Glennon & Ciommo campaign finance reports now online

In partnership with Mike Pahre of the Brighton Centered Blog, and with help from both campaigns, the finance reports from the Mark Ciommo and Greg Glennon campaigns are now online at the AllstonBrighton2006 website.

- Ciommo
- Glennon

Ciommo raised $8,850 between September 8 and October 19, had $3,150 in the bank at the start of this period and spent $9,129. By far, his biggest expense was $4,500 for consulting services from Sage Systems. He also donated $100 to the Vocational Advancement Center. Politicians making donations to local non-profits is nothing new, but I always find it a bit strange when money people donate to a political campaign gets "re-gifted" to another organization.

Geographically, Ciommo brought in 55% of his donations from outside the Allston/Brighton district. 40% came from Brighton and 5% from Allston.

Glennon raised $8,608 in the same period, started with $7,814 in the bank, and spent $15,520. He spent almost $6,000 on printing, $3,700 on stamps, and $2,500 with a company called "Advantage Inc." for 'phone data' and 'data services'.

Geographically, Glennon brought in 78% of his donations from outside the Allston/Brighton district. 19% came from Brighton and 3% from Allston. Considering that Greg lives in Allston, it is strange that he had only one contributor who also lives in Allston. This also is consistent with my unscientific survey of the yard signs in the section of Allston where Greg and I live. There aren't that many signs for either candidate around here, but my impression is that there are more Ciommo signs than Glennon signs, suggesting that Greg may not have much of a home-field advantage in this precinct.

Toll Hike Means More Traffic On Local Roads

Toll Hike Means More Traffic On Local Roads - Politics News Story - WCVB Boston: "Turnpike officials said that they expect the number of cars using the road and the tunnels to drop off once the new toll hike goes into effect. At the Weston and Allston exits where there will be a 25-cent increase, they expect traffic going through the tolls to drop about 5 percent... So where do these cars go?"

What changed at The Globe since September?

There is quite a contrast between The Globe's endorsement of Tim Schofield in the September preliminary election and today's endorsement of Mark Ciommo.

When endorsing Tim, The Globe downplayed the fact that Tim is not a long-time resident of Allston/Brighton, acknowledging that "other candidates in the race may have deeper roots in the district". But today, decades spent in the neighborhood are more noteworthy, and The Globe mentions that "Ciommo's roots are deep in the neighborhood".

In September, Tim's "solid knowledge of education issues" was significant. Today's endorsement of Mark makes no mention of his position on educational matters.

Most apparent, is that the endorsement of Tim started by describing the value of having a lawyer in the City Council to represent Allston/Brighton. They wrote:
"ATTORNEYS ARE overrepresented in politics. But if there is one place that
really needs the services of a good legal mind it would be the Allston-Brighton
section of Boston, where the expansion plans of Harvard and Boston College
dominate discussions among the candidates seeking to fill a coming vacancy on
the City Council."

But now, when faced with a choice between an attorney (Glennon) and the director of a senior center (Ciommo), The Globe doesn't support the attorney. Maybe Allston/Brighton's needs have changed in the last month or maybe The Globe thinks Greg doesn't have a good legal mind.

The Boston Herald endorses Glennon, Flaherty, Murphy, and Connolly for City Councl

For Boston City Council -

This endorsement of Greg Glennon somehow skips over his position on institutional expansion. Personally, I thought that has been one of the key issues of this campaign.

The Herald mentions Greg's support for charter schools, but Greg makes no mention of charter schools on his website, where he focuses on reducing transportation costs in the Boston Public Schools and redirecting that money for more classroom resources for teachers and students.

Globe endorses Ciommo and Connolly for City Council

City Council endorsements - The Boston Globe

We get to vote for 4 at-large councilors next week to fill the four at-large seats on the City Council. But the Globe endorsed only one at-large candidate. Does The Globe feel that strongly positive about John Connolly or that negative about the other candidates ? I wonder what has changed, particularly for the incumbents who have been endorsed by The Globe more than once over the years. Here's a look back at what previous Globe endorsements have said about Yoon, Arroyo, and Flaherty who this year are not getting The Globe's "vote".

In 2005 The Globe endorsed Connolly, Yoon, Arroyo, and Flaherty, writing:

"We also endorse Sam Yoon , 35, a housing specialist and the city's first Asian-American to run for council. Yoon represents the best of the new Boston, bridging constituencies with smart, independent ideas.

We also believe incumbent councilors Felix Arroyo and Council President Michael Flaherty deserve another term. Arroyo, from Jamaica Plain, has become a popular fixture on the council and is committed to equity for all the city's residents. Flaherty, of South Boston, could do more with his council presidency, but he has a broad knowledge of city operations and bridges constituencies well."

Back in 2003 the Globe endorsed all four incumbents in the at-large race - Maura Hennigan, Stephen Murphy, Michael Flaherty, and Felix Arroyo. Their reasoning was:

Stephen Murphy used his Beacon Hill connections to good purpose last summer when fighting for local aid restorations for Boston. The 46-year-old incumbent, serving his third full term, acts as a bridge between younger and veteran councilors. He also weathers Mayor Menino's political paroxysms better than most.

"If he screams, half of them dive under their desks," says Murphy of his colleagues. The councilor from Hyde Park may appear rash, but he's smart and attentive, as evidenced by his recent role in reforming an ill-conceived state law requiring Boston to set aside disproportionate funds to pay abatements on property taxes.

