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We need people more like Boydston

Posted: November 15, 2009 10:43 p.m.
Updated: November 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I live in the Bonelli tract, recently targeted by the city for code violations in a proactive program (not reactive to complaints). Most houses were notified of situations which were in place before the codes were written or were inconsequential.

The tract has a pleasant appearance, with occasional abandoned houses. Our notification gave 30 days to make corrections or be fined. The community preservation officer threatened us with a property lien if we didn't comply.

Our neighborhood tried to take action. Some telephoned City Hall and found no one to listen or offer solutions. Some went to City Hall and still found no one. Some wrote letters. Our own letter went unacknowledged for weeks and was finally acknowledged only because we appeared at a City Council meeting. We were at an impasse.

Fortunately, TimBen Boydston's daughter is in my classroom, and I teach with his wife. That is how he became involved. He came to our house and met with an already established group and told us how to present our problem to the City Council.

We are very grateful that someone heard and helped us. To call him a "provocateur," the word used in Tim Myers' commentary ("Is Boydston a game-changer?" Nov. 1), doesn't describe the help and information he offered.

In fact, to call the public participation portion of the council meeting "a cesspool of constant and raging complaints" or an "axe-grinding" exercise is difficult for us to hear. We tried very hard to be heard prior to that meeting. If the City Council is the only option, it must be considered an honorable one.

Personally, I feel that "public servants" would do well to be responsive and helpful to all citizens.

The simple act of listening works toward building consensus instead of an creating an adversarial relationship. We need more people like TimBen Boydston.


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