Springtime in Cambridge: Featured Mar 20, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Items

It's SpringHere's a sampler of items of potential interest at the March 20 Cambridge City Council meeting. Happy spring! (It'll be warm again before you know it.)

On the Table #5. That the City Manager is requested to establish the requirement that all appointments to the City's commissions, advisory committees, and task forces reflect the City's diversity and that the Civic Unity Committee is asked to sign off on all such appointments going forward. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Order #8 of Feb 27, 2017. Tabled on a motion by Councillor Cheung on a voice vote of 8 members on Mar 6, 2017.]

Perhaps they'll settle this on Monday. As I've stated before, the goal is laudable but you cannot give veto power over City Manager appointments to a committee.

Unfinished Business #6. An amendment to the Municipal Code Ordinance that Title 8 entitled “Health and Safety” be amended in Chapter 8.28 entitled “Restriction on Youth Access to Tobacco Products and in Smoking in Workplaces and Public Places” by amending 8.28.050 entitled “ Definitions for Prohibition of Smoking in Workplaces” by adding a new definition. [The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Mar 20, 2017.]

I'm sure a few of the smoking risk denial crowd will be there to testify against this. They should take a walk on Berkshire St. beforehand.

Applications & Petitions #1. A zoning petition has been received from the Friends of Observatory Hill Village, to establish the Observatory Hill Village Overlay District. (1000+ additional signatures for this zoning petition are on file in the City Clerk's Office.)

The language of the petition seems reasonable enough, but I'm always curious about what recent activities in an area lead to the decision to submit a petition for a change in the zoning. Are back yards being built over? Are new buildings being built that bear no relationship to the existing buildings. Just curious.


Applications & Petitions #3. A zoning petition has been received from Latoyea Hawkins Cockrill, et a., to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge to regulate short-term rental uses throughout the City.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 1, 2017 to draft language for short-term rental regulations to be forwarded to the Ordinance Committee.

These two have to be discussed together, and I wouldn't be surprised if this petition and the soon-to-be City Council petition on the same topic are processed concurrently. There has been some discussion on the neighborhood listservs that the Cockrill Petition is really being submitted by AirBnB to counter the proposal coming out of the City Council that would normalize short-term rentals but restrict it to owner-occupied properties. I expect there will be a lot of public comment on this one.


Communications #3. A communication was received from Peter Valentine, 37 Brookline Street, transmitting thanks for seeing the true totality of what he does, reducing complicated things to their simplest level.

In a strange way, I have to agree with Peter.

Resolution #2. Congratulations to the CRLS Boys Basketball Team on their Division 1 (North) Championship.   Councillor Toomey

Now we can add a 2nd straight State Championship to that. The CRLS Falcons won the championship game on Saturday night by a score of 70-43 over Franklin High School.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments on the feasibility of installing a hitting tunnel at Danehy Park for youth and high school sports.   Councillor Toomey

I've been badgering Kendall Square developers for years about putting a miniature golf course there. A batting cage would also be nice. Show us how Innovative you really are.

Order #5. Recognize the efforts of AIDS Action Cambridge, the SIFMA Now Coalition, and First Church in Cambridge to promote greater awareness about the ongoing opiate epidemic crisis, and their collective efforts to increase access to effective treatment throughout Cambridge.   Mayor Simmons

Further comment is unnecessary. This is important.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on Feb 14, 2017 to discuss the Retail Strategic Plan and similar issues related to the retail environment in Cambridge.

This report seems short on specifics, but apparently the process leading to a Retail Strategic Plan for Cambridge business districts still has a way to go. In any case, it's not always the City plans that govern the eventual outcomes. There are many hands stirring these pots and zoning alone cannot predetermine outcomes.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on Jan 25, 2017 to discuss the City’s Fiscal Year 2018 Operating and Capital Budget.

The Manager and staff provided the context, and the councillors provided the wish lists. Tune in early May for the Budget Hearings.

Committee Report #5. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Feb 28, 2017 to conduct an additional hearing to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend provisions of the Zoning Ordinance as it related to Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions in Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text to Sections 11.200 through 11.206.

This is the meatiest item on the agenda. It is presumed that the petition will be passed to a 2nd Reading with the 20% net inclusionary housing mandate and other changes. The sticky point is whether the Council wants to jettison legal reasoning and retroactively impose the same requirements on Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) that have already received Special Permits. It may be politically popular to impose requirements that are certain to be challenged and likely to be invalidated by the courts but, hey, enjoy your Revolution. Then educate yourselves about long-term planning and financing of large-scale developments. - Robert Winters

Comments?

Rabies Vaccination Clinic for Dogs Only
Saturday, April 1, 9-11am – $15/Dog
Cambridge Department of Public Works, 147 Hampshire St.
Dog Licenses for April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018 Available

Dog!Cambridge Animal Commission will be holding this Rabies Vaccination Clinic and also issuing 2017-18 Dog Licenses for period April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018. Cost is $10 (Spayed Female/Neutered Male), $30 (Un-Spayed Female/Un-Neutered Male). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Laws state that all dogs and cats over the age of 6 months must be vaccinated against rabies; some veterinarians will vaccinate at an earlier age.

City SealRabies has and will continue to be present in Cambridge and throughout the Commonwealth. The best thing you can do for your pet (dogs and cats) is to have it vaccinated and to teach your family and friends to avoid contact with wild animals. The basic rule is to “leave wildlife alone.”

Controlling your dog at all times is an excellent way to keep them protected. When you are outside with your dog, please obey the leash law. When you are in shared use areas in the city, always have your dog under control and within your sight (particularly at Fresh Pond). Regulations are posted in shared use areas and at designated dog parks in the city. Cat owners should keep their cats indoors; it’s a safe and controlled environment. For your pet’s safety at the Rabies Vaccination Clinic, dogs must be leashed at all times. You are still welcome to attend if your dog is up to date on its rabies vaccination and you just need a license. You will need a current rabies vaccination certificate and proof of spay or neuter if your dog has not been licensed in Cambridge before.

A vaccination clinic for cats has not been planned. If your cat needs to be vaccinated, there are clinics in the area that administer low cost programs for rabies vaccinations. For more information, please call the Cambridge Animal Commission Office at 617-349-4376. If we are not in the office when you call please leave a convenient time and number and we will return your call as soon as possible.

As always, the Cambridge Animal Commission would like to remind dog owners of the three L’s of dog ownership – License, Leash and Love your pet.


Cambridge Coalition Launches Solar Access Campaign

On the evening of Monday, March 13, a coalition of organizations and volunteer leaders came together to launch the Cambridge Solar Access Campaign - an initiative focused on expanding access to solar to residents across income and building type in the City. The volunteers that gathered on Monday gained practical tools and educational resources to build a grassroots outreach effort to support the development of low-income accessible solar projects in Cambridge.Solar Access Program

The Cambridge Solar Access coalition assembled in response to the DOE SunShot Solar in Your Community Challenge, and has been accepted as a participant. Coalition partners include Green Cambridge, Resonant Energy, Solstice, Sunwealth, neighborhood associations, houses of worship and engaged residents committed to creating an accessible solar program to meet the needs of Cambridge residents.

This program will work to encourage the rapid adoption of solar photovoltaics across rooftops in the Cambridge area, with a focus on serving low-to-moderate income residents and low-income serving non-profits. Specifically, the campaign will work to educate residents about the benefits of solar and the solar access program, an innovative solar model that removes barriers associated with conventional solar financing such as purchase or lease.

