Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Hurley School....Part III....

The parking lot/soccer field yuppie debacle worsened this week. Last Week's letters section of the South End news showed us even more arguments from entitled South Enders against a proposed soccer field on the school's own property. (For those readers unfamiliar with the debate, please see previous posts). A sampling of the spurious rationales the neighboring yups are trying to use to support their argument to keep their overnight parking spaces in the school's lot are as follows:

1. There are other "grass playing fields nearby"; parents should consider sending their kids to schools in the suburbs that have "plush playing fields".

Somehow, I think that where the school has 79% of its kids enrolled in free or reduced price lunch programs (its a predominantly low income school), sending the kids to that exclusive private school in Weston is not an option. Of course if you are a South End Entitled Yuppie Asshole ("SEEYA"), and you haven't got a clue how the other half lives, and you've sent little Kyler, Brianna and Harrison to the Miss Whitebread Boarding School in one of the suburbs beginning with "W", then why should you?

2. If we can't park there, then teachers shouldn't be able to park on our streets "except in two-hour visitor spots".

This is perhaps my favorite SEEYA argument. Those obnoxious teachers, with their sub-poverty salaries!! Damn them to hell!! They're already in the most thankless and underpaid profession in our society - let's dump on them even more. Of course when they interfere with your God-given right to free South End Parking, they become the enemy. Let's make it even tougher to attract good teachers for those other people's kids.

3. If anyone plays on that soccer field past 8pm, "I will call the police!"

Way to intimidate a bunch of 3rd graders!! 8pm is probably their bedtime, fool! Of course this concerned resident probably looks the other way when the current parking lot attracts hookers and drug dealers. That's ok, as long as I can still park in my spot!!

4. "These kids have many parks within walking distance; I don't see the need for kids that age to have a soccer field."

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure if I want my 2nd grader walking all over this town looking for a playing field. The nearest one is what, Blackstone Park? "Excuse me, group of homeless wino's, can my friends and I play soccer here?" Perhaps they could use Titus Sparrow Park (where the older teenagers will be unlikely to give up a field for kids half their age).

Apparently, the SEEYA's are pinning their argument on some sort of an alleged "agreement" they had several years ago with the previous principal of the school whereby they think in exchange for helping out clean up a lot outside the school or a bake sale or something, they have the right to free parking in perpetuity. Even a reader of this blog commented that he or she sees neighborhood folk cleaning the school yard and helping kids navigate the traffic. Yeah, right. The yup's in this neighborhood would sooner push a kindergardner to the ground in order to get to their caramel macchiatto three seconds sooner. They need to get used to two things: one: the word "no", and two: that sometimes they don't come first.


Blogger Ingo Fast said...

One of the frequent phrases tossed about in this ongoing fracas is "urban quality of life." Somehow a soccer field on school property (green space--albeit probably faux green space) is detrimental to the "urban quality of life." Please.... Who ever said that "free parking" and "urban quality of life" are synonimus? Name me other neighborhoods in Boston that have access to free off street parking?

I am also detecting a bit of a darker under current coming from the Anti-Futbol brigades. In an SE News article opposing the soccer field, Gregg Chenail of Worcester Street wrote that "...it is easy for the "concerned parents" and other non-Hurley neighborhood residents to be such activists when there is not a single inconvenience to be imposed on them, in their neighborhoods or near their homes. Let’s be honest with each other and admit that things would be very different if some of those parents actually resided in this neighborhood."

Hmm, let's all take a moment to reflect...who are these interloper bilingual parents who live within walking distance to the school, yet can't afford to live on the more gentrified Worcester street?...Could they be those Latinos from Villa Victoria...Dios Mio!! Mmm that's good old fashion racism you're smelling--just like grandmama used to make.

Free parking for the privileged or a soccer field to promote physical activity for minority and low income kids (who are more statistically prone to America's epidemic of childhood obesity than the privileged white kids).

You be the judge.

January 31, 2007 at 1:32:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi. my name is nikki chase and i am a journalism student at emerson college. i've been assigned the south end for my beat reporting class so i've been reading through your blog and i love it! we have to do a profile on someone from the area for next week and i'd really like to interview you. i don't know how else to contact you, so i figured this would be the best outlet. you can contact me through email at nikki_chase@emerson.edu or by phone at 603.660.0392. hope you hear from you soon.

