our neighborhoods. It directly affects how much we can enjoy our own properties but these zoning laws must be enforced, not changed or ignored to suit the needs of the local Alderman, or elected official, and their fence riding, staying in power antics.

The ramifications of zoning and ordinances are far reaching, and if zoning is to be used to its full potential, it must be
Understood and intelligently applied. The right to zone arises from the ability of government to protect its citizens--POLICE POWER. The need to zone occurs because of the congestion and conflicts caused by assembling many people together within a relatively small area. Zoning is thus the subordination of personal rights to protect the rights of the majority. In turn the individual is protected from the encroachment by others or from undesirable neighboring uses.

A good definition of zoning would be

"Zoning consists of dividing the city into districts or zones and regulation within such districts the use of land and the use, heights, and area of buildings for the purpose of conserving and promoting the health, safety, morals, convenience, and general welfare of the people of the city, neighborhood, or zone. Zoning is the instrument for giving effect to that part of the comprehensive City Plan or master plan which is concerned with the privately-owned land- as distinguished from that part which is concerned with public uses and facilities. The zoning map or zoning plan along with the regulations pertaining thereto are thus a part of the master plan--in essence, the compartment of the zoning resolution and its administration are the legislative and administrative acts or processes for giving effect to or carrying out this part of the comprehensive plan."

The very fact that we don’t have a master plan, along with Alderman passing ordinances to get rid of signs or have trash put into barrels with lids and then only having these ordinances enforced near their own homes while ignoring the various concerns of the rest of the community leads me to believe that we have long way go before new rules will better the whole community.


Mabe I'm not correct but does not his Honor rent?

James Norton

Dickybird -

For the love of GOD, will you please spell "maybe" correctly! You have some decent stuff to add here, but you're driving me mental with that one misspelled word. Thanks.

Jimmy D -

You're right, I am against the silly-ass ordinance. And I have had enough time to look at both sides of the issue. It's a no brainer. The problem now is the really stupid Republican-style scare tactics that the SPOA is trying to full peoples heads with. It doesn't bother me so much that they have a Cambridge PO Box for contact information - the so called "progressives" bring in people from Amherst and elsewhere every election, so why should we care too much about the location of a PO Box? Also, I agree with you on the whole "Hug a Veteran, choke a Liberal" campaign.

Everyone else -

Did I mention "Glines for Ward 4 Alderman" yet?

Think about it.



Your’s is certainly a legitimate point-of-view. The problem I have with it is the mistaken notion that there are inalienable
rights of property ownership. There is no such thing. When the Declaration of Independence was written, the original phrase was “…that among these are life, liberty, and property.” This was changed before adoption to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” More importantly, without government (in our case, the will of the people, since the people are sovereign in a democracy)the very concept of property rights has no meaning. Without government laws, courts, and enforcement, the only property rights would be whatever could be imposed by brute force. It’s very likely that in such a world neither you nor I would have any property, let alone rights in property. Because government (the will of the people as expressed in law) creates the concept of private property rights, it certainly has the authority to alter those rights as circumstances change. This is what happened with the new law. The law may need some tweeking at the edges, but I see nothing in the points you raise that invalidate the changes in property rights.

William Howard

What about the cities history of selectively enforcing laws, ordinances, and using public process when ever they see fit in one case but totally skipping it in other incidents? You know like when they should give notice to abutters? They seem to do this only when it suits their needs without regard to fair democratic process. They don’t enforce the laws that are already on the books fairly. We are putting the buggy in front of the horse here. Let’s elect a new set of people in office then debate this issue.

William Howard

I agree with the other poster. this law needs a lot more work before it just passes. A provision that gives new developments an equal share of the responisbillity of providing housing in the form of lotteries and moving expensises is a great idea. THis law has hte potential to unfairly impact people who have paid their dues to the community and owned property here for a long time. Outside develpers come in and get off scot free. Or worse yet they get subsidies so that they can pay for more lobbying.

Jack Straw

The length of ownership is a moot point.

The mayor said several times that he opposes rent control, but his prososal actually contains the language which would freeze rents or only allow increases up to a certain percentage is the owner decides to go condo. How is that not rent control?

In addition, there are several provisions that are downright insidious.One of them allows tenants to walk away from a lease without the consent of the owner and without any consequences. Try telling your mortgage company that you are wlaking away from the property, and there is nothing they can do about it.

If you are looking for the entire proposal, it's located under the Condo Conversion Board section on the city's website

Danny Deever

Oh, what's the news from City Hall?
The guileless voter said;
He's kicked away his ladder:
I guess he's lost his head.

He's sent his orders to "the gang" --
We used to be the "Boys" --
To know our place and keep it,
And quit our fuck!ng noise.

He's chummin with the SCC,
He'd please the PDS
For they pet him and they praise him
And tell him they know best.

Remember who your friends are Joe -- White for Mayor in '07.

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