Nov 21 - We're going to skip Cambridge InsideOut this week (even though we have A LOT of election-related stuff to talk about), but we'll be back next week (Nov 28). - RW

Election Update (Fri, Nov 17): The Final Official Election Results produced the same winners in the same order of election:

City Council Elected (in order of election): Simmons, Siddiqui, McGovern, Devereux, Zondervan, Mallon, Toomey, Carlone, Kelley
City Council Official Election Results (Fri, Nov 17, PDF, 2 pgs.)

School Committee Elected (in order of election): Nolan, Bowman, Dexter, Fantini, Kelley, Kimbrough
School Committee Official Election Results (Fri, Nov 17, PDF, 1 pg.)

Round-by-Round City Council Official Results (Fri, Nov 17, HTML)

Round-by-Round School Committee Official Results (Fri, Nov 17, HTML)

City Council Distribution of #1 Votes by ward/precinct (PDF) - corrected (Pcts. 3-2A and 3-3 were mislabeled in original)

School Committee Distribution of #1 Votes by ward/precinct (PDF)

Voter Turnout by Precinct: 2013-2017 Municipal Elections (PDF)

I'll be posting more information shortly. - RW

City Council Unofficial Election Results (Wed, Nov 8, PDF, 2 pgs.)
Elected (in order of election): Simmons, Siddiqui, McGovern, Devereux, Zondervan, Mallon, Toomey, Carlone, Kelley

School Committee Unofficial Election Results (Wed, Nov 8, PDF, 1 pg.)
Elected: Nolan, Bowman, Dexter, Fantini, Kelley, Kimbrough

Round-by-Round City Council Unofficial Results (Wed, Nov 8, HTML)

Round-by-Round School Committee Unofficial Results (Wed, Nov 8, HTML)

Charts showing City Council election - round by round (PDF - best to save and open in Acrobat)

Charts showing School Committee election - round by round (PDF - best to save and open in Acrobat)

Bar Graphs of City Council and School Committee Unofficial Results Round-by-Round (CCJ Forum)

Round-by-Round City Council Preliminary Results (Tues, Nov 7, HTML)

Round-by-Round School Committee Preliminary Results (Tues, Nov 7, HTML)

City Council Preliminary Election Results (Tues, Nov 7, PDF, 2 pgs.)

School Committee Preliminary Election Results (Tues, Nov 7, PDF, 1 pg.)

Preliminary City Council Results (in order of election): Simmons, Siddiqui, McGovern, Devereux, Zondervan, Toomey, Mallon, Carlone, Kelley
Notes: (1) At the end of the 14th Count, Tierney had only 3 more votes than Toner; (At the end of the deciding 17th Count, Kelley had only 3 more votes than Tierney. The Unofficial Results on Wednesday when auxiliary ballots are included could change the results in several ways.

Preliminary School Committee Results (in order of election): Nolan, Bowman, Dexter, Fantini, Kelley, Kimbrough
Note: It is not likely that these results will change with the Unofficial Results on Wednesday when auxiliary ballots are included.

Featured Items on the Nov 13, 2017 City Council Agenda

City HallFor the moment at least, all six incumbents who ran to retain their seats seem to have been reelected. We'll know for sure on Friday (Nov 17) unless the closeness of the results warrants a recount. In the meantime, here are a few items of interest on this week's agenda.

Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $2,274,829 from Free Cash to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund. Funds appropriated to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund will be used to fund specific projects which will require individual appropriations by the City Council for the related projects in the future.

Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a recommendation from the Planning Board to adopt the Alexandria Zoning Petition regarding Innovation Space in the PUD-3A and PUD-4C Districts.

Manager's Agenda #14. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report 16-86, regarding a report on which public campaign finance options are legal for municipal elections in Cambridge; and Awaiting Report 17-84, regarding potential plans and options, responsive to community concerns, for creating a program of tax revenue financing for candidates running for City Council and School Committee in the City of Cambridge.

This is a topic that deserves a lot more discussion than was ever permitted in either the NLTP Committee (no idea why it would even be discussed as part of "neighborhood and long-term planning" or "public facilities" or "arts and celebrations") or the Government Operations Committee. It's not something Cambridge could even do without approval from the State Legislature and it's not at all clear that such approval would be forthcoming. In addition, there has been no indication of what scale of funding would be asked - and that's important in light of the fact that the total campaign expendtitures for the recent City Council election now totals about $600,000 and climbing. The correlation between campaign spending and electoral results is also not at all clear. The cost per #1 vote as of today among successful City Council campaigns runs from a low of $9.75 to a high of $33.50 (these numbers will rise).

It's also worth noting that MANY Cambridge voters are now consulting the Cambridge Candidate Pages and other resources to learn about candidates, and that costs NOTHING. Indeed the number of visitors to the Cambridge Candidate Pages last week went like this: Nov 4: 1,082; Nov 5: 1699; Nov 6: 6,632; Nov 7 (Election Day): 11,058; Nov 8: 3,584; Nov 9: 941. That's a lot of visits for an election that had about 22,600 voters, and the Cambridge Candidate Pages aren't even linked from any City website.

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to appoint a Transportation Task Force to develop a large and comprehensive street safety and education plan that speaks to the needs of bicyclist, motorists, and pedestrians, and that can be easily disseminated and understood by all citizens. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Oct 30, 2017]

At this point I'm leaning toward the belief that we should transition toward a single Transportation Board that has subcommittees for transit, motor vehicles, bicycling, and pedestrians. Single issue advocacy has become King and ideas like balance and collaboration among stakeholders has become all but lost. It's become militant with single-issue advocates using social media to pack any and all meetings. I gave up going to these meetings. It's become just Bad Political Theater at this point and, contrary to claims of relative safety, it's really all about turf - establish a beachhead and then defend it even against reasonable criticism.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to work with the relevant City departments and report back to the City Council with an update on the City’s plans to expand the curbside composting program citywide.   Councillor Cheung

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 12, 2017 to discuss a Zoning Petition filed by Christopher D. Smith, et al., to create a new Section 13.913 Graduate Student Housing Production Requirement. This petition would require new graduate housing to be built in conjunction with the development of commercial uses in the proposed Planned Unit Development 7 District as well as a phasing plan to implement graduate housing development.

