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December 20, 2007

Comments

JD Moore

I'm glad Mayor Curatone is concerned about property values. The City of Somerville has lost a lot of tax base with the decline of local industry. How can the city get it back? Union Sq. could use a BIG boost. It is sad that the market may push out some of the locals. It may also bring more expertise into the city and give some incentive to continue improving the schools so that families will stay. I am a very low income person, way too low to afford the so-called "affordable housing." I walk a lot here, and, I was born here! I see the hate that some have posted on the site. Funny how it is when it is their mom, dad, or kid who ends up on the street, gets really sick, loses their home to natural disaster, etc. It seems then, they want some largesse. Would you shoot your mom if she got Alzheimer's or your dad if he got too old to be "productive"? The old things still work; sit on the porch, talk with people in the stores, say "hi" to the cashier at the gas station. All these things build community, and a safer one at that.

Election

Right, talking to people in the store and saying "hi" to the cashier is what it takes to build a community... Those are basic acts of courtesy, nothing more... Any polite person does it.

It's True

News Flash: Imux = JN

Jim Gray

I asked my Grandmother how Somerville has changed over the decades. She is 84 and has lived here since she was born in 1923.

She told me that it used to be mainly Irish, Italian and French Canadian working families, whereas now it is youbg professionals and a much larger Spanish speaking immigrant community. Many of those Irish, Italian and French Canadian families simply moved out of the city to the suburbs in search of a better life, better schools.

Funnily enough, she commented that everyone on her block knows everybody. They have annual cook outs or parties. In fact, I went to a house party last week. None of the other people on her block are Somerville old timers. They have all moved there in the last 5 years or so. It is a myth that there is no community. If you think there isn't any on your block then you can make it happen with a bit of effort.

Election

Well, I go to the neighborhood parties too. So? Is that what it means to be a community? Going to the same house party together? I doubt this is what Bill is talking about.

thenoseknows

hey bill, ya kno what? i dont think your neighbor moved for any other reason than they lived next door to a guy who cant afford to be here. why dont you get a better job work more hours and fix that dump of a house you live in. my rental units are in better shape. if i lived next to you id move too.

Jender

Truthfan, affordable housing may be important to you, but somebody has to pay for it. I don't see why any citizen of Somerville should subsidize other people's housing. You are a typical leftist that thinks he knows what is best for everybody else and delights in spending other peoples' money. I hope they do build a bunch of "affordable housing" next door to you...then see how much you like it.

Election

Jender, First, it is NOT necessarily true that somebody has to subsidize it. The city may simply demand that developers don't put marble countertops and similar unnecessary crap jacking up the price of units on a percentage of units. The developers spend less, the units cost less. Nobody is subsidizing anything.
Second, if some of these units end up being subsidized by our taxes to host homeless folks, then it would cost the community MUCH less than having to subsidize their stay in a lousy shelter. Look at the numbers, if you don't believe it.
I have nothing against helping out people who are in trouble because of mental problems or other serious issues, provided that the admission criteria for who gets these slots are transparent and fair.

Jim Gray

Election:
As has been pointed out by others, if a Developer is told that he has to make say, 20% of the units "affordable", as in no fancy granite tops etc....then he is going to make less profit. There is more profit margin to be had in the fancy units. So to get his profit back he has to increase the price on the other 80% of the units. At the very least the developer is subsisdizing affordable housing.
2)As I understand affordable housing, you usually have to be working and there are income cut offs. So I do not think it is given to homeless people with no income.
3) "provided that the admission criteria for who gets these slots are transparent and fair." Well that's the key isn't it. There is a lot of anecedotal evidence that these affordable housing slot selection process is riddled by corruption and nepotism from insiders, like most things in Massachusetts.
3) There is plenty of "affordable housing" in other parts of the city. However, people want to live in Somerville. I would like to live in Beacon Hill, but I can't afford it. Again, you live where you can afford! There is no right to live in Somerville.

Jender

Just imagine you have worked hard, saved your pennies and bought a home. The the left wing do gooders come in and decide that "affordable housing" should be built on your doorstep, driving down the value of your property. Thanks but no thanks. You can bet the do gooders don't have any in their back yard!

DRT

"Gentrification" is another way of saying "hey, this is a nice place, I'd like to live here." Anything you do to make a place nicer ultimately will contribute to some form of increasing desirability and price of housing. If the "yuppies" volunteered more for community activities, then then services would improve, and rents would go up because the city would be nicer. If the tangles of electric poles and wires on our streets were buried and replaced with trees, rents would go up. When Somerville Ave is reconstructed, rents will go up.

Folks can fret all they want but bottom line -- when a place is nice, everyone wants in. And since we've got a market economy, when everyone wants in, prices go up.

If you really want rents to stay low, you need to do your part to make Somerville an undesirable place to live. Don't volunteer. Don't introduce yourself to your neighbors. Don't plant trees. Pave your front lawn with asphalt. Encourage others to do the same. And don't let the Green Line anywhere near Somerville.

