The newspaper, Dig Boston, has published two opinion pieces on the Affordable Housing Overlay.
Update: The Dig Boston editor, Jason Pramas emailed that he had added the image below and a link to the digital version of the piece in an update. He also notes that that " the genesis of his article was a discussion he and the other author were having about AHO. Pramas said "you should really write up your views as an op-ed." He agreed, and wrote representing himself... not ABC."
You can read the two opinion pieces HERE:
There are a number of problems with the way that these opinion pieces were engaged, including not only changing imagery between the print and on-line versions, problematic edits to an AHO handout, and the lack of identity of one of the authors as an affiliate of a local developer-funded Political PAC advocating for the AHO's passage.
Explanation of the top image, The author of the first piede, who is part of Cambridge's developer-funded political group and political PAC, A Better Cambridge (ABC and ABC AF), chose to publish this image showing with his edits of an AHO Artist Poster made earlier this summer. His edits contain many misrepresentations of both the artist's original poster and of the impacts the AHO will have if it passes. This image shows corrections of those edits that indicate how disingenuous his image edits are.
The Dig Boston editor chose to feature the two opinion pieces as "Dueling Posts" in the physical copy (see image below). A close reading of the pieces reveals a number of problems, not only in terms of the edited image used by the pro-AHO author (which is deeply fallacious (and which needs editorial edits in its own right (see top left) but also a decision by the editor replace the original print version image accompanying the pro-AHO piece with the on-line edited one.
Notice how different the online images are from what was published in the printed issue below!
No explanation is given in the on-line version as to why this was done (see editor's response below).*
In this framing, the paper also mislabel's Blier's piece as "POINT" and Tannenbaum post as "COUNTERPOINT." In truth it was the other way around. The ABC/Tannenbaum piece was accepted for publication first -so it is the "POINT" against which the "COUNTERPOINT" was added (although neither it nor the image was provided to the author before hand). The COUNTERPOINT opportunity was simply offered to Blier to provide an opposing AHO view.
NOTE too that NO WHERE in DIG BOSTON is it mentioned that Tannenbaum is closely identified with the ABC political group that is supporting financially and in other ways the Mayor (Marc McGovern) and other key Councillors promoting the AHO (Councillors Simmons and Mallon among these).
And a few corrections to the Tannenbaum text. This is NOT a “modest increase in height” as Tannenbaum suggests, but rather could increase height 2 to 5 times that of housing or commercial spaces in place now. And it is not only height but also the widths and massing of the allowable new structures that would be changed, curtailing current setback requirements in many neighborhoods that will end in the loss of mature trees, green spaces and parking.
The following statement that “The AHO limits the Planning Board role to one of giving advice, a change opponents have described, in an Orwellian twist of language, as violating their civil rights” is also wholly misguided. In Cambridge, and across our country, Planning Boards play a critical role in determining not only the city plan but also in making final design review decisions on large projects. To REMOVE their role in Oversight and to give this role instead to the un-elected City Manager and the developers themselves (without any checks and balances) is what is truly ORWELLAN. It represents Government Control par excellence and without key citizen rights, legal and otherwise.
We urge readers to go to the CCC website and read the letters posted that cited by Tannenbaum and others.
Specifically on original poster image, it was created by two Cambridge artists not affiliated with either CCC or HSNA. It was taken down from the CCC website after concerns were raised about it after it had been posted on the HSNA list serve. Christopher Schmidt who hosts the pro-AHO and ABC website, Affordable Housing Overlay Reality (AHOR) website was notified of this change.
See the recent CCC Blogpost on architectural renderings and the the broader issue of representation complexities being perpetuated by proponents of the AHO https://www.cccoalition.org/blog/grappling-with-graphics-misrepresenting-the-complexities-of-visualizing-the-aho
Also see the updated AHO handouts are available on CCC - including the one shown below:
*Blier contacted the Dig Boston editor, and here is the latter's response: "[the]...piece was actually filed first during our editorial process; so it became "point." That's it. Either article could have been "point" or "counterpoint" from our perspective." This inaccurate, since Blier was specifically asked to write a piece after the other opinion piece had been accepted. On the image, , the editor responded: "Saul originally submitted a section of the HSNA flyer that he cropped to run with a longer caption—and I agreed to run it since it was specifically referenced in his op-ed—but our designer said it was too low res and wouldn't run it. Saul then gave us a copy of the whole flyer and our designer just laid it out as you saw it in the print edition at the last minute minus any caption. Saul then asked us to run his modified version of the flyer in the digital version, and we agreed." Alas this does not account for the lack of any transparency here on this and other issues.