The Sanders Backlash
Oct 23 - Vermont Senator/Cult Figure Bernie Sanders is scheduled to appear this morning in Somerville for the purpose of endorsing candidates in local elections in Cambridge (and Somerville) based solely on the advice of the newborn group "Our Revolution Cambridge". This not-yet-registered political action group has endorsed a slate of 5 candidates (who just happen to coincide with the slate endorsed by the Cambridge Residents Alliance) based on a process that seemed to have the outcome determined well before the questionnaire was even sent to candidates. Sanders is apparently adding a sixth name - Jeff Santos - whose primary qualification is that he's had Sanders on his radio show on several occasions. Many view the "Our Revolution Cambridge" group primarily as the local political machine of newly-minted State Rep. Mike Connolly - a Sanders disciple.
It was Sanders who last year railed against what he saw as a political machine who rigged the Democratic Party presidential nomination process against him. It is ironic, to say the least, that he is now using his cult-like status to influence the election of local candidates about whom he knows essentially nothing. It was refreshing to see this morning a letter co-signed by a substantial list of Cambridge activists and prominent political figures questioning Sanders' judgment.
Countdown - Preview of Oct 23, 2017 Cambridge City Council Meeting
The municipal election campaigns are heading into the home stretch right alongside the disposition of the MIT Volpe Zoning Petition. The Volpe vote is expected next week (Oct 30) and Election Day is Tues, Nov 7. Here are the items I found most interesting on the agenda:
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a communication from the Planning Board relative to the Christopher D. Smith, et al., zoning petition regarding graduate student housing production associated with development in the proposed PUD-7 district.
I will simply say that any zoning petition that is only applicable to one specific owner/developer (as opposed to the property - independent of ownership) should not be approved. The underlying goal of universities providing more housing and more affordability for its students is great - and necessary, but lobbying for that goal should not be done via a zoning petition. It's worth noting that MIT is now proactively addressing this need for additional housing, especially for graduate students. It's also worth emphasizing that not all graduate students want to live in campus housing.
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to information in response to discussion at the Ordinance Committee hearing of Oct 17, 2017 regarding the Volpe Petition.
Unfinished Business #7. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by adding a new Section 13.90 to Article 13.000 and amend the Zoning Map to add new PUD-7 District. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Oct 16, 2017. Planning Board hearings held July 25, 2017 and Sept 12, 2017. Petition expires Oct 31, 2017.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 3, 2017 to continue discussion on a zoning petition by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create a new Planned Unit Development Overlay District (PUD-7) over the area known as the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center site in Kendall Square; said discussion to include the Planning Board and Community Development’s response to the petition and staff recommendations as to changes and remaining issues to resolve and any other matter that comes before the committee.
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 17, 2017 hearing to continue discussion on a zoning petition by MIT to create a new Planned Unit Development Overlay district (PUD-7) over the area known as the Volpe National Transportation systems Center site in Kendall Square; said discussion to focus on a final review of the zoning, review of the Design Guidelines and review of the Letter of Commitment.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting the Letter of Commitment from Massachusetts Institute of Technology relating to the amended zoning petition for PUD-7 District for the Volpe Transportation Center Site.
I won't go into all the details here, but there are many reasons to support the MIT Volpe Petition (as currently amended and coupled with the proposed Memorandum of Understanding) and few reasons to oppose it. That said, this is coming before the City Council a week before Election Day, and there may be some political reasons that one or two councillors may manufacture in order to justify voting against it just to appeal to a particular constituency. In contrast, both co-chairs of the Ordinance Committee (Councillors Carlone and Cheung) deserve a lot of credit for moving this forward and shaping it along the way. MIT officials and those associated with the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) also deserve praise for addressing so many of the requested changes and benefits from a range of stakeholders while still maintaining their fiduciary responsibilities. I don't think the City could have had a better partner in this than MIT.
Order #1. That the City Manager is advised that ensuring the safety of cyclists at intersections is of critical importance to the Council, and providing for that safety will require a review of the causes and response to these two listed collisions, as well as other collisions and near collisions. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Devereux
There have been more than two such collisions, and the number of near misses is much higher. There are places where separated facilities make sense, but what the City did to Cambridge Street is ludicrous and I fear that they may repeat this error elsewhere unless there is some kind of intervention.
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with Commissioner of the Department of Public Works to update the City Council on the plan for snow removal relating to the new infrastructure in Cambridge. Councillor Toomey
In this, I believe global warming may be an essential part of the City's future plans for minimizing snow impacts on their poorly conceived road reconfigurations. If it does snow, some streets may simply become impassable for motor vehicles and for bicyclists. Where will they pile the snow? My guess is that they'll just ban all parking on some streets until springtime even for relatively minor snow events. - Robert Winters
Notable Items on the Oct 16, 2017 City Council Agenda
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-78, regarding a Police Substation in Central Square.
It seems pretty clear that the Police Commissioner understands the need for police presence in Central Square. The issue is whether this is best accomplished with a fixed structure (whether it be a storefront or a stand-alone structure) or a more mobile presence. We should see a more detailed plan within the next several months.
Manager's Agenda #18. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-80, regarding a report on the Eastern Cambridge Kendall Square Open Space Planning Study.
Just some good information about what's underway regarding open space. If, in addition, plans for the Volpe Center parcel proceed as proposed, the whole Kendall Square area will one day be dramatically improved and better connected. Better sooner than later.
Manager's Agenda #21. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the City Council’s draft Guiding Principles and Goals developed with the assistance of Big Sky Blue Consulting over the course of three public goal setting meetings held during this term.
I have to admit that I don't put a whole lot of stock in these goal-setting processes, but it is interesting to see what the Council comes up with as a snapshot of current sentiments. The devil is usually in the details, and goal statements are generally light on the details.
Unfinished Business #7. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by adding a new Section 13.90 to Article 13.000 and amend the Zoning Map to add new PUD-7 District. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Oct 16, 2017. Planning Board hearings held July 25, 2017 and Sept 12, 2017. Petition expires Oct 31, 2017.
