Saturday Morning Coffee Thoughts

July 7 – Summertime in Cambridge can be, at least for some of us, far less political than the rest of the year. The City Council is on hiatus (well, I suppose the business of sucking up to potential voters never really ends), party conventions have come and gone, and the fall elections (both primary and general) are a couple of months away. My focus of late is more on Linear Algebra and electrical upgrades than on contemplating whether or not a few trees will impact climate change or whether Traffic Czar Joe Barr will be successful in his quest to make all driving in Cambridge unbearable.

I found the latest poll for the Massachusetts Democratic Primary for Governor (June 30, WBUR/MassINC) to be particularly interesting. Apparently Jay Gonzalez has 21% support to Bob Massie's 15% support in a two-man race. That's a total of 36% support, so apparently 64% of Democrats don't actually give a damn about either of these two guys or, more likely, they never heard of them. Actually, the poll really did ask that question and 61% of voters never heard of Gonzalez and 55% never heard of Massie. This compares to the 2% of voters who never heard of Charlie Baker and the 68% of voters who have a favorable view of him.

That same poll indicates that Secretary of State Bill Galvin has 44% favorable and 9% unfavorable ratings. His primary competitor Josh Zakim has a 14% favorable rating, and 62% of voters never heard of him (even though I suppose most of them know of the bridge named for his dad). If they were voting today it would be 49% Galvin over Zakim's 18% with the rest not giving a damn either way.

It's unfortunate that in the general election each party's Governor and Lt. Governor candidates have to run together. I hope Jimmy Tingle gets the Democratic nod over Quentin Palfrey for Lt. Governor but, alas, the Baker/Tingle ticket is off the table.

A well-meaning political blogger recently asked me about the various interesting local legislative races in Cambridge, i.e. the Mass. House and Senate races. All I could tell her was that listening for crickets would be far more rewarding. Vitually all of the incumbents are running unopposed. The only exception is Marjorie Decker's 25th Middlesex district in which she's opposed by a perennial loser. In my district (26th Middlesex) I will likely write in the name of my favorite beverage rather than the incumbent. How did we get to the point where our choices are so abysmally limited? Sometimes I think we would do better if we chose our legislators the same way jurors are selected - at random from street listings.

I read on the other day that the organizers of the Women’s March event in January on the Cambridge Common this past January received a bill for some of the police details and emergency medical technician services after the event, and that the ACLU is suing the City as a result. They have a good case, I suppose, but it makes me wonder why the Cambridge Carnival organizers have not been billed even though there have been actual shootings at their events.

I was a bit startled to learn at the recent hearings on the Nakagawa-Brown Zoning Petition (also marketed as the "Climate Safety Petition" or the "Flood & Heat Resilient Cambridge Petition") that my house was shown on a narrow future waterway separating the rest of Mid-Cambridge and an island extending into The Port neighborhood. What's curious about this is that even when you adjust the 1 to 10 dial in the Surging Seas tool to the maximum, you'd have to go to at least 11 to make this happen. Alas, nothing like a little fear to assist in your political organizing. By the way, the Planning Board voted 6-1 against this petition and the City Council did not seem at all pleased when informed that the petition would kill the funding for necessary renovations to the Miller's River Apartments in East Cambridge. In any case, I still have to decide if I should start stocking up on sandbags or just buy a boat for commuting to work. Maybe we can just excavate the streets and turn Cambridge into Venice. Then we can argue for Inclusionary Gondolas. - 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

Episode 323 (July 10, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Cathie Zusy; Topics: Magazine Beach, Powder magazine and other projects
Episode 324 (July 10, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Civic leadership and some summer thoughts
Episode 321 (June 26, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: June 25 City Council meeting, pending zoning amendments
Episode 322 (June 26, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: June 25 City Council meeting, autonomous vehicles, Open Archives
Episode 319 (June 19, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guests: City Councillors Sumbul Siddiqui, Alanna Mallon. Topics: "Women Are Here" podcast and more.
Episode 320 (June 19, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: trees, commercial recycling, public safety and more
Episode 317 (June 12, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Michael Monestime, Central Square Business Association. Topics: Business Improvement District proposal, Central Flea, River St./CB Plaza improvements, Arts Overlay
Episode 318 (June 12, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Vellucci Plaza and Inman Square; Envision Cambridge - and then some
Episode 315 (May 29, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Recycling, Broadband, FiOS.
Episode 316 (May 29, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: The Reluctant Delegate (Mass. Dem. State Convention); Envision Cambridge.
Episode 313 (May 22, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] - w/guest Patrick Barrett
Topics: Arts Overlay proposal for Central Square Cultural District
Episode 314 (May 22, 2018, 6:00pm) - w/guest Patrick Barrett
Topics: May 21 Council meeting, Inman Square controversy, Harvard Square, alternate views on zoning
Episode 311 (May 15, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: May 14 Council meeting and some history of the Parking Freeze and the Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance
Episode 312 (May 15, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: May 14 Council meeting: proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, traffic calming, trees
Episode 309 (May 8, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: FY2019 Cambridge Budget hearings, Curbside Compost Program, and related matters
Episode 310 (May 8, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: May 7 City Council meeting, parking issues, update on some Squares
Episode 307 (May 1, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Cambridge FY2019 Budget, historical look at City budgets
Episode 308 (May 1, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Featured items from the Apr 30 Cambridge City Council meeting
Episode 305 (Apr 24, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: proposed HP boycott and the new zoning petition relating to Alewife and climate and heat, etc. introduced at the Apr 23 Cambridge City Council meeting.
Episode 306 (Apr 24, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: FY2019 Cambridge City Budget plus a note on the pending sale of the Constellation Center site in Kendall Square.
Episode 303 (Apr 10, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Alewife planning, resiliency, Pause Petition rebranded
Episode 304 (Apr 10, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Pause Petition rebranded, EMF building update, upcoming events
Episode 301 (Apr 3, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: April 2 City Council meeting, EMF Building controversy
Episode 302 (Apr 3, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: First Week of Citywide Compost Collection; Economic Development Committee meeting on retail strategy, Harvard Square; upcoming events
Episode 299 (Mar 27, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: March 26 City Council meeting, Central Square Arts Overlay, Rooming Houses, and other housing issues
Episode 300 (Mar 27, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: short-term rental regulation updates, Housing Committee priorities, citizen activism for municipal broadband
Episode 297 (Mar 20, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] w/guest Patrick Barrett
Topics: Tenant Right of First Refusal, Envision Cambridge
Episode 298 (Mar 20, 2018, 6:00pm) w/guest Patrick Barrett
Topics: Envision Cambridge, Central Square
Episode 295 (Mar 6, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: CRLS Boys Basketball, Mar 5 City Council meeting, rejection of proposed Tenant Right of First Refusal (a.k.a. Expansion of Eminent Domain to Residential Properties at Point of Sale)
Episode 296 (Mar 6, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Ward caucuses, The Reluctant Delegate, Democratic party politics, upcoming meetings
Episode 293 (Feb 27, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Feb 26 City Council meeting; new voting machines; Right of First Refusal; Bill Nobel; rent control.
Episode 294 (Feb 27, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Feb 26 City Council meeting; bridges at Alewife; Fishbook; connectivity; and the future of transportation.
Episode 291 (Feb 13, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Feb 12 City Council highlights - bike lanes, Inman Square redesign, Vision Zero, and more
Episode 292 (Feb 13, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge Historical Commission landmark designation reports, fate of the "Tenant Right of First Refusal" bill, and more
Episode 289 (Feb 6, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Feb 5 City Council meeting - Jerry's Pond, Central Square crosswalks, right of first refusal.
Episode 290 (Feb 6, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: proposed "Right of First Refusal" enabling legislation now at the State House
Episode 287 (Jan 30, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Jan 29 City Council meeting; electric vehicles; Mass Pike reconfiguration; committee appointments, and more
Episode 288 (Jan 30, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Central Square news and opportunities, and more
Episode 285 (Jan 23, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Transportation planning - Green Line Extension, Mass Pike realignment, and more
Episode 286 (Jan 23, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: The Womens March - one year later; new voting machines coming; Kroon Petition and "formula business" regulation; Central Square news and opportunities
Episode 283 (Jan 16, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Civic Nerdiness, City Council Rules and Committees
Episode 284 (Jan 16, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge history of garbage
Episode 281 (Jan 9, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Jan 8 City Council meeting highlights, supermarket closure, snow issues
Episode 282 (Jan 9, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Council committee appointments; discussion of the record of the 2016-2017 City Council
Episode 279 (Jan 2, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: 2018 Inaugurations of the Cambridge City Council and School Committee and the Election of Mayor Marc McGovern
Episode 280 (Jan 2, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Discussion of some of the more challenging priorities for the new 2018-2019 City Council

