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June 28, 2007


Somerville Resident

Not to spoil the fun, but... How much do these fireworks cost? And what is the point of it, exactly?... Couldn't we do something more productive with these funds? Something that still brings the community together? It seems just a waste to me...


The point of having firework displays is to honor and celebrate the independence of this country from Great Britain. The founding fathers suggested that we do this with great fanfare with "bonfires" and "explosives" to commemorate the 4th of July. I think that is why we do it.

The fireworks tonight were great. Thanks to NStar. And just to clarify something that is not quite true. The mayor would have you beleive that this does not cost the taxpayers a dime. It does. All DPW, police, fire, traffic and parking and other city employees working overtime are paid for by the city.

I think it's worth it. But tell the truth, Mayor, just tell the truth.

Bill Blass

Here is the thing people. We all like the Sherman cafe in Union Square. There is good food there. But what is the deal with the AC over the door dripping on you and creatinga stink puddle by the door? For Christs sakes people, go to Tags or Home Depot and they sell a plastic hose designed to fit on that AC. It will only cost you a couple of nickels. Put one end of that hose on the AC to keep it from dripping and then run the other end of the hose down into the nice potted plant you have sitting out there. This will stop all the slimy mold from growing around there and keep the entry way clear. Plus water your plant.

Think about it. That is all.

Ron Newman

Walking into the Sherman and telling someone that would be more effective than posting it as a comment to an unrelated article about fireworks.

lifelong res

The fireworks display last night was wonderful. It makes me feel proud to be from Somerville. I think it's great that the Mayor reinstituted the fireworks. I remember going to Trum to watch the fireworks when I was little. Thank you Mayor and all the City workers that worked so hard to make a wonderful, safe evening (even if they got paid o.t.)

Somerville Resident

OK, we got it, fireworks are pretty and all that. BUT, again, what is the actual COST to the taxpayers and to the city, when all is said and done? Yes, just add up all that overtime and all costs. If it's all done out of patriotic feelings, then why don't these city employees VOLUNTEER for this event instead of being paid for overtime out of our pockets?

... And I'm not even going to go into the possible symbolic meaning of a gigantic firework eruption for the male ego of our leaders, but you can imagine it yourself...

give me a break

You must be one miserable person. I don't care what it costs. All you had to do was go out last night and see a huge crowd enjoying the night. Kids with smiles from ear to ear. Seniors enjoing the music and the great sunsetters performing. Of course this costs a few bucks but if you got out from behind your computer screen and went out and saw all that joy for yourself maybe your life would be improved. I feel great today because I went out and enjoyed a great event that brought joy to young and old alike.

Bill Blass

Cost can not allways be measured in dollars and cents. But when it can, its impacts are as simple as you might think. What is the cost of not doing any community building? What is the cost of not having any traditions? What is the cost of a low moral when there work performance drops?

Yorktown Street

I'm with you, Bill, but you mean low "morale." Low morals are something else again!

Ron Newman

The fireworks bring people in our city together, just like the Sunsetters, ArtBeat, ArtsUnion, the Memorial Day parade, and the New Year's Day flag raising on Prospect Hill.

Born Here

.....and most importantly the fireworks brings large paychecks !! BAA BOOM !! Your DPW says "HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY"

Fiscal conservative

So, can anyone provide an estimate of the cost of the fireworks event, including overtime and everything? Then we can decide whether it's just a few bucks or not. I'm all in favor of community building, I just don't see watching NStar-sponsored fireworks as a great community building opportunity; it's something that lasts one night, and perhaps a few hours after that. It's basically a distraction from the real problems.
Why not organize a public screening and then discussion of Sicko, instead?

Solh Zendeh

Parades, art events and fireworks do not a community make. A real community is made up of people with economic ties. This is why so-called big box stores are so effective at destroying communities. They remove the social/economic ties between the merchant and the customer. Once that relationship has been broken, you get what we have now more and more, a bunch of workers with absolutely no investment in the place they inhabit.

We're "restoring our community" with pathetic facsimiles of tradition, while selling out our real financial future to corporations an ocean away.

The lack of community you feel is absolutely rooted in the idea that we all work and/or shop at huge multinational corporations instead of running our own businesses and buying and selling with our neighbors.

We already have owner occupant tax breaks, how about something similar for business licenses and building permits. Let's get local people actually investing in their own town.

Somerville Resident

Solh, I could not agree more. These distraction events, parades and whatnot are just a dead shell of what a community should be. Drink a few beers feel "happy", forget about the real problems for a few hours and then go back to your hole.

it *is* funny

I dunno guys ... the Fireworks and Illuminations are the few events where "new" Somerville and "old" Somerville hang out together. I'm not saying it's not worth asking just how much it cost the City, but I do think it's community building. Everyone on my street, from the hippy family that's been here since before Somerville was cool, to the retired Irish guy who always knows who to call for what, to the single mom and her little league kids -- I mean everyone was there.


