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Wu tells North End restaurant owners if they hate the outdoor patio program so much, she can just cancel it completely

Flier making Wu sound like a racists

Flier slipped under wiper blades along Hanover today.

Kristina Rex posts a copy of a letter Mayor Wu sent to North End restaurant owners that says the proposed outdoor-dining fee is because the people who actually live in the North End are fed up with the disruptions caused by outdoor dining there and the money would try to make things a bit better for them.

But, Wu continues:

If a critical mass of restaurant owners also believe this program is unworkable as proposed, I am prepared to rescind North End outdoor dining before the start of the season.

North End restaurant owners are threatening to sue and have started sticking fliers on car windshields that take a bad St. Patrick's Breakfast quote out of context to make Wu sound like a virulent racist.

Two years ago, as the pandemic ruined restaurant business, the city created a program to let restaurants without private patios use sidewalks and, in some cases, parking spaces, to create outdoor patios. The city continued the temporary program last year and earlier this year announced its continuation this year. But unlike in other neighborhoods, the city proposed a $7,500 fee for North End restaurants - plus additional fees for the use of on-street parking spaces for tables.

Based on the experience of the past two years, this year's pilot program for the North End is different from that of other neighborhoods because of the unique impacts of outdoor dining on the quality of residential life. This neighborhood is home to the densest concentration of restaurants anywhere in the state. Last summer, this community had more than three times the number of on-street restaurant patios than the next highest neighborhood, the greatest loss of parking spots, and more 311 and constituent service complaints related to noise, congestion, rodents and street cleanliness from outdoor dining than anywhere else - by far. The North End was home to 77 outdoor dining patios (70 on public property) in just 0.2 square miles, compared to 51 patios in Back Bay (but only 21 on-street), 14 in the Seaport, seven in Roxbury, six in Charlestown, and just one patio in Chinatown. The use of public street space to expand restaurant capacity and liquor license seats is particularly significant in the North End, with many restaurants doubling their capacity through expansion into the street.

She continued that people who live in the North End have loudly called for the complete elimination of expanded outdoor dining in the neighborhood, that they were "at wit's end after two years of intrusion on neighborhood life" and that the fees were an attempt at compromise, with the money going to extra trash removal and the leasing of parking spaces in nearby garages for residents who once were able to park on the streets of the small, dense neighborhood.

She then offered to just cancel the outdoor program altogether, but in the meantime, said that restaurant owners have until April 10 to sign up - and pay the fees - if they want to participate.

Meanwhile, North End restaurant owners fliered cars along Hanover Street today with part of a quote from Wu at this past Sunday's St. Patrick's breakfast, which for decades has been a place for politicians to poke fun at each other with jokes that often just are not funny. Wu's complete "joke" went:

This past winter was pretty intense, trial by snow, trial by firefighters union. I’m getting used to dealing with problems that are expensive, disruptive, and white – I’m talking about snowflakes, snowstorms, snowflakes!

WGBH rounded up some of the other supposed jokes, including one from City Councilor Michael Flaherty:

"Someone told me she's on a vacation with her dear friend Monica Cannon-Grant," Flaherty said, referencing the prominent local nonprofit leader recently indicted for fraud. "They're the Boston version of Thelma and Louise," he said to a collective groan.

Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

Outsiders trying to tell residents what’s best for them. 3/4 of them probably never been to a North End restaurant.

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People who actually live in the neighborhood as opposed to owning a restaurant in it?

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The mayor has repeatedly stated her intention to re allocate resources to Bostons neighborhoods. What she fails to realize (or maybe she does but will not state so as not to offend her uhub sycophant supporters) is that downtown IS the attraction and those businesses are what brings in money FOR the neighborhoods. Downtown is the driver of the Boston Economy. Further taxing of said businesses or crippling their ability to earn will adversely effect the neighborhoods.

Furthermore, opinions that in anyway go against those clearly stated (which is usually what they are especially when wu is topic) are not permitted and are censored on uhub. Trust me I have vast experience in having critical comments not approved. Of course acceptance of a random, dissenting 2-liner here and there (which is usually a soft- ball from some mouth-breathing oxygen thief) that brooklyn native adamG can dunk on for maximum “likes” is seen sporadically. If there is a written policy in place concerning comment screening I would be interested in taking a look.

Slanted reporting, bias views, and carefully worded headlines to ensure the echo-chamber atmosphere is preserved; that is the priority here. Have a good day

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I'd ask for a refund.

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i’m sorry, i couldn’t read your dissenting opinion because Adam censored it. could you repost?

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Guess the site will have to survive without you.

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Have you considered registering?

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saying something about being censored.