Steven Nutter, the Executive Director of Green Cambridge stated, “Our goal is to get a lot of solar installed, and to do it in a way that benefits the community and allows everyone to participate.” The coalition encourages interested residents to apply to participate as solar access hosts and help reach the campaign goal of 40 new solar projects in Cambridge by the end of 2017.

About the Partners
Green Cambridge works to create a more sustainable city and to protect the environment for the health and safety of all.
Resonant Energy is a community-based solar developer committed to 100% renewable energy for 100% of people.
Solstice is dedicated to helping every single household in America go solar.
Sunwealth is a pioneering solar investment firm that makes it easy to directly invest in solar projects and delivers meaningful returns and tangible impact to our community of investors.


Paul Toner Declares Candidacy for Cambridge City Council
Lifelong Cambridge resident, parent, education leader and activist announces run for Cambridge City Council with support of community leaders

Paul TonerMarch 10, 2017 – The Toner for City Council campaign released the following statement today:

Paul Toner is a lifelong resident of Cambridge who has chosen to live and work, as well as raise and educate his children in the city. An attorney and former Cambridge Public Schools teacher and lawyer, Paul went on to become one of the most influential public education leaders in the state as President of the 110,000 member Massachusetts Teachers Association. He is currently the Executive Director of Teach Plus Massachusetts and has served on the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and numerous education committees.

Paul Lonergan, Campaign Chairman for the Committee to Elect Paul Toner stated “I have known Paul Toner for many years. He is a good friend and great dad. He has been a proven leader in his career and the community and will bring common sense leadership to the City Council. I am proud to support him in this campaign.”

"I've had the privilege of working with Paul for many years on education and economic issues at the state and local level. I know he'll work tirelessly with everyone to keep our city diverse and affordable." Said David Sullivan, North Cambridge resident and former City Councillor.

“Paul will be an incredibly effective advocate for all of Cambridge,” current City Councilor David Maher said. “Paul has spent his career bringing people together to make progress towards a vision of shared prosperity and a government that works for everyone. I know he will do the same as a City Councilor.”

Toner said “Eighteen years ago, I was David Maher’s campaign manager for his first City Council race. I know how long ago it was because my daughter was 6 months old as I toted her around the city campaigning for David. She is now 18, a senior at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School and is preparing for college in the fall.”

“Throughout my life and career as a teacher, lawyer, union leader, and public school parent, I have sought to serve my community. I see running for the City Council at this time as an extension of this work and as an opportunity to use my skills, experience, and wealth of knowledge to make a meaningful impact on the council.”

“I have seen enormous changes in our community and there are new challenges ahead. I believe I can help to bring old and new Cambridge together. Through open and respectful public discourse that is so sorely needed in our political conversations right now, we can make real progress on the challenges that we face. As a leader, I have sought to build consensus to make policy decisions based on collaboration, open dialogue, and data. I am confident that I can bring the same spirit of respect and collaboration to the council. I will work with the council members, staff, and constituents to provide the solutions-oriented leadership necessary to develop and implement a vision for our city that preserves the best of our past and prepares us for the future.”


Sean Tierney for Cambridge City CouncilSean TierneyThurs, Mar 9, 2017 – Sean Tierney announced today his candidacy for Cambridge City Council. Mr. Tierney is the Research Director & Legal Counsel for the Joint Committee on Housing for the Massachusetts State Legislature. In his announcement, Mr. Tierney highlighted his housing and public policy experience as crucial attributes that he would bring to the Council.

“I want to use my experience as a housing policy attorney to help Cambridge adequately address our housing needs. I am committed to developing city policies that help our longtime residents stay in our neighborhoods. I also recognize the profound need for new housing options for all income levels. This is a challenging issue for Cambridge. We must work together, but we must also partner with our municipal neighbors to confront our housing shortage as a regional crisis,” Mr. Tierney said.

In an email and Facebook message to supporters, Mr. Tierney credited his Cambridge upbringing for defining his values, political philosophy, and commitment to the Cambridge community.

“I am a proud graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools and continue to volunteer as a football coach for the Falcons. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin we were taught the importance of our high school’s motto: “opportunity, diversity, and respect.” We learned to recognize gaps in opportunity and understand the roots of inequality and privilege; to celebrate our differences, and treat each other with compassion and dignity; to question the status quo and to believe that through hard work, dedication, and consensus, we can always do better. These are the core values that drive my candidacy,” Mr. Tierney said.

Mr. Tierney began his career working at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics where he ran the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. The Tierney campaign highlighted their candidate’s dedication to public service:

Mr. Tierney hopes to weave Cambridge’s rich history with the exciting possibilities of the city’s growing economy. He is committed to fostering pipelines of opportunity for all residents by leveraging our universities and the innovation economy.

“I believe that our diverse history and shared values will guide us as we work together to make Cambridge an inclusive and world-class city for generations. As city councilor, I will honor this history and represent our shared future,” Tierney said.

In his announcement, Mr. Tierney summed up his campaign in one sentence, “This is who I am, and this is what this campaign is all about: The City of Cambridge.”

Contact: 857-217-4236


Sean Tierney for Cambridge City CouncilStatement from Sean Tierney, Candidate for Cambridge City Council

My name is Sean Tierney and I am running for Cambridge City Council. I am a lifelong Cambridge resident, a volunteer in our community, and a housing policy attorney for the State Legislature. As your next city councilor, I will use my public policy experience and my passion for Cambridge to build a future for all city residents.

A Dedication to Public Service
I began my professional career working at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. I hosted national and international leaders and learned about the importance of strong and effective leadership. Inspired by President Kennedy’s famous words that an “educated citizen has an obligation to serve the public,” I decided to attend law school with the goal of serving my community.

In law school, I committed myself to public service opportunities. I taught Constitutional Law and coached a moot court team at City on a Hill High School in Roxbury, researched election law issues for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, and served as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Now, as a licensed attorney, I develop affordable housing policy for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I hope to continue on my path as a public servant for our city.

A Pro-Housing Agenda
I want to use my experience as a housing policy attorney to help Cambridge adequately address our housing needs. I am committed to developing city policies that help our longtime residents stay in our neighborhoods. I also recognize the profound need for new housing options for all income levels. This is a challenging issue for Cambridge. We must work together, but we must also partner with our municipal neighbors to confront our housing shortage as a regional crisis.

Cambridge Values
I am a proud graduate of the Cambridge Public Schools and continue to volunteer as a football coach for the Falcons. At Cambridge Rindge and Latin, we were taught the importance of our high school’s motto: “opportunity, diversity, and respect.” We learned to recognize gaps in opportunity and understand the roots of inequality and privilege; to celebrate our differences, and treat each other with compassion and dignity; to question the status quo and to believe that through hard work, dedication, and consensus, we can always do better. These are the core values that drive my candidacy.

A Commitment to Community
Sean TierneyCambridge is many things to many people. It is a new and exciting place centered around our universities, life sciences, and technology sector. It’s also a community with deep roots, family ties, and streets that are neighborhoods.

To me, Cambridge is also a place where friendships are forged on our athletic fields and in our classrooms; it’s playing on Huron Ave. and sleepovers on Western. It’s an afternoon in Jefferson Park and a night in Harvard Square. It’s S&S wings, Coast Café, Angelo’s cheese fries, Izzy’s, and a slice at Armando’s. It’s 1369 coffee, Memorial Drive on Sunday afternoons, and the graffiti wall on Modica Way. It’s Hoyt Field, Gold Star Pool, and a walk around Fresh Pond. It’s helping your neighbor shovel snow and finding a gift of Haitian griot and pikliz at your door. It’s art, it’s style, it’s individuality, and at the same time it’s community.

