Thoughts Under the Shower, or maybe I’m all wet

1. Where’s the Middle? These days, both locally and nationally, it is hard to find middle ground. It’s as if we are speaking different languages, or suffering from bad translations. Who gets to define what “livable” means? Is “preserving the character of our neighborhood” coded racism or a genuine desire to retain the characteristics that make a community livable? Intentions are suspect. Could I be a member of both the Newton Villages Alliance and Livable Newton?

2. Is Newton Waterfront Property? Basic economic theory states that if demand remains constant, an increase in supply should lower prices. Accordingly, the concept of abundant housing suggests that building more housing should result in lower prices. But what if demand is not held constant? What if Newton property is like waterfront property or the best seats at a concert, so desirable that demand is insatiable? Market forces drive high end development. Government mandates require some price controlled units for lower income residents. Where’s the opportunity for middle income residents?

3. Why is the condition of Washington Street between West Newton and Newtonville so bad? The City recently patched a number of cracks, but the area is still like a test track for automobile suspensions.

4. “A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard”

Partial lyrics from Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al”

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Lynne LeBlanc

Those are great shower (or walk, or car-time) thoughts. The conundrum of our day (politically speaking): how to respect and bring in views different from our own (“where’s the middle”) and (economically speaking) how to we make room for the ever squeezed middle income in Newton. The question of Washington Street raises a lot of questions but I’m not sure the type of “urban renewal” being promoted is the best answer. But time and resident interest will tell. I just hope the land speculators are the only voices City Hall will listen to. For real estate the 3 things that matter: location, location, location. For functional government there are also 3 things that matter: compromise, compromise, compromise.