City Council candidate Mark Ciommo shares thoughts about Harvard's expansion

Mark Ciommo sent along these thoughts about Harvard University and its relationship with Allston. If other candidates have thoughts they'd like to share I'll be happy to publish them too.
I respect and admire the time and diligent work the Harvard Task Force has undertaken to move the community process forward regarding the Science Complex development. My intentions are not to discredit the hard work of the task force. They have put in countless hours and sacrificed many months of their personal time. While campaigning through the neighborhood of North Allston, I have walked the site of the proposed Science Complex Development outlined in the Draft Project Impact Report (DPIR). I was troubled and then angered at the deplorable condition of the site. Buildings partially painted, locked gates with fencing peeled back, overgrown weeds and asphalt sidewalks with unsafe ditches is an unacceptable way for a prestigious and powerful institution to begin its fifty year expansion into our neighborhood. Certainly Harvard can afford to spend the necessary money to hire local painters, landscapers and contractors that would take pride in beautifying and improving our community. Harvard is an institution which touts its social justice credentials internationally; they should be ashamed at how they disregard their neighbors.

The Task Force has proposed an agenda to meet weekly to finalize the article 80 process (75 day comment period) without discussing community benefits until after construction begins. This process to review community benefits should start when Harvard repairs and completes the work promised in 1997. In addition, The Task Force and community are relinquishing leverage to negotiate if this process continues without these remedies. How can we trust Harvard will live up to any of their agreements and treat our neighborhood with respect and dignity in the next fifty years when they haven’t done so in the past ten?

I have negotiated numerous contracts and agreements throughout my professional and civic experiences. I understand the importance of timing in the bargaining process. If we wait until Harvard attains approval for the DPIR and begins construction to raise points about community benefits, our community will be in a very weak bargaining position. Instead, I suggest that as meeting’s focus on different aspects of the project, community benefits related to those aspects of the project be brought into the discussion. Construction and transportation will have the greatest impact on the quality of life in our neighborhood for years to come and the benefits to the community and to those directly impacted should be part of the discussion and put on the record.

Mark Ciommo, Candidate
Allston-Brighton District City Council

4 comments:

  1. johnath@comcast.com9:42 PM

    Mark,
    What is your professional and civic experience? Do you have a web page?
    John Thompson
    Brighton

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  2. Anonymous10:25 PM

    I like to know why you are so intrested in the lower Allston area all of a sudden. You did not care before and will not care if you are elected. You will be another mouth piece for Harvard and for the Mayor of Boston. You do not care about lower Allston. All you want are the votes from our area. I know you will not have my support or from my family in the next election. I think the only canadiate that deserves our vote in our coummity is Greg Glennon who cares about the future of Allston and Brighton and he will make a diffrence in our coummity. Just a concern Charlesview resident Jimmy Sloan.

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  3. Anonymous5:58 PM

    Dear John and Jimmy,

    I appreciate the passion and interest you have in this race and our neighborhood. Greg Glennon is a good man and a friend. He has been a friend of mine for almost 5 years and I will continue to consider him a friend, regardless of who becomes our next City Councilor.

    Four generations of my family have lived in Allston-Brighton, raised families and retired here. I myself have over a 20 year commitment to our entire neighborhood. I have been serving the elderly of Allston & Brighton as the Executive Director of the Veronica Smith Senior for over 14 years. I have also served the youth and families of our community as a youth worker, teacher and Assistant Director of the Jackson Mann Community Center. I’ve also been active in our community as past president, coach and coordinator of Little League and board member and coach of Allston-Brighton Youth Hockey. I am a founding member of Allston-Brighton Little League, assisting in merging Allston & Brighton to better serve our neighborhoods children ages 5-18 years of age. I enjoy the support of many throughout Allston-Brighton.

    As the product of a single parent home, my mother often relied on our extended family. My sister and I spent numerous weekends and summers playing on Easton Street where my cousins grew up. As an adult, I have coached with and among those same childhood friends. I also lived on Easton Street when I started working at the Jackson Mann Community Center. My wife and I served as parent representatives and founding steering committee members for the Thomas Gardner Elementary and Extended Services School. Also, my wife worked as a School Traffic Supervisor for the Gardner Elementary School for eight years. My commitment to Allston-Brighton has never been limited to any specific area.

    I care deeply and am very invested in Allston-Brighton. I grew up here, my wife Laura and I work here, own a home here and we are raising our two teenage sons right here in this community. I have been a strong, independent leader for this community for many years and would be honored to continue my lifetime of service and experience in Allston-Brighton as our next City Councilor.
    My website is under construction and should be up in the next couple of weeks. The address is CiommoForCityCouncil.com.
    Mark Ciommo, Candidate
    Allston-Brighton District City Council

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  4. Anonymous9:20 PM

    I like to know why you have not spoken up before. and yes i have lived in allston & Brighton for the past 20 years. I have seen the 2 big University of Allston & Brighton buy up all the land here. not one city politician CARES not even the locals politician from Allston or Brighton they all need to stand up and let the University's know that we are getting sick of being walk all over in Allston & Brighton. Regards jimmy....

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