After the Fire - the Dec 5, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting

Dec 3 fireAny business before the City Council this week pales in comparison to the devastation caused by the 10-alarm Berkshire St. fire on Saturday in the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood. In the midst of it all it was great to see Cantabrigians pulling together to help residents directly impacted by the conflagration. This is a neighborhood where people identify buildings by the names of the families who inhabit them - some for generations.

On the meeting agenda, here are some items of interest:

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with suggested changes to Cambridge’s policy regarding advertising revenue that could help support the continuation and expansion of Hubway in the City of Cambridge.   Councillor Toomey

The economic sustainability of Hubway may require additional advertising revenue or increased user fees (currently $20/month or $85/year). Or you could just buy a bike and a good lock.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to make the appropriate staff available to assist the Mayor’s Office in facilitating a community conversation about the roles and intersection of race, class, gender, and culture in Cambridge within the first quarter of 2017.   Mayor Simmons

Mayor Simmons has organized such events in the past and does a pretty good job at it.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., Chair of the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee, for a public hearing held on Nov 16, 2016 to discuss gradually increasing the parking permit fee and to consider other improvements to the program to help fund the City’s budget towards reducing vehicle miles traveled and to promote alternative forms of transportation.

This was the meeting where some city councillors (Mazen, Devereux) argued in favor of dramatic increases in the Resident Permit Parking fee. Basically, they would like to jack it up as high as they can politically get away with. Councillor Devereux wants to jack the fees up as a way of disincentivising automobile ownership - at least for those with lower incomes. She also noted that Uber does not have enough curb space to pull over and that this could be relieved by driving out resident parking from major streets. In a Twitter post recently she also expressed her desire to double Cambridge parking meter rates like Boston is planning to do in the Seaport District. Gee, thanks.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 27, 2016 to discuss a zoning petition by the City Council to amend four sections in Article 19.000 of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 27, 2016 to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in Title 15 entitled “Buildings and Construction” by adding a new Chapter 15.22 entitled “Outdoor Lighting.”

Rather than get into the details of all this, I will simply note that it is so classically Cambridge that a proposal that was originally intended to limit light trespass into bedroom windows has now morphed into a showdown on the aesthetics of building signage and architectural lighting. It almost makes me yearn for the days of "spectacular lighting" such as the one adorning the Shell gas station on Memorial Drive or, even more spectacularly, the much-beloved Citgo sign overseeing the good fortunes of the Red Sox. - Robert Winters

Comments?

City of Cambridge to Host Fire Recovery Resource Center; Buildings Sustain Serious Damage
Residents Displaced by December 3 Fire Encouraged to Register with Red Cross of Massachusetts

Berkshire St. fire, Dec 3, 2016Dec 4, 2016 - Three buildings are being torn down in Cambridge and at least one other will be partially razed for safety reasons. The Dec 3, 2016 fire in the Harrington/Wellington/East Cambridge neighborhoods caused significant damage to six buildings, and fire or water damage to at least five others.

As of 3pm, 48 displaced families, representing 104 individuals, have registered with the Red Cross of Massachusetts. There may be more families and individuals that have not yet registered and the City is strongly encouraging all displaced individuals to register with the Red Cross by calling 800-564-1234 or by coming to the City’s Fire Recovery Resource Center at City Hall.

The first step in receiving assistance from the City is to contact and register with the Red Cross of Massachusetts.

On Mon, Dec 5, from 8:30am-8:00pm and Tues, Dec 6, 8:30am-5:00pm, the City is hosting a Fire Recovery Resource Center on the 2nd floor of Cambridge City Hall, 795 Mass. Ave. Impacted residents can meet with representatives from the City of Cambridge, American Red Cross, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Division of insurance, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Division of Transitional Assistance, Housing and Development, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Public Health Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Mental Health, National Organizational Voluntary Active Disaster, and Riverside Community Care.

The public can donate to the Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund online at www.cambridgema.gov/firefund or by sending a check to:

Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund
Cambridge City Hall
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

While greatly appreciated, the City is urging people to hold off on donating food, clothing or material goods at this time. Should this change, an announcement will be made in the media and on the City’s website and social media outlets.

A number of street closures will remain in place in Cambridge. The following streets have no access for pedestrians or vehicles:

Residents impacted by the fire can call the City’s dedicated phone line, 617-349-9484, with questions regarding the fire or recovery assistance.

City Encourages Families and Individuals to Register with the Red Cross of Massachusetts
Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund Accepting Online Donations

Dec 4, 2016 - The City of Cambridge is encouraging displaced families and individuals impacted by the December 3, 2016, fire in the Harrington/Wellington/East Cambridge neighborhoods to contact the Red Cross of Massachusetts to register for assistance.

“The most important first step displaced families and individuals can take is to register with the Red Cross of Massachusetts,” said Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager.

Individuals can register by calling the Red Cross at 800-564-1234 or by stopping by one on of the following drop-in sessions:

The key first step that needs to occur for the City to assist and communicate with the impacted families and individuals is for them to register their information with the Red Cross.

Members of the public can donate to the Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund online at www.cambridgema.gov/firefund or by sending a check to:

Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund
Cambridge City Hall
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

The City appreciates the numerous offers for volunteers and donations of physical assets; however, what is needed most is donations to the Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund. The City is currently not accepting physical donations.


25mphSpeed Limit on City-Owned Streets Being Reduced to 25 MPH
City of Cambridge implements component of Vision Zero Initiative

Dec 2, 2016 − On Thurs, Dec 8, 2016, the speed limit on City-owned streets in the City of Cambridge will be reduced to 25 Miles Per Hour (MPH), unless otherwise posted. This is an important step towards improving the safety of everyone who lives, works and visits Cambridge, and is a significant component of the City’s Vision Zero Initiative.

Speed is one of the most important factors in traffic safety; crashes that occur at lower speeds cause less injury. In fact, a pedestrian hit by a car traveling 40 MPH has a 1 in 10 chance of surviving a crash, while a pedestrian hit by a car traveling 20 MPH has a 9 in 10 chance of surviving. “By lowering the speed limit in Cambridge, we are prioritizing safety and making our City more walkable, bikeable and livable,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.

“We know that lowering car speeds is one of the most important ways to protect our most vulnerable users and work together to achieve our Vision Zero goals,” said Joseph Barr, Director of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation. “I encourage everyone who travels in Cambridge to take their time as they move through the city; by staying under 25 MPH you’ll be keeping all of our citizens safer and be able to better enjoy our beautiful city.”

The Cambridge City Council approved the new lower speed limit reduction on November 7th, by accepting Sections 193 and 194 of the Municipal Modernization Act. These sections grant municipalities the right to lower speed limits in thickly settled areas and to create 20 MPH safety zones. The City will be posting the new speed limit at the City line at various locations, as permitted by State law.

With this change, Cambridge will be joining neighbors like Boston, Somerville, and Arlington that are making the whole region safer by creating a 25 MPH zone within the inner core.

For additional information contact Brooke McKenna, Assistant Director for Street Management, at bmckenna@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-4723, or visit www.cambridgema.gov/visionzero.


