It's Budget Season - Featured Items on the April 24, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Here's a look at some of the more interesting items on this week's agenda.
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the FY2018 submitted budget and appropriation orders.
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $20,000,000 to provide funds for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the City’s Alewife Watershed, Cambridgeport neighborhood, and the Port neighborhood.
Manager's Agenda #3. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.
Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $2,000,000 to provide funds for various School building infrastructure projects including roof repairs at the Fletcher Maynard Academy, and a new boiler at an elementary school.
Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $5,000,000 to provide funds for the Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan.
The Budget Hearings are scheduled for Tues, May 2 and Wed, May 10 at 9:00am for the FY2018 City Department Budgets and for Tues, May 9 at 6:00pm for the FY2018 School Department Budget.
Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as member of the Community Preservation Act Committee for a term of five years, effective Apr 24, 2017: Anna Aldric and David Kale
Manager's Agenda #19. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a member of the Recycling Advisory Committee for a term of two years, effective Apr 24, 2017: New Appointments: Ilana Bebchick, Joel Dashnaw, David Frank, Martha Henry, Susy Jones, Liz Marr, Michael Papas, Anne Sherman, Matthew St. Onge, Quinten Steenhuis, Kristen Watkins Reappointments: Keith Cialino, Debby Galef, Rob Gogan, Debby Knight, Janet Mosley, Laura Nichols, Meera Singh and Mary Verhage
Manager's Agenda #21. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a member of the Envision Cambridge Focus Area Working Groups on Economy, Housing, Climate and the Environment, and Mobility. The Focus Area Working Groups are tasked with developing recommendations on topic-specific goals, strategies, and targets and indicators.
Items of interest to those who live in fear of being watched
Manager's Agenda #29. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a notification of a request from MIT to perform a test installation of a range of sensor technology along Massachusetts Avenue between Vassar Street and Lansdowne Street, in proximity to the MIT campus.
Manager's Agenda #30. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-15, Council Order Number 7 of 11/21/6 and Council Order Number 2 of 3/27/17, regarding an update on language in a proposed surveillance technology ordinance.
Manager's Agenda #20. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the Harding, et al Zoning Petition.
Unfinished Business #6. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge in Article 8.000 entitled "Nonconformity" by deleting Section 8.23 in its entirety and substitute a new Section 8.23. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Apr 17, 2017. Planning Board hearing held Mar 21, 2017. Petition expires June 27, 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 Apr 6, 2017 to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinances in Article 20.50 entitled “Harvard Square Overlay and Harvard Square Historic District” by adding a new Section 20.54.7 Exempting rooftop spaces from FAR.
I expect the "Nonconformity" zoning amendment will be ordained at this meeting. The proposal to make it easier to open active roof decks in the Harvard Square area remains in committee, and the combatants have entered the ring.
Airbnb and related stuff
Communication #10. A communication was received from Rebecca Rutenberg, Chief Operating Officer, The Novus Group, transmitting the Airbnb -Cambridge Housing Report.
Communication #15. A communication was received from Caitlin O'Neill, Director of Public Policy, Sonder, 271 Cambridge Street, regarding model language for professional short-term providers.
Order #5. Proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance creating a regulatory framework to ensure the City's short-term rentals are legal, safe, and fair. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey
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 Apr 4, 2017 to conduct a general discussion on short-term rental uses throughout the City.
It's very important that this matter be resolved soon, but I have yet to see a completely coherent proposal that provides flexibility for homeowners but which does not overreach. As for the investors who are intentionally buying up multifamily houses so that they can run them as Airbnb profit-makers rather than as homes for actual people, I wish you all frontier justice. To those who paid far too much for your buildings and who now argue that the only way they can make ends meet is to rake in gobs of Airbnb cash, I say "Caveat Emptor". You should have bought a place in Malden.
Brief snippets of wisdom
Communication #8. A communication was received from Peter Valentine, regarding the reason humans don't need robots. [“The reason humans don’t need robots is that humans can be any kind of robot they want, and the reason for that is that they possess within themselves the ultimate chip, which is The Creator of All of Existence.” True or not true.” – Peter Valentine, 4/6/2017]
Birds, bees, flowers, trees, parks, and gardens
Manager's Agenda #18. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-17, regarding a report on a Tree Task Force to protect the Urban Canopy.
Order #1. That the City of Cambridge partner with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Cambridge Neighborhood Association to revitalize Magazine Beach. Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Community Development Department, the Department of Public Works, and the Conservation Commission and report back with a status update of the Community Garden program. Councillor Devereux
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Community Development Department to present zoning regulations that allow urban agriculture to the City Council as soon as possible so that an Ordinance Committee hearing can be scheduled. Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern
Order #11. That the City Manager is requested to hold a community meeting to discuss the lighting design proposed for the path, steps being taken to make the lighting appropriate for the natural context of the Reservation, and steps being taken to make Greenway path safe and useful during evening commuting hours. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Devereux
I could go on at length on a number of these matters - the great efforts of Cathie Zusy and others with Magazine Beach, some very short-sighted rules pushed by the City on community gardens under its jurisdiction, the absurd delay in adopting at least something on urban agriculture, and some of the overstated fears expressed regarding lighting on the proposed Fresh Pond Greenway - but perhaps another time. I'm sure there will be plenty of comment.