The City Council president, Michael Flaherty, has been assailed in recent weeks by a district councilor who pegged him as autocratic and complicit in "institutional racism." It can be argued that Flaherty has been arbitrary when applying a procedural rule used to silence councilors who stray from direct city business. But the racism charge was deeply unfair. Flaherty, 34, represents the new political leadership in Boston that rejects the racial divisiveness of the past.

Flaherty recognizes percolating issues. He tracks potential land sales by the Archdiocese of Boston for use as schools or inexpensive housing. He argues passionately for city funds for drug treatment to block further inroads by heroin dealers. And he used his Council clout to pressure Manulife Financial Corp. to make good on its commitments to city housing and job training trusts. Flaherty understands the city's pressure points, and he uses that knowledge responsibly.

Felix Arroyo, who finished fifth in last month's preliminary, is fighting gamely to retain his seat. The city's first Latino councilor boasts an impressive resume, including stints as a member of the Boston School Committee and personnel director for the City of Boston. Arroyo will ensure equity for minority students if the School Department, as expected, expands its system of walk-to neighborhood schools. And he brings an understanding of how tough it is to make a go of it financially in Boston, a point made well when Arroyo speaks of needing a relative's help to make a down payment on a family home.

8 Days Until Election Day

"Eighty percent of success is showing up" - Woody Allen

"The city budget is the single most important aspect of my job as your City Councilor-at-Large. Throughout the spring months we hold several budget hearings and I always make it a point to show up." - Boston City Councilor Steve Murphy in a campaign mailing received last week

Allston's role in Boston's future as a tourist destination

Boston has been eclipsed as a top tourist destination - The Boston Globe

Boston as a tourist attraction is more work than fun - The Boston Globe

The Globe has written twice in the last week about the Conde Nast Traveler list of Top US Cities that places Boston 10th, behind Savannah GA, Charleston SC, Carmel CA, and others. The general gist is that traipsing around Boston to look at graveyards and old churches has been being eclipsed by other cities for a variety of reasons.

What hasn't been mentioned is that, if done right, Allston has great potential to be a real attraction to local residents and tourists from elsewhere. Harvard's own Allston Life Task Force suggested that Harvard could build a World Museums Complex "that would combine natural history, archaeology, ethnography, and the visual arts". That cluster of new museums in Allston would immediately create a world-class attraction. That Task Force also proposed performing and visual arts facilities that would, in their words, "position Harvard as a national arts leader, bringing in leading performance organizations for performances."

The Sustainability Museum, that many people have suggested could be a great addition to the Science Complex, would be a unique and meaningful place that could draw people to learn about the sustainable engineering of the Science Complex and other related scientific issues.

Developing the under-utilized properties that Harvard owns throughout North Allston and North Brighton, in a way consistent with the North Allston Strategic Framework's vision for a new shopping district would be a beautiful counterpart to these nearby museums, theaters, arts centers, and more. Harnessing the beauty of the Charles River to build on existing resources like the Canoe and Kayak rental facility and Publick Theater adds another dimension. Harvard Sq is of course a short walk away, and other activities like watching a football game at Harvard Stadium are right here too.

The foundation is already here - now vision, creativity, and willpower are needed to take the next step.

A New Alliance for Allston? Next meeting on Monday.

The Harvard Crimson :: News :: A New Alliance for Allston?

An interesting and potentially very powerful alliance is forming between Allston residents and Harvard students and staff. The article from The Crimson summarizes a meeting we had last week and the next joint meeting will be Monday, October 29th from 6-8pm, in the auditorium of the Honan-Allston Library.

MEPA Final Record of Decision for Harvard's Science Complex waiver

There doesn't seem to be much new or interesting in it, but the Final Record of Decision has been published that completes the MEPA process for the Phase One Waiver for the Harvard Science Complex. Information about the Citizens Advisory Committee will be published here on November 12.

More endoresements for Ciommo

Mark Ciommo, candidate to represent Allston/Brighton in the Boston City Council, has recently been endorsed by Rosie Hanlon, Alex Selvig, and James Jenner. Tim Schofield endorsed Mark shortly after the preliminary election last month. This means that Mark has been endorsed by every candidate from the preliminary election except, of course, for Greg Glennon.

Ciommo and Glennon face off on the ballot on November 6 for the privilege to represent us on the Council for the next two years.

Complete press release

Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride

Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Radio Boston

Around here I'd say it is already a bumpy ride. Radio Boston is a new weekly radio program (Fridays from 1-2 p.m.) on 90.9 WBUR about Boston-related issues. It is great to have more media focus on local issues and this week's program is looking at transportation needs and problems in and around Boston.

One segment of the show is about the "inner belt" highway Route 695 that was proposed, but canceled in 1971.

One of the guests just paraphrased a quote by Albert Einstein suggesting that a newer and more radical and comprehensive approach is needed to fix the transportation problems in our area - "The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."

Another great quote from the show - "Every time you plan a road you are going to be expressing a certain set of values"

TIme is running out - Will the Globe or Herald cover the A/B council race?

Searching The Boston Globe online finds only this short paragraph summarizing vote totals after last month's preliminary election. Same deal over at the Herald. When the Globe endorsed Tim Schofield in the preliminary election, it did so without ever sitting down to talk with Tim or any of the other candidates. I know newspapers across the country are cutting staff and reducing expenses (including The New York Times, owner of the Boston Globe, whose stock price has been cut in half over the past 3 years) but is an occasional City Weekly story too much to expect?

