Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut: Tuesdays, 5:30pm and 6:00pm on CCTV
If you would like to be a guest (or co-host) one of these Tuesdays, let me know. - RW
|Episode 361 (Dec 11, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: New Central Square Police Substation; Central Square BID update; Surveillance Ordinance; Revised Street Performer Ordinance; 1899 Ordinances.
|Episode 362 (Dec 11, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: City Hall landscaping; Late Order on "Act to Promote Housing Choices", oddity of asymmetric rules for passing zoning ordinances, political consequences; Airplane Noise.
|Episode 359 (Dec 4, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Publicly funded municipal election campaigns and PR elections; refranchising of Cable TV and the future
|Episode 360 (Dec 4, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Early days of Cable TV, Grand Junction updates, Davis Sq. changes, flat roof zoning, accessory dwelling unit zoning, City housing policy = social ownership
|Episode 357 (Nov 27, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Late semester musings; Nov 26 City Council meeting - trees, curb cuts, councillor coddling, municipal facility upgrades, urban agriculture, outdoor lighting; Van Morrison and Astral Weeks
|Episode 358 (Nov 27, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Voter histories, targeting voters, publicly financed campaigns, age distribution of voters 2012-2018, voter turnout, supervoters, #1 voter fealty
|Episode 355 (Nov 20, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Thanksgiving memories; Nov 19 City Council meeting highlights - First Street Garage saga, Surveillance Ordinance, Street Performers Ordinance
|Episode 356 (Nov 20, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Nov 19 City Council meeting highlights - Street Performers Ordinance, Climate-relatd committee appointments, bicycle safety (esp. the Craigie Bridge & Museum Way)
|Episode 353 (Nov 13, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Central Square murals, Taste of the BID; Elections - local, state, federal - recounts & runoffs; Ranked Choice Voting in Maine
|Episode 354 (Nov 13, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Field trip following Cambridge organics recycling; Ranked Choice Voting; some PR history, and a comparison of the Cambridge PR election system and a proposed alternative
|Episode 351 (Nov 6, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio] - w/guest co-host Patrick Barrett
Topics: Central Square, Business Improvement District (BID), Formula Business Ordinance and the Central Square Restoration Petition, Envision Cambridge
|Episode 352 (Nov 6, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio] - w/guest co-host Patrick Barrett
Topics: Nov 5 City Council meeting highlights, Envision Cambridge, First Street Garage & Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment
|Episode 349 (Oct 30, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: World Champion Red Sox, Oct 29 City Council highlights, trees!, proposal for early voting for municipal elections
|Episode 350 (Oct 30, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Growth Policy Document, Envision Cambridge Housing Working Group, middle-income housing, property assessments and FY19 tax bills, parking $ in Cambridge property, vacancy rates
|Episode 347 (Oct 23, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Baseball, Envision Cambridge, some history (Cambridge ECO, CCLN, Parking Freeze, Growth Policy Document, Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance, housing policy changes, Concord-Alewife Plan, Master Plan), Chapter 40B, Subsidized Housing Overlay proposal
|Episode 348 (Oct 23, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Envision Cambridge, middle-income housing, Central Square murals, formula business regulation
Lotsa Ordainin' To Do - Dec 10, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda
The ordaining queue has been growing over the last few weeks - Surveillance Ordinance, Revised Street Performers Ordinance, Revised Fair Housing Ordinance, and the Mandatory Book-Burning Ordinance (OK, not really). Perhaps next year we'll also see the Don't Touch That Tree Ordinance, the Chicken Farming Ordinance and Handbook, and the Socialized Housing Ordinance. The business of municipal ordinances was always complicated - even in days of yore, i.e. Cambridge in 1899 (Revised Ordinances of 1892) which even contains a precursor to the zoning ordinance that would not be enacted for another quarter century. Here's a sampler of some of the ordinances of the day:
CHAPTER 37. SECT. 1. Any minor, between the ages of seven and fifteen years, convicted of being an habitual truant, or wandering about in the streets or public places of Cambridge, having no lawful occupation or business, not attending school, and growing up in ignorance, and such children as persistently violate the reasonable rules and regulations of the public schools, shall be committed to the Middlesex Truant School for a term not exceeding two years. The Middlesex County Truant School is the place provided for the confinement, discipline, and instruction of such children.
CHAPTER 38. SECT. 1. There shall be established in the city of Cambridge a workhouse for the employment and support of the following description of persons, that is to say, poor and indigent persons that are maintained by or receive alms from, the city; persons who, being able of body to work, and not having estate or means otherwise to maintain themselves, refuse or neglect to work; persons who live a dissolute, vagrant life, and exercise no ordinary calling or lawful business; and persons who spend their time and property in public houses, to the neglect of their proper business, or who, by otherwise misspending what they earn, to the impoverishment of themselves and their families, are likely to become chargeable to the city.
