Spreading the seeds of Discord... A developer destroying a neighborhood, dividing a community?

Spreading the seeds of Discord... A developer destroying a neighborhood, dividing a community?

Spreading the seeds of Discord... A developer destroying a neighborhood, dividing a community?

1. The Context

The Sullivan Court house in East Cambridge, a public purpose building owned by the State is being sold. The State has chosen Leggat McCall as the developer against the will of the neighborhood. Leggat McCall wants to transform the Sullivan Courthouse into a glass office tower adding at least 2500 trips a day to East Cambridge, exacerbating the existing traffic and parking issues. At night, the building, 24/7 use, will shine like 100 moonlights (developer study), the stars will be invisible. The privacy of an entire neighborhood will be shuttered. Abutters, who’s privacy, is currently invaded by the 300 prisoners atop the building, will now have 3,000 people looking into their yard, and the rest of the neighborhood, from first to Fulkerson street, will loose theirs.

Over the last month the Cambridge residents have come together under the umbrella of NAEC (Neighborhood Association of East Cambridge) to support ECPT (East Cambridge Planning Team) and fight the current proposal by Leggat McCall. NAEC serves as a resource for all concerned about the Courthouse check it out
www.40thorndike.org, read the details of the proposal and sign the petition.

The Sullivan Courthouse and the land on which it sits are deeded for public use. The State, because it is the State, doesn’t have to abide by zoning laws, hence forth despite strong opposition when it was being build and city zoning laws, the State build a brutalist 280 feet tower (zoning allows 80). The State is now asking the city of Cambridge to transfer the State privileges to a private for profit developer. Can this be right?

2. The PR Campaign

Over the last 2 weeks, the developer has launched a PR campaign to discredit the residents effort by spreading the word of a divided community. We are a large group of residents, each with their own opinion, so yes their is disagreement on how to achieve best result, but we are united in our purpose. The PR campaign spreading the seeds of discord is completely inappropriate and demonstrate the detrimental impact of such development on our neighborhoods. This campaign is not only trying to pit residents against one another but also the city against its residents. East Cambridge and Cambridge at large has been developed at a maddening pace, without any Master Plan, substantially eroding the quality of life and stressing the infrastructure and community to the brink.

As most large groups gathering around an issue, we don’t all agree on everything but do agree that the proposal by Leggat McCall will not better our community. The project doesn’t satisfy the needs of the community and we are united in wanting the current proposal, in front of the city Planning Board, special permit #288 to be denied.

Leggat McCall is only one of many examples around Cambridge where a developer tries to gain special privileges allowing them to develop beyond what is allowed by zoning. The use of a divisive PR campaigns, such as the one currently underway with respect to the Courthouse, should be ground for denial of permit.

We are a united Cambridge, we are a united East Cambridge, we are One Cambridge. We ask the Planning Board to deny special permit #288.

3. My Personal Take

I would like to see all parties, including City Councilors, not to fall prey to the divisive discourse. I ask our City Councilors to use their position to strengthen the residents efforts and unity. I thank the City Councilors who have already done so, and taken a strong stands against this development and the biased process underlying it. I ask the businesses around the Courthouse to side with the residents, after all we are your clients. And dismissing our view as against businesses is ludicrous at best. We residents, live here, it is our home. To sacrifice the 10,000 residents of East Cambridge for the little increase in business this development will bring is bad business. The East Cambridge Business Association should support the community in which it lives not the insane development benefiting only a very few outsiders.

We are a united Cambridge, we are a united East Cambridge, we are One Cambridge.

The politics of Fear has ruled for many years now... Do this or it will be catastrophic, no alternative, we are proposing the best solution. Fear the worst if you don’t choose us.

Fear, Fear, Fear, Fear, Fear,.... Discord, Discord, Discord... Fear, Fear, Fear, Fear,...

They use Fear to dictate and Discord to rule.

In realty, fear is not a factor, facts and reason are. If permit #288 is denied the State will have to take steps to resolve the situation. It is in no ones interest, certainly not the State, to see the land on which the Courthouse lives, right in the heart of the ‘Innovation Economy’, remain empty. It is time to let fear fade away and give rise to Facts and Reason. Together lets resists fear mongers. Lets embrace an optimistic vision of a better use for the Courthouse, within zoning law, and inline with the needs of our community, neighborhoods, and their residents. Together lets dream of a better Cambridge, together lets build a better Cambridge.

We are a united Cambridge, we are a united East Cambridge, we are One Cambridge.