LETTER: Resident Explains Withdrawal from Human Rights Commission

To whom it may concern,

It is with a heavy heart and disappointment that I am submitting my resignation from the inaugural Watertown HRC Committee. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been a resident of Watertown since 2018. I credit Nicole Gardner for getting me looped into the community and caring about my neighbors. I’ve been an active moderator for the Facebook Buy Nothing Watertown South group for a few years and I was the 2023 recipient of the World in Watertown Social Justice Scholarship, so when Nicole reached out to me about applying for the HRC Committee, I jumped at the opportunity. I believed that with my multiple identities as a person of color, immigrant, and queer, I could give a voice to those underrepresented within our community.

LETTER: Watertown Housing Group Supports Proposed Watertown Square Area Plan

As advocates for housing availability and affordability in Watertown, we have closely followed the Watertown Square Area Plan process since its kickoff last Fall. Throughout the kitchen table conversations, online surveys, and countless community meetings that we’ve participated in, we’ve watched a plan emerge that manages to balance a wide range of perspectives. As a result, the core elements of the plan garner support from two-thirds of recent survey respondents. Supporting the Plan

While we believe that significantly more work needs to be done to address the housing crisis, this plan represents an important step toward allowing more housing in our city. We strongly urge all who support more housing, a more walkable and bikeable community, and a more vibrant downtown to attend this Thursday’s meeting at the Middle School and speak in support of it.

LETTER: It’s All About Control and What Our Community Wants

I recently read the article in Watertown News, dated May 16, 2024, entitled: What to Expect at Next Watertown Square Meeting, Manager will Also Discuss Zoning on Prior Day. The meeting at Watertown Middle School auditorium (68 Waverley Avenue) on June 13th at 6:00 p.m. that is highlighted is an important one. More to come on that. Let me quote Mr. Proakis in that Watertown News article: “(The MBTA Communities Law number) is not a production goal, it is not a production expectation. That is not, you know, thou shalt build 1,700 units or some other number — 3,100 units or whatever it might be,” Proakis said.

LETTER: City Should Have Council President’s Plaque Removed from Arsenal Yards

George Proakis, ManagerCity of Watertown149 Main StreetWatertown, Massachusetts 02472

Dear Mr. Proakis:

I am writing after seeing Ms. Maloney’s article in Charles Breitrose’s On Line Newspaper expressing several concerns surrounding Arsenal Yards; especially the Brothel that operated from a property located in Arsenal Yards. She brings to our attention the bronze portrait of Mark Sideris which reads “without Mark Sideris Arsenal Yards and All that surrounds it may not have been realized.” Given the portrait and the citation, I surmise that is why she says, given Mark’s importance, he should know about everything that is happening on the property. I do not see any reason why Mark would know or anticipate all of the businesses Boylston Properties had already arranged leases with, nor those who would later sign leases. Until Ms. Maloney’s letter I had not seen anything written or in print about the bronze portrait of Mark on the property. And, even though I had serious concerns about singling out the Council President from the other Councilors, I remained quiet.

LETTER: Former Councilor Questions Addition to Traffic Commission

Dear Committee on Public Safety:

Attn: City Councilors John M. Airasian, Chair; Emily Izzo, Vice Chair; and Vincent J. Piccirilli, Jr., Sec. RE: Tuesday, 05/07/2024 Meeting at 6:00 P.M.

Discussion – Amendment to the Traffic Commission Ordinance

Herein, I reiterate my statement, with attachments, as read into the record at the First Public Forum of the 01/23/2024 City Council Meeting. On 01/22/2024, my opinions were also discussed with Councilor Caroline Bays. I offer additional comments and emphasis as follows:

1. Membership of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee is comprised of like-minded individuals in joint efforts to support bicyclists. I see no commitment to protect me, as an elder pedestrian, by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.

LETTER: Resident Optimistic About Future of Watertown Square

When the conversation about Watertown Square began a couple years ago, I was not optimistic. How could this massive intersection filled with car traffic become a destination? While I was reminded of our wonderful library, our distance from the river, and a few small stores and great restaurants, I still could not imagine how this could be made into a unified square. Over time, the process for recreating Watertown Square has impressed me. We have had multiple ways to participate and give feedback.

LETTER: Lifelong Resident Concerned About Rapid Changes in Watertown

I was born and raised in Watertown, as was my father and my grandparents before him. My grandfather was born on July 29th 1876, right where you can now catch the 57 bus. When my grandmother died in 1973 her obituary stated that she had 126 descendants, mostly born right here in Watertown. My grandfather and three of my uncles were Watertown Firefighters, and two were police. My father and three of his brothers were WWII veterans.

LETTER: Reaction to the City Council’s Decision to Reject Short Term Rentals

Dear Editor and Residents,

Last week, a proposal to regulate Short Term Rentals (STRs) went before the City Council. It was rejected 6-3. 

Now, the city attorney has been asked to draft a proposal to ban STRs. So it would seem this is moot. I went to the meeting advocating for the regulation, hoping that the councilors would deliberate and amend the imperfections away. I advocated for the regulation because STRs serve a different market, and the supplier is different from other small service providers, such as landlords, bed & breakfasts or home offices. The supplier is a resident who needs a very low barrier to entry. He/she is trying to age in place, has a variable income or has experienced a sudden price hike or loss of income. The demand comes from those who need an affordable place to stay for less than 30 days. They come here to see a graduation or medical care professional, attend a wedding or funeral, to see off a deployed family member, to provide palliative care, or clear out the estate of a loved one. And yes, they come for the Marathon, the regatta, playoffs and concerts. https://www.watertownmanews.com/2024/04/11/council-votes-down-proposal-for-short-term-rentals-in-watertown

I understand why councilors voted against the regulation.