9/27/15 Mystic View Task Force Annual Meeting Reply

The Mystic View Task Force 2015 Annual Meeting is being held:

Sunday, September 27, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Community Assembly Room
50 Middlesex Avenue, Somerville
(at the corner of Foley Street and Middlesex Avenue)

We thank you for your continued support and involvement, and look forward to seeing you there. More…

Mystic View Task Force Consensus is No, Yes, Yes, Yes! Reply

The Mystic View Task Force Consensus* on the 2014 Ballot Questions is No, Yes, Yes, Yes!

#1 On Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing

This initiative would REPEAL that portion of the gasoline tax which links increases to the rate of inflation. In 2013, the legislature raised the gas tax for the first time since 1991, by 3 cents a gallon.

MVTF: NO on #1

Massachusetts streets and roads are in chronic disrepair, and a majority of its bridges are unsafe or obsolete. Repeal of indexing would allow Massachusetts to fall further behind on road and bridge disrepair, leaving drivers vulnerable to gaping potholes and crumbling overpasses, like Somerville’s McGrath Highway. Losing revenue from indexing could also cost Massachusetts future federal funding, like the “New Starts” grant that Somerville is counting on to pay half the cost of the Green Line Extension.

Visit: http://www.massaflcio.org/VoteNoQuestion1

#2 On Expanding the Beverage Container Deposit Law

Would EXPAND the 5 cent bottle deposit to cover such beverages as sports drinks and bottled water.

MVTF: YES on #2

Container deposits are a proven means of increasing the recycling of beverage containers. Almost 80% of deposit containers are recycled — only 23% of non-deposit containers are recycled. The containers that are now excluded, such as water bottles and alcoholic beverage bottles, form a significant part of landfills. Passage of Bottle Bill Expansion would mean less litter on city streets and state roadways, and taxpayers would save big on litter pickup and trash disposal costs. Our parks and beaches and rivers — including the Mystic — would be cleaner, too.

Visit: http://www.yeson2ma.org

#3 On Expanding Prohibitions on Gaming

Would REPEAL the State’s Casino Law, which created a powerful, non-elected commission to site 3 “destination” casinos and 1 slots parlor in Massachusetts, and which also empowers federally recognized tribes to open casinos.

MVTF: YES on #3

The preponderance of evidence is that casino gambling not only increases the incidence of gambling addiction, it increases nearby traffic congestion and decreases nearby property values. Entering into a partnership with the casino industry and embracing its predatory business model of exploiting addictive gambling is as wrong as partnering with the tobacco industry to promote cigarette smoking. The social and economic costs are far greater than the tax revenues; gains in employment would be offset by closures and job losses at existing local businesses; and Lottery sales would suffer, jeopardizing Local Aid to Cities and Towns. Apart from these and other problems with expanded gambling, the state-approved siting of the Wynn casino in Everett would hurt development at Assembly Square; snarl traffic at Sullivan Square and Wellington Circle; and jeopardize water quality in the Mystic River, as a result of planned dredging.

Visit: http://repealthecasinodeal.org/

#4 On Earned Sick Time for Employees

MVTF: YES on #4

Allowing employees to earn sick time will encourage them to seek medical help earlier, improving their health, and increase their take-home pay, improving the local economy. Nearly one million Mass. workers can’t earn paid sick time, including 38% of all employed men and women living in Somerville. Many of those workers can’t even earn unpaid sick time, and face job loss if they stay home when they get sick or their children are too sick to attend school or child care. These workers tend to be concentrated in service industries, so when they come to work sick, they put both their co-workers and the public at risk. In fairness to these workers and their families, and to improve community health, our workforce needs earned sick time.

Visit: http://www.yeson4ma.org

*Positions taken by unanimous vote of the Board at the Mystic View Task Force Meeting on September 27, 2014.

About the Mystic View Task Force

MVTF exists to increase understanding among Somerville, Massachusetts, residents about how each choice that we make regarding land use, real estate development, transportation infrastructure, public health, and housing affordability creates the future that we are building for ourselves and the environment in which we  live.

10/26/13 MVTF 2013 Annual Meeting Announcement Reply

Dear MVTF Supporters,

Assembly Square is transforming.

The new Baxter State Park along the Mystic between Route 38 and Draw 7 Park has opened. The Orange Line T-Stop is framed in, and Federal Realty and Avalon Bay have walls up on mixed-use developments on the river side of the site. The new Burger Dive restaurant has opened on the edge of the mall parking lot, and SSG Development has finished its self-storage facility across from Foley Street.

