Disregard and contempt
To the Editor:
Regarding your October 28, 2021 article on the Plan Charlestown Zoom and our scolding neighbor’s letter, the Patriot Bridge quoted me correctly. As a Charlestown resident and taxpayer, I have a right, a duty to participate, ask questions and demand accountability.
At the BRA/BPDA’s ‘Plan Charlestown’ Zoom, my ‘Chat’ comments and questions ruffled feathers. I will not be scolded like a ‘bad child’ BRA staff were on the Zoom to ‘provide information’. Inexperienced BRA staff presumed audience ignorance and wasted time in a juvenile exercise schooling the audience on Zoom’s use.
BRA staff related what they ‘learned’ from the Charlestown Community about the Community’s ‘vision’ for Plan Charlestown 2030. BRA staff’s ‘listening’ tour full of empty words unrelated to urban planning a repetition of ‘woke tropes’. BRA’s staff had no detail, no plan and no current information prepared for their meeting. BRA staff presented a map with Pier 5 in red shown as commercial space for retail. BRA staff answered why, was: at the last “Plan Charlestown” meeting one person was interested in shops on Pier 5. This is BRA’s planning or listening to the Community; the BRA ignores over 3000 Community signatures that support Pier 5 as a public park.
After countless BRA ‘planning’ meetings, the BRA plan/map has 181 comments from 36 individuals, in a Community of 20,000 residents. The BRA ignores the 3,000 signature petition to make Pier 5 a public park. In 2019, when presented with 2,700 Community signatures for a Charlestown Master Plan, the BRA ignored Mayor Walsh’s commitment, refused to do a Master Plan. Instead BRA ‘planners’ did a 2019 traffic study for Sullivan Sq.’s increasingly horrific traffic choke point to Charlestown which has worsened markedly since the removal of the rotary overpass. The 2019 traffic study included Charlestown, Somerville, Everett and Cambridge. However, the BRA ‘Planners’ had no clue the number of housing units for Charlestown and scrambled to give approximate numbers of total units for all 4 areas. BRA staff had no idea the number of housing units constructed and/or approved for the Sullivan Sq. area since 2019.
BRA staff admitted that BRA had no map showing Charlestown historic landmarks. BRA staff punts questions about Charlestown’s historic sites to the Boston Landmark Commission for historic data. We live on the Revolutionary War historic battlefield dating from our founding which includes all of Charlestown to Winter and Prospect Hills in Somerville and little Mystic where the British landed. Is this BRA ignorance or another example of BRA’s failed stewardship of our history when it leaves our history unprotected?
BRA is planning for 2030 but cannot explain 2019. How we can plan for the future when BRA fails to answer about the present, approved or on the ‘drawing board’ projects . BRA staff is either incompetent or deliberately refuses to answer. The BRA is not listening to the Community and the Community is not being heard. The BRA ‘Planners’ have no ‘Plan’ and approve projects on an ‘Ad Hoc’ basis with no vision or concern for our Community.
The Community frustration is not new. In “Bye, Bye BRA? Councilor Wu presents plan to Abolish BPDA” by Seth Daniels, October 11, 2019, Patriot Bridge, former president of “Charlestown Preservation Society said the recent Master Plan process with the BPDA has been frustrating, and another reason some other sort of planning agency should be considered. We’re in the early process of it, but the BPDA says they have no inkling of how to do a Master Plan,” she said. “They’ve said they don’t do Master Plans. They do strategic plans. It has been a frustrating situation. ” How quickly she forgets and then criticizes others for expressing similar frustrations.
Councilor Flaherty, at that time, said, “People are meeting-ed out. You could be out two or three nights a week on development. They take the bait that their input will shape a project and then they find they just aren’t heard. They have given up. People have given up on this.” The BRA must not be allowed to silence our Community who are impacted by the BRA’s non-existent Plan.
How can we, as a Community, plan for our future if we fail protect our history? How can we plan when BRA ‘Planners’ do not know how to Plan, refuse to Plan or refuse to answer our questions? Has the BRA considered the impacts on the health and well-being of OUR Community? Do the BRA ‘Planners’ care about the residents’ quality of life (green space, air quality, livability)? How can we Plan when the BRA ‘Planners’ are deaf to our demands? Does the BRA listen or hear when it ignores 3000 signatures to make Pier 5 a public park?
