Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Censorship in Cambridge, MA

Bob La Trémouille Reports:

1. Introduction.
2. The leader of the core group’s communication.
3. Your editor’s censored response.
4. Censorship Notice.
5. Your editor’s response.
6. Yahoo! Groups Notification wrote.
7. Roy Bercaw Responds.

1. Introduction.

I have mentioned the problems with “grass roots organizations” in Cambridge which have nebulous connections to the City of Cambridge.

One of these groups, the so-called Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association used to have a rather vibrant listserve, until it started censoring things.

What follows is a series of emails and censorships with names deleted to protect the guilty.

“Derogatory stereotyping of a group" is given as the reason to censor disagreement with statements of the leader of the CNA core group concerning the CNA and its record.

Outrageous, yes!!!

I understand the leader of the CNA core group earns a living in a municipal field.

The guy doing the actual censoring leads a related and just formed “Green” group. I had an extended discussion with him about the fact that the group's organizers could give a damn less about destruction of the Green ongoing by the powers that be in Cambridge. He did not see any problem with that.

Censored document is in section 3. “Reasons” for censorship are in section 4.

2. The leader of the core group’s communication.

[Ed. This series of communications, in typical email fashion, led with section 6 and continued in reverse order. There was doubling of communications. I have deleted the doubling and structured chronologically.

[Additionally, I do not remember the letter in this section as the communication to which I (section 3) was responding. My response was intended to specifically respond to particular comments. This document does not track. Could it have been substituted in the process or could I have responded to the wrong email?

[If I find the one I remember, I will substitute. I am confused, but there is key stuff here in sections 3, 4 and 5 which are of value.]

Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association letter opposing setback reduction in front of Radisson Hotel site attached. Letter urges that open space and parkland uses along the river are cherished, unique, used by thousands from neighborhood and region and setback reduction along a river would be very bad precedent. Other reasons included. Letter follows vote by general membership at last meeting of Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association. Letter was hand-delivered to Planning Board today to meet March 13th deadline for inclusion in package sent to Board members.

FYI, next Planning Board meeting on Radisson setback and Radisson zoning is March 20th. Notice of meeting was previously forwarded to group.

Signed: The leader of the Core Group.

3. Your editor’s censored response.

Bob LaTrémouille wrote:

Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 01:40:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bob "LaTrémouille"
Subject: Re: [cportneighbors] Letter re Radisson Hotel zoning from Neighborhood Association
To: Cambridgeport Neighbors

The one thing you are doing a terrific job on is patting yourself on the back. This undeserved self-praise gives the false impression that you are on the side you claim to be on.

I would have responded to this yesterday, but we seem to have an Animal Farm situation here. I am quite certain this is not the ONLY communication from you on Monday. All animals are created equally, but some are more equal than others. [Ed: The Core Group previously limited posts to one per day. The Core Group's leader had two posts on this particular day. His self-praising was the second of the day.]

On Blessed Sacrament, you did a great job yelling about it being too large. So you made it LARGER.

We are faced with massive and highly irresponsible destruction of the green on Memorial Drive, 449 to 660 trees, all wetlands, all animal habitat. So you created a "green" organization which has no business calling itself "green." "Look at our fancy light bulbs. Don't look at the massive destruction of the green."

And now you are falsely calling yourself on the neighborhood side with regard to the outrageous zoning destruction between Putnam Avenue and Memorial Drive and between the MicroCenter and Riverside Press. You have destroyed yard requirements at the WHIM of appointees of your buddy, the City of Cambridge. You have massively increased the retail district.

Now, with crocodile tears, you claim to be concerned about yard requirements after you have thrown out the yard requirements. You have trashed meaningful protections for the right to near meaningless objections. So, with crocodile tears, when it has almost no value because of your destructive zoning, you are objecting.

You are as much on the neighborhood side on zoning as you are on the neighborhood side on destruction of the green.

But you love fancy light bulbs and you love next to meaningless objections.

4. Censorship Notice.

The head of the “green group” which could care less about destruction of the Green wrote:

This posting was deleted because it did not conform with a rule of the list:

"...language that is defamatory, libelous, personally insulting, profane, threatening, obscene, or indecent --including but not limited to name-calling, vulgarity, and derogatory stereotyping of groups--is inappropriate, is not allowed, and/or should be avoided on Cportneighbors." [Ed.: Bolding in original]

click below to read the full "Cportneighbors Rules and Procedures":

Thank you.

5. Your editor’s response.

Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 22:51:54 -0700 (PDT)
To: Cambridgeport Neighbors
From: Bob "LaTréémouille"
Subject: RE: Re: [cportneighbors] Letter re Radisson Hotel zoning from Neighborhood Association

How dare anybody talk reality.

Something might get done that people CLAIM to stand for.

You have a group which is lying about itself to the great damage of the cause for which it claims to stand.

It is prohibited to say that your group is lying about itself because that is "stereotyping of a group."

So what is allowed is the sort of nonsense that the CNA and YOU pat yourself on the back for screwing the causes you claim to stand for.

I would call that shameless.

6. Yahoo! Groups Notification wrote:

Date: 17 Apr 2007 07:37:47 -0000
From: Yahoo! Groups Notification
Subject: Message to cportneighbors group not approved


Your message to the cportneighbors group was not approved. The owner of the group controls the content posted to it and has the right to approve or reject messages accordingly.

In this case, your message was automatically rejected because the moderator didn't approve it within 14 days. We dothis to provide a high quality of service for our users. A complete copy of your message has been attached for your

Thank you for choosing Yahoo! Groups


Yahoo! Groups Customer Care

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

7. Roy Bercaw Responds.

What I find amazing is the great difference in standards between the CNA list and the City's standards. The City violated laws unless there is a high likelihood of being sued. At CNA it is what if someone does not like what is posted?

[Ed: I see the censorship as part of a pattern of Core Groups with nebulous relationships to the City of Cambridge doing whatever it takes to achieve the environmentally destructive goals of the City of Cambridge and taking advantage of well-intentioned people in th process.]