How Many People Will Central Square Development Kill?

How Many People Will Central Square Development Kill?

In robo-call, candidate Carlone calls Central Square development planning "Pearl Harbor"

  • Posted on: 3 November 2013
  • By: stannenb

In a robo-call to many Cambridge residents, City Council candidate Dennis Carlone compares possible future development in Central Square to Pearl Harbor, the surprise attack by 350 Japanese airplanes on a US Naval base that killed approximately 2400 Americans and led directly to America's entry into World War II.

Carlone's call asks residents if they are aware that "the City plans to allow" the building of 16 story buildings "from City Hall to Main Street" and 18 story buildings further down Mass Ave. Currently, the City has no such plans. Instead, a neighborhood planning process, the Central Square Advisory Committee, of the sort Carlone professes to support has made a recommendation that, if developers were to meet community objectives of increasing the housing supply, they should be allowed, in limited locations, to reach 16 stories. That extended height could be used only for housing. Before the City, through zoning changes, can allow this, the community recommendations need to be presented by the Community Development Department to the Planning Board, the Planning Board must act on them, and the City Council must approve them. Even after that process, for each 16 story building to be "allowed", developers would have to apply for a special permit, initiating another approval process.

Carlone's call concludes by asserting that these recommendations "are not planning" but are, instead, "Pearl Harbor".

Carlone, in response to emailed questions, asserts that a May 7th 2013 memorandum from the Community Development Department (PDF) constitutes "plans". But, as the memo states in its first paragraph, the CDD was conveying the results of the Central Square (C2) Advisory Committee planning study.

This apparent misrepresentation of the state of development in Cambridge follows many similar statements by anti-development activists. The Cambridge Residents Alliance, who have endorsed Carlone, portrayed Cambridge's future as what one observer termed an "uninhabitable hellscape". The CRA, after being criticized for deceptive statements and statistics, have become more careful in their characterizations, noting that their worst case concerns are only a possible outcome. But the CRA has also used an odd Japanese analogy, showing the Central Square Advisory Committee a video of Tokyo subway commuters being crushed into cars as a supposed prediction of the Red Line's future. The CRA has opposed development of 300 Mass Ave., a building which will be occupied by Millenium, a subsidiary of the Japanese firm, Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Carlone has not, as of this writing, responded to further inquiries about his Pearl Harbor analogy. Janneke House, who is running with Carlone on their self-described "Clean Slate", distanced herself from Carlone, calling Carlone's analogy "inappropriate". Nadeem Mazen, another member of the "Clean Slate", said that Carlone explained to him that this was "a planning analogy and not a war analogy" and that, while Mazen chose not to use robo-calls, he was "not really going to fault those who do, now, with just a few days until election."

Perhaps, though, Carlone's analogy is smarter than even he realizes. Pearl Harbor, the movie starring former Central Square resident Ben Affleck, was universally panned by the critics, who called it lacking in grace, style, vision, history, or context. That's an outcome that everyone in Cambridge would seek to avoid.

Listen to Carlone's robo-call:

Disclaimer: The author was a member of the Central Square Advisory Committee and, in response to the climate change crisis and the dire need for more affordable and middle income housing in Cambridge, considers recommendations for increased density around the transportation hub of Central Square a moral imperative.

