Monday, May 27, 2024

From the enclaves of West Cambridge and other multimillion-dollar venues, some entitled elites have decided to deliver a truckload of coal to the people of North Cambridge this Christmas. They have eagerly signed a petition to change our laws so Tim Rowe, chief executive of the Cambridge Innovation Center, among other enterprises, can build a bigger, taller, more profitable building that will dwarf the existing office and retail at John Danehy’s old building at Massachusetts Avenue and Cedar Street. The neighboring convenience store, pizzeria and laundromat are attached to the proposal to feebly camouflage the illegal “spot zoning” that this is.

These investors and developers know full well that the small businesses and especially the proletarian laundromat contribute nothing to their lavish lifestyle. All these businesses can get out of Cambridge and stay out. And our little restaurants too! Taller buildings and denser developments are the sugar plums here! And those plums go to venture capitalist Rowe.

Timmy and his lackeys timed the public hearings carefully to be at the Planning Board the Tuesday before Christmas and in a City Council’s committee on Jan. 3. Why should the actual residents of the neighborhood get to enjoy their holidays? Why won’t those amateurs feel the Christmas spirit when they are spending their time researching, rabble-rousing and writing their two-minute pleas to the city to look out for them, homeowners who have lived there for years, if not decades?

Timmy’s petition states: “many underutilized single-story parcels continue to underserve the people of the City of Cambridge.” How does a laundromat, pizzeria, restaurant and other small businesses underserve the people of Cambridge? And how does an oversized market-rate luxury condo building serve the people better?

“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind.” said the character Gordon Gekko in the movie “Wall Street.”

The elite’s wealth is built on the foundation given to them and all of us by this country and this city. It’s Christmas. It’s time to give back. Timmy, who didn’t sign his own petition since he moved out of Cambridge, and all the other signer elites should build an Affordable Housing Overlay apartment building with their own money at 2400 Massachusetts Ave. Then they should emulate the Grinch, let their “small hearts grow three sizes,” open their wallets and donate this new, all-affordable building to the Cambridge Housing Authority.

Merry Christmas!

Madeleine Aster, North Cambridge