Of time and the cesspool

If Thomas Wolfe had lived here in the 1960s and 1970s, he would not have needed an invention; he could have written a true story. That era spawned rotten legacies we are almost finished unearthing and disinfecting. Some unblinkered Brookline residents resisted Chapter 121A housing projects, but there were rarely enough.

Until the mid-1970s, one after another of them larded developer profits with tax reductions–leaving the town holding the bag when 25-year to 40-year tenant-income restrictions expired and properties could be sold at huge profits. Now we inherit the worst of both worlds: former low-income housing being occupied by the rich, combined with more pressure on a costly and already overburdened school system.

It could easily be foreseen, and in fact it was foreseen. However, there were also political fortunes to be reaped. They were reaped at the expense of those who came later and of those who remain. The appeal to former leaders was that when bills came due they would be long gone and probably dead. Now they are gone, and many are dead. Good riddance.

– Craig Bolon, Brookline, MA, July 5, 2014


Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and the River, Scribner, 1935

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