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Comments

I take great exception to a number of the author's comments and inferences. Mr. Carlone, the ONLY experienced urban planner running for City Council knows a bad idea when he sees one, and I agree with him that the C2 recommendations are a disaster in the making. Mr. Carlone, more than anyone, can envision the impacts from such dramatic up-zoning in Central Square. But unlike Mr. Tannenbaum, or the CDD, or the entire C2 advisory group, Mr. Carlone is not pretending that Central Square exists in a vacuum, or that massive change in one area of the city won't have spillover effects in other areas. Mr. Carlone is calling for a citywide planning review, so that we can act responsibly and with knowledge before making unnecessarily dramatic changes to Central Square or anywhere else. We can't keep up-zoning and pretend it will have no impact on the quality of our lives.The question is, how we can accommodate all the growth that Mr. Tannenbaum and his like-minded colleagues are calling for? His moral imperative to create additional middle class and affordable housing rings hollow as he, and everyone else, knows that most , if not all, of the housing built in Central Square will serve a highly affluent population. High-rise housing that will effectively price out middle class folks and families while stoking the fires of gentrification that may force many of them out of the city. As for claiming the Central Square Advisory Committee was exactly the kind of "neighborhood planning group" Mr. Carlone supports, the writer was clearly allowing himself some ironic exaggeration, since the committee was stacked with pro-development voices and conducted with a pro-development bias. As for neighborhood involvement, the nearby Cambridgeport and Area IV neighborhood associations were totally excluded from the advisory process. For me and many others who observed the committee's work, the C2 advisory committee process was greatly flawed, if not corrupt. To me, it was set up to give cover and create a public mandate for massive development. Carlone wasn't incorrect when he talked about 16- and 18-story buildings running down Mass Ave., because once the city council breaks the height barriers for housing, every non-residential development will be brought before the council to purchase additional footage. Once the city gives up its height virginity, she'll be fair game for all sorts of mischief. But you're not merely talking about 14-, 16- and 18-story apartment buildings; you're talking about crowded subways, crowded sidewalks, shadows where there were no shadows, automobile gridlock at key intersections (the troubled intersections CDD's paid consultant DID NOT study), bigger crowds at bus stops, and even WORSE traffic on Western Ave.. You're asking all of us, and especially the people who live in Central Square, to accept major changes in our lives, major changes to our neighborhood, for the benefit of developers and thousands of people who don't even live here yet. It may not be a Pearl Harbor you're asking us to accept, but it certainly looks like an attack on the quality of our lives.

I think the lead picture in this story is a copyright violation.

Mr. Tanenbaum's moral imperative will result in higher rents for residents and businesses. The construction financing insures that. If what you really want to see is more "white professionals" and fewer affordable retail businesses then that's for you too. Without an upgrade to the signals and power system the T will not be able to keep up with this new growth. "Smart growth" without a smart plan is just growth.

The thing about rich people is that they can live wherever they want. If they want to live in Cambridge, they'll buy whatever they can. They want to live in Cambridge, so, we can either build market rate housing for them, or have them buy/rent existing housing and displace lower/middle income residents. It really is that simple.

The poster image, which is copyright by Touchstone Pictures, is used as parody, and as a commentary on the movie's place in Cambridge political and cultural life. That's absolutely fair use.

I'm still looking to find someone who'll actually defend Carlone's robo-call. Neither of these two commenters, despite their strong agreement with Carlone on the issues, seem willing to even touch the point of my story.

Why would anyone need to defend Carlone's robo-call? Like most things in life it will have to stand or fall on its own merits. Did it advance truth, you could ask, did it advance the candidate's story? A story perhaps that muchly irritates Saul and his friends…? I thought Dennis did an excellent job elevating an important issue—the gentrification of Central Square—as relevant fodder for campaign discussion. Conceptually, do I like Robo-calls? No, not at all! Dennis' Robo-call I liked. Made me feel good to hear the truth spoken for once. Truth is such a rare commodity in a political campaign. I invite others to take up Saul's invitation and play Dennis' robo-call for themselves.

So, you believe that those who disagree with you are the equivalent of an attacking force that killed thousands of Americans? That's the "truth" advanced by this robo-call.

Hey Guys! Interesting conversation you're all having here. "Height virginity"???!!! really Mr. Steven-Stone? A little much methinks, also I don't want to alarm you but I don't think this is Central's first time. The robo-call is indefensible, whether you believe that development would destroy or enhance. There is nothing going on in the conversation that warrants that kind of nastiness. Further, if Carlone is the development wiz you tout him to be then he must know that the limitations of FAR make it virtually impossible for anyone that owns less than a contiguous half acre of land to get anywhere near 14' let alone 16' or 18'. (yes even considering transfer rights if they ever come to pass). Your suggestion that once developers can get to this height the city will throw out the residential requirement or simply ignore the height limitation is without merit, but your fear tells me two things 1) Maybe you actually don't mind residential at 18' and 2) you drastically underestimate the integrity of me and my colleagues (your neighbors and friends) who spent almost two years laying down the ground work to prevent everything you blindly claim will happen, from ever having a chance to take root. I live in Area IV, Ming Tai lives in Area IV, in fact there was at least one more member who lives in Area IV on the committee, so again...your claim of no representation is false. Maybe you just wished that everyone asked you what we should do, you'd feel better about it?

