Jan 21 - Which potential 2019 City Council election campaign accounts have been active this year? (Updated)
[Not all of those listed will actually be candidates in 2019 and there may be others not listed here. You decide.]
You can sort the table or leave comments here.

Jan 21 Cable Update: As of Friday morning I have the full XFinity "Triple Play". I'm intrigued by the additional science-related channels I can now get, and it was kinda nice watching "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Shawshank Redemption" (one of my all-time favorites), but I'm already feeling nostalgic for the simplicity of the limited channel selection of good old broadcast TV via the roof antenna. This is going to take some getting used to. - RW

PS - I'll get around to some more civic writing soon. This TV stuff (plus rehabbing two apartments in my triple-decker) is very disruptive. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb 13. - RW

Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut: Tuesdays, 5:30pm and 6:00pm on CCTV

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

We're skipping this week (Jan 22), but we'll be back next week. Stay warm, folks.
Episode 367 (Jan 15, 2019, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Jan 14 City Council meeting; Notable Retirements, Envision Cambridge, aging water infrastructure, and more.
Episode 368 (Jan 15, 2019, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: How Big is Too Big?; table-setting for the election year.
Episode 365 (Jan 8, 2019, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: History; Political Trichotomy; Trees; Infrastructure & Inundation
Episode 366 (Jan 8, 2019, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Significant passings; arts funding and earmarking; proposed Home Rule petition for a real estate transfer tax; and more
Episode 363 (Dec 18, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: One Way Zoning; Housing Choice Initiative; Suburban Zoning and Subsidized Housing
Episode 364 (Dec 18, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Housing, continued; Cannabis Retail Ordained; City Clerk Donna Lopez to retire in May; Plan E in Lowell
Episode 361 (Dec 11, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: New Central Square Police Substation; Central Square BID update; Surveillance Ordinance; Revised Street Performer Ordinance; 1899 Ordinances.
Episode 362 (Dec 11, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: City Hall landscaping; Late Order on "Act to Promote Housing Choices", oddity of asymmetric rules for passing zoning ordinances, political consequences; Airplane Noise.
Episode 359 (Dec 4, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Publicly funded municipal election campaigns and PR elections; refranchising of Cable TV and the future
Episode 360 (Dec 4, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Early days of Cable TV, Grand Junction updates, Davis Sq. changes, flat roof zoning, accessory dwelling unit zoning, City housing policy = social ownership
Episode 357 (Nov 27, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Late semester musings; Nov 26 City Council meeting - trees, curb cuts, councillor coddling, municipal facility upgrades, urban agriculture, outdoor lighting; Van Morrison and Astral Weeks
Episode 358 (Nov 27, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Voter histories, targeting voters, publicly financed campaigns, age distribution of voters 2012-2018, voter turnout, supervoters, #1 voter fealty
Episode 355 (Nov 20, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Thanksgiving memories; Nov 19 City Council meeting highlights - First Street Garage saga, Surveillance Ordinance, Street Performers Ordinance
Episode 356 (Nov 20, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Nov 19 City Council meeting highlights - Street Performers Ordinance, Climate-relatd committee appointments, bicycle safety (esp. the Craigie Bridge & Museum Way)
Episode 353 (Nov 13, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Central Square murals, Taste of the BID; Elections - local, state, federal - recounts & runoffs; Ranked Choice Voting in Maine
Episode 354 (Nov 13, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Field trip following Cambridge organics recycling; Ranked Choice Voting; some PR history, and a comparison of the Cambridge PR election system and a proposed alternative
Episode 351 (Nov 6, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio] - w/guest co-host Patrick Barrett
Topics: Central Square, Business Improvement District (BID), Formula Business Ordinance and the Central Square Restoration Petition, Envision Cambridge
Episode 352 (Nov 6, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio] - w/guest co-host Patrick Barrett
Topics: Nov 5 City Council meeting highlights, Envision Cambridge, First Street Garage & Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment
Episode 349 (Oct 30, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: World Champion Red Sox, Oct 29 City Council highlights, trees!, proposal for early voting for municipal elections
Episode 350 (Oct 30, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Growth Policy Document, Envision Cambridge Housing Working Group, middle-income housing, property assessments and FY19 tax bills, parking $ in Cambridge property, vacancy rates
Episode 347 (Oct 23, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Baseball, Envision Cambridge, some history (Cambridge ECO, CCLN, Parking Freeze, Growth Policy Document, Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance, housing policy changes, Concord-Alewife Plan, Master Plan), Chapter 40B, Subsidized Housing Overlay proposal
Episode 348 (Oct 23, 2018, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Envision Cambridge, middle-income housing, Central Square murals, formula business regulation

Foundry Property Management RFP -- Seeking Responses!

The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA), in partnership the Lemelson-MIT Program (a leader in the Foundry Consortium), is seeking Proposals for Property Management Services for the Foundry.City Seal

Later this year, the Foundry site will start construction...and before too long, we will have a vibrant community center for creativity and collaboration, buzzing with programs!

Therefore, the CRA is now seeking a property management firm. The successful respondent will be offered a two-part contract to provide consulting services to the CRA during the design and construction phases of the Foundry, and to provide property management services to the Foundry Consortium once the building is operational.

The full RFP can be downloaded from the CRA website, where we will also post addenda as needed: www.cambridgeredevelopment.org/jobs-contracting

There will be a site visit for interested parties on January 23rd at 10:00am. RFP responses are due on Thursday, February 14, 2019 by 4:00pm.

Interested parties are encouraged to register their interest before they apply by emailing Erica Schwarz at eschwarz@cambridgeredevelopment.org.

Members Sought for New Grand Junction Multi-Use Path Design Working Group

Jan 3, 2019 – The City of Cambridge is seeking volunteers to serve on a new Grand Junction (GJ) Design Working Group to help guide the design of the Grand Junction (GJ) Multi-Use Path between the Charles River at the BU Bridge, and the Cambridge-Somerville city line. The group will advise Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale and his staff on key issues related to the planning and design for this important “Grand Junction Multi-Use Path and Conceptual Transit Design” project.City Seal

The GJ Design Working Group will consist of 15-20 members, including residents, businesses, property owners, institutions, standing city committees, and other interested parties.

Individuals with interest in the Grand Junction corridor, the neighborhoods along the corridor, and experience or expertise in relevant topics — transportation, accessibility, urban design and placemaking, landscape architecture — and a demonstrated ability to work effectively with diverse viewpoints are encouraged to apply.  Meetings of the GJ Design Working Group will be open to the public.

For additional questions about the new GJ Design Working Group, contact Tegin Teich, Transportation Planner, Community Development Department at 617-349-4615 or tteich@cambridgema.gov.

Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the city’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. 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 Thursday, January 31, 2019.

Call for Cambridge Artists: Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest
Winners Will Receive Prize Money and Artwork Will Be Displayed in Vacant Storefront Windows

Jan 3, 2019 – The City of Cambridge invites local artists to submit their work to the Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest. The program, designed by the Community Development Department and Cambridge Arts, aims to energize neighborhoods by filling empty store windows with reproductions of locally-made art.City Seal

Five finalists, chosen through a jury and public voting process, will each be awarded a one-time honorarium of $1,000. These winning designs will be available for Cambridge property owners to print and display in vacant ground-floor storefronts throughout the city.

“The City’s Retail Strategy Plan identified vacant storefront activation as a key recommendation for enhancing Cambridge’s retail environment,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development. “This contest is a unique opportunity for local artists to make our commercial districts more vibrant and engaging.”