Minimal substance, but sure to draw comments
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to ban all City employees from using City funds on services provided by United Airlines when alternatives exist. Councillor Cheung, Mayor Simmons
Order #10. That the City Manager, in instances where there is no significant additional cost defined in regulations, or conflict with law, is requested to refrain from entering into new or amended contracts to purchase professional, technical, scientific or financial services, goods, construction labor and materials or other services, or supplies from businesses that enter into contracts to provide such services, goods, materials or supplies to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Councillor Mazen, Councillor Devereux
I really despise Orders like these. In the former, an airline screws up and promises to do better, so the City Council wants to ban the use of City funds on that airline. Plenty of companies screw up at one time or another. Should they all be boycotted? As for the latter, that Trump wall is perhaps the single most stupid proposal I have ever heard from a U.S. President, but asking the City Manager to filter all contracts based on this criterion is just as stupid.
Obscure but curiously interesting
Order #9. That the Public Safety Committee begin a public discussion of potential methods of regulating an internet-based delivery system that makes any part of any road a possible loading platform in a way that allows such uses to continue without putting other users of Cambridge’s roads in danger or unreasonably obstructing traffic. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux
Now that I have read this Order carefully, it appears that the genesis of this Order is the belief that cyclists are incapable of any wisdom or road sense. This Order wants to encourage delivery vehicles, taxis and similar services to temporarily park in the middle of full travel lanes rather than pull to the curb. The authors apparently believe it is better for cyclists to pass vehicles on the right where active loading and unloading of cargo and passengers is taking place. This is lunacy. My guess it passes without debate.
Good intentions that will likely turn that $30K roof repair into a $150K roof repair
Order #13. Urge the Cambridge Legislative Delegation in the State Legislature to do everything in its power to bring Massachusetts closer to 100% renewable energy by 2035, and ensure that the benefits of renewable energy are realized by Massachusetts residents from all walks of life and supporting a goal of using 100% clean and renewable energy in Cambridge, including in building energy use and transportation, by 2035. Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern
Who could argue with the rosy future painted by this Order? Well, at some point these matters do eventually get translated into things like stretch building codes and super-stretch building codes, and then one day when you just want to fix that leak in your roof and a City inspector informs you that in order to meet the new code your choice is to fix the roof in secret over the weekend without a permit or pay five times the cost in order to meet all the new standards. When that day comes, I do hope that our legislative do-gooders are as generous with their grant money as they are with their mandates. The devil is always in the details. - Robert Winters
Looking Ahead (revised April 22)
Possible City Council and School Committee candidates for 2017 (with age at time of election)
|City Council Candidate||Birthdate||Age||address||Notes|
|Timothy J. Toomey||6/7/1953||64||88 6th St., 02141||incumbent, first elected in 1989, unclear if seeking reelection|
|E. Denise Simmons||10/2/1951||66||188 Harvard St. #4B, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2001|
|Craig Kelley||9/18/1962||55||6 Saint Gerard Terr. #2, 02140||incumbent, first elected in 2005|
|Leland Cheung||2/11/1978||39||157 Garden St., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2009|
|Dennis Carlone||5/7/1947||70||9 Washington St. #6, 02140||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Marc McGovern||12/21/1968||48||15 Pleasant St., 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Nadeem Mazen||9/20/1983||34||720 Mass. Ave. #4, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Jan Devereux||5/13/1959||58||255 Lakeview Ave., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2015|
|Dennis Benzan||1/25/1972||45||1 Pine St., 02139||served 2014-15, likely to seek reelection|
|Paul Toner||4/28/1966||51||24 Newman St., 02140||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Quinton Zondervan||9/15/1970||47||235 Cardinal Madeiros Ave., 02141||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Alanna Marie Mallon||12/6/1970||46||3 Maple Ave., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Ronald Benjamin||1/5/1971||46||172 Cushing St., 02138||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Vatsady Sivongxay||2/20/1982||35||59 Kirkland St. #2, 02138||registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Sean Tierney||3/10/1985||32||12 Prince St. #6, 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Sumbul Siddiqui||2/10/1988||29||530 Windsor Street, 02141||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Sam Gebru||11/20/1991||25||812 Memorial Dr., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Nadya Teresa Okamoto||2/11/1998||19||Canaday Hall B44, 22 Harvard Yard, 02138||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Olivia D'Ambrosio||9/13/1983||34||270 3rd Street #305, 02142||not announced, registered with OCPF|
|Nathan Taylor Thompson||10/12/1985||32||31 Tremont Street $#3, 02139||not announced, registered with OCPF|
|James Williamson||1/13/1951||66||1000 Jackson Pl., 02140||perennial candidate|
|Gary Mello||5/24/1953||64||324 Franklin St. #2, 02139||ran several times|
|Ilan Levy||11/1/1967||50||148 Spring St. 02141||ran in 2015, seems to be planning to do it again|
|Andrew King||4/17/1986||31||40 Essex St., 02139||conflicting reports on whether or not a candidate|
|Romaine Waite||6/7/1991||26||60 Lawn St. #5, 02138||not announced, but may try again|
|School Committee Candidate||Birthdate||Age||address||Notes|
|Fred Fantini||6/8/1949||68||4 Canal Park #203, 02141||incumbent, first elected in 1981|
|Richard Harding||10/16/1972||45||189 Windsor St. #1, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2001,
speculation he may run for City Council
|Patty Nolan||8/28/1957||60||184 Huron Ave., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2005|