"How much do these fireworks cost?"?

"distraction events"?

buncha 4th of July grinches around here...

and some of the griches around here won't be happy until no one in Somerville knows ANY of their neighbors well enough to say "hello" when they pass on the street.

If you dont want a community feeling in the place you live, then move to a community that has no events that nurture the community. Whats next, no more school sports because they are not fiscally smart?

If that is the type of communuity you want, then move to Stoneham.


Great job with the fireworks the first four crackers took 15 minutes. What about the tax bill I received today. Now that's fireworks! These guys just set a record for the highest and most frequent tax increases the city has ever experienced (my 25 plus years of owner ship). Yes, Joey go to Florida and find a new police chief. What is that cost? When was the last time an employer traveled to see you about a job! Happy 4th!


If u were there you would know that the first four fireworks were TEST RUNS.

Ron Newman

Yes, they clearly announced that they were firing a test at 9:00. The real fireworks started at 9:10 (five minutes ahead of schedule).


yeah, you know, i thought maybe my watch was i'm not the only one who thought they were ahead.

ward 5

I would like to say one thing. I was born & raised in Somerville. And I was so proud of it. One of the best memories was the 4th of July! There were potato sack races & hot dogs & rides in Trum Field. For the kids that had no place to go on the 4th of July. On that night we had fire works & it was the best. I remember this and it does not happen anymore, why? Now it happens when the pols are working & on the 4th they have their summer places to go to. What about the people that are left here in Somerville on the 4th? Too bad for us, we are poor & the celebration happened a week before when the pols were here working!!

Now it happens when the politisions are working, they do not live here anymore & they have summer places. What has happened to the great place I knew

Ron Newman

Don't Somerville people still go to Prospect Hill Park to watch Boston's July 4th fireworks? I went there a few years ago and it was quite crowded.

ward 5


Solh Zendeh

rachelfromtheville and it *is* funny,

Thank you for your responses - I understand that I'm sounding grinchy. I'm not really objecting to the cost - I'm certain it was a buck a resident - maximum.

The thing is, I don't want a community *feeling*. I want an actual community - and that requires real financial ties to each other. Getting together once or twice a year feels good, and to a certain extent it is good - it's better than never of course.

A real community requires that the people working and owning and investing in a place actually live there. And visa versa - people that live in the community work, own and invest there.

I'll get a warm and fuzzy feeling when my community events are brought to me by the local-owned restaurant/hardware store/furniture store, and not Starbucks/Home Depot/Ikea.

Ron Newman

Which does happen. For instance, last years ArtBeat sponsors include Redbones, Diva, Anna's Tacqueria, Ames Envelope, Gentle Giant, Johnny D's, Winter Hill Bank, and Jack Connolly's insurance agency.


well solh...i do admire your anti-corporation attitude. however, i did not hear anything about starbucks/home depot/ikea sponsoring any of the recent events. Is that true? I have however heard about events being sponsered by all of the businesses Ron mentioned.

oh and WARD5, Ron is too from Somerville. Anyone who takes an interest in their community the way Ron does is a part of it no matter HOW LONG they have lived in it.


Ward5, people like you who think you have to be born here to be qualified to be a Somerville Resident or to be part of the Community or to even dare speak about Somerville is the very reason why Somerville may at times feel like not the "great" place you remember from your childhood. You are why the community is divided. Now you don't want Ron to speak! How long does Ron have to live here before he is allowed to voice his opinion? 20 years? 30 years? Or is it just too bad for him because he wasn't born here?

As for the poor people from Somerville who can't go away on the fourth of July. I could probably afford to go away on the fourth of July, but I don't because there is so much happening here that makes it fun to be here.

1) Somerville has its own fireworks several days before the fourth of July and they are terrific.
2) Somerville has its own Family Fun Day on Saturday. I bet you could find a sack race there if you went and you'll also find hotdogs and tons of kids having fun just like you remember from your childhood.
3) Somerville is a short bus or subway ride from the greatest fireworks in the entire country on the Fourth of July. Go down to the Charles River and you'll have a great time. But wait, you don't even have to leave Somerville to see these fireworks. Just go to the top of one of Somerville's many hills and look up in the sky and you'll see them.

Somerville hasn't gone to hell since you were a kid. Apparently you haven't noticed because you spend all your time hiding in your house so you won't have to interact with anyone who wasn't born here.

Somerville Resident

"I'm certain it was a buck a resident - maximum."

That's a buck that could have been used for something else. Let me think, how about the "City of Somerville Scholarship Donations" fund for which our property tax statements have a specific box/entry? How about putting an entry for "Fireworks Donations" there and instead automatically charging $1 per resident for the Scholarship? Just an idea... It's always "only a buck", but that buck would not be spent on something more useful, instead.
Oh, and by the way, why are our property taxes going up whereas our property values are going down? Why aren't the tax rates posted in big numbers on the statements (together with the rates of the previous 5 years)?

