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Old 10-30-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
coleslaw
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Expand Boston

http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/a...ge-somerville/

We have too long allowed the residents of the inner suburbs: Brookline, Somerville, Cambridge, Milton, and Quincy, among others, to reap the benefits of our city without sharing any of the cost. They benefit from all the city has to offer from jobs to culture without paying for any of it. Their taxes go to funding their own community and it hurts the tax base of the city on which they rely. This ends up prolonging regional inequality, the rich areas separated from the poor, because the quality of school systems in the burbs will increase much more quickly than that of the BPS. It is time to bring in our rich neighbors who rely on our city, and force them to pay their fair share of its maintenance.
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:21 PM   #2
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Re: Expand Boston

This is a dumb thread.
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:31 PM   #3
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Re: Expand Boston

Not so much dumb as incredibly unlikely, but it's very fascinating as a "what-if?" scenario.

I wonder if any sort of polling has been done recently in Brookline/Cambridge/etc. (and in Boston, too) regarding annexation... I'm curious to see what people think.
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:03 PM   #4
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Re: Expand Boston

This conversation has been had before in other areas. Two points

1) Newton, Brookline, Cambridge does not equal Somerville, Everett, Chelsea. All are in the inner ring and do benefit, but they are not equal to each other or their relationship to Boston. In fact, the hardest political pill to swallow in any regionalization would be not so much that Brookline should be part of Boston, but that Brookline should support Chelsea.

2) Defining the cost/benefit of the individual towns is difficult. The residents don't pay the tax, but the companies they work for do. What is harder for a city to administer and support, a 600' tower holding 5,000 workers or a neighborhood with 5,000 people that include children and senior citizens?

The issue quickly gets complex and I think a regional structure would be more efficient and fair in a variety of ways for all parties involved. That being said, it will never happen.
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:20 PM   #5
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Re: Expand Boston

"Route 128 County"

The way Suffolk and Norfolk are gerrymandered is kind of batty, and even though county-level governance has been more or less dismantled there are still enough administrative divisions breaking along county lines that the immediate-adjoining 'burbs are more difficult to seamlessly manage than they truly need to be. I think a little cleanup of the county borders is prudent. Maybe redraw Suffolk into a more obvious Metro Boston division with the city +1-2 bordering towns deep, and then tweak Norfolk and the outskirts of Middlesex to take the next onion layer of inner 'burbs and divvy the 128 belt half-and-half between the two.
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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Re: Expand Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by coleslaw View Post
We have too long allowed the residents of the inner suburbs: Brookline, Somerville, Cambridge, Milton, and Quincy, among others, to reap the benefits of our city without sharing any of the cost. They benefit from all the city has to offer from jobs to culture without paying for any of it. Their taxes go to funding their own community and it hurts the tax base of the city on which they rely. This ends up prolonging regional inequality, the rich areas separated from the poor, because the quality of school systems in the burbs will increase much more quickly than that of the BPS. It is time to bring in our rich neighbors who rely on our city, and force them to pay their fair share of its maintenance.
So, uh, is this a manifesto for redrawing the municipal boundaries, or for having the People's Army descend on Harvard Square?
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:41 PM   #7
armpitsOFmight
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Re: Expand Boston

^didn't you know? Coleslaw is a self proclaimed socialist! How exactly is he able to afford living in JP?
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:37 PM   #8
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Re: Expand Boston

Could the state legislature do such a thing without the approval of the individual cities?

Here's my opinion of which cities should be included:

Definitely:
Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Chelsea, Revere, Malden, Everett, Quincy, Watertown, Medford, Arlington, Waltham, Newton

Maybe:
Milton, Belmont, Winthrop, Dedham

Probably not:
Lexington, Lynn, Saugus, Melrose, Needham, Winchester
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:46 PM   #9
armpitsOFmight
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Re: Expand Boston

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I don't think you know what socialism is.
Sure I do! You want us to look more like the European countries, and many are worse off than we are at the moment.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
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Re: Expand Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by cozzyd View Post
Could the state legislature do such a thing without the approval of the individual cities?

Here's my opinion of which cities should be included:

Definitely:
Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Chelsea, Revere, Malden, Everett, Quincy, Watertown, Medford, Arlington, Waltham, Newton

Maybe:
Milton, Belmont, Winthrop, Dedham

Probably not:
Lexington, Lynn, Saugus, Melrose, Needham, Winchester
I generally agree with this list but why not include lynn (8000/sq.mile) it is denser and closer to downtown than quincy (5500/sq.mile). I feel like we often forget how close the northern suburbs are to the center of the city (definitely closer than Westie) and how urban they are
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:56 PM   #11
novitiate
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Re: Expand Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by coleslaw View Post
Redraw the boundaries.
I was mostly just poking fun at the extreme rhetoric.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cozzyd View Post
Could the state legislature do such a thing without the approval of the individual cities?
My understanding is they could (one of the rights expressly granted even with the home rule amendment to the legislature is redrawing municipal boundaries); but consider where the population is centered; if there is major opposition to this in the communities mentioned then you're not going to be able to shove it through without at least some of their votes.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:03 PM   #12
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Expand Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by coleslaw View Post
Because Norway, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Denmark, belgium, and France are all doing so badly. The countries that are the worst off there, spain, Italy, and greece, are run by conservatives. Germany is run by their center-right party but the center right there is damn near left wing in the US.
Right. Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia are the ideal models to look at. Their political center-right is generally placed firmly in America's left wing of political ideology.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:06 PM   #13
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Re: Expand Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by cozzyd View Post
Could the state legislature do such a thing without the approval of the individual cities?

