To the editor:
If Jim Davis and his Beauport Gloucester LLC development group are successful in having the marine industrial zoning bylaw amended to accommodate their plan to build a hotel on the Birdseye site near Fort Square, the landscape of Gloucester will be permanently altered for the worse.
Charles Olson, one of the most influential poets of the 20th century, who lived at 28 Fort Square, and his friend, the late Poet Laureate of Gloucester, Vincent Ferrini, would undoubtedly be repulsed by the plan put forth by Davis, who happens to be the 242nd wealthiest man in the United States, according to Forbes Magazine.
I interviewed Vincent in 2001, in order to learn more about Olson from a reliable source, and we remained friends until his passing in 2007.
He frequently expressed his dismay concerning the direction the city of Gloucester was heading toward in our conversations, specifically where the declining fishing industry is concerned. Make no mistake: if the city allows Davis to build a hotel on the Birdseye site, it will have a domino effect, and the fishing heritage of Gloucester that both poets valued so greatly will be lost forever.
Davis and Mac Bell — the previous owner of the property — are now acquiring properties throughout the Fort in what I believe can only be interpreted as a move that will drive the working class out. Davis, on his New Balance sneaker website, presents himself as a champion of the working class American, with lots of flag waving, but the facts suggest otherwise.
While 25 percent of his sneakers may be produced in this country, the materials are imported from China and Vietnam, where the remaining 75 percent of his sneakers are manufactured. Davis also sits on the board of directors of Citizen's Bank, which is based in Providence, R.I., and which is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Both banks have suffered huge losses after granting bad loans, and the Royal Bank of Scotland was bailed out by the British government. Despite the flag-waving in his online advertisements, Davis's true agenda appears to be profits, not the future of the American working class.
Those in the position to determine Gloucester's future by voting on the hotel request should give serious consideration to these issues before amending the zoning laws on the former Birdseye site.
Does Davis want a hotel in that location primarily to entertain his foreign business partners?
If a hotel is constructed, everything that makes Gloucester so unique and valuable will eventually vanish to accommodate the wealthy, and as Olson feared, Gloucester will become "indistinguishable" from the rest of the USA.
Please consider the city's past and future — and what makes it so valuable - before allowing that to happen.