CHAPTER 45. SECT. 2. No person shall climb a tree in any street, or fasten or tie a horse or other animal to, or post a bill upon, any such tree, or allow any horse or other animal owned by him, or under his control to stand so near any such tree, that such tree may be gnawed or otherwise injured by such horse or other animal so allowed to stand, and no person shall place a sign upon or around any tree on any street of the city.
CHAPTER 45. SECT. 16. No person shall coast upon a sled on any street of this city without the written permission of the mayor; and without such written permission no person, in any public street or square of this city, shall ride a bicycle or tricycle at a rate of speed exceeding ten miles an hour, and only for the time, and upon such portions of the public ways, streets, or squares aforesaid as may be specified in said permit. Such reasonable conditions shall be attached to such permits as the mayor may deem proper, and in accord with the circumstances and for the occasion for which the permits may respectively be granted. Between the hours of eight o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the afternoon, children under the age of fourteen years may use velocipedes on any sidewalk in any public way, street, or square of this city. In no part of any public grounds, commons, enclosures, and parks, now or that hereafter may be under the general charge of the park commissioners, shall children use a velocipede without the written permit of the park commissioners.
CHAPTER 45. SECT. 19. No person shall have in his possession a club or bludgeon, on any street, with intent to use the same in a sport, sham-fight or strife, or to intimidate any person or horse.
CHAPTER 45. SECT. 21. No person shall behave himself in a rude or disorderly manner, or use any indecent, profane or insulting language, in any street or public place.
CHAPTER 45. SECT. 35. No person, except by permission of the mayor, shall deliver a sermon, lecture, address, or discourse on any common or other public grounds.
CHAPTER 46. SECT. 1. No person in any public street of the city shall ring a bell or gong, between the hours of ten o'clock P.M., and six o'clock A.M., except as a warning of danger.
CHAPTER 48. SECT. 1. No child under sixteen years of age shall be, loiter or remain upon any street, highway, park or other public way or place in this city after the hour of half past nine o'clock in the afternoon of any day, unless accompanied by, or under the control or care of a parent, guardian or other adult person, or performing or returning from employment or from the performance of some duty, directed in writing by said parent, guardian or other adult person, and no such child, while performing such duty, or returning from the performance thereof, or from employment, shall loiter upon any such street, highway, park or other public way or place.
Back in the present (2018), here are a few items on the agenda that drew my attention this week:
Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of an Advisory Committee on Climate Resilience Zoning.
Unfinished Business #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-85, regarding a report on the feasibility of appointing an advisory committee to work through resilience elements raised during the Envision process and through the Brown Petition.
The City Manager's original 25 appointees included four city councillors and a representative from the Mayor's Office. This led to concerns of possible Open Meeting Law violations unless the entire advisory committee was rethought as an ad-hoc City Council committee - but that would have diminished the role of all the other appointees. The new list of 20 appointees has zero councillors and nobody from the Mayor's Office, and one MIT appointee was reclassified from "Institutional/Non-Profit Representative" to "Business Representatives/Property Owners".
Charter Right #1. Legal Opinion on Portland's Relocation Assistance Ordinance.
Yes, it would require a Home Rule Petition. Needless to say, if the threshold for triggering this is a 10% rent increase (even if the rent was unchanged for years) I would expect a 9.5% rent increase every year to become commonplace.
Unfinished Business #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to proposed revisions to the draft Surveillance Ordinance. QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED ON OR AFTER DEC 10, 2018.
Unfinished Business #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed amended Street Performers Ordinance. QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED ON OR AFTER DEC 10, 2018.
Time for some ordainin'. Please be advised that street performers may not deliver a sermon, lecture, address, or discourse on any common or other public grounds except by permission of the mayor.
Order #1. Improving Pedestrian Safety. Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan
This Order is primarily a request for information on how various "traffic calming" treatments have been working. The current policy seems primarily to be to create as much congestion as physically possible so that traffic cannot move very quickly. This has the added goal of infuriating drivers to the point that they consider alternate modes of transportation.
Order #2. Tree on City Hall Lawn. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan
I would suggest having conversations with both Charlie Sullivan (Historical Commission) and former City Councillor Kathleen Born before moving on this. There used to be a perimeter hedge around City Hall as well as a couple of spruce trees straddling the main entry to City Hall. About 20 years ago the consensus was that it would be ideal to restore the appearance of City Hall to its late 19th Century magnificence. This led to the removal of the hedge and the trees - as well as the ivy that had crept over much of the building surface. An additional unanticipated benefit was that the front lawn of City Hall became a significant open space resource for Central Square and a popular place for sunbathers during the warm weather months. We all love trees but any choice to plant a significant tree in front of City Hall should be weighed against these other factors.
