Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Contractor-Developer Lobby and Others on Cambridge Destructiveness

Bob La Tremouille Reports:

1. Well meaning person responds to my comment, October 18, 2006.
a. Well meaning person.
b. Your editor.
c. Your editor further.
2. Contractor Lobby on Cambridge Destructiveness, October 18, 2006.
a. Contractor lobby.
b. Your editor responds, October 19, 2006.
c. Councilor Kelley's position(?), October 19, 2006.

I posted my preceding (October 15, 2006) report on the Cambridgeport listserve with a number of responses including the following two. My responses on the listserve to these responses are also included, plus one added comment.

Note that my posting on this blog and the listserve was of an edited letter to the Cambridge Chronicle. I did not send my letter to the paper in time for their deadline for today's paper. The Cambridge Chronicle did run several interesting responses to the report to which I was responding.

1. Well meaning person responds to my comment, October 18, 1006.

a. Well meaning person.

The following was posted by Sarah Ruth Bernard:


While the driver wasn't ticket and the student was jaywalking, I think the larger problem is the lack of safe crossing spots along Mem Drive and the general speed of the drivers. If you go the speed limit (35) along Mem Drive other drivers honk at you and make not nice hand gestures.

I would love for cyclists to get tickets too, as I 've been nearly knocked over by cyclists running red lights, traveling down one way streets the wrong way and not stopping for marked crossings even though the cars have.

Also could someone explain to me how putting money aside for open space is environmentally destructive? Open space improves our quality of life, especially when we all live in condos/apartments or houses with very small yards.

b. Your editor.

In most cities, open space money would be spent for open space.

The City Manager objects to NEW open space with a vengeance. NEW open space takes money off the tax rolls.

The City Manager does not create NEW open space if he can help it. ZERO open space is being created with open space tax money at Magazine Beach. Wetlands are being destroyed. Animals are being deliberately starved. SWIMMING in the Charles, in spite of the media event is being prevented by the wall of designers being installed walling off the Charles. The LIE "native vegetation" is used to sell these designer bushes which are so very non-native to the Charles River that they kept dying.

Wetlands was deliberately destroyed. Wetlands were described as a "water problem."

Purple loosestrife has been planted as part of the these "improvements. " This is an excellent example of a highly destructive, invasive species. It was not there before the "improvements. " It is there now.

Acres of perfectly good playing fields are being wastefully dug up to, once again, starve the local animals. They will also replace the wetlands which should not have been destroyed with sprinklers.

Perfectly good ground under the playing fields will be replaced with new ground, and POISONS to keep away insects. If those poisons do not work, you will see REALLY powerful poisons AS THE MDC did at Ebersol Fields between the MGH and the Museum of Science, the project which preceeds this outrage. Those poisons are labeled "Do not use" near water.

THE DAY AFTER application of these poisons, you saw a dead Charles River between the Mass. Ave. Bridge and the Harbor.

At the same time as the outrage of the rebuilt playing fields, more starvation will be accomplished by moving the parking lot with tree destruction.

ZERO increase in open space. Plenty of environmental destruction. Plenty of money to the contractor lobby.

More than 449 to 660 mature healthy trees are being destroyed between Magazine Beach and the Longfellow Bridge. The contractor lobby brags about the saplings and how great it will look in 40 years. The fact that these healty trees look great now is irrevelant. They are making money.

Fresh Pond. Thousands of healthy trees being destroyed. One thousand saplings replacing needlessly destroyed trees.

ZERO increase in open space. Plenty of money for the contractors.

Squirrel brand. 8 12 healthy four story trees destroyed. Grass replaces it. And less trees in the total, already existing lot.

ZERO increase in open space.

Vellucci Park at Inman Square. Three quarters of the healthy trees simply destroyed.

ZERO increase in open space.

Brattle Square next to the Harvard Square Hotel. A 20 year park destroyed with all its trees, approaching maturity excellently.

Replaced with an equal number of saplings and an inferior (but pretty) bike rack.

NINE CITY COUNCILORS. I repeat NINE. NINE city councilors are very happy to talk fancy light bulbs.

NINE city councilors will not discuss outrageous and needless destruction of our environment.

Why man is destroying our world by destroying our back yard.

NINE city councilors are destroying our back yard and heartlessly destroying the animals.

If you are pro-environment.

If you are pro-animal.

You have no choice but to oppose NINE city councilors.

PS: The jaywalking and bicycle situation continues a century of contempt for public safety on our highways. The beligerent expectation is that cars have a duty to save fools who deliberately and in clear violation of law jump in front of moving vehicles.

The only sane response to such ingrained nuttiness is massive ticketing.

c. Your editor further.

Ms. Bernard comments on the deceased jaywalking as if the collision occurred in the open highway.