|Kathleen Kelly||3/8/1960||57||17 Marie Ave. #1, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Emily Dexter||3/16/1957||60||9 Fenno St., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2015|
|Mannika Bowman||11/27/1979||37||134 Reed St., 02140||incumbent, first elected in 2015|
|Will MacArthur||5/24/1998||19||18 Shea Rd., 02140||definitely running for School Committee|
|Fran Albin Cronin||2/14/1952||65||1 Kimball Ln., 02140||planning to seek reelection|
|Jake Crutchfield||3/31/1987||30||281 River St. #1, 01239||speculation that he may run again|
There are others who are likely to be candidates but who have not yet chosen to be identified as such. Please let me know of other candidates. Not all of the individuals listed above may wish to be identified as candidates, and I will be more than happy to remove those names (unless I am absolutely certain they will be running!). Anyone who has filed papers with OCPF (Office of Campaign & Political Finance) is assumed to be running for City Council. - RW
|Campaign Finance Summaries - City Council 2017 (updated Apr 22)|
|Thompson, N. Taylor||1-Mar-17||15-Apr-17||0.00||5.00||156.25||(151.25)||17-Apr-17|
Campaign Finance Reports - 2017 City Council (updated Apr 22)
|Campaign Contributions (2017) - Total Receipts and Cambridge Receipts
(updated Apr 22)
|Candidate||ID||Total Receipts||Cambridge Receipts||Percent Cambridge|
|Thompson, N. Taylor||16578||$5.00||$0.00||0%|
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sat, Apr 22. Blue Hills Skyline Trail, Quincy. 6.5-mile hike rocky terrain with a number of steep hills with views, Moderate-rated hike, not for beginners. 10:00am-3:00pm, mainly on Skyline Trail, lunch on Nahanton Hill with great view, Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Meet at Shea Ice Rink, 651 Willard St., Quincy. From SE Expressway Exit 8 in Quincy, go south 0.6 miles on Willard St. Or from I-93/Route 128 Exit 6 in Braintree, go north 0.7 miles. Or for public transit take Bus 238 from Quincy Center T Station. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey.||Sun, Apr 23. Historic Middlesex Canal, North Billerica. Level 5-mi. walk along historic canal N to Chelmsford, 1:30-4:00pm. Meet at the Middlesex Canal Museum (opens at noon). From Rte. 95/128, take Rte. 3 N to exit 28, Treble Cove Rd., L towards N. Billerica 1.7 mi., L on Rte. 3A/129 0.7 mi., R on Lowell St. 0.7 mi. becomes Faulkner St., cross river at Faulkner Mills, R into pkg. lot opp. Joint w/Middlesex Canal Assoc. Info: www.middlesexcanal.org. L Robert Winters, Marlies Henderson.|
|Sun, Apr 23. Acton Arboretum, Acton. Slow-paced nature walk in search of a variety of early spring wild flowers and other signs of spring. The walk will focus on plant ID and natural history. 9:00am-12:00pm. From Concord rotary, take Rte. 2 West 2.2 miles, Right on Taylor Road 0.7 miles to Arboretum on right. The Acton Arboretum is opposite #7 Taylor Rd. Arrive early, parking limited. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.||Sun, Apr 23. Snake Hills, Groton. 1:00pm start. Snake Hills, Groton. We will traverse a large protected area that includes wetlands, upland forest, some hills, a rare true bog, and a surprise in the woods. Meet at the end of Indian Hill Rd (42.5850N 71.5539W). L Olin Lathrop.|
|Sun, Apr 23. Breakheart Reservation, Saugus. Mod.-strenuous approx. 5-mi. hike, hills/rough terrain, 9:00am-2:00pm. Bring snacks/lunch/water. Meet at Northeast Metro School. From 95/128 exit 39 (Wakefield ), take North Ave. E 2.5mi. (becomes Nahant St.), R on Farm St., L on Hemlock St. to end. Cancels if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.||Sat, Apr 29. Broadmoor Mass Audubon walk, Natick. 9:30am-11:30am. Meet at the Visitors Center. Join us for a walk in this convenient (Natick on Route 16), yet expansive wildlife retreat, along the Charles River. Moderate pace, easy trails with some gentle hills and rocks. Bring water and snacks. No children or dogs. Lunch at local restaurant follows for those interested. Heavy rain cancels. Call Lisa if uncertain. Charge: $5 if not a Mass Audubon member, plus $1 if not an AMC member. L Lisa Fleischman.|
|Sun, Apr 30. Emerald Necklace, Boston. Enjoy our historical heritage, appreciate the wonder which is the Back Bay and learn more about Frederick Olmsted. We will walk about 6 miles at a moderate pace with stops to enjoy major sights but we should be done by 1:00pm. We will meet at the Arlington T stop, in front of Hermes at the corner of Boylston and Arlington at 10:00am. From the Commonwealth Mall to Park Drive to the Muddy River to Jamaica Pond and on to the Arboretum. Most of the Necklace will be covered. End at Forest Hills T on the Orange Line. We will cross 2 or 3 roads but otherwise be off the roads. L Eveline Weyl.||Wed, May 3. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 5 mile walk, 10:30am-1:30pm. Bring snack/water. From Rte. 3 exit 14, take Rte. 228N 6.5 mi., L on Rte. 3A 1.0mi. to rotary, R on Summer St. 0.5 mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6.00 parking fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.|
|Sun, May 7. Hale Reservation, Westwood. Easy walk, mostly woods, across a dam & thru a meadow, 1:00-3:00pm. From Rte. 95/128 exit 16B, take Rte. 109 W 1.2 mi., R on Dover Rd. 0.3 mi., R on Carby St. 0.6 mi. to Cat Rock pkg. lot. Rain cancels. L Jean Veigas.||Sat, May 13. Arlington's Great Meadows, Lexington. Slow-paced nature walk in search of a variety of spring wild flowers and other cool plants. The walk will focus on plant ID and natural history. 9:00am-12:00pm. Meet at the Playground behind and to the right of The Waldorf School, 739 Mass Ave, Lexington. Please park along Mass Ave in Lexington in the vicinity of the Waldorf School (739 Mass. Ave.). After you park, walk down the driveway on the right side of The Waldorf School to the playing fields and turn right. We will meet off to the side of the playground and basketball court. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.|
|Sun, May 14. 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.||Sun, May 14. Lynn Woods, Lynn. Leader's Choice. 9am-1pm. Bring lunch/H2O/snacks. From Rte. 95/128 take Walnut St. exit, 4mi. From Rte.1, take Walnut St. exit, 2mi. Make L on Pennybrook Rd. to Western Gate pkg. lot. L Nelson Caraballo.|
April 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 1pm
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 email@example.com if you would like to come, and for more information.