Everyone agrees with the idea that MIT and other universities should provide adequate housing options for their students. As we saw with the recent Volpe Petition, this has been acknowledged by MIT and they are planning accordingly. This Smith Petition, on the other hand, is not only moot but misdirected. - Robert Winters


CHLS, CRLS and Rindge Tech Homecoming 2017

A series of events for alumni and staff of CHLS, CRLS and Rindge Tech beginning Sat, Nov 18, 2017 through Sun, Nov 27, 2017.



Details and Tickets for Musical Here     Event Updates Here

.... and the award for most unethical City Council candidate goes to.... Gregg Moree

Nov 5 - Perhaps, like me, you received a robo-call today from perennial City Council candidate Gregg Moree. In this call he claims to have been endorsed by Joe Kennedy, Anthony Galluccio, and at least one other well-known individual. He has also been claiming endorsements from other members of the Kennedy family at various campaign events. None of this is factual. I generally make no recommendations publicly on how you should vote, but nobody should even consider ranking a candidate so lacking in ethics as Mr. Moree. Now get to work choosing which of the other 25 City Council candidates and 12 School Committee candidates deserve your vote and rank them as you see fit (or don't rank them if you don't care for particular candidates). Election Day is Tuesday, November 7. - Robert Winters

As we get ready for this year's 2017 Cambridge municipal election, here are a few "Fun Facts":

The total number of registered voters for the Nov 2017 election is 66,354. Their median age is 37.9. Here's how their ages (as of Election Day - Nov 7, 2017) are distributed (in 3-year intervals):

Voter age - 2017
Registered Voters - 2017

For the Nov 2015 election, there were 63,338 registered voters with identified birthdates. Their median age was 38.7. Here's how their ages (as of Election Day - Nov 3, 2015) were distributed (in 3-year intervals):

Registered Voters - 2015
Registered Voters - 2015

Of these registered voters, 17,959 voted in the 2015 municipal election. Their median age was 56.0. Here's how their ages were distributed (in 3-year intervals):

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters Who Voted in the 2015 Municipal Election

If you compare 2015 and 2017, you can see that most of the gains in registered voters are in the younger age ranges - especially the 24-29 range.

compare 2015 and 2017

It will be interesting to see if these shifts will be reflected in the age distribution of those who vote in the Nov 2017 election.

The total voter turnout has dropped over the years but has remained relatively stable for the last several municipal elections. It jumped in 2017.

Voter Turnout - Cambridge Municipal Elections

% Turnout - Cambridge Municipal Elections

Turnout data - Cambridge municipal elections


Nov 1 - The "Random Draw of Precincts" took place tonight at the Cambridge Election Commission. This determines the order in which ballots from precincts throughout the city are counted in the election. Though this has a relatively minor effect on the tabulation of the ballots (because of the "Cincinnati Method" used to transfer surplus ballots), it can potentially make a difference in a very close election. It's also somewhat significant during rounds of the election count when candidates reach quota and are elected. Here's the ordering determined by lottery (read down the columns):


Politics Overtakes Reason

Nov 1 - I check the OCPF website (Office of Campaign and Political Finance) daily to update my table of contributions and expenses of this year's City Council candidates. I get especially curious as Election Day draws near and expect to see some big jumps, especially in the expenditures of the major candidates. Last night I saw something that really floored me. Apparently, on Oct 30 a new PAC was created called "Cambridge Bicycle Safety Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee" whose sole contributor is a fellow named Nate Fillmore who paid $1,792.53 in printing costs for 26 different targeted mailers for each of the City Council candidates - some in support and some in opposition and apparently all based on whether a candidate signed a pledge with his organization to support segregated bike lanes without question. What is truly stunning is that this political group that supposedly supports bicycle safety has chosen to support a candidate like Gregg Moree while opposing Councillor Craig Kelley who has been the most consistent advocate for bicycle safety who has ever served on the Cambridge City Council. The clear message being sent by this political group is that candidates had better agree with everything they want without question - or else. - RW

Members Sought for Cambridge Council on Aging Board

City SealOct 23, 2017 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking individuals to serve on the Cambridge Council on Aging Board and help advocate for important senior issues. Applicants must be age 60 or older and a Cambridge resident.

The purpose of the Council on Aging Board is to: promote and encourage existing and new services and activities intended to enhance and improve the quality of life of older persons in the city; advise the City Manager on all matters pertaining to the welfare of elderly Cambridge citizens; and advocate for Cambridge elderly residents. Board members also support the Council on Aging and Senior Center staff with community outreach related to senior services, benefits, activities and programs.

The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, November 20, 2017. Applications to serve on these committees can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.

Solar Projects to Generate 5.7 Megawatt-Hours of Solar Electricity for City of Cambridge
Two of three virtual net metering projects now operating

Seaport SolarOct 19, 2017 – Nearly nine acres of rooftop solar arrays in Boston's Seaport District are helping the City of Cambridge save money on its energy bill, despite being located outside of the city. These two installations, along with a third solar array in Dedham that is slated to come online later in 2017, are expected to generate 5.7 megawatt-hours of solar electricity annually, enough to power nearly 970 Cambridge homes.

"The City is committed to combatting climate change by increasing the amount of renewable energy in our electricity supply," said Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager. "This program reflects the City's commitment to the Net Zero Action Plan and will bring us closer to achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century."