I believe that our diverse history and shared values will guide us as we work together to make Cambridge an inclusive and world-class city for generations. As city councilor, I will honor this history and represent our shared future.

This is who I am and this is what this campaign is all about: The City of Cambridge.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.


City SealCambridge Health & Human Services Job Fair March 28

The City of Cambridge Office of Workforce Development is sponsoring a Health & Human Services Job Fair on Tuesday, March 28, from 11am to 1pm, at the Central Square Library, 45 Pearl Street, Cambridge.

This will be a great opportunity for job seekers to connect with employers such as Cambridge Health Alliance, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Perkins School for the Blind, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Nurtury, Arbor Associates, Inc., Community Resources for Justice, Commonwealth Care Alliance, ABCD Boston, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Vinfen, Always Here Home Care, and Franciscan Children’s Hospital.

Prospective job applicants are urged to research companies in advance and apply for positions online.

For more information, contact Josh Foley at 617-349-6259 or jfoley@cambridgema.gov.


City SealParticipants Sought for Cambridge Works Transitional Jobs Program

Mar 6, 2017 – Are you a Cambridge resident, age 18-35, without a college degree, looking for a full-time job? If so, Cambridge Works might be able to help if you’ve had difficulty finding jobs due to limited work experience, gaps in your work history, legal or personal issues.

Cambridge Works is a free, transitional jobs program where participants receive:

Applications for the next program are currently being accepted. To find out more, contact: Michele Scott at 617-349-7741 or mscott@cambridgema.gov or Michael Merullo at 617-349-7743 or mmerullo@cambridgema.gov.

A Better Cambridge (ABC)
March General Meeting
with a presentation by the
Metropolitan Area Planning Council's (MAPC)
Tim Reardon about housing demand
in Cambridge and Greater Boston

Tuesday, March 28th, 6:30pm (postponed from Mar 14)
at the MIT Stata Center, Room 32-141
32 Vassar Street, Cambridge
We'll post signs at the Stata Center to direct attendees to the correct room

Please RSVP to let us know you're planning to come.
RSVP is not required, but will help us ensure the room can accommodate everyone.

As MAPC detailed in regional housing projections issued in 2015, demand for housing across our region expected to grow significantly over the next 25 years. This demand is due not just to new residents moving into our region, but also changing housing preferences of many families already living here, including aging baby boomers looking to downsize from suburban homes into more urban areas near public transportation, services, and amenities.

YIMBYs including A Better Cambridge believe that housing production is critical to provide affordable housing opportunities to families and renters across the income spectrum...but just how much new housing is needed to make an impact? Join us for an insightful presentation to help us better understand housing demand in our community the critical role that housing production plays as we seek to build a more diverse, affordable and sustainable city and region.

Please note that everyone is welcome at ABC general meetings.
http://www.abettercambridge.org/

Nominations Sought for 2017 Outstanding City Employee Awards

City SealMar 6, 2017 – Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking nominations for the 2017 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 extra recognition to a few exemplary individuals who will be recognized at a special awards ceremony on Thursday, May 4, 2017.

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 at all levels of the City workforce are eligible for nomination. Anyone who lives or works in Cambridge may nominate one or more City employees for recognition. Individuals are not limited as to how many employees s/he chooses to nominate but must submit a separate Nomination Form or letter 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 link below. A signed nomination letter may be submitted instead of the nomination form. Completed nominations must be submitted to the Personnel Department by Friday, April 7, 2017. In addition, you may email 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 617-349-4300.

March in like a Lamb, now Lion, soon to be Lamb - March 6, 2017 City Council highlights

Lion or Lamb?This Monday's City Council meeting has a few interesting items on the agenda. Here's a sampler:

Reconsideration #1. Councillor Toomey filed Reconsideration of the vote taken at the City Council meeting of Feb 27, 2017 on Policy Order #7 stating that the City Council support the 10-citizen petition recently presented to the Cambridge Historical Commission, asking for a tiered designation system and other amendments to the Harvard Square Conservation District guidelines and possibly to its boundaries.

I'm curious what aspect of this proposal led to the request for Reconsideration.

Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a request to establish the Richard C. Rossi Housing Assistance Fund (the “Fund”), and that $35,641.46 in donations received be appropriated into this Fund.

This is a great initiative, and it's very appropriate that it be named for Rich Rossi who was a consistent supporter of housing for people of all incomes.

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to establish the requirement that all appointments to the City's commissions, advisory committees, and task forces reflect the City's diversity and that the Civic Unity Committee is asked to sign off on all such appointments going forward. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Order #8 of Feb 27, 2017.]

As I stated last week, this Order is not lawful as stated. It would be better if it was rephrased to read: "That the City Manager is requested to establish the goal that the City's commissions, advisory committees, and task forces reflect the City's diversity." Even with that revision, this goal is probably not achievable in many cases due to the applicant pool and the nature of some of the commissions that are defined by advocacy for particular issues or constituencies.

Resolution #1. Celebrate Peter Valentine’s contributions to the City of Cambridge.   Councillor Mazen, Mayor Simmons

In Cambridge, we appreciate our "characters", especially when he's the "National Officer In Charge". By the way, according to the registered voter database, Peter Zak Valentine was born on Valentine's Day and also registered to vote in Cambridge on Valentine's Day.

Order #1. City Council support of the ACLU's call for Massachusetts to withdraw from the 287(g) program.   Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Mazen

The quoted page gives a list of all state or local law enforcement entities that have such agreements. In Massachusetts, the only such entities are the Bristol County Sheriff's Office, the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department, and the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.

Order #2. That the Ordinance Committee is requested to hold a hearing on the future of zoning in Alewife and to review previous zoning changes made to the area.   Councillor Cheung

A few specifics here would be helpful. A working committee of Envision Cambridge has been looking at this area for much of this past year and may be close to the point where some zoning recommendations may be possible. It is ironic, however, that there is a City Council subcommittee that has long-tern planning as part of its name yet focuses on anything but long-term planning. So it goes.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to report back on how the City can mitigate the impact of work to the conduit property in Watertown and how it will be managed in the future, what efforts can be made to preserve the two mature trees that were marked but not removed, and how to involve the Watertown Tree Warden and Watertown Town Council in ensuring that Cambridge’s right to protect its water conduit is carried out while also preserving harmonious relations with the residents of Watertown.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley

This would be a good opportunity for Cambridge residents to educate themselves on how all of their basic necessities (water supply, sewerage, gas and electricity) are configured. I have long been amazed at how many people count themselves as environmental activists but know so very little about their relationship with their own local environment. How many Cambridge residents know where their water comes from, how it gets to the treatment plant, and how it is conveyed to water mains throughout the city?

Order #6. That the Ordinance Committee is requested to hold a public hearing on the draft language for short-term rentals.   Councillor Cheung

Hats off to Councillor Kelley and Wil Durbin for riding herd on this issue. I had no idea how many people are doing AirBnB and similar rentals in Cambridge until a Council committee hearing last year.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a communication from Councillor Craig A. Kelley, regarding Open Meeting Law Training.

This is a good idea from Councillor Kelley. Ideally, the State Legislature should review the current law to make sure that it is not imposing restrictions that were never intended and which serve no useful purpose. - Robert Winters

Comments?

