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Dear Alderpersons,

I’m writing on behalf of Community Labor United, which fights for policies that promote quality jobs, secure healthcare, affordable housing and environmental justice for all.

I’ve been following the media coverage around Clarendon Hill with great concern. The Clarendon Hill developer, Redgate, got a no-bid deal and paid way below market value for two acres of public land – land that houses working families in Somerville. Redgate promised to build safe, comfortable, in return for the opportunity to make millions on ritzy condos that will fetch sky high rents.

So why is Redgate back before local leaders, asking for more handouts, like the $10 million to provide so-called “community benefits”? Why is Redgate trying to make their own rules – asking to avoid independent safety inspections? And why do they now complain they can’t afford to build those affordable units, unless they subsidize those units by underpaying the workers who are building the ritzy condos?

The most important question we have is why the Board of Alderpersons is even considering these brazen requests that contradict Somerville values. If we are going to transfer a large swath of public land to a wealthy, out-of-town developer, then we need to get our money’s worth. The public needs transparency about how our tax money is being spent, and for what purpose.

Somerville needs both affordable housing and good jobs. Somerville building projects need oversight to make sure workers are paid what they have earned, and safety is put first. Please reject Redgate’s requests for a Home Rule petition, skirting prevailing wage rules. Please vote against the $10 million “community benefits” slush fund that allows the fox to mind the hen house.

Sincerely,

Darlene Lombos
Executive Director

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