Why should Adam let you post objectionable comments completely anonymously when he will gladly let you post nearly anything pseudonymously if you'd just register for a user account? You could even use a burner email account for your UHub account. That would be if you'd actually like to contribute rather than showing up here to claim that you are being censored.

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AdamsSt poster is being repressed! Come see AdamsSt poster being repressed!!

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Slightly off topic, but anyone surprised by the utter lack of inclusion of Chinatown businesses in the two-year long program? This is also the community:

  • with the worst air quality in the state
  • that is the only Boston neighborhood without a permanent BPL branch
  • that got the fewest exam-school seats during last year's cycle (after Beacon Hill and possibly the West End)

Where is the outrage?

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Let's not throw the equity/inclusion card without any facts here...the restaurant owners in Chinatown did not want to participate in the outdoor dining program because they didn't have the staffing to do it nor did they want to. Tired of folks that don't know anything or live in the hood talk about equity or that my community needs saving from the outsiders or that Chinatown is being gentrified without knowing shit. Also, there's less families that live in the hood than in years past because families want that white picket fence dream home vs a 2 or 3 bedroom condo...my people have the means to move to the burbs that have on par school systems, hence the fewer exam school seats. The only gripe is probably air quality, but that's because some folks decided to take Chinatown land by eminent domain to build the expressway to the burbs.
You don't know what you don't know

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Highway completely destroyed and buried Little Armenia which is exactly where the highway landed. I do not know where the community ended up.

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Probably Watertown.

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The Chinatown library isn’t permanent?

Half of the streets in Chinatown should be pedestrian only. More room for patios and less toxic auto emissions.

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See the City of Boston press release from 2018 (control-F "temporary").

With regard to streets: it's ultimately a tricky balance. Chinatown residents have increasingly been pushed out to less transit-friendly suburbs, such as the bus-only parts of Quincy and Malden, and therefore rely on cars to get into Chinatown. If driving is made less convenient (many streets closed) or much more expensive (e.g. elimination of street parking), there is a clear alternative that isn't the T: the increasing number of Asian-owned businesses in Quincy and Malden. This would hollow out Chinatown Boston and turn it into the hyper-gentrified Chinatown DC (read: no Asian-Americans apart from seniors living in affordable senior housing, very few Asian-owned businesses, and token Chinese words printed on the storefronts of Tatte, Starbucks, etc.) within 5-10 years.

Also, beyond the emissions on local streets (which do exist and do negatively impact the street dining experience), the majority of the toxic auto emissions in Chinatown come from the I-93/Masspike interchange and the Masspike trench. Those, combined with the emissions of the Veolia steam plant, are the source of the worst air quality in the state, which makes the prospect of dining out generally unpleasant to begin with.

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In the 90s I remember people joking about the neighborhood there referring to it as "Chinablock" because it was so small. That was well before the arena opened up and transformed the neighborhood too.

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Glad to see you don't realize, that like the North End, the majority of businesses in Chinatown are owned by people who live out in the suburbs. You have generational wealth in much of the real estate.

Look who is selling property in Chinatown, the addresses of the sellers on a lot of the deeds don't say Boston.

Also, Chinatown has one of the largest Boston neighborhoods with a reverse commuting pattern. A lot of people get picked up in the morning to cook for people who live in Abington and Medfield.

Your plan would hinder these people from working. Spokeboy supports denying working class people the right to earn a living. Nice.

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The Chinatown BPL at 2 Boylston St. is temporary, with Parcel P-12 originally being pitched as a permanent branch with an incredible proposal including affordable housing, but the funding for the project was gutted when the Winthrop Center tower cut off its second tower during the pandemic and therefore their payments to the City's fund. The current proposal for a permanent BPL + housing + retail is at Parcel R-1.

Completely agreed about pedestrianizing a large chunk of Chinatown. Beach Street, for instance, should be entirely so, with spots for vendors and dining patios. Other improvements are needed on many streets like Kneeland, such as shade trees and traffic calming. Issues with traffic pollution are larger than just the through streets, and include the neighborhood being bordered by the Pike and I-93. At the very least, decking over the Pike to prevent particulates from being kicked up could be done relatively quickly and cheaply (compared to waiting until a parcel is developed into a large private structure).

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Support those precious parking spaces instead of making outdoor dining a permanent fixture in Boston.

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Wu got it right. Never liked her. Now I love her.

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Leaving aside the bad faith that quote is used in, this reads like the mayor saying she has better things to do than to deal with entitled whining. Weird admission I guess but OK.

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I say this as a Wu voter and supporter who would eagerly vote for her again: the quote is bad. “Taken it out of context” is no excuse in 2022 when anything can and will be taken out of context. Take the high ground and skip this dumb breakfast like Pressley.