Somerville Resident

"I'm certain it was a buck a resident - maximum."

That's a buck that could have been used for something else. Let me think, how about the "City of Somerville Scholarship Donations" fund for which our property tax statements have a specific box/entry? How about putting an entry for "Fireworks Donations" there and instead automatically charging $1 per resident for the Scholarship? Just an idea... It's always "only a buck", but that buck would not be spent on something more useful, instead.
Oh, and by the way, why are our property taxes going up whereas our property values are going down? Why aren't the tax rates posted in big numbers on the statements (together with the rates of the previous 5 years)?


First I will address golf1 - Look at your tax rate (which is the important factor). The rate has gone down which is an anomoly compared to other cities and towns. The value of your home has increased - hmm I wonder why? Probably nothing to do with the strides that the administration and alderman are making. Now on to the fireworks... I was so proud to be a resident of Somerville that night. It is what being a community is all about. Funday is today and that also will be very well attended and another great sign of community.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of "haters" out there who will never be happy. Let's end these community gatherings, get rid of the green line, eliminate all development and lower the value of the Somerville schools all so we can keep the value of the homes down and you can pay less taxes.

By the way I agree that Ron is from Somerville. I may not always agree with him but he takes the time to pay attention and get involved in his city.

Ron Newman

I've lived here for over 22 years. Obviously I like Somerville, or else I wouldn't stay here.

Go Figure

As long as there are no 'nutty' Scientologists, right Ron? You didn't think you were going to get off that easily did you?

Typical Progressive... all views accepted... if and only if they correspond with your views.


Somerville Resident

Last time I checked, it was the Scientologists, members of an intolerant, totalitarian cult, who want to impose their views on others, not the other way around.
Ron is cool.

Somerville Resident

Also, don't forget that Scientology is not a "religion", it's a for-profit cult. You cannot trust adherents to Scientology or
Pat Robertson, or any other for-profit enterprise trying to operate under the guise of religion where their motives blatantly appear to be financial.
So, whatever Ron's comments on this were, I believe they were on target.


Somerville resident...I agree with you on the whole Scientology thing but u are a wicked grinch with the fireworks thing. you must not have any kids....have some, maybe they will lighten u up a little.

Somerville Resident

Hey, I'm not a wicked grinch! :) I did not say I don't like fireworks; on the contrary. But I'd be glad NOT to have them and instead have 5Ks go to a scholarship fund for kids who need it.

Just want to make sure people don't confuse a few colorful explosions with a job well done for our city (i.e., solving real problems that keep plaguing this city) by the Mayor and his buddies.


i still think u should change your posting name to Wicked Grinch ;)

Mr. White

Got to agree with "Somerville Resident" here. Working on your house and helping/talking with your neighbors makes a community. Doing some of the things that Ron does (involvement with bike group, Davis sq, etc) is also what "makes" a community. Standing around and watching fireworks does not a community make.

These fireworks were just a tax payers paid political commercial for the mayor. Simply refer to this article for proof and I quote "For the fourth time in as many years, Mayor Curtatone presents the first of two Independence Day celebrations in Somerville". If the mayor is "presenting" this to us then have him pay for the DPW / Fire / Police OT. Also, nice to have the property tax bills hit the next day. Great timing. What a bunch of ham-fisted clods these people that run this city are.

Observations, please name one thing the alderman / mayor have done to increase property values? Being next to Cambridge / Boston is what raised property values and having the T come into Davis in the 80s did it. Property values went up IN SPITE of those imbeciles.

I was born in Somerville, live in somerville, and own a business. Oh yeah.. and on the Ron issue... he may a bit of a commie/pinko, BUT he's OUR commie/pinko goddammit!

Somerville Resident

Thank you Mr. White, I'm glad someone else sees and agrees with some of these basic points (and expands on them). I totally agree with you that the fireworks were a tax-payer paid for commercial for the mayor. You'd think more clever people would be a little more subtle. Right, but that would require precisely being clever (and if that were the case, thing would also be run better in the city).
I'm still waiting to hear on a detailed breakdown of what the fireworks actually cost us. It's got to be several thousand dollars, depending on how many city employees actually worked overtime on this; I'll work on an estimate and post it soon.
Also, if this is such a great local community event, then why not invite all local, or at least MA, musicians/performers? We have plenty of great artists around. Instead, NO, we have to get the "USO Metropolitan New York performers". Wanna bet if you dig a little you'll find some of the usual nepotistic links with the organizers/sponsors somewhere?
Furthermore, forget that there are much better fireworks going on Wed in Boston... We have to have our own patriotic fireworks or else somebody's ego would deflate.
Finally, Ron is a good guy. He keeps us honest.

