Letters to the Editor

I Was Very Disappointed

To the Editor,

After listening to the BPDA 4-person Board of Directors Meeting last Thursday evening, via ZOOM, which was the only option for participation, for 3.5 hours, I was very disappointed that the BPDA Board approved Plan Charlestown without further modification or delay.

I was most amazed that the BPDA staff and leadership repeatedly cited the participation of the community in the planning process, and the approval of much of the community with the plan.

The fact is that Daniel Ryan, our State Representative, is on the record as NOT supporting the current plan; as is Gabriela Coletta, our Boston City Councilor; as is the Charlestown Neighborhood Council; as is the Charlestown Civic Association; as is the Charlestown Preservation Society; as are over 4,000 of Charlestown’s residents and taxpayers who signed a petition for an alternative community-based Master Plan, as are the authors of hundreds of pieces of correspondence which have been received, per City Councilor Coletta.

How can the BPDA tell its Board of Directors that they have the support of the Charlestown Community? Talk about “alternative facts”!

Like most of the Charlestown residents I know, I strongly oppose Plan Charlestown because its buildings are too high, it is too dense (80+% increase in population}, it is disrespectful of Charlestown’s rich history, and too unhealthy for the people who call Charlestown our home (increased pollution, increased shadows, increased heat island effect, decreased mature tree canopy, decreased sunlight, too close to the highways, and in known flood zones). It also does not, and cannot, adequately guarantee the infrastructure improvements needed to absorb the increased traffic, parking, school children, etc.

Louis D. Brandeis once said “We must make our choice. We may have democracy or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” At last Thursday’s BPDA Board of Director’s meeting, democracy did not win. The big money developers won.

The disregard of the wishes and rights of the Charlestown residents and taxpayers reminds me of the shameful way the citizens of the West End were treated during the “urban development” of the late 1950’s and 1960’s.

Please defend our town and our democracy. Take action and write Mayor Wu at [email protected] and also Dr David Cash, the EPA Regional Administrator for Region 1 at [email protected].  


Paul G Hughes

Making the Cancer Fight a Top Priority from Charlestown to D.C.

To the Editor,                                                                                                                

This month, I had the honor of representing Massachusetts Congressional District 7 on Capitol Hill. Along with roughly 600 of my fellow American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers from across the country, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to urge lawmakers to make cancer a national priority.

Together, we called on Congress to support lifesaving policies that help people prevent and treat cancer. We asked legislators for their support in increasing federal funding for cancer research and prevention, and to support legislation that would waive out-of-pocket costs for individuals with the highest risk of prostate cancer/create a pathway for Medicare to cover new multi-cancer early detection tests once they are approved by the FDA and proven effective.

I had the opportunity to sit down with staff members from Senator Warren, Senator Markey and Representative Pressley’s offices to tell them that cancer isn’t partisan —it touches every community. I also let them know that Charlestown residents and many others across the country rely on them to support legislation.

With about 1,670 people dying from cancer daily, our lawmakers must take legislative action on these crucial issues. Congress should seize the opportunity to pass critical, bipartisan legislation to help save lives and end cancer as we know it, for everyone.

I encourage you to join us and give us a stronger and louder voice in the fight against cancer. Visit fightcancer.org to be connected to people like me in your community.

Kate Weissman

State Lead Ambassador, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

Charlestown, MA

We Are Living in a Climate Emergency That Will Be Worse

To the Editor, 

On September 28,   the BPDA Board consisting of four members voted to approve PLAN Charlestown, despite community opposition to the developer-driven, profit based plan. The BPDA willfully acts against the will and best interests of the Charlestown community. There was no valid democratic process, no public comments allowed. 

The BPDA Board’s approval of PLAN Charlestown, while certainly less horrific than the burning of Charlestown by the British Royal Army (BRA) on June 17, 1775, should be a wake up call to all Charlestown residents.  The Patriots wanted freedom, to determine their own government and lives.  The British Empire overruled their power, driven by their own greed, their power, and their hubris, believing they knew better than the Charlestown residents.

History repeats itself. Charlestown will not go up in flames but each resident will be choked by overdevelopment, making our lives more difficult, less healthy, and less enjoyable. Residents do not determine our own fate. The BPDA intends to keep us submissive as the BPDA collects their taxes, fees, kickbacks, and rents, and continues to destroy our environment, our historic fabric and our healthy lives. They say this is ”progress.” The people of Charlestown disagree.

Charlestown residents want to preserve our historic town, our vibrant community. We want it to be a healthy place to live. We want to avoid the folly of BPDA’s Seaport, built without a Master Plan, in a known flood zone, with little greenspace, in a gigantic heat island, and a constant traffic jam.

The BPDA derives the revenue for themselves – another name for “taxation without representation.”

Charlestown residents need to know what the BPDA does with its revenue from our community:

During the last decade, the BPDA collected $40,500,000 in revenue from the Charlestown Navy Yard. (verified by the Treasurer of the BPDA.) During that time, the BPDA spent less than 10% on Navy Yard upkeep, with claims they made improvements, yet approximately $30,000,000 was spent elsewhere in the city. The head of BPDA Real Estate said “we can spend the money anywhere in the city.”  

The BPDA has blighted Pier 4 through lack of common maintenance. Courageous Sailing, which serves 1,000 young sailors, was forced into an emergency evacuation because the pier was in threat of “lateral collapse.”  

• The public is threatened with injury from falls on the BPDA controlled length of Charlestown Navy Yard Harborwalk. Decades of BPDA maintenance repair requests are not done, creating holes, and trip hazards.

• Under threat from sea level rise, Dry Dock 2 decomposes, with joints that wash into the harbor due to lack of maintenance and protection. This structure is critical to the integrity of the waterfront, and is not repaired or protected.

• The public is deprived of a 2 acre waterfront Pier 5 Park in a community with one of the lowest per capita greenspaces. This BPDA controlled and blighted pier, has been their “future revenue site.” Conservation Law Foundation said “no” to their known Chapter 91 violations to build. 

• The community needs and deserves this waterfront park to serve all residents, to enhance the Boston Freedom Trail experience, to enrich our community, to share our history, and to provide a critical environmental buffer for sea level rise. Pier 5 is blighted. We ask for your support for Pier 5 Park.

• Shipway Park which is a public park, now is converted to a music venue with BPDA revenue producing Anchor. Some residents like it; some abutters protest the loud noise. The revenues go to the BPDA.

As Charlestown residents we need to ask ourselves if we are BPDA “subjects” or residents with rights? 

Four BPDA Board members (with unelected authority) approved a PLAN that hurts Charlestown. Charlestown is worth defending. We do not oppose development. We oppose domination and greed. The Charlestown community wants a historic district Master Plan, a meaningful community engagement to determine our future.

We ask that you make your voice known. Email the Mayor, write letters, become a modern day Patriot.

Come stand with and for “We the People.”

Diane Valle, Ann Kelleher, Raffi Berberian, Michelle Duane, James Duane, Robert O’Leary, Mary Hayes, Marjorie Wallens, Arthur Colpack, Ed Katz, Marcia Katz, Eric Philippi, Larry Rinaldi, Margaret Hammond and many others

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