Letter From The Editor:Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang’s Response to Proposed Real Estate Transfer Fee

Why should those of us who were fortunate enough, through no effort of our own, to have our properties appreciate in value many times more than we ever dreamed possible, due to what the entire community has done to change Somerville for the better, not share a teeny portion (1%) of the incredible, unearned additional wealth we have received here in Somerville, so that working people can stay here and continue to live here? The transfer fee proceeds are necessary for City workers, teachers, social workers, middle class people to get the subsidy they need to buy even a condo in Somerville now. Do you want Somerville in 20 years to be mostly rich people? Quite simply the alternative to raising large amounts of money to support affordable housing, and especially to take housing out of the private for-profit market, is a Somerville where most people are highly-paid professionals or independently wealthy. No artists, teachers, tradespeople (except maybe plumbers and electricians), social workers, small business owners, etc. Is that the kind of community you want, with only rich people living here?

Mark Niedergang

Read more on this proposal:


Ward 5 Mark Niedergang’s Original Posting on the 1% Transfer Tax Fee:

Thursday, Feb 1, 6 PM in the Aldermen’s Chambers City Hall, the BOA Committee on Legislative Matters of the Whole meet to deliberate on three important issues: (1) Proposed revision of the demolition review ordinance which would require, among other things, a delay of 24 months (instead of the current 9) for demolition of historic residences; (2) a Home Rule Petition to the State Legislature to allow Somerville to impose a 1% Real Estate Transfer Fee on all real estate transactions to raise between $6-8 million A YEAR for affordable housing; and (3) a Community Benefits Ordinance and recognition of the Union Square Neighborhood Council and related issues. It will be a long meeting! Lots of challenging issues to work through. You can see the agenda and the accompanying documents at:http://somervillecityma.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=2579

19 thoughts on “Letter From The Editor:Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang’s Response to Proposed Real Estate Transfer Fee”

  1. Thank you, John. Your comments are very helpful. I hope residents reading are encouraged by your advice. However, I am convinced corporations are driving this and surrounding academic institutions are complicit in their mission to ensure their real estate investment goals are achieved without interruption.

    That includes the city’s agreement to provide thousands of additional bedrooms for the students and graduates who will work in the financial, bio-tech and pharma industries. As non-profit Tufts has announced their already acquired discounted 30+ homes to be converted to student homes, Ward 7 will continue be used to build more for the university (including a hotel for visiting faculty and parents on the site of a former chemical fire, while local residents are sacrificed.

    Politicians, all but a few have turned their backs on our long time local families and elderly. I believe those that want to help are prevented from doing so. Evidence suggests that they also spend a great deal of resources in discrediting those who are exposing their master plan to take over the city entirely. This can be seen by the contentious facebook exchanges — by locals vs. transient interlopers and monied liberals. It’s obvious where some of our political loyalists are spending their work time and joined by others who share same vested interests.

    Residents voicing concerns and demanding a roll back on tax and water increases and implementing new taxes are essentially clever vehicles used to take home and business owner properties under the guise of
    “betterment of all”, as they promote GLX and coupled with the illegal use eminent domain.

    The case of the Ball Sq., bowling alley highlights just one example. It clearly illustrates the use of deception and intentional malice used to take property away from owners along with adding insult to injury. In this case the owner received a pittance of $700k, to the $80 million the city received after flipping it to the MBTA.

  2. (Continued)

    What of the three triple-deckers reported by an occupant of one home who wrote to a local online media outlet under “letter to the editor”? In the letter, it was described how a developer’s contractor had recklessly and severely damaged the properties foundations– which resulted in occupants forced to vacate the premises. This included a a pregnant woman and a family with newborn twins, who had to leave within a short time due to the conditions resulting from the damages, rendering the structure unsafe. The response by the developer, “Go get an engineer”,
    “Go get a lawyer”. The city officials addressed the problem by ignoring it and when asked what were they doing about it — they didn’t provide an answer. This goes on consistently and their pattern of negligence is quite evident by stories shared by residents who attend meetings and justly voice their concerns at the podium.

    Critics remind us, “BUT IT’S LEGAL”. Yes, but the political establishment is encouraged to change the laws to protect guilty parties who cause serious harm, instead of protecting the innocent. Isn’t that why laws were created? What about what the costs of humanity? Does anyone consider what forced eviction does to renters, home and property owners? Most have been permanently scared by their bad experiences with the city and the developers they protect, without considering the harmful ramifications caused by displacement and financial ruin. Same applies to the good people who worked for our city.

    This same formula has been applied throughout our city. It’s happening by stealth– Friends of the political establishment have created monopolies in neighborhoods and slowly buying up one at a time then turning them into condos. One day, unsuspecting locals wake up to find most properties have changed almost overnight and they will be left vulnerable— we are almost there and if they try to fight back with lawyers or at the city hall podium they are met with stone faced silence and cold stares. Public participation at meetings is now discouraged. If they do get to talk, they are given a few minutes and directed to their chairs.

    Most within the political network of our city are nothing but entitled bullies who behave unprofessionally towards constituents- especially those residents who have done their homework. Unless those on city payroll, including elected official obey their orders, they too will soon find themselves out of a job and permanently exiled.

    I’ve studied this issue for many years and although it’s not new, they have conspired to invent new ways to fool the public at large. Most are ruthless and are only concerned with job security and achieving future political goals their corporate friends have promised.

    Many lives have already been ruined by this administration. Those who refuse to go along are discredited, shunned, mocked, terminated from employment without pension, in some cases set up to face criminal charges, humiliated in front of their friends, families and neighbors.

  3. (Continued)

    In my opinion, our city has been under the control of corporate rule where no individual has freedom of speech or rights to live in peace and keep their home without the constant threats of eviction.They would instead prefer to be surrounded by uniformed servants who lack experience and wisdom locals have acquired. To ensure success, the mission to seize properties is one which must be met without local resistance. The economic takeover which crashed our economy in 2008 was just the beginning. It’s obvious the same predators are ready to complete their goals of taking property rights away from the working class.

    This all goes on while our local residents continue to suffer in silence. I understand why they give up. The false sense of security surrounded by manicured lawns, tall pines and gardens along the seacoast miles away from here brings much needed solace– to the alternate: one filled with unwarranted resentment towards locals who instead are met with hostility, chaos, and uncertainty of their futures. Increased traffic congestion and overcrowdedness is enough reason to run for the hills. Problem is– it’s unsustainable for anyone other the self-absorbed elite who can live anywhere on the planet with techno-toys in tow.

    1. From all I have learned, I’m afraid it’s far worse than that — I’ve followed posts of residents of that ward from the start, some had already voiced their concerns about his bullying attitude and self righteous behavior. Others have even been subjected to disturbing rants in the middle of the night left on their voice mail. Let’s hope this board is prepared to remind him that he is only one board member of seven. We already have one impossible dictator, we don’t need anymore.

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