“In Cambridge, we’re always looking for opportunities for our artists and businesses to partner—from the Central Square Mural Project and the Central Square Cultural District to our Creative Marketplace Exhibitions program,” said Jason Weeks, Executive Director of Cambridge Arts. “The Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest is another way the arts can make our city a more dynamic and engaging place to live, work, and explore.”

Artwork must be uploaded to an online submissions form by Friday, Feb 8, 2019 at noon. Original artwork—from paintings and prints to photographs and graphic designs—must be formatted into a digital, high-resolution PDF file that can be printed to paper or vinyl and is adaptable to a variety of window sizes. Designs must be original and not infringe on any copyrighted material.

Semi-finalists, chosen by a jury, will be announced in February 2019, followed by a public vote to help determine finalists. The five finalists will be announced in March 2019, with installations expected later in the spring.

For more information about the contest’s submission and selection process, visit www.cambridgema.gov/StorefrontContest.

Residents Sought for Board Vacancy on Cambridge Human Rights Commission

Jan 4, 2019 – Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking a resident to fill a vacancy on the Cambridge Human Rights Commission.City Seal

The Cambridge Human Rights Commission (CHRC) seeks Cambridge residents representing the diversity of Cambridge. 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.

The Human Rights Commission is made up of 11 members who serve three-year terms. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 6pm.

The deadline for submitting applications is February 8, 2019. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume, or 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.

For more information, contact Nancy Schlacter, Cambridge Human Rights Commission, at 617-349-4396 or nschlacter@cambridgema.gov.

Cambridge Community Electricity Program to Fund Development of Local Solar Project, Provide Savings to Consumers
The City’s new contract with Direct Energy will increase local renewable energy production and provide lower electricity rates than Eversource Basic Service.

The Cambridge Community Electricity Program is launching a new model for using the City’s electricity aggregation to directly create more local renewable electricity. Effective January 15, 2019, the program will collect a small amount of money, $0.002/kWh, from all participants as part of their regular electricity bill, which will be used to fund a new local solar project. Once built, the solar project will provide green electricity to everyone enrolled in the Cambridge Community Electricity Program.City Seal

The new program model is made possible through a 24-month electricity supply contract with Direct Energy. This contract offers new program prices that are fixed from January 2019 through January 2021. Participants in the Standard Green option will receive greener electricity than available through Eversource Basic Service by supporting the new local solar project. The Standard Green price will change to 11.12 cents/kWh, which is lower than Eversource’s January 2019 through June 2019 residential price of 13.704 cents/kWh.

The previous 100% Green option is now the new and improved 100% Green Plus option, which current 100% Green participants will be automatically enrolled in. 100% Green Plus participants will continue to receive 100% renewable electricity through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from existing renewable energy projects in New England and will receive additional solar electricity from the local solar project. The 100% Green Plus price will be 11.94 cents/kWh, also less than Eversource’s winter 2019 Basic Service price. Any Cambridge resident or business can opt into 100% Green Plus at any time.

“This innovative model for our Community Electricity Program supports Cambridge’s local economy and furthers our renewable energy goals without having a negative impact on personal finances,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “We are proud to continue pioneering programs that lower the carbon footprint of our community in cost-effective ways.”

Beginning in February 2019, Direct Energy will replace Agera Energy as the supplier listed on Eversource electricity bills. Participants will continue to receive and pay one bill from Eversource, which will be responsible for delivering electricity to Cambridge and for addressing power outages. Those who are eligible for discounts from Eversource will continue to receive the same benefits. Those with solar panels on their property will continue to receive net metering credits, which will be calculated based on the Eversource Basic Service rate, not on the program rate.

Savings cannot be guaranteed for future Eversource rate periods because Eversource’s prices change every 6 months for residential and small business customers and every 3 months for large business customers. Program participation is not required; participants can opt out of the program at any time with no penalty or fee and return to Eversource Basic Service.

All active accounts will be automatically enrolled in the new contract with Direct Energy unless participants choose to opt out. New Eversource electricity accounts in Cambridge will also be automatically enrolled in the program.

To switch between Standard Green or 100% Green Plus enrollment options or to opt out of the program, call Direct Energy at 1-866-968-8065. Cambridge residents and businesses currently enrolled with the Cambridge Community Electricity Program do not need to take any action to continue their enrollment as part of this new program model.

Additional information is available on the program website at www.masspowerchoice.com/cambridge. Questions or comments can be directed to Cambridge Community Electricity program consultants at 1-844-379-9934 or cambridge@masspowerchoice.com.

Launched in July 2017, the Cambridge Community Electricity Program is an electricity aggregation, which uses the bulk purchasing power of the entire community to negotiate a price and increase the amount of renewable energy in the City’s electricity supply. The City uses a competitive bidding process to choose an electricity supplier for residents and businesses and to secure the best price possible for the community while advancing the City’s sustainability goals.

Members Sought to Fill Vacancies on the Cambridge LGBTQ+ Commission

Jan 10, 2019 – Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking individuals to fill vacancies on the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) Commission. Prospective Commissioners must either reside or work in Cambridge.City Seal

The mission of the LGBTQ+ 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. The Commission also promotes 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.

The Commission normally meets on the 4th Thursday of each month, from 6-7:30pm, at Windsor Street Community Health Center, 2nd Floor Conference Room, 119 Windsor St., Cambridge. Commissioners are expected to volunteer some time outside of meetings for various projects.

The deadline for submitting applications is February 8, 2019. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume, or 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.

For more information about the Commission, visit www.CambridgeMA.Gov/lgbtqplus. Minutes, and other information can be found there. Visit the Commission’s FaceBook page at: CambridgeLGBTQ+Commission.

City of Cambridge Sets Up Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund for Residents Impacted by Jan. 14 Fire on Cambridge and Hunting Streets

Jan 14, 2019 – Today, an early morning four-alarm fire ocurred at 6 Hunting St. and 851/855 Cambridge St. The initial time of the call was at 5:42am, with the fourth alarm being issued at 6:33am. In total, 12 engines, seven ladders, two squads, one rescue, and numerous chief officers and support units were on scene. No serious injuries have been reported, with only minor injuries reported due to falls on the ice.City Seal

In addition to Cambridge Fire Department, fire companies from Somerville, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Waltham, and Watertown aided at the fire scene. Fire companies from several cities and towns, including Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Newton, and Waltham, provided station coverage in Cambridge and responded to numerous unrelated incidents in the city during the fire.

“I want to thank the men and women of the Cambridge Fire Department for their quick action to contain the fire and protect the building exposures in this highly congested neighborhood,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasqaule. “Losing your home and your belongings to a fire is a devastating tragedy, and I know how difficult this time is for the impacted residents. I was proud that our staff and the American Red Cross were able to work with the displaced residents this morning to get them set-up with emergency housing, debit cards, and access to money from the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund. These residents have a long road ahead of them, and the City will continue to be here to assist them as they figure out how to move forward."

The cause of fire is under investigation by the Cambridge Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. As part of that investigation, all residents, property managers, and owners of the buildings involved will be interviewed, and a thorough review of any files, reports, or other relevant information connected to the structures will be conducted.

The Cambridge Fire Department will have no comment on the cause and/or origin of the fire until that investigation is complete.

Support of Impacted Residents
At approximately 8am, the City of Cambridge opened a shelter for impacted residents and neighbors at the Frisoli Youth Center located 61 Willow St.