The BRA does not ‘listen’ to anyone; it does NOT plan anything. If this is a ‘process’, it is BROKEN. If this is ‘listening’, the BRA is NOT ‘hearing’. When the BRA acts contrary to Community’s vision and demands, the BRA shows disregard and contempt for the health, safety and welfare of our Community. The BRA Charlestown Master Plan ‘listening tour’ proves that the BRA is tone-deaf to Community. The Emperor has ‘no clothes’. I pay taxes. I, for one, demand answers and accountability.
Thank You All
To the Editor:
We appreciate the National Park Service, The City of Boston Special Events, Police and Public Works and the remarkable Charlestown community’s support of our Thirty Sixth Annual Halloween Parade on Sunday night, October 31, 2021. After a rain shower, and a beautiful double rainbow as a good omen, at the base of The Massachusetts Gate, our Fortune Tellers with crystal balls and fun spooky trees presided over the thousands of trick-or-treaters who gathered to take pictures. Children were thrilled to receive their glow-in-the dark necklaces provided by the Charlestown Mothers Association, who generously donated and provided the light up balloons.
Tony Barrie’s 100th birthday was commemorated by the NPS and the City for his service to our community as the bandleader for over thirty years of Tony Barrie Marching Band. Urbanity Dance entertained us with their “Thriller” performance, with the Monument as a backdrop. Wizard Jim Duane’s poem magically prepared the crowd for “Trick or Treat.”
Halloween at Monument Square is made possible by the generosity of neighbors and friends. Their kindness provides lifelong memories for Charlestown’s children, families, and friends.
We appreciate the support of:
NPS Superintendent Michael Creasey, and John Curwen, Julia Mize, Ethan Beeler and park rangers
The Honorable Mayor Kim Janey
State Senator Sal DiDomenico
City Councilor Michelle Wu
Charlestown Neighborhood Liaison Caitlin Stapleton
Stephen D. Delcuzé, JD MPA, Commander – JW Conway Bunker Hill Post 26, American Legion for his commitment to our community
Allo Super Heroes!
Tony Barrie Marching Band
Balloonatics for the amazing light up clear balloons
Bubble Guy Jim Dichter
Charlestown Mother’s Association
Charlestown Savings Bank, Jane Gricci and Team for Queen of Hearts
Christ Church Charlestown for their fun photobooth
Wizard Jim and Michelle Duane, Wizard and Extraordaire Volunteers
Coco Hynes and Johanna Hynes
Arthur Colpack and Charlestown Dogs for the Dino & Dog skeleton exhibit
Doghouse All Stars Band
Maureen Grace, with gratitude for her Spooky Trees
Ed Katz for the crystal ball lighting
Ann Kelleher and Toby Goldstein for Harvest on Vine
Rosemary Kverick as our Beloved Mother Goose
Elissa Ladd as a spectacularly dramatic Ursula
John Lee and the Baby Sharks volunteers
Michel LePage as Paul Revere
Kathy & Michel Litel
Massport for their generous support of the Fortune Tellers
DJ Ryan Murphy who rocks the crowd
New England Development for their generous support
Coray & Marc Thibalt for supporting the wonderful Doghouse All Star Band
Whole Foods for their bananas and Natalia Parker as Chiquita Banana
Marjorie Wallens as the Glamourous Glinda and Wizard of Oz Richard Johnston
Supporters: Peabody Properties, Logan House, Bunker Hill Associates, Thomson Square Partners
Pete & Elizabeth Hay, Kevin Joyce, Jane Philippi
Unsung sheros and heros: Jay Farraher, Jim Hauser, Arthur Hurley, Bob Markel, Tom Mosel, Dave Harvey & Joann Grigoli, Bill Galvin, Tom Fortier & Duncan Donahue and other generous supporters & donors who help create this great Charlestown inclusive tradition for young and old, from all walks of life. The cooperation and generosity of our community has been overwhelming.
Charlestown is a special place to call “home.