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Prospect Hill Tower

Today, I visited atop three in my tour of Somerville landmarks: The Prospect Hill Tower. Prospect Hill was the site of a Revolutionary War lookout point, with views across Boston Harbor and up the Charles River. It’s also where the first American flag was flown, on January 1, 1776, by the order of George Washington. [...]

Indivisible Somerville

I wrote about the national Indivisible movement earlier. Basically, it’s an attempt to use Tea Party techniques to advance progressive causes. But it left me unconvinced, as I wrote about. Apparently, there are local chapters, too. Today, I went to an info session from an Indivisble Somerville outreach committee member. And I have to say [...]

Net Zero Somerville

Cities are where the battle to reduce carbon emissions will be won or lost. They host the majority of the world population, consume 78%  of the world’s energy and produce more than 60% of all carbon dioxide emissions. My city, Somerville, is out in front, driving to become “carbon neutral” (that is, for us as [...]

One Boston Day and the Boston Marathon

It’s Marathon Day in Boston (excuse me, “Evacuation Day”), which is a big deal in these parts. The event creates over $150 million of economic activity in Greater Boston. Many athletes are able to run only by raising money for charity – over $25 million of donations are made each year. But the Marathon Day [...]

Fire!

Last night, two friends lost their Somerville home to a fire. They’re okay, but it’s an incredibly disruptive time. Another friend put up a Gofundme campaign to get them back on their feet; they raised $5k quickly and the campaign ended. Today, I reached out and offered our home to them. I hope they take us up on the [...]

Neighborhood Association

Neighborhood associations are a good example of meaningful civic engagement. Done well, and they provide not only a voice to a community, but also a counterweight to moneyed interests. My neighborhood, Davis Square, has many politically aware and civically engaged citizens. And yet it hasn’t been able to get an association to stick around, partly, [...]

Save the Citgo Sign

If you’ve spent time in Boston, you’ve come to realize that the most iconic element in Boston’s skyline is more of a billboard than a building: the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square. It has added relevance for me; when I was in college, we could see the Citgo sign from our house. It was a [...]

Day of Empathy

Did you know that the US hosts 25% of the world’s prison population? I think we’re doing something wrong. Today, I joined the Day of Empathy, organized nationally by #cut50 and locally by MassINC, the Massacushetts think tank. #Cut50 is part of Van Jones’s Dream Corps and is trying to catalyze legislation to safely reduce [...]

Investing for a return – in civic pride?

A loyal reader in California alerted me to an interesting opportunity back in Massachusetts. Neighboring Cambridge has turned to the crowd to raise capital funds. Check out the campaign here. Muni bonds are a staple asset class for investors, because of their tax efficiency. They are, of course, not without risk. Just ask the holders of [...]

Zoning highs

Today, I went to the Somerville Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. I went because there were two different applicants seeking special permits to open medical marijuana dispensaries. The applicants are not only across the street from each other, they’re both in stone’s throw from my house. In fact, I can see one storefront from my bedroom window. [...]

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