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 189 (Dec 6, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Possible Topics: Berkshire Street fire; Participatory Budgeting; Cambridge Boards & Commissions; Nov 28 Roundtable meeting on Cambridge's status as a Sanctuary City.
Episode 190 (Dec 6, 2016, 6:00pm)
Possible Topics: Dec 5 City Council meeting; Central Square Restoration Petition.
Episode 187 (Nov 29, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Lucius Paige; possible late night MBTA bus service; MIT development plans and potential at MIT/Kendall, the Volpe site, the northwest campus, and at Mass. Ave.; Cambridge Boards & Commissions; and Monday's Roundtable meeting on Cambridge's status as a Sanctuary City.
Episode 188 (Nov 29, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Sanctuary City; Central Square Restoration Petition; recent meetings of the Central Square Advisory Committee and the Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee
Episode 185 (Nov 22, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Sanctuary cities, non-citizen voting
Episode 186 (Nov 22, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Bicycle Safety Plan, Inclusionary Zoning, Harvard Square future
Episode 183 (Nov 15, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Local election results; Louis DePasquale takes the oath of Office
Episode 184 (Nov 15, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: David Maher to move to Chamber of Commerce; Ranked Choice Voting wins in Maine
Nov 8, 2016 - Election Day: No show this week
Episode 181 (Nov 1, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Recap of Oct 31 City Council meeting
Episode 182 (Nov 1, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Recap of Oct 31 City Council meeting
Episode 179 (Oct 25, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Possible Topics: Early Voting, Inman Square changes, Media and the Elections, Broadband Task Force
Episode 180 (Oct 25, 2016, 6:00pm)
Possible Topics: Broadband Task Force, Charter Schools Roundtable, Municipal Lighting Ordinance
Episode 177 (Oct 18, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Recap of Oct 17 City Council meeting, esp. bike-related Orders
Episode 178 (Oct 18, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Bicycle safety; demographic analysis of the Sept 8 primary, 26th Middlesex House district
Episode 175 (Oct 11, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: presidential debates, Red Sox elimination, a death in Porter Square, Riverside zoning
Episode 176 (Oct 11, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: The Foundry, charter school opinions, absentee ballots, Early Voting
Episode 173 (Oct 4, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials] Episode 174 (Oct 4, 2016, 6:00pm)
Episode 171 (Sept 27, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials] Episode 172 (Sept 27, 2016, 6:00pm)

Cambridge Human Services Commission Vacancy

City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking Cambridge residents interested in volunteering to serve on the nine-member Human Services Commission. The Commission advises the City Manager and the Assistant City Manager for Human Services on human services policy issues, needs assessment, and funding allocations.

City SealWorking in collaboration with the Department of Human Service Programs, the Commission also promotes activities that enhance the quality of life for Cambridge residents. Over the years, the Commission has responded to local needs by recommending Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for a wide range of programs offered by the City of Cambridge and community agencies.

The Commission usually meets with the Assistant City Manager for Human Services on the second Thursday of each month, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

For more information, contact Mike Payack at 617-349-6208 or mpayack@cambridgema.gov. Commission members serve without compensation. Residents who wish to apply, may send a letter of interest and résumé by January 11, 2017, to:
Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139


Next Participatory Budgeting VOTE: December 3-9, 2016!

Do you live in Cambridge? Are you at least 12 years old? Then come out and vote between December 3-9 for your favorite PB projects and decide how to spend $700,000 of the City's capital budget!

Residents can vote online at pb.cambridgema.gov or in person at dozens of events around town. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to participate in this process.

What's on the ballot?

Over 60 volunteer Budget Delegates worked hard this fall researching 548 ideas submitted by community members and developed 20 final proposals for the ballot. Voters can choose up to 5 of the following 20 projects. You don't need to rank your choices or do any math.

  1. Participatory BudgetingUniversal Design: Playgrounds for Everyone! ($100,000)
  2. Danehy Park: Fitness, Signs, Dog Park Lights & Scoreboards ($140,000)
  3. Shade and Wet Weather Canopies for Playgrounds ($146,000)
  4. Learn about Nature in the Port ($10,000)
  5. Cambridge Street Art Trail ($25,000)
  6. All-In-One Mobile Performance Stage & Art Space ($98,000)
  7. Lighting Landmarks: CHLS Gate & Sumner Statue ($45,000)
  8. Little Free Libraries for Children ($37,000)
  9. Bicycle Desks for Cambridge Students ($113,000)
  10. Wireless Speakers for Youth Centers ($25,000)
  11. Upgrade the Moore Youth Center ($80,000)
  12. Free Public WiFi in Columbia Park ($32,000)
  13. Kinetic Energy Tiles ($50,000)
  14. Solar-Powered Real-Time Bus Tracker Displays ($150,000)
  15. Building a Strong and Safe Bike Community ($114,000)
  16. Safer Crosswalks for Busy Roads ($104,000)
  17. Solar Power Shines! ($260,000)
  18. Hydration Stations in Four Locations! ($37,000)
  19. Safe Naps for Cambridge Preschoolers! ($4,000)
  20. (2-3) Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations ($30,000)

To learn more about each project and about the PB voting process, please visit pb.cambridgema.gov or contact us in the City's Budget Office.

Navigating the Post-Apocalypse in the Peoples Republic - Nov 21, 2016 Cambridge City Council Preview

Peoples RepublicWhile the Orange Emperor prepares to assume the throne, Cambridge responds with symbolic acts of virtual warfare. I expect that the next two months will be dominated by discussions of Sanctuary Cities and declarations of our municipal virtue.

Here are the City Council agenda items that seem most noteworthy:

Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an update on the drought conditions.

The drought persists, but things appear to be less dire than they seemed a month ago. The reservoirs are slowing gaining water and we have been able to use Cambridge water to some degree, so the cost of purchasing MWRA water is less than was projected.

Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to various projects and initiatives related to the City’s Bicycle Safety Work Plan.

City staff seem to be approaching this more thoughtfully than the "my way or the highway" approach suggested in recent City Council orders. For example, there is a substantial analysis of the pros and cons of completely revising the good plans already developed for Huron Avenue. Based on that analysis and the impacts associated with making major changes to the design at this point in construction, City staff does not plan to modify the layout of Huron Avenue.

There definitely are some modifications to street configuration and on-street parking that can be made for greater bicycle safety, but this is best done in conjunction with a thoughtful process involving all stakeholders - and not with the banging of drums. It is worth noting that at a recent City Council committee meeting on a possible increase in the cost of a resident parking permit, one councillor clearly stated that she hoped that by jacking the sticker price up sufficiently high it would lead to enough people giving up their vehicles so that parking could be eliminated from most or all of Broadway, Cambridge Street, Hampshire Street and Massachusetts Avenue. She especially liked that Uber vehicles would more easily be able to pick up passengers on these streets. Public process may be time-consuming, but it's far preferable to a dictatorial City Council.

Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the zoning amendments with recommended changes to the Inclusionary Housing Provisions.

