Cambridge Hosts Opportunity Fair for Youth Seeking Employment and Adults Hoping to Learn New Job Skills

The City of Cambridge in collaboration with Just-A-Start Corporation (JAS) will be hosting an Opportunities Fair on Mon, May 5, from 4:30-6:30pm, at Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge. The fair will provide a good opportunity for Cambridge youth seeking employment opportunities and adults interested in increasing their job skill set.

Information on education and training programs that will be at the fair includes:

The Opportunity Fair is open to all Cambridge residents and is sponsored by the City Cambridge and Just-A-Start Corporation. No registration is required. For more information on the fair, please contact Pardis Saffari at 617-349-4654 or via email at: psaffari@cambridgema.gov. For more information on the Just-A-Start Corporation, visit: http://www.justastart.org.


Mayor David Maher Announces 10th Anniversary Celebration of Same Sex Marriage
City was the First in the Nation to issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses a Decade Ago

Mayor MaherMayor David P. Maher announced today that a celebration will be held at Cambridge City Hall marking the 10th Anniversary of Same Sex Marriage on Friday, May 16th at 5pm, at 795 Massachusetts Avenue.

A watershed moment in the history of civil rights, the landmark Goodridge ruling designating the constitutional right of same sex marriages in Massachusetts occurred in 2004 and at midnight on May 16th, Cambridge was the first city in the United States to issue marriage licenses for same sex couples.

This year, Mayor Maher, along with the City Administration and the Cambridge GLBT Commission will celebrate this occasion by opening City Hall at 5pm on May 16th where couples may take or renew their vows to mark this historic moment. The event will also include hors d’oeuvres, live music and a speaking program.

Couples who wish to take or renew their vows during this celebration and should contact Mayor Maher’s Office at (617) 349-4321 or mayor@cambridgema.gov for more information.


Recent & Upcoming Broadcasts of Cambridge InsideOutCambridge InsideOut

April 15 - Cambridge InsideOut with guest Dennis Carlone

April 8 - Cambridge InsideOut with guest Dennis Benzan

April 1 - Cambridge InsideOut with guest Saul Tannenbaum: municipal broadband and civic technology

Upcoming programs:

April 22 with Mayor David Maher

April 29 with City Councillor Leland Cheung

May 6 with City Councillor Nadeem Mazen

May 13 - surprise guest!

May 20 with City Councillor Craig Kelley

Watch Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm. The co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters.


2014 Annual City Census

The Cambridge Election Commission has mailed the 2014 Annual City Census Form to all Cambridge households. Residents are urged to comply by completing the Census Form and returning it in the postage prepaid envelope that was provided.

The City is required to conduct the Annual Census under Massachusetts state law and provides residents with their only official proof of city residency. All residents, regardless of citizenship and voter registration status, are required to answer the Census. State law requires that voters who do not answer the Census shall be removed from the active voting list and may be removed from the Voter Registration rolls.

The census mailing includes the Census Form, Census Instructions in five languages and a Voter Registration Request Form. If you have any questions, you may call the Election Commission at 617-349-4361 during city office hours:
Monday, 8:30am–8:00pm
Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30am–5:00pm
Friday, 8:30am–Noon


Cambridge City Manager Seeks Members for New Citizens Committee on Civic Unity

City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking residents and interested members of the Cambridge community (including private sector and municipal employees, business owners, students and others) to become a part of a new Citizen Committee on Civic Unity.

The Citizen Committee on Civic Unity will serve in an advisory role to the City Council and City Manager, will engage the public and will provide opportunities for constructive discussions regarding race, class, religion, gender, disability and sexual orientation, in order to actively promote equity, fairness and unity within the city organizational structure and the broader Cambridge community.

It is anticipated that the Committee will hold regular monthly meetings which may include presentations by guest speakers, city staff and various experts. The Committee’s work is intended to be ongoing, and specific initiatives and goals will be created as this new process moves forward.

Prospective members should send a letter via mail, email or fax by Friday, May 2, 2014 briefly describing the applicant’s interest in committee, relevant background, skills and experience they might bring to the process to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Email: Citymanager@cambridgema.gov
Ph. 617-349-4300; Fax 617-349-4307


Race to Solar launches in Cambridge and Boston
Bringing local non-profits and small businesses attractive solar energy options and energy savings

Mayor David P. Maher of Cambridge and Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston this week launched the Race to Solar, a program for local non-profits and small businesses to increase the adoption of solar power installations and energy efficiency measures. Race to Solar is a partnership with Renew Boston, NSTAR, National Grid, and Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) to promote energy efficiency upgrades and make solar power more affordable and accessible for non-profits, including houses of worship and schools, and small businesses that own their buildings.

“Providing energy upgrades that are affordable is one of Cambridge’s top priorities,” says Mayor Maher. “In order to combat the effects of global climate change, our City, our local businesses and our non-profits now have the distinct advantage that the Race to Solar program provides. We’re proud to support this initiative and to help our local non-profits to take advantage of the cost-savings, energy-efficiency and green solutions offered by photo-voltaic systems.”

“Solar has been taking off in Boston and I am pleased to work with the City of Cambridge to bring solar to organizations that serve and do business right in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Walsh. “Boston is a leader in providing its non-profits and businesses the tools to be sustainable and we must continue to ‘greenovate’ our city.”

Through the Race to Solar, organizations will be able to take advantage of a competitively priced option for installing solar power. To participate, non-profits and small businesses must own their buildings, have suitable site conditions for a solar installation, and be in good financial standing. The goal of Race to Solar is to promote and facilitate the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems on the buildings of 40 local non-profit organizations, adding approximately 1 megawatt of clean, renewable electric power capacity to Boston and Cambridge. SunBug Solar was selected as the solar installer through a competitive RFP process and won based on their experience, quality of work, and attractive offer.

Participating non-profits and small businesses must engage in an energy evaluation and upgrade through NSTAR and National Grid’s Direct Install program, and help to promote the program to other businesses within their own networks. In this manner the Race to Solar helps not only non-profits, but also local businesses. Small businesses and energy efficiency are both strong drivers of local jobs, making the community more economically and environmentally sustainable.

Race to Solar empowers non-profits to invest in solar energy systems, by first reducing their utility bills through an energy upgrade and helping small businesses to do the same,” Ashka Naik, Executive Director of HEET. "This is a win-win for the non-profit and their community."

The Race to Solar program is designed to help non-profits and their communities achieve energy savings and invest in clean renewable solar energy systems. To learn more about the Race to Solar and speak directly with program providers, please attend one of these upcoming technical workshops:
Wednesday, Apr 30, 10am-12pm, Cambridge City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Cambridge
Thursday, May 1, 6-8pm, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 239 Harvard St., Cambridge
Thursday, May 15, 6-8pm, Curtis Hall, 20 South St., Jamaica Plain
Tuesday, May 20, 6-8pm, Carpenter’s Center, 750 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester

For more information about the Race to Solar program, call 1-617-HEET-350 or visit www.racetosolar.org.


Cambridge Senior Center to host Poetry Reading and Writing Workshops

The Cambridge Citywide Senior Center will host two poetry reading and writing workshops in the coming weeks led by Cambridge Poet Populist Lo Galluccio as part of National Poetry Month and Senior Citizen Month. Norma Roth, Senior Activist, Educator and Author will also be on hand to read from her own works. The theme for the upcoming workshops will be Aging Gracefully, Aging Defiantly.

Tuesday, Apr 29, 1-3pm, Citywide Senior Center, 806 Mass. Ave.
Tuesday, May 6, 1-3pm, Citywide Senior Center, 806 Mass. Ave.

For more information or to sign up to attend, call the Citywide Senior Center at 617-349-6060.


Cambridge’s Annual Commemoration of the Holocaust
Wednesday, May 7, 7:00 to 9:00pm, Temple Beth Shalom, 8 Tremont St., Cambridge

Peace FlameRecalling all who perished during the Holocaust, this year’s program features an evening of music, candle lighting, and remembrance. The guest speaker is Israel “Izzy” Arbeiter. Mr. Arbeiter is a Holocaust survivor and lifelong human rights activist who lost several family members – including both of his parents – in the Holocaust. He spent five years imprisoned by the Third Reich in labor camps and concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and at one point played dead to avoid being executed.

For over 60 years, Mr. Arbeiter has dedicated his life to commemorating the Holocaust and to educating others about it. He has stood up and spoken for the rights of survivors of all races and religions, demanding that the world must remember what has happened, to understand why it happened, and to identify the seeds from which hate grows.

Music will be provided by cellist Lily Bouvier, the Cambridge Community Chorus, and the Cambridge Rindge & Latin School Vocal Ensemble.