Staff from the City Manager’s Office, various City departments, Metro Housing Boston, Cambridge Housing Authority, and the American Red Cross assisted displaced residents. The Mayor, Vice Mayor, and numerous City Councillors and School Committee members visited the shelter to speak with the impacted residents.

“The first responders, City staff, local businesses, non-profits, and neighbors who responded quickly and effectively to this morning’s fire deserves our gratitude and praise. They are Cambridge’s strength and pride,” said Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern.

851/855 Cambridge Street is a four-story structure with eight residential units and commercial space, and 6 Hunting Street is a three-story structure with two residential units. In total, 22 individuals in nine units were displaced (1 unit was vacant).

As part of their services, the American Red Cross provided every displaced individual with a $125 debit card for incidental supplies and every household with a $260 debit card for emergency hotel costs. Additionally, the Red Cross will follow each case for up to 45 days, as necessary. Each household will also receive follow-up support from the appropriate housing agency and all relevant City departments.

Additionally, the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund will provide displaced residents with $600 per person with a max of $2,400 per unit. Checks totaling $11,400 from the Disaster Relief Fund will be available to 19 residents tomorrow morning. The remaining three residents are currently out of state. The public can help the impacted families by donating to the Mayor's Disaster Relief Fund at www.cambridgema.gov/MayorsDisasterReliefFund. Alternatively, donations can be made in person through the Finance Department's cashier window at City Hall or mailed to address below:

Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund
c/o Finance Dept.
Cambridge City Hall
795 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139

Michael Atiyah, Mathematician in Newton’s Footsteps, Dies at 89 (New York Times, Jan 11, 2019)

Coming up soon on the Cambridge Civic Front:

Tues, Jan 22

3:30-5:30pm   School Committee Budget Subcommittee meeting  (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway)

6:00-8:00pm   School Committee Roundtable meeting for the purpose of discussing Equity and Access  (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway)

6:30pm   Planning Board meeting  (2nd Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)

General Business

1. Update from the Community Development Department

2. Adoption of Planning Board meeting transcripts

Public Hearings

6:30pm   PB# 344
14-16 Jackson Street – Special Permit application by Gregory Matteosian to construct a single-family residence greater than 75 feet from the front lot line pursuant to Section Sections 5.53 - more than one structure on a lot in a Residence B district. The existing single-family structure will be demolished and two single family dwelling units will be constructed with off street parking. (Materials)

7:00pm   Flat Roofs Zoning Petition
Zoning petition by the City Council entitled “Proposal for converting flat concave roofs to a kind of greenhouse/glass porch, Z.O. 5.55,” to mitigate environmental impacts of certain older types of residential buildings, namely so-called “triple-deckers”, while improving the City’s storm-water management, modifications to the applicable dimensional requirements of this Article 5.000, in particular regarding FAR and height limitations. (Materials)

7:30pm   234 Monsignor O'Brien Zoning Petition
Zoning petition by Anthony F. Gargano on behalf of Hercules Kalogeropoulos/Cambridge Mobile Sound and Security to amend the Zoning Map of the City of Cambridge by rezoning from the existing Residence C-1 to Business A the property located 234 Monsignor O’Brien Highway, lot numbered 124 on Assessor’s Map numbered 21. (Materials)

8:00pm   Accessory Apartments Amendments Zoning Petition
Zoning petition by the City Council entitled “Accessory Apartments,” as a zoning solution to the challenges posed by current zoning constraints regarding accessory dwelling units to amend the definition of Accessory Apartment, to allow accessory apartments to be permitted within accessory structures, and to amend some of the conditions under which an accessory apartment is allowed. (Materials)

General Business

4. PB-315   145 Broadway – Design Update (Materials)

Thurs, Jan 24

6:00pm  Envision Cambridge Showcase  (Cambridge Public Library Main Branch, 449 Broadway)

Join us to celebrate the completion of the Envision Cambridge planning process! Over the course of three years, input from thousands of community members and guidance from seven working groups have culminated in a citywide plan for a sustainable, inclusive, and livable Cambridge.

The Envision Cambridge Showcase will include a speaking program with City staff and elected officials and refreshments. The event will also feature a gallery exhibit, which is currently on display at the library's Main Branch through January 25th. Stop by to view the exhibit and learn more about the planning process. "Together, we shaped this plan, and together we will bring it to life."

For more information, visit www.envision.cambridgema.gov.

Mon, Jan 28

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Jan 29

3:00pm   The City Council's Civic Unity Committee shall meet to receive an update from the City on its efforts toward establishing Pay Equity, and to receive an update on the City’s efforts around Diversity Training throughout the City’s workforce.  (Sullivan Chamber)

6:00-7:00pm   School Committee Budget Subcommittee meeting  (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway)

Public Hearing inviting the input from the Public regarding the FY 2020 School Department Budget Priorities.

Wed, Jan 30

5:30pm  The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing discuss a petition filed by Joseph T. Maguire, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. to amend the Zoning Ordinance by creating the Grand Junction Pathway Overlay District adjacent to the Grand Junction Railroad right-of-way between Binney and Cambridge Streets. This hearing will be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Sat, Feb 2

10:00am-12:0pm   School Committee Budget Subcommittee meeting  (Sullivan Chamber, Cambridge City Hall)

Public Hearing inviting the input from the Public regarding the FY 2020 School Department Budget Priorities.

Mon, Feb 4

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Feb 5

1:00pm  The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a petition filed by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge in Article 5.000 to convert flat concave roofs to greenhouse/glass porch. This hearing will be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

3:00pm  The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a petition filed by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinances in section 4.22 to allow for a Special Permit for the alteration of a single, two-family or accessory structure in existence as of January 2019 to provide one accessory apartment if the appropriate conditions are met. This hearing will be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Feb 11

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Feb 12

5:30pm   Roundtable/Working Meeting between the City Council and School Committee to conduct a preliminary discussion on the Cambridge Public School Departmental budget for FY20. This meeting will be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, Feb 13

8:00-9:30am   Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber, City Hall)

12:00pm   The City Council's Economic Development & University Relations Committee will conduct a public hearing to receive an update on the progress to date on the retail strategy plan and vacant storefront initiative.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Feb 25

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Feb 26

10:00am   The City Council's Human Services and Veterans Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the lessons learned from the death of Laura Levis, and to discuss what measures are being enacted to instill a greater level of confidence in local Cambridge Health Alliance centers to prevent another occurrence of this nature.  (Sullivan Chamber)

5:30pm   Roundtable/Working Meeting between the City Council and School Committee to discuss plans for the Tobin/VLUS school design and construction process. This meeting will be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

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

Cambridge ChronicleIf you would like to subscribe or pick up a free paper copy at various sites, I encourage you to do so. It really is The Paper of Record.

