Deceptive Ordinance Acceptable to the Somerville Aldermen?

By William Tauro

It has been bubbling up for a few weeks….and it is gaining a real head of steam now…..the whistle is now blowing Somerville……there is talk of an intentional deception in the proposed Demolition Review Ordinance.

This is no small deception.  This will dramatically reduce the property rights of every home-owner in this City…..and citizens are just now hearing the whistle blow, thanks to the whistle-blowing efforts of a handful of vigilant individuals.

This deception was first published in our April 3rd issue of The Somerville News Weekly, in which Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah wrote a letter to the Board of Alderman, requesting Ward meetings to expose the significant deceptions in the deceptively named “demolition” review ordinance (which has more power than controlling just demolition.  It controls construction rights).

According to Dr. Rizkallah, “Every single home over 75 years old will be considered historic until deemed otherwise.  That is the entire City!  It is hard to imagine that all of Somerville will be under Historic protection?  It quietly steals the rights of every unassuming home-owner.  It is tyranny.

Many citizens have been calling for each Ward Alderman to have a Ward meeting prior to a vote by the Board of Alderman.  Whistleblowers like Dr. Rizkallah want the Alderman to EACH have a meeting in their ward, to properly inform their constituents that the demolition review ordinance is deceptively named.  It will not just control demolition.  It will also control by-right construction permits.  Every property owner will lose significant rights.

Two weeks ago, the Ward Alderman were asked by multiple citizens to provide a date for a Ward meeting to expose this deceptive ordinance.  They were informed that their willingness/responses would be published in this weeks’ Somerville News Weekly.

As promised, their response are below:

Ward 1:  Matthew McLaughlin- No Response

Ward 2:  Jefferson T Scott- No Response

Ward 3:  Ben Ewen-Campen- No Response

Ward 4:  Jesse Clingan- No Response

Ward 5:  Mark Niedergang – No Response

Ward 6:  Lance Davis – No Response

Ward 7:  Katjana Ballantyne – Out of Town Autoresponse

Questions to Alderman:

Why have you not responded?

Do you want your constituents to be deceived?

Are you ok with unaware property owners losing rights?

Is this an intentional power grab by the City?

This is a public request to the Alderman:  

Alderman, please have a Ward meeting on this ordinance, so that it can be exposed as the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that it actually is.  You owe it to your constituents!

3 thoughts on “Deceptive Ordinance Acceptable to the Somerville Aldermen?”

  1. Exactly who are the alder people representing if they will not hold a local meeting? Have they forgotten that the people pay their salary and benefits and possibly their retirements?

    1. With the exception of Bill White and Rosetti – they’re all new and should all be voted out. Bill and Maryjo are the only ones who have expressed an iota of concern about the people’s being notified and the process being inclusive. Rosetti said ‘if I have to, I’ll pay for the mailing myself’. The rest of them don’t know what they’re doing and also have zero respect for legitimizing any process. In fact, all the new ones were 100% in favor of the transfer tax BEFORE any public input whatsoever!! And this at a meeting that was barely publicized. If not for the Somerville News Weekly, there likely would have been little to no attendance. Our rights are under siege. Our properties are under siege. And they are not representing THE PEOPLE.

      1. Don’t be so quick to give credit to anyone from the board, past or present. Some allowed the mayor to do whatever he wanted and never voted against him.

        Which members do you think were against Pay to Play?

        Most were, except for a few. Maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess today if they passed it and demanded affordable housing from developers.

        Doing nothing is still going against the local constituents.

        As soon as they turned our city into a feeding ground for unscrupulous, ravenous developers, bohemian grifters, ultra liberal freeloaders and special interest organizations, they sealed the uncertain fate of thousands of long time homeowners, business owners and working class tenants who remained loyal to their community.

        The only option left is to question their motives on everything they propose and call and write the aldermen as often as possible. Go to public meetings and be heard. Power not only in numbers but our local voice which is familiar will surely make a difference.

        The April 4th public hearing at city hall marked the day locals stood up and pushed back to voice dissatisfaction on the transfer tax. It was one of the best days of my life in this city.

        For years, they’ve been telling us most locals moved away- but they were wrong. We are still here and we are large in number.

        Thank you to all who showed your passion and dedication to our local community. Don’t give up, we will find our way to victory. We must maintain perseverance and faith in order to get there. It’s you who make our community so proud— We are the real Somerville.

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