Presumably, the zoning amendment process will now commence with referral to the Planning Board and Ordinance Committee. It will be interesting to see if the shifting economic forecasts associated with changes in Washington, D.C. will affect the view of how viable the proposed 20% Inclusionary Zoning percentage might be.

Charter Right #1. The City Manager confer with the City Solicitor on the possibility of allowing non-citizen Cambridge residents to vote in municipal elections without a home-rule petition. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Cheung on Nov 7, 2016.]

Perhaps the juxtaposition of this with the Sanctuary City discussion may give this a boost, but I still think that individual cities and towns should not be setting their own policies in matters such as this. For a hundred years the standard has been that Citizenship = "Right to Vote", and a lot of us agree with that definition. I will again add that just about everyone is a citizen of some country and they likely still retain those voting rights even if they currently reside in Cambridge.

Order #3. That all Awaiting Report items on the Awaiting Report List on Nov 7, 2016 be placed on file.   Councillor Cheung

Perhaps most of the slate should be wiped clean, but maybe councillors should be afforded the privilege of selecting a few or the more substantial requests for retention on the list. While they're at it, we could also use a little Fall Cleaning of some of the items that are On the Table collecting dust and going nowhere. The City Clerk will, I'm sure, appreciate the gesture.


Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to commit to funding any and all programs that may be in jeopardy should the federal funds affect the viability of these programs.   Councillor Cheung, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Kelley

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to forward a letter to Cambridge organizations and City Departments regarding the status of our Sanctuary/Trust Act City and what this means for working non-citizens and the resources available.   Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen
[References1985 Sanctuary City resolution    2006 Sanctuary City resolution    Joint Statement by City Manager & Mayor Simmons]

Order #8. Nov 28th Roundtable/Working Meeting be changed to discuss Cambridge remaining a Sanctuary City.   Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern

As an exercise, let's separate out the substance of these Sanctuary City resolutions from all the other statements of conditions, causes, and virtue.

The essential clauses of the 1985 resolution are:
"The City Council wishes to clarify its desire not to expend City resources, beyond the requirements of federal law, in voluntarily assisting or cooperating with investigations of alleged violations of immigration law by Salvadorean, Guatemalan or Haitian refugees, or in gathering or disseminating information on the citizenship status of those residing in the City of Cambridge"; and
"RESOLVED: That the City of Cambridge not participate in any form in the compounding of injustice against refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti or in the federal government's persecution of those, who in good faith, offer humanitarian assistance to the refugees"; and
"ORDERED: That the City Council declares it to be the policy of the City of Cambridge that, to the extent legally possible, no department or employee of the City of Cambridge will violate established or future sanctuaries by officially assisting or voluntarily cooperating with investigations or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, relating to alleged violations of immigration law by refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala or Haiti, or by those offering sanctuary"; and
"ORDERED: That no city employee or department, to the extent legally possible, will request information about or otherwise assist in the investigation of the citizenship status of any City resident, will disseminate information regarding the citizenship of a City resident, or condition the provision of City of Cambridge services or benefits on matters related to citizenship."

The 2006 resolution actually added little other than statements about how the Cambridge City Council at that time disagreed with a bill then working its way through the U.S. Congress.

Those were some pretty substantial statements in 1985, but they really aren't all that severe. In a nutshell, they basically say that the City of Cambridge won't carry out the work of the federal government in carrying out a policy with which the City of Cambridge has great disagreement. The federal government doesn't round up people who have failed to pay parking tickets while in the City of Cambridge, so this is, in some respects, just a statement that we'll do our jobs and the federal government can do their jobs.

What is insidious about the current situation is the threat of federal funds being withheld to any city choosing to not do the job of federal authorities. That's almost like saying that we're going to withhold your paycheck until you do your boss's job in addition to your own. Cambridge residents pay federal taxes (sorry, you can't claim the Peoples Republic of Cambridge as a sovereign state), so federal funding is really just a mechanism through which we get back some of our own money. What is most offensive is the manner in which the federal government attempts to micromanage local communities via the threat of withholding federal funds that they have extracted from residents of those same communities via taxation. This practice has been growing for years and is not particular to the latest dispute over Sanctuary Cities. Even President Obama threatened to withhold educational funds based on failure to reconfigure bathrooms, and there are plenty of other examples of federal authorities using taxation as a means of dictating policy.

So, the question I have is simply this: What aspects of Cambridge's Sanctuary City resolutions are actually in violation of federal law? Indeed, the last statement of the 1985 resolution states quite clearly that "the provisions of this Resolution shall be severable, and if any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this Resolution is declared by a court of component jurisdiction to be contrary to the Constitution of the United States or of the Commonwealth or the applicability thereof to any agency, person or circumstances is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this Resolution and the applicability thereof to any other agency, person or circumstances shall not be affected thereby."


Order #7. That the City Council go on record requesting that the Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee hold a hearing or hearings on the attached proposed surveillance ordinance, and that representatives of the ACLU be invited to this hearing or hearings to discuss the necessity of such an ordinance.   Mayor Simmons

I'm not exactly sure who wrote the text of this proposed surveillance ordinance, but I'm pretty sure he wears a tin foil hat.


On the Table #7. The City Manager coordinate with the Finance Department, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, and community stakeholders to outline a proposed system of governance, management, and stakeholder engagement for the Foundry, to be discussed in a public forum with the Council and community. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Oct 31, 2016.]

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 6, 2016 to discuss the redevelopment of the Foundry Building.

The more I hear about this the better I feel about how the City and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority came to this point. It seems as though every piece of real estate for which the City Council has some control has become a political football in a game in which All Great Things ride on the outcome. The Foundry is, at the end of the day, just another building. The City has lots of buildings serving community purposes, including multiple Youth Centers and all of the Community Schools programs. While everybody stamps their feet about The Foundry, where is the fervor about all of these other City programs and facilities? Perhaps the best thing would be to start viewing The Foundry as just another asset in an enlarged inventory of facilities. Maybe then we could start thinking less selfishly and more holistically. When was the last time the City Council and the School Committee looked at the bigger picture and asked if we're making the most of all of the City's assets?

Comments?

Joint Statement of
Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale
Regarding Cambridge as a Sanctuary City

Nov 17, 2016 – The recent national political climate has generated considerable concern and anxiety on the part of many Cambridge residents, especially members of our immigrant communities. The City of Cambridge wants to clearly state to our community that it is committed to supporting and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of all of its residents. As a Sanctuary City, Cambridge affirms the basic human rights and dignity of every human being and provides education, health and other services to all residents of Cambridge, regardless of their immigration status.

“The City of Cambridge has been a Sanctuary City since April 1985, when the City Council first took steps to protect and support refugees fleeing from political violence and human rights violations in El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti,” said Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons. “In 1999, the City Council expanded that support to all residents, regardless of immigration status, and has regularly reaffirmed that over the last 20 years. Today, the City of Cambridge remains just as committed to all of our residents as we have been over the past 31 years.”

The City provides support and resources ranging from a Cambridge Immigrant Rights Commission to programing at the Cambridge Community Learning Center to a Community Engagement Team that works to connect hard to reach populations with City services.