Pre-Vacation Convocation - Highlights from the June 25, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Peoples Republic of CambridgeThese tasty morsels are available for you to digest in the last regular meeting before the summer recess.

Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-33, regarding a report on supporting a goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2035.

Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-42, regarding Autonomous Vehicles testing.

These are included primarily for information. By the way, the prediction is that if and when autonomous vehicles become commonplace there will be considerably more vehicles on the roads at any given time, and tailgating will be the norm because, you know, sensors. There is also some concern that the use of public transportation may drop considerably.

Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-48, regarding a request for yield to Pedestrians signage in bike lanes.

Nothing special here except for the funny line: "We do not recommend installing post mounted signs, as they will add additional sign clutter to the roadside environment..." Nothing says clutter more than zig-zagging lines of upright PVC posts bolted to the roadway - and there's more coming - and it's not debatable.

Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-59, regarding a report on collecting data from the Human Rights Commission on housing-related activities including number of housing related investigations, number of housing-related cases successfully mediated, relationships with regional housing-related organizations and successes and challenges of the Cambridge Fair Housing Ordinance.

Manager's Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to proposed amendments to the two following ordinances: Chapter 2.76 of the Cambridge Municipal Code (the "Human Rights Ordinance) and proposed amendments to Chapter 14.04 of the Cambridge Municipal Code (the "Fair Housing Ordinance).

Again, mainly for information. It is curious to see just how much effort is required to change the word "gender" to the phrase "gender identity". Whatever.

Manager's Agenda #13. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a revised draft of the proposed Surveillance Technology Ordinance.

I drove down to MIT and then Harvard and then back home earlier today. I was probably recorded dozens of times along the way, and I will miraculously still sleep well tonight. By the way, I tip my hat to the various people who have surveillance cameras on the homes and businesses. They were really helpful in the Cambridge Police Department being able to quickly identify and arrest people involved in recent shootings in The Port and the Wellington-Harrington neighborhoods.

Applications & Petitions #4. A zoning petition has been received from the Pizzuto Family Limited Partnership Cambridge Zoning Ordinance 20.900 and Zoning Map by added section entitled New Street Overlay District.

The Nakagawa-Brown petition was getting lonely. Now there are two zoning petitions in the queue.

Order #1. That the City Council refer proposed changes to Cambridge Zoning Article 5.000.Rainwater & Flat Roof Zoning to the Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board for hearing and report.   Councillor Kelley, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Zondervan

Make that three.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department, the Community Development Department, and any other relevant departments to conduct a much more thorough process of community engagement and outreach – particularly in regards to the senior community – prior to the establishment of any new bicycle lanes in the area of South Massachusetts Avenue.   Councillor Simmons

This is a nice sentiment, but we have already learned that none of this is negotiable and reasonable alternatives won't be considered.

Order #4. That the zoning amendment to section 4.22 of the zoning code, with strikeouts and highlighting to identify proposed changes for discussion, be forwarded to the Planning Board and the Ordinance Committee for their review as a zoning solution to the challenges posed by current zoning constraints regarding accessory dwelling units.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan

Make that four.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Deputy City Manager for the Department of Human Service Programs and the Director of the Office of Workforce Development to establish and implement a dynamic new initiative that will seek to place Port residents (ages 18 and over) on paths to jobs with family-sustaining wages.   Councillor Simmons

This is perhaps the single most intelligent policy order I've seen all year. It may also be the most difficult to implement, but it's worth it.

Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department to ensure the new zoning regulations and table of land use, licensing and permitting process, Host Community Agreements, and Economic Development Department programming reflect best equity practices and ensure Cambridge residents benefit from the cannabis industry.   Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Mallon

I suppose we'll have to just disagree on whether we should "ensure that people from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana law enforcement are included in the new legal marijuana industry" or just try to make sure there's a level playing field.