STATE HOUSE ROUNDUP -- Federal employees feel shutdown’s bite (Jan 21, 2019)

Cambridge eliminates fees for street performers (Jan 15, 2019)

Police continue to seek answers, assistance in Cambridge murder (Jan 11, 2019)

Cambridge looks to add gender-neutral option on birth certificates (Jan 8, 2019)

Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest accepting submissions (Jan 8, 2019)

Cambridge City Council passes CCOPS law (Dec 26, 2018)

Recreational marijuana is here, so what’s the point of medical? (Dec 24, 2018)

Cambridge’s Kendall Cinema sells to billionaire ‘lover of cinema’ (Dec 20, 2018)

CPA fund lacks cash in Massachusetts (Dec 18, 2018)

Cambridge’s Transit Committee to pitch dozens of ideas to MBTA for improved bus service (Dec 17, 2018)

Cambridge police return to Central Square with opening of substation (Dec 11, 2018)

Paved path for pedestrians, cyclists breaks ground on Watertown-Cambridge Greenway (Dec 10, 2018)

‘A win-win for everyone:’ Plans for Millers River, Grand Junction path move forward (Dec 4, 2018)

FCC rule could gut funding for Cambridge community TV (Nov 30, 2018)

Two arrested, one injured after shootout in Cambridge (updated Nov 29, 2018)

Cambridge makes moves to start $25M renovation of fire headquarters (Nov 28, 2018)

Cambridge football loses late in game after Somerville rallies for win (Nov 22, 2018)

Cambridge residents asked to vote on budgeting (Nov 21, 2018)

Cambridge Mayor McGovern, City Manager DePasquale to deliver State of the City Address (Nov 21, 2018)

DA: Forensics link man with Cambridge ties to 1969 murder of Harvard student (Nov 20, 2018)

Cambridge leaders look for solutions after cyclist killed near Science Museum (Nov 20, 2018)

Controversial politics, early voting fueled turnout in Massachusetts elections (Nov 19, 2018)

Yard waste collection to continue through Dec 14 (Nov 16, 2018)

Baker open to fee hike to boost state CPA match (Nov 16, 2018)

Cambridge Police Department welcomes 10 new officers (Nov 13, 2018)

Cambridge cyclist killed by dump truck (Nov 9, 2018)

Enroot building housing almost a dozen Cambridge nonprofits to be sold (Oct 30, 2018)

Will a dog park be coming to the front lawn of Cambridge’s main library? (Oct 30, 2018)

Cambridge offering retrofit advisor service to help apartments and condos save energy (Oct 26, 2018)

Resident parking permits for 2019 available (Oct 26, 2018)

Cambridge man arrested for Craigslist post offering to buy cop killers a drink (Sept 19, 2018)

Members announced for new task force to support the arts in Cambridge (Sept 18, 2018)

Salvation for Sancta Maria: Nursing facility to remain open in Cambridge (Sept 17, 2018)

Global market complicates local recycling, frustrates residents (Sept 17, 2018)

What's Coming Up at the Jan 14, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting?

Calendar - Jan 14, 2019Here's my take on the interesting stuff this week:

Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-126, regarding the River Street Infrastructure and Streetscape Project.

The basics: The outreach and design processes will occur throughout 2019 and into early 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2020. $34 million has already been appropriated for the design and construction of sewer and drainage infrastructure improvements and surface enhancements on River Street between Memorial Drive and Central Square, including Carl Barron Plaza.

Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-120, regarding the focus of Envision Cambridge goals during community presentations.

If you read the infographic and fact sheet that's meant "to clarify the 100% affordable housing overlay concept and address any misconceptions related to its potential implementation or impact" it becomes abundantly clear that the Community Development Department has already made its decisions and is now in the process of conducting an advertising campaign to sell it (even though it has received dismal reviews in most venues where it was presented - for good reasons).

Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-97, regarding a report on updating vacant property database and reviewing strategies presented in the Storefront Vacancies Best Practices Report.

I just hope people understand that popup/activation/placemaking or art displays in vacant storefronts is a pretty lame substitute for the real thing. This is really about finding a new economic equilibrium between retail demand and the costs associated with occupying commercial space - and you can't blame it all on Amazon. My own admittedly naive view is that for multi-story buildings with ground floor retail, that retail space should be re-conceived as something akin to the utilities in the basement - an essential part of the building that should not necessarily be viewed as a primary revenue-generator for the property. Let the upper floors pick up some of the tab.

Resolution #10. Retirement of Timothy MacDonald from the Water Department.   Mayor McGovern

Resolution #12. Retirement of Robert Reardon from the Assessing Department.   Mayor McGovern

Tim MacDonaldThis is a double-whammy for me personally. I have known Tim MacDonald for over 30 years - ever since I served on a Water & Sewer Advisory Committee appointed by then-Mayor Al Vellucci. Tim served as Manager of Water Operations and Director of Water Operations. Blessed with a sense of humor and good nature to go along with his experience and expertise, Tim has long been one of the greatest assets of the Water Department.

Robert Reardon may be one of the most qualified people in his field in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He's also one of my all-time favorite people in City Hall. He could write a book on the political history of Cambridge. Maybe he should now that he'll have time on his hands. I don't know whether to congratulate him or to beg him to reconsider.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to direct the appropriate City personnel to compile a report outlining how a prolonged Federal Government shut-down may impact the people of Cambridge.   Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Siddiqui

There are two sides to this inquiry. First, how will the lack of federal services and funds (for things like housing vouchers) affect residents who need those services and how many residents are affected? Second, how many residents of Cambridge have been furloughed from federal jobs? I'll add that banks, landlords, utilities, etc. should really step up and grant time extensions on bills and maybe even extend low or zero-interest loans in lieu of paychecks since (I hope) we all know this can't go on for too much longer.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Managing Director of the Water Department on whether the department is monitoring aged pipelines to prevent unexpected breaks and if information on the age of the pipes is readily available.   Councillor Toomey

This provides an appropriate follow-up to last week's Order on the age and maintenance of the city's water mains.

Order #5. That the Neighborhood and Long-Term Planning Committee hold a public hearing to explore the feasibility of Transit X and their potential to provide an affordable, equitable, safe, practical, congestion-reducing, and eco-friendly public transportation solution for our community.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone

There was a guy going around maybe a year ago trying to sell people on this idea of mini-monorails running all over the city. It still seems a bit like something from a Fritz Lang film.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department and the City’s legal services providers on establishing a system of information-sharing and/ or alternative method for making available that data which may be of beneficial use to the City in analyzing displacement.   Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Carlone

Analysis is good, but please don't unfairly punish small-scale owner-occupant landlords who are just trying to manage their modest investment. I grow increasingly suspicious every week of the City Council's intentions. The Order provides a list of 46 outcomes of an eviction proceeding and not once does it make reference to an eviction being fairly carried out for justifiable reasons.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to explore the feasibility of designing the next iteration of the Cambridge Community Electricity program.   Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui

If City intervention can land me a better deal on electricity, I'm all in. Otherwise, no thanks. - Robert Winters


Kicking Off the New Year - Jan 7, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights

Jan 7, 2019 Cambridge City Council meetingThe beginning of a municipal election year often features some table-setting, i.e. framing some of the issues that are bound to play out as we work our way to the November election. If bike lanes were the AOC of 2017, then trees, battles over density, and the next round of challenges to property ownership are taking the early lead in the 2019 rhetorical derby. Here are some of the agenda items that drew my attention this week.

Resolution #3. Resolution on the death of Bob Richards.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey

Bob passed away on December 19. He has been a long-time friend and neighbor, one of the founders of the Antrim Street Block Party - the longest in the city, a CRLS teacher, and a dependable ally on the Ward 6 Democratic Committee. The phrase "he will be missed" is often said, but I will really miss the frequent conversations Bob and I have had over many years - and not all about politics.