Looking Ahead (revised March 17)

Possible City Council and School Committee candidates for 2017 (with age at time of election)
More at 2017 Cambridge Candidate Pages (under construction)

City Council Candidate Birthdate Age address Notes
Timothy J. Toomey 6/7/1953 64 88 6th St., 02141 incumbent, first elected in 1989, unclear if seeking reelection
E. Denise Simmons 10/2/1951 66 188 Harvard St. #4B, 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2001
Craig Kelley 9/18/1962 55 6 Saint Gerard Terr. #2, 02140 incumbent, first elected in 2005
Leland Cheung 2/11/1978 39 157 Garden St., 02138 incumbent, first elected in 2009
Dennis Carlone 5/7/1947 70 9 Washington St. #6, 02140 incumbent, first elected in 2013
Marc McGovern 12/21/1968 48 15 Pleasant St., 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2013
Nadeem Mazen 9/20/1983 34 720 Mass. Ave. #4, 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2013
Jan Devereux 5/13/1959 58 255 Lakeview Ave., 02138 incumbent, first elected in 2015
Dennis Benzan 1/25/1972 45 1 Pine St., 02139 served 2014-15, likely to seek reelection
Paul Toner 4/28/1966 51 24 Newman St., 02140 announced, registered with OCPF
Quinton Zondervan 9/15/1970 47 235 Cardinal Madeiros Ave., 02141 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Alanna Marie Mallon 12/6/1970 46 3 Maple Ave., 02139 announced, registered with OCPF
Ronald Benjamin 1/5/1971 46 172 Cushing St., 02138 announced, registered with OCPF
Vatsady Sivongxay 2/20/1982 35 59 Kirkland St. #2, 02138 not announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Sean Tierney 3/10/1985 32 12 Prince St. #6, 02139 announced, registered with OCPF
Sam Gebru 11/20/1991 25 812 Memorial Dr., 02139 announced, registered with OCPF
Olivia D'Ambrosio 9/13/1983 34 270 3rd Street #305, 02142 not announced, registered with OCPF
Nathan Taylor Thompson (new) 10/12/1985 32 31 Tremont Street $#3, 02139 not announced, registered with OCPF
Sumbul Siddiqui 2/10/1988 29 530 Windsor Street, 02141 not announced, registered with OCPF
Theodora Marie Skeadas 8/16/1990 27 988 Memorial Drive #185, 02138 not announced, registered with OCPF
James Williamson 1/13/1951 66 1000 Jackson Pl., 02140 perennial candidate
Gary Mello 5/24/1953 64 324 Franklin St. #2, 02139 ran several times
Ilan Levy 11/1/1967 50 148 Spring St. 02141 ran in 2015, seems to be planning to do it again
Andrew King 4/17/1986 31 40 Essex St., 02139 conflicting reports on whether or not a candidate
Romaine Waite 6/7/1991 26 60 Lawn St. #5, 02138 not announced, but may try again
School Committee Candidate Birthdate Age address Notes
Fred Fantini 6/8/1949 68 4 Canal Park #203, 02141 incumbent, first elected in 1981
Richard Harding 10/16/1972 45 189 Windsor St. #1, 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2001,
speculation he may run for City Council
Patty Nolan 8/28/1957 60 184 Huron Ave., 02138 incumbent, first elected in 2005
Kathleen Kelly 3/8/1960 57 17 Marie Ave. #1, 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2013
Emily Dexter 3/16/1957 60 9 Fenno St., 02138 incumbent, first elected in 2015
Mannika Bowman 11/27/1979 37 134 Reed St., 02140 incumbent, first elected in 2015
Will MacArthur 5/24/1998 19 18 Shea Rd., 02140 definitely running for School Committee
Fran Albin Cronin 2/14/1952 65 1 Kimball Ln., 02140 speculation that she may seek reelection
Jake Crutchfield 3/31/1987 30 281 River St. #1, 01239 speculation that he may run again

March 10 - There are others who are likely to be candidates but who have not yet chosen to be identified as such. Please let me know of other candidates. Not all of the individuals listed above may wish to be identified as candidates, and I will be more than happy to remove those names or reclassify their status (unless I am absolutely certain they will be running!). Anyone who has filed papers with OCPF (Office of Campaign & Political Finance) is assumed to be running for City Council. - RW

Campaign Finance Summaries - City Council 2017
Candidate From To Start Receipts Expend Balance As Of
Benjamin, Ronald 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 9.00 0.00 0.00 9.00 16-Mar-17
Benzan, Dennis 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 2097.45 0.00 1510.62 586.83 16-Mar-17
Carlone, Dennis 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 17827.87 592.10 97.56 18322.41 17-Mar-17
Cheung, Leland 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 90880.32 0.00 5750.00 85130.32 3-Mar-17
D'Ambrosio, Olivia 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 122.75 5000.00 108.00 5014.75 17-Mar-17
Devereux, Jan 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 8715.10 6175.00 921.86 13968.24 16-Mar-17
Gebru, Sam 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 0.00 12998.00 10265.49 2732.51 16-Mar-17
Kelley, Craig 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 2231.84 76.84 267.00 2041.68 16-Mar-17
Levy, Ilan 1-Jan-17 1-Jan-17 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1-Jan-17
Mallon, Alanna 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 100.00 6625.00 17.54 6707.46 17-Mar-17
Mazen, Nadeem 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 13895.04 6296.05 6606.62 13584.47 17-Mar-17
McGovern, Marc 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 14966.66 4067.04 3846.29 15187.41 17-Mar-17
Mello, Gary 1-Jan-17 1-Jan-17 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1-Jan-17
Siddiqui, Sumbul 16-Feb-17 15-Mar-17 0.00 1271.00 0.00 1271.00 16-Mar-17
Simmons, Denise 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 10179.79 1662.30 3978.91 7863.18 16-Mar-17
Sivongxay, Vatsady 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 0.00 10935.64 364.47 10571.17 16-Mar-17
Skeadas, Theodora 1-Jan-17 1-Jan-17 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1-Jan-17
Thompson, N. Taylor 1-Mar-17 15-Mar-17 0.00 5.00 66.25 (61.25) 16-Mar-17
Tierney, Sean 1-Feb-17 15-Mar-17 0.00 4550.00 0.00 4550.00 16-Mar-17
Toner, Paul 16-Feb-17 15-Mar-17 0.00 3200.00 160.32 3039.68 17-Mar-17
Toomey, Tim 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 4069.67 3977.27 3343.10 4703.84 16-Mar-17
Waite, Romaine 1-Jan-17 1-Jan-17 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1-Jan-17
Williamson, James 1-Jan-17 1-Jan-17 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 1-Jan-17
Zondervan, Quinton 1-Jan-17 15-Mar-17 3510.00 3340.29 3567.50 3282.79 16-Mar-17

Campaign Finance Reports - 2017 City Council


Before the March - Items of Interest at the February 27, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting

Time TravelIn between Resistance Rallies and Sanctuary Sessions, the Cambridge City Council occasionally meets to talk about Municipal Matters. Here are a few items that may be of interest to those not marching or carrying signs on Monday.

Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the City of Cambridge retaining its noteworthy distinction of being one of approximately 35 municipalities in the United States with AAA ratings from each of the nation’s three major credit rating agencies.

It has become an annual tradition. Keep it up. People will complain anyway.

Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $48,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Finance (Personnel) Other Ordinary Maintenance account. This appropriation will be used to procure consultant services to assist in the hiring of a new Police Commissioner.