Order #4. City Budget and Council Goals. Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui
While it's a good idea to have the budget presentation highlight how it reflects City Council goals and priorities (and let's be clear that the City Manager already does this every year), I would not want to see every City department have to justify every expenditure against that short list of Council priorities. If DPW needs to buy another packer truck or if the Fire Department needs to purchase another fire engine or hire additional firefighters, I would hope they would not need to justify this by proving how it will "implement equity policies for the people of Cambridge". Most of the City budget goes to maintaining operations, and the goals expressed by individual departments in the annual Budget Book usually highlight how they can best deliver their services. - Robert Winters
Election Methods in the News
Proposal for new Lowell election system coming soon (Lowell Sun, Nov 30, 2018)
First Look at the Dec 3, 2018 City Council Agenda
Here are a few agenda items that I found either interesting or infuriating:
Manager's Agenda #3. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $120,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Executive Department Other Ordinary Maintenance account to support the cable television license renewal process.
The only thing I'll say on this is to note just how little leverage we have in any of this. It's not just that Comcast is the only game in town. Just as bad is the fact that the United States Congress some time ago gutted the previous regulations governing the granting of Cable TV franchises by municipalities. The only thing we can even discuss/bargain is PEG - public access, educational programming, and government programming - and we can't even do much with those. We can't even discuss what stations should be in the basic Cable TV package.
Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative grant in the amount of $78,300 to the Public Investment Fund Water Extraordinary Expenditures account which will support Phase I of the Cambridge Water Supply Resilience project.
I'm always interested in hearing about what new projects are planned for protecting and improving Cambridge water whether or not it's related to "resiliency".
Manager's Agenda #17. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-79, regarding a report on the Grand Junction Overlay District.
Manager's Agenda #18. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an agreement with the Cambridge Housing Authority to take an easement and accepting the conveyance of a 2nd easement for the purpose of constructing a multi-use path along the Grand Junction Railway and to provide grant funding to assist in closing the funding gap for the Millers River Redevelopment Project by paying for part of the demolition of the community center building, reconstruction of a new community building, renovation of 15 housing units and the creation of permanent affordability restrictions for these units.
Applications & Petitions #2. A Zoning Petition has been received from Joseph T. Maguire of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Transmitting a proposed amended to the zoning ordinance by creating the Grand Junction Pathway Overlay District adjacent to the Grand Junction railroad right-of-way between Binney and Cambridge Streets.
There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear. In any case, it's nice to see some tangible progress on this project that we first proposed as part of the Green Ribbon Open Space Committee about two decades ago. I'm still curious how it would connect with the Somerville Community Path..
Order #5. Somerville’s Davis Square Neighborhood Plan. Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux
Check out the draft of the Davis Square Neighborhood Plan. Many of us still remember when a railroad ran through the middle of Davis Square. Anyway, what we do affects Somerville and vice-versa. Envision That.
Order #6. Marijuana Public Consumption. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Simmons
Pretty soon the whole city is going to smell like Woodstock - only at 20X the potency.
Order #7. That the City Council refer to the Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board, for hearing and report, the proposed amendments to Article 5.000 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan
Flat Roof Zoning returns for another try. You know - Up On The Roof.
Order #8. Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning Petition. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan
Will this again get lost in the shuffle? I know a guy who can help with the amendments.
Order #11. Inclusionary Tenants' Association. Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui
Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?
Order #12. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the IT Department and Granicus to create a more inclusive city website, including an Open Meeting Portal registration form that does not require the use of gendered pronouns, salutations or titles. Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon
Oh, the horror.
Order #13. Legal Opinion on Portland's Relocation Assistance Ordinance. Councillor Zondervan
The relentless campaign to reimpose rent control piecemeal continues like death by a thousand cuts. Last year's jewel was the "Right of First Refusal" that fortunately never saw daylight. Now this. Though the order asks for a legal opinion on whether Cambridge can impose such a financial requirement, it should be obvious to any sentient city councillor that they cannot do so without authority from the Commonwealth.
Committee Report #4. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sumbul Siddiqui, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 3, 2018 to discuss a City-based Cannabis Social Equity Program and Policy Order #10 from June 25, 2018.
While I agree that this potentially lucrative business should not be dominated by the usual high-rolling entrepreneurs and that economic opportunity should be spread far and wide, I find unconvincing (to say the least) the notion that anyone should be provided an advantage based on ethnic identity.
