It was a fascinating week in Codman Square this week. In many ways it was a microcosm of how a whole community works. There were many disparate groups involved, with all having at the minimum a common interest in the corner of Washington & Lyndhurst.
There were politicians and preachers all with different agenda's, not necessarily in line with addressing the core problems. Some politicians showed up for 15 minutes, got their face on TV and were not to be seen again. Others came and offered support, seemed genuinely interested in the community, took part in some neighborhood walks and left the door open. Felix Arroyo spent at least 4 nights there, walking and sleeping over. His actions speak volumes.
I spent Sunday night sleeping over, stopped by on monday night, and tuesday and thursday until 1 a.m. Saturday I came by for the picnic in Codman Square. It is a different neighborhood by day and night. By day there is a pretty active business district, with street vendors and lots of traffic. By night, there is an unseemly amount of drug dealing going on. I had someone offer to sell me OxyContin while I was sitting on my motorcycle with "Kevin McCrea, Boston City Council" written on the side of the motorcycle. I reported him to the police who pulled him in. He was homeless with a long police record, they let him go as he had nothing on him, but gave him a stern warning.
I offered to help Pastor Wall set up the basketball game that had been promised (I refereed basketball games in college in Indiana, and they take their hoops seriously!). When I saw him Thursday night he said it had been set up, but apparently something fell through because it didn't happen. It is a shame, because the Area D-4 police who are having games versus the kids in the projects in my neighborhood are making great strides in their outreach to the locals. Sports is a great ice breaker, in getting to build bridges between people.
I would like to say that I was most impressed this week with MBTA Chief Joseph Carter, and local police Captain Frank Armstrong. Both were very knowledgeable, very realistic, very serious men who take their jobs seriously, and who truly care for their communities. They could care less about the publicity, they just want to do a good professional job of being responsive to their communities, and to keeping the streets safe. Knowing that men like this are getting to positions of authority make me feel good about the direction their groups are going.
I'd also like to say hi to young Malcolm who lives on Washington Street and had to go to bed before I could bring my motorcycle over. I hope to see you later and that you do get a motorcycle! Also, it was nice to meet 60 year old Carol who my fiance Clara and I walked home to 64 Bowdoin Street from Washington Street. Congratulations on learning to read at such an advanced age, and happy birthday. The preachers and politicians shouldn't pass people like you by.