The program is free, open to all, and wheelchair accessible. It welcomes all communities of Cambridge – including children and adults and people of all faiths and traditions. For more information contact the Cambridge Peace Commission at peace@cambridgema.gov or 617.349.4694 – or visit www.cambridgema.gov/peace.

Temple Beth Shalom is located just off Broadway at 8 Tremont St., between Hampshire St. and Broadway (Tremont St. is one block east of Prospect St., between Central and Inman squares). Limited free parking is available.


Master Plan Mythology and other Big Items on the Apr 7, 2014 City Council Agenda

City HallThere has been a great deal of myth-making in Cambridge over the last couple of years that, arguably, began with the "Central Squared" report from the "Red Ribbon Commission on the Delights and Concerns of Central Square" in December 2011. One of the more emphasized recommendations in that report was for the development of a significant amount of new housing (primarily targeting middle-income residents) in the Central Square area. This led to the formation of a group called "Essex Street Neighbors" who, along with other Area Four activists, opposed this concept and promptly filed a zoning petition to obstruct any such future plans. Even as most planners embraced principles of transit oriented development and smart growth, these residents moved in exactly the opposite direction by advocating for the preservation of surface parking lots and a decrease in density in the vicinity of transit in Central Square.

Their petition was eventually allowed to expire and the group re-branded itself as the Cambridge Residents Alliance (CRA) as it added activist partners including key players with the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods (ACN). As the "K2C2 process" got underway with the goal of making recommendations for Kendall Square (K2) and Central Square (C2) and the areas in between, the newly branded Cambridge Residents Alliance continued to oppose any zoning petitions or recommendations that might result in added density (including new housing). One part of their rhetorical arsenal was a call for a "citywide master plan" in the wake of what their group has characterized as a "tsunami of development". The clear implication in all of their rhetoric was that new development - primarily housing development - was being done with little or no guidance from the Planning Board or the Community Development Department and with minimal attention paid to transportation concerns.

That rhetoric continued unabated during the 2013 municipal election season as the Cambridge Residents Alliance and its Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods partners were ever-present at campaign events and actively tried to lure candidates over to their way of thinking - with some success. They ultimately endorsed just one candidate - Dennis Carlone - who was elected and who subsequently took on Mike Connolly as his "council aide". Mr. Connolly continues to be listed as the Secretary of the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods and is a primary communications person for the Cambridge Residents Alliance even though he is now being subsidized by the City of Cambridge. While these personal council aide positions have been filled with political supporters of the respective councillors from the beginning, never has the position become as overtly political as it has now become with the hiring of Mr. Connolly.

The CRA/ACN activists have continued their political organizing this year by targeting residents in areas where new housing has been built or where it is proposed to be built. In every instance the rhetoric is of the "tsunami of development" or "unbridled development".

It is interesting that the agenda of the April 7 City Council meeting includes not only an Order (from Councillors Carlone, Mazen, and Simmons) that is the capstone of the master plan mythology crafted over the last two years, but also an alternative Order (from Mayor Maher, Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor McGovern) that offers a much more factual point of view and, most significantly, an acknowledgment that the Planning Board and the Community Development Department have actually been doing their job and carrying out established City Council policies in recent years - including the development of new housing in accordance with smart growth principals and overall policies promoted by regional entities such as the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).

I find the discussion of the need for a "master plan" for Cambridge to be, on the one hand, naive and, on the other hand, disingenuous. Though I have not examined the zoning codes from other cities in great detail, I seriously doubt whether there are too many with as much detail as Cambridge's Zoning Ordinance. It's VERY prescriptive with its wide variety of overlay districts and planned unit developments. Cambridge's Zoning Ordinance coupled with its Growth Policy Document (initiated 20 years ago and updated several years ago) really does give a very comprehensive picture of Cambridge's "master plan". Cambridge officials are also ever-present at all regional planning meetings - especially those involving transportation planning.

Perhaps the real reason for all the talk now and during the recent City Council election about a "master plan" comes down to a single overriding policy and not actually about a master plan or any failings in the zoning code. That single policy is that housing is encouraged (with associated incentives in the zoning ordinance) on sites that were formally commercial or industrial. If you look at most of the significant housing developments now or recently under construction you'll find that most of these replaced non-housing uses. This policy is also very consistent with all of the regional plans developed and promoted by the MAPC and other regional planning entities.

I believe most planners, including Dennis Carlone, will tell you that housing is not a major contributor to motor vehicle traffic - at least not compared to commercial uses. If traffic is what's getting the activists' panties in a twist, they should not be looking at new housing as the cause for their discomfort. My sense has been that you can look to pass-through traffic in the Alewife area as the primary cause of any trouble there and not to anything recently or currently being built in Cambridge. The simple fact is that the highway part of Route 2 ends abruptly at Alewife and all that traffic has to connect to their destinations somehow, and it does lead to a ripple effect that clogs things up elsewhere.

There is also a fair amount of regional traffic that simply passes through parts of Cambridge at the eastern end in order to connect to arterials such as the Mass Pike. The River Street/Prospect Street corridor is problematic because it's a major connection from the Mass Pike. Unless a "Master Plan" intends to build new arterials to relieve the traffic, and we all know that will not and should not happen, then the call for a "master plan" is little more than a populist myth designed to win votes or, perhaps more correctly, a disguised effort to stop the development of new housing.

Here are a few more specific comments on the meeting agenda items:

Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments of the following persons as members of the Central Square Advisory Committee as set out in Section 20.300 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Though I was personally very pleased to be reappointed to the CSAC, it was especially refreshing to see among the appointees a number of new names. This is a hopeful sign. The CSAC is purely advisory and has no actual regulatory authority, but it has the potential to be very helpful in facilitating community discussion on matters relating to Central Square. I look forward to the expanded role that has been proposed for the body.

Manager's Agenda #8. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-09, regarding a report on the status of the new Lechmere Station development and plans for the current Lechmere site.

I'll simply quote from the last paragraph: "Redevelopment on the current Lechmere Station site is permitted as part of an approved PUD master plan for the North Point area (Planning Board Special Permit #179). Part of the current station site will accommodate a northerly extension of First Street to Monsignor O’Brien Highway. The remaining land is permitted for residential development with a maximum height of 65 feet, with retail uses and plaza space at the ground level. Redevelopment would be contingent upon completion of the new station and transfer of the land to the private developer." This has the potential to really transform this site into something far better than is there today.

Manager's Agenda #13. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow an additional $11,000,000 to provide funds for construction and other associated costs of the King School project.

The additional cost will likely surprise no one. Bear in mind that this is just the first in a series of what will certainly be several more very expensive school replacement projects associated with the plans embodied in the School Departments "Innovation Agenda".

Order #7. That the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee is requested to review and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the Council Aide positions.   Mayor Maher

I am intrigued by the introduction of this Order at this time. While I have consistently questioned the idea of personal aides for city councillors, I have never questioned the need for adequate staffing. I have to wonder if the overt politicization of the council aide positions this year has anything to do with the timing of this Order. My other concern is that our well-paid councillors may actually want to turn these into full-time positions - an absurd proposition without justification, but not an impossibility.

Order #8. That the Zoning Ordinances of the City of Cambridge be amended to limit the number of non-locally owned financial institutions not to exceed the number of existing established financial institutions; said limit be in the overlay districts of Central, Harvard and Kendall Squares.   Councillor Cheung

I can't imagine any way that this could be done consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth or the United States Constitution.

Order #14. That the City Manager is requested to support the intent of the Master Plan initiative which seeks to provide the City Council, its committees, City Staff, members of the public, and all interested stakeholders with an opportunity to further explore traffic congestion, transportation financing, pedestrian safety, resident parking, and a desire for enhanced multi-modal transit infrastructure throughout the city.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor Simmons and Councillor Mazen

Order #15. That the Cambridge Community Development Department shall hold a series of public meetings to discuss the range of planning and zoning issues that have recently been in active discussion across the city, including, but not limited to, all varieties of housing (such as affordable, middle income, or other types of housing units), the amount, type and location of new and existing development, pre-fabricated units, transportation, congestion, open space, streetscape design, building design, sustainability, infrastructure and economic development with recommendations for moving forward on short range and long range planning work that is recommended as an outgrowth of these discussions.   Mayor Maher, Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor McGovern

See comments above. I only hope that the greater wisdom prevails and that the Order from Mayor Maher, Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor McGovern picks up a clear majority of votes. Professional courtesy and collegiality notwithstanding, I hope that if any part the "Master Plan" order is approved then it should be radically amended to remove the various references to noble goals that would, in fact, be thwarted by its underlying goal of slowing or stopping the construction of new housing in Cambridge.