Committee Report #5. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Nov 14, 2018 to discuss the Policy Order adopted regarding Cambridge publicly financed Municipal Election Program and the Cambridge Municipal People’s Pledge Program.
I wish I had been able to attend this meeting because I could go on for hours on this topic. For starters, I am not at all convinced that money is any longer the limiting factor in municipal elections. I will also note that most or all of the proposals floated seem pretty obviously chosen to advantage political friends or to disadvantage political opponents - even though the case is always framed in terms of "leveling the playing field". I have in previous discussions of these matters also pointed out how publicly financed municipal campaigns might perversely work in the context of proportional representation and organized candidate slates. This is conveniently overlooked by proponents. If there are future meetings on this topic, please try not to schedule them when I'm in the classroom teaching because I would really like to take a few people to school on this topic.
Committee Report #7. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Nov 15, 2018 to continue discussions on the petition filed by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance as it relates to cannabis uses.
Trees and marijuana. That's what this City Council will be remembered for. - Robert Winters
A Quick One! Nov 26, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting
Though a short agenda does not guarantee a short meeting, hope springs eternal. Below are the handful of items of potential action or interest, but first a word or two about The Who.
I understand that many people these days may not even know what a radio or a record is, and the term "long playing" (or LP) may now refer only to how long somebody spends on their video games. However there once was a pretty great band called The Who that was known by many as the raucous band that destroyed their equipment at live shows. They also produced some pretty great studio albums - one of which was the nifty 1966 record (their second) called "A Quick One". All the band members wrote songs for this one, e.g. "Run, Run, Run" (Pete Townsend), "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle), "I Need You" (Keith Moon), and "See My Way" (Roger Daltrey). I have a particular fondness for "Boris the Spider".
Anyway, whenever I say or think of the phrase "A Quick One" it reminds me of this really great record.
Now back to less interesting stuff.
Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $3,000,000 to provide funds for the planning and feasibility of improvements to 831 Massachusetts Avenue and 3 Bigelow Street buildings, and the design and construction of improvements at City Hall.
I really hope one of the city councillors asks what the total cost now is for rehab of these two buildings (831 Mass. Ave. and 3 Bigelow Street.). As for City Hall, how much of the cost is for the ever-growing coddling budget for city councillors?
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $3,000,000 to provide funds for the design and reconstruction of the Fire Station Headquarters building.
I'm glad to see the City's firehouses getting some long-overdue attention.
Unfinished Business #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-85, regarding a report on the feasibility of appointing an advisory committee to work through resilience elements raised during the Envision process and through the Brown Petition.
The discussion on this last week was illuminating, especially the objections to there being four city councillors on the committee. Apparently this flies in the face a several Open Meeting Law quorum restrictions. It's also unprecedented to have an advisory committee with four city councillors, but such is the price of political accommodation.
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Community Development Department, the Cambridge Public Health Department, and any other appropriate departments to provide a timeline outlining when the City Council can expect to receive draft zoning and public health regulations for urban farming. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Zondervan
Other than beekeeping and perhaps legalizing a few stray hens, I'm still at a loss to explain why this is even an issue or why it has been batted around for so long. Do we really need an ordinance to regulate the sale of some stuff grown in our gardens?
Order #2. That the City Manager work with the Economic Development Department, Business Associations, and Cambridge Local First to create a Small Business Saturday strategy that increases traffic to our local businesses during the 2019 holiday season. Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui
I personally spent Black Friday at home and will let Cyber Monday pass without spending a dime. As for a strategy to increase traffic to our local businesses, I suggest lowering prices and, of course, selling some really cool stuff. - Robert Winters
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
FCC rule could gut funding for Cambridge community TV (Nov 30, 2018)
Cambridge residents asked to vote on budgeting (Nov 21, 2018)
Yard waste collection to continue through Dec 14 (Nov 16, 2018)
Baker open to fee hike to boost state CPA match (Nov 16, 2018)
Cambridge Police Department welcomes 10 new officers (Nov 13, 2018)
Cambridge cyclist killed by dump truck (Nov 9, 2018)
Resident parking permits for 2019 available (Oct 26, 2018)
Global market complicates local recycling, frustrates residents (Sept 17, 2018)
December Programs (and Beyond) at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|Fresh Air Walks
Dates: Wednesdays, 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
These casual walks, led by Ranger Tim, will encompass Fresh Pond and take an informal look at each week in nature, life, and the city. Come alone or bring your co-workers! Rain or shine. Questions? Contact: tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov
|Historical Photo Walk: Kingsley Park
Date: Sunday, December 9th, 12:00 noon to 1:00pm
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Parkway (under the clock tower)
Have you ever wanted to look through a window back in time? With over 300 years of documented history, Fresh Pond has quite the storied past. Join the Cambridge Rangers as we walk around Kingsley Park at Fresh Pond Reservation and learn from the perspectives of several historic photos. Open to all audiences, service dogs only please. For questions or more information contact Ranger Tim at tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov.
|Seasonal Walkabout at Black’s Nook
Date: Thursday, December 13th, 11:00am to 12:00 noon
Place: Meets at Maher Park, 650 Concord Ave.
