I found both good news and bad news in the recent news going on over in the Arcadia Street neighborhood. Several months back the City Council Chambers were crowded with folks from the Arcadia Street area fighting a planned 24-bed shelter to meet the needs of homeless folks. No one at that time was against such a sober house, but neighbors were just upset that their dead-end street would be negatively impacted by the plans for the lot at 84 Arcadia.
The developers took that proposal off the table, and the neighborhood declared a victory for themselves. They fought back against the very idea of a sober house being pushed down their unwilling throats. The politicians in the city stood up, too, and backed this neighborhood battle. In the end, developers apparently decided they knew when to hold and when to fold.
Now they are back and the new idea is five luxury townhouses. Neighborhood folks seem okay with this new proposal. I can say as an East Boston resident right next door to Revere, the endless development of more and more high-end luxury housing comes with many negatives, too. The City of Revere like my East Boston neighborhood has seen endless luxury housing, whether condos or rentals, which in the end only exacerbates the search by working class folk for a place to live that is affordable. Not many places out there, are there?
Affordable housing trusts can only really work if there are enough parcels of land to build such housing. The priority right now in Greater Boston is to keep a diversified housing stock. Developers are in business to make a product that is profitable for them, but it would be nice if developers also created more housing opportunities for working-class families, too.
I still want to again salute the folks over on Arcadia Street who stood up for themselves and their neighbors. We saw how local elected officials heeded their outcry and stood with them together shoulder to shoulder as it should be.
Why not run for office yourself?
Now is also the time for folks to think about running for office, too. This fall there will be several candidates running for mayor. Get involved, listen to what they have to say… As far as the City Council race goes, we have three at-large city councilors running for mayor and we also have a vacant ward City Council seat.
That would mean a major change in the make-up of the present City Council. Having these many empty seats almost never happens. You can sit by and be a spectator or you can encourage someone to run this year or you could run yourself.
Back in 1995 when I lived in Quincy, I ran for Quincy School Committee. I didn’t win but I did put my name on the ballot and received 2,332 votes back then. You can’t believe how much you get to know politics until you run yourself. I wish I had won but I was glad I gave it a shot. If you want to run, better decide quickly because the time to collect signatures will be here and gone before you know it.