February 1, 2007 at 2:57:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I would like to commend you on your blog. I enjoy some of the comments and I think it provides a vioce that's not always heard. However, I think you are really off the mark on some of the issues you speak about with the ref. to the school.
First, NOT ALLL the "yuppie" residents you speak of are against the field. Most just want a comprimise... in that there is cooperation b/w the school and the nieghborhood. We want to be part of the planning process, the biulding and the affects it will have. We have questions about maintance and saftey. What will happen to the churches? How will they be affected? Does anyone care about that? I was at the meeting. It's to my understanding that they've been around since 1890, do we simply say "eff you?" to them. When will biulding start , how long....I think you would agree these are all fair and valid questions... I walked away that evenng not know much more than a drafted picture, but nothing more was said....If the SE news can fully disclose the information of the renovation of a Dog run, why can't the BPS do the same???
I am sure the parents and educators alike can get the field they want but they have to be willing to take these things into consideration. NOT TO SAY WE DO NOT WANT A FIELD. ( FYI, I have a care live in the area affected and still, wouldn't mind a renovated field)
We just want one that provides the best possible situation for both students and residents. (Regardless of where you stand on parking)...
AND NOT TO BE SHUT OUT OF THE PROCESS! I think it's funny how you have some gripe about the so called "yuppies" If you were at the meeting this previous week, you would have seen that it's not so much the nieghbors that you speak of. It's ok for a "parents "to stand up and say they want a field b/c they are "parents" and they have that right!, although they also choose not to send thier own child to the school b/c of it's poor academic performance. But it's seen as outrageous and dare I say ..."yuppy-ish" for a resident to ask for inclusion and clarity???hmmmmm
Also, I DO watch the children in the morning and pick up trash and watch for saftey. We're not all the evil "@SSH*les " you speak of. It's that kind of sentiment that has driven this process to the point it has reached. If people would just start putting emotion/history aside we would actually be able to work together and accomplish something great for the schoool and it's children.

February 3, 2007 at 6:31:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Bennett Jaffee said...

This is the first time I have ever responded to a blog (maybe because I am over 60) but I couldn't let your rant go unanswered.

If you had done anything more than read some letters to the South End News and throw derogative terms like "yuppie" around, you might have noticed that there are some legitimate neigbhorhood interests at play. The public meeting on Feb.1 at the Hurley School let neighbors for the first time voice concerns and put this entire episode into context. For example, Reverend Dove of Ebenezer Baptist Church pointed out that his church his been in the neighbor since 1890 and has legitimate concerns about losing parking spaces for displaced parishoners who drive back to their old neighborhood on Sundays and certain weekday nights. Other neighbors have concerns about the construction, drainage, lighting, maintenance and other issues which have never been addressed before.

The proponents of the playing field had ingeniously or cynically cast the debate as "you're either for kids or against kids." That is not the point at all. The question is, does the school want to ram this project down the throat of the neighborhood and alienate neighbors who have historically done serious fundraising and contributed sweat equity (like wiring the school for the internet), or could it have the courtesy to consult us before proceeding further.

At least the Superintendant of Schools understood the neighbors' concerns and sounded a conciliatory note.

The story is not nearly so simple as you portray it.

February 4, 2007 at 1:13:00 PM PST  
Blogger thesouthender said...

First of all, my postings focus on the sorry and spurious reasoning used by the neighbors who are against the field in the S.E. News. Second, you still haven't changed my mind. Its the school's property and its up to the school to do as it sees fit. Third, as for the church, most of the letters to the editor involved yuppies giving up their overnight parking. not the church issues. If it had been predominantly churchgoers writing in then perhaps my opinion would have changed. But it wasn't. It was South End entitled yuppies. Period.

February 4, 2007 at 4:04:00 PM PST  
Blogger James Henry Bailey said...

1. The "soccer field" will use artificial turf. That's not much better than the concrete the kids are playing on now. Even the phy. ed. coach objects to it.

2. The school belongs to and is funded by the citizens of Boston. We, the property owners and thus property tax payers, have every reason to stand up and voice concern over what this "park" will do to our neighborhood. The backlash will cause bad relations between the neighborhood and the school

3. The school built a smaller park on the property many years ago, taking away bus spaces. In return, we were assured that the buses would use the parking lot for dropping off and picking up children. Instead, every morning Worcester street is jammed with buses lined up down a one way street.

