Recently the Boston Globe brought to light a "memorandum of understanding" signed in 1998 by Boston Mayor Tom Menino and several leaders of the South Boston neighborhood, including City Council President James Kelly. In it, the South Boston pols agreeed to allow a new convention center in a cleared industrial section of their community in exchange for (a) the lion's share of "linkage" payments (all Boston construction above a certain size must make linkage payments to a city jobs and housing fund); and (b) the creation of a new "South Boston Betterment Trust" empowered to negotiate further payments by developers towards affordable housing for South Boston residents. The Batterment Trust is significant because it is exempt from regulations requiring that linkage housing be marketed equitably, city-wide; the explicit aim is to keep the gentrification of South Boston from diluting James Kelly's white working class constituency. As you may have heard, you can't walk a block in Boston without tripping over a few race/class fault lines.

Since the Globe article, Menino and the City Council have been clamoring for a renegotiation, while Kelly has been offering mixed signals, as shown here.

View the June 3, 2000 cartoon.

View other Globe cartoons.

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