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And context ALWAYS matters.

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Bad-faith haters are going to hate irrespective of the tired-ass breakfast. Wu has to absorb so much racist bullshit to which she usually (and I imagine frustratingly) can’t respond to. Humor gives her a shield to do so.

What Wu said was the truth and the fact that the snowflakes are using the quote as a flyer reinforces her point.

[Racists, feel free to reply with some version of “Michelle Wu is the *real* racist” or “why do people have to make everything about race?” below.]

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Fuck the haters, ignore them, march forward. Let your results do the talking. Skip the dumb breakfast. As Beyoncé says: best revenge is your paper.

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The breakfast needs to be retired.

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Restaurant owners are out of towner business people exploiting Italian heritage. Their greed ruined the neighborhood. Kick their ass!

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Having this deranged a view toward the people contributing to the commerce that makes much of life have meaning and joy.

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One person’s “meaning and joy” is another person’s “rats, garbage, noise, blocked sidewalks, crowding”

Trying to simply live one’s life in a neighborhood dominated by restaurants that neither primarily serve nor are primarily owned by your neighbors is challenging at best and can be downright miserable.

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Wasn't the neighborhood pretty much "dominated by restaurants" when they moved in?

It's like the people in Cambridge who complained endlessly about the unchanged amount of noise from the Plough and Stars...even though the Plough opened in 1969.

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The North End, until quite recently, had things like hardware stores that are essential contributors to the livability of a neighborhood. Take a look at how much of the available retail square footage serves the neighborhood now versus 10 years ago, and I think that you'll find things aren't as they always were.

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I’ve lived in this area for over 20 years, restaurants have been a huge part of the north end at least since the early 90s. I’m not clear how having a couple more hardware stores changes this.

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A white politician saying something similar at a minority event. It doesn’t help Wu isn’t funny nor was the joke.

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See the Flaherty racist "joke" above. Also, Good Time Charlie Baker gave the finger to somebody. But he's a big ol' white guy, so that's OK.

Perhaps the question isn't what questionable "jokes" politicians made at some event, but why that event continues to be held at all, since people outside the room no longer seem able to put what they say in context - that it's a bunch of insiders letting off steam once a year. Back when I worked at an actual company, in a department that held twice-yearly retreats, we'd belt out our Festivus-like grievances, often in song, then on Monday show back up for work.

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I like the direction this is going.

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You do? Cause that’s sad.

I don’t like the way this is going. At all. We seem to have elected a Mayor who is in way over her head.

And I’m reading this on a website that is my go to for local news, but is increasingly getting one sided. And I’m a fucking democrat. JUST REPORT THE FUCKING NEWS.

Adam, respect you very much, but serious question: why are you so terrified to even remotely critique Her Honor. She’s taking L after L after L.

She cracked a pretty racist joke, won’t own up to it. In 2022 America where Neo-Nazis are regurgitating their horrific racist shit at the Southie parade, yes, Wu’s “joke” was a problem.

And since then she’s hasn’t uttered a peep about the bouncer who stabbed the MARINE VET TOURIST.

And now she’s taking her ball and leaving cause she doesn’t like that one of the biggest industries that has suffered the most during this pandemic in one of our most visited neighborhood rightly called her out.

Holy fucking shit.

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Gee, I guess the 'f word' is indicative of your total spiritual evolution.

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I don’t like the way this is going. At all. We seem to have elected a Mayor who is in way over her head.

I don't think so. She's doing exactly what I expected her to do. Take a stand. Force the issue. The reason why progress does not happen here is because god for bid we piss off voters or businesses. We all clamour here about how Boston could be so much more, but instead we have politicians who cowtail to donors or voters and we get nada. Every time.

And I’m reading this on a website that is my go to for local news, but is increasingly getting one sided. And I’m a fucking democrat. JUST REPORT THE FUCKING NEWS.

Is this not newsworthy? I saw WCVB and WHDH post similar stories. There's no slant over there.

Adam, respect you very much, but serious question: why are you so terrified to even remotely critique Her Honor. She’s taking L after L after L.

Its called reporting, this is a news site. Not adam's opinion site. Big difference.

And as far as his reporting of her.. you know as a 22+ year area resident. I remember the days of Tom MeniNO and Marty Union Boss Walsh. Wu is a breath of fresh air. Change doesn't happen because we say no or cowtail. We had 30+ (or even longer if you include Flynn) of the good old mass townie club. Michelle is not apart of that. Thats what we really need to make change here and make Boston into something else.

She cracked a pretty racist joke, won’t own up to it. In 2022 America where Neo-Nazis are regurgitating their horrific racist shit at the Southie parade, yes, Wu’s “joke” was a problem.

