Letters to the Editor

Monteiro Running for Council At-Large

To the Editor,

My name is Carla B. Monteiro and I’m running for Boston City Council At-Large. My story is the story of so many Boston families, one of struggle and rising above it.

My parents emigrated from Cabo Verde in 1979. As the daughter of immigrants, my family, like so many others across Boston, struggled to navigate language barriers in our daily lives. At age 4, my father walked out on us and we were evicted. I was too young to fully understand what was happening, but, in so many ways, that day would form the rest of my journey.

As a 16-year-old, I dreamed of buying a house in Boston and moving my family in to protect all of us from housing insecurity. Eventually, I transformed my dream of owning a home into a reality and at 28 I purchased a triple-decker in Dorchester to provide a home for my family and create a stable foundation for my son, Mesiah.

As a social worker, I know families and our youth are struggling to navigate Boston’s social safety net just as I did.

As one of my many jobs, I am an emergency psychiatric social worker at Boston Children’s Hospital where I provide therapeutic support to our youth. Every weekend, we are flooded with young people who are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety and need help. When COVID-19, hit I collaborated with other community leaders, elected officials, and institutions to gather masks, hand sanitizer, and hot food then went door to door across the city delivering them to our elders and those most vulnerable. Many times the people who need support must struggle the most to find resources.

Even before the pandemic hit, the systems meant to meet our basic needs to survive were failing us. I’m running for City Council to use my experience to ensure every Bostonian has what they need to thrive. In this period of healing and recovery, our City Council needs a social worker, one who knows how to put services in place for the people. I know what it takes to help our families and children be successful.

I know that Boston’s families are struggling because I have lived that struggle and see the consequences of the gaps in our social services daily. But the reality is this: We can achieve a Boston where everyone’s basic needs are met if we’re bold enough to imagine it and passionate enough to fight for it. Join our neighborhood by neighborhood movement at CarlaForBoston.com

Carla B. Monteiro

Candidate, Council at-large

RFP for Pier 5 Should be Halted or Cancelled

To the Editor,

Since the Patriot-Bridge writes frequently about issues in the Navy Yard, I am surprised that it didn’t question the timing or the location of this most recent RFP from the BPDA.

The issues brought up by the BPDA’s RFP for the Shipyard area have distinct implications for the proposed development of Pier 5.  How can the process continue to go forward when the ground near the proposed construction area has a growing number of sinkholes? It is dangerous to have heavy construction equipment and vehicles crossing over this area. Why is a study being done now and not before Pier 5 RFP’s were put forth?  Sinkholes have been a continuous issue here; they didn’t just crop up overnight.

I believe this recent RFP calls into question any proposals on Pier 5 and the RFP for Pier 5 should be halted or cancelled.

Thanks for your continued coverage of Charlestown and The Navy Yard.

Kathy Elliott

Resident of Flagship Wharf

Pier 5, A Public Place for the People  

To the Editor,

If I were inclined to write a book about Charlestown and the Boston Planning and Development Agency, the title would be, “Too Many and Still Never Enough.” This is referencing the ever-growing number of units being built in Charlestown while the community is experiencing dwindling open and green space. This is, to me, unacceptable.

The latest disturbing proposal coming from the BPDA is to privatize Pier 5 with resident units. This historical, “jewel” of the Navy Yard should be reimagined as greenspace, a living shoreline, a climate buffer, and a waterfront park.

Just the facts:

We in Charlestown, living on one square mile, according to the 2016 census, have a population of around 17,000 residents.  With the current building and the permitted proposals, the census is swelling to over 22,000 residents. The average square mile of population in Boston is 14,000.

Every buildable parcel in Charlestown is being considered for more housing, thus more people and less green and open space. Building private residences on Pier 5 is a travesty and we in Charlestown will not let that happen. As an aside, Charlestown is bordered on three sides by water. We are living in a flood zone. Is the BPDA aware of our vulnerability?

It is time for the BPDA to be accountable to the residents of Charlestown. Since the Navy Yard was decommissioned decades ago, the BPDA has been collecting rent on its properties, the water sheets, leases, as well as 2% of any real estate sale. Which brings me to the question, “Where is the money that has been collected over the years from Charlestown?”

Why was Pier 5 left to rot? The BPDA, being the landlord or steward of this property should be charged with “dereliction of duty” for not addressing this historical piece of Charlestown and letting it decay. If you or I owned a piece of property and left it blighted for decades, we would be hauled into court and fined.

The argument that there is no money for the rebuilding of Pier 5 must STOP. It is time to come together and find the money to keep Pier 5 as a climate resiliency buffer and space for people to enjoy.

As I was reading a recent publication of the Dorchester Reporter written by Bill Walczak, “Use Federal Funding to make Boston a Hub of Equity,” it was stated that the Biden administration has allotted over $434.6 million for city operations which would include climate resiliency and open space for recreation.

It seems to me, a public space versus private development is not a money maker for the BPDA. My take is that money matters and is preferable to the BPDA and they are not concerned about the quality of life for its residents. It is time to CHANGE the thought process of the BPDA and put people first.

The mission of the BPDA includes transparency, as stated in their vision. I have asked the BPDA for an accounting of the money generated by properties in Charlestown and have received no response. “Where is the money”? If the BPDA practiced “due diligence”, perhaps the pier would have been attended to decades ago.

Recently, as I was reading the Martha’s Vineyard Weekly Gazette, April 2nd, I came across an Interesting and informative article regarding their sales of real estate for the week of March 26 which reported revenues of $260,628 for the land bank. And where did that money come from? The 2% fee charged on real estate transactions. And where did that money go? The land bank uses its revenues to purchase and manage land for purposes of conservation, preservation, and PASSIVE RECREATION. To date, the Agency has purchased more than 3,882 acres of Vineyard land.

The BPDA, sadly, has misdirected or mismanaged the funds in the Navy Yard for decades and now they are taking a little over 2 acres to make more money for their coffers and disregarding the Charlestown community and their need for more open and green space. 

The last 5 years continues to show growth in their agency while the budget for 2020 is $75 million dollars with a surplus of $5 million dollars. That money SHOULD go to the repair of Pier 5 for public use. 

The vision of the BPDA states. “planning for the future of the neighborhood with the community.” The petition to keep Pier 5 public has over 1500 signatures and growing. Please visit the web site and add your name to this once in a lifetime opportunity to save our pier, pier5.org. The BPDA should also take a look and read the thoughtful comments written by some of the signers. This is what the community wants, a PUBLIC space.

Can the BPDA help me understand who are the stakeholder, residents, other parties advocating for residences on Pier 5?

If the BPDA has no answer for the above question and no answer for “Where is the money generated from the Navy Yard” for decades, and no significant plans for more green space and climate resiliency, then the BPDA has no business turning Pier 5 into a private entity.   

Imagine the possibilities for Pier 5, a place for people to be refreshed, rejuvenated, and recharged as well as a great place to recreate. Pier 5, an historical piece of America’s past should be the ONLY acceptable outcome. This is the RIGHT thing to do for the thousands of residents who call Charlestown   home as well as a destination for surrounding communities and visitors.

The BPDA needs to do the RIGHT thing for the people, which is to advocate for funding, get the Pier repaired and make sure that Pier 5 will NEVER be home to a handful of people but a place for ALL people.

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