“Every Cambridge resident – regardless of their status – is encouraged to seek and obtain assistance from the many resources available to the Cambridge community. Cambridge remains a welcoming community for all,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.

Furthermore, a core principle of the Cambridge Police Department’s Community Policing philosophy is that all community members are encouraged to seek and obtain police assistance and protection, regardless of their specific immigration and/or documentation status. The enforcement of the nation’s civil immigration laws are the primary responsibility of the federal government and the Cambridge Police Department does not undertake immigration-related investigations and does not routinely inquire into the specific immigration status of any person encountered during normal police operations.

As Mayor and City Manager of Cambridge, we remain committed to the City’s Sanctuary City status and the services and support that we provide to the Cambridge Community.

Mayor E. Denise Simmons      City Manager Louis A. DePasquale

The full text of the Cambridge Police Department’s Secure Communities & ICE Detainers policy is available at www.cambridgepolice.org/Publications. Past City Council Policy Orders are available at www.cambridgema.gov/CityCouncil.


Nov 15, 2016 - MIT tapped to redevelop Volpe Center in Cambridge (Boston Globe)


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


Cambridge Unofficial Election Results (Nov 8, 2016)


November and December Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation

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

FRESH POND KIDS' WALKS
Dates: First three Fridays in December (2nd, 9th, and 16th), 10 to 11am
Place: The gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
    Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their parents/caretakers, and play in our urban wild! We might read stories, look out for birds and bugs, and make some crafts. Please come dressed ready for the weather (and in clothes that are OK to get dirty). Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com.
Last Chance (in 2016) Bird Walk
Date: Sunday, December 11th, 1 to 3pm
Meeting place given upon registering
    The parade of migrating waterfowl at Fresh Pond continues into early winter. By December, the long-distance flyers such as canvasbacks and redheads have arrived, and all three merganser species may be present. We’ll use a telescope to identify birds on the water, and we’ll use binoculars to look at over-wintering songbirds in the trees. Dress warmly; it can be very cold and windy near the water! Beginners are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. Led by Nancy Guppy. To register and for parking and meeting information, e-mail Catherine Pedemonti at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com.
Seasonal Walkabout with Ranger Jean
Date: Friday, December 16th, 10:30 to 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! Extreme weather cancels. For more info or to RSVP, contact Ranger Jean at 508-562-7605 or email jrogers@cambridgema.gov.

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

Affordable Rental and Homeownership Information Sessions December 5

Nov 16, 2016 – The Housing Division of the City’s Community Development Department will be holding Rental and Homeownership Information Sessions on Monday, December 5, from 6-8pm, at the Pisani Center, 131 Washington St, Cambridge. Two sessions will be held at 6pm and 7pm.

Housing personnel from the Community Development Department will be available to discuss the city’s affordable rental and homeownership programs.

Currently, the Housing Division is accepting applications for the Homeownership Pool and the Rental Applicant Pool. Preference is given to Cambridge residents and families with children.

For more information, please contact us at housing@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-4622.


Members Sought for Cambridge GLBT Commission

City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking individuals to fill vacancies on the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Commission. Prospective Commissioners must either reside or work in Cambridge.

City SealThe mission of the Commission is to advocate for a culture of respect and to monitor progress toward equality of all persons with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The Commission also monitors policies and practices that have a positive effect on the health, welfare and safety of all persons who live, visit or work in the City of Cambridge with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Current projects include working with Housing and Health Care organizations who serve LGBTQ+ Seniors and Youth After School activities.

The Commission normally meets on the 4th Thursday of each month and Commissioners are expected to volunteer some time outside of meetings for various projects. Although it is not a requirement for application, it is recommended that applicants attend a Commission meeting to see how it operates; the next meeting is on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 6-7:30 p.m., at Windsor Street Community Health Center, 2nd Floor Conference Room, 119 Windsor St., Cambridge.

For more information about the Commission, visit www.cambridgema.gov/glbt. Minutes, and other information can be found there. Visit the Commission’s FaceBook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Cambridge.GLBT.Commission.

A Letter of Interest with a brief resumé should be sent via mail or e-mail by Monday, Dec 12 to:
Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4300
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov


Seeking Volunteers for Harvard Square Kiosk Working Group

Harvard Square KioskThe City of Cambridge would like to share two important updates regarding the Harvard Square Placemaking process.

The City is seeking volunteers to serve on a new Harvard Square Kiosk Working Group. This working group is being created to advise the City Manager on the vision, programming, operations and governance of the Harvard Square kiosk and plaza.

A key goal of this project is to develop a framework for ongoing operation of this significant space that ensures the public nature of the kiosk and its surrounding plaza over time. The working group will include residents, business and institutional representatives, and subject matter experts and will work with City staff and a consultant to develop options for programming, governance framework, and operations plan including ideas for budgeting/financing and possible revenue sources.

The outcomes of the group’s work should advance the City’s efforts toward public realm improvements in Harvard Square.

Individuals with interest in the Harvard Square area, experience/expertise in relevant topics (e.g. urban design, public space programming, fiscal management, public/private partnership development, and public facilities operations), and a demonstrated ability to work effectively with diverse viewpoints to craft consensus solutions are encouraged to apply. The group will meet approximately monthly for a period of six-eight months starting January 2017. Meetings of the work group will be open to the public.

For more information, contact Sandra Clarke at sclarke@cambridgema.gov. Please send a letter of interest by December 2, 2016 describing your interest and any experience you have working on similar issues to:
City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
citymanager@cambridgema.gov

Comment Period Open on the Draft Request for Proposals Harvard Square Kiosk Consulting Services

The City is interested in issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for hiring a consultant to assist the City to create a vision for the programming, operations and governance of the Harvard Square Kiosk. We would like to provide an opportunity for input on the scope and evaluation for the RFP consulting services. The comment period on the RFP will extend through November 29th, and comments will inform any changes to the RFP before it is posted.

To review the RFP and directions to submit your comments, click on the link to the Harvard Square Placemaking webpage and look under the "Latest" tab: https://www.cambridgema.gov/cdd/projects/parks/hsquarepublicspace

For more information, visit the Harvard Square Placemaking website:  http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Parks/hsquarepublicspace.aspx


Cambridge Human Rights Commission Vacancy - Deadline Extended to Dec 2

City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Human Rights Commission (CHRC). Made up of 11 members who serve three-year terms, the CHRC meets on the first Thursday of every month at 6pm. The Commission seeks Cambridge residents representing the diversity of Cambridge. The application deadline for this commission has been extended to Friday, Dec 2, 2016.

City SealCommissioners are expected to work with other members of the Commission and staff to fulfill the goals and objectives of the Cambridge Human Rights Commission Ordinance (CMC Chapter 2.76). Commissioners are expected to attend monthly meetings, participate in subcommittees on outreach and public education, and work with Commission staff on the investigation, mediation and resolution of complaints filed with the Commission which allege discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment or education based upon race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, family status, military status or source of income.

