Friday, January 18, 2013

Cambridge, MA, proposed environmental destruction on its Common - v. 2. Destruction at Alewife

1. Introduction.
2. Final version of Cambridge Common Letter.
3. Addendum.

1. Introduction.

About a week ago, I posted a proposed letter to the editor of the Cambridge Chronicle concerning an article they printed in their January 10 edition about Cambridge’s proposal to destroy 22 to 100 excellent trees in the Cambridge Common and the adjacent Flagstaff Park.

I rewrote the letter with some major stylistic improvements while keeping the content consistent. It was published in the hard copy edition on January 17. It was printed on the oped page, the middle of three editorial pages. Final version is below.

I got in as much as much as was feasible about the outrages at Alewife and on the Charles. The big problem with the Charles is that the outrages are so massive and so major that mentioning the problem is very difficult to do in a few words.

The woman who has led the fight for Alewife destruction for 15 years submitted her own con game letter, as usual telling people concerned about Alewife to look at the other guy off in the periphery. As usual, her pitch is to ignore Cambridge / Department of Conservation and Recreation and the reality of probable total destruction. Her latest con game letter was printed on line but not in the hard copy.

2. Final version of Cambridge Common Letter.

Cambridge Chronicle

You report on Cambridge’s proposal for environmental destruction on Cambridge Common and in the adjacent Flagstaff Park.

You quote a city representative as saying that “some of the [20] trees [being destroyed] are diseased.”

A different reality exists in Cambridge’s Environmental Impact Statement.

The EIS in the second paragraph on the fourth page says: “To create this path and visual connection twenty-two trees will be removed.”

The short explanation of the “visual connection” being created is that the planners are disturbed that trees are blocking the monument view. So they destroy those trees.


Responsible people consider trees to be the view. Contrary to this normal mentality is the attitude among Cambridge planners that trees block views. Such a position in the ENF is outrageous. Adding “diseased” allegations apparently out of whole cloth is even worse.

Apparently after funding the destruction , the city council passed a motion submitted by Councilor Kelley which stated “The Cambridge Common renovation project plans to remove close to one hundred significantly sized trees.” Perhaps the looksee you report corrected a misunderstanding. However, the Cambridge City Manager routinely keeps secret environmental destruction.

The highway proposal through Flagstaff Park goes through an area with very significant trees. That highway project is mentioned in the ENF.

This mention of the highway with no more could be the City Manager’s usual mention of destruction without mentioning the destruction. The City Manager claims it is the duty of responsible people to cross examine his proposals and to find what he has kept secret.

If Kelley were correct, destruction of those Flagstaff Park trees could help explain the difference between the 22 HEALTHY TREES which are admittedly being destroyed for blocking the view and the nearly 100 healthy trees Kelley mentioned being destroyed.

In any case, contrary to the diseased nonsense and at absolute minimum, 22 healthy trees are being destroyed because they block the view.

Cambridge’s bizarre priorities fit its destruction of acres of Alewife’s virgin woodlands and killing hundreds of animals for a “flood protection” project which will not protect against floods. Alewife flood protection can and should be done on nearby properties. Environmental destruction is unnecessary.

Cambridge’s bizarre priorities fit multiple outrages on the Charles River which are in the process of being made worse.

Business as usual in Cambridge, MA, USA.

3. Addendum.

This update as originally published erroneously omitted the final three paragraphs printed in the Cambridge Chronicle. On January 20, 2013, I have updated the report to make it correct.

For the record as well, the letter since its hard copy publishing on Thursday, January 17, has been added to the on line record as well on, I think, January 19.