Order #11. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Community Development Department to include a Job Linkage fee to the list of topics being evaluated in the upcoming Incentive Zoning Nexus Study.   Councillor Siddiqui, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons

I can certainly understand prioritizing job creation using funds derived from the Incentive Zoning Linkage Fee, and how the next round of revision of those fees might rise with this goal in mind, but creating a separate fee seems unnecessary, overly restrictive, and legally questionable.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on June 7, 2018 to discuss amendments to the Street Performers Ordinance in section 12.16.170 in the Municipal Code. [June 26, 2017 message from City Manager] [Proposed Amendments] [Proposed Amendments with Kelley revisions]

Again - for information purposes. It seems like a lot of people have forgotten the context that led to the creation of the Street Performers Ordinance and why the buskers themselves were supportive of it at the time it was ordained. There really was a lot of competition among the performers at the time over location and volume, and this was a relatively benign way to regulate that competition.

Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Kelley, transmitting memorandum regarding "Cannabis Use Equity".

Miraculously, people always seem to find a way to a solution. Is the suggestion here to set aside parts of public parks as "high zones"? If smoking pot in the street becomes legal I certainly hope the City Council and the Cambridge Police will look kindly on me walking down the avenue with a pint of Guinness.

Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Vice Mayor Devereux , transmitting a memorandum regarding Policy Order #72 dated Mar 19, 2018 that the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Election Commission regarding the possibility of instituting early voting in the 2019 municipal election and what actions would be required by the City Council to do so.

As much as I want to see more people opting to vote in municipal elections, I'm still unsure what problem this proposal is trying to solve. It's very easy to vote in municipal elections, there's rarely a line, and absentee voting is as easy as 1-2-3 (or as many rankings as you please).

Communications & Reports #3. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Kelley, transmitting a memorandum regarding Cybersecurity.

This is yet another interesting piece of work from Councillor Kelley and his assistant Mark Gutierrez. - Robert Winters


On Deck for the June 18, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting

Here are a few items of particular interest:

Manager's Agenda #6. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $50,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account for expenses associated with the introduction of commercial recycling expected in FY19.

As the Manager's note says, "The funds will be used for the purchase of recycling bins and outreach efforts associated with the launch of the program. It is expected that the program will begin in the fall of 2019 and will service up to 150 small businesses." A recent message from the City's Economic Development Division (CDD) invited businesses with 50 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees or less to apply for a lottery to be part of this pilot: "If selected for the Small Business Recycling Pilot, businesses will receive free collection of up to three 65-gallon carts of recyclables twice per week. Please fill out the Small Business Recycling Pilot lottery form at (deadline Aug 10) to be considered for this free service." There are preferences for various things: women or minority or Cambridge resident-owned, not a "formula business", primarily retail or restaurant.

Resolution #17. Retirement of Virginia "Ginnie" Kelley from the Election Commission.   Mayor McGovern

It will surprise no one to learn that I have a special fondness for all of the people who work in the Cambridge Election Commission office, and that especially goes for Ginnie Kelley. Her combination of expertise, helpfulness, and especially her sense of humor always helped make my frequent visits to the office a pleasure.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Department of Public Works and the Community Development Department on acquiring Big Belly Solar trash cans to replace the current open top trash receptacles, with an emphasis on the business districts.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone

While the Big Belly units do hold a lot more and have the added advantage that they can be remotely monitored, the entry chute is the weak link. People frequently overstuff the chute and jam it and others then just cram the jam with more rubbish. They can often be found overflowing more than an open-top container. The design needs further revision to minimize/prevent jams. It may also be worth considering Big Bellies for recyclable materials, but these units don't come cheap.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Police Commissioner to establish an aggressive new strategy to reduce the violence in the Port and Wellington-Harrington neighborhoods.   Councillor Simmons, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mallon

Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Kelley, transmitting memorandum regarding Gun Violence in Cambridge.

The subject of this Order may well be the single most pressing current issue for those of us who live in the eastern half of the city. Cambridge political people love to invoke the word "emergency" to justify various policies and initiatives, e.g. "housing emergency" or "climate emergency", but the term is unevenly applied. A dramatic increase in gun violence, like a major fire, is an actual emergency that warrants immediate action and not just long-term policy changes. As the map in Councillor Kelley's memo indicates, this is a relatively localized problem - at least for now.

Order #11. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the City Solicitor, the Director of the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department, and the Chair of the License Commission and any other relevant City department to determine the permitting and legality issues of Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing in the City of Cambridge.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Transportation & Public Utilities Committee, for a public hearing held on June 5, 2018 to discuss car sharing.

The information requested in the Order should be interesting. I often wonder what the transportation landscape will be ten years from now. Private ownership of motor vehicles will likely drop considerably (and driverless vehicles may become common), but unless a miracle happens this likely won't lead to a dramatic increase in the use of transit (buses and trains) because of the inherent limitations of routes and capacity. The exception will likely be for longer trips. Weather, commuting distances, cargo limitations, convenience, and comfort will limit how many people eventually use the bicycle as their main transportation mode. Ease of access and lack of route limitations will likely lead more people to access their transportation by pressing a few buttons on their phones. We're already seeing significant increases in Uber and Lyft (often with unskilled/lawless drivers) as Zipcar (now a subsidiary of Avis) and other car-sharing options seem less attractive.

Order #12. That the City Manager is requested to identify additional opportunities to plant trees in public spaces throughout the city, particularly in underserved areas of the city, and present a timeline in which this will happen including any necessary fiscal appropriations, as a part of the broader effort to rebuild our declining tree canopy.   Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons

Nobody disagrees with this.

Order #13. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to notify the City Council whenever a city owned public tree (not considered a “street tree” under 87.3) must be removed for reason other than disease or threat to public safety, and that a public hearing be scheduled prior to its removal.   Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Kelley

I'm not really sure what the intention of this Order is. If the City is redesigning a playground or restoring the Cambridge Common (recently completed), must the City require a hearing for each tree that is removed in addition to the extensive public outreach that projects like these invariably provide?

Order #14. That the proposed amendment to Chapter 8.66 entitled "Tree Protection" be amended in section 8.66.40 entitled "Applicability" and also by adding a new section 8.66.050 entitled "Procedure for Other Projects" be referred to the Ordinance Committee for a hearing to review and consider the attached proposed amendments.   Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Kelley

Ash treeCommunications & Reports #2. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Zondervan, transmitting memorandum regarding recommendations for the Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force.