There have been some indications that MIT may come forward at this meeting with some commitments and timelines - possibly including greater details on its current and future plans for greater on-campus housing options for graduate students and other affiliates. The expiration date of this zoning petition is October 31 and and there are just two more regular Council meetings before then (Oct 23 and Oct 30) [corrected]. An additional Ordinance Committee meeting on this topic has been scheduled for Tues, Oct 17 at 2:30pm.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Community Development Department, the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Department of Public Works, and the Arts Council regarding the feasibility of implementing neighborways on certain streets in Cambridge, propose two streets to pilot as neighborways, and create a process by which a group of residents can request that their street be considered as future neighborways. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone
This sounds interesting, but a few specific illustrations would be helpful. Just think how things might have played out if Cambridge Street residents and businesses were allowed to participate in a process like this instead of the "take it or leave it" approach the City took in reconfiguring that street with no real public process.
Order #8. The City Manager is requested to consult with relevant City staff to propose immediate and forward-looking measures to improve and prioritize conservation of Cambridge’s tree canopy before the Urban Forest Master Plan is in place. Councillor Devereux
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 26, 2017 to follow up on Policy Order #2 of June 20, 2016 to discuss the City’s Tree Protection Ordinance and possible ways to improve this ordinance to protect the tree canopy while protecting individual property rights.
We all love trees, right? One assumption that seems to run through this report is that tree removal on a neighboring property is something neighbors necessary oppose, but there are cases where a resident may actually want a neighboring property owner to remove a tree. I happen to be one of those residents. If neighbors mutually agree that a tree should be removed would any of the proposed ordinances stand in the way of this? - Robert Winters
Oct 14 - Traffic Report
Traffic is really starting to pick up on the Cambridge Candidate Pages. Usually the traffic doesn't really spike until the week before Election Day, but it's already starting to jump. Here's the chart through the end of September showing the number of unique visitors, the total number of visits, and the number of individual pages viewed.
It's also interesting to see the fluctuations over time of the combined traffic on the CCJ (rwinters.com) and the CCJ Forum (cambridgecivic.com). The charts below show the monthly totals as well as the annual averages (which tend to smooth out the spikes). Note what happens around each November of each municipal election year. Note: It's often the case that someone who visits one of the sites will then visit several pages of the other - hence the somewhat higher than expected numbers. Also, the anomalous bump in late 2013 included some SPAM traffic which I began aggressively combatting after that date.
Oct 8 - I just ran some experiments with the 2015 City Council ballot data to see what the effect of limiting the number of rankings would have been. I had previously truncated the rankings to 15 and there was not a single change. I had also limited the rankings to 9 and found only minor changes in the round-by-round results. Tonight I limited the rankings to 7, then 5, then just 3 to see what would happen. In all cases the same 9 candidates are elected, though in the most severely limited case of allowing just 3 rankings only 6 candidates reach the election quota (but are still elected, of course, since all other candidates have been defeated). The interesting observation from the experiments is that some candidates are consistently more greatly impacted by the loss of deeper rankings. - RW
I also (upon request) just updated my record of voter success. The table below indicates the percentage of ballots for which the #1 ranked candidate was elected; the percentage of ballots for which the #1 or #2 ranked candidate was elected; and the percentage of ballots for which the #1, #2, or #3 ranked candidate was elected.
|Voter Success in Cambridge Elections|
|Election||elect||candidates||valid||invalid||total ballots||Pct #1 elected||Pct #1 or #2 elected||Pct #1, #2, or #3 elected||Pct none elected||Pct blank|
Note: Almost all of the invalid ballots were blank ballots. It's common that some voters will vote only the City Council ballot and cast a blank School Committee ballot.
Member Sought for Cambridge Planning Board Vacancy
Oct 4, 2017 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Planning Board. Planning Board members must be residents of the city; and women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
The Cambridge Planning Board plays a significant role in planning for the future of the city and oversees its development and growth as prescribed by zoning. The Planning Board serves a quasi-judicial role as the special permit granting authority for certain types of development proposals, especially large projects. In evaluating special permits on behalf of the city, the board conducts public hearings and votes on the project based on the proposal’s conformance with the provisions of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance. The board also makes policy recommendations to the City Council about proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, and engages in general planning efforts related to land use and development within the city. The work involves reviewing and commenting on building and site plans, planning and engineering studies, and zoning documents.
The Planning Board meets approximately three times each month. Meetings take place on Tuesday evenings, each lasting approximately 3-4 hours. Meetings are open to the public and are video and audio recorded. As part of their time commitment, board members are expected to review application and petition materials prior to each meeting. Materials typically include development plans, impact studies, narrative descriptions, provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, information from city departments, written comments from the public, and other documents. The board typically reviews 1-3 major cases at each meeting. Occasionally, representatives of the Planning Board may be appointed to other city committees and working groups.
Ideal candidates would possess the ability to participate in a collaborative process, work with other Board members to consider diverse ideas, and reach a decision. Members should also have strong attentiveness and listening skills. While there is no requirement for a technical background, interest and understanding of development, architecture, urban design, and zoning is desirable.
Interested persons should submit a resume and a brief letter to City Manager DePasquale describing their interest. Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the city’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply and finding “Planning Board” in the list of Current Vacancies. A cover letter and résumé or summary of applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, November 13, 2017.
Members Sought for Cambridge Peace Commission
Sept 22, 2017 – City Manager Louis DePasquale is seeking individuals interested in serving on the Cambridge Peace Commission. Composed of up to 20 members who serve three-year terms and represent the socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic diversity of the city, the Peace Commission meets on the third Wednesday of most months at 6 p.m., at 51 Inman St., 2nd Floor Conference Room, Cambridge. Prospective members must reside in Cambridge.
Commission members are volunteers appointed by the City Manager and work with the staff in fulfilling the mission of the Peace Commission and in accomplishing its goals. Members are expected to attend regular meetings, participate in organizing the Commission’s events and activities, and do some work outside of Commission meetings. Members are encouraged to learn about the day-to-day work and projects of the staff, and offer advice and viewpoints that reflect the Commission’s mission and role within city government.
As a department of the City of Cambridge, the Peace Commission works with other municipal agencies, communities of faith, nonprofit organizations, and the wider community to build connections and strengthen relationships, and to promote positive dialogue and foster understanding. The Commission fosters a community where differences and diversity are understood and celebrated, so that all residents can contribute to making Cambridge an equitable and peaceful community. It pays special attention to traumatic events and violence affecting Cambridge and its residents, and coordinates and supports compassionate community responses to support recovery and healing.
The Commission supports Cambridge’s Sister City relationships, including those with: Les Cayes, Haiti; San José Las Flores, El Salvador; and Yerevan, Armenia. It also celebrates Cambridge residents and local efforts with recognition programs and events, and raises awareness about local and global peace and social justice issues through educational forums, discussions, and presentations. For more information about the Peace Commission, visit: www.cambridgema.gov/peace.