I'd say a bit tone deaf.. but racist no. But I'm white, so I tend not to comment on racial issues. I'll let people who know better comment on that.

But from this white guy's point of view, I snorted when I read it. You know why? Cuz I saw it as a jab against the lovely magas who protest in front of her house. And yeah, they are all white. I think it was a bit spot on.. but probably tasteless to many.

And since then she’s hasn’t uttered a peep about the bouncer who stabbed the MARINE VET TOURIST.

I'm really upset she hasn't DM'd me on twitter about the loss of my poor cat Fluffy. I mean she does follow me on twitter, she should know right. I tweeted about it.

Tasteless jokes aside, this is an active case, and other than "denouncing" the violence in a presser (which for me is like farting in the wind.. does nothing), I'm not sure what else she can do. Sure she can acknowledge it, but what about the other people who were murdered or maimed or overdosed in our city? She'd probably have no time for any things like.. governing.

She's 1 person. And frankly I'd rather have more governing and less pressers.

And now she’s taking her ball and leaving cause she doesn’t like that one of the biggest industries that has suffered the most during this pandemic in one of our most visited neighborhood rightly called her out.

Why is she going home? She's not. This is what leaders do. "This is my plan. Don't like it, we don't have to do it and go back to nothing. You're going to have to give to get here". She is making it very fair (see my post below for more) This is what leaders do. Lead without apology. This.is.how.change.happens.

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I’m usually a Wu supporter but all she is doing here is caving to the demands of the spoiled, entitled car drivers who are throwing a pathetic tantrum over like 10 parking spots.

If the neighborhood is supposed to be European style then it should have a ton of patios and practically zero cars.

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That is what she is doing. She's saying

OK you want parking, the places that are taking away from spaces will pay for another space elsewhere.

Cuz you know if she said "fukkit, no cars, and that's it". Do you know how many Karens would come out of the woodwork cuz there would No pLaCe tO PaRK mY CaR. They already are complaining cuz its not close enough. Imagine if she just removed all the parking on Hanover Street? Ohhh Boy.

This is called being a diplomat... compromise. And to be honest, she's throwing the ball back at the restaurants and kinda calling them out. This is really about the residents vs restaurants. Not really about her. She's kinda setup the ring for the fight.

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"Compromise" would mean negotiating the $7,500 and/or dropping the insane idea of subsidizing garage parking for people.

Wu's reaction sounds more like spite than compromise.

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"Compromise" would mean negotiating the $7,500 and/or dropping the insane idea of subsidizing garage parking for people.

On the theory that you ought to be paying for what you use, what is the objection to requiring anyone who wants exclusive private long-term use of a public parking space to pay for the cost of a parking space, which would in turn be made available, perhaps by lottery, to the public

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Why don’t Dot residents get 50cent tunnel tolls? We pay taxes and deal with highway traffic and the highway cut the whole neighborhood off from the water. When do we get 50cent tolls?

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"Compromise" would mean negotiating the $7,500 and/or dropping the insane idea of subsidizing garage parking for people.

On the theory that you ought to be paying for what you use, what is the objection to requiring anyone who wants exclusive private long-term use of a public parking space to pay for the cost of a parking space, which would in turn be made available, perhaps by lottery, to the public

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"Compromise" would mean negotiating the $7,500 and/or dropping the insane idea of subsidizing garage parking for people.

On the theory that you ought to be paying for what you use, what is the objection to requiring anyone who wants exclusive private long-term use of a public parking space to pay for the cost of a parking space, which would in turn be made available, perhaps by lottery, to the public

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Click submit once and wait, Bob. It’s not hard.

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If you’ve been around for a while, you will notice that sometimes a post appears multiple times for no obvious reason, and also that it’s not actually possible to click “save” more than once, given that the reply page, including the “save” button, goes away as soon as you click “save”

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So you can vote on your strong convictions about our city.

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Amen!

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Typing "Marine vet tourist" in capital letters doesn't elevate him to sainthood, no matter how much you want it to.

What happened to him is a gross, terrible tragedy, but his career choice and visitor status don't make the act worse.

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This is a blog not the New York Times. I've been here over a decade and it's always been the same. You can trust Adam to be one hundred percent truthful and honest and he is downright transparent. He also has opinions and will show that in his framing, although sometimes he will go in for the pun because it was sitting there not because he had an exact opinion.

Considering you didn't leave a name, don't pay for this service and get minimal ads to see it you sure are demanding and entitled.

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If only you had shoehorned "Chicago" into that screed ya would've won a prize.

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An anon’s upset!

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as racism against white people in a society where the structures were built to maintain and uphold white supremacy.

So she didn't make a "racist joke" ... she made a joke about race.