From the City's website: Tree Canopy in Cambridge, MA: 2009-2014 – Through high resolution imagery and LiDAR it was determined that a 2% decrease in tree canopy cover has occurred between 2009 and 2014..... Overall there has been little net change in tree canopy within Cambridge. The low amount of net change in tree canopy masks the dynamics that have occurred during the 2009-2014 time period. Over 200 acres of tree canopy were lost. Fortunately, this loss has been largely offset by new growth and tree plantings..... Although tree canopy change in the city of Cambridge has been relatively slow, it is important to note that significant changes in tree canopy do occur. The best way for a community to increase tree canopy is to maintain what it currently has. Existing tree canopy helps to support both natural growth and natural regeneration. Removals of tree canopy, particularly in large quantities, pose a threat to Cambridge’s green infrastructure.

Councillor Zondervan quibbles about the percentages quoted in the report. He argues that it's really a 6.7% decrease rather than a 2% decrease, but that's really just a choice of denominator. Both are valid perspectives. If a baseball player was batting .300 (that's baseball-ese for getting a hit 30% of the time), and his average dropped to .280, we'd say that he shaved 20 points off his average (now 28%) - a 2% drop. The Zondervan percentage would be 6.7% - a "batting emergency".

Regardless how you choose to measure canopy loss, the crux of the Order is a proposal to require property owners (and not just "the big guys") to seek and obtain a permit before removing any "significant" tree and fully documenting any such removal. It would be one thing if this was a notice requirement for such a removal which might precipitate a negotiation between a property owner and abutters, but this is a permit requirement. There is also no mention of who would have standing in any proceeding relating to the granting of a permit. Not to be alarmist, but some may remember the term "removal permit" from the days of rent control when, in fact, obtaining a removal permit was essentially impossible in the political climate of the day.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on May 15, 2018 to discuss the proposed Cambridge policy relating to the sale of adult-use cannabis.

The legalization of recreational marijuana is now the law of the land and the pot shops are coming soon, but characterizing this as a "social justice" issue with a proposal for a "City-based Cannabis Social Equity Program" to "promote sustainable, socially and economically reparative practices in the commercial Cannabis industry in Cambridge" borders on the ridiculous. - Robert Winters


Cambridge Housing Authority Board Vacancy

City SealJune 6, 2018 – City Manager Louis DePasquale is seeking to fill a vacancy on the Cambridge Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. Established under state law in 1935, Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) provides long-term rental housing and rental assistance to more than 7,700 low-income families, elders, and disabled individuals through its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Programs. It has an annual budget of $121 million and since 2015 has completed over $230 million in capital investment and construction contracts with another $300 million plus planned over the next 3-5 years as CHA revitalizes all the public housing in Cambridge.

CHA also invests in Cambridge families and provides enhanced support to 12% of the city population. By tailoring its approach to focus on policy innovation and family economic opportunities, CHA is able to meet its mission to develop and manage safe, good quality, affordable housing for low-income individuals and families in a manner which promotes citizenship, community and self-reliance in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

A five-member Board of Commissioners governs CHA. One member is appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts and the remaining four members are appointed by the Cambridge City Manager and confirmed by the Cambridge City Council. By law, the Board must include a housing authority resident and a representative of labor unions; both of these positions are currently filled. All Board members must be residents of Cambridge.

The CHA Board oversees the Agency's overall direction and approves all significant contract awards, budget decisions, formal submissions to state and federal funding agencies, planning and reporting documents, all major policy decisions, and many other important matters. Commissioners also serve as board members on CHA’s three non-profit affiliates. The Board sets policy but is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the agency.

CHA’s Board of Commissioners meets regularly on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, at 5:30 p.m., at the Agency’s office, 362 Green St., 3rd floor, Cambridge. Additionally, the board may occasionally meet for special meetings as needed.

The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, July 6, 2018. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at 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.

First Look at the June 4, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda

City HallThe City Council returns Monday for another crack at the Vellucci Park matter. The rhetoric will likely go something like this: (1) "You have to save the trees to save the planet" - even though you could define the word 'negligible' by this and many other Cambridge initiatives on that front; or (2) "You have to enthusiastically support the proposed reconfiguration because it removes bicycles from the roadway" (even though it was our 4th choice out of 4 proposed designs); or (3) "If you disagree with our position you support the murder of innocents." Cambridge rhetoric can be a bit overwhelming at times. I just think we could do better if the whole process wasn't driven by the obsessive falsehoods that only motor vehicles should be allowed to safely use Cambridge roadways and that the only safe place for a bicycle is on the sidewalk.

Anyway, here are a few items that may be of interest at this meeting:

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with a detailed accounting of locations, if any, where Cured-In-Place Plastic Pipe (CIPP) and other plastic pipes currently exists in Cambridge, when it was installed, and why there was no public process for such a potentially hazardous change in water policy.

I believe the City Manager gave a perfectly good response to this at the previous meeting, so I'll be surprised if there's anything else that needs to be said this week. My only curiosity lies with the question of whether the Water Board or the Water Department makes the decision if they disagree.

Charter Right #2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a request for approval to submit the attached Home Rule Petition that would authorize the City of Cambridge to include as part of the Inman Square Intersection Safety Improvements Project (“Project”) the planned reconfiguration of the intersection of Hampshire Street and Cambridge Street in the Inman Square area of the City (hereinafter, “Inman Square”) as well as a portion of the land that makes up Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci Community Plaza (“Vellucci Plaza”).

This requires 6 votes and it's not at all clear that the votes are there. There are various reasons why some councillors might disapprove, and it's not all about whether a few honey locusts get turned into mulch or if a roomy new Ganja Plaza is established adjacent to the new Cannabis Quickie Mart. At the very least, I'd like to see some more current statistics on traffic safety in Inman Square since the bike stripes appeared in the Square. It may be that $60 worth of paint makes for a better solution than $6 million and a year of disruption. The Public Comment should be entertaining, especially in counting all the permutations of the Talking Points sent out by the various advocacy groups who tutor people what to say and how to be as dramatic as possible.

Result: The Home Rule Petition was approved 6-3 (Carlone, Devereux, Mallon, Siddiqui, Zondervan, McGovern - YES; Kelley, Simmons, Toomey - NO)

Charter Right #3. That the City Manager is requested to create a structured commercial tax rate system for FY20 that prioritizes lowering the tax rate for small businesses.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Mayor McGovern, transmitting amendments to Policy Order #3 of May 21, 2018 regarding the creation of a structured tax rate system for FY20.