February 5, 2007 at 12:44:00 PM PST  
Blogger thesouthender said...

Sorry bud, but you have as much right to any input on the school's choice based on your status as a taxpayer as the school has to veto your use of Cranberry Red as a paint color for your dining room in your condo at 123 West Yuppie Street.

Sure, I'd like to see less of Cranberry Red or Burnt Pumpkin through the windows of every unoriginal brownstone in this neighborhood, but because they're not owned by me, I have no say in the matter.

The arguments these yup's are trying to use as subterfuge to shift the focus away from their REAL concern - the loss of a parking space - is hysterical!!

February 5, 2007 at 7:35:00 PM PST  
Blogger James Henry Bailey said...

"Sorry, Bud" but I'm not even asking for the "right" to have input, I am simply taking advantage of the small window of time the school has given us to discuss the issue. And I am not worried about losing a parking space. I am worried about losing 60 spaces. A reasonable and legitimate concern. I have no problem with replacing the lot for a real park. But an artificial turf play-lot is not worth the rift this move will cause between the neighborhood and the school.

And as for ingo fast's comment: that's good old fashion racism you're smelling--just like grandmama used to make.

I see no evidence of race factoring into this issue from any of the opponents. Comments like that show total disregard for any kind of civil debate. Call us racist and smack us down? Pure stupidity.

February 6, 2007 at 11:42:00 AM PST  
Blogger thesouthender said...

So, according to your logic, it would be ok if the school put in a real park - just not an astro-turf one. You'd be ok losing "your" 60 parking spaces to that? Somehow I doubt it.

Can you say "smokescreen"?

I have a hunch that if the area in question were, e.g., an old auditorium belonging to the school and the school wanted to knock it down for a soccer field, everyone would be ok with this, as it would involve no loss of parking spots, the "ownership" of which would be attributable to a bunch of entitled South Enders.

February 6, 2007 at 1:21:00 PM PST  
Blogger James Henry Bailey said...


according to your logic, it would be ok if the school put in a real park - just not an astro-turf one.

If the school planned to put something in there that was a benefit to the entire community and a true benefit for the children, the trade off would be worth it in my opinion. I live directly across from the lot and I have always held that there should be a playground there. Initially, I was 100% behind the proposal, until the specifics came out. Fake turf is NOT the answer. It will deteriorate and kids will get hurt.

You'd be ok losing "your" 60 parking spaces to that? Somehow I doubt it.

Yes, I would. And I never said the spaces were mine, nor that anyone was entitled to them.

There is nothing wrong with engaging the school and the neighborhood in a discussion about a project that will affect us all.

I suspect, based on your previous postings, that there is no chance that you could possibly understand that. Regardless of our accomplishments, hard work, community service, etc., we are all a bunch of entitled assholes whose zip code has more to do with who we are than anything else.

February 7, 2007 at 7:29:00 AM PST  
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February 19, 2007 at 12:31:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just give them the field, so ridiculous - love your blog

April 6, 2007 at 3:52:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rick said...

The scary part is that the Worcester Street people don't have the brains to be hypocritical and work behind the scenes to kill the soccer field. Maybe a quiet meeting with the Mayor or the BRA would do the trick.

But they insist on protesting in public and in print as if parking were a civil right.

They want their parking spaces and they want to appear virtuous at the same time. Very greedy of them.

April 6, 2007 at 6:53:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, after school activities are one of the best ways to prevent children from getting involved with gang violence, vandalism, drug usage, etc.

I live in the Symphony/Fenway area and, although I must say that parking is definitely an important issue I this city, I would literally chain myself to a bulldozer in protest if the city decided to pave over The Fens to make way for a new parking lot. (That being said, they ought to make it a real field and not a parking lot with Astro-Turf covering it.)

One thing worth mentioning, however, is that under Massachusetts law, the abutters DO have a say in whether or not construction will take place (hence why we have so many NIMBYs).

Why can't they find some place to put a small, resident-sticker-only parking garage in the neighborhood?

Space is at a premium, but the Boston Redevelopment Association owns hundreds of small parcels that could be turned into a municipal parking structure.

Seems like a no-brainer.

May 3, 2007 at 1:45:00 PM PDT  
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