North Harvard St improvements

Some nice improvements are underway along North Harvard Street. Making good on its 1997 promise, Harvard is replacing the ugly tall fence between its soccer fields and the sidewalk. The new fence looks like more chain link (too bad) but it is placed several feet away from the sidewalk which will make it feel less imposing to the pedestrian. The new sidewalks being poured are another step in the right direction of making some long overdue physical improvements around here.

A new old map at the library

The Honan Allston Library has on display a wonderful map showing Allston as it was 100 years ago (long before the Mass Pike and many of the other things that physically define our neighborhood today). The map was donated by a local resident and enlarged for public display. It is also a great use of one of the display cases that our neighbor Ronni Komarow got donated to the library from MIT.

October 30 zoning hearing

40 Trapelo Street - Change the legal occupancy from a one family dwelling to two apartments and expand attic by erecting a aged dormer at rear, two gable dormers at front.

Call the Board of Appeal at 617-635-4775 for more info

Harvard students meeting tonight to talk about Allston

If you'd like to meet some Harvard students and learn what they think about Harvard's Allston/Brighton expansion, an open meeting is being held tonight at 7 at the Philips Brooks House in Harvard Yard - click here for a map.

Brighton Halloween party - October 31, 3-5pm

Community members are invited to participate in the annual “Halloween Stroll” through Brighton center ending at the Allston/Brighton Y (615 Washington St.). The stroll concludes with a Halloween party featuring music, candy and pizza. Parents might also be interested in the Halloween safety tips at the BPD News website.

Where the City is selling compost bins and not publicizing the city council election 2 weeks away

These fliers are all over our neighborhood this morning. There are 5 locations in the City where Boston is selling compost bins - too bad none of them are particularly close to Allston or Brighton.

As I mentioned after the A/B City Council preliminary election last month, this would have been an easy and effective way to remind people about the upcoming City Council election just two weeks away.

Head of the Charles - the day after

The Head of the Charles is one of the great annual events on the river and it was nice to see cleanup crews out in force this morning. Herter Park seems on its way to being cleaner after the event than it was before, and that would be an admirable approach for everyone who uses public places. If the damage alongside the Herter Community Garden was caused by the HOCR hopefully they will take care of that too.

Bad options in the MBTA's future and How to get from Allston to Longwood (depending on who you are)

A report released last week by the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) describes a bleak future for public transportation in Massachusetts because of the MBTA's five year budget deficit of approximately $400 million. Reductions in service, fare increases, and increased borrowing are possible impacts. In the current climate of environmental consciousness shouldn't we be increasing service and reducing fares?
Press release Full report Online petition to Governor Patrick urging him to prioritize public transportation

Related to the issue of public transportation in Allston is how Harvard University is approaching the transportation needs of its new population in Allston. This Google map shows that it is a simple 3.3 mile trip from the Science Complex (140 Western Ave) to Harvard Medical School (25 Shattuck St).

But pity the unfortunate person that tries to make this trip via public transportation. According to the MBTA's Trip Planner there are two ways to make this trip. In my opinion they both stink.

You can take a 50 minute trip that puts you on the #70 bus to Central Sq, then the #47 bus, and finishes with a 9 minute walk. Or you can take a 7 minute walk to North Harvard St, ride the #66 to Brookline Village, then take the #60 down Brookline Ave, and end with a 10 minute walk. This takes "only" 49 minutes.

Of course this is just one example, but it must not have been the example that Harvard had in mind when it concluded that "Harvard’s Allston campus is well-served by MBTA bus routes"

But Harvard's people do not need to worry about spending almost 1 hour of their lives to go a bit more than 3 miles. Harvard plans "a dedicated, on-demand van service traveling point-to-point between the Science Complex and the Longwood Medical Area". As a result, "the Science Complex does not require an increase in the MBTA service in Allston." (quotations from Harvard's Science Complex Transportation Access Plan).

Where I work we talk about "eating our own dogfood". Basically this means that if what we make is going to be good enough for our customers, it better be good enough for us to use too. Unfortunately, Harvard's approach to developing its Allston campus takes the opposite approach.

Obviously the MBTA service in North Allston and North Brighton is pitiful for people traveling to many nearby locations. The bicycling infrastructure is pretty bad too. So a lot of people spend a lot of money and pollute the environment doing a lot of driving to locations that are actually quite close. Private shuttles make a lot of sense when a small number of people are interested in travelling between a set of nearby destinations. But North Allston to Longwood is a longer trip of interest to the general public and a private transit connection seems inappropriate.

An institution interested in being part of the community would not pretend that public transportation is good while at the same time proposing a parallel private system. Real sustainability means moving beyond the idea of a green campus isolated from the rest of the world and realizing that this campus must integrate into a green society.

Our crumbling bridges

How embarrassing to see on the front page of the Boston Globe's Head of the Charles preview section this reminder of the terrible condition of the bridges between Allston and Cambridge. With the all the resources of these cities and State why can't we do better?

This sounds good, but what "community centers" is Harvard building?

Living on Earth: Development's Carbon Cost: "AHEARN: Chris Gordon is standing on a bridge over the Charles River. He's pointing across the water to where Harvard University's about to break ground on a new 200-acre development that will include academic buildings, housing, and community centers."

Everett St greening draft guidelines

In case you weren't able to make it to Wednesday's workshop, there is a great presentation that describes many improvements that could be made to make Everett St safer, more attractive, and more environmentally friendly.

Boston Bike Summit meeting - Tue. Oct 23

A team of bicycling experts from around the country are coming to Boston next week to hold public events and planning sessions with City officials. There will be a community open house on Tuesday at the Allston/Brighton CDC offices (320 Washington Street) from 7-9 p.m. It would be great to have a strong turnout of bicyclists to demonstrate the huge demand for better bicycling in Allston and Brighton.