Just wanted to make sure you understood the distinction!

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I can't find figures for land value, but apartments in the North End run something like $4-800/sq ft, and a building has 3-4 apartments, vertically, so let's say land costs $2000/sq ft. in the area.

A parking spot is undeveloped, so you get it for half off, $1000/sq ft. The average US car is about 15'x6' or 90 sq ft.; a parking spot needs to be a bit bigger than that - say 100 sq ft.

So each parking spot is worth $100,000, roughly, if it were privately owned. And the city of Boston taxes nonresidential property at the rate of $24.98 per $1000 in value. But public parking spots don't, of course, pay taxes, so each one costs the city $2,500 in lost tax income per year, conservatively, versus developing the land.

Conclusions:

1. $7,500 is an appropriate tax rate for the use of ~3 spaces per year for private enterprise.

2. If you own a car and aren't paying the city at least a grand per year to park on the street, keep your entitled mouth shut.

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In "America's most walkable city," one of its most densely populated neighborhoods (if not most densely populated) is choking on cars.

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This is really it.. she's fighting back about cars, without saying "cars gotta go"

You can't have both.. street dining & parking. One has got to go. Residents want parking, restaurants want dining. There's gonna be a fight between the two. The compromise is to make the restaurants pay for the parking they take elsewhere.

She's taking a stand against this, and making the two parties fight it out. Its really between them. She's just setting up the ring and playing referee. This is where this is going. Its putting it out there pretty clear that is "pay up for public space / lost parking you use" OR "residents its time to realize the North End isnt for cars".

Kinda forcing the issue. Verses kicking the can or bending over for voters or business owners OR just ignoring the whole thing and we get nothing in return.

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This is really it.. she's fighting back about cars, without saying "cars gotta go"

Where are you getting ’cars gotta go’? She’s fighting FOR cars by making the restaurants pay for the parking their street dining consumes.

Sidewalk/street dining is one of the shining stars that came out of covid. It should stay and the lost parking can suck it!

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She's telling people to pick... one or the other. Cars or dining, I don't see this as pro cars at all. Pro Cars would be no dining at all. She's making a solution between the two.. residents who want parking and restaurants who want dining.

As much as I agree with you .. why DO people get free street parking? I know that she'll never see another day in office if she even tries to do that. She'll piss off every one from the North End to West Roxbury.

If you've been paying attention on this site, you know this would be instant political suicide. Next election she would be voted out by a landside, and someone else would be brought in to restore that free parking.

It sucks. I agree. People go psychotic about parking. And the idea will never fly here or would be met with a lot of backlash. Just look at what's going on in the north end now and they are getting replacement parking so no parking is lost. You want to tell the entire city you're gonna hafta pay market rates for street parking now?

Time to get out of the clouds and be a bit realistic. I am not saying we shouldn't try, but now is not the time.

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If she were fighting against cars then she would be making drivers pay more than $0 for a spot. Why should restaurants pay $7500 for something drivers get for free?

End the welfare and start charging for residential parking permits.

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For the love of god, how on earth does someone get to park in the North End for free?

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Because if she forced residents to pay for parking, she would have to do it city wide. And you god damn know they would be pulling her out of City hall by her hair, throwing her out of office if she did that faster than you can say Dunkin Donuts.

THIS is how you piss off people, fast.

I said below this whole thing is her indirectly saying "cars gotta go, pit it out between yourselves"

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Our office had been proud addicts of Monica's next to Bova Bread for a long time. So has an army of others in the workforce vicinity. No need for outdoor dining over there because the quality and work ethic is enough to make a line from the door down the sidewalk. I just wish it was safer to walk from across the RKGreenway/Valenti Way/Haymarket/North Station. Easy to get hit. And the ridged sidewalks you have to schlep over are like playing in a video game.

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If these idiots can’t take a joke from the Mayor at a saint Patricks day annual breakfast which has always been traditional, then they should go stick their heads up their asses..
Remember this, liberals will forever prevail in politics in the city of Boston . Right wingers are a thing of the past in this city.

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Restaurant owners are trying to convince people to support outdoor dining over parking spaces by… putting fliers on car windshields. This might not be as effective a strategy as they think it is.

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Why outdoor dining since masks are no longer required indoors? Am i missing something?

The North End has a major trash problem because trash is left on the sidewalk in bags. Can’t blame all that on the restaurants. In Europe there are closed trash dumpsters in walkable distance for residents to put their trash in. They are discreet and eliminate any trash bags on the sidewalks. What is there now is not working.

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That was true before anyone was thinking about the dangers of dining indoors during a pandemic. You should try it sometime.

In the South End, we're giving up resident parking spaces without much squawking to allow restaurants to have bigger patios. But we don't have nearly the pressure on resident spaces that the much smaller, denser North End does.