As far as Carlone goes, I can't see someone who inspires such zealotry being healthy for Cambridge. Whether you want development or not, the conversation shouldn't begin and end with this kind of nonsense. You do realize there are 8 other councilors with whom Dennis would have to work right? It would be nice to be able to talk you guys on some rational level, but when you invoke Pearl Harbor, or talk of tsunamis, it is clear that a rational dialogue is what you fear most. Imagine what good you all could do if you put your energy towards picking up trash in Central Square or donating your time spent fear mongering to a place like Margaret Fuller? In the end I have a hard time understanding what you and your cadre want in anything at all.

As a avid history enthusiast, I support the good use of history in discussing current events. The terrible ambiguity of the Pearl Harbor experience means it is an inappropriate analogy for any situation in Cambridge -- other than another agonizing ambiguity.

The wartime surprise attack includes many other issues -- warning signs that were badly handled by American officials ... scapegoating of military leaders for failure to be on the alert ... the failure of the Japanese to destroy our aircraft carriers (which were conveniently out to sea at the time) .... and a failure of the Japanese to engage in a second raid on Pearl Harbor to knock out the oil storage tanks. Tragically, fuel oil storage was more important to the war effort that the lost World War I-vintage battleships which were too slow to keep up with the fleet. The Japanese military recognized that they had made an error of "awakening the sleeping giant" and that their nation was likely to lose the war in the Pacific. In Europe Prime Minister Churchill's joyous reaction on hearing of the attack was "this means war!"

Assemble all of these historical pieces, and I do not think that Pearl Harbor is a good analogy to the current poor-quality planning that has been done for Central Square. Another poor analogy is to link Central Square planing with the Edsel of 1950s marketing disaster fame -- it would be unfair to the Edsel. The massive government failure of the same vintage -- the Vietnam War -- was a grotesque tragedy propagated by the "Best and the Brightest" who professed that getting into a land war in Asia was what they did NOT want to do .... yet that is exactly what happened.

A better analogy would be a local one -- the terrible highway planning of five decades ago when state officials planned to run an eight-lane expressway through Cambridgeport and Area IV, obliterating every building in its path. The loss from the Inner Belt highway would have been staggering -- 2,000 housing units and 3,000 jobs. The plan had the support of the City Planner and the City Planning Board. At one time the Universities were in support and many businesses saw it as inevitable progress.

One little known fact is that starting in 1967 then-Mayor Dan Hayes joined with City Manager Joe DeGuglielmo to oppose the Inner Belt. A special unit of the City Managers office was created called Community Development, and this coalition together with citizen groups and housing advocates worked to defeat the road plan, the City Planner and the state highway department. If the Battle of Britain in 1940 was "Britain's Finest Hour," the late 1960s city action against the Inner Belt was Cambridge's Finest Hour.

The current Central Square plan is not a good candidate for Cambridge's new Finest Hour. Then-City Manager Healy refused to appoint representatives of Citizen groups to the advisory Committee, while stacking it with many landowners who would directly profit from any upzoning. Such profits would be a clear indication of conflict of interest, and those landowners should have been disqualified from being on the committee.

The City never produced a traffic plan and indeed the committee thought one was not necessary because the desire of the committee was not to increase road widths and amounts of traffic. There was no plan for wind and shadow impacts. The City did post something they called a plan on the website, but it was primarily glossy graphics and zoning details. It did not contain details of planning and alternatives.

Both Carlone and Tannenbaum omit a key development in early June of this year. As a draft zoning amendment was being discussed by the Planning Board (with yet no prior approval of the plan), a developer's letter was suddenly submitted. Instead of the 140-foot heights in the Central Square zone, the developer Twining Properties proposed 285 feet.

Whatever the reasons for this proposal, this developer's letter comes closest to being a Pearl Harbor attack on the process. A "bomb" was dropped and the process was immediately stalled. All the chickens had been lined up for approval of 140-foot heights. Suddenly there is a new alternative dropped on the table for 285 feet. This height is three times higher than the controversial Forest City development now under construction at 300 Mass Avenue. With this 285-foot height proposal, further planning for Central Square seems "dead in the water."

Neither Carlone nor Tannenbaum nor Community development considers the implications for TDM or the Transfer of Development Rights. This TDM provision allows other properties in the zone to remain in place (such as historic buildings) but owners can sell their development rights to developers. Those developers can then use those rights to build more densely on their own sites. Where is the plan for this?

Tannenbaum is correct that the City has shown no official plans -- and that is precisely the problem. Technically, the City had held no hearings on the proposals of the Advisory Committee, and no city agency or board has taken an official vote of approval. Hence the City's posted "plan" is improper and misleading.

