The Codcast: YIMBYs take on NIMBYs

It has become almost axiomatic that communities will resist new housing development projects. They will generate unbearable traffic! There isn’t enough parking here! They’ll hurt property values! The developer wants to cram in too many units!

The list of horribles is endless, but the response can usually be summed up with one word, which is really an acronym: NIMBY.

While “not in my backyard” has become the default response to development proposals in many communities, in a few places NIMBY is starting to meet its match. YIMBY — which stands for “yes in my backyard” — is a fledgling national movement, concentrated largely in already densely populated and high-cost urban areas, that is pushing a very different message: We want to see more housing, more density, and a tempering of the run-up of housing prices in our community to make it more accessible to all, say YIMBY activists.

The Boston area has several YIMBY groups — in Somerville, Cambridge, Newton, and Jamaica Plain. Eric Herot and Meg Wood of JP YIMBY join the Codcast this week to preach a bit of the community-based, pro-growth gospel. They’re not out to carry water for developers, but Herot and Wood often support their projects because they say neighborhoods like theirs will benefit from more housing. The tensions that can set off are clear.

The YIMBY movement held a national conference last month in Oakland. Herot and several dozen Boston area YIMBY activists attended, thanks to the coordinating efforts of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance and a grant from The Boston Foundation. Herot says the Boston area had the largest delegation at the conference, which suggests the YIMBY movement has a real foothold here. Whether it can change the development conversation will be the real test.

MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

The state’s supervisor of public records rules a state employee’s web browsing history is a public record, and refers the case to Attorney General Maura Healey for enforcement. (CommonWealth)

A Lowell Sun editorial slams Democratic lawmakers for blocking Gov. Charlie Baker’s efforts to help out business (Medicaid cuts, tax free holiday, etc.).

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Tire slashing and homophobic slurs were the Teamsters response to non-union crews working on the filming of the TV show “Top Chef,” according to testimony yesterday in the extortion trial of four Teamsters. (Boston Globe) Joe Battenfeld says Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is looking bad in the trial. (Boston Herald)

TD Garden says it will contribute $1.65 million toward a Jamaica Plain recreation center, but teenage activists who uncovered a 1993 agreement the arena never honored to hold fundraisers for local recreation needs say the amount falls far short of what should be paid. (Boston Globe) A Globe editorial agrees, chastising TD Garden owner Jeremy Jacobs and state officials — who agreed to add an additional $1 million toward the center — for selling the community and teens short.

Auburn officials and Ford engineers are installing carbon monoxide meters in all police vehicles after an officer passed out and rear-ended another vehicle. Testing showed 13 of the police department’s 20 Ford Explorers tested positive for carbon monoxide. (MassLive) Boston, Worcester, and several cities around the country are taking similar steps. (MassLive)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a federal grand jury in Washington, a sign that his investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is ramping up. (Washington Post)

John Kelly, the new chief of staff to President Trump, is quickly bringing some discipline to the chaos-filled White House, but he’s not trying to rein in the behavior of the one person often stirring the disorder. (New York Times)

New Hampshire officials bristle at Trump’s characterization of their state in a January phone call with Mexico’s president as a “drug-infested den.” (Boston Herald)  A Herald editorial ridicules Trump for asking President Enrique Pena Nieto in the call — a transcript of which was leaked this week to the Washington Post — to lie and not keep stating publicly that Mexico will not pay for a border wall.

With President Trump by his side, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice flips from the Democratic to the Republican party. (NPR)

The Secret Service abandoned its command post at Trump Tower apparently because the rent was too high. (Washington Post)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren scores a win on a bill that is expected to make hearing aids cheaper and easier to buy. (Boston Globe)

Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich, pens a Globe op-ed calling for a “reset” on health care reform and urging bipartisan collaboration on ways to fix the Affordable Care Act, not repeal and replace it.

One-time Boston real estate honcho Jamie McCourt will be nominated by Trump to be US ambassador to France. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Newton Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren attacked Gov. Charlie Baker for filing legislation allowing state and local police to cooperate with ICE, but it turns out the “Welcoming City” ordinance passed his hometown is strikingly similar. (State House News)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

For $329,000 you could own a floating two-bedroom home at Quincy’s Marina Bay. (Patriot Ledger)

EDUCATION

Fenway Park is about more than baseball, says George Mitrovich, who gives a plug for the Great Fenway Park Writers Series. (CommonWealth)

EduMom blogger Keri Rodrigues Lorenzo reacts to the Globe story on high salaries among Boston charter school leaders by asking what families are getting for the more modest, but still generous, $130,000 a year paid to some Boston public school principals.

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Minuteman Health, a low-cost insurer organized under the Affordable Care Act, is taken over by the state as it winds down its business. (State House News)

TRANSPORTATION

Check out the T’s map of where the 74-foot monopoles, designed to improve WiFi service, will go along the commuter rail lines. (CommonWealth)

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council says demand exists for a second commuter rail stop in Salem. (Salem News)

The state RMV clerk at the center of a fake ID corruption case had her own fake ID. (Boston Herald)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Casella Waste Systems says it will close its Southbridge landfill, the second largest in the state, next year. (Telegram & Gazette)

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is fuming that federal officials aren’t revoking the Nantucket Sound lease belonging to Cape Wind. (Cape Cod Times)

CASINOS/GAMBLING   

State lottery officials say they will clamp down on people who cash winning tickets for a fee for people looking to shield their winnings from taxes or other obligations after a report shows Massachusetts leads the nation in the shady practice. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Michelle Carter is sentenced to 15 months in jail for her role in a suicide texting case involving her boyfriend, but she was allowed to remain free pending appeal. (Associated Press) Herald legal columnist Bob McGovern thinks Carter’s appeal will land in the Supreme Judicial Court, where First Amendment rights will figure prominently.

Tom Wopat, the star of the Dukes of Hazzard television show in the 1980s and now working at Reagle Music Theatre in Waltham, was arrested and charged with sexual assault (inappropriate touching) and possession of cocaine. Wopat says he just likes to flirt. (Metrowest Daily News)

A Brockton Enterprise editorial applauds last week’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling on immigration detainers.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    That $1.65 million payment calculated by Jeremy Jacobs/Delaware North needs to be recalculated. According to The Boston Globe’s editorial “Garden payment settlement comes up short” the three annual fundraisers Jeremy Jacobs was supposed to hold for the past 24 years was “in exchange for the property rights and easements (to build the new Garden.) The kicker is Jeremy Jacobs/Delaware North’s obligations were to “administer, produce, promote and sponsor no less than three charitable events per year,” with proceeds paid to the state. Those proceeds were to be used for “the construction, renovation, modernization and rehabilitation of facilities and land” overseen by the now the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The state should be looking for no less than $100 million from Jeremy Jacobs/Delaware North for flagrantly ignoring their responsibilities under the state law that ultimately enriched them by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars over the past 24 years. At the very least that $100 million should be the upfront payment then an inflation-adjusted $3.5 million should be paid annually going forward. For the state to agree to anything less than that would be an outrageous taxpayer ripoff.