The public is invited to assist the City with the development of the leadership profile for the Police Commissioner search. Members of the public may participate in the process by attending one of the Citywide Public Forums or by providing written feedback. Two Citywide Public Forums, facilitated by PERF, are being held on:
  • Thursday, March 2, 2017, from 6-8pm, School Committee Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway
  • Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 10am–12pm, Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue.


Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a revised and annotated version of the Central Square Restoration Zoning Petition.

Unfinished Business #9. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for an additional public hearing held on Feb 2, 2017 to discuss the Central Square Restoration Zoning petition. [The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Feb 27, 2017. Planning Board hearing held Nov 29, 2016. Petition expires Mar 1, 2017.]

This is the last chance to ordain this before its expiration date. It appears to have unanimous support, but there could still be a tweak or two before it's official. The real question is whether these very modest zoning changes will provide sufficient incentive for us to see actual positive changes in Central Square. In any case, this is a good start.


Applications & Petitions #3. A Zoning Petition has been received from the owner of the property at Third Street and Cambridge Street to amend the existing zoning at that location to authorize the construction of a 45 unit residential building with small scale retail on the ground floor and parking below grade.

Another day, another zoning petition. Actually, there are two additional City Council zoning petitions being introduced at this meeting – Order #17 and Order #20.

Resolution #2. Thanks to Luis Vasquez for his service to fathers in Cambridge.   Councillor Cheung

Luis Vasquez is one of the most decent people I have met in my nearly 40 years in Cambridge.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Mayor to make the Sullivan Chamber and the prior goal setting facilitator, or any professional facilitator, available on a weekly basis for half day or full day City Council goal setting sessions   Councillor Mazen, Councillor Devereux

This Order seems to suggest that City Council goal-setting is an extended exercise that goes on for days and days. In truth, it's just a snapshot of general priorities at a given time - and it has never taken all that much time to develop nor should it. Like a party platform, it just lays out some general goals and principles. It's a bit bewildering that they haven't completed this by now, but it's not like building Rome.

Order #7. City Council support of the 10-citizen petition recently presented to the Cambridge Historical Commission, asking for a tiered designation system and other amendments to the Harvard Square Conservation District guidelines and possibly to its boundaries.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen

Though this petition appears to be a response to the current specific redevelopment plans for the Abbot Building in Harvard Square, the idea contained in this petition is interesting and potentially worth pursuing. I suspect it would simply make official what likely already happens, i.e. the Cambridge Historical Commission evaluating buildings as possessing varying degrees of historical significance.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to establish the requirement that all appointments to the City's commissions, advisory committees, and task forces reflect the City's diversity and that the Civic Unity Committee is asked to sign off on all such appointments going forward.   Mayor Simmons

This is a laudable goal but the Order as written is a clear violation of state law. The City Manager is the appointing authority and this Order calls for making appointments to all boards and commissions contingent on approval of a City Council subcommittee. Another problem with this order is that the word "diversity" means a lot of things - and not just what people look like. Should there be mandatory diversity of viewpoint on all advisory committees? We could use a lot more diversity of viewpoint, but some of these boards do, in fact, act as advocates for a particular point of view. Perhaps this Order should be amended by replacing the word "requirement" with the word "goal" and by removing the proposal to give the Civic Unity Committee veto power over City Manager appointments.

Order #13. That the City Manager is requested to provide an update to the City Council on what progress has been made in meeting the goal of creating 1,000 new affordable units by the end of this decade.   Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern

As a rule, goals like this are far too constraining in the absence of other considerations. If this was to be accomplished via Inclusionary Zoning, this implies that the City should have a goal of producing over 8,600 new housing units per decade under current standards or 5,000 new housing units under the proposed new 20% standard. I don't wish to refer all such considerations to the Envision Cambridge process, but it is a valid long-term planning concern. In addition, housing growth (both "affordable" and in general) has to be accomplished in the whole region and not just in a few cities and towns within the region.

Order #14. That the City Manager is requested to work with relevant City Departments and industry leaders to generate a report on the potential growth of next-generation wireless technology in the City, to include: the expected footprint of citywide coverage from just one company and what market competition might produce; the integration of public and private infrastructure to support the network; what local standards the City might hope to maintain relative to aesthetics and safety; and how this new technology fits into our Broadband access plans.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Cheung

Though these are all valid concerns, including the proliferation of seemingly random (and sometimes noisy and ugly) structures perched atop utility poles and buildings, my guess is that when all is said and done the selection of broadcast channels will continue to suck and the cost of access to "premium" services like Red Sox games will continue to soar without limit.

Order #17. Amendments to the Zoning Map and Ordinance by creating a new Section 11.900 - Registration of Vacant/Abandoned Buildings; Maintenance and Security Requirements.   Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Carlone

I'm eternally curious about the motivation of actions such as this one. Could this be related to the long-term vacancy of a place like the Harvard Square Cinema building? Or is this just a way to address long-term horror shows like the Vail Court property on Bishop Allen Drive without having to file a half dozen City Council orders and inviting lawsuits after an eminent domain taking? I do find it curious that this proposed zoning amendment would assess a monthly fee at a rate of 4.17 percent of the assessed value of the property on any property that is vacant more than 6 months. That's 50% of the assessed value per year. With rates like that this really starts to look like a regulatory taking of the property and it's doubtful that courts will look kindly on such a fee structure.

Order #18. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to ask the Volpe Working Group to consider how the GSA building will be integrated in with the rest of the site and to ask the independent design consultant to be more involved in the urban design process going forward.   Councillor Cheung

At the MIT meeting on this matter it was revealed that the Volpe replacement building would have to be located at the northwest corner of the Volpe site and that much of the open space associated with the future federal property could be integrated with the rest of the open space planned on the site. Details at http://www.volpemit.com and, in particular in this PDF slide presentation of the Feb 16, 2017 meeting.

Order #20. Proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinances regarding rooftop spaces in Central Square.   Councillor Cheung, Councillor Carlone

This seems like a sensible outgrowth of the discussion that grew out of the Central Square Restoration Petition which will hopefully be ordained by the time this Order comes up in the agenda. See you at the March. - Robert Winters

Comments?

Cambridge Announces Public Forums on Police Commissioner Search
Public invited to contribute to the development of leadership profile

Cambridge Police DepartmentFeb 22, 2017 – The search process for hiring a new Police Commissioner in the City of Cambridge is underway. City Manager Louis A. DePasquale has hired the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a Washington, DC based non-profit that over the past decade has assisted with more than 75 executive searches, to assist with the development of the leadership profile, the recruitment of highly qualified candidates, and the applicant screening process.

City SealThe public is invited to assist the City with the development of the leadership profile for the Police Commissioner search. Members of the public may participate in the process by attending one of the Citywide Public Forums or by providing written feedback. Two Citywide Public Forums, facilitated by PERF, are being held on:
  • Thursday, March 2, 2017, from 6-8pm, School Committee Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway
  • Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 10am–12pm, Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue.

During these sessions, the public will be asked to discuss:
What are the leadership qualities that you want the Cambridge Police Commissioner to possess?
What are the challenges and opportunities that the next Police Commissioner will need to address?

Members of the public can send their written comments on these key questions, along with other any other relevant feedback, directly to PERF by emailing Cambridgecomments@policeforum.org.

In addition to the public forums, PERF will be conducting multiple interviews with various constituencies, including: school staff; business and university representatives; City employees; non-profit community; neighborhood associations; faith community; youth representatives; City board and commission members; and community agency partners. The collective feedback will assist with the development of the final recruitment profile.

The City anticipates candidate recruitment to commence in mid-March and interviews with candidates to take place in May. The selection and appointment of the Police Commissioner is made by the City Manager.