The 2008 Massachusetts Green Communities Act created programs to greatly expand the amount of solar energy developed within the Commonwealth. Under the Act, a city or town may enter into an agreement with a solar developer to purchase the entire output of a commercial scale solar array. Cambridge's billing mechanism allows the City to receive energy credits on its utility bill from the remotely located solar installations that feeds energy into the grid.

Two of three solar arrays for which the City has signed virtual net metering agreements are operational and generating clean, renewable solar energy. For more information about this project or other sustainability initiatives in Cambridge, visit

City of Cambridge Joins Mystic Stormwater Education Collaborative

City SealOct 23, 2017 – The City of Cambridge is partnering with the Mystic River Watershed Association in a new effort to address stormwater pollution from communities that discharge stormwater to the Mystic River and its tributaries (watershed). The Stormwater Education Collaborative includes representatives from more than 15 municipalities within the 76 square mile Mystic River Watershed.

“Stormwater pollution is a universal concern,” said Cambridge Public Works Commissioner, Owen O’Riordan. “By working together, we can raise awareness of our shared water resources and challenges. Together, we can help promote solutions to pollution that protect the Alewife Brook and the Charles River.”

The Collaborative is developing a multimedia outreach campaign for each municipality to implement, allowing for consistent messaging across the watershed. Materials will include video public service announcements, social media graphics, website content, and posters to start, with additional educational materials to be developed in 2018. This project is partially funded through a US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Urban Waters grant.

“We are excited to work across municipalities to develop an innovative and effective education campaign addressing a primary source of pollution to our waterways. There are a lot of steps community members, businesses, and developers can take to limit their impact on the Mystic, and we’re here to act as a resource for the municipality as they work to improve the local river,” said Patrick Herron, Executive Director of the Mystic River Watershed Association.

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt flows over land and does not soak into the ground. As runoff flows over impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, oil, pet waste, litter, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants. Stormwater runoff is a major source of pollution to the Mystic and Charles Rivers and their tributaries, lakes and ponds.

To learn more about the Stormwater Education Collaborative please contact Patrick Herron, Mystic River Watershed Association, at 781-316-3438. To learn more about Cambridge’s stormwater efforts, please visit or contact Catherine Daly Woodbury at


City of Cambridge Announces Food Truck Pilot

City SealThe City of Cambridge is currently accepting applications from food truck operators for its Food Truck Pilot, which will bring a variety of food trucks to locations in Central Square, Cambridgeport, Kendall Square, and North Point Park. The application period is open until November 30, 2017 and food trucks will begin vending in the spring of 2018.

 “The Food Truck Pilot aligns with the City’s goal to support local businesses,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development. “Food trucks allow restaurant entrepreneurs to test branding, menu ideas, and business concepts before making larger-scale investments. We have also thoughtfully designed the Pilot to prevent competition between existing small businesses in the designated areas.”

To be eligible for vending consideration, food truck operators must complete an application provided by the City’s Community Development Department. They must also have a valid State of Massachusetts Hawkers & Peddlers License and be licensed and permitted by the City of Cambridge prior to the start of vending. Consideration will be given to women- and minority-owned businesses, businesses operated by Cambridge residents, new businesses (2 years or under), and businesses without a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Food trucks will be open to the public April 2018 through October 2018 at the following locations:

Final schedules, including food truck vendors at each location, will be announced in March 2018.  An internal review committee will determine food truck scheduling at each location using a system that considers the eligibility requirements detailed above. Additionally, a People’s Choice Poll, available online in January 2018, will invite Cambridge community members to vote on their top vendor choice at select, high-demand locations.

For more information about the City of Cambridge Food Truck Pilot, visit

City of Cambridge Set to Mark Affordable Housing Milestone with Approval of 1000th Inclusionary Unit

Nov 1, 2017 – This month, the City of Cambridge will approve its 1000th inclusionary housing unit, marking a significant milestone in the City’s efforts to create new affordable housing.

City SealInclusionary housing, which requires developers to incorporate affordable units into new residential buildings, has been the greatest generator of affordable housing in Cambridge in recent years. Inclusionary housing in Cambridge is built without public funding, and the city’s inclusionary housing stock now represents more than $500 million in private investment in affordable housing in Cambridge.

“Diversity is the backbone of our vibrant and progressive community, and inclusionary housing has been a key component in our efforts to preserve and champion that diversity,” said Mayor E. Denise Simmons. “With the approval of its 1000th inclusionary unit, Cambridge is demonstrating our unwavering commitment to creating quality, affordable housing that will enable more families and individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds to remain a vibrant part of our City.”

Last April, the Cambridge City Council passed an amendment to the city’s 1998 Inclusionary Housing Zoning Ordinance that nearly doubles the amount of inclusionary housing units in new developments, requiring that developments of ten or more units allocate 20% of residential floor area for low- and moderate-income tenants or moderate and middle-income homebuyers.

“No City in the Commonwealth is as committed to affordable housing as Cambridge is, and we are proud of this milestone,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “By using various strategies, like inclusionary zoning, we are advancing our housing goals, and we have been able to help thousands of residents with some amazing results.”

The city’s inclusionary housing program has enabled individuals and families with a wide range of incomes to live in neighborhoods throughout Cambridge. Residents living in inclusionary housing include retirees, lifelong Cambridge residents, immigrants, young families, and households moving out of homelessness. Inclusionary residents are employed in healthcare, education, the nonprofit sector, public service, retail and other small businesses, local banks, and institutions.

“It is our mission to support housing affordability for Cambridge families, and the inclusionary program is our key tool to leverage the market to support this goal. While much work is still needed, we are proud of the success of the program,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development.

Following the approval of the 1000th inclusionary unit, review of other new inclusionary housing developments will continue and applicants will be selected for inclusionary rental units being completed in North Cambridge and inclusionary homeownership units soon to be completed in East Cambridge.

