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Wu orders pause in Mass-and-Cass de-tenting

WBZ Newsradio reports Mayor Wu has ended the city program to make people leave Methadone Mile by removing their tents, at least until after an ACLU lawsuit over the practice is resolved. A Suffolk Superior Court judge could decide today whether to grant a temporary restraining order to block the removals while the case is pending.

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Comments

But a while ago, one of your esteemed commenters suggested a rebranding of the Mass & Cass area to "Sacklerville" in honor of a family that (a) loves having things named after them and (b) did so much to make that neighborhood what it is today. I really want it to catch on.

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Voting closed 54

I think it is perfect for any and all such encampments, and I got my family in Portland, OR using it.

Just like a Hooverville.

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Voting closed 13

Others may come and go, but . . . . .

This will always be -

Mahty's Methadone Mile

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I don't see anyone cooking and booting OC's every time I'm down the Mile.

It should by right be called WALSHVILLE!

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I wouldn't guess what percentage, but a huge number of people start on pills and later only switch to street drugs because they can't afford to keep up their addiction. The pills are much more expensive (even if they're counterfeits like those folks north of Boston were making).

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If the Feds will pay for the bridge with funds from the recently passed infrastructure bill its a win for everyone.

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The issue is that Quincy keeps fighting the bridge.

And even if that weren't an issue, it's not like you can just toss up a bridge over open water on a weekend.

But mostly it's Quincy.

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Why not spend a bit more to charter a few buses to bring some of the residents to/from Quincy Center on a daily basis? They have a shiny new pedestrian plaza in front of City Hall that would be a much safer place for people to spend the day than the wide roads/fast traffic in the Newmarket area.

Maybe this will finally motivate Quincy to move.

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New York gets $16 a day out of Jersey-to-Manhattan drivers. Turn Quincy's people against Quincy's government.

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Quincy's government is trying to protect its neighborhoods and residents.

This is unlike some (luckily) former Boston officials with alternative agendas.

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Maybe you are new here or don't know much about the history of this but THEY ALREADY HAD BUSES GOING THROUGH TO USE THE BRIDGE!

I'd love to see your traffic study, too.

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Can you just not?

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You'd argue with me if I told you that the sun sets in the west.

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I feel like you're trying to trick the army corps of engineers or the seabees into doing an end run around Quincy's blockade ;-)

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Any plans for the hundreds of homeless and addicted until then?

If Boston dropped its development plans for Long Island, the bridge could be build about six years ago.

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Mass & Cass is a bike chop shop at this point. They really need to do something about the theft enabled by its existence. Even if that doesn't mean tearing down tents cops should be putting 2 and 2 together when they see a tent freakin surrounded by bikes.

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Bikes. Always with the bikes.

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Love them some bikes

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Theft, whether it be bikes or some other target is funding much of the drug trade on mass and Cass.

It just so happens the target is bikes, allowing theft en masse not only impacts people's ability to get around, it also ensures the drugs keep flowing.

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Voting closed 14

One day and she is making a terrible decision. Most of us have empathy for the homeless and addicted, but this area is not just full of the unfortunate. It is attracting criminals, deadbeats and derelicts from all over. It is a public health hazard. There is rampant crime, prostitution and an open air drug market. It is a public health problem and a blight on this city. She needs to deal with this.

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based on reporting by Adam and in the Globe (see https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/11/17/metro/aclu-goes-court-halt-mass-c...), the ACLU position is that the city isn't offering appropriate alternate shelter to the tent dwellers, even if emergency shelter (i.e. homeless shelters) is being offered because the shelters do not offer the appropriate and adequate services these people, many of whom are suffering from drug addictions and likely other chronic medical issues, need.

Am I understanding this correctly: they should be allowed to sleep in tents on cold sidewalks, without any of the needed services on-site, and no adequate sanitation, rather than be forced to move into a shelter that lacks the services but is safe from the elements, provides proper sanitation facilities and presumably up to 3 meals a day?

Basically, if you can't meet their every need (which our public health approach here SHOULD be doing, I'm not against that) then you must allow them to live in a worse situation than the one you are currently offering. Am I getting this right?

I'm not a lawyer nor involved with the operations of the ACLU, but I can't see myself being able to make this argument in good faith if I were in their position right now.

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It's not that simple. There are lots of reasons why people would not be accepted into shelters and also why sleeping in a tent might be preferable to sleeping in a shelter. John Oliver actually had a great segment on homelessness a couple weeks ago and touched on this exact point (at about the 14:30 mark).

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The argument by John Oliver or John Stewart can't be beat.

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I like both of them, but if you're knowledgeable about a topic that they present on you can more easily see where they shade things to fit the sake of the show. I always take them with a grain of salt with things I don't know as much about for that reason.

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It's not simple at all. I recognize there are reasons that people cannot get into shelters or are ejected from them, but my assumption was that when the city said no one would be forced from their tent without being offered shelter, the offer would be for shelter that would accept them as is.

I would argue that "sleeping in a tent" is not the same as "sleeping in a tent in a tent city erected on Southampton Street" and it's not just about the sleeping part that matters when you consider the health and safety of people living in tents. I've slept in many tents in my life, I've even lived out of tents for weeks to months at a time, but only in places that had all of the other resources necessary for healthy and safe living. I can't imagine living out of a tent without adequate sanitation or either prepared food or proper facilities to prepare my own food.

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Losing what belongings you have is one of them. You can't bring your stuff with you and they are dangerous.

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we could figure out personal property storage. As for danger, surely we can reduce danger inside a shelter. Can you quantify danger? How does the danger inside the shelters being offered compare to the danger that is present in a tent village erected at the corner of Southampton and Atkinson Streets?

These are challenges to overcome if we want to rightly and truly solve the greater issue at hand, but if we can't handle these challenges, the far more complex parts of the solution are going to be impossible for us to manage.

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I support WU, but unless the judge orders a pause it should proceed. The city is doing the best they can to provide housing and treatment for these people. Leaving them there is just a set up for deaths by exposure.

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The problem is not going away because those living there are being harassed by a new type of setback and victimization.

And it won't go away because removing tents and destroying belongings does not solve the root causes of why people end up there.

And it never will.

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I don't think that it is just removing tents. They are trying to find them housing. I agree it isn't enough but waiting until the solution is perfect seems callous with winter coming on.

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... whether the city is pausing until the entire lawsuit is resolved (which may take a while) or until the ACLU's request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) or preliminary injunction is resolved — those should be resolved within days. The TRO was denied this afternoon.

By way of explanation: roughly speaking, a TRO is what you ask for if you think the grounds for relief are so obvious and the need for relief is so urgent that the court shouldn't even wait for the other side to respond before ordering relief. A preliminary injunction is relief that the court may grant after it has heard from both sides but before a full trial. I am guessing that once the city learned about the lawsuit, it offered to pause the relocations at least until a preliminary injunction hearing could be held, perhaps as a way of persuading the court that a TRO was not warranted.

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These people aren’t rats in the Public Garden.
You can’t erase them by erasing their few possessions and scattering them to other parts of the city. You can’t just tow them to some lot because they are parked illegally.

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