For more information about the public forums, please contact the City Manager’s Office at 617-349-4300.

 
Jimmy Tingle
Cambridge's own Jimmy Tingle

CALLING ALL STUDENTS AND ADULTS

IT’S TIME TO TEST YOUR SMARTS AT THE
CRLS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL
“ARE YOU AS SMART AS A CRLS STUDENT?”
COMMUNITY ACADEMIC CHALLENGE

$300, $200 and $100 PRIZES
FOR STUDENT TEAM WINNERS

Jimmy Tingle, CAMBRIDGE ALUM AND STAND UP
COMEDIAN WILL BE THE GUEST MC

 
CRLS

WHEN: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017 @ 7:00PM

WHERE: FITZGERALD THEATRE

WHAT: STUDENT TEAMS OF FOUR WILL COMPETE
AGAINST ADULT TEAMS OF FOUR

HOW: ADULTS AND STUDENTS CAN REGISTER THEIR TEAM AT
crlsacademiccontest@gmail.com or call 617-784-5838 FOR MORE INFORMATION

QUESTIONS WILL COVER A WIDE RANGE OF SUBJECTS

THE EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

MUSIC by the CRLS JAZZ COMBO
REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED

LAST YEAR’S CONTEST WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!


Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut:

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

Episode 213 (Mar 21, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: to be determined
Episode 214 (Mar 21, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: to be determined
Episode 211 (Mar 7, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Upcoming events, Police Commissioner search, new municipal election candidates
Episode 212 (Mar 7, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: items discussed and acted on at the Mar 6 City Council meeting
Episode 209 (Feb 28, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: School Committee member Kathleen Kelly - budget and more
Episode 210 (Feb 28, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: civic opportunities, Feb 27 City Council highlights
Episode 207 (Feb 21, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: effect of national politics on the Cambridge municipal elections, the current minibond sale, and the recent update by MIT about plans for the Volpe site
Episode 208 (Feb 21, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Roundtable meeting of School Committee/City Council, municipal election candidates, Feb 13 City Council highlights, Inclusionary Zoning and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)
Episode 205 (Feb 7, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Patriots' win, events in DC, civic opportunities, partial recap of Feb 6 City Council meeting
Episode 206 (Feb 7, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Partial recap of Feb 6 City Council meeting, unfinished matters, roster of possible candidates for the 2017 Cambridge municipal election.
Episode 203 (Jan 31, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: National events, announcements, recap of Jan 30 City Council meeting
Episode 204 (Jan 31, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Recap of Jan 30 City Council meeting
Episode 201 (Jan 24, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Women's March, Inaugural comments, Volpe site, Envision Cambridge
Episode 202 (Jan 24, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Jan 23 Council recap, Events
Episode 199 (Jan 17, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Voter turnout 2016, Envision Cambridge, Village Green Preservation Society.
Episode 200 (Jan 17, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Campaign finance 2015, comments on 200th Anniversary show.
Episode 197 (Jan 10, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Outdoor lighting, Central Square, Harvard Square, and emerging candidates for the 2017 municipal election
Episode 198 (Jan 10, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Outdoor lighting, Central Square, Harvard Square, and emerging candidates for the 2017 municipal election
Episode 195 (Jan 3, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: civic infrastructure, slates, new candidates, etc.
Episode 196 (Jan 3, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: unfinished business
Episode 193 (Dec 27, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Looking Back at 2016
Episode 194 (Dec 27, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Looking Back at 2016 (continued); Looking Ahead to 2017 (including names of some new candidates)

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

MIT's plans for Volpe site: mixed use, 1,000+ units (Feb 17, 2017 by James Sanna)

Council hits roadblock in effort to expand affordable housing (Feb 14, 2017 by Adam Sennott)Cambridge Chronicle

'Real momentum' on GLX, but questions remain (Feb 13, 2017 by Andy Metzger, State House News Service)

Residents rally resistance at town hall forum in Cambridge (Feb 9, 2017 by Bill Whelan)

Council approves medical marijuana dispensary location rules (Feb 7, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

These are the ways Cambridge wants to rebuild Inman Square (Feb 7, 2017 by James Sanna)

School budget talks heat up in Cambridge (Feb 6, 2017 by Bill Whelan)

Lawmakers expect to tackle millionaires tax this year (Feb 4, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)

Members sought for new Community Benefits Advisory Committee (Feb 2, 2017)

Cambridge Community Foundation announces fall grants (Feb 2, 2017)

State of City: Mayor vows to push back against 'hateful national policies' (Feb 2, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

What's Cambridge doing to make city's streets safer? (Jan 30, 2017 by Bill Whelan)

Police K9 Rumba won't retire with handler, will remain on the force (Jan 26, 2017 by Bill Whelan)

Sharon school committee picks Cambridge administrator for superintendent (Jan 26, 2017 by Scott Calzolaio/Sharon Advocate Staff)

Cambridge, Somerville, Boston could lose grants in Trump's immigration crackdown (Jan 25, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)

Report: Contractor 'sorry' for massive Cambridge fire (Jan 25, 2017 by Shaun Chaiyabhat / WCVB)

Cambridge invites residents to invest in city's infrastructure (Jan 24, 2017)

Final price tag for Volpe Center land revealed (Jan 18, 2017 by Bill Whelan)

Cambridge seeking volunteers for City Manager's Advisory Committee (Jan 16, 2017)

T.T. The Bear's owner could lose $225k if license buyer can't be found (Jan 13, 2017 by Bill Whelan)

Bikers, water officials clash over trails (Jan 13, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)

Could advocates' merger boost Cambridge small businesses? (Jan 13, 2017 by Bill Whelan)

Retired fire captain spends half-century documenting Cambridge's fire history (Jan 12, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)

Late Danvers coach Kevin Flynn follows the blueprint of his Matignon mentor (Jan 11, 2017 by Joe McConnell)

Councilors attack delays to Central Square revitalization (Jan 11, 2017 by Monica Jimenez)

Crimson Corner looks to relocate, owner says he was forced out (Jan 9, 2017 by James Sanna)

Pizzeria seeking to open in Crimson Corner space (Jan 6, 2017)

Councilors divided on aggressiveness of affordable housing push (Jan 6, 2017 by Bill Whelan)

Alanna Mallon, founder of Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program, announces run for City Council (Jan 4, 2017)

Cambridge Rindge girls basketball sets sights on another state tourney (Jan 4 by Wayne Gethers)

Employers warn $15 minimum wage would be costly (Jan 3, 2017 by Colin A. Young, State House News Service)


Stories written by Luis Vasquez for the Cambridge Chronicle


Monday the 13th - Featured Items on the Feb 13, 2017 Cambridge City Council Meeting Agenda

This is a very short agenda this week. Here are a few things of possible interest:

Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the revised and annotated version of the Central Square Restoration Zoning Petition.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for an additional public hearing held on Feb 2, 2017 to discuss the Central Square Restoration Zoning petition.

It is expected that the Central Square Restoration Zoning petition will be passed to a 2nd Reading at this meeting. This will put it in the queue for ordination at the Feb 27 meeting - hopefully by a unanimous vote.

Resolution #5. Wishing Ken Reeves a Happy Birthday.   Councillor Toomey

When Ken was on the Council it was a tradition to not only wish him a happy birthday on his Feb 8 birthday, but to also commemorate him for the entire month of February. It's nice to see Councillor Toomey continuing the tradition - at least for the day. Happy Birthday, Ken!