Individuals interested in being considered can submit a cover letter, résumé or summary of applicable experience using the city’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.
Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities Vacancies
Sept 8, 2017 – Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) advisory board.
Made up of 11 members who serve three-year terms in a volunteer capacity, the CCPD board meets on the second Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. CCPD seeks to build a membership that reflects the cultural and racial diversity of the city, is cross-disability in nature and representative of the different geographical areas of the community. Members must be current residents of Cambridge.
CCPD works dynamically to maximize access to all aspects of Cambridge community life for individuals with disabilities, and strives to raise awareness of disability matters, to eliminate discrimination, and to promote equal opportunity for people with all types of disabilities – physical, mental and sensory. CCPD members are expected to work with other members and CCPD staff to fulfill the goals and objectives of the CCPD Ordinance (CMC Chapter 2.96). CCPD members are expected to attend monthly meetings, participate in subcommittees, and work on various short and/or long-term projects, as needed.
For more information, contact Kate Thurman, Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities at email@example.com or 617-349-4692 (voice) or 617-492-0235 (TTY).
Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the City's online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resumé or summary of relevant experience and the kinds of disability-related issues or projects that interest them can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager's Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, Oct 23, 2017.
A CCJ Milestone
The idea of the Cambridge Civic Journal was conceived in the early morning hours of September 20, 1997 - 20 years ago (6:00am, in fact). The original planned name was "Central Square News", though that quickly changed to Cambridge Civic Journal by the time the first issue was written and distributed on November 17, 1997. There was no website then - just printed copies, a PDF version, and email (and a lot of word of mouth). After a short while the great folks at the Porter Square Neighbors Association (PSNA) voluntarily began posting each issue on their website (yes, there were issues back then). Eventually I taught myself the basics of how to do a website and began posting the issues myself on my Harvard Math Department account. By 1999 the CCJ site was moved to the domain where it currently resides. The reason for the rather personal sounding URL http://rwinters.com is that I was also a candidate in those days, and when I decided to no longer be a candidate I simply repurposed the candidate site as the new home of the Cambridge Civic Journal. - Robert Winters
Preview of Oct 2, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
Here are the choice items on this week's menu:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the votes necessary to seek approval from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue of the tax rate for FY2018. [Tax Rate Letter]
Highlights: The FY18 property tax levy is $389,080,359, an increase of $16,406,272 or 4.4% from FY17. The 4.4% property tax levy increase is below the FY17 increase of 5.1%, and slightly above the fiveyear annual average (FY14-FY18) increase of 4.19%. With approval of the recommendations, the ten-year annual average (FY09-FY18) increase will be 4.85%. The FY18 residential tax rate will be $6.29 per thousand dollars of value, subject to Department of Revenue approval. This is a decrease of $0.20, or -3.1% from FY17. The commercial tax rate will be $14.81, which is a decrease of $1.31, or -8.1% from FY17. In FY18, commercial property owners will pay 65.4% of the property tax levy, the same share as in FY17. Consequently, residential property owners’ share of the FY18 tax levy is 34.6%, also the same as in FY17.
Based on the FY18 property assessment, total residential property values increased by 7.87%. Total commercial property values increased by 14.36%. The median percentage tax increases for residential properties will be 2.8% for single-family homes, 5.2% for condominiums, 0.7% for two-family properties, and 1.1% for three-family properties. For FY18, the total assessed value of taxable property in the City equals $43,619,137,030 a 10.1% increase over FY17 values.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-66, regarding additional information requested on a Grand Junction Overlay District.
This responds to a City Council request last week for additional information. We first suggested the use of this RR corridor as a bicycle/pedestrian connection in 1999 when I served on the Green Ribbon Open Space Committee. Back then I saw it primarily as a way of providing direct access to the open space and fields of Magazine Beach for the people of East Cambridge. My view now is that this would also make housing options in East Somerville and Allston more attractive for MIT students and staff and for people who work in Kendall Square and along the corridor. I really hope this becomes a reality within the next few years.
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the MIT Volpe PUD-7 Zoning Petition with suggested changes. [Letter][Revised Petition][Redlined Petition]
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Sept 13, 2017 to continue discussion on a zoning petition by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create a new Planned Unit Development Overlay District (PUD-7) over the area known as the Volpe National Transportation Center site in Kendall Square.
I am cautiously optimistic that we may see ordination of some amended form of this zoning proposal before the expiration date at the end of October. Much depends on what commitments MIT is willing to make in the weeks before ordination (independent of the disproportionate demands of the Smith, et al. petition re: graduate student housing). This really could become a great space, and I hope the planners can find room for some fun attractions, e.g. a batting cage where people can take a few swings.
Applications & Petitions #2. A Zoning Petition has been received from Peter Kroon, et al., transmitting a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance that would amend the Harvard Square Overlay District.
Read the petition and draw your own conclusions, but my read of this petition is that it wants to bring some of the best features of the recently ordained Central Square Restoration Petition up to Harvard Square, e.g. the transition from regulating "fast food" to instead regulating "formula businesses". It also prioritizes housing in the upper floors of any taller new buildings. (Don't worry, there's no towers expected anytime soon.)
Resolution #11. Congratulations to the Central Square Business Association for a successful Dumpling Fest and Central Flea. Mayor Simmons
Special thanks go to Michael Monastime, the new Wizard of Central Square, for pulling off one of the biggest daytime attractions Central Square has seen in years.
Resolution #12. Congratulations on Bill Cavellini, Bernard LaCasse and the Cambridge Arts Council on a successful restoration of the "Beat the Belt" Mural. Mayor Simmons
I wish I could have attended the dedication. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who helped.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with appropriate City departments with the view in mind of implementing systems in Harvard Square. Mayor Simmons, Councillor Cheung
The order contains a generally good list of suggestions for transportation and public amenities in the Harvard Square area. I hope that the inclusion of more bicycle lanes doesn't translate into additional mistakes like the Brattle Street Lanes of Confusion.
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested, in as timely manner as possible, to determine if Cambridge can legally assist DACA beneficiaries by collecting donations from individuals and organizations. Managing and dispersing such raised donations on a reimbursement basis to Cambridge DACA beneficiaries. Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons
Cambridge works with plenty of nonprofits and religious entities that can provide the suggested services without running afoul of any state laws.
Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to create a volunteer bike registry program that can accept donations that will go to fund environmentally friendly projects in the City. Councillor Toomey
I would register my bike in a heartbeat and agree to adhere to any and all traffic laws. (I already do.) That said, I don't know that we would see much tangible benefit from such a voluntary program. If it could convince more cyclists to take more seriously their responsibilities as road users perhaps there might be some marginal benefit.
Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of subsidizing the rate of the “100% Green” option in the Cambridge Community Electricity Program to ease any financial burden that residents who want to use entirely renewable energy may feel when purchasing, using existing income thresholds such as the Fuel Assistance Program. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor McGovern
This is a very slippery slope. Relatively few residents opted into the more expensive “100% Green” option because people generally make rational economic choices. Just because City officials feel that choosing this option is a worthy goal doesn't mean that taxpayers should be subsidizing it. Buying groceries from the local market may be a worthy goal in support of local businesses, but many of us will still do much of our shopping at Costco and Market Basket. Should taxpayers pick up the difference if we do all our shopping locally? I don't think so. - Robert Winters
Sept 29 - I read last night that the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved the application of &pizza to open in Harvard Square at the former Nini's Corner site. Normally I don't pay much attention to the openings and closings of restaurants (unless they're in Central Square!), but this whole process was so indicative of just how insane and brutal Cambridge can sometimes be that I couldn't look away. The bottom line is that this is just a pizza place - maybe a bit fancy for my taste and probably more expensive than I'll be willing to pay. I'm more of an Angelo's Pizzeria, two slices kinda guy.
Nonetheless, the self-appointed arbiters of all that shall be allowed in Harvard Square (the former Harvard Square Defense Fund, its new incarnation as the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association, and individuals like James Williamson - who, by the way, now signs as J. Maynard Williamson) decided that the arrival of this "fast food" operation was tantamount to an invasion by foreign troops that had to be met with barbed wire and artillery fire. The rhetoric was absolutely precious. When I spoke at a meeting of the Harvard Square Advisory Committee (my first time ever) to say that a place like this would be welcomed in Central Square, one snob-in-training responded by saying "this is not Central Square". Ah, yes, I forgot how the other half lives.
The rhetoric only steamrolled from there. Eventually there were photos trotted out of &pizza employees with the "&" sign tattooed on their bodies. We can probably agree that anyone who would do that straddles the borderline between moron and idiot, but the 02138 defenders made more than a subtle suggestion that this was some kind of requirement from the employer with associations to tribalism and even slavery. They apparently also dropped a dime with some producer at WGBH's "Greater Boston" to have their perspective promoted by host Jim Braude. It's nice to have those media connections - and the privilege that comes with it.
In the end, it's just pizza. The Harvard Square Neighborhood Association is now licking its wounds from this ill-chosen battle. There really are some things about Harvard Square that are worth defending, but this was never one of them. - Robert Winters
Preview of Sept 25, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
Here are the items that drew my attention this week:
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 17-55 and 17-64, regarding an update on Bicycle Lane Implementation and Outreach.
Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of 17 persons as a members of the Pedestrian Committee for a term of two years.
Manager's Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of 18 persons as a members of the Bicycle Committee for a term of two years.
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of 20 persons as a members of the Transit Committee.
While I'm glad to see all of these appointments and reappointments to these volunteer committees, there is an important point that needs to be stated. These are ADVISORY committees. They consist of a lot of really dedicated people who put a lot of time and thought into their committee work, and we are grateful for their service. However, recommendations from these or any other advisory committees should never be the final word. City staff and ultimately the elected officials bear that responsibility, especially when a committee consists primarily, if not exclusively, of advocates for a single point of view. Do members of the Bicycle Committee take into account the needs of all residents and others who need to travel through the city? Do they factor in all four seasons? Are the needs of delivery vehicles taken into account? What happens when what is ideal for transit users is in conflict with a proposal from the Bicycle Committee? What happens when the needs of residents and local businesses conflict with the demands of a subset of cycling advocates?
I served on the Recycling Advisory Committee for two decades. During that time I always tried to evaluate any proposals from the point of view of all residents - and not just the most zealous recycling advocates. I'm not at all convinced that this is done in some of these other advisory committees. In fact, I honestly believe that anyone with a contrary view would never even be appointed to the Bicycle Committee.
One day the Envision Cambridge consultants, its associated Advisory Committee (of which I am a member), and City staff will issue its recommendations and hopefully lay out a workable vision for city planning for the near future and the long term. Should the City Council adopt those recommendations without debate? Will modifications to the plan be forbidden? Of course not. When the Recycling Advisory Committee offered recommendations they were rarely accepted without question.
Nonetheless, as Mr. Barr's report spells out, the Cambridge Bicycle Plan "lays out a vision for where the City intends to implement bicycle facilities in the future". Did the Cambridge City Council ever really analyze that plan? Was any of it open to revision or negotiation? Or was it just accepted as a non-negotiable plan for the sake of political expedience? Does it address actual safety or is it primarily about "comfort", convenience, and "turf"? Most importantly, was any effort ever expended to balance the needs of all road users?
Manager's Agenda #13. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-30, regarding a report on partnering with DCR and the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association to revitalize Magazine Beach.
I'm grateful to all of the people who are helping to transform this space into something great.
Manager's Agenda #14. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an amendment to the Foundry Demonstration Project Plan.
How many years has it been now?
Manager's Agenda #15. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the Community Preservation Act (CPA) recommendations for FY2018. [Attachments]
No surprises here – the legal maximum of 80% for subsidized/regulated housing, and the legal minimum of 10% each for open space acquisition and historic preservation.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Law Department, the Community Development Department, and any other appropriate City departments to update the City Council on what is being done to address the Council’s request for actions on vacant and abandoned buildings. Councillor Devereux
There are plenty of good steps that can be taken, but the City Council needs to start by rethinking their earlier non-starter proposal that would have levied fines so steep that any court on the planet would recognize it as a regulatory taking. They can also try working with these property ownerts to bring about best outcomes.
Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Information Technology Department and other appropriate City personnel and report back to the City Council on the effectiveness of the SeeClickFix system. Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern
The system works well in some ways, but it really depends a lot on which department is responding. It has also degenerated in some ways into a vehicle for advocacy where some users flood the system just to push their point of view. - Robert Winters
Central Flea will return to 95 Prospect St. on the last Sunday of the month now through October! We're thrilled to bring together local artists and vendors in partnership with New England Open Markets. 11:00am to 5:00pm.
