Remember when the collective of people who think the sky is falling in at the slightest whiff of change in the air totally shit their bermuda shorts at the thought of a windowless green building being erected in the spot where the putrid hulking corpse of Cameron’s is?
I’ve had a handful of people come up to me at various bars, sidewalk bazaars, and downtown block parties to say “those posts were great. I’m glad someone is calling people out on their concern trolling and NIMBYism.” This actually happened. I had thought since we were crazy busy with Snotbot and took some time off that people had perhaps forgotten your beloved the Clam existed, but I guess you people had longer attention spans than we thought. Weird.
Well, tonight is the next community meeting about the space (spoiler alert: the building has fucking windows and won’t look like a sad space station). While there are reasonable people attending who have reasonable concerns and questions and want to be part of a collaborative conversation to move the project forward in a favorable manner, there are some who aren’t so reasonable. And you, as Clam readers, should show up to outnumber them. Why support this thing? Well, here:
- Residences on Main Street aren’t a bad thing. There have been a lot of comments that housing should be kept off Main Street. I’m not sure why – while we have a great thriving Main Street, something other towns aren’t as lucky to have, we have more retail space than businesses wanting to fill it, and that problem is exacerbated with the recent closing of businesses like Palazola’s, Island Art and Hobby, La Trattoria, etc. When housing units are added to Main Street, businesses have more local clients, and local workers. There is already a good amount of housing stock on Main Street as it is – I have friends who live there, I almost rented an apartment above Stones (but felt my liver wouldn’t survive the year-long lease). We don’t have an excess of housing stock – in fact, it’s incredibly hard to find a reasonably priced apartment in this town, because so many places are summer rentals.
- Thinly-veiled classism couched in faux-concern for residents is rampant already with this project. “How can kids live downtown without a yard?” Uh, ask every family in Manhattan or any other urban area of which our country has many. Turns out kids survive just fine if they have to undertake a short walk to the nearest playground, and the YMCA is around the corner. “How will they park?” Newsflash, middle-class hand-wringers: not everyone has a car, and the developers have made sure there’s parking for each unit.
- There’s also just outright selfish judgement about the project. “People from scary Lynn could move here!” “It’s a tax on the school system!” “Low-income housing might lower my property values!” “Wow, a brand new downtown residence? How come I don’t get one and THOSE PEOPLE do?” And more I can’t even really repeat because it’s gross and I don’t feel like barfing right now. There are people who literally think these bullshit reasons should preclude other humans from having a needed downtown living space.
Low-income residents aren’t garbage people. They’re not. They’re our neighbors, sons, daughters, mothers, grandparents, best friends. We have to stop treating them like weird aliens that have come to destroy our idyllic city with their crime and their terrible work ethic. Newsfuckingflash: It’s hard to get low-income housing but incredibly easy to have a low income in 2015. Section 8 is a slog of a process with an interminably long waiting list during which time a lot of people lose whatever savings they had. Why are we making it harder for people to survive? Why is that the America some people want?
Go to the meeting. It’s at 6 PM at the Rose Baker Senior Center. Bring your questions and your reasonable brains.