Friday, September 23, 2011

Photos of the 1997 (?) Flood at Alewife, 50 year flood, 2 year flood protections now to destroy the core reservation

On the facebook Charles River White Geese Page, we have had a good discussion on the pending, bizarre destruction of the core Alewife reservation for flood storage protection against two year floods with a massive parking lot directly across the street which could readily a very large multiple of the flood storage.

Logging and clear cutting is scheduled to start in October 2011 and take a month. A large number of Cambridge City Councilors are running for reelection claiming to be environmental saints.

Marilyn Wellons has been kind enough to respond as follows:

Marilyn Wellons 4:55pm Sep 23:

Here's a link to photos of the 1997? flood, before the Cook petition rezoned the Arthur D. Little parking lot to open space:

That was one of the two 50-year floods within the last 15 years.

Alewife Flood Photos
Parking Lot of Arthur D. Little (no longer in business) along the eastbound side of route 2, just

Cambridge Chronicle letters on imminent Alewife destruction disappoints, bad guys say look at the small stuff

1. Cambridge Chronicle.
2. Fake Tree Protection.
3. My letter, unedited, marked to show what was printed.
4. Marilyn Wellons letter.

1.. Cambridge Chronicle.

I recently reported on the posting on line by the Cambridge Chronicle of their edit of my clean up of the letter I previously posted here concerning the pending destruction of the core Alewife reservation. The unedited clean up letter is printed below.

Marilyn Wellons letter was also posted on line. It is printed below as well.

Regrettably, my shortened letter was printed in the September 22, 2011, edition of the Cambridge Chronicle. Marilyn’s was not. The impact on the substantive issues is that I objected about the outrageous destruction of the core Alewife reservation, and the fact was included that it was being done for silly purposes, protection against a two year flood. What was not said was that directly across the street is a massive parking lot which could hold a large multiple of the storage being provided by the clear cutting / logging of the core Alewife reservation.

Instead of Marilyn’s substantive letter, a letter was printed preceding mine which claimed very broad knowledge and experience of the writer and said that people concerned about trees in Cambridge should base their vote in the upcoming election on the handling of four street trees.

The letter was from a friend of the Alewife "protective" group and its timing is highly suspect.

2. Fake Tree Protection.

The writer talking about the four street trees created a supposedly universal organization which claimed concern for all trees in the City of Cambridge. The writer of the substitute letter has helped the Alewife “protective” group along with Cambridge and the Department of Conservation and Recreation in their imminent plans to destroy the core Alewife reservation and she is helping Cambridge and the DCR destroy Memorial Drive.

She has created the usual Cambridge Pol group which sounds so great. As is altogether too common with these groups, reality and achievements tend to be exactly the opposite of the lovely claims. Many fake groups are interrelated and loudly and falsely praise each other.

The basic pitch of her tree “protective” group has been a claim of defending all trees, but the unstated fine print is: “How dare you object to the destruction of the core Alewife reservation! How dare you object to the destruction of Memorial Drive! How dare you expect this organization to meaningfully protect trees that our friends want to destroy and which constitute a massively greater multiple of the street trees our friends will consider not destroying!”

The technical term for the fake groups is “company union.” I would not dream of trying to figure out if any individual person in any of these fake groups is a knave or a fool. The problem is too general and too severe in the City of Cambridge, MA. However, a very reasonable and downright normal reaction to the individual behavior of too many of these people is: “You cannot possibly be that stupid.”

The Alewife “protective” group told people to defend against everything except what counts and was winnable. They told people to chase their tails, just do not do anything that has a high probability of winning something of meaningful value. They kept well meaning people “out of trouble” and worked to allow their friends to destroy the most important, the most winnable and valuable part of the Alewife reservation.

The Alewife “protective” group fought for the destruction of the core Alewife reservation through a very vile con game which is highly normal in Cambridge. And this woman’s fake tree protective group, along with this letter, falls into the same category.

In a related matter, the falsely named Cambridgeport “neighborhood association” had a meeting against tree destruction on Wednesday. Without going it, I can guarantee that they did not mention the planned destruction of hundreds of trees on Memorial Drive by their friends. Their key members have routinely supported the Alewife “protective” group in its fight for the destruction of massive number of excellent trees on the Alewife reservation, and they have celebrated the environmental outrage at Magazine Beach after censoring mention of the destruction in a supposed public meeting on Magazine Beach. The key people in that “neighborhood association” support the fake tree protective group in its support of the destruction of massive numbers of major trees that their friends want to destroy.

As I said, part of the strength of the Cambridge fake groups is their mutual support and praise.

3. My letter, unedited, marked to show what was printed.

I have been concerned about the Alewife reservation since I lived in North Cambridge thirty years ago. I have been very deeply concerned about Cambridge and the DCR’s plans to destroy the core Alewife reservation for about 20 years. I have frequently printed letters in the Chronicle warning about the threat to the core Alewife in response to letters telling people concerned about Alewife to look at everything else.