Order #1. Creating Gender X on Cambridge Birth Certificates.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui

I have lived in Cambridge now for over 40 years and can honestly say that I identify as a True Cantabrigian. I have even been accepted by many native Cantabrigians as something more than a carpetbagger. That said, my birth certificate identifies me as a New Yorker. I would like the option to have my birth certificate revised to better reflect my current identity.

Order #4. Accessing revenue generated from new short-term rental legislation.   Mayor McGovern

This is a timely Order now that the Commonwealth passed short-term rental legislation late in the previous session.

Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Mallon, transmitting notes of the meeting of the Mayor's Arts Task Force.

Order #5. That the City Manager work with the Cambridge Arts Council and Department of Finance to allocate a percentage of hotel/motel tax revenue and adult use cannabis tax revenue to the arts in the FY20 budget.   Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern

Order #6. That the City Manager work with the Cambridge Arts Council, Traffic and Parking Department, Community Development Department, and Central Square Advisory Committee to establish the Central Square Improvement Fund and allocate no less than 25% of funds generated to the arts.   Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern

Order #7. That the City Manager work with the Cambridge Arts Council and Community Development Department to make the appropriate updates to the City's 1% for arts ordinance.   Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern

As a long-time booster for Central Square, I suppose I should be thrilled with these Orders - and I am, but with reservations. I dislike the whole idea of earmarking revenues generated from specific activities for the exclusive use of very specific purposes - even if these purposes are things I support. Why should revenue generated by the cannabis industry be dedicated for arts purposes rather than early childhood education (just to give one example)? Why should 25% or more of a proposed Central Square Improvement Fund be dedicated toward arts projects? This is reminiscent of the whole Foundry Kerfuffle where some councillors felt that this building should be dedicated toward very specific arts-related purposes but other councillors had different priorities.

There is something of a "cutting the line" in all this - proposing specific earmarking before other priorities have been considered. It's not the first time we've seen this, e.g. there have been and continue to be proposals to earmark revenue for the purpose of buying up residential buildings and properties solely for use as subsidized housing. Priorities do change from year to year.

As for the One Percent for the Arts Ordinance, some revision may be in order, especially in regard to the rather harsh division between the commissioning of outside artists and the artistic talents of some of the people actually building publicly-funded projects. However, the rather simple math is that because a fixed percentage of the project funding is to be dedicated toward artistic components of a project, then as projects become more expensive the money dedicated for art rises proportionately.

Order #8. Support Green New Deal.   Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui

Translation: This Order proposes to reject the plans proposed by the new House Democratic Leadership (Nancy Pelosi and Co.) in favor of a proposal from a newly elected member of Congress (AOC-NY). The Order also suggests corruption among Ms. Pelosi's leadership team ("will include legislators who have accepted contributions from or who have themselves made significant investments in the fossil fuel industry"). Please, councillors, edit out some of the WHEREAS's before voting on this symbolic Order.

Order #9. Water Mains Age and Maintenance Update.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern

The requested report is one I will definitely look forward to reading. Yes, I am an Infrastructure Geek. It says so on my birth certificate.

Order #10. City Manager is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to prepare a draft Home Rule petition for a Real Estate Transfer fee.   Councillor Carlone, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui

Insofar as this might cool down speculative investment in Cambridge real estate, I might be supportive. I do not, however, agree that any revenue generated should be dedicated exclusively toward the acquisition of property to be turned into subsidized housing. [See above remarks re: earmarking.] There is, however, a larger issue. Last year opened with a "Right of First Refusal" proposal to lay a heavy hand on who would have first preference in purchasing residential property put up for sale. Last year ended with the non-support of a state initiative re: housing growth and changes in the threshold for certain zoning changes based on concerns that there should be greater tenant protections (which often translates into greater restrictions on property owners). Councillor Siddiqui at one meeting referred to about 150 additional measures that could be considered in this vein. It is not at all surprising that property owners become concerned about all this - including many landlords who might otherwise be supportive of some of these proposals.

Here's a suggestion: How about the City Council make a Declaration to the effect that "The City Council shall pass no law infringing on the rights of small property owners to engage in the ordinary business of renting their property in accordance with general laws." If small property owners were not (justifiably) fearful that their local City Council was planning to make their lives especially difficult, they might be a lot more supportive of proposals floated by the Council.

Order #12. Amendment to the Municipal Code to create a new Chapter entitled "Cycling Safety Ordinance".   Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone

Translation: This Order proposes to mandate via Ordinance that whatever the aspirational Cambridge Bicycle Plan (or any plan superseding it) says, then the City must implement those plans on any City-owned street under the City’s Five-Year Sidewalk and Street Reconstruction Plan unless there are extraordinary reasons for not doing so. It's amazing how wish lists becoming mandates [see Envision] has become the foundation for How We Do Planning in Cambridge.

Order #13. Volpe Project Updates.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone

I will look forward to hearing more about this. As the Order points out: "As a federal facility, the new Volpe Center will not be subject to the zoning or special permit requirements set out in the PUD-7 Zoning District that the City Council created in October 2017."

Order #14. Major Public Building Projects Selection Committee Representation.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone

We are once again nibbling away at the edges of the Plan E Charter. This Order proposes that there be "at least one City Councillor on the Selection Committee for any major public building project." In short, the Order wants to have an elected councillor involved in the awarding of City contracts. Red Flag.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk transmitting a report from Councillor Zondervan and Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Co-Chairs of the Health and Environment Committee for a public hearing held on Dec 4, 2018 to discuss reviewing the preliminary LiDAR-based canopy study results from Apr 1, 2018 and to discuss potential reasons for the precipitous decline in our tree canopy and any other related matter.

There is a related campaign being floated to declare a Moratorium on the cutting of any tree on private property above a relatively low caliper except for reasons of safety. I actually do have very good reasons to cut down a significant tree in my yard, so give me at least a week's warning before you declare any Moratorium so I can take care of things. - Robert Winters, Native Cantabrigian


Wrapping Up 2018

As we turn the corner to 2019 - a municipal election year - I will try to produce a narrative and some reflections on what went down during the last 12 months. For the curious, here is my list of things that went on in the Sullivan Chamber. It will be a challenge to cobble a coherent narrative from these and other events from this year, but I may give it the old college try in the next day or two (or maybe not). - RW

Election of the Mayor (Jan 1)
appointment of Special Ad-Hoc Rules Committee to review the City Council rules (Jan 8)
selection of Councillors Dennis Carlone and Craig Kelley as Ordinance Committee Co-Chairs (Jan 8)
Planning Board recommendation to adopt parts of the Kroon, et al, Harvard Square Zoning Petition (Jan 22)
City Council Rules amended and placed on Unfinished Business (Jan 22)
Rules Adopted (Jan 29)
Retirement of Renata von Tscharner from the Charles River Conservancy. Councillor Toomey (Jan 29)
Request for update on marijuana-related zoning and regulation (Jan 29)
Order #4 to explore funding options for the possibility of creating a Business Improvement District (BID) for Central Square. (Jan 29)
City Council Committee Assignments for the Council Term 2018-2019 (Jan 29)