Mon, Oct 23
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, Oct 24
5:30pm Cambridge Election Commission meeting (51 Inman St., 1st floor conference room)
1. Executive Director’s Report
2. Assistant Director's Report
3. Commissioners' Reports
III. PUBLIC COMMENT
IV. ACTION AGENDA
1. Municipal Election, November 7th
6:00pm-8:00pm CEOCs City Council Candidates' Forum (Central Square Senior Center)
6:30pm Planning Board meeting (2nd Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)
1. Update from the Community Development Department
2. Adoption of Planning Board meeting transcripts
6:30pm PB#330 (continued) 55 Wheeler Street - Special Permit application by 55-9 Wheels Owner, LLC to construct multifamily residential buildings pursuant to Sections 4.26.1 multifamily housing; 19.20 Project Review; 20.95.1 Floor Area Ratio base of 2.0; 20.95.4 reduction of lot area per dwelling unit to 600 square feet; 188.8.131.52 maximum height of 77 feet; 6.35.1 and 10.45 reduction of minimum required parking; 20.73 earthmoving and landscaping in a Flood Plain Overlay District; 184.108.40.206 reduce the required yards to a minimum of 15 feet; and 20.95.34 permit hard surface of more than 25% within a yard to accommodate public sidewalks and building entryways. (Notice) (Materials)
3. PB#329: 3-5 Linnaean Street – Request to extend the time for a public hearing on the Special Permit application and for the issuance of a decision
Wed, Oct 25
2:00pm The Cirty Council's Housing Committee will conduct a public hearing to review the City Manager’s selection of Victoria Bergland as the tenant representative on the Cambridge Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners and will also begin reviewing the Comprehensive Housing Policy that was referred to this committee by the City Council at the Sept 18, 2017 meeting. (Sullivan Chamber)
6:00-8:00pm Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee meeting (4th Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)
Thurs, Oct 26
6:00-8:00pm City Council Candidates Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity (Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St.)
Sept 15 - I'm actually starting to enjoy reading and posting candidate submissions for the Cambridge Candidate Pages. Today's real treat comes from School Committee candidate Piotr Mitros. I urge you to read what this very interesting candidate has to say: http://vote.cambridgecivic.com/mitros.htm - RW
Sept 14 - The really thoughtful responses for the Cambridge Candidate Pages continue with today's submission by City Council candidate (and Vice Mayor) Marc McGovern. I strongly recommend reading it. - RW
Sept 10 - I just remade my Big Voter Database that merges the current (Sept 1) registered voter list with the voter histories going back to 1997. As of Sept 1 there are 65,142 registered Cambridge voters. Of these, there are 131 supervoters who haven't missed a Cambridge election since 1997, including all municipal elections, state elections, state primaries, citywide special elections, federal elections, and presidential primaries. - RW
Sept 6 - The requests went out a couple of days ago to all City Council and School Committee candidates to provide statements on a variety of topics for their Candidate Pages. Every once in a while a candidate provides statements that rise above all others. Today I received a statement from City Council candidate Sean Tierney on the issue of housing and housing affordability that really took me to school. You should definitely read what he wrote for his Candidate Page on this topic. You'll be impressed. - Robert Winters
Sept 4 - Topics for 2017 Cambridge School Committee candidates
Based on a lot of great suggestions from CCJ readers, here's my revised list of topics for this year's School Committee candidates for their Candidate Pages. My intention is to ask each candidate to write whatever they wish on most of these topic areas, but they are free to omit some topics. Candidates may consolidate topics or expand to other topics. Please note that there are no "Yes or No" questions and there will be no ranking, endorsements, or anything like that on the Candidate Pages - just an opportunity for all candidates to reach voters in whatever way they see fit. - Robert Winters
School Committee Topics for 2017 Candidate Pages - Express your thoughts on most of these topic areas
1) Background [biographical, etc.]
2) Top Priorities [List about three then elaborate below]
3) Top Challenges Facing the Cambridge Public Schools today
4) Innovation Agenda, Hybrid Middle School model
5) School Department Administration and Superintendent
6) School Department Budget and Oversight, Capital Needs
7) Achievement Gaps, Meeting the Needs of All Students
8) Meeting the Needs of Advanced Learners
9) Controlled Choice, Student Assignment Policies
10) Family engagement and communication
11) Standardized Testing
12) Role of the School Committee
13) Role of Teachers in shaping programs and influencing policies
14) Curriculum and Programs
a) Elementary School Grades
b) Middle School Grades
c) High School Grades
d) Language Immersion Programs
e) Extended day programs
f) Early childhood education
g) Social and emotional development
Sept 3 - Topics for 2017 Cambridge City Council candidates
Based on a lot of great suggestions from CCJ readers, here's my revised list of topics for this year's City Council candidates for their Candidate Pages. I may still tweak it a bit before sending out the request. This was not a simple exercise due to the range of topics and the interrelations between so many of them. My intention is to ask each candidate to choose at least 10 of these topic areas on which to write whatever they wish, but candidates are free to write on all of these topics if they please. Candidates may consolidate topics or expand to other topics - it's a long list. Please note that there are no "Yes or No" questions and there will be no ranking, endorsements, or anything like that on the Candidate Pages - just an opportunity for all candidates to reach voters in whatever way they see fit. - Robert Winters
City Council Topics for 2017 Candidate Pages - Express your thoughts on at least 10 topic areas
1) Background [biographical, etc.]
2) Top Priorities [List about three and elaborate below]
3) Land Use, Planning, Zoning, Density, Envision Cambridge [this may include specific ideas regarding particular neighborhoods and major city squares]
4) Housing (in general) and Affordable Housing (in particular) – priorities, plans, proposals
5) Economic Development and Commerce, Retail Viability and Affordability
6) Income Inequality, Economic Opportunity
7) Human Services Programs; Youth Programs; Senior Programs
8) Human Rights, Civic Unity, Diversity
9) Energy, Waste Reduction, Recycling, the Environment, and Public Health
10) Infrastructure: Water & Sewer; Climate-related issues and planning, Resiliency; Municipal Broadband
11) Traffic, Parking, Transportation, Cycling and Pedestrian Issues
12) Open Space, Parks, and Recreation
13) Municipal Finance (budget, assessments, property taxes, etc.)