In 2000, I wrote Sheila Cook’s successful downzoning to restrict the large parking lot between Alewife station and Route 2 to open space.

My big problem at Alewife has been a group which was created after its leader had discussions with the City Manager’s people. That group has been running around telling people concerned about Alewife to look at everything but the core reservation. They been fighting next to impossible battles, fighting to regulate private uses of less important areas.

They have told people to look at everything but the core reservation, owned by a City Council which loudly proclaims its environmental sainthood. The group has close friends who are also friendly with the Cambridge City Manager. Those friends include people who have been major problems on too many of my successful and frequently major downzonings.

The Alewife “protective” group treated Sheila Cook very badly when she downzoned that parking lot to open space.

The leader of the Alewife “protective” group just went public in these pages. She has spent years condemning all sorts of private development at Alewife, loudly proclaiming her concern for the reservation.

In these pages, the leader of this Alewife “protective” group praised the destruction of the core Alewife reservation.

The core Alewife reservation is far more valuable than peripheral areas the Alewife “protective” group has been “protecting” against much more difficult odds than exist in the core Alewife reservation.

The core Alewife reservation is massive irreplaceable aged NATIVE trees with an irreplaceable animal population. The logging and clear cutting has already started. The main destruction will take a month and will commence in October.

Birds have been dislocated from here and from Fresh Pond to the windows of office buildings. Chipmunks, possums, rabbits, raccoons, deer and untold other excellent animals will casually be killed by massive machines totally and needlessly destroying their homes, unless they can run away from the relentless machines..

Why? For flood storage to protect against a TWO YEAR FLOOD in an area which has seen TWO FIFTY YEAR FLOODS in the past twenty years.

[End of Chronicle publication. I have not compared for edits.]

Directly across Cambridge Park Drive, visible from the core Alewife reservation, is a massive parking lot which could be readily be used for flood storage if Cambridge had a city council resembling the claims of environmental sainthood spouted by the Cambridge City Council.

This barren parking lot is massive and is readily takeable by eminent domain. If the Cambridge City Council were the environmental saints that their constant claims proclaim.

The flood storage that could be placed under that massive parking lot is a very large multiple of the silly TWO YEAR FLOOD protection provided by the massive and reprehensible destruction of the core Alewife reservation.

It is not too late, the leader of the Alewife “protective” group has publicly admitted her group is a con game by her praise for destruction of the core Alewife reservation.

Gone is her praise for the irreplaceable, virgin woods.

Gone is her praise for the irreplaceable and excellent animals.

Present is outright contempt for the excellent environment being destroyed.

Essentially, she is now saying “Do not look at what the City Council is destroying. Look at the beautiful pork project WE are providing.”

“Reprehensible.” “Ample evidence [of] outrageous misbehavior.” The superior court and appeals court were talking about Cambridge’s contempt for civil rights. These words apply to Cambridge’s contempt for our environment as well.

The key to the imminent destruction of Alewife is the self proclaimed environment saints on the Cambridge City Council.

The self proclaimed environmental saints on the Cambridge City Council have very carefully not wanted to know what is going on. But they have been kept abreast of plans.

It is not too late, but the serious logging starts in October. The City Council should be told to behave like the environmental saints they claim to be.

This irresponsible and totally needless destruction should be stopped with the damage that has already been done.

That massive parking lot can hold much more needed flood storage than the pittance that can be gotten by destroying the core Alewife reservation. That massive parking lot should be used for the needed flood storage with the owner developing planned buildings on air rights.

4. Marilyn Wellons letter.

At the September 7, 2011 meeting about Alewife flood storage in DCR parkland, Cambridge said the system it will build can handle 2-year floods. As readers may know, there have been at least two 50-year floods there since 1996. Cambridge's solution will be grossly inadequate, the loss of parkland gratuitous.

Community Preservation Act legislation allows for purchase of watershed lands. Cambridge has spent more than a million dollars of Community Preservation Act funds to buy watershed outside of the city, in Lincoln. I propose that instead of destroying Alewife, the city spend CPA funds to buy watershed in Cambridge, at Alewife, to deal with the torrents of water that will continue to flood there in future storms.

It should be possible for the city and the current property owner of a parking lot on Cambridgepark Drive to agree on flood storage under any future building there. The developer would retain air rights for such a building or buildings. The city would pay the developer for the easement and marginal increase in the costs of a foundation built over the flood storage.

The owner of the parking lot has been attuned to environmental issues and has previously installed a rain garden at Alewife property to deal with runoff from its buildings.

The city could reasonably pursue this option as an alternative to its imminent crime against the environment at Alewife.