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Pols battle in Somerville/Cambridge Smackdown on WGBH

Posted by Brock Parker  April 25, 2011 01:09 PM

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After saying Somerville has a short list of not-that-interesting places, Cambridge City Councilor Ken Reeves squared off against Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone in a radio war of words on WGBH Monday.

The neighboring city officials appeared on “The Emily Rooney Show” on 89.7 FM just after noon Monday for what Rooney called a “Somer-bridge Smackdown” debating which city has more interesting places.

The debate arose after Curtatone took exception to a comment Reeves made in a recent City Council meeting that Somerville has a long list of not that interesting places.

Curtatone fired back on WGBH Monday, comparing Harvard Square to a mall, and adding that Somerville has a lot of interesting places, such as Davis Square.

“He spends a lot of money in Davis Square, so I know he finds it interesting,” Curtatone said of Reeves.

Curtatone added that it is interesting that President Barack Obama chose to live in Somerville, while former President George W. Bush chose to live in Cambridge.

“It was a temporary residence,” Reeves responded. “We welcome everybody that is supporting democratic government.”

The debate between the neighboring politicians has provoked a flurry of comments on social media sites, such as Twitter, and GateHouse Media Managing Editor Kathleen Powers told Rooney Monday that Somerville residents have come to the defense of their city in much stronger numbers.

Reeves, who said his comments made about Somerville needed to be put in context, also came to the defense of Harvard Square, which he said is still an interesting place where more than 78 percent of the businesses are locally owned.

“It’s as interesting today as when I first met it in 1969,” Reeves said.

He sparred with Curtatone over which city has a better environment for artists, and Reeves conceded to Curtatone that Somerville has put the days of being known as “Slumerville” behind it.

Curtatone said Reeves did call him to explain the comments he made at the City Council meeting, and the mayor invited Reeves to several events in Somerville, including an upcoming artists open studios event.

Reeves said he welcomes the opportunity to have Curtatone show him around, and that he loves Somerville.

“Somerville and Cambridge, if anything, are sister cities, and sisters will compete,” Reeves said.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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