Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cambridge Alliance Demands More Affordable Housing

A surprise meeting was held in the city-wide Senior Center on Saturday May 4, 2013. It was a surprise to me. It looked like more than 100 people attended on this sunny warm day. It was relatively warm. It was 75 degrees F. in Vermont and New York City. But 40 F. in Cambridge. Is Cambridge being punished for its role in the Boston Marathon bombing? No one mentioned  it. Many familiar faces from City Council meetings and neighborhood association meetings were present. Longest serving City Councilor Ken Reeves, Harvard College graduate left early. He did not say if he had any bets on the Kentucky Derby. Minka van Beuzekom showed more stamina than any of the other councilors, remaining till the end. Seven were absent.

Who we are. What we do.

The announcement.

Bill Cunningham explains some history to the citizens. He noted the City Manager form of government makes it difficult for citizens to influence policy. 

A citizen tries to stump the panel. 

Bill Cunningham (left) with Renae Gray.

Residents listen to the discussion on housing. 

City Councilor Minka van Beuzekom (in blue, leaning to her left); Laurie Taymor-Berry (in red). 

Some of the interested Cambridge Citizens at this community meeting.

Prof. Tom Angotti, City University of New York. He lamented the NYPD policy of Stop and  Frisk. He said many young men of color are stopped and frisked by police in New York City in their own neighborhoods. They are usually let go. 

Lee Farris (left) with Jonathan King Prof. of Biology at MIT.  

Lee Farris (left) with Richard Krushnic. Farris lamented many residents are unaware of all the development going on in the city. Krushnic revealed that biotech research can be done in three story buildings as well as in 12 story buildings. Really? He warned that Cambridge is being invaded by 20-40 year-olds. He reported that transportation is not being studied properly. He said, "We need a master plan." I introduced him to my plan to ban pedestrians. It would mandate that all persons when leaving a building, must enter a vehicle. That would enable eliminating all sidewalks and all accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles. It would allow increased parking, and more cars traveling faster through city streets. He objected saying, "We need more pedestrians." I said "It's a joke." He said "I thought you were serious." He noted the great amount of taxpayer money received by MIT from The Department of Defense for "R and D." He listed details of sizes of new apartments being built in North Point Cambridge, which is in east Cambridge. I think they name projects just to confuse visitors and to protect residents from terrorists. Krushnic said there are few three bedroom apartments being built. It is all one and two bedrooms, which he said discourages families. In some countries and in rural 19th Century America, families of 12 lived in three rooms. What is the problem? He said he wants more diversity, which is what the City Council and Harvard University say also. But Harvard University policies segregate their housing portfolio to only Harvard University affiliates. Does Krushnic know this? Does he care? He reported blue collar families left Cambridge with light industry. Biotech companies attract high paid young people. No middle class, and no poor people. He says the middle class and the lower classes are being excluded from housing in Cambridge. Not if they double, triple, and quadruple up. Is he aware that Harvard University and the City want to make Cambridge into a World Class, upper class academic enclave? Oh, you say. It is already?  

Cesar McDowell, Prof. of Urban Studies and Planning  at MIT.

One example of affordable low income housing in Cambridge, seen at about 5:30 PM Saturday, May 4, 2013. This resident takes a pre-dinner nap during the community meeting on affordable housing. Don't know why they complain. There is a lot of this kind of housing all over the city. 

Nancy Ryan, encouraged audience participation

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