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Mayor: City Point has enough coffee shops

Mayor Walsh, city councilors Michael Flaherty and Michelle Wu and state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry this morning backed residents opposed to a Starbucks at L Street and East Broadway, saying there are already enough coffee options in the area, that a Starbucks would exacerbate morning traffic woes at the intersection and would help to eat away at the family-oriented, mom-and-pop nature of the commercial district east of Perkins Square.

"There's not really a public need for another coffee shop," John Allison, the mayor's neighborhood liaison for South Boston, said at a Boston Licensing Board hearing this morning.

City Councilor Bill Linehan (South Boston) was the only elected official to voice support for the proposed Starbucks. An aide told the board that Linehan has "always supported retail use for that part of Broadway;" he pointed to the neighboring Tasty Burger and Dunkin' Donuts, which Linehan also supported. State Rep. Nick Collins (D-South Boston), neither attended nor sent an aide to testify.

The board decides tomorrow whether to grant Starbucks a food-serving license for a 39-seat Starbucks open from 5 a.m to 11 p.m. - or grant residents the 30-day deferral they asked for. Developer Michael Norton had originally proposed a sit-down restaurant for the space, but shelved that plan when the licensing board wouldn't give him a liquor license.

At the hearing, residents said L and Broadway is already a morning battlefield for kids walking to school, people getting on a T bus to downtown and commuters coming all the way from the South Shore on L Street.

But beyond that, residents said City Point doesn't need another coffee shop, especially not one controlled by a distant corporation in a neighborhood where most shop owners live locally.

Residents noted at least five outlets within 700 feet of the location that already serve coffee. The owners of three of those businesses - Molly Moo's, Boston Bagel Co. and Cranberry Cafe - testified against the proposal. Molly Moo's owner Mohammed Nahas predicted Starbucks would put him out of business and that it would suck money out of South Boston and send it out of town to "a big entity," never to return.

Other residents said the locally owned shops - and the locally based owner of the Dunkin' Donuts - always give back to the community, something they said the big chains such as Rite-Aid, CVS and Starbucks never do.

"There's only so many cups of coffee you can drink," one opponent added.

Starbucks supporter Kenny Jervis, though, begged to differ. "I drink eight cups of coffee a day," and in pursuit of a java jolt, he said, he's noticed that Starbucks has actually promoted the development of a "coffee community" in other neighborhoods, such as the Fenway, where they've opened up.

"We can't discriminate against which businesses move into the city," Jervis said, comparing Starbucks to GE, which the city actively pursued.

A Starbucks official denied the coffeehouse would kill off nearby shops. "It's a different kind of coffee shop," one that would be open late at night as an alternative to nearby bars, unlike the other local coffee servers, all of which close by early evening, she said.

She said that Starbucks has considerable support in the community. She said workers collected 100 signatures in suppoort in just a half hour standing at the nearest T bus stop.

When asked by board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini if she could agree to a 30-day deferral to try to reach some sort of armistice with neighbors, the offical said she didn't know how to answer, in part because "we were definitely caught offguard" by the opposition. Unusually for a large chain going before the licensing board, Starbucks was not represented by a local licensing and zoning attorney, or any attorney at all.

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Comments

"Molly Moo's owner Mohammed Nahas predicted Starbucks would put him out of business and that it would suck money out of South Boston and send it out of town to "a big entity," never to return."

Would that be the Mohammed Nahas who is from Quincy? Does he spend all of his money in Southie before he goes across the border?

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It wasn't in the best location in Quincy. It was on a side road off of Quincy Shore Drive where most of the traffic is trying to get to Beale Street and points beyond.

Now I know where not to go for my ice cream sandwiches.

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If Molly Moo's is so good, why would all their customers flock to starbucks?

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their sandwiches are awful and service is super slow. they should probably dedicate time to their menu and staff efficiency rather than worry about Starbucks.

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Starbucks doesn't even sell ice cream. This guy is delusional. I went in there once with my roommate, and he kept trying to push me to eat a free cookie. He can't give his shit away, because he doesn't realize most people in the city just don't eat ice cream and cookies anymore past the age of 12.