|Fresh Pond Stewards: Wake Up and Weed!
Dates: Thursdays, 10am to 12noon
Place: Meets at the volunteer trailer in the front parking lot.
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.
|Volunteer Adventures with Ranger Jean
Dates: Saturday, April 29th, 1-3:30pm
Place: Meets at Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Go behind the scenes to see what’s involved in maintaining Cambridge’s most heavily visited open space. Join volunteer groups in tasks such as spreading wood chips to help control erosion in heavily used sections of the Reservation, and weeding invasive plants to free up space for native plants to thrive. Please come prepared to be in the woods with close-toed shoes and long pants. Gloves and tools provided! No experience necessary. 14+. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org in case of location change.
|Migratory Bird Walk #2
Date: Sunday, April 23, 7:30 to 9:30am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
Part of the thrill of birding is that every bird walk is unique and an opportunity for surprise sightings. We can only guess in advance what we might see and hear. At this time of year many of the birds at Fresh Pond are courting and claiming territories, so we will probably hear plenty of bird song. We welcome beginners, and we will lend you binoculars. Led by Nancy Guppy. Register with Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Pond Life Exploration at Black’s Nook
Date: Sunday, April 23, 10am-noon
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
Discover the amazing diversity of plants and critters that make their home in and around the water at Fresh Pond Reservation! We will observe and record living things such as algae, aquatic plants, and macroinvertebrates, and contribute to our biodiversity inventory. Drop-ins and families welcome!
|Fresh Pond Kids’ Walks
Dates: Fridays, 10 to 11am, except April 21st
Place: Meets at the gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their caretakers, and play in our urban wild! We might read stories, look out for birds and bugs, and make some crafts. Please come dressed ready for the weather (and in clothes that are OK to get dirty!). Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Fresh Pond After-school Kids' Walks
Date: Friday, April 28th , 3:30-4:30pm
Place: Meets at the gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for an after-school romp in our urban wilds! This program is intended for kids of all ages accompanied by their caretakers. Please come dressed for the weather and in clothes that are ok to get dirty. Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Invasive Plants Walkabout @ Fresh Pond with Ted Elliman
Date: Monday, May 8th, 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Meets at front door of Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Curious about the seemingly innocuous plants you’ve observed volunteers removing from the Reservation during the summertime? Or are you suspicious of some strange new visitors popping up in your garden or climbing up your fences? Join Ted Elliman, botanist extraordinaire formerly of the New England Wildflower Society, for an evening walk around the Reservation, in which he will teach how to identify common invasive plants, why these invasive species pose such a danger to native plant and animal communities, and how to manage them for the health of our local ecosystems. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 349-6489.
|Reflecting on Fresh Pond: Art, Prose, and Poetry Share
Date (rescheduled): Saturday, June 10, 2 to 4pm
Place: Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Fresh Pond Reservation means so much to so many of us. Whether your come here to hear the tinkle of ice against the shore, the call of returning birds or the squeal of children sledding in Kingsley Park, you may have been inspired to make a note in a journal, write a poem or song; or take a photo or make a drawing. We are calling people of ALL AGES and CREATIVE CAPACITIES to share your Reflections on Fresh Pond at an open mic. All mediums welcome – paint, print, a note scribbled on a napkin, photography, poems, a child’s drawing or performance of song or dance. Please RSVP to email@example.com with a sentence or two describing your creative work(s). Start the sentence with “I was moved to make (my art) when I experienced (XXX) at Fresh Pond.” And go on from there. Come share your heartfelt experiences with others who are really touched when they walk the Pond and share the wonderment.
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at www.friendsoffreshpond.org to download a form.
Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org 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:
Street cleaning and yard waste collection in Cambridge resumes on Monday, Apr 3, 2017.
Don't Get Towed!
