|Letter to the Editor from Bill Bonnice|
I don't agree with your headline that the Annapolis Neighborhood
Meeting broke down. While there was anger and tension, I felt
that there was also respect and courage. Given the volatility of
the situation, I thought people behaved like adults and that it, all in
all, went fairly well.
Sure there were times of people interrupting and talking over each
other but I wouldn't have said that characterized the whole of the
meeting. As a whole, I thought it was a good start. The
landlord showed up and had the courage to address people's
frustrations. The safe house did the same. People strongly
expressed themselves but I also thought there was restraint.
Breaking down has probably different meanings to different
people. Technically, I can see your point but I don't think it
accurately conveyed the whole of the meeting.
November 17, 2012
From the Editor's Desk
Bill Bonnice’s letter to the editor is a point well taken. He is
to be lauded for his emphasis on restraint, civility, respect and
courage. He clearly identifies with the people who attended the
meeting and he is right. If you were to measure how much time was
spent in restraint versus how much time was spent in “chaos,” restraint
wins by a mile. Thank your for your comments.
See article: Annapolis Neighborhood Meeting Breaks Down in Shouting and Anger
In the last several years, two other intense neighborhood meetings
(this is the third) have taken place in or close to Uphams Corner, all
focused on the same topic - crime.
Savin Hill Nov 8, 2011
A young man - 19 - was fatally shot at the Savin Hill T Station on the
afternoon of May 8, 2011. Like the situation at Bakersfield Arms,
this murder was just another occurrence of crime in a section of
Dorchester that prides itself on being desirable and safe yet had
multiple problems associated with a “problematic” apartment
building. After a spate of robberies, a special meeting of the
Columbia Savin Hill Neighborhood Association meeting took place on Nov
8. The Cristo Rey library was packed. The apartment
building was heatedly identified as a site that was contributing to
Edward Everett Square
The final installation of cast bronze artwork took place on October 16, 2010. See Artwork Dedicate in EE Square
Over time, the beautiful museum-like meeting spot attracted alcoholics,
drug users / dealers and panhandlers. Littering, drinking, sexual
encounters extended into the adjacent residential properties.
Finally, the Edward Everett Square Resident committee called a public
meeting held at the historical society on April 11, 2012. See EE Square Residents Cry out for Help
What do these two Meetings have in Common?
- The meeting organizers made sure that many resources
were present at the meeting including elected officials, city
officials, police, etc
- The meetings were well planned and conducted
- The meeting space was conducive to structure and presentation
- Residents identified in advance were prepared to speak and comments from the floor were accepted as well
- The meetings were very intense with residents expressing their anger and showing they were at their wits end
For the Annapolis meeting, as much as the problem was equally serious,
and from a City perspective with an even higher profile (designated
problem property), one police officer attended to give his usual
monthly report, then left. The only other city official present
was Neighborhood Services’ Chris English who reminded everyone several
times that he was not a member of the Problem Properties Task
Force. In addition, the meeting was not orchestrated in advance
and the meeting room was not conducive to a good presentation by any of
the parties involved.
Three Meetings Share Commonality
What the three meetings have in common, however, is the sense of
emergency, with deep concern, fear, outrage, anger and a need to know
that something is going to be done to change the current
Especially at the EE Square meeting, public promises and commitments
were exacted from the officials, especially the police and the Clapp
Pear (EE Square) area cleaned itself up overnight.
For the October 25th Annapolis meeting, no such opportunity presented itself. What Chris English offered was a promise he
would try to get a member of the task force to attend the next
neighborhood meeting and you can bet he would be communicating his findings downtown.
Appreciating Ourselves in a Time of Emergency
Returning to Mr. Bonnice’s assertion that UCNews’ assessment of the
meeting should have reflected less on the incivility and more on the
civility, we lie on the side of the frustrated residents who, through
their emotion and its manifestation during the meeting, were sending a
Again, a compliment to Mr. Bonnice for contacting us and for expressing his preference for civility. A compliment to the
whole neighborhood for its endurance in the face of change and
challenge. At times the collective energy that communicates an
emergency situation takes priority over restraint to convey to
each other (in the neighborhood) and to the world that help is needed.
Was there restraint as well? Indeed! Recall the young woman whose brother was murdered two years ago
and yet she apologized to the graduates from the “Steps” program if she
came across in the wrong way. Was anyone brought to tears? I was.
Applause for those who expressed their emotions. Applause for
those who helped calm the group down several times. Representing
the facts correctly and emphasizing what is important are both part of
As the meeting ended on a note of civility, so did the Uphams Corner News article.
Uphams Corner News
|Posted: November 22, 2012
Nancy J Conrad