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You don't eat cookies or ever eat icecream??? Boring

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Now I'm craving an ice cream sandwich. Maybe I'll go to Southie after work.

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just curious. at the meeting at Tynan, what was the average age of the people that were against the starbucks?

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Or is this a rhetorical question from the dog walker?

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I am the dogwalker you speak of . If you want to discuss anything with me please just stop me on the street as you seem to know who I am and be a man or woman and stop hiding behind the Internet. I have been here 15 years and I bought a single family and didn't flip and sell out like all your friends did i am staying ..my kids are OFS ... And. Am a proud NFS. So please say hi to me .

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If Southie gets a Starbucks then Eastie will follow, because a lot of developers building in Eastie are the same developers who have built high end apartment buildings in Southie, Southie Eastie partnership lol,

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There's already one at Broadway station. Four more in the Seaport section of South Boston.

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Starbucks owner is a greedy bastard!!! I don't think you can purchase a Starbucks as a franchise. Guy is making billions from all the yuppie bastards from all over.

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This guy opened an ice cream shop next to a park in a city that has 6 months of winter. He will be out of business by next year either way. Maybe Starbucks can take over his location?

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Anybody remember that JP Licks place? It's a wonder it stayed open as long as it did.

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Really? Do you mean Boston specifically? There's a bunch of great ice cream stands in the Boston area.

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"saying there are already enough coffee options in the area"

The only person with any authority to make that claim is the consumer speaking with their wallets.

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That phrase is like nails on a chalkboard.

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why would I go to Starbucks when I can go to Cranberry and get the most miserable AF attitude from the off-the-boat irish staff, likely because I "didn't grow up here"?

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I'm sure off-the-boat Irish staff are really concerned that you "didn't grow up (there)".

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How would they know?

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Sad that out of state transplants have to be bigoted about it. Feel free to move back to the part of the country you left and no one cares about.

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y'know, townies can laugh at a few people who've lived around the country, but the whole rest of the country is laughing at townies. Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not happening.

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Townies are above average compared to the rest of the country, you would know that if you ever traveled.

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Townies are from Charlestown sport.

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Every place on that block has the worst customer service. I live 2 blocks from "bustling" E. Broadway, and I head out to the S. End every weekend, straight to Starbucks or Cafe Nero where the kids who work there are nice and there are other people who like to sit and read or chat politely.

Southie is still filled with a bunch of anti-social drunks, so I guess it's no loss to me not to have someplace to go where I could accidentally meet them.

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Imagine limiting those on Centre Street in West Roxbury. It is beyond ridiculous that anyone should have any say on what particular business can open in a particular location, as long as it is properly zoned and licensed. Let the market decide.

If it weren't for our puritanical and arbitrary liquor license laws, we would have had an Italian restaurant in that location. Oh wait a minute, Capo just opened up nearby and there are hundreds of other Italian restaurants within 3 miles. We can't have that either.

As for the other point that too many people double-park or the intersection is too busy/dangerous, then that is up to the city to fix/enforce (see yesterday's 60 comments).

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I am no fan of Starbucks, but I hate that the city is constantly crying poor and I see nothing but double parked cars and delivery trucks on my commute from Mattapan to Charlestown via Morrisey, Day blvds, L /Summer St, and Surface road. If every double parked vehicle along that route got a ticket every day they probably would NEVER have to raise property taxes to residents in Boston ever again.

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Stop & Shop and Rite-Aid sell out to local, mom-and-pop owners as well, what with the heinous detrimental impact of chains on the area and all.

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but for the time being, please buy your coffee at Cumberland Farms. Gotta support the mom and pop businesses.

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Salt of the earth folks who founded this great nation (after the Naitve americans were all killed or moved)

No farms, no food!

I am heartened to see that there's nothing on Marty Walsh's plate which is more important than this coffee shop crisis though. Guess everything else is going great.

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Oh - how I wish that Stop & Shop would be forced out. Hair found in fish, molded produce. It's just so awful.