Tannenbaum's analogy to a third-rate movie on Pearl Harbor is also inappropriate because the film appears to be a commercially produced fiction, lacking a proper relation to reality and accuracy. The city's planning effort for Central Square may be flawed, but it is not permeated to excess with Hollywood distortions.

Tannenbaum does offer a listing of planning virtues that seem warranted : grace, style, vision, history, and context. Some citizen critics would claim that the current Central Square plan fails with all five criteria. Others, like Tannenbaum would claim the plan is successful on many accounts. Let us have that discussion, openly and without conflict of interest -- prior to the approval of any plan for Central Square and prior to any subsequent zoning amendments.

Mr. Tannenbaum may indeed be correct in his assessment of the Pearl Harbor movie, but his use of the company's advertising logo for the film as part of his harsh condemnation may indeed be a copyright violation. As a minimum, the Hollywood producers could legitimately entertain filing a court suit against this offense.

Tannenbaum fails to criticize this candidate and others for a flaw that is extremely common in this electoral season : the use of robo-calls. I have been receiving a half-dozen a day of these calls, and they are a perpetual annoyance. Some candidates seem to be using the telephone to replace the far more important objective of making personal connections with voters. I do not wish to listen to anyone's robo-calls.

Stephen H. Kaiser

I will be the first to acknowledge that there are many things my story doesn't include. I was writing specifically about the robo-call and two assertions within in. Others are more than welcome to report on other aspects.

But, please, I offer no opinion on Pearl Harbor, the movie, as I have never seen it beginning to end. I just summarize critical opinion, clearly attributed.

In deciding whether or not use this Pearl Harbor publicity poster, I followed the Wikipedia guidelines for use of non-free content. I'm confident that my use of this image is completely appropriate.

Saul,

You pass the four part test handily. As for Mr. Kaiser, sifting through his nonsense require waders; I prefer bullet-points.

- The development in Central Square bears no resemblance to the invasion of Pearl Harbor is any cogent way. Carlone's analogy is offensive but indicative of the Tea Party-like antics I've come to expect of Dennis and his constituents. Just like the Tea Party, Carlone and his gang enjoy making offensive off the wall comparisons to shock, scare, and spread ignorance to all who trust them. Kaiser has decided to pour a little petrol on the flame.

- The comparison of the C2 process and further residential development in Central Square to the Freeway slated to go through Cambridge Port is also not apt. In fact the proposal that Kaiser states would have driven 2000 households out of Cambridge bears no resemblance at all to the C2 process that seeks to add at least 2000 households to Central Square. Try as Kaiser might to frame this as "the good fight" his wires are crossed mistaking up for down, left for right, and residential construction with a freeway. Further, Kaiser goes on to claim how private land owners are the benefactors of C2 draft language. This isn't true unless you own a contiguous parcel over 1/2 acre in size. The largest land owner in Central is the City of Cambridge. Thus, Cambridge is the biggest benefactor. I've done the zoning analysis and I can honestly say C2 gives me nothing. (I'd be happy to share this with anyone). Maybe he is thinking of Twining? Or the Nagars? or the Rothmans? True they all own large plots, however only Morris was part of C2 and he has a big problem regardless of the size of his lots. I'll leave to the experts to figure out what that is.

- That Twining wrote a letter stating he desired 285' does not make it possible for him to do so. To suggest that it does makes me wonder just where on the DSM V such a person claiming this to be true would land. If Twining wrote a letter stating that he was the Queen of England would that also make it so Steven? However, because people respect Mr. Kaiser and people like Carlone, trusting them to do right by them, they listen to this nonsense and spread it like a disease. Now the common rhetoric among the "No" crowd and Calrone's regrettable robo-call claims that 30 story buildings are coming our way; and its all a bunch of nonsense.

- The one thing Kaiser does get right is that robo-calls are annoying as hell. I'm glad I haven't received any, but I can't help but wonder if that is why my fax machine is continually going off with nothing to receive.

- Kudos to Nadeem for not using them; even though he's an idiot for teaming up with Carlone... though smart for partnering with House... I guess its a wash.

