By Jack Connolly
Whether you’re new to Davis Square or a lifetime long-timer, it is obvious something is not right; On-street parking on Elm St. gone, restaurant tables and chairs in the street, Dunkin’ Donuts closed, empty storefronts on Elm St., the Somerville Theatre closed, most due to the scourge of the COVID-19 virus.
More obvious to most is the presence of a rude, loud obnoxious, non-mask wearing crew who have taken up residence and established a 24 hour base of operations opposite the Davis Sq. Redline entrance outside of the 7-11 (formerly Tedeschi’s and originally the Store 24).
If you around Davis Sq. at all, you are likely nodding your head now, and know that most of the encamped folks have ‘issues’ such as alcohol and drug abuse, mental health problems, many are homeless, some sleeping on the edge of the walkway From Holland St. T stop entrance between Somerville Theater and Seven Hills Park; Some Davis area residents refer to the crew as the triple D’s, aka the Davis Drunks, & Druggies..
Coping with COVID has been a struggle for our Davis Sq. businesses, and the worry of restaurants keeping open with outside dining And limited takeout as cold weather approaches Is their primary concern ;Having customers harassed and heckled approaching or leaving shops on the plaza and throughout the Square is not what they, or what Davis Sq. needs now, or ever.
Where are the cops?
Not wanted there apparently; The Somerville Police budget was cut dramatically by Somerville city councilors, many who prefer to have a City of Somerville health or human service staffer deal with these miscreants, rather than a uniformed police officer who possess weapons.
How well do you think that is working out?
Seems to me that the familiar and effective ‘Somerville Police’s prior ‘park, walk, and talk’ and bike patrol programs have been suspended for the time being; What to do?
Call/text, email, tweet, or post to Somerville Mayor and City Councilors, especially Ward Six Councilor Lance Davis and the Somerville Councilors at Large (see official contact info below)
MAYOR Joseph A. Curtatone 130 Ten Hills Road, 02145 (617) 776-5159 MAYOR@SOMERVILLEMA.GOV
CITY COUNCIL AT LARGE: Wilfred N. Mbah 65 Woods Avenue, 02144 (508) 718-8126 ALDERMANMBAH@GMAIL.COM AT LARGE: Mary Jo Rossetti, Vice President 80 Electric Avenue, 02144 (617) 623-0092 MJROSSETTI@SOMERVILLEMA.GOV AT LARGE: Kristen E. Strezo 333 Great River Road #361, 02l45 (617) 209-9915 STREZOATLARGE@GMAIL.COM AT LARGE: William A. White, Jr. 3 Elm Street #1, 02143 (617) 625-9110 COUNCILORWHITE@GMAIL.COM
WARD 1: Matthew McLaughlin, President 28 Mt. Vernon Street #2, 02145 (617) 999-0924 MATTFORWARD1@GMAIL.COM WARD 2: Jefferson Thomas (“J.T.”) Scott 269 Washington Street, 02143 (857) 615-1532 JTSCOTT@SOMERVILLEMA.GOV WARD 3: Ben Ewen-Campen 16 Aldersey Street, 02143 (617) 702-2613 BENFORWARD3@GMAIL.COM WARD 4: Jesse Clingan 33 Puritan Road, 02145 (617) 290-1904 ALDERMANCLINGAN@GMAIL.COM WARD 5: Mark Niedergang 29 Conwell Street, 02143 (617) 629-8033 MNIEDERGANG@SOMERVILLEMA.GOV WARD 6: Lance L. Davis 356 Highland Avenue, 02l44 (857) 261-1909 LANCEDAVISWARD6@GMAIL.COM WARD 7: Katjana Ballantyne 49 Russell Road, 02144 (857) 928-6852 KATJANA@KATJANA.ORG
Let your elected officials know that something needs to be done about this new encampment to assist Davis sq. area residents, businessowners, merchants, who are already bearing the burden of the Covid-19 restrictions, the infrastructure decay (see DavisNow.org) and the major reduction in foot traffic to Davis Square.
Tell them to help the Davis sq. homeless, enforce the noise and disturbing the peace ordinances, dissuade drinking beer and wine on public property, with whatever City services available: Might be a good idea to include the Somerville Police, who are on-duty 24/7.
I wonder how many health and human service staff are working night and weekends?
Tell your elected officials not to let the decades of work and the never-ending quest of elected officials, dozens of activists, local residents, citizens, and small business owners ( all who joined forces monthly as the Davis Sq. Task Force) and lobbied to plan, build, and open the Davis Redline T stop back in 1984, go to waste; Remember when Davis Sq. was known as ‘the Paris of the Nineties’ ?
Now is the time to get going, pull together, and do whatever necessary to prevent what may be known as the Davis Sq. Disaster.
Editors’ note: Jack Connolly is a native Somervillian, a Davis Sq. resident and insurance agent: He is also a former Somerville Ward Six and At Large Alderman ( known now as City Councilor).