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December 31, 2006

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Well Said

Very well said. And how sad, because it's all true. Somerville will be no more, and that's a shame because Somerville has always been a small city of neighborhoods, parishes and schools. When you meet someone you instantly have a connection because 'your family used to live next door to my grandmother', or 'I remember your brother, he was a year ahead of me at the Cummings School' or 'didn't you hang out at Powderhouse Park with Jimmy O'Leary and Angie Scotti?'. It will be a 'bedroom community' in the city, full of nameless faces who aren't invested in the city, and are there only because of it's
'convenience'. There will be no neighborhoods to speak of. And I feel like the politicians are doing this for their own purpose. How much easier to get re-elected year after year when most of the populace doesn't vote? Use a few catch-phrases that make the new yuppies happy and you're set. Somerville will be nothing more than a wasteland, full of buildings and people, but with no soul.

p

The trash argument totally backfires. One of the reasons I'm OK with some gentrification is I'm sick and tired of how my low income neighbors litter all the time. Its disgusting how they think that's acceptable behavior. You don't see littering in nice neighborhoods. And no, if the trash guys themselves leave trash, the new owners will sweep it up because they take some pride in their houses and their lives, which is why they could afford to live in a future Somerville that is not the slum it is today.

Also, why does everyone talk about how there is supposedly this great "community" My neighbors are not friendly to me, not to mention that their houses have all kinds of crap on their lawns and they play their car stereos too loud. I guess maybe it is a community if you've lived here 30 years and you have your friends, but that's a click that you are not inviting anyone new into, so I don't know why its something anyone else should respect or should be held up on a pedestal.

Born Here

Somerville, "City of Strangers" !! Good catch phrase for the new Cambridgville. Soon Dr. Mrs. McCarthy will take the bus from the Lil Sisters down to Union Sq. to take the Green line to downtown crossing looking for the old Filenes Basement. Sorry Mrs. McC, that store, like you is all part of history. No room for people like us in the NEW Somerville. At least the City can boast of keeping the public safety building in tack. Green Line, Orange Line, new squares, smart growth, IKEA, the list goes on and on. Everything except a safe building for our public safety people to work in. Hey, at least they can take the trolley to work!!

Hasnt Ben Sober

People of SOMERVILLE unite.....Who in their right mind would want the GREEN line to be extended to our Fabulous UNION SQ...What are the Powers to be thinking.....Is this what they in the know call "Progress"......Hello 2007 Somerville weather u like it or KNOT..( DON).........the Green line is coming and along with it all the opportunities that brings with it.....TIMe TO MAKE SOME VERY EASY MONEY WITH somervillr real estate if you have the Know How and vision.....connections and cash........If u don't like it move to MEDFA or move to ROXBURY...........Happy New Year to all you FOOLS out thier,,,,especially Vinny "WALK AROUND MONEY" PIRO...think about all the extra cash the VINNMIESTER would be able to generate with this situation if he were an elected official these days....Vinny could show them a thing or 2.........Go Vinchenzo Go......what a Family legacy......

older guy

Remember last summer? Pictures of Alderman Sullivan with a rat in a shovel. Stories by Carsosa of Rats in her yard. A concrete garage being chewed into by Super Rat.
Then our rightous board of Alderpeople passed the trash ordinence. Lo and behold, where are the rat stories?
My feeble mind is wondering if this was a ploy to raise money by fines.

Pay attention

I think it's time that people outside of the Union Square area start paying attention to what is being proposed. I think people are under the impression that they're going to fix the streets and maybe upgrade the storefronts. But the changes they're proposing will turn Union Square into another Kendall Square, with 10 and 12 story buildings, full of what? And am I the only person who thinks that 3 or 4 green line stops in a city the size of somerville would be disastrous? We would be nothing but subway stops with a few apartment buildings and condos in between. That is NOT what I want my city to become!!

The Mole

Older Guy, you hit the Nail on the Head. All this hoopla about the two and four legged rodents has since gone by the wayside. This ordinance that was passed was a smoke and mirror for someone personal agenda. Someone is making a buck on this and it certainly is not US.

It will cost us that taxpayers to purchase these containers and then the Board Of Health Inspectors, by the way Boss Hogg's son is one of the two, to enforce those ordinances.

I can tell you one thing, my property is MY PROPERTY. I have given no on any authority to gain access to my back, front, middle or side yards. In the Hills of Tennessee, they call this trespassing and the McCoys didn't take lightly when the Hatfields came upon them.

No Trespassing sighs are going up tomorrow.

The Mole

Tricky

Tomorrow's trash pickup ought to be interesting. I wasn't able to get the garbage cans to the curb last week due to a number of reasons (Tuesday pickup due to a Monday holiday, plus the guys came around before I frigging woke up due to Russell having to make two days' worth of pickups, etc).

Anyhow, our four cans are full due to extra Christmas garbage (generated primarily by the largesse of the Trickettes' grandparents). I've got two more large bags ready to go out in the back hall. The upstairs tenants no doubt have stuff to go out tomorrow. The cans are going to be piled to the sky.

If I've got any luck at all, they'll come around before I take off for work (because they're making two days' worth of pickups tomorrow as well), and I can toss the extra bags in then. If not, will S(a)tan Jr. swing by to write half a dozen tickets?

older guy

There's trash bags out on the sidewalk on my street right now, Pickup will be on Wednesday.
The trash belongs to students( I guess ) who rent from an absentee landlord. There are also uncovered barrels in front of the two apartment houses owned by this guy.
I can see now, that dead rat in the shovel is going to bring in some "moola".