Wu's proposal seems like a reasonable compromise on a difficult question. And it's not hard to smell ugly motivations in some of the responses to her that have zero to do with the actual issues at hand.

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Dining outdoors can be lovely- but a lot of the outdoor structures I've seen in the area (Boston/ Cambridge/ Somerville) the last couple years look like ramschakle, cobbled-together structures in the street/ next to a bus stop that look more like a backdrop from an Indiana Jones film than a "lovely" experience

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ugly, cobbled-together structures next to a bus stop still mean you are being served food and drink in the out-of-doors, which is awesome in pretty much all circumstances where the weather is clement.

I will grant a preference for patios that aren't on main drags with auto exhaust and noise and headlight glare, but even those can be splendid.

You sound like someone who hasn't done much outdoor dining overseas. Your Indiana Jones scenario is something I recently enjoyed enormously, a long plane ride away from the States.

What kind of sterile, hermetically-sealed dining experiences do you actually like?

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Wait, did we miss the news of the inaugural dinner, now that we are pivoting to governing by whim?

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please.

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is when i don’t agree, of course

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what's "whim" in Russian? Maybe he knows that.
Probably an autotranslate error.

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To whoever runs "notfromboston": have you tried turning it off and turning it back on so you can get the new right-wing talking points loaded in? It should be something something "freedom of speech"

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Surprised? I am not. This another fine example of the culture of Boston politics.

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With very few exception, these BIG MAD owners are all fairly well-to-do suburban-ites and/or amorphous restaurant "Groups" where true ownership is hazy for tax purposes.

They're organ-grinding to our local bored hoard of perpetually aggreived and trying to frame this as some slight on their vague ethnicity.

Back in reality; these previously coddled goofballs are just experiencing consequences for their actions.

And like children, we're watching them lash out after being told "No".

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The mask vs the unmasked, the vaccinated against the unvaccinated, the bikers vs the cars, the defund the police vs the refund the police, the renters vs the landlords, outdoor dining vs parking spaces, police in schools vs kick the police out of schools, free T buses in certain neighborhoods vs papers please buses in other neighborhoods, tent city at the methadone mile vs NIMBY shelters, exam schools eliminated vs keep the exam schools, the one battle we can all support is Dropkick Murphy's vs the neo-nazis.

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How many people live in the North End neighborhood and how many on street parking spots are there without the dining?

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There are at least three times more resident stickers than there are resident spaces. Many people who own cars in the neighborhood pay to park them. I won't go into the many reasons someone who lives in the North End might need to own a car. I'm not interested in being lectured by people who don't live here and have no idea about it. But, although parking is a factor in resident opposition to outdoor dining it is not the main issue. Ultimately, it is about quality of life issues - crowding, noise, the ability to walk on the sidewalk in your own neighborhood, etc. And please refrain from telling long-time residents to move - we were here before the the proliferation of restaurants. All you have to do is look at the figures provided in Mayor Wu's letter and you understand why there is a problem in the North End. Mayor Wu understands our situation and we are grateful to her.

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My suspicion is that a vast majority of residents don't own cars or already pay for private parking.

So why is small group (owners who park on street) getting a cut of the restaurant fee when people who already pay for alternatives (including public transportation) not get the same benefit?

I understand the opposition based on noise and crowds.

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Michelle Wu is doing something many did not expect; acting like the Mayor of Boston. This is a dispute between two groups that both demand the right to use public property for private purposes. There are, however, large distinctions between the two groups. One consists of a large proportion of the residents of the neighborhood; the accommodation they demand is for personal convenience, and is customary going back to the invention of the automobile. The other group consists of a small number of business owners who want to increase their profits, and claim in perpetuity an accommodation extended to them during a public emergency. I have no problem with them making money, but I do have a problem with public resources being handed over to them gratis.

Wu’s balance between accommodation and confrontation in this matter seems to me to be brilliant. Decreasing the use of cars is a worthy end, and decreasing the amount of public space given over to parking is a step in the right direction, but doing it by turning over said space to private, profit-making entities, without compensation, is not the way to do it.

I am impressed at how carefully the case is laid out, with detailed statistics used to demonstrate why the neighborhood needs special treatment. This is the opposite of making it up as you go along. It is also the opposite of catering to one constituency and ignoring others, which is what Boston expects in a mayor.

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And it’s probably the most important - the people of Boston as a whole. Street/sidewalk dining is amazing in the summer. Wu is catering to the car owners and if you can’t see that, you’ve drank the Kool Aid like cybah.