As for Starbucks, let em come—but it'd be great if some of the great local coffee spots that are expanding elsewhere in the city set up shop there instead.

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It's perfectly ok to have a Walgreens, Cvs, dollar store, McDonald's, h&r block, super cuts, ups stores, wouldn't anyone think these nationwide chain stores are also taking business away from mom and pop stores. You can place Starbucks in the list of chain businesses that are already in Southie

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A week ago Walsh expressed outrage over Amazon providing same-day delivery everywhere except one particular area. Now he's saying that Starbucks should stay away from a particular area? Seems kinda hypocritical.

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The coffee bubble is going to pop eventually.

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It's time for the bubble tea places to take over.

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So old southie and the mayor are against a Starbucks coming to town. Last time I checked Starbucks were providing health insurance for employees long before it became law. As for old southie and back in the day shit. Why is there no mention of while the neighbourhood was so perfect and protected by a rat were our young boys and girls doing swan dives off the projects roof high as kites with.....wait for it.....drugs sold to them by their so called protector of the streets. Ya know folks if you really want to help out the point put a methedone clinic there. Cuz ya got more junkies that need help than coffee. Just shove your head in the sand frauds one and all.

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Stated at the community meeting that the build out at this site was almost complete. I looked in the door and only the rough framing is complete and they were installing insulation. So an Italian restaurant could still go there.

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There is already Cafe Porto Bello a block away, Capo which just opened, and Strega in the seaport. Not to mention that most people who want an Italian meal are probably going to the North End anyway.

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we don't NEED any more Italian restaurants. Plenty of Chinese too. There's a sushi place across the street, a couple real estate offices. We definitely have more than enough liquor stores, wine shops, and bars. Guess the owner of the building is out of luck, he'll just have to wait until someone retires or sells their building before he's allowed to open anything in his space.

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Maybe we could try proposing one of those?

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No, please! It would be all flat-assed, bad attitude "local" Southie dancers.

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No more liquor stores for you!
No Wal Mart for you!
No FIOS for you!
No Chik Fil A for you!
No CVS in Roslindale for you!
No Starbucks for you!
No Indy Car for you!
No Olympics for you! (OK - I'll give us that one!)

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Wal-mart, Chik Fil A were social / political but I'm fine with it.

Indy Car and Boston2024 couldn't prove they weren't going to pork us with huge cost overruns without a big enough payoff

CVS, Fios and the liquor stores is just stupid though but also local politics mostly.

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I get the Olympics - and the Indy Car was just a massive screw up by an inexperienced mayor that didn't know how to get buy in.

Not saying I philosophically disagree with you on any of these businesses - but government should not be in the business of telling otherwise law abiding businesses when and where they can do business. Create a level playing field and get the hell out of the way.

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Here's a column by Shirley I found (when googling Walmart + Boston) about how great Walmart is

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/08/01/new-mayor-boston-should-...

Everything's so cheap which is awesome says Shirley, conveniently ignoring the fact that Walmart can afford to offer low prices by getting federal/state aid to subsidize their employees through footstamps, section 8 housing, etc... What an incurious dummy...

I kind of agree with you though, but the answer to the Walmart problem is to ensure that they'd have to pay their employees a living wage, along with all other city employers, not to unilaterally block them.

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What makes you think Walmart pays its people less than its competitors?

Never mind the ridiculousness that is the argument that the government is subsidizing Walmart by providing low wage workers with subsidies.

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It would be one thing if these businesses failed the consumers didn't care for them for whatever reason, but time and time again we are the major metropolis that seems to enjoy stagnation. Want to build housing next to commuter rail stations in West Roxbury or Hyde Park? Sorry, too much traffic, but we do feel bad that the next generation is getting priced out of the area. You want exciting events? Sure, but no part of the city wants to put them on (see Roadman's take on the Boston Marathon.)

I have no love of Starbucks and wouldn't shed a tear if there were none in the city (disclosure, I don't drink coffee) but blocking them, just like blocking chains in our fair neighborhood, does not send a good signal. Supporting local businesses or businesses that support whatever is very different from having elected officials oppose new businesses.