Somerville Resident / Sunsetter 2007

Listen... for all those out there that are complaining saying that money should of been used for some thing else.

Think.. there wasnt a single person there that wasnt smiling and enjoying the night. It is away to get the whole city together. See the problem with you all is that you only care about your money not if other people are happy or not. I was performing on the show as a sunsetter, and just to see every one coming up to me saying hopw much of a good job we did and how every thing was fun is amazing.. Thanks to all " THE MONEY" people had fun. It sort of sad when a "KID" has to tell most of you that you have to get your heads out of your asses and start actually caring about the community is pretty bad dont you think. and really do all the math about it all and each person is paying like 5 - 10 dollars. So really.. you all have to open up your mind and open up your heart. Because when you start putting a price to happieness even if it coston million of dollars your just wrong.
And stop bashing on the Mayor at least hes trying and if you have to complain about you go ahead run for mayor next time. Becuase sitting there and complaining about how hes doing such a terrible job isnt helping. Personally i think he doing a good job. This "city" is actually becoming a community.
And Every quarter, nickle, dime, pennie, is Worth it. So suck it up and live alittle.

Somerville Resident

Hello, friend. First, you should not try to steal my username :)
Second, a scholarship fund (just to make an example) could benefit much more from the $5-10 a person wasted instead on this crap. Third, the mayor is only trying to get reelected, end of the story: Trying to do a good job is purely incidental. Fourth, why were out-of-state performers invited, instead of local/MA performers? Fifth, smiling means squat. Many people rip you off while they smile at you (ahem, think of any politician, for example); ergo, contrary to what you seem to imply, smiling is not a necessary sign of happiness or bonding. Sixth, what new Somerville person did you meet and start having a meaningful conversation with on that evening? What new, community building connections, did you start because of that silly firework evening?
Finally, cite evidence this city is becoming a community; that would be of interest to anybody.

Ron Newman

I hope you realize you have insulted a middle-school or high-school student who is just trying to provide Somerville folks a little enjoyment with a free musical performance.

Somerville Resident

That's tragic! I still prefer local/MA artists to be invited here. Why the USO Metropolitan New York performers? Explain that, please.


OK, Somerville Resident...Ron is right, you insulted a KID... when you start insulting kids I start getting REALLY irritated.

Seriously, you sounded like a modern day cave man in that post. All this time i figured all your post were just meant to rile people up. Now I see that you are really just a jerk. Your last 2 posts were rude and just WRONG. It took guts for that kid to post on a thread where mainly adults post. You're a truly miserable gutless guy, you really are.

You are one of those people who finds a dark cloud in every sunny day.

If you hate Somerville so much(and yes, I am gonna have to say it) MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!

PLEASE MOVE!!!!!!!!!To a cabin in the woods of Canada without internet access!

Money Makes the World Go 'Round

If the fireworks cost too much money (and maybe they do) and if it's not about community but about politics (and maybe it is) then I would have to suggest that we cancel ArtBeat, the Memorial Day Parade, the Christmas Light Tour, the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Family Fun Day, the Sunsetters, the Senior Picnic, the New Years' Day Flag Raising, the Patriots' Day Ceremonies, etc., etc., etc. Because they all cost the city money, but they're all, at least in part, about community, as well as politics.

Somerville Resident

Hmmm, only rude in your mind. Besides, that "kid" is probably one of Curtatone's old buddies and not a kid at all. Welcome to the online world. Please, address the actual content of what I said/asked, if you have something to say.

Antoine Walker

It is clear that the Fireworks were a carefully orchestrated scheme in which the mayor and other community "leaders" worked with the boards of corporations such as Starbucks, Target, and Ikea to distract the people just long enough to push through the latest round of their infiltration into Somerville. And it succeeded. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Somerville Resident

Ahem, sorry to challenge your stereotypes, rfs, but... I'm not a guy... I'm a young AA woman... Oddly, doing pretty well for myself too... So, there, you just insulted a young minority woman... Be ashamed now.
How about yourself?

>> You're a truly miserable gutless guy <<


I lived in Somerville for the first 33 years of my life but had to move in 1994 when my second child was born. I could not afford a home in Somerville so I moved to Metrowest. I think that Somerville is in better shape now than it was ten years ago, I still frequently visit friends and family. I seriously think that the person that is posting as Somerville Resident is somebody who is just one miserable person. You sound like the old lady who use to call the cops on us as little kids when we could stay outside late at night and feel safe. GET A LIFE JERK OFF

Somerville Resident

"Kevin", of course Somerville "looks" better. Who would dispute that? The yuppies so many folks here seem to hate moved in and are successfully pushing for gentrification. No question about that. Wait a few years, until the old-guard dies off and the transformation will be complete. Fine by me. But all this had nothing to do with policies set by our great local leaders. Actually, it all happened DESPITE those policies.

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