The City’s Community Development Department (CDD) oversees inclusionary rental and homeownership programs through the Homeownership Resale Pool, the Inclusionary Housing Rental Program, and the Middle-Income Rental Program, each of which accepts applications on a rolling basis. For more information about the application process for each program, visit:

Wishin' & Hopin' & Thinkin' & Prayin' - Oct 30, 2017 City Council meeting agenda

City HallWith the 2017 municipal election just a week away and the Volpe Petition settled last week, it's doubtful that more than a handful of people are even paying attention to this meeting. Here are the items that piqued my interest:

Charter Right #1. Right of first refusal 2 [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Cheung on Oct 23, 2017]

This was one of three interrelated Orders submitted last week. The first, Oct 23 Order #6, was a statement of support for House Bill 3017 that would give tenants the Right of First Refusal in the event that a property is put on the market for sale. The second, Oct 23 Order #7, is a proposed Condominium Conversion Ordinance that would, among other provisions, also grant a right of first refusal to existing tenants. Both of these Orders were referred to the Housing Committee. The third, Oct 23 Order #8, calls for Home Rule legislation to adopt a local Right of First Refusal Ordinance in Cambridge independent of any action the State may or may not take. Order #7 and Order #8 both appeared as Late Orders at the Oct 23 meeting.

Personally, I believe any longtime-owner-occupied property should be exempt from any such proposed regulation. Such homeowners may choose to offer long-term tenants a chance to own, but that should be their choice and not a government mandate.

Order #1. That the regular City Council Meeting scheduled for Mon, Nov 6, 2017 be changed to a Roundtable/Working Meeting to discuss the Comprehensive Housing Policy that was forwarded to the Housing Committee on Sept 18, 2017.   Mayor Simmons

Honestly, few if any of the six councillors who are seeking reelection will be focused on this topic or any other topic unrelated to their reelection, and that's perfectly understandable.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City Departments to develop a document explaining how to ride a bike safely in Cambridge, and post in visible locations, on every Hubway station in the city.   Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley

That's a document I may wish to write. I would make it a multi-part project with several sections: (1) How to Drive Safely in Cambridge (and elsewhere); (2) How to Bike Safely in Cambridge (and elsewhere); and (3) How to Walk Safely in Cambridge (and elsewhere). The City's answer to all of these questions during the past year generally involved white plastic posts, minimal public process, and segregation. Judicious use of green paint on the pavement in Inman Square, in contrast, has done more to enhance safety than any of the "demonstration projects" or future proposals to relocate cyclists onto busy sidewalks.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to convene a Comprehensive Arts Working Group, comprised of people from across the broad spectrum of ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds in our community, in order to begin drafting a Comprehensive Arts Planning Framework that shall help better incorporate the Arts into City planning and update the City Council on progress made toward appointing the members of this working group by the final City Council meeting of this term.   Mayor Simmons

Art by committee is unlikely to inspire anyone, but it would be good to give more thought to the aesthetics of new and reinvented urban spaces from the very start along with the function of those spaces. I don't mind all the murals, but we could do a lot better than just murals. - Robert Winters


Countdown - Preview of Oct 23, 2017 Cambridge City Council Meeting

CountdownThe municipal election campaigns are heading into the home stretch right alongside the disposition of the MIT Volpe Zoning Petition. The Volpe vote is expected next week (Oct 30) and Election Day is Tues, Nov 7. Here are the items I found most interesting on the agenda:

Update: The MIT Volpe Petition was ordained as amended on an 8-0-1 vote with Councillor Carlone voting PRESENT. The associated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining MIT's commitments was also approved on the same 8-0-1 vote.

Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a communication from the Planning Board relative to the Christopher D. Smith, et al., zoning petition regarding graduate student housing production associated with development in the proposed PUD-7 district.

I will simply say that any zoning petition that is only applicable to one specific owner/developer (as opposed to the property - independent of ownership) should not be approved. The underlying goal of universities providing more housing and more affordability for its students is great - and necessary, but lobbying for that goal should not be done via a zoning petition. It's worth noting that MIT is now proactively addressing this need for additional housing, especially for graduate students. It's also worth emphasizing that not all graduate students want to live in campus housing.

Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to information in response to discussion at the Ordinance Committee hearing of Oct 17, 2017 regarding the Volpe Petition.

Unfinished Business #7. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by adding a new Section 13.90 to Article 13.000 and amend the Zoning Map to add new PUD-7 District. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Oct 16, 2017. Planning Board hearings held July 25, 2017 and Sept 12, 2017. Petition expires Oct 31, 2017.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 3, 2017 to continue discussion on a zoning petition by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create a new Planned Unit Development Overlay District (PUD-7) over the area known as the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center site in Kendall Square; said discussion to include the Planning Board and Community Development’s response to the petition and staff recommendations as to changes and remaining issues to resolve and any other matter that comes before the committee.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 17, 2017 hearing to continue discussion on a zoning petition by MIT to create a new Planned Unit Development Overlay district (PUD-7) over the area known as the Volpe National Transportation systems Center site in Kendall Square; said discussion to focus on a final review of the zoning, review of the Design Guidelines and review of the Letter of Commitment.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting the Letter of Commitment from Massachusetts Institute of Technology relating to the amended zoning petition for PUD-7 District for the Volpe Transportation Center Site.

I won't go into all the details here, but there are many reasons to support the MIT Volpe Petition (as currently amended and coupled with the proposed Memorandum of Understanding) and few reasons to oppose it. That said, this is coming before the City Council a week before Election Day, and there may be some political reasons that one or two councillors may manufacture in order to justify voting against it just to appeal to a particular constituency. In contrast, both co-chairs of the Ordinance Committee (Councillors Carlone and Cheung) deserve a lot of credit for moving this forward and shaping it along the way. MIT officials and those associated with the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) also deserve praise for addressing so many of the requested changes and benefits from a range of stakeholders while still maintaining their fiduciary responsibilities. I don't think the City could have had a better partner in this than MIT.