As I said a couple of weeks ago, any change will require a general change in state law or a Home Rule Petition, but there are some good reasons to crack open that Can of Worms. Some Cambridge retail is being driven into oblivion by the combination of rising rents (which include the real estate taxes) and shifting consumer habits. Tax changes may help, but there are other factors as well. Maybe we could consider exempting a portion of ground floor retail space like we do with the residential exemption.

Order #1. Issues to be resolved on the I-90 Interchange Project.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone

I have no dog in this race, but I'm eager to see the transformation of this area.

Order #3. Advancing Homelessness Issues Docket.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui

This Order is almost like an Index of the good initiatives now being considered at the State Legislature.

Order #4. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to consult with the Community Development Department and any other relevant departments to explore starting a Citizens’ Academy in Cambridge.   Councillor Mallon

I like this idea! Remember – indoctrination is not the same as education and encouragement. Show people how things work and where the on ramps are located, and then let them define how they want to exercise their citizenship.

Order #5. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Cambridge Historical Commission, the Cambridge Women’s Commission, the Cambridge Arts Council, and the Community Development Department to commission a public art piece, statue, or memorial that would commemorate the dedication of women in Cambridge to passing the Nineteenth Amendment.   Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui

I agree 100%. We already have a lot of establishments celebrating the passage of the Twenty-First Amendment. - Robert Winters


The Reluctant Delegate - Part 3

June 3, 2018

Observation #1 - Fewer Sanders Sycophants than expected - a hopeful sign.

Best Speech - Jimmy Tingle
Runner-Up: Elizabeth Warren
That said, Senator Warren's speech-making could use a little freshening up. Must she really match the Sanders quota for how many times you mention "billionaires" and "Wall Street" in her stump speech? Will she persist in using the word "persisted" all the way to November and beyond?

Uncontested Seats: Four Women
U.S. Senate: Elizabeth Warren
Auditor: Suzanne Bump
Treasurer: Deborah Goldberg
Attorney General: Maura Healey

Contested Seats: Six Men
For Governor: Jay Gonzalez 70%, Bob Massie 30% (Massie got his ass kicked)
For Lt. Governor: Quentin Palfrey 59%, Jimmy Tingle 41% (Tingle turned a lot of heads at the convention)
For Secretary of State: Josh Zakim 54.9%, William Galvin 45.1% (wake-up call for Galvin, but not a fatal blow by any means)
So they will all be on the September Primary ballot having all received the minimum 15% delegate vote.

Observation #2 – In all seriousness, Jimmy Tingle exhibited more humanity than all the other boys on Saturday. It will be very difficult for either of the two Democratic candidates for Governor to top Charley Baker in the November election (because most people like him), but having a down-to-earth and totally likable candidate like Jimmy Tingle could help.

Observation #3 – It's entertaining to hear all the phrases that the Our Revolutionaries use to describe any Democrat who fails to worship at the feet of Saint Bernard Sanders. First it was "establishment Democrats", then "corporate Democrats". I just saw the phrase "retrograde Democrats" but the best one I heard at the convention was "masturbatory Democrats". I suppose when you're actually a Socialist posing as a Democrat it's necessary to carve out a little turf by rebranding the actual Democrats. There are a lot of those "establishment Democrats" who firmly believe that a major reason why the current occupant of the White House is there is because of Sanders and his Revolutionary Guard. It's also funny that the Revolutionaries seem intent on rejecting any political figure over age 65 – except One. - RW

PS - My Information Packet for the June 1-2 Convention arrived today (June 4). Good thing they had extras at the Convention.

The Reluctant Delegate - Part 2Mass Dems

Fri, June 1, 2018 - I was elected several months ago to be a Cambridge Ward 6 delegate to the Democratic State Convention, and the time has now come to go to Worcester to hob-nob with various species of Democrats. Actually, I don't expect to do much hob-nobbing with the Revolutionary Sanders Sycophants (RSS) even though my assumption is that the place will be crawling with them. You know, fists in the air, claims that they represent "the people", the belief that all who disagree with them are "establishment Democrats, or "corporate Democrats", or that they have somehow managed to sleep with every billionaire in every building on Wall Street. Mythology can be a very powerful thing. Good thing there are no guillotines around or the Revolutionary Ladies of the Left would be taking up knitting just in time for the heads to roll.

Aside from the personalities, there are actually some business matters that need to be taken up at this convention. This includes qualifying candidates to have their names on the September primary ballot (gotta get that 15%!) and maybe even blessing a few with an endorsement. I expect that with so few contested races there will be plenty of "issue peddlers" plying their trade on the floor of the convention. The Ranked Choice Voting crowd (with whom I generally agree) is guaranteed, but of late I have been getting emails about stopping "wage theft" and various other causes that are more or less expected at a Democratic event, e.g. anything having to do with labor.

As for the candidates, for Governor it will be Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie looking for love and probable defeat at the hands of Charlie Baker in November. [I'm not trying to be mean here - just realistic.] For Lt. Governor it's Quentin Palfrey vs. Jimmy Tingle. They're both qualified, but I'm with our home-grown Jimmy Tingle. The problem is that come November you can't vote separately for Governor and Lt. Governor, so the fate of the Lt. Governor nominee will be decided by the Baker vs. The Other Guy race. My sense is that Tingle could be an advantage in November because Jimmy is such a likable guy whose heart is clearly in the right place, and that may actually pull a few Democrats back from the brink of going with Baker - who also scores very well on the likability scale.

For Secretary of the Commonwealth, it's a choice between long-time incumbent Bill Galvin vs. the upstart Josh Zakim. In that contest there's more than a little bit of the "put the old guy out to pasture" rhetoric being bandied about on social media. Now that I'm something of an old guy myself this makes me want to stick with the incumbent. Hey you kids, get off of my lawn! Actually, Galvin has done a pretty good job during his tenure and all of the literature from Zakim (and, yes, you get a lot of it when you're a delegate) makes it seem as though he's running against Trump rather than Galvin. Regarding Zakim's rhetoric about being a "bold, progressive leader in voting rights", the simple truth is that it's already absurdly easy to register to vote in Massachusetts and even easier to cast a ballot. I tend to prefer solutions to actual problems rather than imagined ones.