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"the people of Boston who dine outdoors in the North End in the summer"? Surely not more than 1 or 2 percent of the total population, and many of them car owners as well. Whereas the cars owners you are dismissive of constitute a good proportion of the residents of the North End. You may think they shouldn't have cars, but it's not really up to you, you know.

The idea that the age of the automobile can be ended overnight, by fiat, without any consideration of the degree to which modern life has been transformed by that invention, and is adapted to and dependent on it, is vapid. Revolutions that begin with mass executions of those thought to be impediments to the arrival of the New Age always create monstrosities, and this is analogous. People who drive and own cars are not lesser human beings, moral failures who can be held in contempt, and whose needs and concerns can be disregarded.

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I’m not saying residents can’t own a car. I love cars. Flip them all the time because I want the next best thing. My current car has 503hp and I love it! I’m saying no more free parking on Hanover St. If you want a car, figure it out - pay for parking, get rid of your car. I don’t care. They shouldn’t ruin outdoor dining because they ‘deserve’ free city parking. I have off street parking in Dot because I’m not a baby and demand the city provide free street parking. Additionally, I pay for parking in Somerville because I’m not a baby and demand free parking in the city.

The fact that Wu is punishing the restaurants and not the car owners is as clear as it can be - she supports cars.

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The fact that Wu is punishing the restaurants and not the car owners is as clear as it can be - she supports cars.

i mean, there’s at least one other plausible conclusion: Wu would rather levy a tax on the business owners for the right to do outdoor dining, rather than to levy a tax on the residents… for the right of business owners to do outdoor dining.

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Levy a tax on a small population getting free parking.

You’re missing the main point I’m trying to make - everyone benefits from expanded outdoor dining. The fact that Wu is attempting to punish the restaurant owners and not car owners is ridiculous.

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i’m saying that another term for car owner is Boston resident. i’m sure you can venture a guess as to how a new tax would be received in this climate.

none of this is to say i disagree with your point in the abstract.

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You’re missing the main point I’m trying to make - everyone benefits from expanded outdoor dining.

How does Grandma who lives in the North End, who neither owns nor regularly eats in any Hanover St restaurants, benefit from an unbroken block-long line of jersey barriers and restaurant seating areas that make it difficult to cross the street? Or from sidewalks that are so crowded that she can’t wheel her little grocery cart from the market back to her home?

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One person should ruin it for everyone. That’s the way the world is progressing. If everyone can’t win, no one can win.

Solution: First, granny shouldn’t be jaywalking. The barriers don’t block crosswalks. The seating is in the street, not on the sidewalks so aside from more people on the sidewalks there’s no difference. Additionally, there are a lot of parallel streets. Use one of those instead of Hanover.

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One person should ruin it for everyone.

And if, of course, only one person lived in the North End, you would have a point. You made the assertion that expanded sidewalk dining benefits everyone. It doesn’t. In fact, for the vast majority of North End residents, who do not own or dine in those restaurants, expanded sidewalk dining makes the world worse. It is a net transfer of value from residents to restaurant owners and tourists.

Any reasonable government process is going to take into account the interests of everyone; every solution is going to be a compromise. You seem to be arguing that the interests of the people who actually live in the neighborhood should be ignored.

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Didn't you say you're moving to the South in a month? The actual people of Boston can handle this, thank you.

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Good luck. You’ll need it

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outdoor dining venues citywide. THAT'S the issue here - equity.

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Or hassle you you to eat at Stephanie's while you're walking down the street.

The North End has become a sideshow of caricatures that overshadow some really, really good little restaurants. And it's a shame.

If anyone from out of town ever asks, I always tell them to avoid Hanover completely and head toward Paul Revere's house and just wander the alleyways.

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Because residents in other neighborhood are not, by and large, upset about outdoor dining. This is a North End issue. Don't try to make it everybody else's problem.

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For the same reason that street parking is free in W Rox and expensive downtown

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Before COVID, all restaurants with outside dining did pay fees-- and I assume they still do. As far as I can tell, the restaurants that have always had sidewalk dining still pay fees (or are back to it, if they were suspended temporarily); pre-COVID, it was $1000+ a month in most neighborhoods.
I'm looking up the pre-COVID fee info this afternoon-- will update.
Meanwhile, though, if equity is the issue, then sure, EVERYONE should pay a fee, no exceptions. If the North End restauranteurs succeed in making that happen, I wonder how popular they will be with the other restaurant owners around the city the next time they need support for a licensing or zoning change.

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.

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People who live in downtown may need to drive to work or drop off kids at school. Boston does not have Neigborhood schools so that means stick your kid on a bus or drive them yourself. Also affordable day car. Not all people who live downtown are rich. If you really care about fumes get rid of bussing and eliminate huge politers and hours and hours of wasted time for kids on a bus to be driven to the other side of town to school. Look up how much is being spent on school transportation. It is about 1/3 of the school budget. Disgraceful.

