Hill History: This month in Hill history

5 Years ago: 2012: Hundreds protest T cuts

It’s the same old MBTA: residents of Mission Hill are bothered by the fare increases and service cuts of the MBTA, today and yesterday.

In 2012, more than 125 speakers blasted the MBTA’s proposed fare hike and service cuts at Mission Hill-area meetings, and at least 500 people attended.

The MBTA had proposed ending the E Line subway/streetcar on the weekends, among other slashings. Some residents were willing to pay higher fares, but no one wanted these service cuts.

Residents at meetings were upset at the root of the problem:

the MBTA’s $5 billion debt and funding issues.

“None of these people in this room had anything to do with these problems and the solution cannot be on their backs,” said Mission Hill resident Richard Giordano, summing up the situation.

City and State officials who are still at play now issued their opinions on the potential cuts at the time.

State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez said that public transit should be growing, not contracting, arguing that the cuts would harm businesses, cultural institutions, low-income residents, and public health.

State senator Sonia Chang-Diaz said the responsibility lay with the legislature to fix the T’s funding problems. City Councilor Tito Jackson said that paying more and getting less “doesn’t make sense to me and doesn’t make sense to the people I represent.”

The MBTA was struggling to close a $161 million budget gap for 2012 alone, and was required to do so by July 1 under state law.

10 Years ago: 2007: Tagger arrested

A notorious graffiti artist with the tag “TEL” was vandalizing his way through Mission Hill streets until undercover surveillance officers caught and arrested the tagger and his lookout.

Mission Hill resident Andrew White was arrested by police officers from a task force created to deal with graffiti. The officers allegedly found six cans of spray paint and noticed black smudges on White’s hands. Police noticed a fresh “TEL” on the door of the Maurice J. Tobin Elementary School, and White allegedly admitted that he was “TEL.”

The “TEL” tag appeared previously at many locations along Delle Avenue in Mission Hill.

“He was terrorizing the neighborhood,” said B-2 Police Capt. Paul Russell.

Russell said graffiti is a quality-of-life issue. The presence of graffiti invites more graffiti and makes it seem acceptable, he said.

“They [taggers] are criminals as far as I’m concerned,” said Russell. “They’re defacing private property. They wouldn’t do it on their house… In no way, shape or form do I consider that art,” he said.

The arrest came after a six-month barrage of emails and pictures was sent to local media outlets, city and state authorities and officials, from a small group of concerned and angry residents who said they were determined to rid Mission Hill of graffiti. The e-mails called for elected officials and police to take action.

White and his lookout were arraigned at Roxbury District Courthouse on one count of vandalism. Prosecutors requested a $500 fine for White, whose bail was set at $250.

15 years ago: 2002: War on KFC

Fifteen years ago the Mission Hill community declared war on Colonel Sanders.

About 75 residents attended a meeting to oppose a plan to build a KFC/Pizza Hut drive-thru restaurant on Tremont Street across from historic Mission Church.

“I think a suburban fast-food joint in this location is completely inappropriate,” said Joe Bachour, a local resident.

Residents came armed with a laundry list of complaints about the proposal, ranging from increased traffic, trash and noise, to the impact of light pollution and air pollution on quality of life in the neighborhood.

“I don’t believe the children of the neighborhood should have to hear bedtime stories of extra crispy chicken wings from a drive-thru speaker,” read a letter circulated at the meeting.

Tricon, the parent company of KFC and Pizza Hut, was seeking to build a 46-seat, 2,800-square-foot restaurant with a drive-thru and parking for 37.

Just a few blocks up from Brigham Circle, which was undergoing a major redevelopment, community members felt that a fast-food restaurant was the wrong direction to take that stretch of Tremont Street, which was a mixture of residential and small commercial spaces.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority had recommended that the ZBA deny the drive-thru variance because the proposal would “undermine the goal of the community to create pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use environment along Tremont Street.”

A representative of the group proposing the restaurant asked the community if they would feel differently if they removed the drive-thru aspect. The answer was a unanimous “no.”

20 years ago: 1997 opening of school

Around this time in 1997, The Mission Hill School was recruiting students for its first class at the pilot school.

Mission Hill School replaced the old Mission High School to recruit children ages 5-10. Today, the school serves approximately 250 children ages 3-14 (grades K-8). In 2012, the school community relocated to Jamaica Plain.

Based on our archives, educator and author Deborah Meier was slated to direct the school after having founded the successful Central Park East public school in East Harlem, New York.

At the time, school officials said the school would incorporate music, visual arts, and physical education into regular classroom work. Teachers would monitor students’ progress through portfolios of work and recorded observations.

Children of different ages would learn in the same classroom: one class would serve 5 and 6 year olds, another class 7 and 8 year olds, and one for 9 and 10 year olds.




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