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Unneighborly treatment of Brookline school’s abutters

In “Newpaint, and hard work ahead (Op-ed, Oct. 13), Carlo Rotella can’t help but take a cheap shot at my family, abutters to his newly reopened and renovated Brookline school. Like other parents, Rotella is proud of his school and the actions taken to get it built.

As Rotella states, the renovation was contentious; what began with good intentions deteriorated when the project’s dimensions were determined to be disproportionately large for the site. When abutters asked for design mitigation, town officials acted with impunity and exempted the project from zoning. My neighbors and I sought the rule of law and our rights, yet we were bullied and vilified.

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Far from admitting project errors, Rotella is righteous and unapologetic. But he misses the mark. To get what they wanted, folks like Rotella abandoned the basic tenets of a decent society, such as accountability, tolerance, and respect. While advocating for their children, parents treated abutters as obstacles to overcome, not as members of their community. We’re all diminished when it’s OK to discard your principles, even for a good cause.

Rotella says he is looking forward to the return of the smell of “humanity” in his school. So am I.

Michael Oates


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