Come out for a seasonal walkabout with Ranger Jean at Black’s Nook. We will monitor wildlife by sign, track or presence, and make note of weather, state of plants, condition of water and other abiotic resources. You can help chart the seasonal changes of some of our most active wildlife spots, or simply come to enjoy the walk. Come dressed to be outdoors for the hour. All knowledge levels welcome. We will be walking off-path. Service dogs only, please. To RSVP, please contact Ranger Jean at (508) 562-7605 or email jrogers@cambridgeMA.gov. Heavy rain postpones to the following Friday.
|Urban Animal Tracking at Fresh Pond
Date: Sunday, December 16th, 10:00am to 12:00 noon
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Parkway (under the clock tower)
Ever wonder about the tracks you see? Animal tracking contains a lot more than just footprints. Join Ranger Tim as we observe the hidden streets of Cambridge and read the stories written in the earth. Open to all audiences, no experience needed. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes... this walk goes wherever the tracks lead us! Service dogs only, please. Questions? Contact: tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov.
|Solstice Celebration: A Farewell to Fall
Date: Sunday, December 23rd, 2:30pm to 4:30pm
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Parkway (under the clock tower)
…And a Welcome to Winter! Join Ranger Tim on this guided loop walk around Fresh Pond (2.25-2.5mi) as we explore and take part in the solstice traditions of nature and culture along the way; a great way to jump into the holiday spirit. Open to all audiences. Rain or shine, dress for the weather at hand. tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov for questions.
Interested in Volunteering? Get hands on and give back to the land! Contact Ranger Tim at tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov to find out more!
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any RSVPs or questions!
Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership is $10 and can be paid online or sent to 31 Mt. Pleasant St., Cambridge, MA 02138.
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.
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
Coming up soon on the Cambridge Civic Front:
Thurs, Dec 13
5:30-7:00pm Commission for Persons with Disabilities meeting (51 Inman St., 2nd Floor Conference Room)
Mon, Dec 17
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District Commission Meeting (Lombardi Building, 831 Mass. Ave, Basement Conference Room)
Tues, Dec 18
3:00pm The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to explore the responsibility and the relevant of CPD officers or other officers working in Cambridge under CPD authority, such as out-of-town officers working a construction detail, to respond to bike-related collisions, whether car/bike, bike/bike, bike/mobility device or bike/pedestrian, to include providing instructions and guidance on how to follow-up with accident reports and will also explore current efforts to digitalize both the state Citation and the state Accident report form. (Sullivan Chamber)
6:00pm School Committee meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway)
6:30pm Planning Board meeting (2nd Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)
1. Update from the Community Development Department
2. Adoption of Planning Board meeting transcripts
6:30pm PB-339 (continued from 10/16/2018)
541 Massachusetts Avenue – Special Permit application by Revolutionary Clinics II, Inc. to convert existing space into a Medical Marijuana Dispensary pursuant to Section 11.802.8 (Registered Marijuana Dispensary Use in the Business B District). (Materials)
7:00pm PB-342 (continued from 11/13/2018)
200 Monsignor O’Brien Highway – Special Permit application by Ascend Mass, LLC to convert existing space into a Medical Marijuana Dispensary pursuant to Section 11.802.8 (Registered Marijuana Dispensary Use in the Business A District). (Materials)
199 Pemberton Street – Special Permit application by Rosi and Brian Amador to construct two attached dwelling units greater than 75 feet from the front lot line and to the rear of an existing single-family residence pursuant to Section Sections 5.53 (more than one structure on a lot in a Residence B district) and 6.43.3 (c) (more than one curb cut on a lot less than 100 feet wide). The existing single-family structure will remain on the lot. (Materials)
CambridgeSide – Major Amendment to Planned Unit Development (PUD) Special Permit by CambridgeSide Galleria Associates Trust to modify the previously approved Final Development Plan to re-tenant some or all of the approximately 140,000 square feet of third floor retail space in the core mall building to general office use with no external changes to the building footprint pursuant to Section 12.37 (Amendments to the Planned Unit Development Special Permit) and Section 19.20 (Project Review Special Permit). (Materials)
Wed, Dec 19
8:00-9:30am Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) Meeting (Sullivan Chamber, City Hall)
5:30pm Cambridge Redevelopment Authority Board Meeting (Police Station, 125 Sixth St., First Floor Community Room)