Public Works mechanically sweeps each street in Cambridge once per month. Signs are posted on each residential street indicating the schedule. In order to ensure that streets are properly cleaned, cars must move off the side of the street being swept to avoid being ticketed and towed. [Schedule] Yard waste is not accepted in plastic bags by recycling or trash crews. Place yard waste in barrels marked with City-issued stickers facing the street, or in lawn refuse bags sold in most hardware stores. Barrels and bags must be set on the curb apart from the trash on your regular collection day. Do not staple or tape bags. Bundle small twigs and branches with string. [More information]
Springing into April - Agenda items from the April 3, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
The BIG ITEM at this meeting is the ordination of the amendments to the City's Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. Then there's also the call for impeachment of the President. Here are some nuggets that caught my attention:
Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $5,250,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account to facilitate the complete renovation of the building located at 859 Massachusetts Avenue.
I'm glad that this building is being rehabilitated for this purpose, but I am astonished at the size of the appropriation - apparently just for this one residential building. Is this what the costs are "to meet the requirements of the City’s Net Zero standards"?
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $2,875,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Public Works Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($1,940,000) and to the Public Works Public Investment Fund ($935,000) to cover winter 2016-2017 snowstorm expenses associated with snow plowing contracts, salt, other material, repair costs and equipment.
I would like to request that the contract not be renewed for whoever was responsible for using the front of my and my neighbors' houses as a snow storage area for snow moved there from elsewhere. My only other complaint is that apparently the City's snow clearance guidelines no longer include plowing all the way to the curb on snow emergency routes even for relatively modest snow events. This led to cars being parked 3-5 feet from the curb on some of these streets. The result is a significantly narrowed roadway that is less safe for everyone. I could understand this being the case in an especially harsh winter (like two years ago) where there's just no place else to put the snow, but this should not have been the case for this relatively mild winter.
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Betsy Allen as the new Director of Equity and Inclusion (formerly known as Director of Affirmative Action) for the City of Cambridge, effective Apr 10, 2017.
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Vision Zero Advisory Committee, effective Apr 3, 2017 for a term of two years: Nicholas Dard, Anne Kreider, Jennifer Quick, Peter Kuhlmann, Stephen Varrichio, Becca Wolfson, Nathanael Fillmore, Stacy Thompson, Richard Fries, Wendy Landman, Amy Flax, Sean Peirce, Jim Gascoigne, Michael Muehe, Diane Gray, Todd Robinson, Michele Trifiro and Steve Crossley
I hope this newly appointed advisory committee will focus on actual safety rather than recommending disruptive changes to roadways that are more political than practical and which primarily serve to marginalize cyclists (literally).
Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt with suggested modifications, the Zoning Petition to Amend Section 8.23 - Reconstruction of Nonconforming Structure or Use Following Fire, Explosion or Other Catastrophe.
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 Mar 29, 2017 to discuss a proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment to strikeout Section 8.23 entitled “Non-conformity” and substitute in place thereof a new Section 8.23.
The modifications suggested by the Planning Board are sensible. The City Council may also wish to consider time extensions beyond the allowed time frame via special permit in case of extraordinary circumstances.
Update: The petition was amended by substitution using language recommended by the Planning Board, then passed to a 2nd Reading.
Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to amendments to Title 6 of the Municipal Code entitled "Animals" to include a new Chapter 6.20 entitled "Restrictions on the Sale of Animals in Pet Shops".
Very well, but where will you purchase mice and other live food for your pet snake or other animal?
Update: These amendments were referred to the Ordinance Committee.
Unfinished Business #7. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge in Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions in Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text to Sections 11.200 through 11.206. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Apr 3, 2017. Planning board hearing held Dec 20, 2016. Petition expires Apr 4, 2017.
This should be all set based on the language that was passed to a 2nd Reading on March 20, and the vote will likely be unanimous unless there are some problematic last-minute amendments. It remains to be seen whether the 20% affordable mandate will be viable in the long term or if it only serves to exacerbate the gap between high income and low income residents. My greatest concern is that the current policies will eventually lead to a future where only very high income people can buy or rent unrestricted housing units and the only option for everyone else will be to file an application with a City housing agency to obtain housing.
Update: Ordained 9-0, as expected.
Order #2. That the City Council call upon the United States House of Representatives to support a resolution authorizing and directing the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, including but not limited to the violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause and the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Cheung
This will certainly bring the TV crews out. [ABCNews story] City Council Orders don't generally get titles, but perhaps this one could be called "An Order Calling for Hard Right Conservative VP Mike Pence to Assume the Presidency". Be careful what you wish for. I received an email appeal recently about this Order with the subject heading "Support Bold Action by the City Council". It would perhaps better be characterized as a symbolic action meant to achieve nothing more than the attention of ill-intentioned Congressmen, Senators, and the Executive Branch. What exactly that achieves is yet to be determined.
Update: This purely symbolic order passed on a 7-1-1 vote with Councillor Maher voting NO and Councillor Toomey voting PRESENT. The real question is which councillor gets the most quotes in the local press and the most face time on national TV.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Feb 15, 2017 to discuss next steps on bike and transit safety in Cambridge.
