Dear Dr. Rizkallah, and others to whom you have copied these emails,
After consulting with a couple of my colleagues and the Mayor’s Office, I see no reason to postpone the Public Hearing on the Demolition Review Ordinance. So it will be held on July 9.
There are several good reasons not to postpone:
1) Yes, I do want to get this ordinance passed, very much! There are some things in the current draft that need to be worked on and changed, some things I do not agree with, so I am not yet satisfied with what we have before us. Other Aldermen also have concerns, as do you and perhaps other members of the public, although I haven’t heard from them. We have an incredibly jammed and full legislative docket, and I want to make progress on this ordinance at every opportunity, so we can get it done and move onto other important ordinances.
2) The BOA has had this before us now for over nine months, and I believe it is our duty to act on it as soon as we can while still considering the issues and getting it right for the City.
3) September will be a busy month and difficult to schedule a Public Hearing. July 9th is all set and lined up so it makes sense to go forward then.
This Public Hearing has been scheduled further in advance than the two Public Hearings held this spring on the Real Estate Transfer Fee by the Legislative Matters Committee, than the Public Hearing held this spring on the Somerville Affordable Housing Crisis by the Housing and Community Development Committee, and than the joint Public Hearing held this spring about the Clarendon Hill Public Housing redevelopment by the BOA Finance and Legislative Matters Committees.
This proposed ordinance has been discussed in public in Somerville for well over a year now. The process started with three public meetings, heavily advertised in the spring of 2017, but poorly attended. I know, sir, that you will reply, “That is because it is deceptively named so nothing that the City has done so far counts as public process.” You are wrong that it is deceptively named, and it is absurd to say that public meetings, discussions in public by the Board of Aldermen, front page articles that you yourself have authored, public testimony that you yourself have given, are not transparent.
To say that I don’t want you to organize against this ordinance is laughable. Organize away all you want! Please! You have plenty of time and the personal and your development business resources to get people to the Public Hearing on July 9 and I hope you do; I look forward to hearing from them. I love your sign and I encourage you to put them up all over the City, as the opponents of the Real Estate Transfer Fee have done.
Ward 5 Alderman
29 Conwell Street
Somerville MA 02143