Thurs, Dec 20
10:00am Pole & Conduit Commission meeting (Lombardi Building, 831 Mass. Ave, Basement Conference Room)
Mon, Jan 7
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, Jan 8
5:00pm The City Council's Neighborhood and Long-Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Port Infrastructure Project and ways to mitigate the impacts of this important project on the neighborhood, including the basketball court at Clement Morgan Park, and any other related matter. (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Jan 9
8:00-9:30am Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) Meeting (Sullivan Chamber, City Hall)
5:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in Chapter 8.66 entitled “Tree Protection” to amend section 8.66.40 entitled “Applicability” and by adding a new section 8.66.050 entitled “Procedure for other projects”. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Jan 14
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Jan 28
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sat, Dec 15. Walden Pond, Concord. Moderate pace 5 mile walk, across grassy meadows and through hemlock forest, to scenic Walden Pond. Visit a cove, once inhabited by Henry Thoreau. Enjoy sit-down break, on the shore of Walden. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at China Ruby Restaurant, in nearby Maynard, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Lincoln Train Station commuter parking lot. From Route 2, take Route 126 South for 2 miles. Turn left on Codman Road, follow to end. Turn left, see Train Station on left. L Brian Connolly.||Sun, Dec 16. Habitat Audubon Sanctuary, Belmont - Celebrate the Solstice Walk. The Winter Solstice arrives in just 5 days. We’ll take a slow-paced nature walk through forests and fields and around a pond focusing on plant ID of bare trees, naked shrubs and winter weeds as the natural world prepares for winter. We’ll also talk about fun and interesting natural history about the Winter Solstice as well as about the plants we see. 1:00-4:00pm. From Rte. 2, Exit 59 go west on Rte. 60/Pleasant St. 0.6 miles. Right onto Clifton St, first left on Fletcher Rd, bear left at fork, next left on Juniper Rd. 0.2 miles to Sanctuary at #10 Juniper Rd. Steady rain or heavy snow cancels. L Boot Boutwell.|
|Sat, Dec 22. Cutler Park Reservation, Needham. 10am-Noon. Join us for walk in this local gem, conveniently located directly off of Route 128. As you walk the trails, you will not believe that you are so close to the highway. Highlights include Kendrick Pond, views of the Charles River, and the boardwalk crossing a marshland. Easy trails, minor ups and downs, with some roots and rocks, moderate pace. Bring water and snacks. No children under 10 or dogs. Severe weather cancels. Depending on the weather conditions, bring snowshoes or traction devices, such as yak tracks or stabilizers. Call Lisa if uncertain. Directions: 84 Kendrick St, Needham, MA. L Lisa Fleischman.||Tues, Dec 25. Foss Farms, Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and Greenough Land, Carlisle, MA. Easy approx. 4-5 mi. wander through a good birding area with river and pond views, pine forest and red maple swamp. Snowshoe if sufficient snow cover. Meet 10am. Foss Farms parking lot, about 1/3 mi west of Concord River off Rte. 225. From Rte. 128 Exit 31B follow Rtes. 4/225 through Bedford, continuing on Rte. 225 toward Carlisle. Storm cancels. If weather uncertain contact Leader. L Mark Levine.|
|Tues, Dec 25. Blue Hills Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 4-mi. hike/snowshoe around pond, 10:00am-12:15pm. Bring snack & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 S 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course lot on L. If no snow, bring traction device for boots. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Tues, Dec 25. Holiday Hike - Lynn Woods, Lynn. 5 miles, Leader's Choice. 9:00am-1:00pm. Bring lunch, H2O, and snacks. Dress for the elements. I-95/Route 128 to Walnut Street exit, 4 miles. From Route 1, Walnut Street exit, 2 miles. Turn left on Pennybrook Road to Western Gate parking lot. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.|
|Sun, Jan 13. Nagog Pond, Acton MA and Sarah Doublet, Littleton, MA. 9:30am-2:30pm. Meet at Grassy Hill parking lot off Nagog Hill Rd, Acton (see links below), S side of Nagog Hill Rd. From Rte.2, exit Rte.27 N toward Acton for 1.1mi., L Nagog Hill Rd. for 1.2mi to Grassy Pond pkg. area on L. This 7½ mi. route wanders through a portion of Acton's Nagog Hill area, hugs the shore of Nagog Pond, loops through the hilly Sarah Doublet area in Littleton where we plan to have lunch and offer an optional excursion to Fort Pond via a short spur trail. Our return covers the remaining portion of Nagog Pond. Snowshoes may be necessary. L Mark Levine.|