Suffice to say that I am very concerned that for purely political reasons some Cambridge streets may soon look like a forest constructed of upright PVC pipe, marginalized cyclists, dangerously narrowed roadways, loss of parking in places where it's needed, and no net additional safety. I am often reminded of the fact that "skyways", i.e. elevated highways, were one touted as the be-all-end-all solution to traffic problems. Decades later many of these misguided visions are being dismantled as the wrong solution. - Robert Winters
End of the March - Interesting Items on the March 27, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Here's my take on this week's agenda:
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Harvard Square Kiosk Working Group, effective Mar 27, 2017: Abra Berkowitz, Robyn Culbertson, Ankita Deshpande, Timothy Hyde, Janet Si-Ming Lee, Sarah Rosenkrantz, Daniel Andrew Schofield-Bodt, Kenneth Taylor, John DiGiovanni, Bertil JeanChronberg, Frank Kramer, Peter Kroon, Sohail Nasir, Abhishek Syal, Thomas Lucey and Mary Flynn
This is shaping up like a classic turf war and I hope these appointees can get beyond that. Personally, I would just like to see an active use for the Kiosk that's not all about the tourists - a place where the locals want to gather. My ideal would be something like Sullivan's at Castle Island in South Boston, but I don't suppose the Old Cambridge crowd could ever tolerate that much humanity.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the requirements of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) that the City Council adopt an order for the Statement of Interest Form to be submitted to MSBA no later than Apr 7, 2017 for the Tobin and Vassal Lane Upper School located at 197 Vassal Lane.
The Putnam Avenue School is done and the King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools are now under construction. This Statement of Interest concerns the next major renovation or replacement - the Tobin and Vassal Lane Upper School. Let's hope there's some state grant money available to help pay for the project.
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a proposed ordinance related to the growth and maintenance of “Running Bamboo”.
Alternatively, we could import pandas. City officials are just so resistant to creative solutions.
Manager's Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 16-64 and 17-9, regarding trash and recycling pick up for small businesses.
"DPW is proposing to expand the municipal recycling pick-up program on a trial basis to small businesses beginning in the spring/summer of 2018. It is proposed that this program will be made available to all small businesses throughout the City on a once per week basis, and will help reduce the cost to businesses in eliminating the need for them to contract with outside vendors as well as enabling the City to further increase the quantity of material diverted from the waste stream in the City. Funds are included in the FY18 budget to initiate the program."
Manager's Agenda #14. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $1,000,000 from the Water Fund Other Ordinary Maintenance account to the Public Investment Fund Water Extraordinary Expenditures account to fund the replacement of water meters and meter transmitter units (MTUs).
Contained in the message is the following piece of good news: "In October 2016, the Council approved an appropriation to use $3.6 million from the Water Fund’s Fund Balance to purchase water from the MWRA to ensure an adequate supply of water to meet the needs of the community. The severity of the drought has lessened and the usable capacity in our reservoir system has stabilized. The City has not had to use MWRA water since the beginning of December and has only expended $1.6 million."
Manager's Agenda #15. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to recommendations for the block rates for water consumption and sewer use for the period beginning Apr 1, 2017 and ending Mar 31, 2018.
According to the Manager's report, the average triple-decker uses about 122 CCF of water per year. My triple-decker apparently uses nearly twice that and we're generally pretty conscientious about water use. This past year I paid over $2850 and the report says the average for a triple-decker was $1590. Either something is amiss with the plumbing or the Manager's figures or my water meter is reading a lot higher than it should. Actually, I just checked my records and it appears that the higher readings coincide with when the new meter was installed. Time to call the Water Department, I guess.
Order #1. City Council go on record urging the Governor to resist reducing funding for The Ride. Mayor Simmons
It's stunning just how backwards things are in this state and, in particular, the Boston Metropolitan Area when it comes to public transportation. I don't doubt that there are some efficiencies to be had with The Ride and other services, but this hardly seems the place to close a budget gap.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Acting Police Commissioner with a view toward piloting a Cambridge Police outpost located in Carl Barron Plaza, to be ready for operation by Summer 2017. Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern
What should really happen is for the City and the MBTA and a Central Square property owner to create a multi-function site that can house a police substation, an MBTA facility for bus drivers and other personnel, an information center, a public bathroom, and maybe even a newsstand. That, of course, would take coordination, so I won't hold my breath.
Order #6. That the City of Cambridge opposes H.R. 482 and S. 103, and calls on its representatives in the House and Senate to vote against these bills, and to exert influence on other representatives to oppose these bills and support the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in all efforts to affirmatively further fair housing and collect data to assess the progress of fair housing initiatives and inclusiveness of its communities. Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons
In addition to the many positive effects of the Fair Housing Act, there is also the unintended consequence that efforts to more equitably locate some social-service types of housing throughout the city have actually been hindered by this Act. There is no legal way to prevent the over-concentration of such facilities in a place like Central Square.
Order #7. That the City Council agenda be altered to create a section in the agenda between public comment and the City Manager’s agenda entitled “General Council Discussion,” where Councillors would be able to bring their colleagues up-to-date on projects in which they are engaged or ask for updates about projects that other Councillors are working on, even if these issues do not appear on the Council’s agenda or have never been the subject of formal City Council attention. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux
In an ideal world, city councillors would actually be working on such projects collaboratively and in accordance with the Open Meeting Law via the various City Council subcommittees. If this were the case there would be no need to set aside a special time at City Council meetings to reveal what they've been doing out of public view.
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 Mar 16, 2017 to discuss a zoning petition filed by Richard Harding, et al., to amend the Mass + Main Residential sub district and the Central Square Overlay District by amending Sections 20.307.8.1 (a) and (b) and 20.307.6.2 (a).
Even if someone has lingering objections to the Mass+Main project, this is an absurd way to go about expressing those objections long after that train left the station. - Robert Winters
Springtime in Cambridge: Featured Mar 20, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Items
Here's a sampler of items of potential interest at the March 20 Cambridge City Council meeting. Happy spring! (It'll be warm again before you know it.)