More info about the summit is at

Good news for Charles River cleanup

EPA says Charles River pollution must be cut - The Boston Globe

Federal environmental regulators have concluded that phosphorus pollution washing into the Charles River needs to be cut by 54 percent, a policy that could lead to major changes in the design of sewers, streets, and parking lots and potentially restrictions on some homeowners using lawn fertilizer.

Phosphorus pollution comes from sources ranging from septic tanks and leaking sewers to leaves and grass to the residue of gasoline exhaust that gets washed by the rain from streets into the river. Once in the Charles, excess phosphorus can cause problems including toxic algae blooms that make the river unsafe for swimming or boating, inadequate oxygen levels for fish, and growth of plants that slowly choke off the river.

An anchor for Brighton - Globe Editorial about the PSF

The Boston Globe gives well-deserved kudos to the Presentation School Foundation in this editorial in today's paper - An anchor for Brighton - The Boston Globe

Harvard's president makes time for a photo op

Harvard's new prez found the time to have her photo taken with an Allston/Brighton family before last Saturday's Harvard-Lafayette football game. But her staff uses the excuse that she doesn't have time to talk with Allston/Brighton residents about Harvard's campus expansion. Strange priorities.

Neighbors enjoy Crimson football — The Harvard University Gazette

Boston University to launch $1.8b plan

The Globe takes a look at the new plan for our neighbor to the east in this story. You can also use this link to the 32 page report (6MB file) - "Choosing to be Great - a Vision of Boston University - Past, Present and Future - The University's 2007 Strategic Plan"

In contrast to Harvard and BC planning to physically expand, BU's plan puts more emphasis on hiring faculty, increasing faculty salaries, increasing fundraising (so more financial aid can be given, more endowed professorships can be created, etc.), improving undergrad and graduate education and research.

Page 23 of the report stresses "strengthening and expanding the University’s connections to Boston".
"We intend to continue our long and proud tradition of service-based and professional learning in the city of Boston.This commits us to leading in areas of community engagement such as K–12 education, health-care outreach, and public service. By accomplishing these goals, we will give our students invaluable experiences for contextualizing their classroom education and for service-based learning, in the best tradition of a hands-on Boston University education.

It also commits us to bringing the rich cultural life of this University to our city, including exhibits, lectures, and performances that are open to the community. In recent years we have built or renovated outstanding performance venues,and we are determined to welcome our neighbors onto our campus and into those facilities."

Harvard / Allston - Getting past the Red State / Blue State mindset

To have any productive discussion about community benefits, construction mitigation, a new master plan, or anything else relating to Harvard and Allston, we really need to come together and all start believing that we have a common interest in the future of the North Allston / North Brighton neighborhood - this includes people in Allston with a variety of interests, past experiences, and priorities, as well as the Harvard employees who are planning Harvard's future campus and the members of the Harvard community who will one day work, learn, and teach there. We also should not forget the thousands of members of the Harvard community that are already here in Allston - they have been largely absent from discussions in the past couple years but are nonetheless important stakeholders in the present and future of our community.

The current mindset (community on one side, Harvard on the other side) reminds me of the traditional Red State / Blue State map. The situation is considered binary and each state is one (Democratic) or the other (Republican) but certainly not both. What is the path for our community to move from this to a more nuanced view that is less about highlighting our difference, sort of like what the Purple America map by Princeton Professor Robert Vanderbei does on a national level?

“Greening” Everett Street workshop

In June, the Allston Brighton Green Space Advocates held their first street greening workshop for the Everett Street corridor. Tomorrow they are having a follow up meeting to present findings and get feedback on ideas for environmentally sustainable streets in Allston Brighton.

Wednesday October 17th, 6:30 to 8:30pm
St. Anthony’s Rectory Basement, 43 Holton Street

RSVP to Kate Jordan 617-787-3874 x 216 or

Comm. Ave / Linden St motorcycle collision injures 2

Comm. Ave. motorcycle collision injures 2 in Allston - News - A collision between a cab and a motorcycle at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Linden Street yesterday afternoon sent the bike's passenger flying over the car.

Allston Civic Association agenda fo Wednesday Oct 17

  1. DCR - use of the river by Cambridge institutions and construction projects for exclusive parking, as well as reasons for road closures and the process of selection used to determine when and where.
  2. Commonwealth Limousine. Operating for over 10 years at 250 Everett St. but didn't have correct zoning.
  3. Cambridge Bazaar, 424 Cambridge St. Allston. - want to transfer a Beer & wine license into their small convenience store.
  4. Russian Social Club at 14 Linden St. - Looking for permanent Live Entertainment license for events. Currently apply for them individually.
  5. Domino's Pizza - 3AM. Deliveries.
Meeting is at 6:30 at the Honan Library, 300 N Harvard St

$25M that isn't really $25M

Some friends, after reading the press coverage of the BRA's approval of Harvard's Science Complex, have written to say "Wow! 25 million dollars of community benefits. You did great!"

If only it were true.

At the September 26 Task Force meeting Harvard gave this presentation that ended with a summary showing that Harvard was proposing $16.6 million of one-time community benefits and a 10 year total of $25,640,000. This came at the very end of the meeting and there wasn't much time for questions. The benefits were divided into three broad categories (lifelong learning, economic development, and neighborhood enhancements). What neighborhood enhancements, I wondered, was Harvard offering that would total $16,020,000?

