Residents demand accountability from developers, City Hall
The article “Toward a more perfect Union Square” (Page A1, Dec. 9) glosses over the reality that out-of-town developers are making enormous profits in Somerville and often doing little or nothing to benefit our neighborhoods. The Globe failed to report that a new resident coalition named Somerville Stands Together is seeking to change that and has mobilized hundreds of residents into the streets demanding accountability from developers and City Hall.
We are seeing ultrawealthy developers come to Somerville seeking and receiving massive tax breaks, while offering nothing in the form of community benefits or guarantees on good jobs. People are calling on Somerville’s mayor, Joe Curtatone, to be part of the solution. That means holding developers accountable when they won’t disclose their true profits while asking for tax breaks or public land. The notion that we can’t have both affordable housing and good union jobs is a falsehood that our community is rejecting.
The writer is an organizer with Somerville Stands Together.
Projects must be held to safety standards
Re “Toward a more perfect Union Square”: I’ve met with too many fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers who have lost loved ones from working on nonunion construction sites with employers who failed to comply with basic safety measures. We need public oversight of developers to make sure that they comply with safety standards and other worker protections, especially in Somerville, where violations are becoming more commonplace.
A strong Community Benefits Agreement, including a project labor agreement, in Union Square would protect worker safety and ensure that developers and contractors play by the rules.
The writer is co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.