Why Walsh might want to reconsider his plan to go slow with any BRA reorganization

The Globe reports on a fiefdom of bureaucrats overseen by a clueless board that cuts deals with developers to reduce payments for affordable housing - and then diverts millions from the funds it does collect to non-housing uses or just lets the money sit in the bank.

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The Globe sells contradictions

Last month the Globe endorsed Menino's candidate John Connolly when they knew all along the BRA was corrupt. Tom Menino started his career shopping in Filene's basement and ended it shopping at Yves Saint Laurent.

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Well

It would be kind of hard to shop in Filene's Basement these days ...

But finances also get looser once the kids are out of college, especially if you own a modest house. Don't assume the difference is all on the income side of the ledger.

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But if it weren't for the BRA

But if it weren't for the BRA prime real estate and public property abutted by billion dollar sports teams couldn't be declared 'blighted' and given away for pennies on the dollar or subsidized by tax dollars. The Sox/Bruins/Celtics are just so poor and the city doesn't need the money.

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affordable housing

I always get a good laugh whenever I see a mention of "affordable units" in all the $3000/sqft glass boxes that have been going up like mushrooms after the rain all over the place. Is anyone really delusional enough to believe working poor will be allowed to live in one of those "beautiful people" buildings? They'll go to the Armani-wearing, art history-majoring kids of the well-connected.

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Uhm... Yes

My friend just got a unit in a new building (with gym, concierge, roof deck, etc) in the Seaport for less than I pay for my place in Brighton. They are far and few between and the application process is competitive, but they exist.

Of course it would be less competitive if all developers were held to the same standards instead of the outlandish crap they have been getting away with thanks to the BRA.

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Let me guess

That lucky friend of yours isn't a single black middle-aged mother of three working two jobs, or a white middle-aged functioning alcoholic construction worker with nothing but a high school diploma. He (or she) is most likely a younger highly-educated professional with no kids, working a lower-paying job (though still sufficient to be able to afford downtown lifestyle) by choice, with enough connections to have their name pushed to the top of the list. You won't be seeing those fabled affordable units unless you happen to be a part of the right demographic.

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Roughly speaking... The condo

Roughly speaking... The condo fees are prorated based on the smaller percentage of the whole the affordable units are allotted. Property taxes also based on price paid, plus 5%ish appreciation every year until unit hits market price. Subtract the owner occupied abatement, taxes are very low.

At least this is the case with my unit.

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Did you read the article?

Did you read the article?
A lot of the times the affordable housing is created in a different area, the developer puts the money in a fund the BRA has to create affordable housing, its not always on the same site as the project. That was one of the main parts of the article, these funds are not always being paid and even when they are the BRA isnt spending it to create affordable housing.

I can't understand

The thing I don't understand.. if you read the full article on the globe's payway website is that funding/tax breaks were used to help build the Fenway Community Health Center by funneling funding from "Affordable Housing". Now either I misinterpreted the article the wrong way, or people actually do LIVE in that building.. but how can they actually do that for FCHC since it isn't a rental/condo building. It just doesn't sense...

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This whole thing stinks

There are people who live in Boston who will read the Globe story and think, so what else is new. Others will read it and say, so what. Others will read it and be shocked they've never heard anything about this.

And the band played on.

The typical Bostonian's life probably doesn't change regardless of what the BRA does or what our mayor does regarding real estate and development. The way I see it, it matters in the sense we end up with a B- city instead of an A+ one because there is no accountability and because most people lose interest about things like this, or they don't have the patience or time to get involved, so those in charge get a free ride.

There's a regime change underway. If you supported Marty Walsh and helped get him elected, that was the first step. Now the hard work happens. If we don't want clowns controlling what happens here, we have to continue to work for change. That's all of our's responsibility, regardless of who we elect.

I would love to see 1000 people at the next BRA meeting. Hell, I'd settle for 100. The same 30 people show up year after year. Most of the time it doesn't matter but do you see what happens when you give up your keys and let someone else drive?

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Barros

This is where it might be good that he's involved with Walsh. My gut feeling is Walsh isn't interested in the ins and outs of real estate development and how that impacts the city, but Barros is.

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Yet another reason

All of this is yet another reason that it would just be better to require developers to include the affordable units on-site. That way neither they, nor anyone at the BRA, could play accounting tricks with the funds, there wouldn't be an issue of how the funds were spent, and we would promote more economically diverse development.

Extra-extra specilal January 2 BRA meeting canceled

I missed this due to the holidays but the January 2nd meeting (tomorrow) was canceled back before Christmas.

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_politics/2013/12/bra_scuttles...

According to the Herald:

Walsh told the Herald yesterday, before the BRA announced it was canceling the Jan. 2 meeting: “I made it very clear. I intend on having a BRA meeting on Jan. 9. Unless there is some emergency that could end a deal on us (by impacting its financing), there is no need to rush on a meeting next week.”

The BRA, however, says it was a scheduling conflict that led to the cancellation.

BRA spokeswoman Melina Schuler said in a statement, “One of our board members is no longer able to attend the planned January 2nd BRA Board Meeting, so we won’t have the required number of members available to reach quorum. The next scheduled meeting is January 16, 2014.”