Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BRA running roughshod over laws, citizens in North End

Everywhere the BRA goes, under the direction of Tom Menino, the citizens get the short end of the stick to the enrichment of the developers and the BRA. Read the latest article about Long Wharf. Here, the BRA wants to turn over a lawfully protected public park to a restaurant.

The same words we hear in Allston, Fort Point Channel, etc. are heard here: “As a taxpayer, I’m shocked,” he said. “I feel like all these people are in bed together and they just steamroll any opposition, the public be damned.” According to Mr. Mahajan a local who has joined a lawsuit to protect the park.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The BRA is one of Boston's biggest developers, with property rights all over the city (many of them taken from the City taxpayers without compensation, with mayoral permission).

But since it took over the planning and zoning responsibilities in 1960, the BRA can do whatever it wants with its properties, virtually untouchable by legal challenge because the courts don't meddle in local planning. (In the case of Long Wharf, the state is also deferring to the "local regulatory agency," despite the fact that it is the developer!)

It gives private developers that same freedom from legal challenge by zoning their individual sites for them -- after a sham "planning" process, in which the citizens, earnestly writing comment letters and testifying at public meetings, are cynically used to legitimize the (pre-made) decision.

The BRA is an urban renewal agency, formed essentially to destroy, rebuild and gentrify the city. True to its mission, its application for this restaurant project cites, as its "public benefit," that it will clear homeless people out of the park. Where will they go, if they can't be in public spaces?

And how much has the BRA contributed to the homelessness here, by destroying neighborhoods of ordinary working people to replace them with wealthy empty-nesters, suburban commuters, shoppers, tourists, conventioneers and college students -- or by no one at all, leaving hundreds of acres lying fallow for decades where tax-paying residents and businesses could have been thriving all these years. As one senior BRA official put it: Boston would be better off as a city for only the wealthy.

When will we wake up and terminate this parasitical, obsolete and undemocratic agency, and take back our land, our money and our laws?