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There is not stagnation here compared to most other parts of the country.

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I mean, would New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, and the like really be against the things we are against?

And I know I went off topic with the opposition to new housing, but if we don't resolve that, we will stagnate.

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Not really fare to blame Walsh for the lack of a CVS in Roslindale (I'll assume you meant Roslindale Square, and are referring to the old Ashmont space, where the Staples is now, because there is a CVS in Roslindale, just further down Washington) or the whole FiOS thing, since those all happened under Menino. You might have heard how we're going to get FiOS in a couple of years.

And as for liquor stores, we're still getting new ones - look at Wine Riot in the South End, which got a license despite some of the same arguments used against the Starbucks in South Boston (and the mayor opposed it as well).

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A lot of this was under Menino (I did mean the Square - I recollect Sullivan's likely appealed to the Mayor's office and got the CVS proposal squashed - but that goes back many years and I could be misremembering).

Just seems like we make a lot of ridiculous arguments against a lot of businesses and most of it comes down to - "We don't want no stinkin' competition".

The events are a bit of different story - disruption and cost being significant factor. Olympics struck me as a bit of a boondoggle - sorry to see Indy Car get kaboshed though.

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Wine Riot gets a packie license due to "public need" in a neighborhood already well served by wine and spirits purveyors (including directly across Tremont St.)and with some neighborhood opposition, but Starbucks is denied because of too many coffee shops and some neighborhood opposition.

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I thought it was pretty hypocritical for the owner of Boston Bagel to point out the issue with double parked cars at a busy intersection like L and Broadway---his shop causes most of the issues at that intersection right now. That intersection should not have 'pop in/pop out' types of businesses--it creates a traffic nightmare. On many occasions I have been behind a car that starts up broadway after the light turns green and then just come to a stop outside the bagel place.

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Why are we finally worried about double parking? It's not the fault of the businesses. If BPD started to enforce the parking laws currently in place the double parking would stop. PS Coffee customers create gridlock every day on Dorchester Street and no one seems to care. But Starbucks wants to open up and everyone worries about parking???

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there are 3 Starbucks within a block on D Street in Seaport. no objection there?

two things: 1) those coffee shops that are complaining within close proximity kind of suck. i live around the corner and never go. Starbucks is actually an improvement. 2) if it's such a problem then why not approve the liquor license for the restaurant? it would have been a great addition! the building that was developed looks like a turd. we need something there. if Starbuck's doesn't go in there then we'll have to sit and look at this empty turd forever.

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It's not for you to decide which coffee shops should exist to offer us coffee. That's why we elect mayors and councilors.

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anybody who lives in the neighborhood can have an opinion.

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You forgot the (/sarcasm).

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:)

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Although your post isn't sarcasm, it's not in fact for anyone to decide, a combination of the market and regulations will decide.

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Would I rather not spend $5 on a coffee, you bet. Do I like any of the other coffee shops in the area, nope. Though, I do appreciate the coffee bar in Cumby's but they're not selling what Starbucks is selling, it's certainly not competition, variety maybe, but not competition.

I think the biggest problem with this chain over the others is who its customers are perceived to be...yuppies/newbies whatever we're calling them these days. It's really not about chain stores, Dunkies opened up right behind it about a year ago - so $2 coffee is okay, but $5 coffee is not.

Anyway, traffic/parking fears are valid, but that's the city's problem not Starbucks. And not for nothing, but in any other circumstance, Southie would fight to the death to protect their right to double park - soooo, tell me again, double parking - yay or nay?

I hate the argument "we don't need another coffee shop" maybe we don't, but the ones we like the best will survive. Not picking on Molly Moo's but IF they have shitty coffee, why is that Starbucks' problem.

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A regular black coffee at Starbucks is not $5. How much does a xtra-xtra Coolata w/whipped cream cost at Dunks?

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pretty much the same no matter where you go. Molly Moos charges $2.50 for a large hot coffee, you're going to basically pay the same now matter where you go (although Cumbys has a $0.99 special I think).