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Department of Public Works, the City Arborist, and any other appropriate City department to establish a Tree Task Force to better protect the urban canopy.   Councillor DevereuxAll Hail Marx and Lennon

This is the only City Council Order on the agenda this week. Perhaps such a task force could be established within the Public Planting Committee rather than duplicating effort. More generally, this is a good time to take a look at all of the City's various Boards, Commissions, Advisory Committees, and Task Forces to make sure that the right issues are being addressed, there is no duplication of effort, and that volunteer energy is being best utilized.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on Jan 12, 2017 to review City Ordinance 12.08.010 regarding sandwich board and A-frame signs.

The littlest issue had its day in committee. Most seemed to agree that some basic guidelines should be established and that the permitting of such signs should be done in the future by City staff without the need for City Council approval of every such sign. An ordinance change will be required to make it so. - Robert Winters

Comments?

AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksSat, Mar 18. Squantum Coastal Walk. Unusual 9-mile walk with spectacular views along sandbar across Boston Harbor, trails along Neponset River, and more, 9:30am-2:15pm. Bring hiking boots, lunch & water. From Boston, take Rte. 3 South to exit 12, Rte. 3A South. Once under the Rte. 3 bridge and through Neponset Circle, continue over the Neponset Bridge onto Quincy Shore Drive and take a left on East Squantum Road 1.3 miles from Neponset Circle. Continue on E Squantum Road--which becomes Dorchester Street--for just over a mile to Shoreham Street on right. Park anywhere on Shoreham Street or nearby streets in spaces that allow parking. Meet at intersection of Dorchester Street and Shoreham Street. Snow/rain cancels. L Mike Tuohey and Marc Hurwitz. AMC Local WalksSat, Mar 18. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Rangeway Forest. 9:45am-12:30pm. Easy 2 ½ hour hike, offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club, to explore connectivity with Chelmsford Russel Mill Town Forest and a historic segment of the Middlesex Turnpike. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintery conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.
AMC Local WalksSun, Mar 19. Vivid Vistas, Groton. 1:00pm-3:00pm. Traverse the two highest points in Groton, both with open views. In between bagging 500 footers, see wild wetlands, beaver ponds, upland forests, and open meadows. Meet at Williams Barn (42.6264N, 71.5610W) on Chicopee Row. We'll carpool to the start, then hike back to Williams barn. About 2 hours, moderate pace. L Olin Lathrop. AMC Local WalksSat, Mar 25. Belmont and Audubon Conservation Lands, Belmont. It's Spring! Slow-paced nature walk through Belmont conservation land fields and forests over to Habitat Audubon Sanctuary where we'll talk about one of the sweetest signs of spring - maple sugaring. The walk will focus on plant ID and fun natural history. 9:00am-12:00noon. Meet at Rock Meadow Conservation Land, Belmont. Arrive early; parking limited. Click on link for directions. Steady rain or heavy snow cancels. L Boot Boutwell.
AMC Local WalksSat, Mar 25. Walden Woods, Wright Forest, Concord. Thoreau interpretive path, forest, marshes, vernal pool (frog chorus), Walden Pond upper loop. 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, Mar 26. Potter's Farm Conservation Area, West Boxford. 1:00-3:00pm. Potter's Farm Conservation Area. Easy terrain, moderate pace, about 2 hours. Kids and dogs welcome. Come into Boxford on route 133, go west on Main St. at the white church. Go past the fire station and park at the junction of Silvermine Rd. and Main St. (on Silvermine). L Steve Davis.
AMC Local WalksSat, Apr 1. Castle Island, South Boston. Fast-paced seven-mile scenic walk along ocean to Castle Island, 10:00am-1:30pm. Bring lunch and water. Meet inside JFK/UMass Red Line T station, upper level gates (no nearby parking). Storm cancels. No email after 3/31. No dogs; non-AMC members $1. L Beth Mosias. AMC Local WalksSun, Apr 23. Historic Middlesex Canal, North Billerica. Level 5-mi. walk along historic canal N to Chelmsford, 1:30-4:00pm. Meet at the Middlesex Canal Museum (opens at noon). From Rte. 95/128, take Rte. 3 N to exit 28, Treble Cove Rd., L towards N. Billerica 1.7 mi., L on Rte. 3A/129 0.7 mi., R on Lowell St. 0.7 mi. becomes Faulkner St., cross river at Faulkner Mills, R into pkg. lot opp. Joint w/Middlesex Canal Assoc. Info: www.middlesexcanal.org. L Robert Winters.
AMC Local WalksSun, May 14. Blue Hills, Ponkapoag Pond. 4 mi. mod.-paced hike, 10:30am-1:30pm. Bring lunch+water. I-93/Rte. 128 exit 2A to Rte. 138S for 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course pkg lot on L. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias. AMC Local WalksSun, June 18. Wollaston Beach, Quincy. Fast-paced 7-mi walk along Wollaston Beach, Marina Bay, 9:00am-noon. Bring snack/water. From SE Expwy, exit 8 (Quincy), take Furnace Brook Pkwy. 2.8mi, L onto Quincy Shore Dr. L at first light into lot. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.

Forward Fund 2017

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority announces the third year of the FORWARD FUND. This micro GRANT PROGRAM is intended to support civic improvement projects and creative physical interventions that better Cambridge's built environment for the benefit of all the city's residents, workers, and visitors by non-profit organizations, community groups, and small businesses throughout Cambridge, MA.

The theme for the 2017 program is to support projects that create, maintain, or enhance Connections within Cambridge.

We're awarding Civic Experimentation Capital Grants; and Community Infrastructure Capital Grants. The awards will range from $5,000 up to $25,000. Grant applicants should approach the theme for the program by promoting inclusive, collaborative, and a resourceful process.

For more information or to apply online click here.


Evenings with Experts 2017

First Wednesday of each month, February through May 2017, 7:00pm-8:30pm
A free public lecture series presented by Grow Native Massachusetts at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138
For more information, visit us at http://grownativemass.org/programs/eveningswithexperts, or call 781-790-8921.
CEUs Available for each lecture: APLD (1.5 credits); NOFA-AOLCP (4 credits)

April 5 - How Native Plant Cultivars Affect Pollinators
Annie White, Ecological Landscape Designer & Adjunct Professor, UVM
    Initiatives to address pollinator decline are widespread and native plants are the preferred choice for pollinator habitat restoration. The growing demand for natives, coupled with a longstanding desire of horticulturalists for enhanced bloom, color, or other characteristics, has led to the increased selection and breeding of native cultivars. Although these cultivars are typically marketed for their ecological benefits, until now there have been no scientific studies to support or refute these claims. So are native cultivars as valuable in pollinator habitat gardens as the true native species? Annie White will help answer this question by sharing the results of four years of field data. Her research is groundbreaking and remarkable.
    Annie White is the founder of Nectar Landscape Design Studio and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Vermont. She earned her MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her recent PhD in Plant & Soil Science from the University of Vermont was focused on this exceptional new research on native plant cultivars.

May 3 - The Challenge of a Public Native Plant Garden: Maintenance, Interpretation and Compromise
Michael Hagen, Curator of the Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden
    The New York Botanical Garden’s new Native Plant Garden opened in 2013. Designed by Oehme van Sweden, it includes a diversity of microclimates on 3.5 acres of varied terrain with a planting plan of almost 100,000 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, and grasses. Curator Michael Hagen will explain how this garden is successfully maintained, and their criteria for what constitutes “native” in species selection and the use of cultivars. This very public landscape presents native plants in a contemporary style, with an emphasis on aesthetics over recreating habitat. Michael will share his observations about how the public perceives and responds to the value of this native plant palette, along with ideas for inspiring others to “go native.”
    Michael Hagen is Curator of both the Native Plant Garden and the Rock Garden at NYBG. He previously served as Staff Horticulturist for over 11 years at Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York and was Garden Manager at Rocky Hills in Mt. Kisco, a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy.


