Fall 1998

Fall 1998

Neighborhood By Design

Over the Bourne Bridge and down Route 151 a few miles, then a stone’s throw from a weathered wood sign bearing the legend “Land of the Wampanoag,” is the stylish studio apartment Donna Wesley, a 43-year-old pharmacy technician, shares with her husband, Stephen, and their cat, Higgins. It’s Cape Cod, all right. But Wesley isn’t(...)

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Buying In

Two years ago, Johnny Ramirez and his family seemed unlikely candidates to become homeowners in a west-of-Boston suburb. They had come to Framingham from the Dominican Republic seven years earlier, still struggled with English, and had limited savings. He worked as a custodian in the local public schools, while his wife, Aurelina, stayed home in(...)

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A Home of Their Own

Get a glimpse from the driveway, and you’ll think Tom and Lisa Ragan have it made in Marlborough. They live with their three children in a sprawling clapboard house surrounded by maple trees on more than an acre of land just a short drive from Interstate 495. There’s a swingset on the lawn to one(...)

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Suburban Sprawl

Changing Places: Rebuilding Community in the Age of SprawlBy Richard Moe and Carter WilkieHenry Holt, New York, 1998, 276 pages. Home From Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World for the 21st CenturyBy James Howard KunstlerSimon & Schuster, New York, 1998, 318 pages. As I lay on the couch in my sunlit apartment, reading Home from Nowhere,(...)

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Efficiency in Easthampton

On a sticky summer afternoon, Easthampton is quiet, the traffic fluid, and the trees heavy with lush green foliage. Two years earlier the town looked notably different. In the spring and summer of 1996, yard signs of every color sprouted on the well-kept lawns in this blue-collar and bedroom community. A billboard reading “Easthampton Needs(...)

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Homeownership Rates

The nation is in the midst of a home-buying boom, pushing homeownership rates across the country to record highs. After a small decline in the mid- to late-1980s, the percentage of U.S. households who own a home rose to an unprecedented 65.7 percent last year. Massachusetts has seen the same trend. Between 1990 and 1997,(...)

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Communication Breakdown

Rep. Daniel Bosley, a Democrat from North Adams who is known around the State House as a master of public policy, has a complaint: “No one covers all the serious stuff we do seriously any more.” Bosley has been at the center of such major legislative decisions as whether to legalize casino gambling and how(...)

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Slim DiNuccios Poll

No pollster on the Massachusetts scene today has the ability to get under the skin of the state’s electorate in the way Edwin “Slim” DiNuccio does. Part seer, part savant, DiNuccio brings a rare perspicacity to the field of public opinion research. DiNuccio’s company–KFC/Public Opinion Research and Communications Dynamics, Inc.–looms especially large during election seasons.(...)

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Change and Continuity

As we were finishing work on this issue of CommonWealth, the governor’s race had gone into a post-primary, pre-election lull, national politics remained stuck on the Clinton-Lewinsky-Starr sex scandal, and hopes were fading for a Cubs-Red Sox World Series. Autumn began with the stock market bouncing up and down erratically. There were distant financial rumblings(...)

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With Historian Pauline Maier

With the publication of American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence last year, MIT professor Pauline Maier established herself not just as one of the nation’s leading scholars in the field of early American history, but as the kind of professional historian with major “crossover appeal.” Rather than writing turgid treatises to a narrow audience(...)

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