I emailed Harvard and asked for more detail and a timeline to describe when these benefits would be delivered. It was nice to get a response back in just a few hours, but not so nice because it created more questions than it answered. One thing this email did explain was that Harvard tried to count as Science Complex benefits some long-past community involvement like the funding it provided for the Honan Apartments on Everett St back in 2003.

Apparently, the BRA decided that approximately $5,000,000 that Harvard was trying to associate with the Science Complex have nothing to do with the Science Complex and should not be treated as Science Complex community benefits. Harvard's email had very few specifics, just some vague, forward looking language about "establishing a working relationship going forward" and how perhaps the "Task Force, Harvard and the City can discuss a work plan for sharing information about program development".

All I was hoping for was a simple spreadsheet that might look like this:

Title Cost Completion Date (MM/YY)
Citywide Job Trust Fund $768,000
Citywide Housing Trust Fund $3,800,000
TOTAL $25,460,000

I tried to clarify my request, but 5 days later there has been no reply. Either:

  1. Harvard made up the $25M number and has no analysis to back it up
  2. Harvard is not willing to explain its community benefits proposal to the community that is supposed to benefit from it.

Maybe there is some other possibility #3 (too busy, dog ate it...). Will the BRA will give us this information (if they have it) or compel Harvard to produce it?

WBUR interviews students, faculty, and me about Harvard President Faust

Faust Faces Expectations (from the WBUR Newsroom)

Ceremonies in Cambridge today will officially recognize Drew Faust has Harvard's new President. Follow the link above to hear WBUR's take on what she might do with this powerful position (Real Player is needed to play the audio).

  • Faust is a Civil War scholar with relevant thoughts about war, women, and slavery. She compares her background to that of Bill Clinton, saying they are both products of the civil rights movement.
  • Women and African-Americans are underrepresented in the Harvard faculty and people hope Faust will help create more racial and gender balance at Harvard.
  • Faust should come to Allston (its only a mile from her Harvard Yard office) and talk with people who live there about Harvard's expansion
  • Harvard presidents have a moral pulpit from which they can accomplish important change.

Brighton - Allston Bicentennial Jubilee - Saturday, November 17

The Brighton-Allston Bicentennial Committee Members invite you to the Bicentennial Jubilee at the new WGBH Building (1 Guest St., Brighton)

Featuring “Herb Reed” And “The Platters” with Gourmet Hors D’oeuvres & Cash Bar

Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 6:30 pm to 12:00 am

Tickets: $50 before November 1 or $75 after November 1. Call Terri Weida at (617)254-1950 or visit

The Harvard Crimson - Harvard should do more in Allston

The Harvard Crimson :: Opinion :: Harvard’s Human Touch

The Editorial Board of The Harvard Crimson has called on President Faust to reject an “ends justify the means” approach to campus expansion and suggest that Harvard can and should do much more to be a socially responsible neighbor in Allston. They recognize that "Harvard can either act apathetically toward the current community, or it can be receptive to residents’ needs and desires".

Noting that Harvard is not required to do anything for the residents of Allston, they nonetheless suggest that Harvard could make a variety of positive contributions to the community - from the small (open its shuttles to residents; extend bike paths and green streets into the neighborhood; allow the local elementary school to have consistent access to the new museum) to the large (build affordable housing on some of its many unused acres; open a University-affiliated Allston high school; or open its thousands of housing units to Harvard staff as well as graduate students).

For those of you anxious to see what Faust will say in her inauguration ceremony and if she will acknowledge the role that Harvard can have with its closest and newest neighbors, a live webcast will start at 2:00.

Presentation School Foundation event on Friday

The Presentation School Foundation invites you to a significant and joyous announcement concerning the future of the Presentation School building. The event will begin at 3:30 on Friday, October 12 in Oak Square (rain or shine). Mayor Menino and Cardinal Sean O'Malley will be participating.

Will more Harvard Allston employees live in Allston/Brighton?

Historically, Boston has done a pretty poor job of convincing Harvard's employees who work in Allston to live nearby in Allston or Brighton. I don't have specific data on how many Harvard employees live in 02134/02135, but only 8% of Harvard's Allston employees bike or walk to work (and some of them are probably coming from Brookline, Cambridge, or beyond). Strangely, Harvard's plan for the Science Complex only increases this bike/walk number to 10% which demonstrates Harvard's meager interest in having Harvard's employees live in new or existing housing in our neighborhood.

Harvard and Boston both talk about being "green" and creating urban, walkable communities, and nothing is "greener" than an environment where people can leave their cars at home and walk to work, school, and local stores. Having more Harvard employees live in Allston and Brighton would also mean more business for local stores and more money in the Boston economy. (Yes, I know right now Harvard hasn't left many places to shop in North Allston and North Brighton, but for the sake of argument let's be optimistic and forward-thinking).

Any discussion about where people choose to live must focus on the quality of the local public schools. The Allston/Brighton community has been clear about our need for substantial improvements to the educational opportunities in our neighborhood but Harvard has responded with only an offer for some unknown amount of after-school tutoring. When Harvard's new or existing Allston employees consider where to live (and many Harvard employees will be able to afford Brookline or Newton) will they choose Allston or Brighton?

To put it in pictures, compare the size and facilities of the only public school in North Allston or North Brighton, the Gardner School, with the nearest public school in Brookline, the Devotion School. If you were a scientist recruited by Harvard to work at the new Science Complex, which one would you choose for your children?
If Harvard really wanted to partner with our community and create a sustainable community (and not just a sustainable campus), could Harvard and the City do something to change your answer to the question above?

