John M. ‘Jack’ Connolly’s Letter to Somerville BOA Re: Transfer Tax Public Hearing Wed 4/4/18 @ 6pm Process and Procedure

Mark

TX for your message.  A few thoughts and observations come  to mind in response to your email.

You mentioned in your email  that: “…, there will be a brief presentation by Tim Snyder that just explains the process for the HRP and then doing an ordinance if the HRP passes the legislature, and the highlights of what is actually in the current draft of the HRP.  It seems that many people who have written are aware of neither, and it is germane to their testimony, so they should know the basic facts.  ”

Since this is a proposal by the BOA, why is the City administration explaining this process?  I would expect the makers of the proposal  should  be explaining the process, including what is in the draft. You stated  ..”. It seems that many people who have written are aware of neither, and it is germane to their testimony, so they should know the basic facts. ”

I would then surmise that perhaps the makers of the draft could have done a better job of articulating  what is in the draft, if so many people are so unaware or uninformed?

Rather than the City Administration explain the process,  I believe  a  BOA member of the responsible legislative Matters  Committee should be responsible to briefly advise the legislative process moving forward to the MA legislature (if and when it does)  assuming that the item is not sent back to the Legislative Matters Committee for further discussion.

You  (or anyone else!) do not   need 15 minutes to explain the HRP process. People will be waiting long enough to testify: Please do not prolong the process. It is also my opinion that the record should be kept open for another week, through the 4/13/18, at a minimum.

As for standing up or raising hands  “for or ‘against’ to ‘take the temperature’ of those assembled prior to being heard is a very bad idea, as you are likely to inflame people even more  on either side of this extremely volatile  issue; Blatantly unfair, in my humble opinion.  You and the BOA  should  not be  taking a vote of those present.

It is wise, again in my humble opinion, that  you are planning to have folks  who are speaking  to   alternate positions  ‘For’ vs. ‘Against’ during the  public testimony; Also a good practice  to have those speaking identify themselves, with their name and address clearly stated  when they come to the podium as they begin their  2 minutes of testimony.I also recommend an automatic count-down  timing device, similar to what   the Planning/Zoning Boards use, for being accurate with the time limit, so it is visible to the speaker.

With respect to your proposed schedule ..”My expectation is that a vote on the HRP will happen on April 9 or 11,”  I would conclude that you appear to be hurrying the process for what you termed a ” Hearing that has been well publicized..<”  and one that  ” I…have already gotten more emails on this topic than I think anything else in my four years as an Alderman.”

So what is the hurry?  You may think it has been well publicized, but many Somerville people, including BOTH renters and long-time taxpayers’, I talk to are just beginning to become aware of this  matter.  The fact that you have gotten so many emails,  should give you pause  to examine the item for as long as it is necessary; Sometimes in a democracy,  the legislative  process may have to move a bit slower that this ambitious schedule  you  appear to favor; Please take the time to do so.

If there is one thing I learned as an elected official during my career,  I would rather spend a little  MORE  time, than not enough,  on such an important issue.

I don’t think that is too much to ask…

Best,

JACK

John M. ‘Jack’ Connolly

!7 Winslow Ave.

Somerville MA 02144

Homeowner, Small Business Owner

7 thoughts on “John M. ‘Jack’ Connolly’s Letter to Somerville BOA Re: Transfer Tax Public Hearing Wed 4/4/18 @ 6pm Process and Procedure”

  1. Thank you Jack for speaking in favor of slowing the process down. The Our Revolution Somerville is pushing to remove all exemptions to maximize the cash grab. Many of them say it won’t affect me due to the 20 year exemptions and then post flyers and set up phone banks urging people to push for it with no exemptions at all. The blatant hypocrisy shows these people for what they are, Socialists looking to take from those who worked hard all their lives and give it to their pet social programs. I would not be surprised if they proposed a tax to fund the ICE tip hotline and Illegal alien legal defense fund while they are at it.

  2. Thank you, Jack!

    I would respectfully like to add— not only should name and address be stated at the podium and documented in meeting minutes during the meeting tomorrow night (Wednesday, 4/4, at city hall), but their affiliation, employers and vested interests should be shared with the general public— for instance: developers, city hall employees; departments engaged in redevelopment decisions, architects, realtors, and anyone else benefiting from the transfer tax.

    You’re comic relief is much appreciated. It must provide you a sense of comfort in knowing your constituents continue to miss you and have reached out in their frustration of not being heard and considered. It’s a new game in town and not one that is respectful of the long time local community. They behave more like amateurs.

    Please continue to remain involved with the community.
    We appreciate your words of wisdom.

    Best
    Judy

  3. Somerville residents or property owners should be given preference to speak first before non residents speak. Non residents should only present testimony after all the Sometville residents or property owners have presented their testimony..

  4. Thank you Jack. I invested in Somerville long before it became the place to be. I have been personally providing my tenants with affordable housing for over 20 years, now the City intends to capitalize on my investment. I oppose this tax, and oppose putting more money in the hands of the City to mismanage and misappropriate. If affordable housing is an ideology that people agree should be funded, then all people should be willing to contribute to it. Affordable housing cannot be funded by OPM (other peoples money).

  5. I also do not believe that hard working homeowners that have worked all these years paying a mortgage and taxes should be penalized that if they should ever sell The city will make them pay a transfer tax fee. Look to developers for affordable housing or people may just need to live where they can afford, but don’t put yet another burden on homeowners

  6. Very well put Jack, as a former member of the board that served with you i have to say i have heard numerous people comment on how they are just hearing about this proposal, and i have to admit as a person that keeps up on various items in the city i was shocked at the compressed schedule for something with such a huge impact on peoples lives,

    A a group that ran on open and inclusive government it is mind boggling that they want to push this forward as fast as possible, from what i have seen it is poorly written and does not take into accountant how fast things can change in a persons life.

    Many of us have lived long enough to know that the economy can turn on a dime, a job can be lost, a medical issue can put a strain on a families finances , and in times like that the only well they have to draw from is the biggest investment they have, there home.

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