The hotel being used as a dormitory for the deceased's school, Boston University, has a signalized intersection with protected crosswalks directly in front of it.

The first report on WBZ radio gave the impression that the driver was proceeding on a green light. That would rather clearly say that the deceased was in the protected crosswalk crossing in violation of her responsibilities on a protected crosswalk.

It is highly common for Boston area jaywalkers doing this sort of thing to jump in front of cars in such intersections with the car moving on the light. The jaywalkers expect the drivers to refrain from hitting them.

Failure to give a ticket under these circumstances could indicate that the deceased demanded to protected from beligerant indifference to her own life, and that the driver did not notice her.

2. Contractor Lobby on Cambridge Destructiveness, October 18, 2006.

a. Contractor lobby.

The following entry appeared on the Cambridge Neighborhood Association listserve in apparent response to my immediately preceding blog entry. The name used was Ohiomeister.

A few caveats are in order. Ohiomeister is a constant contributor to this listserve. Ohiomeister's comments fit the developer-contractor lobby script to a T, right down to the tone of voice and to the constant denials of having anything to do with the Contractor - Developer lobby.

I have long since stopped believing self-serving proclamations of people of this ilk in Cambridge. I believe what they sound like. I am not silly enough to believe their denials and their nonstop proclamations of neutrality.


I support open space in Cambridge, support Craig Kelley's efforts, and trust his judgment completely on the open space issue. He is a dedicated and caring member of the Cambridge City Council, unlike some of the other members. I am not an architect, builder, developer, etc., just a resident and observer. Some issues require balancing competing demands, and I trust him to exercise good judgment in striking the correct balance.

I'd far rather see the Cambridge Police Dept. enforce the no murdering and no shooting people laws than the no jaywalking law or the no riding your bike through a red light law. The costs of strictly enforcing the jaywalking law and bike riding laws are prohibitive. Cambridge has a massive jaywalking rate, and the pedestrian right-of-way law can make things tricky for drivers. This girl's death is tragic and sad, but I would imagine that thousands and thousands of dollars spent on jaywalking enforcement would not have made a difference. Enforcing the speed limit on Mem. Dr. may well have made a difference, however. They could also put in additional traffic lights to slow things down.

b. Your editor responds, October 19, 2006.

He whose name shall not be mentioned is to be commended.

Since the ceilings started to fall on the big dig, the people who have fought highway safety for a century in the Boston area with this argument have kept mercifully silent. Responsible members of society would have contempt for them.

The same sort of slogan is non-stop from the developer-contracto r lobby: "We can’t afford normal maintenance of our parks."

In both cases, there is a kicker. The outrageous waste of money, waste of the environment and waste of free animals at Magazine Beach was pitched with this combination.

The argument goes: We can’t afford normal maintenance, but your friendly developers and contractors would love to provide assistance for the trash on MDC property. Pay us to destroy wetlands. Pay us to starve beautiful animals. Pay us to instal bizarre designers plants to block swimming on the Charles. We are calling those designer plants "native." How dare you call us liars. How dare you point out the fact that our designer plants can’t live where we sold them to be put. How dare you point out the fact that we are walling off the Charles and preventing swimming by our designer plants. Don’t they look beautiful?

Somebody somewhere was talking about some sort of lovely designer-contractor lobby project to "improve" highway safety on the Charles. How dare you talk meaningful enforcement of laws against belligerently lawless jaywalkers and bicyclists. We can’t afford to resolve the real problem. We can afford to repeatedly pay millions and millions of dollars to repeatedly "solve" a problem which amounts to normal maintenance. How much is repair of the "we cannot afford highway safety" pitch in those ceilings? How long have those highway safety opponents caused the big dig to be closed?

A very busy lobby makes big bucks out of repeatedly putting in massive highway "improvements. " They do not make money out of paying our salaried employees to do their jobs. They do not make money out of really solving the problem.

They use the same sales pitch on wasteful projects on the bank of the Charles. Part of the standard sales pitch, by the way, is the contractor-develope r lobby always denies being part of any organized lobby, and the lobby and its friends cry all the way to the bank.

Oh, by the way, again, the last I heard, tickets generate revenue in the form of fines, a very proper user fee for people with contempt for their own personal safety egged on by those who say "we can’t afford normal highway safety."

c. Councilor Kelley's position(?), October 19, 2006.

Councilor Kelley (mentioned favorably by the Developer-contractor lobby, above) comments as follows. Strictly a coincidence, of course.


People should also feel free to let the City Council know their feelings via emails to Council@Cambridgema .gov.

I may be reached individually at Craig@Craigkelley. org or via phone at 617-354-8353 if people want to discuss the Council goals with me.