City Councilor Michael Flaherty responds to the allston02134 city council candidate questionaire

1.) Do you support the creation of a Boston Planning Department?
Yes__X_ No_____

I believe there is a disconnect between development and planning in the city of Boston, given recent redevelopment proposals such as moving City Hall to the South Boston waterfront, building a destination resort casino in East Boston, constructing a 1,000-foot tower in Winthrop
Square, and Harvard's plans to expand their campus into Allston. A stand-alone planning department could restore some balance, accountability and transparency to the city's planning and development efforts. At the same time, it would encourage a better public dialogue that considers the benefits and impacts of large-scale development plans in Boston neighborhoods.

2) Should height limits in the North Allston Strategic Framework be strictly applied to Harvard's proposed buildings?
Yes_X_ No_____

Members of the community devoted significant time and thought to develop the North Allston Strategic Framework (NASF). The NASF should be treated as a genuine plan and any proposals for development should be required to adhere to the plan's established height restrictions.
Exceptions should only be made with the approval of the community.

3) Should City Council approval be required before a university can purchase property in Boston?
Yes__X_ No____

One of the biggest problems facing the city of Boston is that more than half the city is tax exempt ( i.e., government agencies, hospitals, colleges and universities, etc.), leaving the other half to shoulder the city's financial burdens. Every time an institution acquires a
property, that's one less taxable property for the city. With tax-exempt non-profits comprising a significant portion of Boston, that is significant money lost in city revenue. That hurts the City and many of its programs. That hurts individual residents already struggling to
pay their property taxes and stay in their homes. While I have tremendous appreciation for the valuable contributions that our area's colleges and universities make to our city, giving them a free pass for unlimited growth sets a dangerous precedent, especially when the expansion is for non-educational purposes ( i.e., campus Dunkin Donuts). Giving the City Council the authority to approve future university property purchases will hold institutions to strict standards and require them to demonstrate their need is greater than any potential negative impact on the community.

4) What are your thoughts about a possible Charlesview relocation?

My priority is to ensure that the residents of Charlesview have access to convenient, quality affordable housing. I am hopeful that the decision to relocate or redevelop onsite can be reached through an open process that meets the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

5) What should be the future of the Speedway property on Western Ave?

Although the DCR has oversight over this property, I am committed to working with officials at the state level to ensure the community's voice is heard and respected. I believe we can reach a compromise that permits the sale of this property, provides benefits to the community and preserves the property's historical significance at the same time.

6) How do you feel about the vacant Harvard-owned properties in North Allston and North Brighton?

All Harvard properties should be maintained whether they are vacated or not. Furthermore Harvard should strive to be a good neighbor by providing space to businesses that the community will enjoy and use. For instance, Brighton Mills has long served the North Allston and North Brighton communities and it is important that property, in addition to all Harvard owned properties, enhances the community.

124 from A/B vote in yesterday's State Senate election

There wasn't much suspense in yesterday's election, as Anthony Galluccio (who won the Democratic primary last month) ran unopposed in yesterday's election for our new State Senator. 1.5% of eligible Allston/Brighton registered voters voted anyway. Congratulations to our new senator.

Upcoming hearings about Mass Pike toll increase

Toll hike public hearings start tonight - Local News Updates - The Boston Globe

  • Tuesday, Oct. 9, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.Mario Umana Harbor Side School 312 Border St., East Boston
  • Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Veterans' War Memorial Auditorium 1000 Commonwealth Ave., Newton
  • Friday, Oct. 12, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Framingham Memorial Building 150 Concord St., Framingham
  • Thursday Oct. 18, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.Worcester Vocational Technical High School 1 Skyline Dr., Worcester

Brighton-Allston Historical Society 2008 Calendar now on sale

The 2008 Brighton Allston Historical Calendar is hot off the press and it looks wonderful. It is for sale for $10 each or $7 each for orders of 10 or more. I have the 2007 version of the calendar on my office wall and it is a great way to learn about the history of our neighborhood and be reminded about the importance of working to improve its future.

Calendars can be purchased by emailing Margarita at They will also be on sale at the Museum and Minihanes Flowers at 425 Washington St in Brighton.

Tuesday deadline for nominations to the State's Citizens Advisory Committee to review Harvard's expansion

The State is accepting nominations for the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) that will oversee review of Harvard's expansion through the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office. The CAC is an opportunity for us to create a new, independent, and officially recognized group distinct from the the City's review that has frustrated so many people in the neighborhood over the past several months. The CAC will also have money to hire consultants to review Harvard's plans.

Tuesday is the deadline to be nominated for the CAC. You can nominate yourself by sending and email to The email should be addressed to Ian A. Bowles, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. It also will help to be nominated by one of our elected officials at the State House so you can feel free to ask any or all of them to nominate you:

· Rep. Mike Moran - Rep.MichaelMoran@Hou.State.MA.US
· Rep. Kevin Honan -
· Senator Steve Tolman -
· Senator-elect Anthony Galluccio -

The selection of Chairman/Chairwoman of the CAC will have a huge impact on how effectively the CAC can advocate for our community, so you might also want to let Secretary Bowles know your thoughts about how governance of the CAC should be similar to or different from the BRA's Task Force.

For more information about the CAC you can contact Briony Angus at the MEPA office or (617) 626-1029.

Massachusetts envisions new bike trails - What happened to "fix it first"?