Cambridge Civic/Political Review 2016


March Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation

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

Seasonal Walkabout at Lusitania Field
Date: Friday, March 17th, 10:30-11:30am
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
    We will monitor wildlife by sign, track, or presence, and make note of weather, state of plants, condition of water and other abiotic resources. On these monthly walks, help chart the seasonal changes of some of our most active wildlife spots, or simply come and enjoy the walk. Come dressed to be outdoors for the hour. Attend one or the series and develop your ability to take in more of the reservation. No dogs please (except people with disabilities and their service dogs). Extreme weather cancels. For more info or to RSVP, contact Ranger Jean at (508)-562-7605 or email jrogers@cambridgema.gov.
Fresh Pond Owl Prowl
Date: Monday, March 20th, 6-7pmZ
Place: Meets at Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
    Though they are seldom seen or heard, the Reservation has been known to host owls. It is no surprise that these nocturnal creatures are somewhat of a mystery to many visitors at Fresh Pond - by day, most are likely to be hiding or sleeping somewhere secure. Come to learn about the numerous adaptations owls have that make them so fascinating, and take an evening stroll to listen for evidence of any feathered friends nearby! Please RSVP to fpr@cambridgema.gov.
Welcome Spring Bird Walk
Date: Saturday, March 25, 9-11am
Location: given upon registration
    Spring is here at last! The earliest migrating birds are arriving at the Reservation. They will either stay for the breeding season or rest and eat before continuing their journey northward. The new arrivals and year-round residents will soon be busy building nests and defending territories. We may see a variety of migrating waterfowl on the ponds as well as songbirds in trees. Beginners are welcome! We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. To register and for meeting place, email Catherine Pedemonti at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com.
Early Spring Tree Scavenger Hunt
Date: Sunday, March 26th, 1-2:30pm
    How do trees know when to leaf out in the spring? Join Ranger Jean for this outdoor scavenger hunt in the woods of Fresh Pond Reservation to learn how to look for differences in buds, bark, and branching patterns in early spring trees before they are fully leafed out. We will then head inside to talk about what we found! No dogs please. Be sure to come dressed for the outdoors. Please RSVP to jrogers@cambridgema.gov for meeting location.
Reflecting on Fresh Pond: Art, Prose, and Poetry Share
Date: Saturday, April 1st, 1 to 3pm
Place: Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
    Fresh Pond Reservation means so much to so many of us. Whether your come here to hear the tinkle of ice against the shore, the call of returning birds or the squeal of children sledding in Kingsley Park, you may have been inspired to make a note in a journal, write a poem or song; or take a photo or make a drawing. We are calling people of ALL AGES and CREATIVE CAPACITIES to share your Reflections on Fresh Pond at an open mic. All mediums welcome – paint, print, a note scribbled on a napkin, photography, poems, a child’s drawing or performance of song or dance. Please RSVP to fpr@cambridgema.gov with a sentence or two describing your creative work(s). Start the sentence with “I was moved to make (my art) when I experienced (XXX) at Fresh Pond.” And go on from there. Come share your heartfelt experiences with others who are really touched when they walk the Pond and share the wonderment.

Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or fpr@cambridgema.gov for any RSVPs or questions!

Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership in Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation costs only $10 per year ($5 for seniors and students, $15 for families). To join, fill out a membership form available in the Ranger Station information racks, e-mail 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. Upcoming Programs

A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
http://www.friendsoffreshpond.org/calendar2014/photopages2014cal/jan14/p01-13-14chipnorton.htm

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


THE MUNICIPAL SITUATION IN CAMBRIDGE
A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904

BY HENRY N. WHEELER, PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE

PRECEDED BY A PROGRAM OF THE WORK OF THE LEAGUE FOR 1904

[original PDF]


Here's Something Worth Watching


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

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

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 211-212: Mar 7, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 209-210: Feb 28, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 207-208: Feb 21, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 205-206: Feb 7, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 203-204: Jan 31, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 201-202: Jan 24, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 199-200: Jan 17, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 197-198: Jan 10, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 195-196: Jan 3, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 193-194: Dec 27, 2016

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

Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2016 featured co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.

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

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

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

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


Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

Paul Toner Declares Candidacy for Cambridge City Council (Mar 10, 2017)

Sean Tierney Announces Candidacy for Cambridge City Council (Mar 9, 2017)

March in like a Lamb, now Lion, soon to be Lamb – March 6, 2017 City Council highlights (Mar 5, 2017)

Before the March – Items of Interest at the February 27, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting (Feb 26, 2017)

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

Monday the 13th – Featured Items on the Feb 13, 2017 Cambridge City Council Meeting Agenda (Feb 13, 2017)

On tap at the February 6, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting (Feb 6, 2017)

Now Featuring…. Coming Attractions at the Jan 30, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting (Jan 29, 2017)

Coming up this Monday – Jan 23, 2017 Cambridge City Council agenda (Jan 22, 2017)

Members Sought for New City Manager’s Advisory Committee (Jan 16, 2017)

New Year at City Hall – Jan 9, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights (Jan 9, 2017)

Alanna Mallon Announces Run For Cambridge City Council (Jan 4, 2017)

Cambridge Civic/Political Review 2016 (Dec 28, 2016)

Hello Recycling & Composting Neighbors! – December 2016 (updated Dec 21, 2016)

Closing Down an Unusual Year – Dec 19, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda Notes (Dec 19, 2016)

Central Square is a Grandma (Dec 17, 2016)

Participatory Budgeting Results Announced: December 14, 2016!

Speed Limit on Cambridge’s City-Owned Streets Being Reduced to 25 MPH (Dec 4, 2016)

Where did the Amanda Phillips crash happen? And why? (Dec 2, 2016 by John Allen)

A Peanut in Inman Square? (Dec 1, 2016 by John Allen)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (Dec 1, 2016)

David Maher selected as next President and CEO of Cambridge Chamber of Commerce – will not seek re-election to City Council (Nov 9, 2016)

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

Louis A. DePasquale Selected as Next Cambridge City Manager (Sept 29, 2016)

Floyd Freeman, Nov 7, 1915 – July 11, 2016, neighbor, friend, philosopher (July 16, 2016)

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

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

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates (last updated Feb 20, 2015 - updated periodically)

Cambridge School Committee 2015 Campaign Finance Summaries (Feb 6, 2016)

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

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

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

Flashback to March 1998 (Oct 12, 2015)

Who Votes in Cambridge? (July 9, 2015)

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

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

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

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

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

Completing the Square (June 11, 2013)

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

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

On becoming a True Cantabrigian (Dec 29, 2012)

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

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

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

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


April 2, 2016 - Yet another fun April Fool's Day

April 2, 2015 - Another fun April Fool's Day

April 2, 2013 - 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

2013 - K2C2 Final Reports

K2C2 Final Reports Released

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

Community Development Department

Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (K2C2)

Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013

Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013

Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013

Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013

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

Comments?


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

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

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

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

City Council Committees (for the current term)


School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)

School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Selected City of Cambridge References:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Which People's Republic
written by Bill Cunningham, 1999


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