Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,
This is a trail of email communications between Somerville Resident Claire Gibbins and Somerville City Councilor Jake Wilson regarding “Proposed Permit Fees for Parking”
CLAIRE’S FINAL RESPONSE TO SOMERVILLE CITY COUNCILOR JAKE WILSON ON HIS RESPONSE:
Date: August 23, 2022 at 7:26:51 PM EDT
To: Jake Wilson
Subject: Re: Proposed Permit Fees for Parking
I found your post to be immature and irresponsible. You posted this and went on vacation so that residents could not get in touch with you. Your stupidity sent me into a severe panic/anxiety attack which could have easily led to a heart attack! I believe you should be REMOVED from the council for your immature behavior add that to your Calendly!
Sent from my iPhone
On Aug 23, 2022, at 11:11 AM, Jake Wilson
RESPONSE FROM SOMERVILLE CITY COUNCILOR JAKE WILSON:
Hi Claire. Thanks for writing and sharing your perspective. I apologize for the delay in responding while I was taking some time away from work with my family.
One of the key priorities for me as your Councilor-At-Large is increasing public awareness and participation. I see this as a major shortcoming and it’s incredibly frustrating when I hear about major changes that impact the lives of constituents happening without their knowledge or input.
I’ve been concerned about the lack of discussion about potentially major changes to the residential parking permit program. On top of the perpetual struggle to keep the public informed, this was happening over the summer when people are traveling and generally paying less attention to civic matters. So I wrote about this in my August 8 newsletter with a goal of encouraging engagement.
I even mocked up what a new fee structure might look like, to put this in real dollars that folks could understand better than theoretical bullet points in a presentation. I had shown those numbers to some folks, who agreed that some of the bigger numbers in there could cause sticker shock. Given how infrequent the higher-priced situations are – and the fact we’re looking to dissuade folks in those situations from getting resident parking permits — I went ahead and included that mockup chart in my newsletter.
I suppose I succeeded in increasing awareness beyond my wildest dreams in the sense that this inspired a lot of discussion thanks to some viral-ish social media posts. Despite most of these social media posts misrepresenting that chart as either an official proposal by the City or even the new official approved fee structure, some of that discussion actually managed to be productive! In any case, more people are paying attention and giving feedback than before, so that’s a good thing.
I’ve seen some great suggestions that I hope are making it into the feedback surveys and being considered by City staff. If you haven’t already done so, please share your feedback with them here.
I’m always happy to discuss this and anything else on your mind, in person or virtually. Please feel free to claim any available time directly on my calendar using my Calendly.
Jake Wilson (he/him/él)
Councilor-At-Large, City of Somerville
Confirmation of Appointments and Personnel Matters Committee
Finance Committee (chair)
Licenses and Permits Committee
Open Space, Environment and Energy Committee
Traffic and Parking Committee
ORIGINAL EMAIL FROM CLAIRE TO JAKE WILSON:
Date: Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 8:31 PM
To: All City Council
Subject: Proposed Permit Fees for Parking
Good evening, I/we think it’s a fantastic idea! Have a couple of questions: (1) what will this money be used for and (2) are bicycles going to have parking permits. My family is against the proposed permitting fees. Will not particularly in your ZOOM meetings because you pick and choose who you want to talk to. It’s always residents that agree with you. We can’t come to city hall because as far as we know it’s close. The proposed fee structure will be bad for businesses, restaurants, bars, real estate agents won’t be able to show houses/apartments. Most people park on the nearest side street to avoid paying the parking meter. They will go outside of the city to do these things. Without a parking permit you won’t be able to go to the doctor’s offices, dentist’s office. Visiting nurses won’t be able to take care of their patients. Are teachers, school staff going to pay for a permit as they park all day in front of our houses! Bicycles are chained to a sign post or a tree preventing us from parking there so that we can’t open our door. Bicycles should have some sort of registration and follow the rules of the rode or be ticketed! The mayor’s only concern is for people with los of $$$$$$$$! She could care less for your “blue collar” , senior citizens and poor residents. Blue collar workers put Somerville on the map. It’s possible that your plan all along was to get us to move so her hubs (with the crooked pen) can buy up the property! Obviously you all agree with her! We don’t know what you smoking or drinking when you came up with this plan, it must have been pretty potent to scramble your brains like this! Have a nice weekend. Claire and Gary Goodwin