It is nice that the State is considering a plan to spend $82 million on 100 miles of new bike trails (Massachusetts envisions extensive bike trail - The Boston Globe). Safe and attractive places to bicycle are wonderful things to have and help promote physical fitness and non-automotive transportation. It would be even nicer to see the State fix the bike paths we already have that are unsafe and virtually unusable.

In my opinion, making the paths along the Charles River in Boston rideable should come before creating a 120 mile trail from Lowell to Westfield (here's a map for everyone who, like me, needs to be reminded where Westfield is). I don't know where the Ware River Valley is, but I know that hundreds of people a day ride along the Charles and have to deal with paths that are too narrow, too bumpy where tree roots have grown under the asphalt, and just plain wrong for bikes (the wooden boardwalk under the B.U. Bridge).

Not that I was any big fan of the Romney Administration, but I do think he made a lot of sense when he talked about a "fix it first" policy for our roads, bridges, and other parts of our infrastructure. But this policy seems to be out of vogue with the current administration, especially because just last month the Globe wrote about the sad condition of the Charles River Bike Path.

"Because financing is tight, said Dan Driscoll, the Department of Conservation and Recreation's director of bikeways and green infrastructure, the department has been doing path upgrades on a piecemeal basis in the last several years. To "do everything that's in bad shape" along the entire path, and fix up riverside parklands, would cost $20 million."

So if there is the possibility of $82 million to make new bike paths in parts of the State where they will get much less use, let's also see the $20 million to fix what would be one of the most heavily used bike paths in all of Massachusetts.

If its Tuesday there must be an election

Tuesday, October 9 there is another election coming to Allston/Brighton, though this one will likely have less impact than any of the September or November elections this year.

This will be the final election to elect a new State Senator to replace Jarrett Barrios. The Sept 11 election was a democratic primary, and Oct 9 will be a special general election. Anthony Galluccio, the winner of the primary is running unopposed on Tuesday so there shouldn't be much suspense in the outcome. To find out if you are in this Senate district and where to vote, go to the Where Do I Vote website and if Barrios is listed as your State Senator then you can cast a ballot on Tuesday.

Many people in attendance at the BRA Board meeting about Harvard's Science Complex on Wednesday were impressed that Anthony attended the meeting and spoke clearly in support of the community. You can hear his comments here or read my typed version of his comments below:

"...My experience thus far with this neighborhood is a group of very reasonable, hardworking neighborhood people who are, quite honestly, overwhelmed with what they are dealing with. I hope as you go forward with your deliberations you will consider the fact - these are not a group of people who have attempted to stop Harvard, and I have dealt with many folks like that over the years. This is a very reasonable group of folks who have welcomed Harvard into the neighborhood. And I hope that during your deliberations you will reward that thoughtfulness.

You, unlike in a place like Cambridge, where City Councilors have the opportunity to file zoning and actually stop projects in mid-stream, these folks don't have those mechanisms at their fingertips. So you are, as Rep Moran describes, the only hope. And I would just suggest that the more trust that is built in this relationship, the better this project is, the more that this body attempts to deal with the mitigation issues that Rep Moran discussed, all within the context of what Rep Honan discussed, what are very productive and visionary proposals. But the more this Board is able to step in and bring trust to this relationship really to solidify what has been requested so these folks leave with a clear understanding of how things will proceed, I think the relationship is better over the next, let's face it, we're talking 30 years here.

Unless we stop right now and start to clarify the relationship - not just the mitigation, how community benefits will work, how the community is going to be responded to when they make requests for information, how this relationship proceeds is incredibly important to both the university and community. So I would just ask that the Redevelopment Authority take this responsibility very seriously, listen to the community members here. They again, have not tried to stop Harvard, but are deeply concerned about the impact on their neighborhood, and rightly so. And at the same time, recognizing that Harvard can and certainly will play a very positive role in this community. But again, if there is no trust in this relationship it is not going to be to the benefit of either group.

So I don't confess to know every detail as I haven't been as involved as the other elected officials, but I will say to the community and to this Board, having vast experience dealing as an intermediary with the community and Harvard I intend to be very involved going into the future and hope that today's deliberations leave the community in a better place with better faith, better confidence in the process going forward. Thank you."

Brighton's Mary Lyon School at top of State MCAS performers

Congratulations to the students, teachers, families, and the rest of the Mary Lyon School community for their excellence on the recent MCAS tests. Today's Globe lists the top performers across the state, and 54% of the Mary Lyon 8th graders scored in the top category of the match MCAS. This ranks them 4th in the entire state!

Harvard responds to MEPA's draft decision

In the MEPA Draft Record of Decision, the MEPA office required additional information from Harvard before a final decision would be issued. The response from Harvard can be downloaded here. In my opinion, the whole thing is quite indecipherable, but if anyone has more success figuring out what it means, please leave a comment explaining your findings.

Turnpike Board approves smaller than expected toll hike

Turnpike Board approves smaller than expected toll hike - Local News Updates - The Boston Globe

The board of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority approved a preliminary toll hike today that was smaller than anticipated, putting off bridge repairs and other expenses in hopes that the governor's plan to reorganize transportation will create some "breathing room."
The proposed hike on Jan. 1 would raise tolls at the Allston-Brighton and Weston booths by 25 cents to $1.25. Tolls in the Ted Williams and Sumner tunnels would increase by 50 cents to $3.50.

Harvard laboratory evacuated while the BRA approves a new Harvard laboratory

It is the height of irony that while many Allston neighbors attended a BRA hearing yesterday to express concerns about Harvard's proposal for a huge laboratory in our neighborhood, a Harvard lab was being evacuated because of a leak of explosive hydrogen gas.

