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District councilors tells at-large councilor to stay out of their business

District City Councilors Matt O'Malley and Tim McCarthy both oppose a proposed charter school on Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale, near where their districts meet, but they said today there's no way they're supporting a resolution by at-large Councilor Althea Garrison to put the entire council on record as opposing the proposal.

The two councilors, joined by another district councilor, Josh Zakim, said that as flawed as the process might be, they don't want to interfere with a BPDA process for determining whether Roxbury Prep can tear down a former car dealership near West Roxbury Parkway with a high school and that even if they did, it's fundamentally a development issue that properly belongs in the bailiwick of councilors who represent the affected districts specifically, not an at-large councilor like Garrison.

Garrison, who said she thinks the old Clay Chevrolet site would be better suited for senior housing, said she fully agrees with the argument by residents fighting the proposed school that the school would create traffic havoc in the area.

Garrison also says that a recent proposal by Roxbury Prep to reduce the number of students at the school - in an attempt to mollify those residents - means the school will now fail because "the students will not get the benefits they were promised in what was supposed to be a state of the art school facility."

McCarthy, who said he has spent countless hours in meetings on the proposal and dealt with hundreds of e-mails and phone calls about it, said he doesn't need any help from an at-large councilor on the issue, and that the council as a whole should not get involved in the process of overseeing a development project in one district. "A resolution such as this awful precedent," McCarthy said. O'Malley agreed.

Zakim, who said he's even gotten e-mails and phone calls about the project, which is nowhere near his district, said he supported his fellow district councilors. He said he has referred concerned callers to McCarthy and O'Malley.

At-large Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, who also opposes the Roxbury Prep proposal, said it's just not a good idea for the council to be issuing resolutions on specific development proposals.

As she spoke in favor of her resolution, Garrison acknowledged she did not expect other councilors to join her and did not object when Council President Andrea Campbell sent it to committee rather than suspending the council's normal rules and having a vote taken immediately on the resolution.

PDF icon Garrison's resolution140.29 KB


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Keep shaking things up Althea.

Voting closed 36

She is a nut and in this instance she is choosing cry babies who complain about traffic over a school for kids. She is choosing cars over children. These type of people want Boston to fail. They would rather have an empty lot than something useful because they are entitled and selfish.

Voting closed 18

Fighting for equality by showing the world that a trans* politician can be an absolute dumpster fire of a human being too.

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I personally think the school should be built, they should put it down the street from their current location where calisi’s used to be and change its name to roslindale prep. I

You missed the part about most of the rest of the council also being against this school.

So by your logic does the entire council want Boston to fail?

Voting closed 2

An at large councilor isn't allowed to represent Boston residents that reach out to them for representation because maybe their local councilor isn't interested in their viewpoint or concerns? Then what's the point of an at large councilor?

Voting closed 43

How might balance of power between Office of the Mayor and City Council be changed?... with greater power of Boston City Council.

One way might be better, more up to date technology/software for City Council Communications.

Voting closed 3

You go girl!

Voting closed 23

Unbought and Unbossed

All the chicken littles who thought the world would come to end with Althea on the council have been proven wrong.

I don't agree with Althea on many things but I appreciate that she is not afraid to speak her mind, point out hypocrisy and represent the people that voted for her.

The educated classes like to feel smug sitting behind their screens by pointing out her deficiencies, but what is more ridiculous than elected officials in a democracy saying they shouldn't get involved in development issues in their neighborhood and that it should be decided by an 'independent' outside agency like the BRA (BPDA)?

The vast majority of cities and towns in America have their elected bodies decide development issues. Althea is right to voice her opinion on such issues.

Voting closed 24

I chuckle when at neighborhood meetings I learn it takes months before BRA responds to neighborhood concerns. Not unlike ISD's speediness of working with homeowners.

I don't know who their true constituents (other than suspecting) but their constituents are not neighborhoods and homeowners. Their victims, their chess pieces, their necessary evil to justify the organizations' existence, but not constituents.

Voting closed 15

Maybe that's the real objection to the school. I mean, you're just going to make more educated people with a school.

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Hi Kevin. I thought you legally changed your name to Pat Payaso. So why are you still posting as Kevin? Are you ashamed and regretting that you named yourself "Clown"?

And as far as Althea goes, she is a joke. She deserves no respect. She is a right wing anti gay extremist one day and a progressive advocate for the elderly the next day. She is all over the map. She claims to have a college degree but she can't speak or write English, her native language.

Voting closed 8

I agree with Kevin. Good for Councilor Althea Garrison!

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So, every Councillor who has gone on the record about this proposal is opposed, but they think that the Council as a whole should not have a position on the issue.

I'll say this much. They are sticking to their guns with their desire not to interfere with the development process, but it's still odd.

Voting closed 5

Great point /question. I’m not sure they’re all officially against in the record. That was my first thought about this. Because charter deal be damned it’s potentially damaging for a big deal progressive to go on the record against a new school for poor kids.
For all his tweeting, resisting, and pronouncing I’ve never seen Bat O’Malley say he’s firmly against it. I may have missed it. I have seen him dance around and want everyone’s voice heard and understand concerns, etc. obviously he’s telling the old goats and NIMBY folks he’ll never let it happen. But I’d be shocked if that kid had the stones to be on the record against it.

Voting closed 5

I have no idea if zoning cases are heard at their meetings, but this is the same elected official that proposed rent control sooo....
I haven’t seen what Wu & Flaherty said yet. Wu lives nearby the site & if rumors are true, it’d be good to know what they think after 1.5 years of meetings before they run for Mayor.

Voting closed 1

The Council doesn't go on record for anything unless it's a 99% approval rate. There's some actual conflict regarding the school - plenty of neighbors, myself included, support it - and if they went on actual paper record, they'd have to be held accountable.

That said, I just can't understand being concerned about "traffic" caused by.... teenagers who don't own cars and take the bus/rail.... and then want to make it senior housing, full of.... old people driving cars....

Voting closed 8

Two things are true here:

1. At-Large councilors have the right to opine on any city or neighborhood matter they choose. To say otherwise is illogical and ridiculous.

2. All the councilors involved here are pandering to a subsection of the community that opposes this school for the usual NIMBY reasons with some good ol' fear of brown kids mixed in. Althea deserves no plaudits for doing that group's bidding here.

Voting closed 11