RE: The Colors of Socialism

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From: Mark Day (
Date: Thu Oct 19 2000 - 22:39:05 PDT

> I'll vouch for the fact that socialism is alive and well in Cambridge MA.
> This is the place that removed rent control at roughly the same time that
> it approved zoning measures that require everyone building
> anything new to
> solicit support from everyone in the neighborhood.

Cambridge voted overwhelmingly to retain rent control, but the state as a
whole outlawed it. It certainly supports the "socialist" description, but
not the idea that Cambridge is somehow conflicted about what to do.

> In Cambridge
> the stories
> all seemed to be old Cantabrigians (don't ask me why they call themselves
> that; a little Harvard pomposity seems to have worn off on the
> whole town)
> holding picket signs opposing "the yuppies taking over the
> neighborhood" (because of course there aren't any yuppies in Cambridge,
> noooooo!) and blocking development of the high-density housing that would
> be necessary to reduce the market cost of apartments. Funny to watch, but
> not so funny to find an apartment.

For better or worse, there are a lot of people who live in Cambridge who
just want it to be what it used to be: a really great city to live in. They
don't want for Cambridge to be a big shopping mall, or a big office park, or
a big apartment complex. There are lots of those elsewhere in the Boston
suburbs, and lots of other places in the metro Boston area to put more of
those things.

The end of rent control really has changed the character of the city, and I
have a sense that it's spiralling into a condition where the only people
living there are students and the very wealthy. You can find it funny, I
find it rather sad (not that I would bring back rent control -- I suppose
part of feeling sad is not knowing how to fix it).

> They also revoke your car insurance, via revokation of your registration,
> if you get too many parking tickets. This one is lots of fun if
> you move a
> lot or you're a student who is away from Cambridge for months out
> of the year.

I confess I have some trouble understanding your apparent outrage over this
one. Does absence from the city mean you don't have to leave your car parked
legally? Or are parking tickets supposed to not count while you're out of
state? Help me out here, because I don't get it yet.


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