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.

LETTER: Affordable Housing Critical to Watertown’s Fabric

I am writing as a local clergy person concerned with the fraying of the social fabric of the local communities. Over the past 6 years I have served as the pastor of the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church. During this time and over the past 29 years in pastoral ministry I have experienced the vital importance churches serve as community organizations. Churches have long been a place of worship for members and friends and free and affordable space for community life. In Watertown the former St.

LETTER: A Salute to a Local Vet on Vietnam War Veterans Day

Dear Watertown Residents,

Today, March 29, is Vietnam War Veterans Day. I was informed of this by Tony Kelley last night at the Watertown Town Democratic Committee meeting. Tony is a veteran of the war and luckily came home to build a career and family in Watertown. As a teacher and volunteer for several causes, he has done right by this community in so many ways and continues to do so in his retirement. Bravo! His ask was that people say “Welcome Home” if they see a Vietnam Veteran today. Many have never heard that expression to this day. As the granddaughter of a Russian POW, forced into conscription by the fascist Italian government of WWII, I know from my mother what my grandfather experienced upon his return to “normal” life.

OP-ED: Democracy Dismantled, One Poll and Survey at a Time

A continuation of “When Bad Ideas Happen to Good Neighbors”

By Linda ScottWatertown Resident

A news article just came out on March 17, 2024 in a real estate publication, Banker and Tradesman. Watertown is famous! Here’s why:

“In Watertown Square, consultants recommend zoning areas around the square for building heights ranging from three to five stories, with the tallest heights near the five corners intersection. The proposal could generate over 6,320 housing units at full buildout, compared with the 1,701 required by the state’s formula for Watertown.”

And here’s HAW’s official response in that article:

“You don’t hire those consultants if you just want to do paper compliance,” said Sam Ghilardi, a steering committee member of the Housing For All Watertown resident group that supports additional multifamily development. “We are thrilled with what has been proposed so far.”