Order #1. That the City Manager is advised that ensuring the safety of cyclists at intersections is of critical importance to the Council, and providing for that safety will require a review of the causes and response to these two listed collisions, as well as other collisions and near collisions.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Devereux

There have been more than two such collisions, and the number of near misses is much higher. There are places where separated facilities make sense, but what the City did to Cambridge Street is ludicrous and I fear that they may repeat this error elsewhere unless there is some kind of intervention.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with Commissioner of the Department of Public Works to update the City Council on the plan for snow removal relating to the new infrastructure in Cambridge.   Councillor Toomey

In this, I believe global warming may be an essential part of the City's future plans for minimizing snow impacts on their poorly conceived road reconfigurations. If it does snow, some streets may simply become impassable for motor vehicles and for bicyclists. Where will they pile the snow? My guess is that they'll just ban all parking on some streets until springtime even for relatively minor snow events. - Robert Winters


November and December Programs (and Beyond) at Fresh Pond Reservation

These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.

Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays between 9:30am and 1:00pm (excluding December 26)
    Join other stewardship-minded volunteers in caretaking the native plant restoration area next to Lusitania Meadow, and learn about the diversity of native plant life! We seek dedicated participants who enjoy camaraderie and hard work that includes weeding, pruning, planting, watering new plantings, hauling wood chips and moving logs. Please email if you would like to come, and for more information.
Fresh Pond Stewards: Wake Up and Weed!
Dates: Thursdays, 10:00am to noon (excluding Thanksgiving Day & December 28)
Meeting location: Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    Join our weed-warrior crew! We are Fresh Pond citizens dedicated to keeping invasive plants at bay for the benefit of wildlife, water and humans alike. No experience or long-term commitment necessary! All tools are provided; sturdy shoes, pants, long-sleeves and a water bottle are strongly recommended. Meets at the volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot.
Fresh Pond Kids’ Walks
Dates: Fridays, 10 to 11am (excluding December 22 and 29)
Meeting location: The Gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
    Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their parents/caretakers, and play in our urban wild! We might look for frogs and turtles at Black’s Nook, or find pill bugs and bird nests in the Butterfly Meadow. Please come dressed ready for the weather and in clothes that are OK to get a bit dirty! Feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at with any questions or to RSVP.
Seasonal Walkabout at Black’s Nook
Date: Thursday, December 7, 10:30 to 11:30am
Meeting location: Maher Park parking lot, 650 Concord Avenue
    Come out for a seasonal walkabout at Black’s Nook. We will monitor wildlife by sign, track or presence, and make note of weather, state of plants, condition of water and other abiotic resources. You can help chart the seasonal changes of some of our most active wildlife spots, or simply come and enjoy the walk. Come dressed to be outdoors for the hour. People of all abilities and knowledge levels welcome. Service dogs only please. To RSVP, please contact Ranger Jean at 508-562-7605 or email
Last Chance (in 2017) Bird Walk
Date: Saturday, December 9, 1 to 3pm
Meeting place given upon registration
    The parade of migrating waterfowl at Fresh Pond continues into early winter. By December, the long-distance flyers such as canvasbacks and redheads have arrived, and all three merganser species may be present. We’ll use a telescope to identify birds on the water, and we’ll use binoculars to look at over-wintering songbirds in the trees. Dress warmly; it can be very cold and windy near the water! Beginners are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. Led by Nancy Guppy. To register and for parking and meeting information, e-mail Catherine Pedemonti at
Animal Detectives
Date: Sunday, December 10, 10:15 to 11:00am
Meeting location: Kingsley Park parking lot area, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    December’s spotlight is on the Gray squirrel! Come see what it takes to be a squirrel as we explore what they do and how they act. This family program is best suited for kids between 4 and 10. Accompanying adult must be present, no dogs please, and dress warmly as this is an outdoor program. Large groups please check-in with Ranger Tim at prior to Saturday December 9th.
Winter Solstice Lantern Walk
Date: Friday, December 15, 3:30-5:00pm
Meeting place: Ranger station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
    Join us to bid farewell to Autumn and begin to welcome Winter! We will decorate lanterns, fill them with an LED light, and take a walk at dusk to bring some light to our shortest days. Please dress for the weather. Feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at with any questions or to RSVP.
Solstice Celebration: A Farewell to Fall – And a Welcome to Winter!
Date: Sunday, December 17, 2:30 to 4:00pm
Meeting location: Ranger Station (door under the clock tower on the reservoir side of the Water Purification Facility), 250 Fresh Pond Parkway.
    Meet Ranger Tim and explore the solstice traditions of nature and culture in this guided loop walk around Fresh Pond (2.25mi). Open to all audiences, dress for the weather at hand.

Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or for any RSVPs or questions!

Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership in Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation costs only $10 per year ($5 for seniors and students, $15 for families). To join, fill out a membership form available in the Ranger Station information racks, e-mail, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at to download a form.

Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants.

