Somerville Speakup Line: Political Reality in Somerville MA

Dear Billy T and Somerville Speakup Line,

The new generation of voters in Somerville think that the city we call home, has always been as great as it is today. People like Mike Capuano, Maryann Heuston, Jack Connolly, Dennis Sullivan, and Bob Mcwatters, worked together for decades to make Somerville what it is today. New residents come to our city and vote them all out of office, which I agree is their right.

The new Board members then quietly okay the closing of a major bridge that enters Ball Square, for 12-14 months, and hold a dog and pony show last week to allow residents and business owners a chance to “discuss” the decision that was a done deal.Some of the business’ in the square may go belly up because of this closing. Why was there no outrage from ANY politician?

I feel like I don’t know this place anymore. I am not blaming the voters, most don’to have a clue of how far we have come since I arrived in 1975. I just miss the solid ground I was used to walking on every day.

I don’t know what the future holds for Somerville, but I urge the new “Villens” to look at the past, and appreciate the decades of hard work by some incredibly caring people, who made us what we are, a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family.

George Landers

One thought on “Somerville Speakup Line: Political Reality in Somerville MA”

  1. the rezoning is hurting long time somerville homeowners. Its a joke that its meant for developers when it’s hurting little people. No one cares. The alderman want only to get very low income renters, or those who want to ‘own’ . The rest of the people are on their own. The housing crisis exists for all, but only those special interests of the BOA are given consideration. Its a case of ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’. Somerville will continue to see escalating rents for the common man, as the city buys up privately owned 2 and 3 familites and converts those units to low income housing, further diminishing rental units in the general pool. The city is eliminating other units and only allowing ADUs because they want control. Ask yourself this. The only reason for downzoning RB districts and eliminating rentl units that could be added at an affordable price is that somerville is too congested and ‘character’. 2’s and 3’s are mixed and integrated in all the current RA and RB districts. Is Somerville is such a terrible place to live – why then does everyone want to live here? Downzoning is hurting renters, and no one is fighting to preserve 3 units in the new NR zoning. 3 legitimate units, not the ADU’s that will not provide another unit for purchase – like it or not, condos are the affordable home entry for most people. Not singles, which are few and far between and sell for outrageous amounts even needining a lot of work; and not multifamilies – again because of the price and the amount of work needed. Another fact is multifamilies typically need so much work that first time buyers are not able or willing to handle it. Contractors have come in and improved and updated the multifamilies that often are in deplorable condition, and create condos that the millennials want to buy. If there was not demand for that product, then we wouldn’t see the investments in our housing stock. The city may have ‘good intentions’ but are ill informed with what’s wanted and needed in the real world. Somerville is and will always be a transcient city. The need for rental housing far surpasses the two special interests the BOA is focused on. It is not a caring BOA when they ignore the masses and the housing crisis in general, and cater only to low income housing, or try to foster home ownership – while ignoring that these condo conversions are serving the largest segment of home ownership and is providing the product that is popular, namely units that are up to date, remodeled to current standards, and readily sell. These units also improve old housing stock, pay the city lots of revenue in permitting fees, and raise the assessments. The BOA should be looking at upzoning, as NYC and other areas have done, increasing density, creating more rental units (not ADU’s which is the darling of the BOA), motivating current mf owners to add another unit, and ease the housing crisis of the middle class renters – in other words, help the majority rather than only your misguided special interests.

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