Many of Representative Flanagan’s comments are incorrect
To the Editor:
Rep. Jack Flanagan’s letter explaining his opposition to mixed use had many incorrect statements.
As a reminder, the proposed mixed-use ordinance would have eased business regulations to allow certain small businesses in existing houses along Route 130.
Also, fringe groups like the John Birch Society, have been actively opposing grants, claiming that they are part of a conspiracy involving the United Nations.
During the debate, Representative Flanagan recommended a website that states “the UN Agenda 21/Sustainable Development is the action plan implemented worldwide to inventory and control all land … all education, all information and all human beings in the world.” He says that this mixed-use ordinance is “part of a UN initiative dealing with global warming/sustainability.”
No, the plan came from the visioning sessions of town residents. People said that they want to buy goods and services locally, make the town more business friendly and diversify our tax base. It has nothing to do with the UN.
The grant we were awarded was to hire an expert in zoning laws to draft a proposed ordinance. The town was free to completely rewrite it and was under no obligation to pass it.
Representative Flanagan writes “90 percent of the people who live in the town center … rejected the plan.” This is completely made up. The town sent a written survey to everyone who lives in the area affected. The language was approved by both people who supported and opposed mixed use. A third of the surveys were returned (a high response rate), and 52 percent supported the concept, 44 percent were opposed. The survey also asked what concerns people had so that they could be addressed. The questions and responses were posted to the Brookline Yahoo list and were presented to the select board.
Representative Flanagan also writes that HUD is forcing a New York county to “build a billion dollars worth of housing” and that their “tax rate will increase by more than 200 percent,” according to a video he saw on the Internet. These claims are false. Westchester County, N.Y., received more than $50 million to build affordable housing to help end segregation. A civil rights organization (not HUD) sued and proved that the county had located this housing in segregated areas. The county then agreed to spend $51.7 million (not $1 billion) to create additional affordable housing in non-segregated areas.
The people of Brookline and Mason deserve better from one of our elected representatives.