Somerville Speakup Line: To All Struggling Local Homeowners of Somerville— Say NO to the Transfer Tax and Right-of-First-Refusal 

Dear Billy T and Somerville Speakup Line,

Somerville Home Owners,

I urge you to write to your representatives today in an effort to not let either of these bills pass— Tranfer Tax and Right-of-first-refusal are wrong and will hurt our community.

Mark Niedergang has really crossed the line, in my opinion and so has Lance Davis. Given their obvious comfortable lifestyles, professional accomplishments and status among the elite, it comes as no surprise their main concern is to cater to those who already have taken too much from our city.

Their goal is evident by recent comments made at the BOA meeting of 3/15/2018 — putting transient and monied tenants before long time local working class families who depend on affordable housing and the homes their families have passed down to them.

We owe them nothing! We have already paid too much!

Keeping transient renters happy should not be the main objective of the Board of Aldermen.

Not only is it unethical to lure in the privilege class with promises of homeownership they cannot possibly afford—The bills in question will only serve to hurt long time homeowners.

This segment of our city represents those among us who must rely on this source of income for retirement, as a supplement from rents to ease the burden of continual rising costs in taxes, water and added fees.

Keeping transient upper class renters and condo owners happy, shouldn’t be their priority.

It’s the long time local community that needs their support — and not from just a few who understand our value to the community but we must demand it by entire Board of Alderman.

There has been no real effort made to create affordable housing for long time Somerville residents— nor has there been any real effort made to help keep the same local demographic working class residents financially stable so they can remain in their homes.

This is our city, not Mark’s or Lance.

It’s so unfair to place the burden on so many of our struggling elders and working families who have invested money and time into their homes in order to build for retirement.

During the last ten years. our quality of life has greatly diminished. I’m guessing the same is going on with other residents who struggle with decisions about how to manage their income as costs of living in our homes continues to rise.

I am among the landlords who have kept rents at a moderate level. As a single mother and sole caretaker of an elderly mom who suffered from Alzheimer’s, for a number of years,  I had no choice but to rebuild our family home which had become badly distressed. I pride myself in giving my tenants a nice place to live but it came at a price.

I am not among those who see our homes as a vehicle to buy other homes as our aldermen (past and present), or buy property in order to flip and move out to the suburbs or use the equity for other vested interests.

We as many other local families stuck it out- in good times and in bad for decades. Do you really believe the newcomers will invest in our city long term as we have?  This is not the culture we have today. They move around never staying in one place too long as we did, raising families, supporting our elderly parents and neighbors.

Those of us who stayed did so because we love our homes and the place we grew up. Why should we allow anyone to take that away? It’s a matter of principle and love of our heritage. We take pride in knowing that our families sacrificed so much to give us this great gift. Why don’t they understand this? It’s possible they never experienced a real community and fighting for something they truly believe it like, home.

It’s what’s kept us alive— our home.

To give it up is unimaginable. That saying, “You never know how much you love someone or something until you lose them or it”, well that also applies to our home.

If we allow the rich and privileged to continue to buy here, it’s inevitable that we too will eventually be pushed out. The city will be forever changed— the local families gone, swept away buy the continual current of gentrification and all it destroys.

In my opinion, the bills are not crafted to help the poor and working class become homeowners— its a trick used by those who know how to manipulate the system into taking homes away from the local community.

Remaining here is very expensive but selling is as well.  This city is the only home many of us know. It’s like a death sentence for some who don’t have the time or resources to begin again. Many places do not have the same services, doctors, jobs or public transportation they rely on.

After paying a realtor commission, taxes, including inheritance, capital gains, now this? It’s wrong, in so many ways—I don’t have to describe the long term devastation it will cause so many local elders and their families.

I’m in full disagreement with Lance and Mark’s comments from your last board meeting of 3/15.

Developers should have been held accountable to pay for affordable housing and some of the other burdens proposed on homeowners before us.

I worry about the further encroachment of Tufts University,  they are using 30 discounted homes already purchased for student housing and how it will impact our shrinking local working class neighborhoods.

This contributes to the mess we are in now, because we allowed free reign of development without forcing the developers to give back to our community.

The two bills will create a disaster, pitting tenants against landlords. How can we begin to have a community of people who will live harmoniously if we impose more taxes? If we fight over property?

It does not serve to unite us but instead further divide us.

I look forward to the upcoming public meeting. Don’t let it be canceled, postponed, moved to another location or change the time—we residents have every right to speak and as busy as most are in their daily lives, it’s important to maintain continuity with these meetings.

We homeowners have been neglected for far too long. It’s time that our voices be heard.

Call or write to your local representatives and tell them these bills will not work for our city. They will only serve to tear us further apart.


Judith Jacobs

Ward 7

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