Election

Don't worry, Somerville will never become like WASPy Lexington. It's too close to the Universities and the diversity these attract.

Yorktown Street

There are folks on here saying "I've got mine, I don't have to worry about anyone else." And then we wonder where our sense of community went? Merry Christmas!

Imux

bah... humbug! Off to the gallows for all moonbats, libaloons and all leftwing freaks!

Sincerely,
Imux

Paul Collyer

Yorktown...great post!


I was hoping I wasn't the only cat thinking the same thing:>)

Bill Shelton

People who work very hard can be found among both the highest and the lowest paid people in society. So although working hard is a virtue, it's not, by itself, rewarded with wealth.

Some posters have suggested that the key to financial gain is a combination of hard work and higher education. Yet, the U.S. economy is simultaneously producing more people with college degrees and fewer jobs that employ that level of skill.

Since 1994, the proportion of Americans with a high-school diploma or less fell from 44% to less than 35%. That with a four-year college degree or more increased from 28% to more than 35%. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that 75% of new job openings between now and 2012 will be filled by workers who do not have a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile the wealthiest Americans are richer than they have ever been, and the gap is growing.

There are already not enough high-pay jobs to go around for all the people who have an advanced degree and work hard. And that trend will continue to grow.

Imagine that everyone in the U.S. were educated and worked hard. Would there be enough material wealth for everyone to live well? If not, on what basis other than education and hard work should it be awarded? Or, how should we change our institutions to ensure that everyone who studies and works hard is rewarded?

At the heart of both questions is one's values. Imux believes that people are essentially individuals, life by it's nature isn't fair, and the government or "society" have very limited or no responsibility for those who are "less fortunate." The less fortunate are responsible for improving their own lot.

The social policies that Imux advocates are the logical outcome of those values.

Although I have different values, I find Imux to be more honest than liberals who say that we should end poverty and inequality, and then pretend that this can be accomplished by tinkering with our existing institutions and using them to reallocate wealth.

But I would be interested in any responses to those two questions that any of you would like to post.

Hipsters, their like a virus

Come on, Massachusetts is dead last in job growth and the taxes, poor schools, crime and lack of leadership drives anyone with ambition to other states. Those that do stay aren't exactly dying to live in Somerville. Look at this city, the people who move in and gentrify are "Hipsters". These are the wealthy liberal arts educated kids from wealthy areas in NY, Conn, California and other places. Their parents pay their expenses so they can afford the price. They move to Somerville because they are living this fake "Bohemian" lifestyle. Most of them work low waged jobs and the spend most of their time mendling in politics to push the social agenda they learned in college. They will never own a home here, they only care about trendy causes and they jack up the home prices so hard working families can't move in and make it better. D

Train = $$$$$$$$$$$$$

train= more foot traffic, increased real estate value= no brainer!

Jon

Sorry Bill,

People that can afford these new condos in Somerville work harder than those who cannot afford them. Nobody can work a 9-5 and make $50,000 and afford one of these new condos. You do not make six figures by working 9-5.....welcome to the real world.

somebody

Jon, I generally agree with you, but not about working harder comment. Working harder doesn't always translate into more money. I work 40 hrs a week and make six figures. My gf works more than me and makes much less.

ahhhh!!!

Wow there is so much hatred out there! I think Somerville is a great place, even though I am a young "professional" who has only lived here for two years. I would love to stay here, eventually buy a house or condo, and raise a family. But that prospect does not seem possible financially, considering the prices even now during a buyer's market. I work in non-profit because my first priority is not money. Someone posted a comment saying that if you can't afford to live in Somerville you should figure out a way to make more money. I think that is ridiculous and completely insensitive.

As for gentrification, many people who live in Somerville do not own (the owners live elsewhere), so it will be difficult for people who have rented for years to stay when the rents start to go up. Affordable housing measures are good to a degree, but I wish there could be a way to allow current residents to stay where they are.

I think regardless we should be happy the green line is coming to somerville, which will help existing businesses and residents who do not have cars or who cannot drive to work (like me, there is no available parking). It would be nice if all the benefits can be enjoyed by the people who are already here and who would like to stay. To say that gentrification cannot be linked to improved public transportation is naive. It has been happening throughout the Boston area since the first streetcar lines were built. Maybe we can become a model of fair and equitable development and growth.

Jay somerville born and raised

What is a critical factor here that most new moronic residents are ignoring is a huge portion of longtime somerville residents are renters Green Line=Higher rents which will force out what little is left of long time real local people....In fact the areas this extension will be effecting are some of the last corners of the city where a family can find an affordable rent.....When i grew up in somerville my family rented much like most of the other people i went to school with,and i had dreams of one day buying a home here and raisng my children on the same streets i learned to ride a bike on,now there is no way in hell i would be able to afford it and that really sucks...I wanted to continue the tradition,my third grade teacher was my fathers,my high school principal was one of my father's teachers,people knew each other and watched out for each other...

we had a small town carved out of city landscape and that has been destroyed by immigration,gentrification and a whole host of other issues....

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