On the Table #5. That the City Manager is requested to establish the requirement that all appointments to the City's commissions, advisory committees, and task forces reflect the City's diversity and that the Civic Unity Committee is asked to sign off on all such appointments going forward. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Order #8 of Feb 27, 2017. Tabled on a motion by Councillor Cheung on a voice vote of 8 members on Mar 6, 2017.]
Perhaps they'll settle this on Monday. As I've stated before, the goal is laudable but you cannot give veto power over City Manager appointments to a committee.
Unfinished Business #6. An amendment to the Municipal Code Ordinance that Title 8 entitled “Health and Safety” be amended in Chapter 8.28 entitled “Restriction on Youth Access to Tobacco Products and in Smoking in Workplaces and Public Places” by amending 8.28.050 entitled “ Definitions for Prohibition of Smoking in Workplaces” by adding a new definition. [The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Mar 20, 2017.]
I'm sure a few of the smoking risk denial crowd will be there to testify against this. They should take a walk on Berkshire St. beforehand.
Applications & Petitions #1. A zoning petition has been received from the Friends of Observatory Hill Village, to establish the Observatory Hill Village Overlay District. (1000+ additional signatures for this zoning petition are on file in the City Clerk's Office.)
The language of the petition seems reasonable enough, but I'm always curious about what recent activities in an area lead to the decision to submit a petition for a change in the zoning. Are back yards being built over? Are new buildings being built that bear no relationship to the existing buildings. Just curious.
Applications & Petitions #3. A zoning petition has been received from Latoyea Hawkins Cockrill, et a., to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge to regulate short-term rental uses throughout the City.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 1, 2017 to draft language for short-term rental regulations to be forwarded to the Ordinance Committee.
These two have to be discussed together, and I wouldn't be surprised if this petition and the soon-to-be City Council petition on the same topic are processed concurrently. There has been some discussion on the neighborhood listservs that the Cockrill Petition is really being submitted by AirBnB to counter the proposal coming out of the City Council that would normalize short-term rentals but restrict it to owner-occupied properties. I expect there will be a lot of public comment on this one.
Communications #3. A communication was received from Peter Valentine, 37 Brookline Street, transmitting thanks for seeing the true totality of what he does, reducing complicated things to their simplest level.
In a strange way, I have to agree with Peter.
Resolution #2. Congratulations to the CRLS Boys Basketball Team on their Division 1 (North) Championship. Councillor Toomey
Now we can add a 2nd straight State Championship to that. The CRLS Falcons won the championship game on Saturday night by a score of 70-43 over Franklin High School.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments on the feasibility of installing a hitting tunnel at Danehy Park for youth and high school sports. Councillor Toomey
I've been badgering Kendall Square developers for years about putting a miniature golf course there. A batting cage would also be nice. Show us how Innovative you really are.
Order #5. Recognize the efforts of AIDS Action Cambridge, the SIFMA Now Coalition, and First Church in Cambridge to promote greater awareness about the ongoing opiate epidemic crisis, and their collective efforts to increase access to effective treatment throughout Cambridge. Mayor Simmons
Further comment is unnecessary. This is important.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on Feb 14, 2017 to discuss the Retail Strategic Plan and similar issues related to the retail environment in Cambridge.
This report seems short on specifics, but apparently the process leading to a Retail Strategic Plan for Cambridge business districts still has a way to go. In any case, it's not always the City plans that govern the eventual outcomes. There are many hands stirring these pots and zoning alone cannot predetermine outcomes.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on Jan 25, 2017 to discuss the City’s Fiscal Year 2018 Operating and Capital Budget.
The Manager and staff provided the context, and the councillors provided the wish lists. Tune in early May for the Budget Hearings.
Committee Report #5. 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 Feb 28, 2017 to conduct an additional hearing to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend provisions of the Zoning Ordinance as it related to Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions in Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text to Sections 11.200 through 11.206.
This is the meatiest item on the agenda. It is presumed that the petition will be passed to a 2nd Reading with the 20% net inclusionary housing mandate and other changes. The sticky point is whether the Council wants to jettison legal reasoning and retroactively impose the same requirements on Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) that have already received Special Permits. It may be politically popular to impose requirements that are certain to be challenged and likely to be invalidated by the courts but, hey, enjoy your Revolution. Then educate yourselves about long-term planning and financing of large-scale developments. - Robert Winters
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 219 (Apr 18, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Women in Comedy, Cambridge Science Festival, and more
|Episode 220 (Apr 18, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Mass. Turnpike Realignment and other infrastructure
|Episode 217 (Apr 4, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: national issues & municipal politics; City Council order calling for impeachment of the President, upcoming civic and other opportunities
|Episode 218 (Apr 4, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics chosen from the Apr 3 City Council meeting, including discussion of police presence in City Hall and Central Square; updates on municipal election candidates
|Episode 215 (Mar 28, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics chosen from the Mar 27 Cambridge City Council meeting, including water rates, Harvard Square Kiosk, school construction costs, bamboo, recycling for small businesses, and Central Square.
|Episode 216 (Mar 28, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: survey of the potential City Council and School Committee candidates in the 2017 Cambridge municipal election, and the Cambridge Candidate Pages.