Order #16. That the City Council urgently requests that MassDOT start the permitting process for underpasses for Anderson Memorial Bridge, Western Avenue Bridge and River Street Bridge immediately, given that MassDOT has changed its construction and design plans for all three of the above bridges where it is now possible for the timely addition of underpasses to such plans   Mayor Maher and Councillor Carlone

Though I may find the notion of bike/pedestrian pathway without street crossings along the Charles River quite appealing, I'm also quite respectful of the cost and engineering difficulties associated with such a plan. I could imagine ways to do this at the BU Bridge or the Anderson Memorial Bridge, but it's much more difficult to see a way to make this so at either the Western Avenue Bridge and River Street Bridge (or, for that matter, at the Mass. Ave. bridge). - Robert Winters

Comments?

 

City of Cambridge Fair Housing Award Ceremony April 16

April is Fair Housing Month and the Cambridge Human Rights Commission is hosting the 21st Annual Fair Housing Awards Ceremony Wed, Apr 16, 5-7pm, at Cambridge City Hall, Sullivan Chamber, 795 Massachusetts Ave. Refreshments will be served.

The keynote speaker is Barbara Chandler, Senior Advisor on Civil Rights and Fair Housing, Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership and the Master of Ceremonies is Erika Tarantal, Anchor & Reporter of WCVB NewsCenter 5.

Student winners of the Fair Housing Poster and Essay Contest in grades 5-8 will be awarded. The public is welcome.


City Offers Scholarships to Entrepreneurs through New Cambridge Entrepreneurship Assistance Program

The City of Cambridge Department of Community Development is pleased to announce its new Cambridge Entrepreneurship Assistance Program (CEAP) providing five scholarships to HUD-eligible Cambridge early-stage entrepreneurs in clean energy, consumer products, high tech and life science industries. The program provides these entrepreneurs with the opportunity to participate in The Capital Network’s six-month Accelerated Education Program (AEP) series on fundraising education.

The CEAP is a great example of the City leveraging a collaborative approach to helping residents and emerging Cambridge entrepreneurs through the creative investing of federal funding.” said City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “This program furthers Cambridge’s ongoing commitment to assisting residents and businesses in predominantly low-moderate income areas in the City.

The Capital Network (TCN) is a non-profit organization that provides extensive financial education alongside an engaged community to help early-stage entrepreneurs in the Greater Boston area. TCN’s Accelerated Education Program is a rotating six month program series on fundraising education for early-state entrepreneurs. Four months of the program is a series of educational workshops and seminars and an additional two months of the program provide participants access to roundtables and pitch practices with investors.

Christopher Mirabile, the Managing Director Launchpad Venture Group said, "As an investor, my job is much easier if an entrepreneur has been through AEP - they are versed in the key issues and grounded in the fundamentals."

The CEAP program will be offering office hours on Thurs, Apr 17, from 4:30-6:30pm, at Venture Café, One Broadway (Cambridge) for those interested in learning more about the program. Program applications will be taken on a competitive basis until the deadline of May 16, 2014. Applications will be reviewed and approved to make sure candidates are a good fit for the program. Applications can be found online one the Program’s website here: http://bit.ly/CEAP2014

For more information about the program or to obtain an application, contact Pardis Saffari at 617.349.4654 or psaffari@cambridgema.gov.


City of Cambridge Patriots' Day Observance April 21

The Cambridge Veterans’ Organization (CVO) and the City of Cambridge’s Department of Veterans’ Services will hold their annual Patriots' Day Observance on Mon, April 21 at 10:45am, at the Washington Monument located on the Cambridge Common.

Philip Anderson, CVO President, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Mayor David P. Maher will extend the City’s greetings. Cambridge City Councilor Marc McGovern will deliver the keynote address.

The event will be highlighted by a reenactment of Patriot William Dawes, Jr., historic horseback ride from Boston to Cambridge alerting the colonists of the British threat of 1775.  General Dawes, dressed in colonial garb, will deliver the alert to Mayor Maher.  A memorial wreath will be laid at General George Washington’s monument and the CVO Firing Team will render a Rifle Salute followed by the blowing of TAPS by bugler, Greg Gettle.

A Cambridge Rindge & Latin School Drama student will read the Governor’s Patriots’ Day Proclamation. A CRLS music student will sing the National Anthem and God Bless America.

For more information, call Cambridge Veterans’ Services at 617-349-4761, TTY 617-492-0235 or visit www.cambridgema.gov/vet.


Affirmative Action Advisory Committee Vacancy

City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking members for the city’s Affirmative Action Advisory Committee (AAAC). This committee reviews policies affecting municipal employment and its impact on affirmative action issues and serves in an advisory capacity to the city’s Director of Affirmative Action, Personnel Director and the City Manager. In this role, the AAAC:

Interested persons should send a letter of interest and/or resume via e-mail, mail or fax by Friday, April 25 to:
Richard Rossi, City Manager, City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4300; Fax 617-349-4307
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov


Upcoming Civic Opportunities

Thurs, Apr 17

5:30pm   The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct an additional public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code to reduce plastic bag usage.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, Apr 23

5:30pm   Cambridge Election Commission meeting.  (1st Floor Meeting Room, 51 Inman St.)

I. MINUTES

II. REPORTS

1. Executive Director’s Report

2. Assistant Director's Report

3. Commissioners' Reports

III. PUBLIC COMMENT

IV. ACTION AGENDA

Unfinished Business

1. 2014 Annual City Census

New Business

1. Annual Organizational Meeting

Mon, Apr 28

5:30pm   City Council meeting - Budget Overview  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, May 5

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Thurs, May 8

9:00am   The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss FY2015 City Budget. This hearing to be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

11:00am   Hearing on MBTA plan to convert billboard at Broadway & Galileo Galilei Way to digital  (Transportation Bldg., 10 Park Plaza, Boston, Hearing Rm. 5 & 6)

Protest letters can also be sent to the Mass. Office of Outdoor Advertising at OOAinformation@dot.state.ma.us. [Meeting agenda]

Mon, May 12

4:00pm   2014 Scholarship Award Ceremony (Sullivan Chamber)

5:30pm   Roundtable City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Roundtable/Working Meeting for the purpose of the City Manager and appropriate City staff to provide the City Council with an overview of the capital budget and capital projects. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised.

Thurs, May 15

9:00am   The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss FY2015 City Budget. This hearing to be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, May 19

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, May 21

6:00pm   The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss FY2015 School Department Budget. This hearing to be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Thurs, May 22

9:00am   The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss FY2015 City Budget - if necessary. This hearing to be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, June 2

5:30pm   City Council meeting - Budget Adoption  (Sullivan Chamber)


Noteworthy Items from the March 24, 2014 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Here are a few interesting items. Additional comments may follow.

Manager's Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-10, regarding the feasibility of establishing an online list or map that indicates all outstanding pothole repair requests. ["In response to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-10, regarding the feasibility of establishing an online list or map that indicates all outstanding pothole repair requests, I am happy to report that this option is now available on the City's website at: http://www.cambridgema.gov/iReport/mapofopenservicerequestsforpotholes."]

Manager's Agenda #7. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-16, regarding a report on the status of the First Street Garage RFP process. [The last statement says it all: "I will take no further action as to this proposed disposition until I receive further guidance from the City Council."]

Manager's Agenda #8. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a recommendation from the Planning Board that the Council not adopt the Linear Park Zoning Petition. [Planning Board report]

Manager's Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $1,720,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Public Works Other Ordinary Maintenance account to cover winter 2013-2014 snowstorm expenses associated with snow plowing contracts, salt and other material and repair costs.

Manager's Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a request for the City Council to move to Executive Session to discuss pending litigation in the case of Soto vs City of Cambridge. [Read the complaint here: http://www.universalhub.com/files/soto-complaint.pdf]

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with City staff and report back to the Council on the possibility of instituting a parking sticker system that allows limited non-residential ability to purchase stickers to park on residential streets during normal weekday working hours.    Councillor Kelley

Order #2. That the Mayor is requested to confer with relevant members of the School Department and the School Committee and report back to the City Council on the status of any CPS efforts to ascertain why students choose Charter Schools over CPS options and any subsequent efforts by CPS to bring those students back into the District.    Councillor Kelley and Councillor Carlone

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to search for and examine any companies that could potentially offer to deploy fiber optic internet in the city.    Councillor Cheung

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department to draft proposed language that will allow for the inclusionary zoning formula to be based on the gross square footage of a project rather than like units.    Mayor Maher

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Assistant City Manager for Human Services to report to the City Council on the implementation of a city-wide job fair exclusively for Cambridge residents.    Vice Mayor Benzan

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to appoint a task force composed of experts, residents, the Cambridge Housing Authority, and representatives from the local universities charged with developing a municipal broadband proposal for Cambridge, potentially also including extension of city fiber into public housing properties.    Councillor Mazen, Councillor Cheung and Councillor Carlone

Order #11. That the City Manager is requested to seek a legal opinion from the City Solicitor on whether the Sullivan Courthouse qualifies as a pre-existing nonconforming structure and to report back to the City Council and Planning Board with this legal opinion.    Councillor Toomey

Comments?

