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    Suburbs should merge with Boston

    I WAS fascinated by the letter to the editor by Jonathan Unglaub of Brookline about proposed plans for Downtown Crossing (“Downtown Crossing still needs a retail anchor,” April 5). The letter begins, “Like all Bostonians. . .”

    The problem is that Brookline is not Boston. For too many decades, the civic culture of the City of Boston has been dominated by people who don’t live in the city. Brookline has historically rejected annexation to Boston because it has been dominated by the wrong kind of people — the Irish in the 19th and early 20th century; African-Americans and other minorities today.

    In that respect, Brookline is little different from the many myriad of little suburban, majority-white, and affluent principalities that surround and too often suffocate Boston today. They insist upon having a voice in the city’s discourse even if they do not pay taxes, or assist in solving its political, economic, and social problems, and burden the city by their daily commutes and use of the city’s resources.


    I am all in favor of civic participation. But anyone who wants to be a part of the civic dialogue should work to end the Balkanization of Boston and its suburbs and support the drive to create one metropolitanized Boston that includes everyone in a centralized, efficient, inclusive, broadly based, and economically viable unit of government. Then all of us can share the blessings as well as the burdens of civic engagement.

    Paul L. Nevins