Order #7 supporting Right of First Refusal Bill (Feb 5)
report on possibility of a supermarket opening at 20 Sidney Street (Feb 12)
Order #4 re: to establish a new working group to evaluated bike lane pilot (Feb 12)
Order #5 re: to create additional opportunities for the community to evaluate and understand the plan to redesign Inman Square (Feb 12)
AAA bond rating reports (Feb 26)
vote to approve the use of the new voting equipment and to discontinue the use of the existing voting equipment (Feb 26)
Retirement of Elaine DeRosa from the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (Feb 26)
Congratulations and thanks to William B. "Bill" King on the occasion of his retirement (Feb 26)
direct the new bicycle lane working group, once it has been convened, to hold a series of “listening sessions” at the senior buildings (Feb 26)
initiate study of pedestrian/bicycle/shuttle bridge at Alewife (Feb 26)
home rule petition for a Cambridge Right of First Refusal Legislation - Charter Right (Feb 26)

home rule petition for a Cambridge Right of First Refusal Legislation fails 3-6 (Mar 5)
Resolution on the death of William "Bill" Noble (Mar 5)
Carlone's cribbed text for First Refusal (Mar 5)
information from the Historical Commission relating to the proposed landmark designation for 40 Cottage Street - ignored by Council (Mar 5)
confer with the Election Commission regarding the possibility of instituting early voting in the 2019 municipal election (Mar 19)
block rates for water consumption and sewer use for the period beginning Apr 1, 2018 (Mar 26)
accepting the City of Boston's invitation to join their intergenerational housing pilot program (Mar 26)
conduct, compile, and publish an inventory of all City-owned vacant buildings and lots with the City's plans for them (Mar 26)
drafting of an Arts Overlay District ordinance in the Central Square Cultural District (Mar 26)
compile a list of single family homes which could be purchased by the Affordable Housing Trust and converted to Single Room Occupancies or Housing Cooperatives (Mar 26)

feasibility of requiring property owners to give the City written notice when a storefront becomes vacant (Apr 2)
work with Trinity Property Management to give the nearly 200 tenants of the EMF building additional time beyond Apr 30, 2018 (Apr 2)
FY19 submitted budget and appropriation orders (Apr 23)
Zoning Petition was received from Douglas Brown Et Al (Apr 23)
additional commitment of $20 million from the City’s budget is devoted each year over the next five years toward the City’s efforts to preserve and create affordable housing units (Apr 23)
proposal put forward by the City Manager to amend Chapter 12.16, Section 12.16.170 of the Municipal Code, (the “Street Performers Ordinance”) (Apr 30)
develop a program the “Cambridge Publicly Financed Municipal Election Program” for City Council and School Committee candidates (Apr 30)
provide a report on the history of Constellation Charitable Foundation's Parcel C in Kendall Square (Apr 30)
Zondervan proposes increases in Resident Permit Parking fees (Apr 30)

Resident Permit Parking fees - adoped 6-3 as amended (May 7)
Retirement of Stuart Dash from the Community Development Department (May 7)
develop a small business parking pilot that would allow temporary on-street employee parking during typical daytime operating hours (May 7)
small business parking pilot (Inman Sq) to allow temporary on-street employee parking voted 5-4 (May 14)
updated schedule for resubmitting a revised draft of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance (May 14)
complete a tree canopy study based on the April 2018 LiDAR data before the end of 2018 (May 14)
Home Rule Petition - Inman Square reconfiguration (May 21)
Budget Approval (May 21)
Cured-In-Place Plastic Pipe (CIPP) and other plastic pipes (May 21)
create a structured commercial tax rate system for FY20 that prioritizes lowering the tax rate for small businesses (May 21)
activate the Front Lawn of City Hall in the afternoon with games (May 21)
housing eviction, etc. data collection request (May 21)
feasibility of expanding the curbside composting program to small businesses and nonprofits (May 21)

Cured-In-Place Plastic Pipe (CIPP) - Charter Right (June 4)
Vellucci Plaza Home Rule - Charter Right (June 4)
structured commercial tax rate system for FY20 - Charter Right (June 4)
Retirement of Virginia "Ginnie" Kelley from the Election Commission (June 18)
Retirement of Susan Maycock from the Cambridge Historical Commission (June 18)
Order to establish an aggressive new strategy to reduce the violence in the Port and Wellington-Harrington neighborhoods (June 18)
Three Zondervan tree Orders (June 18)
Committee Report on sale of adult-use cannabis (June 18)
Zondervan memo on Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force (June 18)
appropriation of $2,000,000 to provide funds for repairs at multiple firehouses (June 25)
revised draft of the proposed Surveillance Technology Ordinance (June 25)
Rainwater & Flat Roof Zoning Petition (Kelley, McGovern, Zondervan) (June 25)
community engagement and outreach – bicycle lanes in the area of South Massachusetts Avenue (June 25)
proposed zoning amendment to section 4.22 of the zoning code (Accessory Units) (June 25)
new initiative that will seek to place Port residents (ages 18 and over) on paths to jobs with family-sustaining wages (June 25)
proposed amendments to Street Performers Ordinance (June 25)

Failure to pass Brown-Nakagawa Petition to 2nd reading (July 30)
Cannabis regulation Zoning Petition (July 30)
many opposition letters re: Nakagawa-Brown (July 30)
Retirement of Ellen Shacter; death of George Teso; death of Richelle Robinson (July 30)
Sherman St RR quiet zone (July 30)

CPA votes (Sept 17)
appointment of Elaine DeRosa as a member of the Cambridge Housing Authority for a term of 5 years (Sept 17)
Planning Board recommendation to adopt the Cannabis Zoning Petition with suggested revisions (Sept 17)
Two Sancta Maria Orders (before we learned they were staying) (Sept 17)
Acceptance of Home Rule legislation re: Inman Sq. reconfiguration (Sept 17)
Zondervan's "rescind" effort re: Brown Petition (Sept 17)
establishment of Sherman Street Quiet Zone (Sept 24)
Housing Committee report on Overlay, etc. (Sept 24)

Toomey orders pushing his campaign finance notions (Oct 1)
Icelandic crosswalk design (Oct 1)
Envision Cambridge draft recommendations to be reviewed by respective City Council committees (Oct 1)
request list of streets to drop to 20mph (Oct 1)
20mph limit committee report (Oct 1)
Additional $5 million appropriation from Free Cash toward Inman Sq. project (Oct 15)
Confirmation of Elaine DeRosa to the Cambridge Housing Authority Board (Oct 15)
Order requestiong written timeline of what steps must take place in order to take final vote on Affordable Housing Overlay (Oct 15)
Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 27, 2018 to discuss Affordable Housing Overlay District (Oct 15)
Kelley memorandum regarding Inman Square Redesign Project (Oct 15)
Sundry communications received relating to opposition of City Envision proposal (Oct 29)
Order and HR Petition for early voting in City Council and School Committee elections (Oct 29)
Request for report on status of the Cambridge Street Bicycle Safety Demonstration Project (Oct 29)
Ordinance Committee report re: Cannabis Zoning (Oct 29)

