Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

September 27, 2012

But seriously, folks

Filed under: Cambridge,Central Square,planning — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 9:38 am

But seriously, folks.

Sept 27 – The activism of the group calling itself the "Cambridge Residents Alliance" has reached a new low (if that’s possible) in their campaign of distortion and fear-mongering. This is the group that has a zoning proposal now before the City Council and the Planning Board that would reduce allowed building heights in Central Square and enshrine surface parking lots as the pinnacle of urban design. Not surprising, some people objected to the absurdity of this proposal. Thus was born a new group called "A Better Cambridge" that embraces the radical notions that acres of surburban-style parking lots might not be the be-all-end-all of urban design and that maybe the current height limits in Central Square are acceptable and that a little new construction might be a good thing for Central Square – especially if this can leverage some middle-income housing. A modest petition campaign was begun suggesting that downzoning Central Square is neither necessary nor good policy on many levels.

Apparently, all this common sense was too much for the "Alliance" activists. So the petition received this morning the following two forged signatures of rather obvious "Alliance" origin:

Bob Healy, Cambridge, MA
Speaking on behalf of the developers, this petition will THREATEN our potential profits. Let’s be clear – it we want to make some real money, we have to tear down those cheap houses and get rid of the small businesses in Area 4, and put in high-rise, full market apartment buildings, big biotech tabs, and stores that can pay high rents, like banks. This way, we can charge $3000-$4500/month for a 1BR, like we already do in University Park. Our plan is to tear down everything along Main Street and Bishop Allen Drive, force the people out of Washington Elms, and turn all of lower Area-4 into another "Kendall Square." We’ll make BILLION$. And if the residents don’t like it, they can move. This is progress, and we can’t let a few troublemakers stop progress!

K Reeves, Cambridge, MA
The best part is how we’ve actually convinced most of the City Council that 1960s-style urban renewal is good! (Maybe they’re too young to remember what happened back then?) I guess they’re just looking for the big payoff; these new buildings will make BILLIONS$ for the developers and bring in some hefty tax revenue. Ok… I admit that NOT passing a downzoning petition will allow us to "mahattanize" a large portion of the city that’s currently residential, permanently displace thousands of low- and moderate-income families, and add tens of thousands of cars to the streets. They can take the T (even though it’s over capacity). The proposed petition is BAD for profits!

Is this what civic activism has descended to? – RW

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