March 18, 2014 edition of Cambridge InsideOut with Tim Toomey

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 45 with Tim Toomey (Part 1).
This episode broadcast on March 18, 2014 at 5:30pm.
Susana Segat and Robert Winters are the hosts. Topics discussed were:
(1) Tim's role as senior member of the Cambridge City Council,
(2) reflections on the years of the CCA and the dominant rent control issue,
(3) middle-income housing and Inclusionary Zoning,
(4) the status of the Sullivan Courthouse building,
(5) changes in Kendall Square over the years,
(6) effect of projects never built - NASA, the Inner Belt, and the Kennedy Library,
(7) Grand Junction possibilities, and
(8) the importance of constituent services.
[Watch on YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 46 with Tim Toomey (Part 2).
This episode broadcast on March 18, 2014 at 6:00pm.
Susana Segat and Robert Winters are the hosts. Topics discussed were:
(1) "Rule 10 Day" at the state legislature,
(2) the status of the election reform bill,
(3) upcoming initiative petitions,
(4) medical marijuana dispensaries,
(5) the Foundry and possible role of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority,
(6) possible changes to the PR Count,
(7) MIT graduate student housing, and
(8) Women's History Month.
[Watch on YouTube]

Comments?

Mar 18 - Central Square Advisory Committee members appointed by City Manager

Central SquareCity Manager Richard Rossi has appointed the following people to the Central Square Advisory Committee:

In addition to the long-standing responsibilities of the committee in the Central Square Overlay District section of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance, it is expected that the committee will meet with much greater frequency in the future and also advise on the non-zoning recommendations that grew out of the Central Square part of the recent K2C2 process.

Central Square Advisory Committee website (Community Development Department)

Roster of all Cambridge Boards & Commissions (updated as new members are appointed)


Kingsley Park to Close April – September 2014 for Critical Restoration Work

The Cambridge Water Department (CWD) will begin Phase I of The Kingsley Park Restoration Project at Fresh Pond Reservation on April 1, 2014, kicking-off a much-needed overhaul of the park.

To protect the public’s safety and for the restoration’s success, Kingsley Park will be closed from April 1 – September 1, 2014. CWD is also asking for the public’s cooperation in keeping all dogs leashed while on path detours, and to stay out of fenced vegetation recovery areas once the park is re-opened. CWD will hold a public meeting (date TBD) regarding the project before work begins at Kingsley Park.

This multi-phased project aims to preserve and improve the historic, recreational and ecological resources of Kingsley Park. Targeted during this first phase are improvements to accessibility, pathways and benches, irrigation and drainage, native species habitat, historic overlooks and the addition of discovery zones for children. The Water Department understands that the closure is inconvenient, but the restoration is necessary for the long-term health of the Reservation.

Over the past century, Kingsley Park has been used intensively for recreation and is visited by several hundred people on a busy day. However, Kingsley Park’s ultimate function – like the all of Fresh Pond Reservation – is to be a protective buffer around Fresh Pond, Cambridge’s raw drinking water supply. The high volume of use at Kingsley Park has impacted its ecological health and water protection capacity, as well as its recreational infrastructure. The project has been vetted through extensive public and design processes, which began in 2011, and is a high priority of the Fresh Pond Reservation Master Plan.

To address recreational needs at Kingsley Park, the restoration work will include:

To remediate rising ecological stresses on Kingsley Park, the restoration work will include:

Updates on the Kingsley Restoration Project and the upcoming public meeting are available on the CWD projects webpage at www.cambridgema.gov/water/projects. The public can also follow the CWD on Facebook and Twitter for real-time updates related to the Cambridge water supply and Fresh Pond Reservation. Concerned community members are encouraged to contact CWD staff at 617-349-6489 or fpr@cambridgema.gov.


Nominations Sought for 2014 Outstanding City Employee Awards

Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking nominations for the 2014 Outstanding City Employee Awards program which recognizes employees for exemplary performance and contributions that go above and beyond job requirements.

Cambridge city government is made up of dedicated employees who strive to provide a high level of quality services to all its citizens. The annual awards ceremony provides a special opportunity to give some well deserved recognition to a handful of deserving individuals. Winners will be recognized at a special awards ceremony on Friday, May 9, 2014.

Outstanding City Employee Awards are designed to recognize contributions that are above and beyond job requirements. Criteria for determining outstanding performance include:

All city employees are eligible for nomination. Anyone who lives or works in Cambridge may nominate an employee for recognition and there is no limit as to how many employees may be nominated. A separate Nomination Form or letter must be submitted for each employee. An employee may not nominate her or his own supervisor or department head for recognition.

Online Nomination Forms can be accessed from this news story posted on the city’s website, www.cambridgema.gov. A signed nomination letter may be submitted instead of the nomination form. Completed nominations must be submitted to the Personnel Department by Friday, April 11, 2014. In addition, you may e-mail nominations to mcarvello@cambridgema.gov or fax to the Personnel Department at 617-349-4312.

For more information, contact Maryellen Carvello at mcarvello@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-4301.

Comments?


Broadband, Bikes, and Buildings - March 17, 2014 City Council Agenda highlights

One highlight of this meeting is the annual presentation of the water/sewer rates for the upcoming Fiscal Year (FY15). The rest of the meeting could well be dominated by the ongoing saga of the future of two East Cambridge buildings - the Foundry building and the former Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse. But first, the water and sewer:

Manager's Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the block rates for water consumption and sewer use for the period beginning Apr 1, 2014 and ending Mar 31, 2015. [City Manager's Letter]

This will be the 4th straight year of no increases in the water rate. Sewer rates continue to see moderate increases. Here's the 10-year history of water/sewer rate increases (rates are per CcF, i.e. 100 cu. ft., approx. 750 gallons):

Ten Year History of Water/Sewer Rate Increases

Percent Increases (Water) FY06 FY07 FY08 FY09 FY10 FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15 10 Year FY15 Rate
Block 1 0 – 40 CcF 0.0% 4.0% 0.0% 2.1% 2.8% 1.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.6% $3.02
Block 2 41 – 400 CcF 0.0% 3.7% 0.0% 2.0% 2.6% 1.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.2% $3.24
Block 3 401 – 2,000 CcF 0.0% 3.9% 0.0% 2.2% 2.7% 1.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.6% $3.44
Block 4 2,001 - 10,000 CcF 0.0% 3.9% 0.0% 2.0% 2.6% 1.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.3% $3.65
Block 5 Over 10,000 CcF 0.0% 3.9% 0.0% 2.2% 2.6% 1.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.6% $3.96
Percent Increases (Sewer) FY06 FY07 FY08 FY09 FY10 FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15 10 Year FY15 Rate
Block 1 0 – 40 CcF 7.6% 8.1% 0.0% 4.8% 7.9% 8.0% 0.0% 0.0% 4.2% 5.3% 55.6% $8.62
Block 2 41 – 400 CcF 7.5% 8.1% 0.0% 4.8% 7.8% 7.9% 0.0% 0.0% 4.2% 5.2% 55.4% $9.12
Block 3 401 – 2,000 CcF 7.5% 8.1% 0.0% 4.8% 8.0% 7.9% 0.0% 0.0% 4.3% 5.2% 55.4% $9.79
Block 4 2,001 - 10,000 CcF 7.5% 8.1% 0.0% 4.8% 7.9% 7.8% 0.0% 0.0% 4.2% 5.2% 55.2% $10.54
Block 5 Over 10,000 CcF 7.5% 8.1% 0.0% 4.8% 7.8% 7.9% 0.0% 0.0% 4.2% 5.2% 55.3% $11.21
Percent Increases (Combined) FY06 FY07 FY08 FY09 FY10 FY11 FY12 FY13 FY14 FY15 10 Year FY15 Rate
Block 1 0 – 40 CcF 5.1% 6.8% 0.0% 4.0% 6.3% 6.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.0% 3.8% 40.7% $11.64
Block 2 41 – 400 CcF 5.0% 6.7% 0.0% 4.0% 6.2% 6.1% 0.0% 0.0% 3.0% 3.8% 40.3% $12.36
Block 3 401 – 2,000 CcF 5.0% 6.8% 0.0% 4.0% 6.4% 6.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.1% 3.8% 40.6% $13.23
Block 4 2,001 - 10,000 CcF 5.0% 6.8% 0.0% 4.0% 6.3% 6.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.0% 3.8% 40.5% $14.19
Block 5 Over 10,000 CcF 5.0% 6.8% 0.0% 4.0% 6.3% 6.1% 0.0% 0.0% 3.0% 3.8% 40.5% $15.17

Cambridge does a good job at delivering great water inexpensively. Sewerage costs considerably more.

