Letter: Poor Journalism in Reporting Sullivan School Issue
To the Editor:
Wow! Tammy Daniels in her iBerkshires "article" completely fabricated a quote by cherry picking points I made and then attributed her confabulation to me. A non-quote that shows a fantastic misunderstanding and twisting of what I said and puts me in a bad light. Journalism at its worst. You can quote me on that.
Reconcile what she wrote with what I actually said:
1. Affordable/low income housing: It would be too easy to make this a story of NIMBY, of a neighborhood opposed to low income housing.
Bigger picture: we oppose any additional low income housing anyplace in North Adams.
The LAST thing North Adams needs is more affordable housing. Yes, low income people need and deserve affordable housing. This isn't that discussion. But North Adams, for more than 50 years, has had a disproportionate number of low income housing and families. Other communities must step up, or be forced to step up, to increase affordable housing proportionately to their populations. Their failure to do so doesn't automatically translate into North Adams adopting more. It is a choice.
A disproportionate population of low income people dooms the city. The ONLY way forward is to continue to attract more people who can afford housing to move here. People who will shop the downtown, eat in local restaurants, and perhaps open more businesses and stores here. In other words, we need a demographic shift away from poverty, not towards it.
2. the character of the neighborhood: would change no matter what type of housing they put there, admittedly more so with low income housing and the problems associated with the disease of poverty.
They are talking about 75 units. 1 = 75, 2= 150, 3=225, or more additional people and their cars, their noise and real pollution. The inevitable trespassing on local properties in search of short-cuts, and just the number of people alone dropped into what is a peacefully quite well kept neighborhood where people moved to and invested in their homes precisely because it is a peacefully quite well kept neighborhood.
3. Infrastructure. Again 75 units = some multiple of people and their cars. There would also be Fedex, UPS, Mail trucks, appliance and food deliveries, cabulances, taxis, emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, senior-school-and transit buses., etc. All turning quiet neighborhood roads into major thoroughfares, perhaps busier than Main St and that has 2 lanes in each direction. Again, destroying our quiet peaceful, concerning the property Sullivan School sits on. There is apparently a sizeable overlap of the properties of Kemp Park and Sullivan School.
The park land, like the land for what is now Colgrove School was donated with the stipulation that it be for the children of the city and for public use. A concession was made to allow for the driveway of the school ... not for private development.
Mr. Horbal also told me that at least part of the land, if not all, for the school property was seized by eminent domain by the city ... for the public good, for the building a school. Again, not for private development. I am direct abutter. It makes me wonder if they wanted to expand on the number of units or needed it for some infrastructure reason germane to their project, would, or could, they seize my land?
So, I suspect there may be legal issues to address on both of those.
5. The developer's insulting offer of $10,000, while asking for a 30-year tax rebate and undoubtedly tapping into free state and federal monies to build, shows exactly who they are. This is a total win for them at our expense. They are predators feed on both low income communities and low income people We don't want them here.
6. Existing housing: North Adams has an abundance of existing stressed houses. Many landlords, such as myself, have poured tons of resources into reclaiming stressed building for occupancy. We didn't seek, nor could we have gotten sweet deals from the City to help us. Big developers are much less deserving. How about the city apply for grants to hand out to local landlords or parties interested in moving within or to North Adams to develop what is already here?
Peter D. May
North Adams, Mass.
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