REVERSEDAVILLE

Graffiti, Vandalism, Theft, some of us will make sure we slow down gentrification. increase the crime rate and help slow down and reverese gentrification!!!

Union Sq. Revisited

Taken from an old Somerville pamphlet:

"Two years before it was incorporated in 1872, Somerville
was a town of 14,700. By 1900, it had expanded by almost 500% to a population of
69,000.

Union square remained the main commercial and municipal center of Somerville.
A primary reason for the importance of the Square was the growth of the street railway.
The first horse drawn streetcar in the Boston area was established in 1852 between Union
Square and Harvard Square. Providing a quick and inexpensive means of commuting to
work, streetcars proliferated throughout the Boston area after the Civil War. In 1899 the
first electric trolley was installed on Beacon Street in Boston. A transportation map of
1892 shows railway lines operating on Somerville Avenue, Washington Street, and
summer Street. According to one source, West end trolley cars stopped in Union Square
88 times a day in Union Square.

Street railway transportation opened up a much wider territory for housing. Now
working people could live up to six miles away and still commute to work within an
hour. During this time Boston changed from a compact seaport to an industrialized
center. Consequently, the downtown became a less desirable place to live and those who
could afford the move relocated to the quieter outlying regions.
It was during this period that Somerville’s dairy farms, stone quaries and
brickyards were changed into residential neighborhoods and Somerville became known
as the “City of Homes”. According to the 1940 housing census, 76.4% of all dwelling
units in Somerville were built between 1880 and 1920, and 50% of Somerville’s houses
were constructed between 1890 and 1900. This rapid real estate development caused
Somerville to become one of the most densely settled cities in the country.
An example of the new industrialization which dominated Boston and Somerville
economy is North Packaging and Provision Company. This company, referred to as the
largest packaging company of East Chicago, covered twelve acres at the intersection of
Somerville Avenue and Medford Street. At its peak it employed 1,000 men and had a
capacity of butchering 5,000 hogs per day. Established in 1855, it was incorporated in
1890 with G.F. Swift as president. Other smaller industries close to Union Square were a
barrel maker, S. Armstrong & Co., employing 80 men, and I.H. Brown & Co. at 289
Washington Street, a mill working operation that had mechanized drying equipment.
With the advent of corporate economic development came a new class of whit
collar workers. Union Square was a prime location for business and professional offices.
Bow Street became known as “Doctors’ Row” as several doctors and dentists established
residences with offices there. The major banks and local newspaper located nearby, and
the upper floors of the Union Square block building were occupied by real estate,
insurance and other office workers.

Later, during the Depression of the thirties, business lagged and many buildings
were significantly altered to adapt to the slackening pace. For the past thirty-five years, the automobile has had an increasingly adverse effect on the Square’s economy; shopping centers with drive in parking have encroached on the commercial livelihood of the
Square. Although some offices remain, the number of professional practices has
decreased. Elderly housing has been constructed near the Square, and many community
organizations are finding uses for the buildings, which have outgrown their original
purposes.

Solh Zendeh

What a lot of belly-aching about something that is a totally inevitable part of a free market. Reality check: gentrification occurs when people who have more money want to live in (and re-arrange the living conditions of) a place where people who have less money currently live. Next you should start talking about how cheap gas was back in the good old days.

If you want to fear something, go to google and type in 'peak oil'. It is going to knock you, me, all of us here right on our ass. If you are not prepared, don't say I didn't warn you.

Union Sq. Revisited

Solh,

Not belly-aching as you say. Just pointing out the following: "A transportation map of
1892 shows railway lines operating on Somerville Avenue, Washington Street, and
summer Street. According to one source, West end trolley cars stopped in Union Square
88 times a day in Union Square."

Just showing that Somerville was loaded at one time with trolley stops all over the city.

I would love to see something dramatic done to Union Sq. Anything to lower the tax base and monetarily increase the housing market.

Union Sq. Revisited

Solh,

"Peak Oil" is a very scary situation. If it does in fact happen then Union Sq. or any square for that matter would be rather pointless.

Do you have any good "Survivor" books that I can read?????

Solh Zendeh

Union Sq Revisited, I definitely was not directing my comments at you, though I can see how you would think I was - sorry about that. My patience is at it's limit with these "old timers" that say how great it used to be here. I grew up here too, I've seen it go from a crummy place with lots of crime (I'm 31), to a place that I can barely afford to live in. But I don't blame the upper middle class that simply wants to move into the city, clean it up, and make it once again a place where people can get around without a car. (Well, I hate them a little bit every time I go by my old neighborhood and realize that in my life I will never be able to afford to live there again. But I don't get hung up on it - it's Tough S**t and there are harder things than to be born a healthy straight white male in the richest country in the history of the world - genetically I hit the easy-living jackpot).

Peak Oil will definitely occur - even the major oil companies agree on that. I'm hoping that if enough people simply understand the situation we are in, we can make some preparations - for example rebuilding our rail systems - that will greatly mitigate the disruptions in our daily lives that a (very slowly) shrinking supply of oil will cause.

If enough people are aware of the issue, and actually have the back bone to face it, instead of assuming some egghead will invent the totally baloney hydrogen economy for them, I'm certain that our country is not a lost cause. But I get this funny feeling after I read some of the posts on this web log that people just aren't ready to buck down and do the hard work - they just want to gripe about how it was better back then before "those other people" showed up.

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