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I think the biggest problem with this chain over the others is who its customers are perceived to be...yuppies/newbies whatever we're calling them these days. It's really not about chain stores, Dunkies opened up right behind it about a year ago - so $2 coffee is okay, but $5 coffee is not.

I think this has less to do with this being a chain and more about the customers it would attract.. aka the YUPs/Millennials .

Any reader of this website over time can tell you that Southie fights gentrification as much as possible. Fighting a Starbucks is just another one of these fights.

But I bet if it was a Dunks or a CVS, there would be very little push back. And of course, Southie is already full of chains, so their whole argument kind of goes out the window

I hate the argument "we don't need another coffee shop" maybe we don't, but the ones we like the best will survive. Not picking on Molly Moo's but IF they have shitty coffee, why is that Starbucks' problem.

I also agree with this statement. Time and time again we see these 'local' business come up against the chains. They have a point, but many of these places you wouldn't go into because they are horrible. I think their fear is more that they'll be put out of business because their product/service/store sucks and refuse to step up their game to compete. People do not like change!

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This is an attack on yuppies and we will not standby.

The SoBo revolution was well underway...but now it is going to be televised!

Here we go SoBo...Here we go!

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The view from Belmont must be great.

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...where is that?

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You want to live in Wellesley or Weston or Dover/Sherborn but can't afford it. You'll look to the north and try to find a nice place in Belmont or Lexington or - heaven forbid - Arlington.

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Oh, no way. Too many townies.

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Townies are just what the rest of the country calls average Americans. The rest of the country goes far below townies.

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Our resident yuppie left Cow Hampshire.

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I can afford to live in any town in the USA.

I just choose not to live in boring places.

Wellesley , Belmont - how fun!!

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There's no shame in that. But you're no revolutionary.

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the Sobo-yuppie and I are not the same person.

I agree with almost all that he says so maybe he and I should meet up and have a coffee at Starbucks!!

However don't attack him if it is me you are trying to chat with. Once again, you know who I am..I don't know who you are so please feel free to stop me on the street..and lets chat.

I am here 15 years. Own multiple homes here . Single family . staying for ever to raise my family. And yes I pick up poop for a living and I am damn proud of it.

So please lets say hi to one another on the streets and see why you hate me or people whom you think are like me.

Thanks !

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"I agree with almost all that he says"

You are agreeing with an account that's just supposed to get people to argue about everything.

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Are you seriously calling people out via uhub buddy?

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Are you seriously calling people out via uhub buddy?

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I've got your back, SoBo brother!

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Many New England towns try to accommodate local businesses even if chains could bring in new money. This is nothing new or unusual, and it's fine if people want to do that. Transplants know they will leave after 5 years anyway, so they just don't like being reminded of their transplant status with these gentrification talks.

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Grrl not really in Southie... coffee at Sbux is about $2. Where do you spend $5 on coffee? Rome, Italy? Also, Drunkin Donuts and Sbux coffee in Boston is more or less the same price unless you get snickerdoodle chucklecrap at Dunkin then it's $5.

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Sorry, I get a latte every day and it's close to $5. I'm sorry if I was wrong about regular coffee, didn't know there was a difference - I stand corrected. And yes, really in Southie - 11 years now.

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That's not a very long time by New England standards.

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A latte is espresso and steamed milk. Coffee is brewed in a drip machine with a a less fine grind of the coffee bean. If you're spending $5/day on caffeine, which is about $1,800 per year, you might want to read up on the difference between a latte and a cup of coffee. Just saying. One last thing, a regular coffee around here means coffee with cream and sugar. If you ask for a regular coffee, you're going to get drip coffee with cream and sugar, not a latte.

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I pay $2.60 for my coffee whether its at starbucks or dunks.. you're getting ripped off by your local shop!

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""We can't discriminate against which businesses move into the city," Jervis said, comparing Starbucks to GE, which the city actively pursued."

Exactly. We live in a free market society. It's not up to politicians, cranky neighbors, or competing business owners to decide which businesses are allowed and not allowed. If a site is zoned for a certain use, it should be allowed. Period.