For more information, contact Nancy Schlacter, Cambridge Human Rights Commission, at 617-349-4396 or nschlacter@cambridgema.gov. Letters of interest, including resume and/or applicable experience, can be sent via mail, fax or e-mail by Friday, December 2, 2016 to:
Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov


City of Cambridge Recycling Advisory Committee Vacancy - Deadline Extended to Dec 2

The City of Cambridge is seeking residents and local professionals interested in serving on the Advisory Committee on Environmentally Desirable Practices/Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) beginning January 2017. The RAC is a volunteer committee which provides advice, recommendations, and assistance to the Department of Public Works (DPW) regarding recycling, composting, reuse, and waste reduction. The DPW strives to meet the goals of the MassDEP Solid Waste Master Plan to reduce residential trash. The RAC does this through research, feedback, public outreach, and event planning.

City SealCambridge Recycling began in 1989 with a few volunteers dedicated to beginning a recycling drop-off program. Today, the City recovers more than 11,000 tons/year of recyclables from more than 44,000 households. Many residents drop off food scraps and every public school has composting. The curbside food scraps collection pilot diverts over six tons per week, and will expand citywide in the fall of 2017.

Currently the City’s goals to reduce waste match those in the MA Solid Waste Master Plan. Using 2008 as a baseline year, the City aims to reduce trash 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Some strategies that City staff have identified to realize this reduction in trash include maximize recycling, educate and increase reduction of food waste while implementing food scrap collection programs; strengthen programs that encourage reuse, repair and donation of durable goods and materials; and support extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation for problem products.

The Committee has been active for over 20 years and consists of at least nine members with a demonstrated interest in the topics listed above. Members serve a three-year term and are expected to attend monthly meetings (Sept-June). The City seeks members that represent local businesses and property managers, Cambridge residents and users of the Recycling Center, universities, non-profit organizations and social service agencies whose goals overlap with waste reduction.

Duties, Responsibilities, and Minimum Requirements include:

Helpful Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Interested persons should submit a letter of interest by email by Friday, December 2, 2016 describing their relevant experience and their professional/personal interest in these issues to:
Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov

Please note that all current Committee members interested in serving again must submit a letter of interest.


Hello Recycling & Composting Neighbors! - November 2016

recycling symbolCambridge Celebrates "America Recycles Day"
City Seeks New Members for Recycling Advisory Committee
New Recycling Director Michael Orr
Yard Waste Pickup Ends December 16
Reduce Waste This Holiday Season
Alternative Gift Giving


Cambridge Celebrates "America Recycles Day"

More? Less?The City of Cambridge is joining thousands of communities across the U.S. to celebrate "America Recycles Day," Tuesday November 15.

Residents are encouraged to stop by information tables to participate in activities and receive a reusable bag (designed by a Cambridge Rindge & Latin student!):

  • Tues, Nov 15, 11:30am-1:30pm - in front of Cambridge City Hall
  • Wed, Nov 16, 3pm-5pm - Brattle Sq. opposite Crema Café
  • Thurs, Nov 17, 8:30am-10:30am - in front of Cambridge Main Library

Thank you for helping to spread the word! For info on all that can be recycled visit here.


City Seeks New Members for Recycling Advisory Committee

Are you interested in protecting the climate, reducing waste, or engaging your community? If so, we encourage you to consider applying for the Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC). The City Manager is seeking residents, business owners, professionals, and others who are passionate about or whose goals overlap with waste reduction to apply for the RAC.

City SealThe RAC is a volunteer committee which provides advice, recommendations, and assistance to the Department of Public Works on recycling, composting, reuse, and waste reduction. It is a 3-year appointment and members are expected to attend monthly meetings (Sept-June). The deadline to apply is Friday December 2, 2016.

Recent accomplishments of the RAC:

  • Assisted in drafting the Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance. RAC found that the Ordinance has resulted in 50-80% reduction in bag use and has helped business owners reduce costs.
  • Organized a reusable bag drive to collect more than 5000 reusable bags for low-income residents and seniors of Cambridge.
  • Recommended the City Manager send letters to Massachusetts State House in support of waste reduction legislation such as a bottle deposit bill and paint stewardship bill.
  • Volunteered at community events to talk to residents about recycling, waste reduction, and how to get rid of things right.

The incoming RAC members will be critical to helping Cambridge achieve our goal of reducing waste 30% by 2020, with 2008 as a baseline. If you're interested in applying visit here for more information. Email Recycling Director Mike Orr at morr@cambridgema.gov with any questions.


New Recycling Director Michael Orr

Michael Orr with David MaherThe Department of Public Works promoted Mike Orr to Recycling Director on November 1, 2016.

Mike joined DPW in August 2015 as the Waste Reduction Program Manager. He was responsible for the curbside composting pilot, Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance, and Polystyrene Ordinance. Mike previously worked at Lesley University as the Sustainability Coordinator. He also served as co-chair of the Cambridge Recycling Advisory Committee since 2013.

"I look forward to working with the community to achieve our goal of reducing waste 30% by 2020 by prioritizing food waste reduction and composting, increasing donation of durable goods, and ensuring residents get rid of things right," says Mike Orr.

You may reach Mike at morr@cambridgema.gov.


Yard Waste Pickup Ends December 16

  • Yard waste collection of leaves, grass and small twigs & branches ends the week of December 12-16, 2016 and begins again after April 1, 2017. For yard waste stickers, email us, call 617 349-4800, or stop by 147 Hampshire St during open hours.
  • Leaves may also be composted in your backyard along with food scraps.
  • Pumpkins may be put out as yard waste (or composted).

Reduce Waste This Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving and December holidays around the corner, we encourage residents to be mindful of their waste.

  • Please recycle as much as possible in your curbside toters. Aluminum foil and trays can be recycled after food has been removed. Paper gift wrap can be recycled.
  • Be like Michael Dukakis and leave no part of the turkey to waste. "Throwing out a turkey carcass is sinful. Absolutely sinful," Dukakis says.
  • After you followed Dukakis' example, consider composting bones, paper towels, and other food waste at our 4 compost drop-off locations.

Alternative Gift Giving

In today's culture of overabundance, we encourage residents to "think outside the Big Box" and consider more meaningful and sustainable gift ideas:

  • BuyMeOnce finds and promotes products that don't break the bank, don't break the planet... that don't break at all! They also challenge manufacturers to break their habits and build stuff that really lasts.
  • SoKind Alternative Gift Registry provides ideas for alternatives to new material items and is a great way to communicate to your loved ones what you would value.

  • recycling symbolMissed recycling or trash? Please use Commonwealth Connect and report it online or via mobile app (iPhone / Android) or call DPW at 617-349-4800 by 12 noon the day after collection to make a request.
  • Need toters, brochures, labels, or posters? Email recycle@cambridgema.gov or fill out this form.
  • Following a weekday holiday, curbside trash, recycling, compost and yard waste collection is delayed one day. Check the 2016 collection schedule.

DAVID MAHER SELECTED AS NEXT PRESIDENT & CEO OF CAMBRIDGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
  • Unanimous choice of the Chamber's Board of Directors
  •Maher will not seek re-election to City Council

David MaherNov 9, 2016 – The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce today announced that David Maher, Cambridge City Councilor and former two term Mayor of Cambridge, has been selected to be the Chamber's next President and Chief Executive Officer.