14) Quality of Life, Noise, Public Safety, Accommodation of People with Disabilities
15) Civic Participation, Structure and Function of City Council and its committees
16) Government and Elections, Plan E Charter, City Manager
17) Relations and Collaboration between Cambridge, neighboring municipalities, the Commonwealth, regional and federal agencies
(e.g. in regard to transportation projects, housing)
18) University Relations – Responsibilities, Collaboration
19) Arts and Public Celebrations
20) Cambridge Public Schools
Aug 14 - I updated my all-time municipal candidate lists today to include the 2017 candidates:
Index of all Cambridge City Council and School Committee candidates: 1941 to 2017 – updated Aug 14, 2017 [plain text version] [PDF version] – updated Aug 14, 2017
I also compiled a list of how many candidates and how many women candidates have been in the City Council and in the School Committee elections going back to 1941. It's a sortable table. Have fun: cambridgecivic.com/?p=5469
Aug 2 - The Election Commission voted to certify all nomination signatures submitted between July 27 and the July 31 deadline. All signatures for the 26 City Council candidates and 12 School Committee candidates are now certified and official.
|City Council Candidates (26)||School Committee Candidates (12)|
|Ronald Benjamin, 172 Cushing Street, 02138
Josh M. Burgin, 812 Memorial Drive #1411, 02139
Dennis J. Carlone, 9 Washington Avenue #6, 02140
Olivia D'Ambrosio, 270 3rd Street #305, 02142
Jan Devereux, 255 Lakeview Avenue, 02138
Samuel Gebru, 812 Memorial Drive #614A, 02139
Richard Harding, Jr., 189 Windsor Street #1, 02139
Craig A. Kelley, 6 Saint Gerard Terrace #2, 02140
Dan Lenke, 148 Richdale Avenue, 02140
Ilan Levy, 148 Spring Street, 02141
Alanna M. Mallon, 3 Maple Avenue, 02139
Marc C. McGovern, 15 Pleasant Street, 02139
Gregg J. Moree, 25 Fairfield Street #4, 02140
|Adriane B. Musgrave, 5 Newport Road #1, 02140
Nadya T. Okamoto, 220 Banks Street #5, 02138
Hari I. Pillai, 165 Cambridgepark Drive #234, 02140
Jeff Santos, 350 3rd Street #809, 02142
Sumbul Siddiqui, 530 Windsor Street, 02141
E. Denise Simmons, 188 Harvard Street #4B, 02139
Vatsady Sivongxay, 59 Kirkland Street #2, 02138
Bryan Sutton, 764 Cambridge Street #6, 02141
Sean Tierney, 12 Prince Street, 02139
Paul F. Toner, 24 Newman Street, 02140
Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., 88 6th Street, 02141
Gwen Thomas Volmar, 13 Ware Street #4, 02138
Quinton Y. Zondervan, 235 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, 02141
|Manikka L. Bowman, 134 Reed Street, 02140
Fran A. Cronin, 1 Kimball Lane, 02140
Jake W. Crutchfield, 281 River Street #1, 01239
Emily R. Dexter, 9 Fenno Street, 02138
Alfred B. Fantini, 4 Canal Park #203, 02141
Elechi M. Kadete, 10 Laurel Street #4, 02139
Kathleen M. Kelly, 17 Marie Avenue #1, 02139
Laurance V. Kimbrough, 24 Aberdeen Avenue, 02138
William MacArthur, 18 Shea Road, 02140
Piotr Flawiusz Mitros, 9 Michael Way, 02141
Patricia M. Nolan, 184 Huron Avenue, 02138
David J. Weinstein, 45 S. Normandy Avenue, 02138
2017 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums
[Note: Only events open to the general public (with or without RSVP) will be listed.]
2017 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports (with sortable tables)
Campaign Finance Reports - 2017 City Council (PDF with links to detailed reports)
October Programs (and Beyond) at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays between 9:30am and 1:00pm
Join other stewardship-minded volunteers in caretaking the native plant restoration area next to Lusitania Meadow, and learn about the diversity of native plant life! We seek dedicated participants who enjoy camaraderie and hard work that includes weeding, pruning, planting, watering new plantings, hauling wood chips and moving logs. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come, and for more information.
|Fresh Pond Stewards: Wake Up and Weed!
Dates: Thursdays, 10:00am to noon
Meeting location: Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
Join our weed-warrior crew! We are Fresh Pond citizens dedicated to keeping invasive plants at bay for the benefit of wildlife, water and humans alike. No experience or long-term commitment necessary! All tools are provided; sturdy shoes, pants, long-sleeves and a water bottle are strongly recommended. Meets at the volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot.
|Fresh Pond Kids’ Walks
Dates: Fridays, 10 to 11am
Meeting location: 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 look for frogs and turtles at Black’s Nook, or find pill bugs and bird nests in the Butterfly Meadow. Please come dressed ready for the weather and in clothes that are OK to get a bit dirty! Feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com with any questions or to RSVP.
|Fresh Pond After-school Kids' Walks
Dates: Fridays, October 13 and 27, 3:30 to 4:30pm
Meeting location: The Gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for an after-school romp in our urban wilds! This program is intended for kids of all ages accompanied by their parents/caretakers. Please come dressed for the weather and in clothes that are ok to get dirty. Feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to RSVP.
|Connecting with Trees in Lusitania Wet Meadow
Date: Sunday, October 15, 1 to 2:30pm
Meeting location: Rocks at southwest corner of the meadow
Come to your senses about trees through a series of activities touching, smelling, listening, and seeing what trees have to offer. Go home with a new sensibility about tupelos, larches, oaks, staghorn sumacs, cottonwoods, and black walnuts. Group limited to 12 adults. Service dogs only please. People of all abilities and knowledge welcome. Please register with Ranger Jean at email@example.com or 508-562-7605. Parking available at the Tobin School, 197 Vassal Lane, or (if you have a resident sticker) the Water Treatment Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway.
