I am not on the administration side of the placement of the changes to the high school. I am against the Belvidere site because I believe that people are playing off the most powerful neighborhood, with less than 300 students attending the city high school from that neighborhood, with one of the proudest neighborhoods. That neighborhood sends slighty less than 1,100 students. Now, the City Council is not supposed to take a stand until the state comes back with their recommendation but it is widely anticipated that seven of the nine City Councilors are going to vote for the powerful neighborhood’s pick. I believe they are vacating their promise to be nonpartial.
Most of my feeling on this is the result of statements made by these seven City Councilors expressing favor for the Belvidere choice. I firmly believe that they have already painted themselves into the corner of political expediency. The most logical choice is to maintain the present high school and adding onto it. That includes the need to vote for eminent domain of a local business that was founded on an eminent domain taking decades ago. I resigned from the Zoning Board because I could not keep myself from forming opinions on certain matters that necessitated a “judgement,” not a formed opinion. The least these seven can do is stay neutral until the state makes its best recommendation. But, it is pretty clear that that has not happened, or at least will not happen. The votes are in and the lead horse is the one from the most voter rich Ward and Precincts.
The losses to the city are incredible. Sidewalks will have to be completed in certain areas, roads and infrastructure will have to be initiated and followed through by the city. The bus company that currently takes the students home after school has stated that they cannot continue that practice, driving their ridership down and increasing the numbers of school buses, with or without seat belts. Even the seat belt issue is being put in abeyance. Nothing is going on in the city that is concerned, I believe, with the individual tax bill. Taxes are very high for seniors now, and they will definitely continue to climb with the most expensive high school in Massachusetts. They have to climb, per one of the City Councilors who is backing the expensive option, there is also a Police Station and Fire Department building that need to be erected shortly after the high school.
When I broached the issue of expensive and expansive sidewalks, a backer of the expensive side said that we did not have to worry about that, because sidewalks would not be put into place until the next decade. We still have to pay for sidewalks. Just not in this decade. We have to pay for streets, and we have to pay for the high school. That is enough.
So, if some Councilors see themselves in this picture, then I suggest that they cool off, and wait for the state’s recommendation. There are too many people being ignored in this process. I called the process acrimonious and I stand by that.