Two weeks ago, I had a call out to my readers who reside in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston to partake in a survey for an article I was writing for The Dorchester Reporter. Well, the article is out in the latest edition of the Dot Reporter, on newsstands now.
Before I dive into this post, I want to thank everyone who responded to my survey and the people on the streets and in local businesses who took time out of their busy days to talk with me. Thank you. Your passionate thoughts on the subject helped fuel this article and it’s really about you, the residents of Dorchester. As promised in the comments of my survey post, I’ll deliver my opinion on if Dorchester should secede from Boston and if it would succeed further down in this post.
The article, titled No going back: Dot’s right at home in city limits, is on the Dotnews web-site (that’s the link to the piece) but I highly, highly advise everyone in the Dorchester area to pick up the actual print edition. This Dorchester Day edition of the paper is jam packed with great articles spread over a whopping 44 pages.
This year, the Reporter ran a Greening of Dot feature that contains articles about the receding shoreline of Columbia Point, new recycling efforts in the neighborhood (and city), the growth of neighborhood farming, views from readers on how Dorchester will look like in 2050, and much more. They also have an absolutely hysterical interview with the Mayor of Dorchester. It’s a fascinating collection of articles and is only $.50.
The fact that I’m encouraging you to pick up the print edition of a newspaper should be enough validation that it’s good, considering how rarely I purchase a print newspaper. Obviously I’m biased but truly do believe you won’t be disappointed. The Reporter always delivers quality hyper local journalism, but with this Dot Day edition they’ve really outdone themselves.
Should Dorchester secede from the City of Boston?
Simply, no. Another Dorchester resident, Andrew Binns, put it best when he said:
I love being from Dorchester, but I also love being from Boston.
It’s a perfect description of my sentiment. When I was growing up and heard the news that there was a secession movement that would include a part of Dorchester with it, I immediately hoped it would fail. I did not want to lose my association with Boston. Later on I learned that the secession movement would not include my section of Dorchester, but my reasoning still holds true today. I love being from Dorchester, Boston, Massachussetts. I have Dot pride and I have Boston pride.
In this regard, I agree with many of the people quoted in my article and the many people whom I spoke with who I didn’t quote who thought that being part of Boston was in the best interests of Dorchester. At this point, the majority of Dorchester residents consider themselves true Bostonians and would be against seceding because of their love of Boston.
Would a City of Dorchester succeed?
Though the City of Boston does not release revenue and costs by neighborhood, it’s highly likely Dorchester receives more than it gives. As it should. It’s the largest part of Boston in terms of population and land mass and requires a great deal of resources to maintain. It also has a high percentage of lower income families who need help and don’t make enough to be taxed. I should know, my family used to fall precisely into that bracket. Considering how many Bostonians live in the Dorchester neighborhood, I’d say it doesn’t get enough attention and resources from the city government.
If Dorchester were to secede from the City of Boston, chances are it would face a near immediate budget crisis. It would not be easy establishing a City of Dorchester. It would not be an overnight secession success story.
But, I think it would succeed. Dorchester residents are filled with pride. Sure, not every resident has pride in the neighborhood, but from talking to residents I found that the vast majority of them have an abundance of Dot Pride. As many people said, pride alone doesn’t build a city, but I think the sheer pride of Dot people would greatly aid in making a City of Dorchester viable.
It would require a ton of volunteer work from a lot of residents. Everyone would have to tug on their bootstraps even more so than they already do. We would need a massive loan to subsidize new businesses and public works, but over time I think Dorchester residents could create a city that could stand on its own two feet. Having said that, I hope we never have to put Dot Pride to that ultimate test and instead continue to be Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts. Let’s keep Boston together and make all of it better.
If you’ve read all the way down here and haven’t yet clicked through to my article in the Dorchester Reporter, please do.