Upcoming Programs

A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksThurs, Nov 23. Holiday Hike - Lynn Woods, Lynn. 5 miles, Leader's Choice. 9:00am-1:00pm. Bring lunch, H2O, and snacks. Dress for the elements. I-95/Route 128 to Walnut Street exit, 4 miles. From Route 1, Walnut Street exit, 2 miles. Turn left on Pennybrook Road to Western Gate parking lot. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo. AMC Local WalksFri, Nov 24. Annual Ayer/Groton Hills walk. 10:00am-3:00pm. Get far away from shopping malls on Black Friday and join the longest continually running hike in the AMC. We'll explore the natural areas between the Nashua River and the Snake Hills. Exact route determined on the fly. Some bushwhacking possible. Around 7 mi., 5 hours. Bring warm clothes and lunch. Meet at NW corner of the parking lot behind Nashoba Hospital on Groton Road in Ayer, 42.57878N 71.57399W. L Olin Lathrop.
AMC Local WalksSat, Nov 25. Blue Hills, Ponkapoag Pond. 4 mi. mod.-paced hike, 10:30am-1:30pm. Bring lunch+water. I-93/Rte. 128 exit 2A to Rte. 138S for 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course pkg lot on L. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias (781-335-5034). AMC Local WalksSat, Nov 25. Boston's South End - New York Streets Neighborhood and other developing areas. 10:00am-1:30pm. Meet at Broadway T station (Red Line) and return from Back Bay T station (Orange line). Bring lunch and water. No dogs. Heavy rain cancels. L Sharon Marshall.
AMC Local WalksSun, Nov 26. Middlesex Fells, Malden. Hike to cliff-top, waterfall and pond views, from 10am-2:30pm. Bring lunch and water. Meet on Washington Street side of Oak Grove T station. I-93 Exit 32, Medford, head east on Route 60 for 1.2 miles, then turn left on Highland Avenue and follow for 0.5 miles. Turn right on Glenwood Street and go 0.6 miles, then turn left on Washington Street and go 0.1 miles, then turn right into T station lot, or park on street. Call L if severe weather. Ls Robert Winters, Mike Stadelmaier. AMC Local WalksSun, Nov 26. Blue Hills, Milton. Challenging 5-mi. hike on steep, scenic trails to Great Blue, Hemenway and Hancock ledges, 9:30am-12:45pm. Bring snack, water, & sturdy footwear. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2B, take Rte. 138 N 1.3 mi. to pkg. lot on R just past Trailside Museum. Rain cancels. L Marc Hurwitz.
AMC Local WalksSat, Dec 2. Cutler Park Reservation, Needham. 10am-Noon. Join us for walk in this local gem, conveniently located directly off of Route 128. As you walk the trails, you will not believe that you are so close to the highway. Highlights include Kendrick Pond, views of the Charles River, and the boardwalk crossing a marshland. Easy trails, minor ups and downs, with some roots and rocks, moderate pace. Bring water and snacks. Heavy rain or snow cancels. If there is significant snow on the ground, we will snowshoe. $1 fee for those not AMC members. Questions? Contact Lisa. Directions: 84 Kendrick St, Needham, MA. L Lisa Fleischman, CL Julia Hsia. AMC Local WalksSun, Dec 10. Groton Town Forest. 1:00pm-3:00pm. Explore the varied topography and habitats of this scenic woodland, including eskers, kettle holes, dry upland, marsh, the dead river, and more. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at end of Town Forest Road off of MA 225 in W Groton, 42.5973N 71.6052W. L Olin Lathrop.
AMC Local WalksSun, Dec 17. Habitat Audubon Sanctuary, Belmont - Celebrate the Solstice Walk. Slow-paced nature walk through forests and fields and around pond focusing on plant ID of bare trees, naked shrubs and winter weeds as the natural world prepares for winter. We’ll also talk about fun and interesting natural history of the plants we see. 1:00pm-4:00pm. From Rte 2, Exit 59 go west on Rte 60/Pleasant St. 0.6 miles. Right onto Clifton St, first left on Fletcher Rd, bear left at fork, next left on Juniper Rd. 0.2 miles to Sanctuary at #10 Juniper Rd. Steady rain or heavy snow cancels. L Boot Boutwell. AMC Local WalksMon, Dec 25. Holiday Hike - Lynn Woods, Lynn. 5 miles, Leader's Choice. 9:00am-1:00pm. Bring lunch, H2O, and snacks. Dress for the elements. I-95/Route 128 to Walnut Street exit, 4 miles. From Route 1, Walnut Street exit, 2 miles. Turn left on Pennybrook Road to Western Gate parking lot. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.
AMC Local WalksMon, Dec 25. Blue Hills Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 4-mi. hike/snowshoe around pond, 10:00am-12:15pm. Bring snack & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 S 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course lot on L. If no snow, bring traction device for boots. L Beth Mosias. AMC Local WalksMon, Dec 25. Foss Farm, Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge, Greenough Land, Carlisle. Easy approx. 4-5 mi. wander through a good birding area with river and pond views, pine forest and red maple swamp. Snowshoe if sufficient snow cover. Meet 10am. Foss Farms parking lot, about 1/3 mi west of Concord River off Rte. 225. From Rte. 128 Exit 31B follow Rtes. 4/225 through Bedford, continuing on Rte. 225 toward Carlisle. Storm cancels. If weather uncertain contact Leader. L Mark Levine.

Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):Cambridge Chronicle

Incumbents sweep as auxiliary ballots confirm first-tally election results (Nov 9, 2017)

Unofficial results: All incumbents re-elected; Siddiqui, Mallon, Zondervan named to council (Nov 8, 2017)

Cambridge councilors mull plan to boost safety for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians (Nov 1, 2017)

Residents celebrate, criticize new Cambridge bike lanes (Oct 30, 2017)

PHOTOS: What does MIT have planned for Volpe site? (Oct 25, 2017)

Cambridge City Council OKs MIT plan for Volpe site (Oct 25, 2017)

Cambridge City Council rejects move to delay Volpe vote (Oct 24, 2017)

Sen. Bernie Sanders visits Somerville with Our Revolution Somerville/Cambridge candidates (Oct 23, 2017)

Cambridge activists call Bernie Sanders’ visit counter-productive (Oct 23, 2017)

Construction of new boutique hotel begins in Central Square (Oct 13, 2017)

Slow legislative process keeps Cambridge’s beekeepers in limbo (Oct 11, 2017)