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If you really "need" a car, downtown is a dumb place to live; we shouldn't be catering public policy to these people. Move someplace where there's room for parking!

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To charge businesses on Birch St and Blue Bikes for the same parking spots they occupy.

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...exactly WHO owns Blue Bikes THEN we'd be able to blow this whole conspiracy WIDE OPEN!!!" I exclaimed, as both eyes rolled back into my skull.

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"Bluebikes is jointly owned and managed by Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville, and operates in 10 municipalities in greater Boston."

Quote from this site

There's a big difference between a privately owned business taking up public space and a government owned program that is run as part of the local transportation network.

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a dozen angry boys barking how "WERE TOTALLY NOT MAD BRO"

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The person spending 1 min writing an angry reply on Twitter, or the guy who spent 30 min+ walking around collecting flyers off of cars and them gloating about it on Twitter?

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oh wait a minute, the only sections of the City who has this is South Boston and the North End.

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I was going to be sympathetic to the North End restaurant owners but using that quotation in the flyer out of context is a really big turn off. Why should this be about race? It’s about the local residents vs the restaurants. So no thanks, North End business owners, I’ll go eat at the other Italian restaurants around Boston…bad move.

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Voting closed 39

I agree with Wu and the intent but I think the cost is pretty high - compromising at maybe $3000 total would allow some good will vs making her look like more of a hard ass.

As for the breakfast. Have you ever watched it? Did you watch it in the 200s with black and gay jokes - and not just one liners like veiled rantings. So people just have to laugh because it is a joke right? All in fun!

Part of the city revenue are the younger folks who paid crazy for their tiny north end condos and pay high taxes, don’t forget that too. Restaurants did little to control people or trash or in some cases follow rules for Covid - even 2 months ago, a bunch of non masked Florida tourists in line inside Modern yapping loudly.

Yes the pandemic took a toll on restaurants, but well before then Giacomos was bulking tourists overcharging mediocre meals with large portions of store shelf pasta. Maybe some of these cash cows and - I say this as an Italian - goomba wanna bes, need to get their house in order.

Again I do think that the fee is high and punitive - then gain why would a police union whose members take a bulleti or firefighters who walk into fire refuse a free vaccine shot and PTO? Greed and power.

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It's a PUBLIC WAY, and no one has an inherent right to exclusive use. Real estate taxes are assessed based on values, and they differ from parcel to parcel, street to street, neighborhood to neighborhood. Make an economic decision. If you can't justify the expense, don't lease the property.

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Restaurants that use sidewalk tables have always paid fees-- even if they have space for it, like Stephanie's on Newbury-- and had to get special licensing and inspections. Softening requirements with the COVID pandemic was supposed to be a temporary exemption.

The $7500 for 5 months of sidewalk use is not far off of what the sidewalk cafe fee was back in 2010-- a pretty remarkable deal http://clinics.law.harvard.edu/tlc/files/2015/05/boston-guide-to-restaur... (scroll to last page)

If we are now at a point regarding COVID that restaurants can open at full capacity, then there is no good reason why they should not pay fees; allowing the "temporary" COVID outdoor dining soft rules regarding public roads & sidewalks to continue for another summer is a courtesy to restaurant owners who understandably want to increase their income after some tough years.

However, North End residents had a particularly difficult time with outdoor dining for many reasons that were obvious to anyone who went to Hanover Street for dinner last summer. All of the usual N. End problems (clogged sidewalks, impossible access for emergency vehicles, no room for wheelchairs, noise and garbage...) were exacerbated.

North End restaurants never appeared to lose business on the scale that Chinatown, DTX, or Back Bay did, but I don't know if anyone has done a hard comparison.

Regardless of that, the fee N. End restaurant owners are complaining about is still less than what they would likely have paid pre-COVID.

Of course some of them want it to continue for free. That's understandable. But North End restaurants have been able to greatly increase their covers and sales without having to pay the higher rent or construction costs that would be incurred if they did not have public property at their disposal.

Given that the city has to pay for North End residents to park in local garages to make up for the loss of spaces caused by outdoor dining there, it's reasonable to ask restaurants benefitting to pony up.

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1 - Why is it that only north end restaurants have to pay this fee? There are no tables on sidewalks. Also, who continues to pay this fee? South end restaurants?

2 - Why in the world(!) is the city paying for lost residential parking? If I provide something to you for free without a contract, I can take it away whenever I want.

You're long winded and looking for empathy. You’re not getting it from me.

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The only group of people who could seemingly convince me that the highway should go back up so I can go back to pretending they don't exist again.

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