|Mon, Jan 21. Blue Hills Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 5-mi. hike/snowshoe around pond, 10:30am-2:00pm. Bring lunch & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 S 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course lot on L. If no snow, bring traction device for boots. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sun, Feb 10. Bedford, Burlington & Lexington Municipal & Conservation Lands, MA. Very hilly 6-mi. wander through various conservation & municipal lands. 9:45am-2:30pm. Meet at the new Wilson Mill Park, Old Burlington Rd., Bedford, MA. From Rte. 128 exit 32 merge on Rte. 3N for 1.5 mi. to exit 26, turn L on Burlington Rd (Rte. 62) toward Bedford for 0.6 mi., turn sharp L on Old Burlington Rd. Pkg. lot is 0.3 mi. at dead end. Rain cancels. Conditions may require traction devices/snowshoes. L Mark Levine.|
|Mon, Feb 18. Blue Hills Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 5-mi. hike/snowshoe around pond, 10:30am-2:00pm. Bring lunch & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 S 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course lot on L. If no snow, bring traction device for boots. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sat, Mar 16. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 5 mile hike/snowshoe, 9:00am-noon. Bring snack/water. From Rte. 3 exit 14, take Rte. 228N 6.5 mi., L on Rte. 3A 1.0mi. to rotary, R on Summer St. 0.5 mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $8 fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.|
|Sat, Mar 23. Walden Pond, Concord. Moderate pace 5 mile walk, across grassy meadows and through hemlock forest, to scenic Walden Pond. Visit a cove, once inhabited by Henry Thoreau. Enjoy sit-down break, on the shore of Walden. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at China Ruby Restaurant, in nearby Maynard, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Lincoln Train Station commuter parking lot. From Route 2, take Route 126 South for 2 miles. Turn left on Codman Road, follow to end. Turn left, see Train Station on left. L Brian Connolly.||Sat, Apr 27. Crane Beach, Ipswich. Moderate pace 5 mile walk, across scenic sand dunes, and along the ocean beach. Beautiful desert landscapes, include pitch pine forest, views of Essex Bay, and sea birds. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at Woodman's Seafood Restaurant, in nearby Essex, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Crane Beach parking lot. Parking Fee. From Route 128, exit 14 in Gloucester, take Route 133 West for 5 miles. Turn right on Northgate Road. Then, turn right on Argilla Road, follow to beach. L Brian Connolly.|
Hold that Turkey! There's a Nov 19, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting
Here's what I find interesting and snarkworthy:
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-102, regarding the potential for utilizing an Icelandic crosswalk design in East Cambridge.
For those who don't recall, there was an Order asking the City to look into a design that pretty clearly would cause some drivers to jam their brakes or swerve to avoid an imagined collision. The response states: "In one formal study, between 10-14% of drivers swerved upon seeing the markings, perhaps believing them to be real raised objects in the roadway. Swerving would not be a safe maneuver for either the driver or other users on the road." Yup.
Manager's Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-85, regarding a report on the feasibility of appointing an advisory committee to work through resilience elements raised during the Envision process and through the Brown Petition.
The Manager appointed a task force of 25 people including 4 city councillors, 4 residents, 5 institutional/non-profit representatives, 4 business representatives, 4 subject matter experts, and 3 City staff. One of the four resident appointees who was one of the original petitioners has already expressed his objections to the appointments and has stated that he's not sure if he wants to be affiliated with this. Rocky start.
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to proposed revisions to the draft Surveillance Ordinance.
I have no point of view on either of these. I'm simply noting that the City Council now has language to adopt or amend. Both proposed ordinances are currently waiting for action on Unfinished Business.
Charter Right #1. Further Study Needed on First Street Garage (Order #3 of Nov 5, 2018).
At this point the notion that some analysis of traffic and parking supply and demand is warranted seems hardly controversial, and most of the data to support that analysis is readily available. What happens after updated information is presented is when the serious controversy will arise.
Applications & Petitions #2. A Zoning Petition was received from Anthony F. Gargano on behalf of his Client Hercules Kalogeropoulos, Cambridge Mobile Sound and Security, seeking to amend the zoning map in the area of 234 Monsignor O'Brien Highway, from the existing 'C-1' to Business 'A'.
More marijuana. I hope people are beginning to understand that this is just as much about getting in on the ground floor of a potentially lucrative market as it is about making marijuana available for medical or recreational use.
Resolution #8. Recognizing the work and legacy of Dr. Joseph J. Harrington. Mayor McGovern
I'm glad to see this. Dr. Harrington was one of the many unsung heroes who generously volunteered his time to serve of an important City Board - in his case, the Water Board.