Maher was the unanimous selection of the Chamber's Board of Directors who, after considering a pool of more than 100 candidates, determined that Maher has the unique leadership experience and vision to guide the Chamber. “We are thrilled to have David on board as President and CEO of the Chamber,” said Jay Kiely, Chairman of the Chamber's Board of Directors. "His skills as a consensus builder, experience in the public and private sector and deep understanding of our city's strengths and challenges, make him the perfect choice to lead the Chamber into the future.”

Maher will assume leadership of the Cambridge Chamber, one of the largest business organizations in New England, in early December. He will not seek re-election to the Cambridge City Council in 2017.

“I am honored to be selected to lead the Cambridge Chamber,” said Maher, who was elected nine times to the Cambridge City Council and served four years as Mayor. “I am deeply honored by all the support I have received from the citizens of Cambridge throughout my political career and proud of the work I have done as City Councilor and Mayor. I look forward to building on that support with the Chamber and this great City.”

Maher brings deep ties to Cambridge's business, civic and political communities. In addition to serving as a City Councilor and Mayor, he also served as School Committee Member and School Committee Chair. Most recently, Maher oversaw the search and selection process for the City's new City Manager and Superintendent of Schools.

In the private sector, Maher has also worked for over 20 years as Director of Development & Public Relations for Cambridge Family & Children's Service, one of Cambridge's oldest human service agencies and spearheaded an ambitious capital campaign to further the agency's mission. Maher's selection was applauded by local leaders. “With a dynamic public background and strong private sector experience, David will excel in this new role and enrich the partnerships at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce,” said Biogen Foundation Executive Director Chris Barr, who headed the search process for Chamber President.

“I've had the opportunity to work with David on many important issues,” said Cambridge's incoming City Manager Louis DePasquale. “Throughout his public career, he has always balanced the objectives of his constituents with the best interests of the City of Cambridge. His passion, commitment and love of Cambridge will serve him well in his new role.”

Maher, a graduate of Suffolk University, was born, raised and resides in the City.

AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksWed, Dec 7. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 5 mile walk, 10:30am-1:00pm. Bring snack/water. From Rte. 3 exit 14, take Rte. 228N 6.5 mi., L on Rte. 3A 1.0mi. to rotary, R on Summer St. 0.5 mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6.00 parking fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias. AMC Local WalksSat, Dec 10. West Quincy Quarries & Granite Railway. 5.5-mile.walk to Granite Railway & quarries, some rock scrambling and steep sections, 10:30am-2:30pm. Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Meet at Shea Ice Rink, 651 Willard St., Quincy. From SE Expressway Exit 8 in Quincy, go south 0.6 miles on Willard St. Or from I-93/Route 128 Exit 6 in Braintree, go north 0.7 miles. Or for public transit take Bus 238 from Quincy Center T station. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey.
AMC Local WalksSat, Dec 17. Cutler State Park walk. 10:00am-Noon. Join us for a walk in this convenient (Needham just off of Route 95/128), yet expansive reservation. Moderate pace, easy trails with some gentle hills and rocks/roots. Bring water and snacks. No children or dogs. Heavy rain/snow cancels. If snow on ground, will snowshoe. Call Lisa if uncertain. L Lisa Fleischman, CL Mary Wisbach. AMC Local WalksSat, Dec 24. Habitat Audubon Sanctuary, Belmont, MA. Slow-paced nature walk through forests and fields and around pond focusing on plant ID of bare trees, naked shrubs and winter weeds as the natural world prepares for winter. We'll also talk about fun and interesting natural history of the plants we see. 9:30am-12:30pm. From Rte. 2, Exit 59 go west on Rte. 60/Pleasant St. 0.6 miles. Right onto Clifton St., first left on Fletcher Rd., bear left at fork, next left on Juniper Rd. 0.2 miles to Sanctuary at #10 Juniper Rd. Steady rain or heavy snow cancels. L Boot Boutwell.
AMC Local WalksSun, Dec 25. Foss Farms, Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and Greenough Land, Carlisle. Easy approx. 4-5 mi. wander through a good birding area with river and pond views, pine forest and red maple swamp. Snowshoe if sufficient snow cover. Meet 10am. Foss Farms parking lot, about 1/3 mi west of Concord River off Rte. 225. From Rte. 128 Exit 31B follow Rtes. 4/225 through Bedford, continuing on Rte. 225 toward Carlisle. Storm cancels. If weather uncertain contact Leader. L Mark Levine. AMC Local WalksSun, Dec 25. Blue Hills Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 4-mi. hike/snowshoe around pond, 10:00am-12:15pm. Bring snack & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 S 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course lot on L. If no snow, bring traction device for boots. L Beth Mosias.

On the Eve of Celebration or Disaster - Nov 7, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda highlights

Question?With the Presidential election looming, it feels almost like the early 1960s when many people believed that nuclear annihilation was a real possibility. In contrast, the kerfuffles and excesses of the little fish in our City Council pond seem almost quaint. Here are a few items to distract you from the national picture:

Manager's Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Lisa C. Peterson, Acting City Manager, requesting the City Council accept Chapter 218 of the Acts of 2016, “An Act Modernizing Municipal Finance and Government”, Sections 193 and 194 giving municipalities the authority to reduce speed limits on all ways other than state highways.

You may recall that not long ago the City Council hastily voted to reduce the speed limit to 20mph citywide. This led to a thoughtful response from the Dept. of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation recommending a citywide limit of 25mph with a lower speed limit for legitimate "safety zones" (as was the intent of the state enabling legislation). The City Council was also alerted at that time to the fact that any change had to wait until the new state law went into effect before adopting its provisions. That time has now arrived and we'll shortly be seeing a 25mph limit in Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, and likely other places.

Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Lisa C. Peterson, Acting City Manager, relative to Council Order No. 15, dated Oct 31, 2016, regarding a Request for Proposal for consultant services related to the visioning, programming, governance, and re-purposing of the Harvard Square Kiosk as well as creating a Harvard Square Kiosk Working Group.

Charter Right #1. The City Manager coordinate with the Finance Department, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, and community stakeholders to outline a proposed system of governance, management, and stakeholder engagement for the Foundry, to be discussed in a public forum with the Council and community. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Oct 31, 2016.]

Both of these agenda items concern efforts by the City Council to intervene in processes that have been long underway and thoughtfully planned and implemented. Residents, including councillors, can raise questions and make recommendations about the outcomes of these process, but intervening in contracts is probably not the best way to proceed. In the case of the Harvard Square Kiosk and the surrounding plaza, the City is simply hiring a firm to create a vision for the programming, operation and governance of the kiosk and plaza. That consultant will be working with City staff and a working group of stakeholders on this task. The City has agreed to allow more time for public input on its Request for Proposals and to possibly generate additional respondents.

In the Foundry matter, the City Council voted to allow the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to shepherd the process leading to the selection of bidder who promises to achieve both the programmatic and financial goals specified by both the City Council and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. Now some city councillors want to go back to the drawing board and change the goals in such a way that the City's costs to operate this "gift" from Alexandria Real Estate will be substantially increased.