Funding for new Police Reporting Station at 628 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square (Nov 5)
Ending Broadband Task Force and funding digital equity research initiative (Nov 5)
Community Benefits Advisory Committee - evaluator, etc. (Nov 5)
Further Study Needed on First Street Garage (Nov 5)
Rethink Approach to Envision Cambridge (Nov 5)
resilience task force (Brown/Nakagawa) appointed - 25 members (Nov 19)
draft surveillance ordinance (Nov 19)
draft street performers ordinance amendments (Nov 19)
order calling for a student commission (Nov 19)
Simmons Order asking for region-wide discussion about affordable housing (Nov 19)
Order requestion draft zoning and public health regulations for urban farming (Nov 26)

report on the Grand Junction Overlay District (Dec 3)
easement and accepting the conveyance of a 2nd easement for the purpose of constructing a multi-use path along the Grand Junction Railway (Dec 3)
Alexandria zoning petition for Grand Junction Pathway Overlay District (Dec 3)
Flat Roof Zoning Petition again (Dec 3)
Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning Petition again (Dec 3)
Order re: Inclusionary Tenants' Association (Dec 3)
Legal Opinion on Portland's Relocation Assistance Ordinance (Dec 3)
Order calling for committee or working group to help Council work through the goals and potential options of publicly financed elections (Dec 3)
various cannabis related orders (Dec 3)
Cannabis passed to 2nd Reading (Dec 3)
appointment of an Advisory Committee on Climate Resilience Zoning (Dec 10)
Legal Opinion on Portland's Relocation Assistance Ordinance adopted 9-0 (Dec 10)
Surveillance Ordinance ordained as amended (Dec 10)
Street Performers Ordinance ordained as amended (Dec 10)
City Council go on record in strong support of Bill H.4075, Act to Promote Housing Choices. Councillor Simmons (Dec 10)
City Council support of Bill H.4075, Act to Promote Housing Choices - fails 4-4-1 (Dec 17)
Cannabis zoning ordained (Dec 17)
City Clerk Donna P. Lopez for her 49 years of service to the City of Cambridge and best wishes for a truly happy and joyful retirement. (Dec 17)
Order asking for updating the Zoning Code's Table of Uses (Dec 17)
Order requiring that a business entity’s beneficial ownership be disclosed in all Cambridge real estate transactions (Dec 17)
Order for obtaining and analyzing further detailed and specific eviction data (Dec 17)
Announcement of the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement (Dec 17)

January Programs (and Beyond) at Fresh Pond Reservation

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

Fresh Air Walks
Dates: Wednesdays, 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
    These casual walks, led by Ranger Tim, will encompass Fresh Pond and take an informal look at each week in nature, life, and the city. Come alone or bring your co-workers! Rain or shine. Questions? Contact: tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov
Feeder Birds for Kids
Date: Sunday, January 27th, 11:00am to 12:00pm
Place: Meets at the Maynard Ecology Center, lower level of Neville Place (back building), 650 Concord Ave.
    Winter birds are a great introduction to wildlife watching, join us in learning about the birds that tough out the cold just like us. We’ll be crafting our own homemade bird feeders to take home and continue the birding fun! For more information or directions, contact Ranger Tim at tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov.
Kingsley Park Then & Now
Date: Monday, January 28th, 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Place: Meets inside the Water Treatment Plant (front door), 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
    Have you ever wanted to look through a window back in time? With over 300 years of documented history, Fresh Pond has quite the storied past. Join the Cambridge Rangers for this indoor program where we’ll review the changes to our favorite outdoor space from the perspective of historical photos and maps. For questions or more information contact Ranger Tim at tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov.

Interested in Volunteering? Get hands on and give back to the land! Contact Ranger Tim at tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov to find out more!

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

Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership is $10 and can be paid online or sent to 31 Mt. Pleasant St., Cambridge, MA 02138.

Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants.

Upcoming Programs

A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:

Tues, Oct 30, 2018 -- Today's Homework Assignment:
Please identify which policies, if any, from Cambridge's Growth Policy Document should be changed.
[To the best of my knowledge, these important policies have never been part of the discussion among the current Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee or its various Working Groups. Indeed, some of the current recommendations growing from the Envision Cambridge process clearly contradict some of these current policies. - RW]

Cambridge Growth Policy - Toward a Sustainable Future
1993, updated 2007
[Full Document - with graphics and narratives]

Percentage of Subsidized Housing Units (not including group quarters) - September 2017

Community Housing Units Subsidized Units % Rank (of 351) Notes
Statewide 2,692,186 262,223 9.7% - -
Chelsea 12,592 2,434 19.3% 3  
Boston 269,482 51,283 19.0% 4  
Bedford 5,322 972 18.3% 5  
Cambridge 46,690 6,911 14.8% 11 ~7,800 of 53,000 currently
Burlington 9,627 1,283 13.3% 17  
Andover 12,324 1,637 13.3% 18  
Needham 11,047 1,397 12.6% 25  
Lowell 41,308 5,180 12.5% 26  
Canton 8,710 1,090 12.5% 28  
Lynn 35,701 4,435 12.4% 29  
Concord 6,852 804 11.7% 34  
Lexington 11,946 1,321 11.1% 47  
Lincoln 2,153 238 11.1% 48  
Dedham 10,115 1,104 10.9% 49  
Westwood 5,389 576 10.7% 55  
Randolph 11,980 1,280 10.7% 56  
Framingham 27,443 2,871 10.5% 59  
Natick 14,052 1,458 10.4% 61  
Wilmington 7,788 799 10.3% 64  
Malden 25,122 2,542 10.1% 65  
Braintree 14,260 1,382 9.7% 70  
Somerville 33,632 3,250 9.7% 73 statewide average
Quincy 42,547 4,096 9.6% 75  
Brookline 26,201 2,454 9.4% 78  
Woburn 16,237 1,419 8.7% 86  
Revere 21,956 1,780 8.1% 102  
Melrose 11,714 932 8.0% 104  
Winthrop 8,253 638 7.7% 111  
Newton 32,346 2,425 7.5% 115  
Waltham 24,805 1,834 7.4% 120  
Medford 23,968 1,694 7.1% 133  
Watertown 15,521 1,072 6.9% 136  
Saugus 10,754 732 6.8% 139  
Everett 16,691 1,061 6.4% 150  
Wellesley 9,090 573 6.3% 152  
Arlington 19,881 1,121 5.6% 163  
Stoneham 9,399 495 5.3% 176  
Wayland 4,957 254 5.1% 181  
Milton 9,641 481 5.0% 187  
Weston 3,952 167 4.2% 207  
Belmont 10,117 365 3.6% 231  
Winchester 7,920 244 3.1% 244  

Note: It must be pointed out that the figures above only show subsidized units. In many cities and towns there are many "naturally occurring" affordable units, i.e. apartments that simply have affordable rents. In addition, some tenants live in unregulated apartments but pay reduced rent due to such mechanisms as Section 8 vouchers. The figures above should therefore be understood only as a baseline.

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.

AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksSun, Jan 27. Duck Pond and Groton Woods, Groton. 1:00pm. We'll walk along the shore of a pretty pond and thru typical New England woods in several conservation areas. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at the Duck Pond and Skinner Forest trailheads on Lost Lake Drive, 42.5958N 71.5150W. L Olin Lathrop. AMC Local WalksSun, Feb 10. Bedford, Burlington & Lexington Municipal & Conservation Lands, MA. Very hilly 6-mi. wander through various conservation & municipal lands. 9:45am-2:30pm. Meet at the new Wilson Mill Park, Old Burlington Rd., Bedford, MA. From Rte. 128 exit 32 merge on Rte. 3N for 1.5 mi. to exit 26, turn L on Burlington Rd (Rte. 62) toward Bedford for 0.6 mi., turn sharp L on Old Burlington Rd. Pkg. lot is 0.3 mi. at dead end. Rain cancels. Conditions may require traction devices/snowshoes. L Mark Levine.
AMC Local WalksSun, Feb 17. McLains Woods, Groton. 1:00pm. We'll enjoy the scenery of woods, vernal pools, and beaver ponds on this loop thru a large area of conservation land. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet by the open field on the SW side of McLains Woods Rd, 42.6396N 71.5582W. L Olin Lathrop. AMC Local WalksMon, Feb 18. Blue Hills Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 5-mi. hike/snowshoe around pond, 10:30am-2:00pm. Bring lunch & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 S 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course lot on L. If no snow, bring traction device for boots. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.
AMC Local WalksSun, Mar 10. Northeast Groton. 1:00pm. Explore a large protected area in the Groton/Westford/Tyngsboro corner. We'll see varied environments from beaver ponds to meadows to upland forest, and an old quarry. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at the end of Cow Pond Brook Road in Groton, 42.6249N 71.5026W. L Olin Lathrop. AMC Local WalksSat, Mar 16. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 5 mile hike/snowshoe, 9:00am-noon. Bring snack/water. From Rte. 3 exit 14, take Rte. 228N 6.5 mi., L on Rte. 3A 1.0mi. to rotary, R on Summer St. 0.5 mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $8 fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.
AMC Local WalksSat, Mar 23. Walden Pond, Concord. Moderate pace 5 mile walk, across grassy meadows and through hemlock forest, to scenic Walden Pond. Visit a cove, once inhabited by Henry Thoreau. Enjoy sit-down break, on the shore of Walden. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at China Ruby Restaurant, in nearby Maynard, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Lincoln Train Station commuter parking lot. From Route 2, take Route 126 South for 2 miles. Turn left on Codman Road, follow to end. Turn left, see Train Station on left. L Brian Connolly. AMC Local WalksSun, Mar 24. Andres Art Institute Sculpture Garden, Brookline, NH. Explore trails through 140-acre hilltop international sculpture garden - largest in NE, w/views, constantly changing exhibits and interesting finds. Note, some steep sections & rough terrain. 9:45am-2:00pm. Take Rte. 2 W 20 mi. past Concord, MA rotary. R on Rte. 13N 15 mi., L Andres driveway (2.5 mi. N MA/NH state line). 100 yds to pkg. lot on R. Conditions may require traction devices/snowshoes. L Mark Levine.
AMC Local WalksSun, Apr 14. Rocky Hill Sanctuary and adjoining woodlands, Groton. 1:00pm. This is a great area to hike around in, with a beautiful point on Long Pond, beaver marshes, a heron rookerie, and more. About 2 hours, moderate pace. No dogs. Meet at the Rocky Hill Sanctuary parking area on Cardinal Lane in Groton, 42.5811N 71.5311W. L Olin Lathrop. AMC Local WalksSat, Apr 20. Crane Beach, Ipswich. Moderate pace 5 mile walk, across scenic sand dunes, and along the ocean beach. Beautiful desert landscapes, include pitch pine forest, views of Essex Bay, and sea birds. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at Woodman's Seafood Restaurant, in nearby Essex, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Crane Beach parking lot. Parking Fee. From Route 128, exit 14 in Gloucester, take Route 133 West for 5 miles. Turn right on Northgate Road. Then, turn right on Argilla Road, follow to beach. L Brian Connolly.
AMC Local WalksSat, May 4. Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 4 mile walk, around scenic Ponkapoag Pond, with visit to AMC Camp. Pleasant stroll across golf course, on maple tree walkway. Enjoy sit-down break, on the dock at AMC Camp. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at The Lodge Bar & Grill, in nearby Randolph, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Ponkapoag Golf Course parking lot. From Route 93/128, exit 2A, take Route 138 South for 0.7 mile. See Ponkapoag Golf Course parking lot on left. L Brian Connolly. AMC Local WalksSat, May 18. Crane Beach, Ipswich. Moderate pace 5 mile walk, across scenic sand dunes, and along the ocean beach. Beautiful desert landscapes, include pitch pine forest, views of Essex Bay, and sea birds. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at Woodman's Seafood Restaurant, in nearby Essex, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Crane Beach parking lot. Parking Fee. From Route 128, exit 14 in Gloucester, take Route 133 West for 5 miles. Turn right on Northgate Road. Then, turn right on Argilla Road, follow to beach. L Brian Connolly.
AMC Local WalksSun, May 19. The General Field and Surrenden Farms, Groton. 1:00pm. Come see this unusual conservation area with large open-field habitat and great views to the south and west. We'll also duck into woods for a bit and stroll along the beautiful Nashua River with conservation land on both sides. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at the parking area at the top of the General Field, 42.5871N 71.5858W. L Olin Lathrop. AMC Local WalksSun, June 23. Groton Hills. 1:00pm. Come explore this large chunk of conservation land with varied topography, including beaver ponds, meadows, upland, and eskers. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at the trailhead in the northeast end of a parking are on Chicopee Row roughly across from Fertiledale Drive, 42.6324N 71.5472W. L Olin Lathrop.

A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904

[original PDF]

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 (and now audio too!) of each]

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 367-368: Jan 15, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 365-366: Jan 8, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 363-364: Dec 18, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 361-362: Dec 11, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 359-360: Dec 4, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 357-358: Nov 27, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 355-356: Nov 20, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 353-354: Nov 13, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 351-352: Nov 6, 2018 w/Patrick Barrett

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 349-350: Oct 30, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 347-348: Oct 23, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 345-346: Oct 16, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 343-344: Oct 2, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 341-342: Sept 25, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 339-340: Sept 18, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 337-338: Sept 11, 2018

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

Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2018 features co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.

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

Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

2019 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports – preliminary (posted Dec 25, 2018; updated Jan 21, 2019)

What’s Coming Up at the Jan 14, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting? (posted Jan 12, 2019)

Kicking Off the New Year – Jan 7, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights (posted Jan 6, 2019)

The Misdirection of One Way Zoning – Just One Slippery Item on the Dec 17, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda (updated Dec 19, 2018)

Cambridge School Committee 2017 Campaign Finance Summaries and $/Vote (updated Dec 15, 2018)

Lotsa Ordainin’ To Do – Dec 10, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda (posted Dec 9, 2018)

First Look at the Dec 3, 2018 City Council Agenda (posted Dec 3, 2018)

Fifth Friday – Nov 30, 2018 – Central Square

A Quick One! Nov 26, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted Nov 26, 2018)

Distribution of Cambridge voters by age: Nov 2012 – Nov 2018 (posted Nov 22, 2018)

Hold that Turkey! There’s a Nov 19, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted Nov 18, 2018)

On Deck for the Nov 5, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted Nov 5, 2018)

Cambridge Growth Policy – Toward a Sustainable Future (posted Oct 31, 2018)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (Sept 19, 2018)

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Confirmed in Cambridge (posted Aug 24, 2018)

Tight spot on Huron Avenue (posted Aug 14, 2018 by John Allen)

The Marcia Deihl bicycling fatality (posted Mar 14, 2018 by John Allen)

A look at the Brattle Street bikeway (Feb 16, 2018 by John Allen)

Not left, Felton (by John Allen, posted Sept 24, 2017)

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

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)

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)

April Fools Day - 2017 (and here)     April Fool's Day - 2016 (and here)

April Fool's Day - 2015 (and here)     April Fool's Day - 2013 (and here)

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)

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

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.

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

City Council Rules 2018-2019 (adopted January 29, 2018)

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

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

City Council Committees (for the current term)

School Committee Rules (Adopted January 1, 2018; Revised June 19, 2018)

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.

Robert Winters
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
Philosophy of the CCJ Editor
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.
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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"

the known universe

Welcome to the Peoples Republic