Date: Saturday, October 21, 12 to 1pm
Place: Register for meeting location
You could walk around Fresh Pond and see and hear nothing; people do it all the time. Or you could walk around this pond and see five things every day you've never seen before. It all depends on how you walk: closed off to the world or with your senses and your mind open to what's around you. Come for a walk with Alexis Rizzuto where we will practice "radical curiosity," with eyes and ears wide open, making close observations of whatever birds, bugs, plants, animals, or fungus we encounter, and, like Thoreau, wandering in wonder. Please register with Ranger Jean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-562-7605.
|Do the Duck Walk
Date: Saturday, October 28, 1 to 3pm
Place: Register for meeting location and parking information
Fresh Pond Reservation is an attractive resting place for a variety of birds – especially waterfowl – during the fall migration. We will use a telescope to get good looks at ducks on the water, and binoculars to look at songbirds. We have binoculars to lend, and will show you how to use them. Beginners are welcome! To register for important parking information and for notice of cancellation due to weather, email Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Fascinating Fungi of Fresh Pond
Date: Sunday, October 29, 2 to 4:30pm
Meeting location: Maynard Ecology Center, bsmt. of Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Mycologist Lawrence Millman has identified close to 300 mushroom species at Fresh Pond Reservation. For the past thirteen years he has led Fresh Pond mushroom forays that give participants the chance to add to this list as well as learn more about the world of fungi. Mr. Millman is the author of Fascinating Fungi of New England, the first guidebook devoted exclusively to New England mushrooms. To register and to get important parking information, email Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that collecting is not permitted at Fresh Pond Reservation.
|The Fresh Pond Drainage and Community Gardens Project
- What’s Going on Behind the Fence
Date: Monday, October 30, 6 to 7pm
Meeting location: Water Purification Facility front door, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
Have you been walking by the construction and wondering about what you’re seeing? Join us for a brief walk on the detour path so we can identify the elements of the project and answer your questions. We’ll also have an artist’s rendering of the completed project so you’ll know what to look forward to when the project is completed. Contact Ranger Jean to register at 617-349-4793 or email@example.com.
Go here to learn more about the drainage and community garden project.
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any RSVPs or questions!
Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership in Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation costs only $10 per year ($5 for seniors and students, $15 for families). To join, fill out a membership form available in the Ranger Station information racks, e-mail email@example.com, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at www.friendsoffreshpond.org to download a form.
Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants.
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sun, Oct 15. Middlesex Canal, Billerica. Joint with the Middlesex Canal Association. Meet at 1:30pm at the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center in the Faulkner Mill in North Billerica. The walk will be over 3-4 miles of generally level wooded terrain and streets, for 2-3 hours, rain or shine. The route follows the canal for a round trip of approximately 3 miles south of the Concord River. Sites to be visited include: two guard locks; an anchor stone and the 'peninsula' at the opposite ends of the floating bridge that once carried the towpath across the Concord; the 1825 iron bolt pond-level reference; the "deep cut"; a smallpox memorial marker; and stretches of canal some of which are still watered. The Museum, Visitor Center and bookstore will be open from 12:00pm-4:00pm. Ls Robert Winters, Marlies Henderson.|
|Sat, Oct 21. Wollaston Beach, Quincy. Fast-paced 7-mi walk along Wollaston Beach, Marina Bay, Squantum, 9:00am-noon. Bring snack/water. From SE Expwy, exit 8 (Quincy), take Furnace Brook Pkwy. 2.8mi, L onto Quincy Shore Dr. L at first light into lot. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sun, Oct 22. Flat Rock Audubon, Fitchburg, MA. Mod/easy 6 mile hilly ramble through varied woodlands and by four reservoirs. 9:30am-3:00pm. 9:30am-3:00pm. Directions: from Rte. 95/128 exit 29; Rte. 2W 28 mi. to exit 32, N Rte. 13 4.5mi, L Rte. 2A 1mi. to light, R John Fitch Hwy. 1.7mi., L Rte. 31 at stop sign (Burbank Hospital) 0.3mi. uphill bear R, past emerg. entr. to Helipad Pkg. Heavy rain cancels. L Mark Levine.|
|Sun, Oct 22. Groton Hills, Groton. 1:00pm-3:00pm. This walk has it all, including deep woods, open fields, beaver ponds, and even bagging a 500 footer with good views. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at the end of Kaileys Way, 42.62245N 71.54062W. L Olin Lathrop.||Sun, Oct 29. Gowing's Swamp, Concord, MA. 1:00-4:00pm. This walk is co-sponsored by the AMC Boston Chapter Conservation and Local Walks and Hikes Committees. Celebrate the bicentennial year of Henry David Thoreau's birth with naturalist Boot Boutwell and a walk on the trails of Gowing's Swamp, Concord, MA. Gowing's Swamp, named by Thoreau for its landowner in the mid-1850s, is an 8.9-area acidic wetland complex located in a protected, glaciated hollow on the eastern side of a glacial kame known as Revolutionary Ridge. The walk will focus on plant ID and fun and interesting natural history. Free parking is available at the Ripley School on Meriam Rd, which is off of Old Bedford Rd. Slow pace. Bring water and snacks. No children or dogs. Heavy rain cancels. Non-AMC members: $1. Questions? Contact Joan or Lisa. L Boot Boutwell, CLs Joan Entwistle, Lisa Fleischman.|
|Sat, Nov 4. Castle Island, South Boston. Fast-paced seven-mile scenic walk along ocean to Castle Island, 10:00am-1:30pm. Bring lunch and water. Meet inside JFK/UMass Red Line T station, upper level gates (no nearby parking). Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sat, Nov 18. Glacial Features Walks, Sudbury. 9:30am-11:30am. Join glaciologist/geophysicist Bruce Porter for a walk through Gray Reservation/Haynes Meadow Reservation/Water District protection zone to explore the many features formed by the glacier that blanketed New England 10,000 yrs. ago. Kettles pit the plane and kame terraces rise abruptly to create beautiful vistas of the wetlands below. Be able to identify eskers, erratics, kames, and more on your next hike. Flat with one steep 50 foot section. Bring water. AMC non-member: $1. Severe weather cancels. Questions: Contact Lisa. Meet at the Curtis Middle School, (-71.43282, 42.381020) 22 Pratts Mill Road, Sudbury. L Lisa Fleischman, CL Bruce Porter. Registration required. Limit 14 participants. Contact Lisa to register.|
|Thurs, Nov 23. Holiday Hike - Lynn Woods, Lynn. 5 miles, Leader's Choice. 9:00am-1:00pm. Bring lunch, H2O, and snacks. Dress for the elements. I-95/Route 128 to Walnut Street exit, 4 miles. From Route 1, Walnut Street exit, 2 miles. Turn left on Pennybrook Road to Western Gate parking lot. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.||Fri, Nov 24. Annual Ayer/Groton Hills walk. 10:00am-3:00pm. Get far away from shopping malls on Black Friday and join the longest continually running hike in the AMC. We'll explore the natural areas between the Nashua River and the Snake Hills. Exact route determined on the fly. Some bushwhacking possible. Around 7 mi., 5 hours. Bring warm clothes and lunch. Meet at NW corner of the parking lot behind Nashoba Hospital on Groton Road in Ayer, 42.57878N 71.57399W. L Olin Lathrop.|
