Cities: Those Chelsea Blues

Those Chelsea Blues

Forget the economic "miracle" touted by ex-Governor Michael Dukakis: Massachusetts is suffering its worst slump since the Great Depression. Banks have failed, real estate values have wilted, and unemployment remains above 9%. Last week one of the state's most beleaguered cities, Chelsea (pop. 28,222), just north of Boston, had to be saved from financial collapse.

Over the years, Chelsea absorbed a heavy stream of poor immigrants who receive substantial amounts of welfare. Despite a $9 million deficit (in a $40 million budget), voters refuse to increase taxes, and city officials are unwilling to slash services. Result: schools still have not reopened...

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