Obama’s Somerville apartment a source of pride, but not for its occupant

Rachel Rose-Sandow

The current resident of Barack Obama’s old place in Somerville said he thinks politics is a big scam run by a bunch of crooks.

“I don’t think anything of it,” he said the former occupant of his apartment. “I don’t plan to vote. I don’t even know if I’m registered in the city.”

He would not give his name to a reporter.

The Democratic nominee for president, Barack Obama lived in a basement apartment at 365 Broadway from 1988 to 1991, while he was attending Harvard Law School. Neighbors reached by Somerville Journal said they have not lived in the area long enough to remember Obama.

The current resident, who chose not to give out his name due to privacy reasons, said Somerville Journal was the first media organization to contact him since he moved into the apartment in September.

“Fox 25 came to talk to the kid who lived here before me,” he said. “I had a feeling this was going to happen. The other kid was freaking out about it.”

Inside the apartment, a wide living room with high brick walls dwarfs a much smaller kitchen and bedroom. Plants line the small walkway leading to the door outside, just painted a new coat of brown Monday afternoon.

Upstairs neighbor Lisa Gauntt said she enjoys being part of a historical building. She said the apartments in 365 Broadway have original hardwood floors and stained glass windows.

“He [Obama] has good taste, I guess,” she said.

Gauntt said she learned that Obama used to live in her building from cab drivers who took her home.

“Every time a cab drops me off here, the driver says, ‘Did you know Obama used to live here?’” she said. “I think it’s really interesting. … I didn’t realize he was a resident of Somerville. It’s like six degrees of separation from Barack Obama.”

Gauntt, who has lived in her apartment for two years, said she also has family ties to Joe Biden. Her parents know Biden because her father did work on Biden’s house in Delaware, she said.

Gauntt said she is registered to vote in Somerville.

“I’m planning to vote for Obama,” she said, “but not because we share a residence.”

Neighbor Stella Martino said she is happy Obama used to live on her street.

“I think he’s a great guy,” she said.

Martino said she plans to vote in November but would not say which candidate she supports.

She said a Fox News reporter had talked to her grandson about living in the area.

Across the street, neighbor Gezim Dodi said he has lived in his apartment for eight years but never knew Obama. He said he plans to vote but has not chosen a candidate.

Somerville Journal