Manager's Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $150,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Community Development Extraordinary Expenditures account which will be used to hire a team of technical consultants to work with the Getting to Net Zero Task Force and City staff and provide subject matter advice and analysis.

It will be interesting to see where this task force eventually goes. One route could be to regulate and tax everyone into submission. Hopefully something better will come of these efforts, e.g. programs to enable homes and workplaces to be made greatly more energy efficient with associated long-term cost savings.

Resolution #16. Resolution on the death of Rosemary "Rosy" White.   Mayor Maher

Resolution #27. Resolution on the death of Steven Brion-Meisels.   Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor McGovern

I didn't know Steven Brion-Meisels, but I knew of him. Marc McGovern's comment sums him up pretty well: "He was one of the most gentle, considerate, peaceful people I have ever met and he did a great deal for the children of Cambridge."

I have personally known Rosy White for over 20 years. I originally met her when she served as the campaign manager for City Council candidate (and former State Rep.) Elaine Noble who ran in 1991 and 1993. I will always value Rosy's great sense of humor which is the most important quality anyone can possess.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to direct the City Solicitor to develop proposed ordinance language that will limit the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in the City of Cambridge to individuals 21 years of age or older.   Councillor McGovern, Mayor Maher and Councillor Carlone

As with the campaign a decade ago to prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants, and other indoor spaces, I find myself straddling the line between personal freedom and regulation for the well-being of those directly affected by the noxious behavior of others. This proposed ordinance would forbid the sale to anyone under 21 years of age "any product containing, made, or derived from tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption, whether smoked, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff, or electronic cigarettes, electronic cigars, electronic pipes, or other similar products that rely on vaporization or aerosolization."

If the residents of Cambridge and Massachusetts find acceptable restricting anyone younger than 21 from buying or consuming alcoholic beverages, they'll probably be agreeable to applying the same standard to tobacco products. If this is to be the law, I'm glad the proposal applies to so-called "e-cigarettes". I actually find these to be more disturbing than actual smoking. They seem more like an acknowledgement of addiction than the burning and inhalation of tobacco, and it's only a matter of time before their apparatus is modified to inhale other substances. Perhaps the next generation of products will involve direct intraveneous injection without the need to soil the lungs.

Bike PostOrder #8. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to develop a City parking ticket for parking in bike lanes.   Councillor Kelley

Order #12. That the City Manager is requested to consult with appropriate City staff, cyclists and others in an attempt to figure out a more effective way for cyclists to use public bike parking for short, medium and long-term bike storage to alleviate the problem of abandoned bikes clogging bike parking facilities and to ensure that cyclists have appropriate public space in which to lock their bikes.   Councillor Kelley

I'm with Councillor Kelley 100% regarding the clearing of derelict bikes that are now cluttering up all the City's bike posts. I spoke with DPW Commissioner Owen O'Riordan about this a few days ago and my understanding is that DPW will be ramping up the tagging and removal very soon. I can agree with people using them short term where they live, but they really should bring their bikes into their buildings or elsewhere on the property rather than using up City-funded facilities for private use. This can be a real conflict in mixed residential/commercial areas.

I'm also in agreement regarding unnecessary parking in bike lanes, but I'm willing to acknowledge that sometimes this is unavoidable, especially with some delivery vehicles. They also park at taxi stands and bus stops for short periods when options are limited. One thing I do not agree with is giving a hard time to delivery vehicles that park in so-called "cycle tracks" at street grade level where the City has mandated that motor vehicles may not park next to the curb because they want bikes to ride between the parked vehicles and the curb. This is an abysmally bad idea in places where deliveries must be made. I know that some members of the Cambridge Bicycle Committee have been irritated by such occurrences on Ames Street, but my sympathies lie with the delivery vehicle drivers there. The natural place for motor vehicles to park will always be right next to the curb.

Order #10. That the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee hold an appropriate number of public hearings to investigate internet access issues in Cambridge, to include possible expansion of the City's fiber optic network and use by private entities and business of that network.   Councillor Kelley

Communications #6. A communication was received from Saul Tannenbaum, 16 Cottage Street regarding the case for Municipal Broadband in Cambridge.

I've been hearing about this now for over a decade and at one point even volunteered the roof of my building to install equipment to further the goal. As near as I can tell, all of the City's efforts have gone nowhere. Perhaps the best course of action would be for a group of movers and shakers to form their own task force, develop some resources, and make this happen with minimal City involvement. Rumor has it that there are a few entrepreneurs living in Cambridge who know a thing or two about such things.

Order #13. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on the status of the First Street Garage RFP process and that the City Council urge the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance and the developer of the Sullivan Courthouse to work together to reduce the height, traffic, and environmental impacts of the developer's proposal so as to gain community support and resolve the uncertainty that surrounds the project.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen, Councillor McGovern and Councillor Toomey

It's anybody's guess how this matter will ultimately be resolved, but it seems certain that unless the Commonwealth intervenes in an active way (which may mean accepting a lot more of the financial burden in the disposition of this property), the eventual outcome could be something that's loved by nobody. I do wish people would use better comparatives when assessing the impact of the various proposals. For example, any measure of traffic impact should compare with the property when it was actively used as a courthouse/jail and not during recent years when sagebrush could have been blowing through the near-vacant property. Perhaps the worst-case outcome would be for the Commonwealth's selected developer, Legatt-McCall, to just build whatever they can as-of-right in this nonconforming property. The trickiest part of this Council Order may be the potential impossibility of gaining "community support" in an environment where some people continue to insist that the only acceptable outcome is to have any future building on this site conform to current zoning.

Order #16. That the City Manager is requested to determine the legal and regulatory process necessary to collaborate with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA), companies in the private sector, and/or local universities, and/or donors that are willing to partner with the City to achieve the desired development objectives at the Foundry Building and report back to the City Council on the best manner in which to implement and fund the future community use of the building.   Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Mazen, Councillor Carlone and Councillor Toomey

On the Table #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Cambridge Arts Council to determine the types of spaces that are most needed within the local arts community with the view of using the Foundry to fill those needs and to allocate appropriate funds to make appropriate upgrades for the purpose of creating a community arts center. (Order Amended by Substitution.) [Order Number Ten of Jan 27, 2014 Placed on Table on motion of Mayor Maher on Jan 27, 2014.]

The Foundry issue seems a lot easier to resolve than the future of the Sullivan Courthouse. It's been trending toward a Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) role for the last month or so, and Order #16 seems consistent with this trend. I suspect that the programming of the space will continue to be debated for some time to come with good arguments being made for early childhood education, an arts center, and for some kind of Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics (STEAM) center. These proposed uses are only partially compatible, and it's still necessary to have the building work financially. One of the more interesting aspects of this process has been the growing acceptance of CRA involvement in this and potentially other projects around the city (as opposed to just Kendall Square). The CRA now even has a webpage for its strategic plan and potential initiatives. Not so long ago there was concern expressed about having the CRA involved in development projects because of their "lack of accountability." Now they are coming to be seen as a vehicle for delivering desirable outcomes.

Order #15. That the City Manager is requested to confer with a representative from MIT with the view in mind of arranging attendance by an MIT representative to present the findings of the Graduate Student Housing Working Group to the City Council in either a roundtable or special meeting format.   Councillor Cheung

The report from MIT's Graduate Student Housing Working Group was pretty simple to read and digest. No decisions have been made yet where new housing will eventually be built, but the MIT administration has now quantified what the housing needs are. Other than the politics, it's hard to see exactly what a roundtable or special meeting would add to the discussion, but I guess there's no harm in asking. The main thing is that MIT representatives promised an honest evaluation of their (graduate student) housing needs when they sought approval of the MIT/Kendall zoning petition and they delivered on that promise. Some of the new housing will appear in and around Kendall Square, but it's likely that most of it will be constructed elsewhere on the MIT campus and on other nearby MIT-owned property.

Order #20. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the City Solicitor regarding the possibility of contacting the Attorney General's Office and requesting that a representative be made available to attend an upcoming Open Meeting Law training for the City Council.   Councillor Mazen

While it is certainly a good idea to have such a training (especially now that some councillors are using their "aides" as a means of getting around the restrictions of the law), it would be much better if the state legislature would intervene by evaluating and amending some of the more counterproductive aspects of their law. - Robert Winters

Comments?