Order #2. That the City Council urge the City Manager to establish a deadline of Nov 1, 2017 for fully implementing the various street improvements and safety measures for increasing bicycle safety that were passed during the Oct 17, 2016 meeting.   Mayor Simmons

I hope that the interpretation of this Order is that whatever street improvements and safety measures are implemented are those that result from a thoughtful public process rather than in response to a blitzkrieg of pre-cooked solutions from activists.

Order #3. The City Manager confer with the City Solicitor on the possibility of allowing non-citizen Cambridge residents to vote in municipal elections without a home-rule petition.   Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern

Every few years there's some kind of movement to allow non-citizens to vote in Cambridge municipal elections. This Order makes statements like "non-citizens ... are presently barred from formally voicing their opinions" that are clearly misleading. The Order also fails to note that any non-citizen living in Cambridge is a citizen of some country and generally is able to vote in those elections. Home rule petitions from Cambridge and elsewhere have been filed before and have not been approved. I certainly hope this is not approved either, but the Order also apparently seeks some kind of legal loophole that would allow non-citizen voting without any state approval. I seriously doubt if that is possible. In matters like voting it's best to have uniformity across all cities and towns in Massachusetts in terms of eligibility to vote in all elections.

Order #4. That the City Manager request permission from the DCR to continue Sunday closings on Memorial Drive year-round, starting in early 2017, and to work with the Cambridge Police, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and Public Works Departments and any other staff to implement this plan, and to report back to the Council as soon as possible on the feasibility and schedule.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone

I would rather see this expressed as a request to extend the season for this road closure rather than a year-round Sunday closure. There are consequences to these road closures, including increased traffic on other streets, and the costs should be weighed against the benefits (as well as the actual demand).

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report on behalf of Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Nov 2, 2016 to discuss bicycle safety in Cambridge.

In reading this report I was glad to see that some City staff were taking a more thoughtful and measured approach than some city councillors. There is a lot of room for discussion and alternatives than just the blitzkrieg of orders introduced at the Oct 17 City Council meeting. I also hope that our elected officials can be educated about the difference between actual safety measures and politically expedient actions that don't address the acual causes of cycling fatalities and injuries.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Councillor David P. Maher, transmitting the Proposed Employment Agreement between the City of Cambridge and Louis A. DePasquale.

It appears that Louis DePasquale's first day of work in his new role as City Manager will be Monday, Nov 14, 2016 and his contract will extend through Jan 8, 2021.

Comments?

Trick or Treat - October 31, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting

Happy Halloween!The ghosts and goblins will descend on City Hall this Monday. Here are a few agenda items of possible interest:

Sundry communications advocating for the segregation of two-wheeled vehicles from other vehicles.

Order #10. That the City Council acknowledges that said residents and other users desire the City to immediately enact safety improvements to bicycle infrastructure, starting with separated bike lanes on all major city thoroughfares.   Councillor Mazen, Councillor Devereux

I have been bicycling in Cambridge for over 35 years without incident, so I continue to be surprised by statements that Cambridge roads are some kind of death trap. It's simply not true. Is cycling in Cambridge absolutely safe? Of course not - nor is driving or navigating the streets as a pedestrian.

Most of us can easily identify particular intersections that really are fundamentally unsafe and have been for a long time. Chief on my list would be the Porter Square intersection, Inman Square, River Street coming from the river toward Central Square, much of the McGrath/O'Brien Highway, and the rotary at the BU Bridge. If I gave it some more thought, I'm sure I could come up with more.

I very much appreciate all input from all sources who have good concepts for how a difficult intersection like Porter Square could be made better. Some of those ideas may even be counter-intuitive, e.g. removing all the signals and other devices and forcing everyone to pass through with extreme caution. Even if you think that's crazy, it's still worthy of consideration - though it would definitely not be my chosen remedy. [Reference: woonerf, shared street]

What I really resent in some of the proposals introduced at the Cambridge City Council is their primary focus on "protected bike lanes" without any discussion of the many potential down sides of that proposal. They certainly don't address the actual problem – dangerous intersections. Side paths make a lot of sense in places where there is a significant differential in speeds between motor vehicles and cyclists, e.g. along Memorial Drive. They also make a lot of sense along a twisting road where a faster moving vehicle might come up on a cyclist on a curve, especially if there is little or no shoulder. I don't think they make a lot of sense on straight roads with moderate speeds.

Here are a few examples of what will likely happen if cyclists are channelled into a corridor between parked cars and the curb:

(a) Cyclists of varying speeds will have difficulty sorting themselves out since passing will be more difficult.

(b) Motor vehicles entering a road at an unsignalized intersection will have to block this "protected lane" just to be able to see the traffic before entering the intersection. Most pedestrians are already familiar with this and often have to decide between crossing in front of the car or behind the car. This will be much more problematic for bicycles moving at speeds greatly in excess of a pedestrian.

(c) Picking up and dropping off kids at the local school will become an adventure with significantly narrowed travel lanes and bicycles moving past on the passenger side. We have two Montessori schools on my block, a Cambridge public school across the street, and soon a day care center. Add the coffee shop to that and you have a disaster waiting to happen. Bicycle altercations along my street are few, if any. As I mentioned above, the primary danger is at difficult intersections with turning traffic.

(d) With significantly narrowed travel lanes, traffic congestion will soar in spite of any prophecies to the contrary. Locations where there is now room to maneuver around a turning vehicle will come to a standstill. I understand that this is what many of the "Complete Streets" advocates want to happen, but I really do hope there is at least some effort made to hear what others have to say.

(e) Pedestrians crossing a street will now be essentially crossing three streets and will have to take great caution - much more than they must now do.

(f) Faster moving cyclists will continue to use the regular travel lanes. Their speeds are not all that different than motor vehicles on many Cambridge streets, especially if there's even moderate compliance with the lower speed limits that are proposed citywide. For these cyclists, there will be far less wiggle room for passing and they will often have little choice but to "take the lane".

(g) Based on all the conflicts that are introduced it is more than likely that advocates will conclude that the only way to make things work is to remove the parking altogether. I see this as almost inevitable. Some will rejoice at this, but many others will not. As has been pointed out very eloquently on this list, people do get older and their mobility may be reduced for this and other reasons. You cannot simply wish away the need for some (many) people to have access to a motor vehicle and to be able to park it at least somewhere near where they live. In my neighborhood many of the streets are almost fully parked much of the time.

(h) Snow events will bring everything to a standstill. In particular, the ideal practice of plowing streets most of the way to the curb will be far more difficult when streets are divided into multiple sections. As we all know, sometimes the only practical option is to not plow all the way to the curb since there's need for that additional storage. What happens then? My guess is that winter cyclists will simply ride in the regular travel lanes which will now be far narrower than they are now.

If the City is absolutely set on trying out this idea, they should start with one road as a pilot and see what problems do or do not develop and evaluate the results honestly. I think it's very important that any such evaluation be done by an objective party.