Poor planning, outreach blamed for divisive bike lane debates in Cambridge (Oct 11, 2017)

Residents: ‘Commercially cluttered’ plaza detrimental to Harvard Square kiosk (Oct 9, 2017)

Ward 3 Precinct 3 polling relocated (Oct 5, 2017)

Why a record number of Cambridge women are running for City Council (Oct 3, 2017)

Cambridge’s property taxes see smaller increase than projected (Oct 3, 2017)

Cambridge Historical Society announces theme for fall symposium (Oct 1, 2017)

Cambridge Public Schools says it didn’t OK refusal of White House book gift (Sept 29, 2017)

Cambridge adult day program to close, leaving 47 clients without services (Oct 2, 2017)

Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut:

If you would like to be a guest (or co-host) one of these Tuesdays, let me know. - RW

Episode 269 (Nov 14, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Post-Election Notes
Episode 270 (Nov 14, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Post-Election Notes
Episode 267 (Oct 31, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Pre-Election Notes
Episode 268 (Oct 31, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Pre-Election Notes
Episode 265 (Oct 24, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Emily Dexter, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
Episode 266 (Oct 24, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest or Topics: MIT Volpe Petition ordained, Sanders meddles in local affairs
Episode 263 (Oct 17, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: David Weinstein, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
Episode 264 (Oct 17, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Elechi Kadete, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
Episode 261 (Oct 10, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Jake Crutchfield, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
Episode 262 (Oct 10, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Josh Burgin, candidate for Cambridge City Council
Episode 259 (Oct 3, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Manny Lusardi, Liaison for Immigrant Affairs (w/Vice-Mayor's Office)
Episode 260 (Oct 3, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Elections, Harvard Square, Volpe Petition, property taxes
Episode 257 (Sept 19, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: elections, endorsements, Harvard Square, Sept 18 Council meeting
Episode 258 (Sept 19, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: School Committee candidate Piotr Mitros
Episode 255 (Sept 12, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Sept 11 City Council meeting, tax-financed municipal campaigns, Volpe Petition
Episode 256 (Sept 12, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Volpe Petition, MIT graduate housing, candidate forums, endorsements
Episode 253 (Aug 29, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Hurricane Harvey and resiliency of cities, the Volpe Petition and a related new petition
Episode 254 (Aug 29, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: some history of the Plan E Charter and some of the realities of PR elections
Episode 251 (Aug 22, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Oldtime Baseball, Solar Eclipse, Politics
Episode 252 (Aug 22, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge Candidate Pages - some history and a request for topics, questionnaires from political organizations
Episode 249 (Aug 15, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: School Committee cabdidate Fran Cronin
Episode 250 (Aug 15, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Wil Durbin and the newly ordained Cambridge regulations for short-term rentals
Episode 247 (Aug 8, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Agenda items from the Aug 7 City Council meeting, especially the ordination of the Short-Term Rental Zoning Petition
Episode 248 (Aug 8, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Agenda items from the Aug 7 City Council meeting, especially the MIT/Volpe Petition, controversy over segregated bike lanes, and an unsuccessful late effort to place a ballot question on the November ballot regarding publicly funded municipal campaigns
Episode 245 (Aug 1, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Final list of candidates for Cambridge municipal election, Leland Cheung's decision to not seek reelection
Episode 246 (Aug 1, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: municipal campaign finance, MIT/Volpe Petition
Episode 243 (July 25, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Cambridge municipal election and its many candidates as well as some history of Cambridge's PR elections
Episode 244 (July 25, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: upcoming events and some observations re: Harvard Square activism
Episode 241 (July 18, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Alanna Mallon, City Council candidate
Episode 242 (July 18, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Will MacArthur, School Committee candidate
Episode 239 (July 11, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Nomination papers for Cambridge City Council and School Committee, candidate list - who's on the ballot so far
Episode 240 (July 11, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge PR election history (especially the probability of an incumbent being ousted when there are multiple vacancies), and the status of short-term rental regulation
Episode 237 (June 27, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Paul Toner, City Council candidate
Episode 238 (June 27, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: June 26 City Council meeting, upcoming events
Episode 235 (June 20, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Sean Tierney, City Council candidate
Episode 236 (June 20, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Adriane Musgrave, City Council candidate

Stories written by Luis Vasquez for the Cambridge Chronicle

Cambridge Civic/Political Review 2016

Book Release - Building Old Cambridge by Susan E. Maycock and Charles M. Sullivan (published by MIT Press)

A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904

[original PDF]

Here's Something Worth Watching

Robert & Judy on Cambridge InsideOutCambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.

[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos of each]

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 267-268: Oct 31, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 265-266: Oct 24, 2017 (w/guest Emily Dexter)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 263-264: Oct 17, 2017 (w/guests David Weinsten and Elechi Kadete)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 261-262: Oct 10, 2017
(w/guests Jake Crutchfield and Josh Burgin)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 259-260: Oct 3, 2017 (w/guest Manny Lusardi)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 257-258: Sept 19, 2017 (w/guest Piotr Mitros)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 255-256: Sept 12, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 253-254: Aug 29, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 251-252: Aug 22, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 249-250: Aug 15, 2017 (w/guests Fran Cronin and Wil Durbin)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 247-248: Aug 8, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 245-246: Aug 1, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 243-244: July 25, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 241-242: July 18, 2017 (w/City Council candidate Alanna Mallon and School Committee candidate Will MacArthur)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 239-240: July 11, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 237-238: June 27, 2017 (w/City Council candidate Paul Toner)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 235-236: June 20, 2017 (w/City Council candidates Sean Tierney and Adriane Musgrave)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 233-234: June 13, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 231-232: June 6, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 229-230: May 23, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.

Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2017 features co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.

MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990

MAPC Study: 435,000 new housing units needed by 2040

A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]

Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.

Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

2017 City Council Campaign Receipts and Expenditures (posted Aug 7, 2017, updated frequently)

Cambridge School Committee 2017 Campaign Finance Summaries (posted Nov 5, 2017)

2017 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports (posted Aug 7, 2017, updated Nov 5, 2017)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (Nov 5, 2017)

Age and Turnout: comparing the 2015 and 2017 Cambridge elections (Nov 4, 2017)

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2017 (Nov 4, 2017)

Wishin’ & Hopin’ & Thinkin’ & Prayin’ – Oct 30, 2017 City Council meeting agenda (Oct 30, 2017)

Cambridge City Council and School Committee Candidates – 2017 (posted July 24, 2017, updated July 31, 2017)

The Sanders Backlash (Oct 23, 2017)

Countdown – Preview of Oct 23, 2017 Cambridge City Council Meeting (Oct 22, 2017)

Notable Items on the Oct 16, 2017 City Council Agenda (Oct 16, 2017)

Preview of Oct 2, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted Oct 1, 2017)

Preview of Sept 25, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted Sept 25, 2017)

Not left, Felton (by John Allen, posted Sept 24, 2017)

Topics for Candidates for Cambridge School Committee – 2017 (posted Sept 4, 2017)

Topics for Candidates for Cambridge City Council – 2017 (posted Sept 4, 2017)

Women Candidates in Cambridge Municipal Elections: 1941-2017 (Aug 14, 2017)

Number of candidates in Cambridge municipal elections: 1941-present (posted July 25, 2017)

Sheet of ice draws praise from bicycle advocates (posted Apr 20, 2017 by John Allen)

All the News That’s Printed to Fit – April 1, 2017 (the April Fools edition)

Black ice blindness (Feb 21, 2017 by John Allen)

Central Square is a Grandma (Dec 17, 2016)

The Municipal Situation in Cambridge (1904) – by Henry N. Wheeler (Nov 6, 2016)

Catching Up on the Cambridge News – April 1, 2016 (April Fools Edition)

Sunday Morning Statistics – Who Voted in the Cambridge Presidential primary (by age) (posted Mar 20, 2016)

A Conversation with Tip O’Neill (1992) on Cambridge Inside Out (Jan 17, 2016)

Who Voted in the 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election? (Dec 6, 2015)

Final Official Election Results – Cambridge 2015 Municipal Election (Nov 13, 2015)

Flashback to March 1998 (Oct 12, 2015)

Who Votes in Cambridge? (July 9, 2015)

April 1 Cambridge News (Apr 1, 2015) - the April Fool's Day edition

Brian Murphy, 1964-2015 (Feb 5, 2015)

Age Distribution of Voters in Cambridge Elections: 2007-2014 (Jan 4, 2015)

MBTA Role in Cambridge Center Project – Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989 (Feb 13, 2014)

The Advent of PR in Cambridge (Nov 10, 2013)

Completing the Square (June 11, 2013)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project: Six Pivotal Episodes (June 8, 2013)

April 1 Cambridge News (Apr 1, 2013) - the April Fool's Day edition

On becoming a True Cantabrigian (Dec 29, 2012)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project, Initial Years, 1963 to 1982 (July 12, 2012)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Area – Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (Apr 5, 2012)

“Cycle track”: a sidewalk by another name (posted Aug 11, 2010, letter of Paul Schimek)

April Fools Day - 2017 (and here)

April Fool's Day - 2016 (and here)     April Fool's Day - 2015 (and here)     April Fool's Day - 2013 (and here)

The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998

Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)

Introduction: Memorandum from the Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 on its Final Recommendations
Full Report (reformatted in HTML) Goals
Public Places to Build Community Public Places elements
Retail, Cultural and Non-Profit Diversity Housing
Connecting People to the Square Foster a Sustainable Future for Central Square
Leverage Future Private and Public Investments Definition of Central Square Districts
Zoning Recommendations Transfer of Development Rights
Transportation Recommendations Location Specific Issues

The Neverending Study of Central Square

Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters

Feb 1980 - CDD report entitled "Central Square - Commercial Area Revitalization District

June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square

Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)

1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)

Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan

1989 - Draft Central Square Development Guidelines

May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"

Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!

Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)

May 1995 - Central Square Improvements Project, Master Plan Report

May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)

May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"

Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study

Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)

Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)

June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)

2009 - CDD Central Square Customer Intercept Survey Report

2011 - Central Square Market Profile

2011 - Red Ribbon Commission Study Report

2012 - Goody/Clancy report and recommendations

2013 - K2C2 Final Reports

K2C2 Final Reports Released

K2C2 areaThe final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.

Community Development Department

Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (K2C2)

Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013

Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013

Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013

Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013

This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.


THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)

FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee

City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)

City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)

City Council Committees (for the current term)

School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)

School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)

June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).

I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:

These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.

One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.

With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.

Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.

It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters

This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.

Selected City of Cambridge References:

Plan E Charter (Cambridge's city charter) Acts of 1921, Chapter 239 as amended (establishment of Cambridge Election Commission)

Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)

Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923

This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.

It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.

Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW

Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
written by Glenn Koocher, November 2004 -- edited by Robert Winters, July 2006
[An alternate edit of this essay will appear, along with many other valuable essays, in a
centennial volume to be published by the Cambridge Historical Society in 2007.

Which People's Republic
written by Bill Cunningham, 1999

Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail for more details.

Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)

Robert Winters
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
Philosophy of the CCJ Editor
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]

Thoughts for these times:
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz

Subscribe to the Cambridge Civic Journal.
Specify in your message whether you wish to receive each new e-mail version or if you wish to be notified when the online versions are available at this web site. Under no circumstances will the subscription list be made available to any third party.

“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (

Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”

Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”

Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”

Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”

Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”

Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"

the known universe

Welcome to the Peoples Republic