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority is looking for community input on ten locations throughout Cambridge: www.courb.co/CRA

City Manager's Report of Foundry Building (for Monday, March 3 Special City Council meeting)


April Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation

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

A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
http://www.friendsoffreshpond.org/calendar2014/photopages2014cal/jan14/p01-13-14chipnorton.htm
Leap into Spring! with Kid's Walks at Fresh Pond Reservation
Dates: Fridays, April 4 to June 6
Time: 10 to 11:30am
Place: Maher Park, 650 Concord Ave.
    Join CWD staff on ambles to discover the wildlife and sights of Fresh Pond! Possible exploits include puddle- jumping, nature crafts, insect safaris, and storytime. Please come ready for adventure with your grownup(s), your own drink and snack, and clothes that are OK to get a little dirty. We hope you can come play! Heavy rain, thunder, and/or extreme heat cancels. For more information and parking directions, contact Kirsten at (617) 349-6489 / klindquist@cambridgema.gov.

Migratory Bird Walk #1
Date: Saturday, April 12
Time: 8:30 to 10:30am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
    Among the migrating birds that are passing through at this time of year, we might see several species of waterfowl, as well as songbirds, including a variety of warblers. In addition, many of our summer residents will have returned: tree swallows, catbirds, phoebes, vireos, orioles, grackles and red-winged blackbirds. Beginners are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. Led by Nancy Guppy. To register and for important meeting and parking information, email Elizabeth at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com or call 617-349-6489 during business hours.

Earth Day Community Weed-out - The Great Garlic Mustard Muster!
Date: Tuesday, April 22
Time: 5:30 to 7:00pm
Place: Meet at Maher Park (650 Concord Ave.), weeding at Black's Nook
    Join our Community Weed-Out kick-off! We'll tackle insidious garlic mustard with shovels to free up our woodland floor for native groundcover species like wild violet. No experience necessary and all tools are provided! Long sleeves, pants and a water bottle are recommended. Latecomers are welcome; please find us at the Black's Nook bulletin board. Parking is available at the Maher Park lot. No need to register - just come!
Migratory Bird Walk #2
Date: Saturday, April 26
Time: 8 to 10am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
    Every bird walk is unique and an opportunity for surprises. That is part of the thrill of birding! We only can guess in advance what we might see and hear. At this time of year many of the birds are courting and claiming territories, so we will probably hear plenty of bird song. Beginners welcome, and we can lend you binoculars. Led by Nancy Guppy. To register and for important meeting and parking information, email Elizabeth Wylde at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com or call 617-349-6489 during business hours.
Cambridge Water(shed) Works - A Big-Picture Adventure in our Water Address
Date: Monday, April 28
Time: 6:00 to 7:30pm
Place: Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    You may have had the chance to see our waterworks treatment process in action, but do you know how our watershed brings water to the treatment facility? What is a watershed and water address anyway? Join us for an interactive and hands-on workshop about where our water comes from and how watersheds work. This program is appropriate for ages 8 through adult. Come ready to experiment and get involved, and don't forget to register with Kirsten at klindquist@cambridgema.gov or (617) 349-6489! Registration Required - Please register by NOON, Friday, April 25.

Please register for each event that you plan to attend. You will receive information on parking after you register. E-mail Elizabeth Wylde at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com or call (617) 349-6489 and leave your name and phone number.

Offered by Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation

GROW NATIVE MASSACHUSETTS
Evenings with Experts 2014
First Wednesdays of the Month: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Free and open to all.
April 2 - American Oaks: A Genus to Love
Tom Boland, Director of the Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha's Vineyard
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
The Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship Program
Fresh Pond Reservation users are getting involved! The Cambridge Water Department's Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship Program brings people together on a regular basis to monitor plants, conduct maintenance activities, and to learn about the ecology and history of the area. You can find out about projects that are being planned for this summer, including invasive plants removal, Purple Loosestrife nursery monitoring, bird box monitoring, and more. Call Kirsten Kindquist at 617-349 6489 or email klindquist@cambridgema.gov for more information.
REMOVAL OF INVASIVE WEEDS
The 2014 Weeding Season Will Start with
The Earth Day Community Weedout: Monday, April 22, 5:30-7pm
We will meet at the Maher Park parking lot, and go down to Black's Nook
Thursday Weeding Starts April 24, 10AM-12 NOON
Meet at the Volunteer Trailer in the Water Department parking lot
2014 Volunteer Weeding Schedule:
Monday evenings 5:30-7:30pm.
Thursday mornings 10am to 12 noon.
Meeting Place: The volunteer trailer, parked in the Water Department parking lot.
What to bring: water, closed-toe shoes, long sleeves to prevent bug bites, hat if it is sunny, sun lotion. Your own gloves if you prefer them.
We provide: gloves, tools, instructions, good company
email klindquist@cambridgema.gov for more information.
Leap into Spring! with Kid's Walks at Fresh Pond Reservation
Dates: Fridays, April 4 to June 6
Time: 10 to 11:30am
Place: Maher Park, 650 Concord Ave.
    Join CWD staff on ambles to discover the wildlife and sights of Fresh Pond! Possible exploits include puddle- jumping, nature crafts, insect safaris, and storytime. Please come ready for adventure with your grownup(s), your own drink and snack, and clothes that are OK to get a little dirty. We hope you can come play! Heavy rain, thunder, and/or extreme heat cancels. For more information and parking directions, contact Kirsten at (617) 349-6489 / klindquist@cambridgema.gov.

Tours of the Water Purification Facility
Dates: Monday Evenings: May 5, June 9, July 7, Aug 4, Sept 8, Oct 6, Nov 3
Time: 6:00 to 7:30pm
Location: Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    The Cambridge Water Department is offering tours of the City's beautiful Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility. The program will include a virtual tour of the Cambridge water supply system, explaining the process by which water that falls as rain in the suburbs 10 miles west of Cambridge is transported to Fresh Pond and made into pure drinking water for our city. Come, and bring your questions. For more information and parking directions, contact Kirsten at (617) 349-6489 / klindquist@cambridgema.gov

Fresh Pond Plant Identification Walks
Dates: Monday Evenings: June 16, Sept 15
Time: 6:00 to 7:30pm
Place: Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility Front Door 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    Ted Elliman, New England Wild Flower botanist and author of an upcoming plant guide, will lead walks around the reservation, highlighting some of the Reservation's more common native and non-native plants, and describing their roles in the ecosystem. For more information and parking directions, contact Kirsten at (617) 349-6489 / klindquist@cambridgema.gov

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 friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.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.

Read the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation Annual "Year in Review"

• This winter and spring Grow Native Massachusetts is offering a series of free nature-related "Evenings with Experts" lectures at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway. Details are at www.grownativemass.org.

• Sign up for the City of Cambridge's informative "Recycling and Composting Newsletter" by e-mailing recycle@cambridgema.gov.

AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksSat, Apr 12. Wompatuck State Park, Hingham. 8.5 mile. hike w/lunch at scenic pond, 9:30am-2:00pm. Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Rte. 3 Exit 14 to Rte. 228N toward Hingham, 4 mi. to Wompatuck sign, then R on Free St. 1.3 mi. to visitor center pkg. lot. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey. AMC Local WalksSat, Apr 12. Walden Woods, Wright Forest, Concord, MA. Thoreau interpretive path, forest, marshes, vernal pool (frog chorus). 10:00am-1:30pm. Bring snack. From Rte. 2, take 126 North 0.6 mile. Park on R behind Concord Courthouse. L Joel Snider.
AMC Local WalksSun, Apr 13. Blue Hills, Milton. 7-mile hike on a variety of trails in the Blue Hill Section of the Blue Hills Reservation. Some steep trails, including the Skyline Trail with views, 10:00am-3:00pm. Meet at Houghton's Pond parking lot. From I-93/Route 128 Exit 3, go north to the stop sign at Hillside Street and turn right. Go 0.2 miles to the lot on the right. Joint with Friends of the Blue Hills. L Steve Olanoff. AMC Local WalksSun, Apr 13. The Throne, Groton. 1:00pm. Come hike thru one of the largest contiguous undeveloped parcels in the area, featuring mostly upland forest and generally pretty woods. About 2 hours. Meet at the end of Rockwood Lane, 42.62968N 71.64003W. L Olin Lathrop.
AMC Local WalksFri, Apr 18. Harborwalk and North End, Boston. Leisurely 4-mi. walk along waterfront of downtown Boston and through streets and alleyways of North End, including stop at Italian bakery, 6:30-9:00pm. Meet just inside the main doors at entrance to South Station T Stop and Train Station on Summer Street. Storm cancels. L Marc Hurwitz. AMC Local WalksSat, Apr 19. Spring Comes to Beacon Hill and Back Bay. From 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Admire seasonal plantings; several hilly streets. Meet at map kiosk on Boston Common on corner of Tremont and Park Streets (Park stn, Green Line T). Bring snacks, water. Heavy rain cancels. New members welcome. L Sharon Marshall.
AMC Local WalksSat, Apr 19. Parks & Greenways, Quincy. 7-mi. walk w/beach, woods, salt marshes, historic sites, 10:00am-2:30pm. Bring lunch & water. Take Quincy Shore Drive to Wollaston Yacht Club pier at Beach St. Or T to Wollaston, walk 1 mile. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey. AMC Local WalksSun, Apr 20. Minute Man National Park. Spring on the Battle Road. Share some revolutionary tales along the Battle Road in the Minute Man Park from 9:30am to noon. Walk 7 brisk miles from the Visitor's Center to the North Bridge. Meet at 9:30am in Concord at the Old Manse parking lot on Monument Street. We will carpool to the visitor center. Walk trails to Meriam Corner for a break and on paved roads to the Old North Bridge and the parking. Directions: follow 2A to Concord Center. Follow signs to North Bridge. Bring water and snacks. Rain cancels. L Eveline Weyl.
AMC Local WalksSun, Apr 20. Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain. 1:00-3:00pm guided hike with Arboretum docent, on and off trail, up and down hills, stopping at interesting trees. Park on Arborway, meet at Visitors Center. Forest Hills T stop. L Chris McArdle. AMC Local WalksSun, Apr 20. Lynn Woods, Lynn. Leader's Choice, 5 miles, 9am-1pm. 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. Rain cancels. L Nelson Caraballo.
AMC Local WalksMon, Apr 21. Half-Marathon Walk, Minuteman Nat'l Park, Lexington. Brisk 13-mile walk on Battle Road Trail to Fiske Hill in Lexington, Meriam's Corner in Concord, and back. 9:30am-3:30pm. Bring lunch/water. From Route 95/128, exit 30B in Lexington, take Route 2A W one mi. to Visitor Center lot on R. Storm cancels. L Marc Hurwitz. AMC Local WalksMon, Apr 21. Boston Marathon Hike. 19th annual hike, eight miles via Arboretum, Allandale and Hancock Woods, Hammond Pond Park to Heartbreak Hill, 9:00am-12:30pm. Watch race on trolley back into town or hike back via Marathon route. Meet at Forest Hills T at exit gates. Call if severe weather. Ls Mike Stadelmaier and Robert Winters.

City of Cambridge Seeking Applicants for Municipal Firefighter Exam on April 26, 2014

firefighter

Do you or someone you know possess integrity, courage and a willingness to help those in need? Perhaps you are ready to pursue a career as a Firefighter! The City of Cambridge is currently recruiting applicants to take the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Competitive Municipal Service Written Examination for Firefighters to be held on Saturday, April 26, 2014.

The Municipal Firefighter Examination consists of two components: the Written Examination and the Physical Abilities Test. Candidates must take and pass both components in order to be placed on the eligible list for appointment in a civil service city or town. The early application deadline is March 17, 2014, with an application fee of $200. Applications will be accepted no later than March 31, 2014, with a fee of $250.

More job information is available online at www.CambridgeMA.gov under “JOBS” or at www.cambridgefire.org.

For examination instructions and publications, visit www.mass.gov/civilservice or call the examination hotline at 617-878-9895.


Mar 1 - I read the following quote today on Facebook (apparently part of a new petition campaign): "Cambridge friends: The tsunami of development around Concord Ave & Alewife (2,400 new units & counting) is already having a giant impact on everyone's ability to access and enjoy open space at Danehy and Fresh Pond. The city is granting special permits right and left without any master plan or serious attempts to alleviate the transit and environmental impacts."

I don't know, but the familiar language ("tsunami of development") suggests this is yet another installment from the "Cambridge Residents Alliance" crowd, the group whose motto should really be "I was able to buy my house in Cambridge, but now it's time to shut the gates to the city." I remember a time not so long ago when Cambridge was widely considered a welcoming place, especially when it came to the provision of housing, including "affordable" housing. The quote above makes it brutally clear that the "Alliance" people are primarily objecting to housing - even though most planners agree that the impact of housing on traffic is relatively small compared to commercial development.

Perhaps it's time to consider a name change for the Cambridge Residents Alliance (and its bunkmate, the "Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods"). The name Cambridge Residents Opposed to New Housing seems so much more to the point. - RW


Hello Recycling & Composting Neighbors! - March 2014

recycling symbol

Spring Dates for Recycling Tours!
Free Document Shredding 3/8
Get Green on St. Patty’s: Compost Workshop 3/17
Yard Waste Collection Starts 3/31
Donate & Recycle Stuff!

Spring Dates for Recycling Tours!

Cambridge residents and City employees are invited to tour the Casella recycling facility in Charlestown on Wednesday, April 23 (morning) or Thursday, June 5 (afternoon). No children under 16. Tours last ~2 hours. You must be walk at a steady pace with a group, on narrow catwalks and stairs, close to heavy equipment. We meet at DPW and carpool. Email recycle@cambridgema.gov to sign up and we’ll send you more info. Let us know if can drive and how many people you can take. *We will also offer a virtual recycling tour on Monday, May 19 at 6:15pm at DPW, 147 Hampshire St.

Free Document Shredding 3/8

The Cambridge Consumers’ Council and US Postal Service are offering a free document shredding on Saturday, March 8 from 10am-2pm, at the Central Square Post Office, 770 Mass. Ave, snow or shine. Members of the public can securely dispose of personal and confidential paper documents. Documents will be destroyed on the spot in a highly advanced technical mobile shredding truck and sent for recycling. Ten minute drop-off parking will be available on Mass Ave between Sellers & Pleasant Street. Please call the Consumers Council at 617.349.6150 or email consumer@cambridgema.gov.

Get Green on St. Patty’s: Compost Workshop 3/17

Free Workshop: Monday, March 17, 6:15pm, Public Works, 147 Hampshire St, 1st floor conference room. Learn your options to compost food scraps, and ways to reduce food waste. Cambridge's Recycling Director, Ms. Randi Mail will review best practices for outdoor composting, indoor composting with worms, and options for drop-off and bicycle pickup. Recycling food scraps and making soil is extremely rewarding, benefits your garden and house plants and helps to curb climate change! Reducing food waste is also incredibly important considering that Americans waste more than 40% of the food we produce for consumption. That comes at an annual cost of more than $100 billion. For more info on composting, click here. To RSVP for this workshop email recycle@cambridgema.gov.

Yard Waste Collection Starts 3/31

Weekly yard waste collection of leaves, grass, plants and small branches (same pickup day as recycling/trash) begins the week of March 31-April 4 and goes until through December 8-12. Place yard waste in paper refuse bags or loose in barrels, no plastic bags. Request stickers online or call 617-349-4800. From April-October, free compost is available to residents in small quantities at the Recycling Center during open hours: Tues/Thurs 4-7:30pm and Sat 9-4pm. Note that clean plastic plant pots are accepted with curbside recycling. Pemberton Farms sells the SoilSaver backyard compost bin for $60 at 2225 Mass Ave. Make sure your backyard compost bin is at least 50% “browns” (dry leaves, torn up cardboard, crumpled paper) and no more than 50% “greens” (food scraps, grass). Always bury greens or cover up with browns. Keep your backyard compost bin vegetarian (no meat, no dairy, no oils). If you cannot compost at home, find out where you can drop-off food scraps!

Donate & Recycle Stuff!

Clothing, Textiles & Household Goods
Visit our Donate Your Stuff map of donation spots. Good stuff is reused, damaged stuff is recycled.

Electronics
Local retailers take back electronics like Best Buy, Staples, RadioShack, and Apple! See our Take It Back map that shows businesses that take back products and packaging for recycling, composting, or reuse. Check the City’s recycling website too.

Furniture
Plan ahead and call a local organization to arrange a free pickup of your good-condition furniture. Your donation benefits people in need! Or, post on Craig’s List or Freecycle.

Books
Bring to a local retailer like Rodney’s Bookstore, Raven Books, Lorem Ipsum, a Got Books donation box, or the Recycling Center.


  • Missed recycling or trash?  Please use iReport or call DPW at 617-349-4800 no later than 12 noon the day after collection to make a request. During winter, clear snow to curb so that collection crews can access your trash barrels and recycling toters and they are not behind snow banks. For more click here. Thank you!
  • Request for toters, brochures, stickers or posters? Use our online form.
  • "Like" the Cambridge DPW on Facebook.
  • During holidays weeks, trash, recycling and yard waste collection is delayed one day. Check the 2014 collection schedule online for full details.