|Episode 213 (Mar 21, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: State Championship victory of the CRLS Boys Basketball team, some upcoming civic events, design review of MIT-Kendall projects, and a curious zoning petition that appeared at the Mon, Mar 20 City Council meeting regarding short-term rentals
|Episode 214 (Mar 21, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: zoning and short-term rentals, changes to the Smoking Ordinance, and the proposed changes to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance that was passed to a 2nd Reading at the Mon, Mar 20 City Council meeting
|Episode 211 (Mar 7, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Upcoming events, Police Commissioner search, new municipal election candidates
|Episode 212 (Mar 7, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: items discussed and acted on at the Mar 6 City Council meeting
|Episode 209 (Feb 28, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: School Committee member Kathleen Kelly - budget and more
|Episode 210 (Feb 28, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: civic opportunities, Feb 27 City Council highlights
|Episode 207 (Feb 21, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: effect of national politics on the Cambridge municipal elections, the current minibond sale, and the recent update by MIT about plans for the Volpe site
|Episode 208 (Feb 21, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Roundtable meeting of School Committee/City Council, municipal election candidates, Feb 13 City Council highlights, Inclusionary Zoning and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)
|Episode 205 (Feb 7, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Patriots' win, events in DC, civic opportunities, partial recap of Feb 6 City Council meeting
|Episode 206 (Feb 7, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Partial recap of Feb 6 City Council meeting, unfinished matters, roster of possible candidates for the 2017 Cambridge municipal election.
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
MIT's plans for Volpe site: mixed use, 1,000+ units (Feb 17, 2017 by James Sanna)
Council hits roadblock in effort to expand affordable housing (Feb 14, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
'Real momentum' on GLX, but questions remain (Feb 13, 2017 by Andy Metzger, State House News Service)
Residents rally resistance at town hall forum in Cambridge (Feb 9, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Council approves medical marijuana dispensary location rules (Feb 7, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
These are the ways Cambridge wants to rebuild Inman Square (Feb 7, 2017 by James Sanna)
School budget talks heat up in Cambridge (Feb 6, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Lawmakers expect to tackle millionaires tax this year (Feb 4, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Cambridge Community Foundation announces fall grants (Feb 2, 2017)
State of City: Mayor vows to push back against 'hateful national policies' (Feb 2, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
What's Cambridge doing to make city's streets safer? (Jan 30, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Police K9 Rumba won't retire with handler, will remain on the force (Jan 26, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Sharon school committee picks Cambridge administrator for superintendent (Jan 26, 2017 by Scott Calzolaio/Sharon Advocate Staff)
Cambridge, Somerville, Boston could lose grants in Trump's immigration crackdown (Jan 25, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Report: Contractor 'sorry' for massive Cambridge fire (Jan 25, 2017 by Shaun Chaiyabhat / WCVB)
Final price tag for Volpe Center land revealed (Jan 18, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
T.T. The Bear's owner could lose $225k if license buyer can't be found (Jan 13, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Bikers, water officials clash over trails (Jan 13, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Could advocates' merger boost Cambridge small businesses? (Jan 13, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Retired fire captain spends half-century documenting Cambridge's fire history (Jan 12, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
Late Danvers coach Kevin Flynn follows the blueprint of his Matignon mentor (Jan 11, 2017 by Joe McConnell)
Councilors attack delays to Central Square revitalization (Jan 11, 2017 by Monica Jimenez)
Crimson Corner looks to relocate, owner says he was forced out (Jan 9, 2017 by James Sanna)
Pizzeria seeking to open in Crimson Corner space (Jan 6, 2017)
Councilors divided on aggressiveness of affordable housing push (Jan 6, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Cambridge Rindge girls basketball sets sights on another state tourney (Jan 4 by Wayne Gethers)
Employers warn $15 minimum wage would be costly (Jan 3, 2017 by Colin A. Young, State House News Service)
Evenings with Experts 2017
First Wednesday of each month, February through May 2017, 7:00pm-8:30pm
A free public lecture series presented by Grow Native Massachusetts at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138
For more information, visit us at http://grownativemass.org/programs/eveningswithexperts, or call 781-790-8921.
CEUs Available for each lecture: APLD (1.5 credits); NOFA-AOLCP (4 credits)
May 3 - The Challenge of a Public Native Plant Garden: Maintenance, Interpretation and Compromise
Michael Hagen, Curator of the Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden’s new Native Plant Garden opened in 2013. Designed by Oehme van Sweden, it includes a diversity of microclimates on 3.5 acres of varied terrain with a planting plan of almost 100,000 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, and grasses. Curator Michael Hagen will explain how this garden is successfully maintained, and their criteria for what constitutes “native” in species selection and the use of cultivars. This very public landscape presents native plants in a contemporary style, with an emphasis on aesthetics over recreating habitat. Michael will share his observations about how the public perceives and responds to the value of this native plant palette, along with ideas for inspiring others to “go native.”
Michael Hagen is Curator of both the Native Plant Garden and the Rock Garden at NYBG. He previously served as Staff Horticulturist for over 11 years at Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York and was Garden Manager at Rocky Hills in Mt. Kisco, a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy.
Book Release - Building Old Cambridge by Susan E. Maycock and Charles M. Sullivan (published by MIT Press)
THE MUNICIPAL SITUATION IN CAMBRIDGE
A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904
BY HENRY N. WHEELER, PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE
PRECEDED BY A PROGRAM OF THE WORK OF THE LEAGUE FOR 1904
Cambridge 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 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 2015-2016 featured 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
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.
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)
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
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
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 - 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)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The 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.
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:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 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.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
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:
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
Which People's Republic
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
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:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
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“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 (rwinters.com)
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"