In the War to Annex Somerville, Cambridge Is the Loser

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has an amusing response to our piece.



What’s clear in the coming regional war between eastern Massachusetts municipalities is that Cambridge is going to lose.

In our latest issue, Colin Kingsbury suggested that Boston forcibly annex the surrounding communities of Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, Quincy … he gets pretty ambitious. Just one problem:  “Somerville mayor Joe Curtatone can be counted on to mount a defense worthy of the Alamo,” Kingsbury writes.

Indeed he can. Curtatone posted his lengthy reply to the piece on Facebook, Wednesday. If Boston tried to launch a regional takeover, Somerville would form a northern alliance, he suggested, and with the benefit of higher ground, it would defend itself, and reach out to more distant allies like Quincy to overwhelm Boston from all sides. Finally, he adds:

Though Boston might initially be able to annex Cambridge, we’d retaliate with an open streets festival offensive. Waves of street performers, local bands, artists and artisans, specialty foods vendors and craft brewers would descend upon Cambridge. The spontaneous celebration it kicked off would drive the Boston forces back across the Charles. It would essentially be like the allies liberating Paris in World War II.

And then, as Mayor of the newly formed Somerbridge, I’d offer Boston generous terms of surrender.

Curtatone’s point is that a charismatic leader could mount a united resistance. Divided, communities like Chelsea and Dedham might fall. But together, they would maintain sovereignty, all thanks to Curtatone. Like Stalin at Yalta, all he’d ask his disparate allies in return is to stand aside while he takes what’s his—in this case, Cambridge.

Oh yes, did you notice that subtle pivot? In Curtatone’s hypothetical, though the surrounding communities won their war with Boston, Cambridge didn’t keep its independence. Instead, overwhelmed by the artisanal jams and twee tiny museums, it submitted itself to Somerville’s dominion. Who knows how this weird, fictional game of Risk we’re all playing would actually turn out, but one outcome is certain.  Caught between two warring powers, like WWII Poland, Cambridge must accept that its days as an independent municipality are numbered.

  • Jim

    How bout a civil war of Brighton and Allston seceding from Boston rejoining Cambridge which lost this territory many years ago? Then JP takes the opportunity to secede and annex itself with Brookline. Southie with its yuppie neighborhood would ask to have a bloodless independence. How bout MY narration? You have a balkan war? I will give you one.

  • Joe Lynch

    The Mayor’s response is extremely similar to posts to the Somerville News(now Times, next week a new name) some years ago when the insurrection was led by the feisty and potty mouthed fictional character Dr. Mrs. McCarthy. She resided at the Little Sisters of the Poor, rode around the city on a scooter, had a brief affair with Lance Armstrong, won the Pulitzer prize for fiction and promoted revolution in Somerville.

    She was somewhat successful. She had Curtatone deported to Billerica, merged the city with Cambridge to become the new city of Cambriville, outlawed nepotism on the city payroll, turned Assembly Square into a new Disney and scrapped all city fees and fines. Ah for the days of Eden.
    Makes me think that Billerica’s loss was Cambriville’s gain.