Take the 50% recycling pledge today at www.cambridgema.gov/recycle and get a free sticker!
Recycle More. Trash Less.

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.


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.

Comments?


Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 51 and 52 with Cambridge City Councillor Dennis Carlone (Apr 16, 2014)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 49 and 50 with Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan (Apr 9, 2014)

Master Plan Mythology and other Big Items on the Apr 7, 2014 City Council Agenda (Apr 7, 2014)

Cambridge InsideOut with guest Saul Tannenbaum: municipal broadband and civic technology (Apr 1, 2014)

Noteworthy Items from the March 24, 2014 Cambridge City Council Agenda (Mar 24, 2014)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 45 and 46 with Tim Toomey (Mar 20, 2014)

Broadband, Bikes, and Buildings – March 17, 2014 City Council Agenda highlights (Mar 16, 2014)

The “No License” Movement and more history from the Cambridge Historical Society (Mar 11, 2014)

Nominations Sought for 2014 Outstanding Cambridge City Employee Awards (Mar 10, 2014)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 41 and 42 – News and Views (Mar 5, 2014)

City of Cambridge Seeking Applicants for Municipal Firefighter Exam on April 26, 2014 (Mar 5, 2014)

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

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 35 and 36 with guest Denise Simmons (Feb 12, 2014)

Cambridge City Council subcommittees for 2014-2015 (Feb 11, 2014)

Leaving Cincinnati? Feb 10, 2014 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights (Feb 9, 2014)

Cambridge School Committee 2013 Campaign Finance Summaries (Nov 3, 2013, updated Feb 8, 2014)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 33-34: Discussing Foundry options with guest Rozann Kraus (Jan 28, 2014)

Striking Before the Iron’s Hot – Jan 27, 2014 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights (Jan 27, 2014)

2013 Cambridge City Council Campaign Finance Receipts - Jan 1, 2013 through Dec 14, 2013 (updated Jan 19, 2014)

Campaign Finance – 2013 Cambridge City Council candidates (May 25, 2013, updated Jan 19, 2014)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (Jan 10, 2014)

Jan 6, 2014 – Inauguration Day (Jan 6, 2014)

K2C2 Final Reports Released (Dec 31, 2013)

The Final Curtain: Last Meeting of the 2012-13 Term – Dec 16, 2013 Cambridge City Council Agenda (Dec 16, 2013)

2013 City Council Recount Completed – Same Winners, Similar Margins (Dec 12, 2013)

Turnout in Cambridge Municipal Elections: 1951 to 2013 (Nov 30, 2013)

Official 2013 Cambridge Election Results (Nov 15, 2013)

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

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2013 (Nov 3, 3013)

Cambridge at cross purposes about traffic (posted Oct 6, 2013 by John Allen)

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)

Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Dec 24, 2012)

Enjoying? the Concord Avenue "raised bike lanes" (Dec 3, 2012 by John Allen)

Cycle track disease is contagious! (Nov 14, 2012 by John Allen)

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

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

How would you elect a mayor? (posted Dec 25, 2011)

Specific issues with Western Avenue project (posted Nov 3, 2010 by John Allen)

Western Avenue proposal: ill-considered (posted Oct 27, 2010 by John Allen)

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

Comments on Cambridge’s Western Avenue project (posted June 22, 2010 by John Allen)

Episodes of Cambridge InsideOut (The Sequel)

Episode 1 (Sept 10, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut - The Sequel" featured PR voting in Cambridge

Episode 2 (Sept 10, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut - The Sequel" introduced this year's municipal election candidates

Episode 3 (Sept 17, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" addressed some of the Big Issues in the City Council election

Episode 4 (Sept 17, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" addressed some of the Big Issues in the School Committee election

Episode 5 (Sept 24, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features guest Anthony Galluccio (Part 1)

Episode 6 (Sept 24, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features guest Anthony Galluccio (Part 2)

Episode 7 (Oct 1, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features phone interviews with City Council candidates (Part 1)

Episode 8 (Oct 1, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features phone interviews with City Council candidates (Part 2)

Episode 9 (Oct 8, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features visits from School Committee candidates Elechi Kadete and Patty Nolan

Episode 10 (Oct 8, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" features visits from Cambridge School Committee candidates Patty Nolan and Joyce Gerber.

Episode 11 (Oct 15, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Alice Wolf (Part 1)

Episode 12 (Oct 15, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Alice Wolf (Part 2)

Episode 13 (Oct 22, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Jesse Kansen-Benanav (Part 1)

Episode 14 (Oct 22, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Jesse Kansen-Benanav (Part 2)

Episode 15 (Oct 29, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with City Council candidates Dennis Carlone and Dennis Benzan

Episode 16 (Oct 29, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with City Council candidates Denise Simmons and Minka vanBeuzekom

Episode 17 (Nov 12, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - A detailed look at the 2013 Cambridge election results and possible recount

Episode 18 (Nov 12, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Boulder vs. Cincinnati vs. Fractional transfer methods in Cambridge's PR elections

Episode 19 (Nov 19, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Notes on a possible Recount

Episode 20 (Nov 19, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - On Vacancies and Cambridge Boards & Commissions

Episode 21 (Nov 26, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Marjorie Decker

Episode 22 (Nov 26, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Analyzing the ballot data

Episode 23 (Dec 3, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - The Recount Commences

Episode 24 (Dec 3, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Looking Deeper at the Ballot Data

Episode 25 (Dec 10, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Focus on Porter Square with guest John Howard (Part 1)

Episode 26 (Dec 10, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Focus on Porter Square with guest John Howard (Part 2)

Episode 27 (Dec 17, 2013, 5:30pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Updates and the end of the 2012-13 City Council term

Episode 28 (Dec 17, 2013, 6:00pm) of "Cambridge InsideOut" - Reflections on the exit of four city councillors

Episode 29 (Jan 7, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Alice Turkel (Part 1)

Episode 30 (Jan 7, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Alice Turkel (Part 2) and comments on mayoral election

Episode 31 (Jan 14, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with City Councillor Marc McGovern (Part 1)

Episode 32 (Jan 14, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with City Councillor Marc McGovern (Part 2)

Episode 33 (Jan 28, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": Discussing Foundry options with guest Rozann Kraus (Part 1)

Episode 34 (Jan 28, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": Discussing Foundry options with guest Rozann Kraus (Part 2)

Episode 35 (Feb 11, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Denise Simmons (Part 1)

Episode 36 (Feb 11, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Denise Simmons (Part 2)

Episode 37 (Feb 18, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with State Senator Sal DiDomenico (Part 1)

Episode 38 (Feb 18, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with State Senator Sal DiDomenico (Part 2)

Episode 39 (Feb 25, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Conversation with Brian Corr of the Cambridge Peace Commission

Episode 40 (Feb 25, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": A Look Back at the Early Days of Cambridge Recycling

Episode 41 (Mar 4, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": News and Views (Part 1)

Episode 42 (Mar 4, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": News and Views (Part 2)

Episode 43 (Mar 11, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": The "No License Movement" with guest Gavin Kleespies

Episode 44 (Mar 11, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut": Cambridge Historical Society with guest Gavin Kleespies

Episode 45 (Mar 18, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Tim Toomey (Part 1)

Episode 46 (Mar 18, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Tim Toomey (Part 2)

Episode 47 (Apr 1, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Saul Tannenbaum (Part 1 on municipal broadband)

Episode 48 (Apr 1, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Saul Tannenbaum (Part 2 on civic technology)

Episode 49 (Apr 8, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Dennis Benzan (Part 1)

Episode 50 (Apr 8, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Dennis Benzan (Part 2)

Episode 51 (Apr 15, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Dennis Carlone (Part 1)

Episode 52 (Apr 15, 2014) of "Cambridge InsideOut" with guest Dennis Carlone (Part 2)

Upcoming programs:
April 22 with Mayor David Maher
April 29 with City Councillor Leland Cheung
May 6 with City Councillor Nadeem Mazen
May 13 - surprise guest!
May 20 with City Councillor Craig Kelley

Watch it on CCTV every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm. The co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters.

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


April 2 - Well, that was fun. Thanks to everyone for being such a sport on April Fool's Day.

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
Comments?

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


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 2010-2011 (adopted January 4, 2010 and amended April 5, 2010)

City Council Goals - FY2010-2011 (approved February 2, 2009)

City Council Committees (for the 2010-2010 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 csv@cpsd.us 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
 
faces
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 (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"



the known universe
http://rwinters.com

Welcome to the Peoples Republic