Here's my opinion of which cities should be included:

Definitely:
Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Chelsea, Revere, Malden, Everett, Quincy, Watertown, Medford, Arlington, Waltham, Newton

Maybe:
Milton, Belmont, Winthrop, Dedham

Probably not:
Lexington, Lynn, Saugus, Melrose, Needham, Winchester
I'm guessing the maybes are purely out of expectations of provincialism? Geographically, if you're putting Arlington, Waltham and Watertown in there, Belmont becomes a Brookline-like enclave. Milton abuts the current city lines, so if Quincy is getting in on it, Milton should too, same with Winthrop and Dedham.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:34 PM   #14
cozzyd
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Re: Expand Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
I'm guessing the maybes are purely out of expectations of provincialism? Geographically, if you're putting Arlington, Waltham and Watertown in there, Belmont becomes a Brookline-like enclave. Milton abuts the current city lines, so if Quincy is getting in on it, Milton should too, same with Winthrop and Dedham.
More because even though they would fit in geographically, they are significantly less urban communities (except maybe Winthrop? I don't know anything about it).
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:38 PM   #15
cozzyd
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Re: Expand Boston

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Originally Posted by coleslaw View Post
I generally agree with this list but why not include lynn (8000/sq.mile) it is denser and closer to downtown than quincy (5500/sq.mile). I feel like we often forget how close the northern suburbs are to the center of the city (definitely closer than Westie) and how urban they are
I guess it seems farther away because there's a big gap (the marsh) between Revere and Lynn, which seems to break the urban continuity.
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Old 10-30-2013, 04:44 PM   #16
armpitsOFmight
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Re: Expand Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by coleslaw View Post
Because Norway, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Denmark, belgium, and France are all doing so badly. The countries that are the worst off there, spain, Italy, and greece, are run by conservatives. Germany is run by their center-right party but the center right there is damn near left wing in the US.
Nice to see you cherry picking! You left out a bunch of other economically depressed countries: Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Cyprus, and Slovenia. Did you forget about these countries are socialist too?

Oh yeah, and regarding the current state of conservatives taking over European Parliaments....people got sick of their socialist leaders and gave them the boot! It tends to happen when recessions happen!


Quote:
Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
Right. Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia are the ideal models to look at. Their political center-right is generally placed firmly in America's left wing of political ideology.
Thank you for showing your bias here and saying only parties similar to "America's left wing" know how to run countries.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:27 PM   #17
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Expand Boston

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Originally Posted by armpitsOFmight View Post

Thank you for showing your bias here and saying only parties similar to "America's left wing" know how to run countries.
Hah. That's not what I'm saying really. I'm highlighting that conservatives in certain central and northern european social democracies are within the same ideological spectrum as mainstream Democrats in the United States. The American political spectrum (at least how it's expressed in government) skews much heavier to the the right than the government of Germany, for example. The fact that it happens to be a well run government is just true, regardless of my own political bias.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:29 PM   #18
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Re: Expand Boston

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More because even though they would fit in geographically, they are significantly less urban communities (except maybe Winthrop? I don't know anything about it).
I mean, most of Brookline is already like this. Only northeastern Brookline is in anyway urban. Most of the town is golf courses and mansion cul-de-sacs.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:11 AM   #19
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Re: Expand Boston

Let's say that the cities and towns remain independent, but are organized into a kind of greater Boston confederation, where some city function happened at the Greater Boston level. Which functions could you see being consolidated?

Education is probably a non starter. Police, fire and public works might be worth consolidating. Potentially development and transportation planning too - roll the MBTA into this layer of governance as well.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:01 AM   #20
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Re: Expand Boston

Annexation worked and works where there's a mutual benefit, like NYC's Outer Boros offering to be developed in exchange for NYC extending its water supply. The Boros got rich on development, and NYC got a great "kicker" return on its huge investment in water works. Plenty of cities big and small--like Houston and Columbus Ohio grew the same way (offering city water/sewer to its hinterlands)

What, at this point, is Boston offering?

Turns out we already had our water-works merger in the MWRA--a huge "metro" operation (and it works pretty well)

Mostly, I see Boston doing silly things like the awful tax on car rentals to support its empty, hack-laden convention center. Is the Convention Center one of Boston's "benefits" that I (as a Medford resident) am freeloading on? LOL! Am I freeloader or captive patron whose relatives and clients are extorted when they try to rent a car at the Airport (ok, anywhere in Suffolk County)

Also its unclear who is doing whom a favor in things like the Big Dig, Airport, or Commuter Rail...Boston is on the receiving end of super-subsidized commuter rail trips from the suburbs...is that a favor to the commuters or to the fatcat City landlords and employers? Seems a "wash" to me. Thanks to suburban patrons, Boston's Airport is bigger than it ever could be if it relied only on the patronage of the City.

The discussion is surprisingly free of any of the math that could underly any win-win offer the city could make, or give lie to the perceptions that City and Burbs have of each other.

If Boston said it had a terabyte internet headhouse that it wanted to push out lines from, or a streetcar system it wanted to extend, then maybe.

Otherwise the City's champions should just shut up and impose Congestion Pricing on their Core...a completely fair and efficient way to recoup or deter the costs of visiting/freeloading Suburbanites (and West Roxies) that I'd completely favor...but then opposition is always from the City's fatcat landlords (who are probably the real freeloaders in this scenario since they profit from the underpricing of roads to Suburbanites)
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