Your outrage over Dennis' use of robo-calling and hyperbole would be more meaningful if you also responded to the fact that a professional urban planner thinks your plans for Central Square are a disaster waiting to be approved by the City Council, no matter which metaphor you use to describe it. I am reminded of the Republicans jumping all over the inept rollout of the Obamacare web site, as if they were honestly concerned with doing anything but killing off Obamacare. You are attempting to undercut Dennis' perceptive message about the Central Square Advisory Committee's awful recommendations by challenging the words and the way his message was conveyed. Again I invite folks to listen to Dennis' recorded message to hear the truth about your committee's recommendations.

I am simply reporting Carlone's words. If this undercuts his position, he owns that. If it distracts from the substance of his position, he owns that, too. This is politics 101, and, in terms of basic politic skills, he fails at that, too.

I also reject fallacious appeals to authority. Carlone's opinion about development in Central Square stands or falls on its merits. Since he feels the need to frame it in hyperbolic emotional terms ("Pearl Harbor") and misleading statements about process ("plans to approve") and outcome ("16 story towers from City Hall to Main Street") I conclude his position has no merit.

(I don't actually care that much about robo-calling. It's the content of Carlone's call that's at issue.)

Here it is, election day, and the dust is still settling around the Central Square planning furore.

Apparently I can get agreement with Patrick on one thing : we both hate robocalls. I think all candidates should sign a written agreement not to use them.

I can also get agreement with Saul that no formally approved "plan" exists for Central Square. Why then has the City Community Development Department posted an 18-page document on their website and called it a "plan"??? Anyone except Saul and I would think that the 18-page plan is truly real. We both know better . The truth still is that no approved plan exists. The alleged sin of Dennis Carlone is that he claimed a plan exists -- just as the City does. Is it a crime to believe what the City says? Saul has no grounds to excoriate Dennis for what he said about a plan at Central Square. Be fair about it and trace the problem back to City Hall.

Saul and i also agree -- for quite different reasons -- that the use of the term "Pearl Harbor" was not the wisest choice, simply because the words have so many different meanings. I imagine that Dennis' use of the words was to stress the sneak attack aspects of the historical image, not the loss of life, ships or America's entry into a war. I feel that "Pearl Harbor" should be used with care because it has so many different historical and emotional meanings.

Upon reflection, I think the situation with the 285-foot height proposal by Twining properties can have a quite different interpretation. I had always been worried that the heights Dennis recounted in his robocall. Do these heights actually represent a Phase One of a much bigger proposal?? The idea would be to ask for something small, get it approved and then ask for more. The policy is like a greedy repeat customer on Halloween ; Keep coming back for more.

Suppose Twining took a look at Central Square and said "we should be honest about what we would really like to see at Central Square. Let's put the idea of 285-foot heights on the table and say that's it. That's the ultimate plan." There are developers who believe in tall buildings but also want to be honest. Could we have a case of this with the Twining proposal? If so it means the City's planning strategy and that of the advisory committee are not honest and may indeed be deceitful.

Now a project for Saul to investigate. Why did the Planning Board hold a discussion on a draft Central Square zoning change in late Spring of this year, with the clear implication that the Board might support it?? But Saul and I agree there is no plan. What is the Planning Board doing having a detailed discussion on rezoning, when planning should come first? Most of the numbers for building heights that Dennis used in his robocall came from the zoning discussion. Planning comes first, with an active public participation process, and only then does a zoning discussion properly begin. City Council candidates can say many things in the heat of a campaign. But how can the Planning Board put the zoning cart in front of the horse?

And now a project for Patrick to investigate. I have heard a rumor that he is going part-time to law school. If that is so, a good legal investigation would be into the action of the City and its Central Square Advisory committee to engage in upzoning actions that would increase private profits. How can this be legal when Article 7 of the Declaration of Rights of the state Constitution specifically requires that government actions must be for the "common good" and not for the "profit" of special interests?

SK

Dennis Carlone ran (and appears to have won) on his years of experience in city planning in Cambridge. It seems a fair expectation for him to understand the nuances of document posted on the city web site, especially when opposing it is the centerpiece of his campaign. I'm forced to consider two alternatives:

- Carlone doesn't understand the document and is therefore overplaying his experience
- Carlone does understand the document and is misrepresenting it for cynical political purposes

Time will tell which is true.

The Planning Board has held a number of discussions about planning for Kendall and Central Squares. C2 Advisory Committee members - who no longer have any official responsibilities because the body no longer exists - have spent a number of evenings at the Planning Board explaining our vision and our goals, some of which are completely outside the purview of the Planning Board. What I see at work here is an iterative process, proposals made, discussed and revised and I applaud the Planning Board for its flexibility and willingness to listen to the C2 Committee.