In an encouraging development, the city tabled a zoning change that would allow a giant, one-story grocery store at the old IKEA site. We applaud this action, because developing one-story retail so close to the T-stop would waste a rare opportunity. To meet the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, we need to make sure that the rest of Assembly Square is built out with high-value real estate such as research and development.

In an exciting development, SSG Development has granted MVTF access to a new asset for the Somerville community, a Community Assembly Room at 50 Middlesex Avenue, on the ground floor of the new self-storage facility.

In addition to keeping an eye on Assembly Square:

  • We are monitoring the implementation of the City’s Comprehensive Plan rolled out early this year. Visioning meetings are being held for Davis Square and East Somerville, and discussion is continuing on zoning changes across the city.
  • We are monitoring progress on the Green Line Extension, due to complete in 2018. Bridge demolition is underway and stations are being designed. Efforts are underway to remove the McCarthy Overpass on Route 28 near Union Square.
  • We are posting selected public meetings on the Somerville Development Forum (SDF). To register as an SDF contributor or subscribe to the SDF RSS feed, go to mvtf.wordpress.com. To subscribe to the weekly email update, send an e-mail to dd@whyisthisimportant.net.

For more on our efforts, please come to our Annual Meeting:

Saturday, October 26, 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Community Assembly Room
50 Middlesex Avenue, Somerville
(at the corner of Foley Street and Middlesex Avenue)

In addition to electing board members and officers and reviewing the past year, the agenda will include a presentation on the Community Assembly Room and, weather permitting, a walk along Foley Street to view the ongoing transformation of Assembly Square.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely,

David Dahlbacka
President, Mystic View Task Force

10/10/12 MVTF Annual Meeting Reply

Dear MVTF Supporters,

In 2012, Assembly Square is waking up.

The new Assembly Square Drive is open, and the MBTA has begun building the Orange Line T-Stop at Assembly Square. Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) and Avalon Bay are building mixed-use developments on blocks 1, 3, and 4 on the river side of the site.  SSG Development is building a self-storage facility with community amenities at 50 Middlesex Avenue, across from Foley Street. Another developer, FR Assembly Square, is building a restaurant at Block 10, on the edge of the mall parking lot.

Meanwhile, IKEA has decided not to build a store at Assembly Square, and the City is taking steps toward acquiring the IKEA site by eminent domain. This provides Somerville with a rare opportunity. To meet the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, we need to make sure that the rest of Assembly Square is built out with high-value real estate such as research and development.

In addition to keeping an eye on Assembly Square:

  • We are monitoring the implementation of the City’s Comprehensive Plan rolled out early this year. Zoning changes have been proposed in Union Square and Porter Square and planned for Winter Hill. Discussion is continuing.
  • We are monitoring progress on the Green Line Extension, due to complete in 2018. Bridge demolition is being planned and stations are being designed. Efforts are underway to remove the McCarthy Overpass on Route 28 near Union Square.
  • We are tracking selected public meetings and posting them on the Somerville Voices Beat Reporter blog.  If you would like to subscribe to the weekly emails, send an e-mail to dd@whyisthisimportant.net.You can also subscribe to the Beat Reporter RSS feed at http://www.somervillevoices.org/category/beat-reporter/.
  • We are undertaking a major revision of the MVTF web site to convert it into a community blog, tentatively named the Somerville Development Forum. Whereas the Beat Reporter blog tracks ongoing events, the Development Forum will be a place where the Somerville community can learn the principles of sustainable development and discuss how to apply them to our special requirements.

For more on our efforts, please come to our Annual Meeting, Wednesday, October 10, from 7:30 to 9:30 PM, at the Third Life Studio, 33 Union Square, Somerville.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely,

David Dahlbacka
President, Mystic View Task Force

4/30/12 Assembly Row Groundbreaking Ceremony Reply

Assembly Row Groundbreaking Ceremony

Mon. Apr. 30 10:30 – 11:30 AM

Assembly Square
Foley St. at Assembly Square Drive
Somerville MA (map)

Federal Realty and the City of Somerville are sponsoring a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the Assembly Row development.

Ceremony marks the start of retail/residential construction of Phase I of the Assembly Square mixed-use development.

Speakers will include Don Briggs (FRIT), Mayor Joe Curtatone (City of Somerville), Secretary Gregory Bialecki (Housing & Econ. Devel.), Secretary Jay Gonzalez (Admin & Finance), Secretary Richard Sullivan (EOEA), Jonathan Davis (MBTA), Scott Dale (Avalon Bay).

For more information, see Assembly Square Mixed-Use Development Project .

WITI?