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You know who owns the most shares of DNKN? Janus Capital, based in Denver. You know who owns the most shares of SBUX? Fidelity, based here in Boston!

Give the people another option, and let the best (rather than the incumbent) win.

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When people in that neighborhood talk about Dunkin' Donuts, they're talking about John Gillespie, the franchisee who lives in the neighborhood and whom I've yet to hear anything negative about.

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"I'm smarter than you, so you have to do as I say. You're too stupid to decide for yourself."

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Given how extremely smart the Republican voters have shown themselves to be in this election.

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This would seem to be more the Republican platform than the Democratic.

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I'm morally superior to you, so do as I say.

If not Bernie, Feel the Johnson.

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So the mayor is opposed to Starbucks because a few people are opposed to it and stacked a meeting saying this family neighbourhood has enough and we don't need these big chains coming into it but yet all the painful stories about back in the day always include Woolworth and Brigham ice cream. Mom and pop sold their three decker full of welfare lay abouts years ago and all moved south. Most of the people popping off on social media all live elsewhere having cashed out. For those of us left in the city key us decide what is needed. If the town is so great why did you cash the fuck out and leave?

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Coffe mate is British, Neighbourhood!!

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At the hearing, residents said L and Broadway is already a morning battlefield

maybe it would help if someone stopped people from double-parking? that stretch of Broadway is the double-parking capital of the word.

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There seem to be a lot of businesses along that stretch that would benefit from VERY short term parking. It's currently signed for 2 hour parking, and that's only during the day M-F. Perhaps the regulations should be changed to 15 min parking in front of the businesses that have a lot of customers who drive and just want to get in and out quickly.

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in front of Social Wines on West Broadway and everybody bitched.

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Did it improve the double parking situation?

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During elections, the developer has the biggest Linehan sign in the City on his house on Broadway, so it doesn't surprise me who would be in favor of this proposal.

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He's doing nothing useful for the residents of district 2. I didn't vote for him this past election (wrote myself in). Notice he almost lost to no one?

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So the mayor steps in to say 'no' to Starbucks - but he doesn't step in when the Italian food place, that everyone seemed to want, can't get a liquor license and gives up the location?

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Boston still has deep pockets of anti-Italian bias.

[sarcasm]

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Basically everyone who opposed stated their preferred alternative was a restaurant. Well guess what, the owner already tried that and couldn't get a liquor licence. Obviously he doesn't have the ability or willingness to go buy one for $300K, because he would have done so already. So whats going to change now? What will go in there that will cause less issues than a Starbucks would? I guess the owner of the building got what was coming to him for making the first floor a space that would benefit the neighborhood and not another apartment unit, which he would now be making money from instead of this vacant space.

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People are so excited about the chance to daydream about what they'd personally like to see that they just project their desires onto the project. So you get meetings for the inhaler factory where people ask for a community center or meetings about the Rosi Petco where people wanted some other kind of retail or a coffee shop.

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I'm sure the Mom and Pop stores are generous with their employees like Starbucks. You know, minor things like health insurance, 401K, stock options etc... Thanks Walsh for helping keep low skill employees poor.

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When the minimum wage hits $15/hr the mom and pops will benefit greatly. And by 'benefit greatly' I mean 'be driven the hell out of business and replaced by chains anyhow'.

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And that was one of the complaints of the coffee shop across the street, Boston Bagel Co. He was worried Starbucks would steal his workers b/c they offered benefits he didn't. So basically, the Mayor is against a business that would benefit workers.

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"When asked by board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini if she could agree to a 30-day deferral to try to reach some sort of armistice with neighbors, the offical[sic] said she didn't know how to answer, in part because "we were definitely caught offguard[sic]" by the opposition."

Caught off guard? They had a week to come up with answers for the community, there was abortive attempt at an abutters' meeting the Monday before where the opposition was readily apparent. At that first meeting the Starbucks people said they expected to answer questions about trash and deliveries &c. (For which, a week later they still had no answers.)

These meetings were supposed to be for abutters...

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