+ Steven Kaiser writes: "I had always been worried that the heights Dennis recounted in his robo-call. Do these heights actually represent a Phase One of a much bigger proposal??"

+ It is this precise feeling that many people harbor, whether justified or no, that prompted Carlone to push out that offensive robo-call. Now instead of having a polite conversation about facts people who care have to worry about a purposely false narrative designed to inspire fear. Kaiser is an intelligent man, who even has a good idea or two, imagine what effect this kind of propaganda has on people trusting and relying on Carlone to tell the truth? The really sad part of it is that I could get up there, lay the math on the table, and Kaiser, and the "no-to-everything-gang" would still think I was lying or maybe a witch. Obviously Carlone's nonsense has an impact as we are now stuck with this guy for the next two years. Fortunately there are 8 other people who I know are able to see reason.

+ Steven, I'm going full time. That being said, your sentence gives you the answer. Where is the government action? There hasn't been any, and even if the language is ratified as stated one could easily argue that the public good has been served with no individual or class of individual standing to overtly gain. I think you, and everyone else forgets that amount of risk involved in construction as well as the expense, but I digress...lets take a look:

+ "ART. VII. Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it."

+ Based on your narrow view of the text, (I just read your treatise by the way), the grant of a curb cut would violate this provision. However what this article is stating very plainly is that government's objective is to serve the common good, and it is perfectly within the scope of this article, and the law, for something that serves the common good to also benefit a single class or one individual. In fact it is almost impossible to imagine a scenario in the context of land use where someone isn't going to receive a direct benefit. Even the oft threatened eminent domain is predicated on the notion that the one whose land is taken receive fair compensation (translate to Fair Market Value). A benefit conferred and the public good (presumably) served. Aside from that point, what this article I believe is really saying is that government shouldn't benefit a certain class and the people are endowed with the ability to change it should it not serve them well. Aspirational, but also true in our democratic society. Now in the context of C2:

+ I was on the C2 board, I own property that would be effected by a change in the zoning. However, based on the current draft language (based only in small part by my personal recommendations. I doubt you could look to any passage in the draft and say, "Ah Patrick was here."), I would stand to gain roughly 6000sqft of GFA. This is mostly due to the possible exemption of the ground floor retail. If the draft language passed as written this exemption would not effect the amount of units I could build. By right I can build 38, w/inclusionary bonus and with the draft language I could build 38. You have to remember that FAR still controls everything here. For a floor plate as small as mine there is no change and no tangible private benefit.

+ Thus, the constitutional accusation is without merit on the first point, and difficult to prove on the second. In fact the biggest benefactor of the draft language is the City of Cambridge as they own the only parcels in the area effected that fit the size necessary to capitalize on the potential increased FAR. The biggest loser is MIT. Private owners with plots at 10k sqft or under don't have enough incentive to make any project economically feasible and with the risk involved in construction its tough to say a benefit has been conferred to anyone if they do not realize it. However the over arching premise of the whole process was to create more housing, market rate and subsidized, and to clean up Central Square. It is hard the conclude that the public good isn't served there too. The argument you're making isn't very strong anyway you slice it.

+ Additionally, there is no flood gate that is opened by increasing the height for residential only in Central Square. The accusation is completely without merit and fairly insulting to everyone who lives in the neighborhood and worked for a year in a half trying to give Central Square the chance it deserves to achieve the greatness it once had. Decades of hysterical downzoning, neglect, and apathy have created an environment that is untenable for local businesses, and has put incredible stress on the housing market. The fear of Kaiser and those willing to be swayed by charlatans like Carlone has fostered a blackhole of development in Central Square that the recommendations of C2, and people who are willing to continue to fight for what is right, are fighting to undo.

+ I'm still baffled by your insistence that Twining's letter constitutes some kind of proposal or mandate. It is neither. Maybe it was just a distraction to get you engaged sooner than later. A tactical devise designed to enrage so that when the curtain is pulled you are desensitized and apathetic to a greatly reduced, but larger than what is currently allowed structure? Or maybe its a good old fashioned ego ploy, so that those in fear can feel as though they accomplished something by bending the wrist of an evil developer? I've no idea. All I know is that speech is still free, and the expression of one's opinion, no matter who they are, is just that; opinion and nothing else. Maybe I should write a letter to the council stating that I think 10,000 stories is more appropriate?