|Thurs, Dec 7. Ponkapoag Pond Hike, Canton. 10:00am-12:30pm. Moderate to fast pace, with occasional stops. 4½ - 5-mi. hike around The Pond, Boardwalk/Bog option. Bring snack/lunch & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 South 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course Parking Lot (2167 Washington St.). Lot on Left. Free. L Ken Cohen.||Sun, Dec 10. Groton Town Forest. 1:00pm-3:00pm. Explore the varied topography and habitats of this scenic woodland, including eskers, kettle holes, dry upland, marsh, the dead river, and more. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at end of Town Forest Road off of MA 225 in W Groton, 42.5973N 71.6052W. L Olin Lathrop.|
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
Construction of new boutique hotel begins in Central Square (Oct 13, 2017)
Ward 3 Precinct 3 polling relocated (Oct 5, 2017)
Bike lane backlash heats up in Cambridge (Sept 26, 2017)
City takes point to push Foundry forward (Sept 26, 2017)
Councillors look to address aggressive turkeys in Cambridge (Sept 20, 2017)
Cambridge receives grant to reduce energy use (Sept 2, 2017)
Facebook plans big expansion in Cambridge (Aug 30, 2017)
Superintendent Column: What it means to welcome all students (Aug 30, 2017)
After massive spike, opioid death rate down slightly (Aug 25, 2017)
MIT students petition Cambridge City Council (Aug 24, 2017)
Pedro Martinez draws large crowd at Cambridge's Oldtime Baseball Game (posted Aug 22, 2017 - game was on Aug 17)
Huron Avenue work nears completion after five tough years (Aug 18, 2017)
June 21, 2017 – MIT today has filed its Volpe rezoning petition. An MIT News Office article provides background on the proposal and a link to the zoning petition. [message from Sarah Gallop, Co-Director, MIT Office of Government and Community Relations]
[Boston Globe article (June 21)] [text of the petition]
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 263 (Oct 17, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: David Weinstein, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
|Episode 264 (Oct 17, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Elechi Kadete, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
|Episode 261 (Oct 10, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Jake Crutchfield, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
|Episode 262 (Oct 10, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Josh Burgin, candidate for Cambridge City Council
|Episode 259 (Oct 3, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Manny Lusardi, Liaison for Immigrant Affairs (w/Vice-Mayor's Office)
|Episode 260 (Oct 3, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Elections, Harvard Square, Volpe Petition, property taxes
|Episode 257 (Sept 19, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: elections, endorsements, Harvard Square, Sept 18 Council meeting
|Episode 258 (Sept 19, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: School Committee candidate Piotr Mitros
|Episode 255 (Sept 12, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Sept 11 City Council meeting, tax-financed municipal campaigns, Volpe Petition
|Episode 256 (Sept 12, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Volpe Petition, MIT graduate housing, candidate forums, endorsements
|Episode 253 (Aug 29, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Hurricane Harvey and resiliency of cities, the Volpe Petition and a related new petition
|Episode 254 (Aug 29, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: some history of the Plan E Charter and some of the realities of PR elections
|Episode 251 (Aug 22, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Oldtime Baseball, Solar Eclipse, Politics
|Episode 252 (Aug 22, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge Candidate Pages - some history and a request for topics, questionnaires from political organizations
|Episode 249 (Aug 15, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: School Committee cabdidate Fran Cronin
|Episode 250 (Aug 15, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Wil Durbin and the newly ordained Cambridge regulations for short-term rentals
|Episode 247 (Aug 8, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Agenda items from the Aug 7 City Council meeting, especially the ordination of the Short-Term Rental Zoning Petition
|Episode 248 (Aug 8, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Agenda items from the Aug 7 City Council meeting, especially the MIT/Volpe Petition, controversy over segregated bike lanes, and an unsuccessful late effort to place a ballot question on the November ballot regarding publicly funded municipal campaigns
|Episode 245 (Aug 1, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Final list of candidates for Cambridge municipal election, Leland Cheung's decision to not seek reelection
|Episode 246 (Aug 1, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: municipal campaign finance, MIT/Volpe Petition
|Episode 243 (July 25, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Cambridge municipal election and its many candidates as well as some history of Cambridge's PR elections
|Episode 244 (July 25, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: upcoming events and some observations re: Harvard Square activism
|Episode 241 (July 18, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Alanna Mallon, City Council candidate
|Episode 242 (July 18, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Will MacArthur, School Committee candidate
|Episode 239 (July 11, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Nomination papers for Cambridge City Council and School Committee, candidate list - who's on the ballot so far
|Episode 240 (July 11, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge PR election history (especially the probability of an incumbent being ousted when there are multiple vacancies), and the status of short-term rental regulation
|Episode 237 (June 27, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Paul Toner, City Council candidate
|Episode 238 (June 27, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: June 26 City Council meeting, upcoming events
|Episode 235 (June 20, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Sean Tierney, City Council candidate
|Episode 236 (June 20, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Adriane Musgrave, City Council candidate
Book Release - Building Old Cambridge by Susan E. Maycock and Charles M. Sullivan (published by MIT Press)
THE MUNICIPAL SITUATION IN CAMBRIDGE
A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904
BY HENRY N. WHEELER, PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE
PRECEDED BY A PROGRAM OF THE WORK OF THE LEAGUE FOR 1904
Cambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.
[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos of each]
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 261-262: Oct 10, 2017
(w/guests Jake Crutchfield and Josh Burginand Wil Durbin)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 259-260: Oct 3, 2017 (w/guest Manny Lusardi)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 257-258: Sept 19, 2017 (w/guest Piotr Mitros)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 249-250: Aug 15, 2017 (w/guests Fran Cronin and Wil Durbin)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 241-242: July 18, 2017 (w/City Council candidate Alanna Mallon and School Committee candidate Will MacArthur)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 237-238: June 27, 2017 (w/City Council candidate Paul Toner)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 235-236: June 20, 2017 (w/City Council candidates Sean Tierney and Adriane Musgrave)
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 2015-2017 features co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]
Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 3. To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]
Thoughts for these times:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
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“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (rwinters.com)
Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”
Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”
Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”
Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”
Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”
Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"