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to consult with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State Delegation representing Route 28, State Representative Mike Connolly and State Senator Sal DiDomenico, for an update on the bike lane installation, and measures and actions such as increased police enforcement of speed limits, to improve safety of Museum Way immediately with particular emphasis on the intersection of Museum Way and Route 28. Councillor Toomey
This is one stretch a road where some separation of cyclists from motor vehicle traffic is warranted and long overdue. That said, the primary danger on this and other roads is intersections. The recent cyclist fatality at this location occurred when the cyclist was stopped alongside a truck and both vehicles simultaneously made a right turn. Side guards on trucks would greatly lessen the likelihood of a fatality, but cyclists should never situate themselves to the right of a potentially right-turning large vehicle.
Order #7. That the Economic Development & University Relations Committee is requested to hold a public hearing to discuss the formation of a city commission dedicated to providing a forum for exploring and addressing the concerns of undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and other post-high school students in Cambridge. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Toomey, Vice Mayor Devereux
I told my MIT students about this and some of them are interested in possibly serving on such a board. I am curious what issues would rise to the top of the priority list of such a group.
Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to work with CCTV to ensure funding for our municipal media services, and that the City Council go on record opposing a new FCC rule that would severely decrease funding for CCTV and 22CityView by allowing telecommunications companies to deduct in-kind services fees. Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui, Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern
Though much has changed since Cable TV was first licensed in Cambridge - primarily the shift from television to Internet, the support of community access from the licensees has only diminished over time. Continental Cablevision used to maintain a studio for community programming but that requirement went away with a previous federal change. Now the FCC wants to further choke the financial support required of a licensee (and there's only Comcast in Cambridge).
Order #11. That the Housing Committee Co-Chairs, in collaboration with the City Manager’s Office and the Office of the Mayor, be and hereby are requested to reach out to their counterparts in Boston and Somerville to convene a region-wide discussion about the affordable housing crisis. Councillor Simmons
I recommended such a regional conversation 2½ years ago as a member of the Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee. It never happened. - Robert Winters
Tues, Oct 30, 2018 -- Today's Homework Assignment:
Please identify which policies, if any, from Cambridge's Growth Policy Document should be changed.
[To the best of my knowledge, these important policies have never been part of the discussion among the current Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee or its various Working Groups. Indeed, some of the current recommendations growing from the Envision Cambridge process clearly contradict some of these current policies. - RW]
Cambridge Growth Policy - Toward a Sustainable Future
1. Such action will permanently forestall excessive development at the core campus of an existing institution, in particularly sensitive locations; or
2. Existing institutional activity in a core campus area will be reduced or eliminated, particularly at locations where conflict with existing residential communities has been evident or is possible in the future; and
3. The potential for future commercial, tax-paying development is not significantly reduced; or
4. The presence of a stable, well managed institutional activity could encourage, stimulate, and attract increased investment in non-institutional commercial tax producing development.
1. Those areas can adapt to new commercial and industrial patterns of development;
2. The residential neighborhood edges abutting such areas are strengthened through selective residential reuse within the development areas or through careful transition in density, scale and lot development pattern;
3. New uses and varied scales and densities can be introduced into such areas;
4. Uses incompatible with the city’s existing and future desired development pattern are phased out.
1. To provide opportunities for those who work in the city to live here;
2. To limit the use of the automobile to get to Cambridge and to travel within Cambridge;
3. To encourage more active use of all parts of the city for longer periods throughout the day; and
4. To limit the secondary impacts of new development on the existing, established neighborhoods. These impacts may be both economic, as in the increased demand placed on the limited stock of existing housing, and environmental, as in the increase in traffic on neighborhood streets.
For example: low rent industrial space for start up enterprises; locations for industrial use and development which could be compromised by proximity to other, incompatible, uses, including residential uses; small commercial enclaves which directly serve their immediate surrounding residential neighborhood; locations appropriate for gas stations, car repair facilities, tow yards, etc.; structures or clusters of structures eligible for local historic district designation; or for designation as a local conservation district; environments as frequently found in the Residence “A” districts, where a unique combination of distinctive architecture and landscaped open space prevails; areas designated or eligible as national register historic districts.
THE MUNICIPAL SITUATION IN CAMBRIDGE
A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904
BY HENRY N. WHEELER, PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE
PRECEDED BY A PROGRAM OF THE WORK OF THE LEAGUE FOR 1904
Cambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.
[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos (and now audio too!) of each]
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 351-352: Nov 6, 2018 w/Patrick Barrett
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 2015-2018 features co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]
Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2018-2019 (adopted January 29, 2018)
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect revised Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (Adopted January 1, 2018; Revised June 19, 2018)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 3. To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail email@example.com for more details.
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]
Thoughts for these times:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
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“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (rwinters.com)
Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”
Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”
Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”
Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”
Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”
Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"