There were two important matters embedded in the torrent of City Council orders introduced two weeks ago - (1) addressing problematic intersections (like Porter Square); and (2) addressing the fundamental incompatibility between vulnerable users (including pedestrians and cyclists) and very large trucks with limited visibility.

I also feel that much more attention needs to be spent on identifying quieter alternatives for cyclists. In Medford, one of the most significant recommendations in their Bicycle Infrastructure Master Plan is the conversion of some streets to "bicycle boulevards" where cyclists are given very explicit priority without being segregated. That would be a good thing to do for a number of Cambridge streets.

PS - I have neither the time nor the inclination to write petitions or gather signatures on this topic. It's easy to get signatures when you tell people that your way is the only way to achieve "safe streets". I believe that a lot more discussion needs to take place on this topic - and not in a hypercharged political atmosphere.

Order #2. That the Public Safety Committee hold a public hearing to hear about the various uses of drones in Cambridge and any concerns residents may have about them, with the goal of recommending guidelines for a municipal ordinance that would protect the public safety and the privacy of residents.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley

Order #12. That the City Manager is request to confer with the City of Boston to include Cambridge in the autonomous vehicle initiative as a partner.   Councillor Mazen

It's entertaining to see the juxtaposition of orders expressing concern for public safety from unmanned drones while eagerly embracing unmanned motor vehicles.

Order #5. That the City Council go on record in support of asking the Cambridge Historical Commission to initiate a landmark designation study process on the Harvard Square kiosk.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Carlone

The entire area is already landmarked, and nobody is even considering doing anything to the Kiosk other than restoring it to a state much closer to what it was when first built. That said, if double-landmarking gives you thrills, knock yourself out.

Order #8. The City Manager coordinate with the Finance Department, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, and community stakeholders to outline a proposed system of governance, management, and stakeholder engagement, to be discussed in a public forum with the Council and community.   Councillor Mazen, Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Carlone

Translation - Throw the baby out with the bathwater. The City Council voted on a process with their eyes wide open, but apparently some city councillors would prefer to maintain a heavy hand on all aspects of the management of this City asset.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Health and Environment Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 28, 2016 to discuss the ongoing drought and the impact on the Cambridge water supply, what restrictions on water use may be appropriate to consider and what public outreach is needed on water conservation measures.

Anything that helps educate residents about basic City infrastructure, especially something like drinking water and fire protection, is welcome. It continues to amaze me how many people, including civic activists and even city councillors, don't understand some of the most basic things that we all take for granted every day.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Aug 29, 2016 to discuss different models for campaign finance reform and publicly-funded municipal elections in Cambridge, and will focus on receiving feedback from the community.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Aug 25, 2016 to discuss improving voter turnout for the municipal elections in Cambridge through voter reward options and will focus on receiving feedback from the community.

I gave testimony at both of these hearings. The "voter reward" idea is an absolute nonstarter. Campaign finance is a topic worthy of a lot of discussion, but most of what was presented at the hearing on that topic was at best underwhelming and misdirected.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, informing the City Council they may go into Executive Session on Monday to discuss on-going contract negotiations with the prospective City Manager.

I hope this gets settled at this meeting and that a contract is signed either this Monday or next.

Comments?

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]


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

Council grapples with city's explosive growth (Nov 16, 2016 by Bill Whelan)

Cambridge Health Alliance expands primary care services in Cambridge (Nov 11, 2016)

Longtime Cambridge councilor leaving for Chamber of Commerce (Nov 9, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)

Cambridge ChronicleELECTION: Early voting begins October 24 (Oct 21, 2016)

Plans for Out of Town News kiosk in Harvard Square draw more fire (Oct 20, 2016 by Joanna Duffy)

'Safe Streets Now:' Cambridge City Council endorses safety measures following fatal bike crash (Oct 19, 2016 by Joanna Duffy)

'Drought of record' forces Cambridge to pay double for water (Oct 18, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)

'Close to home:' Cambridge hospice celebrates 25 years pioneering end-of-life care (Oct 18, 2016 by Monica Jimenez)

Shuttered MONROE club to be taken over by Spanish-Caribbean restaurant (Oct 14, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)

Porter Square crash victim Joe Lavins remembered at vigil (Oct 11, 2016 by Al Gentile)

Harvard, MIT professors win Nobel in economics (Oct 11, 2016 by Paul Wiseman and Karl Ritter, Associated Press)

Councillor calls Foundry process egregious; city manager says project not finalized (Oct 10, 2016 by Adam Sennott)

Central Square's Dance Complex celebrates 25 years in Cambridge (Oct 6, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Lexington cyclist killed after crash with 18-wheeler in Cambridge's Porter Square (Oct 5, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)

EDITORIAL: Changes come to the Cambridge Chronicle, reporter moves on (Oct 4, 2016)

New Cambridge Dads podcast focuses on overcoming absent fathers (Oct 4, 2016 by Amy Saltzman w/Natalie Handy)

Guest column: Vote for equity, vote yes on Question 2 (Oct 3, 2016 by Patricia Nolan and Jan Devereux)

King Open School construction begins in Cambridge (Oct 2, 2016)


Stories written by Luis Vasquez for the Cambridge Chronicle


Cambridge Employment Program Launches Ask the Career Counselor Series

City SealJuly 27, 2016 – The Cambridge Employment Program (CEP) provides free, individualized career counseling to support Cambridge residents in achieving their short and long-term employment goals.

In August, CEP is launching its new Ask the Career Counselor Series in collaboration with Cambridge Public Library. Drop by for a 15-30 minute session with a career counselor on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from August through December 2016 at Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway.

Session dates are: August 1, 15
September 19* (Note no session on September 5 due to Labor Day Holiday)
October 3, 17
November 7, 21
December 5, 19

No pre-registration is necessary. Limit one session per month. Please check CPL website, www.cambridgema.gov/cpl for changes or cancellations.

For more information, contact Susan Mintz at smintz@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-6166.


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 187-188: Nov 29, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 185-186: Nov 22, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 183-184: Nov 15, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 181-182: Nov 1, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 179-180: Oct 25, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 177-178: Oct 18, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 175-176: Oct 11, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 173-174: Oct 4, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 171-172: Sept 27, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 169-170: Sept 13, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 167-168: Sept 6, 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

After the Fire – the Dec 5, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting (Dec 5, 2016)

City of Cambridge to Host Fire Recovery Resource Center; Buildings Sustain Serious Damage (Dec 4, 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)

Navigating the Post-Apocalypse in the Peoples Republic – Nov 21, 2016 Cambridge City Council Preview (Nov 21, 2016)

Hello Recycling & Composting Neighbors! – November 2016 (updated Nov 16, 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)

On the Eve of Celebration or Disaster – Nov 7, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda highlights (Nov 6, 2016)

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

Trick or Treat – October 31, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting (Oct 30, 2016)

Coming up at the October 17, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting (Oct 16, 2016)

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

Decisions, Decisions…. Notable items on the Sept 26, 2016 Cambridge City Council agenda (posted Sept 25, 2016)

Choice Items on the September 19, 2016 Cambridge City Council Meeting Agenda (posted Sept 18, 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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