Hydrogen leak forces evacuation of lab - The Boston Globe

A hydrogen leak forced the evacuation of a building at the Harvard School of Public Health and shut down part of Huntington Avenue during evening rush hour yesterday. No one was injured as a result of the leak, which occurred just after 4 p.m. in a second-floor laboratory at 665 Huntington Ave., fire officials said. Crews entering the building found high readings of the flammable gas, officials said. At least one woman was in the laboratory at the time of the leak, which may have been caused by a faulty valve, said Deputy Fire Chief Robert Dunderdale. Traffic was backed up on Huntington Avenue and on many adjacent streets as crews worked to vent the building, which was expected to be open today.

Hydrogen, shown here burning the famous explosion of the Hindenburg zeppelin, leaked to dangerous levels in a Harvard lab yesterday

The Left, left out?

The Phoenix looks at the fate of recent local elections and the candidates considered most liberal. I've excerpted some sections about the recent A/B City Council election.

The Left, left out? - News - The Phoenix

In Allston-Brighton, progressive favorite Tim Schofield was widely expected to win one of two available spots on the November ballot in the race to replace district city councilor Jerry McDermott. But Greg Glennon, considered the most conservative candidate in the race, pulled the upset in the preliminary and will face neighborhood activist Mark Ciommo.

Turnout for the recent special elections and primaries has been dismal, because the less attention-getting an election, the fewer people vote. When that happens, historically the scales tip toward the “neighborhood” voters — ...the long-time residents of Brighton... — who show up at every election.

Anthony Galluccio, who won the Democratic primary to replace Barrios, is liberal enough to have gained the enthusiastic endorsement of several progressive groups in Cambridge. Ciommo, who finished first in the Allston-Brighton council preliminary, meets all the usual progressive tests on the issues.

All of those candidates, observers say, succeeded through hard work — getting to know and impress people in their districts over many years. Yet none of them became a “darling” of the new progressives. And most of those who were anointed darlings — Schofield in Allston-Brighton...— couldn’t put together the kind of effective district-wide campaign that wins races

Turnpike board set to take initial vote on raising tolls - The Boston Globe

Turnpike board set to take initial vote on raising tolls - The Boston Globe

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is scheduled to take an initial vote today on a series of toll hikes, even as Governor Deval Patrick looks toward sweeping long-term changes in the state transportation system in hope of saving money.

Tolls at the Allston-Brighton and Weston booths could rise to as much as $1.75, a 75 cent increase. Tolls in the Ted Williams and Sumner tunnels could double to as much as $6.

Upcoming zoning and licensing hearings

Zoning hearings on October 9 starting at 11:30

  • 6 LaRose Place- Change the legal occupancy from a one-family dwelling to a two-family dwelling and erect a addition
  • 125-125A Brooks Street - Subdivide lot into two parcels. Erect a two-family dwelling.
  • Deep Ellum, 477-489 Cambridge Street - Extend outside deck for added seating of restaurant, Outdoor seating for 38 patrons
  • 129-131 Murdock Street - Extend existing driveway for additional vehicles

Zoning hearings on October 16 starting at 9:30

  • 240-240R North Harvard Street - Raze existing garage, erect a 24’x30’ two-car garage for existing home. Subdivide the existing lot; erect a four-family dwelling with parking at the rear.
  • 21 Kinrose Road - Create off street parking for seven vehicles

Licensing Hearing on October 17 at 10:00

  • Domino's Pizza at 150 Cambridge Street requesting an extension of hours from Midnight, Sunday thru Thursday-1:00 A.M. on Friday and Saturdays to 3:00 A.M. All Nights for Delivery Service only.

Licensing Hearings on October 24 at 10:00

  • Saray Restaurant at 1098 Commonwealth Avenue has applied for a Seven-Day Common Victuller License
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill has applied for a C.V. 7-Day Malt and Wine License
  • Esperia Grill & Rotisserie, 344 Washington Street -Requests a 1:00 a.m. closing time

For zoning hearings, call the Board of Appeal at 617-635-4775 for more information. For licensing hearings call Cynthia Fulton at 617-635-4170.

In case there was any doubt what the BRA will do today

Harvard's $1b complex in Allston awaits green light - The Boston Globe
'By the BRA's action today, it will continue our lead in this field and bodes well for our ability to attract other businesses.' Mayor Thomas M. Menino said yesterday

Another North Allston residential demolition

While construction continues on Raymond Street after the recent demolition of 34 Raymond St, the owner of 205 Everett St will appear before the Boston Landmarks Commission on Tuesday, Oct 9 at 5:30 in room 900 of City Hall.

This house at the corner of Holton and Everett Streets (across the street from the St. Anthony's School building) was purchased in 2002 for $483,000 and then sold in 2006 for $600,000. Based on the condition of the property and its adjacent sidewalk on Holton St, the current owner isn't much of a neighbor.

As far as what will come next, it seems like someone tearing down this one family home would want to build as many units as possible to maximize their profit. There is a deed restriction that prevents any building within 20 feet of Everett St and 30 feet from Holton St, so any new building will have to be in the middle of the lot. Hopefully the owner will use some of these profits to buy a rake and some trash bags and hire someone to use them.

A different opinion about Harvard's green Allston campus

The Reference Frame: Universities and green hysteria
Believe it or not but the most important question about the expansion of America's oldest university is whether it will contribute 0.0000002 or 0.0000004 Celsius degrees to the expected global mean temperature in 2050.