Let's see now - are there any other candidates that need to be chosen or blessed at this convention? Well, there's Elizabeth Warren's Senate seat, but I don't believe she has any Democratic challenger and it wouldn't matter if she did, and the November election should be a laugher. There are Congressional seats, but I don't believe the state convention has much to say about those and, in true undemocratic fashion, most of those are effectively uncontested. There is the Mike Capuano vs. Ayanna Pressley contest, but I suspect the only role the convention will play in that one is to provide a venue for relatively boring and predictable speeches about who is best qualified to overthrow Trump.

Even more distant are the local races, i.e. the State Senate and House races. For Cambridge, I'm pretty sure they are all uncontested except for Marjorie Decker's seat for which she will have the usual fringe challenger in September followed by a sleepy November.

So I guess the real attractions for the Worcester convention will be (a) the Alcohol; (b) the Sanders Sycophants, and (c) the Issue Peddlers. I'll try to take notes.

By the way, June 5 will mark the 50th anniversary of my interest in politics. I was recruited to do phone banking in New York for Robert F. Kennedy that day and he was assassinated that evening. This was pretty heartbreaking in a year that came close to being downright dangerous, and not just for civil rights leaders and presidential candidates. I continued to be active in political campaigns through 1972 when Richard Nixon was reelected. That was enough for me and I walked away from interest in anything political for about the next 21 years. By leaving politics I was actually able to lead a productive life. Any dabbling in things political since 1993 has been almost exclusively local. I don't know how I let myself get dragged into party politics, but I'll at least try to be an adult.

If anything interesting happens in Worcester (or if I visit any great diners), check back here for an update in the next exciting edition of The Reluctant Delegate. - RW

Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not (New York Times, May 29, 2018)
Plastics and papers from dozens of American cities and towns are being dumped in landfills after China stopped recycling most “foreign garbage.”

Cambridge's Composting Program Isn't Actually Composting. Is What They're Doing As Good?
Food scraps are being mixed with sewage.

Zero Waste

What's Going On With Recycling?
Recycling is going through a rough stretch. The commodities in the recycling stream (aluminum, paper, etc) are in free fall due to changes in China's acceptance of recyclables. We need your help to turn things around.

Divert and Donate This Spring
Spring cleaning is here. Use our mobile app or web app to find options to dispose of items close. The largest offenders in the trash and recycle carts are:
1. Textiles (clothes, shoes, etc): there are donation locations citywide.
2. Electronics: Large electronics and appliances need a permit for disposal. Small electronics may be recycled for free at the Recycling Center.

Recycle Tour on June 6
Have you ever wondered how recyclables are sorted and recycled? Join us on a behind the scenes tour for Cambridge residents only. Space is limited. Register here.

Upcoming Waste-Related Events
Sunday June 10: Fixer Fair, Somerville
Saturday June 30: Household Hazardous Waste Day for Cambridge residents, Cambridge

Saturday August 18: DPW and Cambridge Public Library will be hosting a Fix-It Clinic at the Main Branch of CPL, 449 Broadway. Save broken items and clothes and get them fixed. If you know of any other waste-related events, email us so we may broadcast!

Compost by the numbers: More than 400,000 pounds of food diverted since April 2. Trash has decreased by 10%.

AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksSat, June 23. Boston's Developing Waterfront. Moderately paced walk. Explore Ft. Point Channel, Marine Industrial Park, Seaport District, Rowe's Wharf, Rose Kennedy Greenway. 10:00am-2:00pm. Meet at South Station (Red Line T) indoors at street level at exit to Dewey Square. Bring lunch, water. Heavy rain/forecast over 90°F cancels. No dogs. New members welcome. L Sharon Marshall. AMC Local WalksSat, June 23. 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. L Nelson Caraballo.
AMC Local WalksSat, June 30. Cutler Park Reservation, Needham. 9am-11am. Join us for a walk in this local gem, conveniently located directly off of Route 128. As you walk the trails, you will not believe that you are so close to the highway. Highlights include Kendrick Pond, views of the Charles River, and the boardwalk crossing a marshland. Easy trails, minor ups and downs, with some roots and rocks, moderate pace. Bring water and snacks. No children under 10 or dogs. Severe weather cancels. Call Lisa if uncertain. Directions: 84 Kendrick St, Needham, MA. L Lisa Fleischman. AMC Local WalksWed, July 4. Worlds End Reservation. Scenic 5-mi. walk, 8:30-11:30am. Bring snack/water. From Rte.3A rotary in Hingham, take Summer St. 0.5mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6.00 per person fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Avoid Rte. 228 due to holiday event road closures. Storm cancels. No e-mail after 7/3. L Beth Mosias.
AMC Local WalksThurs, July 5. Middlesex Fells, Winchester. Sheepfold Pkg. lot. Mod to stren. 7 mi. hike over many hills & rough terrain. 9am-2pm. Bring lunch, H2O, snacks. Rte. 93 S to exit 35. At stop sign, go L under highway. At next stop sign go R. At first set of lights turn R onto Rte. 28. Turn R into Sheepfold entrance. Rte. 93 N to exit 33 (Route 28). Sheepfold entrance is 2 miles up on the L. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo. AMC Local WalksSun, July 8. 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. L Nelson Caraballo.
AMC Local WalksSat, July 21. Walk from Revere Beach to Copley Square, Boston. This 12+ mile walk (with shorter options) has it all - ocean, marsh, beach, harbor, river, and ethnic, downtown neighborhoods. It starts with a visit to the annual Sand Sculpting Contest, passes through East Boston including a lunch stop, the Boston Waterfront, the edges of Charlestown and Cambridge, the Boston Esplanade and the Commonwealth Mall, ending at the Boston Marathon finish line. Enjoy a summer day of walking, and celebrate completion of the route at the Solis Irish pub. Meet at 8:30am at the Wonderland Station (MBTA Blue Line) on the upper level plaza that overlooks Revere Beach. NOTE: If you do not want to complete the entire 12+ miles, there are many MBTA stops along the route that make it easy to exit the walk. Questions? Contact one of the leaders. Ls Lisa Fleischman, Fran Price. [Rain Date: Sun, July 22] AMC Local WalksSat, July 21. Walden Pond, Concord. Easy pace 5 mile walk, across grassy meadows and through hemlock forest, to scenic Walden Pond. Visit a cove inhabited by Henry Thoreau, during the mid-1800’s. We will walk upon the woodland footpaths, where the transcendentalist contemplated life, on his early morning wanderings. 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 WalksSat, July 21. Boston's Back Bay Fens. View museums and cultural institutions; explore the Rose Garden and Victory Gardens. From 10:00am-2:00pm. Meet at corner of Huntington Ave. & Museum Rd. (Museum stop on Green Line "E"). Bring lunch & water. No dogs. New members welcome. Heavy rain cancels. L Sharon Marshall. AMC Local WalksSat, July 28. Middlesex Fells, Medford. Mid-summer is here. Slow-paced nature walk looking for mid-summer wildflowers and fruits in the Bellevue Pond area. The walk will focus on plant ID and fun and interesting natural history. 9:00am-12:00 noon. Rte. 93 to Exit 33. At rotary, go right onto South Border Rd./Winchester and continue a couple of hundred yards to Bellevue Pond Parking Lot on right (opposite #68 South Border Rd, Medford). Parking limited/arrive early. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.
AMC Local WalksSat, Aug 4. Blue Hills, Ponkapoag Pond. 4 mi. beat-the-heat hike, 7:00am-9:00am. Bring snack/water. I-93/Rte 128 exit 2A to Rte.138S for 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course pkg. lot on L. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias. AMC Local WalksSun, Aug 5. Breakheart Reservation, Wakefield Entrance. Moderate to Strenuous hike. 6 mi. 9am-1pm. Bring lunch/water/snacks. From Rte. 1, take Main St. toward Wakefield. Continue on Farm St. Make RIGHT turn at Hemlock Rd/Northeast Metro Tech High parking lot. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.
AMC Local WalksSat, Aug 25. Rock Meadow Conservation Land, Belmont. Slow-paced nature walk through fields and forests to enjoy nature in summer. The walk will focus on plant ID and fun natural history. 9:00am-12:00pm.
Directions: From the East - Take Route 2 westbound and get off at Exit 56 (Rte 4/225, Lexington/Bedford). At the fork in the ramp, bear right (Rte 4/225, Lexington/Bedford). At stop sign at end of ramp, turn left on Winter St. and follow directions From Winter St below. From Winter St - Follow Winter St for about one mile to its end and take a left onto Concord Ave. In 1/10th mile bear right onto Mill St. In 1/10th mile take first right down a hill into Rock Meadow parking lot. It comes just after 295 Mill St on the opposite side of the road. It comes on you quickly and is easy to miss. ARRIVE EARLY. PARKING LIMITED. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.
AMC Local WalksWed, Aug 29. Audubon Habitat Education Center & Wildlife Sanctuary, Belmont. 5:30-7:15pm. End your day with a lovely nature walk right in Belmont, MA, brought to you by the AMC Boston Chapter Conservation and Local Walks and Hikes Committees. The walk will focus on plant identification and fun and interesting natural history. Easy trails, bring water and snack. No dogs. Heavy rain cancels. Meet in front of the visitor's center. DirectionsFees: Audubon Non-Members $4 (Adults) $3 (Seniors 65+) AMC Non-Members: $1. Questions? Contact Joan or Lisa. L Boot Boutwell. Contacts: Joan Entwistle, Lisa Fleischman.
AMC Local WalksMon, Sept 3. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 5 mile walk, 8:30am-11:30am. Bring snack/water. From Rte. 3 exit 14, take Rte. 228N 6.5 mi., L on Rte. 3A 1.0mi. to rotary, R on Summer St. 0.5 mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6.00 parking fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias. AMC Local WalksSun, Sept 9. Breakheart Reservation, Wakefield Entrance. Moderate to Strenuous hike. 6 mi. 9am-1pm. Bring lunch/water/snacks. From Rte. 1, take Main St. toward Wakefield. Continue on Farm St. Make RIGHT turn at Hemlock Rd/Northeast Metro Tech High parking lot. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.
AMC Local WalksSun, Sept 9. Arlington’s Great Meadows, Lexington MA. September is a wonderful season in New England: plants are weighed down with fruits; leaves are ablaze with colors; days are warm and nights are cool. Come celebrate the season with a nature walk in Arlington’s Great Meadows. We’ll explore several different habitats during our journey: a pond, the pond edge, an upland forest, a field edge and a wet meadow. We will focus on plant ID as well as fun and interesting natural history about the plants we see, and learn why Arlington’s Great Meadows is in Lexington. Meeting Place: Meet at the Playground behind and to the right of The Waldorf School, 739 Mass Ave, Lexington. L Boot Boutwell. AMC Local WalksSun, Sept 23. Wildcat Conservation Area, Boxford. 1:30pm. It will be about 2 hours with easy terrain and moderate pace. Kids and dogs are welcome. From route 133 in the center of west Boxford (church and village store) go east on Main St. Go past the first 4 way intersection, keeping to the left. You are now on Ipswich Rd. Go to the next 4 way and turn right on Herrick Rd. Parking area is on Herrick Rd. near intersection with Ipswich Rd. which is across from police station. L Steve Davis.

June 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
Place: Meets at the Woodland Habitat (Northeast Sector)
    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 if you would like to come, and for more information.
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:
Fresh Pond Stewards
Dates: Thursdays, 10:00am to 12:00 noon
Place: Meets at the volunteer trailer near the front of the Water Treatment Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway.
    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. Contact for more information.
Animal Detectives: Dragonflies
Date: Sunday, June 17, 11:00am to 12:00 noon
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Parkway (under the clock tower)
    June’s spotlight is on the dragonfly. These predators truly are the dragons of their world, let’s explore together how they live. This family program is best suited for kids between 4 and 12. Accompanying adult must be present, service dogs only please, and dress appropriately as this is an outdoor program. Groups please check-in with Ranger Tim at prior to Thursday, June 14th.
Summer Solstice Bird Walk
Date: Friday, June 22, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Place: Register for parking and meeting location and to receive notice of cancellation due to weather
    If you can’t bear to get up at dawn to look at birds, this evening walk is for you! Just as people take advantage of the longest days of the year to continue their outdoor activities, so do birds: They spend the extra hours of daylight foraging for food for their hungry babies. Led by Nancy Guppy. Beginning birders are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. Register with Catherine Pedemonti at
Nature Walk
Date: Saturday, June 23, 10:00am to 11:30am
Place: Meets at Gazebo near Maher Park, 650 Concord Ave.
    Join us for a walk through our urban wild. We will explore together the flora and fauna of the Reservation, noting bloom and berry; birds and bugs; and beyond! Feel free to bring binoculars, field guides, a hand lens, journal, camera... or just bring yourself! Beginners are welcome, as are children. Feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at with any questions.
Early Summer Scavenger Hunt: Looking for Life in and Around a Small Pond
Date: Saturday, June 23, 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Place: Meets at Black’s Nook
    This is a drop-in style program, come any time between 1 and 2pm to join rangers in exploring the life in and around Black’s Nook at the official start of summer. Every age can benefit from this guided discovery! Bring binoculars and magnifying glasses if you have them.
The Owlet Debriefed
Date: Saturday, June 30, 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Place: Meets at the Water Treatment Plant, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
    Maybe you’ve heard the news about Cambridge’s most famous baby bird—the owlet. After a season of intrigue, danger, and drama, all worked out for the best in the natural world. You’re invited to Fresh Pond to hear the story from beginning to end about what truly went on here and how we can balance our curiosity with the needs of the wild. For more information, contact Ranger Tim at

Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or 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 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:

Rearranging the Deck Chairs - What's Up on the May 21, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Here are my selections from this week's menu:

Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $44,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Executive Department Extraordinary Expenditures which will be used to assist the Department of Conservation & Recreation in constructing an ADA accessible canoe and kayak boat launch.

I remember back in 1999 when the City first partnered with MDC (now DCR) to invest $1,500,000 to upgrade Magazine Beach in exchange for priority in field scheduling. This satisfied what would otherwise have been a need identified in the Green Ribbon Open Space Report (2000) for access to a community park for the Cambridgeport neighborhood. Most of that investment went toward the fields and landscaping in the eastern part of Magazine Beach. The City's later investment (approx. $300,000 plus over $700,000 in matching funds and capital expenditures by DCR) has been focused on the western part, and a lot of credit for that goes to the Magazine Beach Partners (originally formed out of the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association as the Friends of Magazine Beach) for spearheading the renovations of the old powder magazine and its vicinity. This is civic activism at its best.

Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-17, regarding the status and proposed next steps to advance the urban agriculture initiative.

The City already established regulations for the keeping of honeybees (Dec 2017) and will soon address hen-keeping (as opposed to henpecking), but this report is specific to "urban farming" whcih will include zoning recommendations affecting "the cultivation of agricultural products for public consumption". It does not affect home gardening. The zoning recommendations are expected in Fall 2018 and will require City Council approval, and soil safety regulation will be determined by the Commissioner of Public Health.

Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a request for approval to submit the attached Home Rule Petition that would authorize the City of Cambridge to include as part of the Inman Square Intersection Safety Improvements Project (“Project”) the planned reconfiguration of the intersection of Hampshire Street and Cambridge Street in the Inman Square area of the City (hereinafter, “Inman Square”) as well as a portion of the land that makes up Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci Community Plaza (“Vellucci Plaza”).

Proposed Revisions

This agenda item will likely be the centerpiece of the meeting. There are a few points that warrant comment. First, the substance of this matter is the Home Rule Petition to the state legislature to swap existing designated open space for new "open space" in order to facilitate a realignment of the roadways. That has its own controversies, including different viewpoints regarding preservation of trees in the short and long term. The reconfiguration of the road is being supposedly done for the sake of safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicle operators, but it is not at all clear that the proposed configuration (at considerable cost) will actually improve anything. The City routinely invokes the "Vision Zero" mantra to justify non-debatable changes in infrastructure with the assertion that all decisions are "data-driven", but at one recent meeting on this topic it was asserted by someone very close to the debate that there have been no accidents at all in Inman Square since the simple application of green paint to the roadway to better clarify the presence of cyclists as they pass through the intersection.

What seems quite clear in the proposed road reconfiguration is that it is centered on pushing all cyclists to use the sidewalk as they pass through the intersection (which many cyclists simply will not do - and for good reason). Will this result in fewer traffic incidents? Or will there be a spike in altercations between cyclists and pedestrians? Will cyclists who choose to use the roadway have their safety compromised? Personally, though I suppose there may be some room for improvement, my sense is that the "short term" fixes of painting the green lanes and restricting some turning movements have addressed most of the safety issues and that this next round of "improvements" may actually make things worse. The proposed changes seem more ideology-driven than data-driven. There is a lot to be said for intuitive and simple road design, and this is anything but that.

PS - It is stated in the report that "the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District Commission approved the proposed Plaza design", but I heard from one member that this was only because their authority extends only to buildings and not to roadways, and since there are no buildings involved in either the land swap or the road design they didn't have standing in this matter.

Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a request for approval to seek authorization from the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General (the “IG”) for the City to use the Construction Manager at Rick (“CMAR”) procurement and construction method (the “CMAR Method”) in connection with the redevelopment of the Foundry building.

How many years has it been now since we received this "gift" of the Foundry building?

Unfinished Business #1-4. Appropriation and Loan Authorization Orders for $5,000,000 (Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan); $650,000 (School building infrastructure projects, and a new boiler at CRLS); $61,500,000 (water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the The Port neighborhood, and the River Street neighborhood); and $21,000,000 (reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks).

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Finance Committee, for public hearings held on May 1, 2018, May 8, 2018 and May 9, 2018 relative to the General Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2019 and recommending adoption of the General Fund Budget in the amount of $597,219,385.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 8, 2018 relative to the Water Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2019 and recommending adoption of the Water fund Budget in the amount of $13,973,855.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 8, 2018 relative to the Public Investment Fund for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2019 and recommending adoption of the Public Investment Budget in the amount of $17,267,995.

Objectively speaking, this really is the most significant agenda item, but there's really nothing left but the vote (and, of course, the usual round of gushy thank-you's by councillors to City staff and vice-versa).

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with a detailed accounting of locations, if any, where Cured-In-Place Plastic Pipe (CIPP) and other plastic pipes currently exists in Cambridge, when it was installed, and why there was no public process for such a potentially hazardous change in water policy.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui

There are several available methods for re-lining pipes as an alternative to replacement including Cured-In-Place Plastic Pipe (CIPP) which uses fitted mesh and epoxy. Some people, including members of the Water Board, have expressed concerns about this method based on possible leachate, but this seems to be more a function of quality control than of the material itself. The Order states that "all plastics leach chemicals" which may be true but is not helpful. People buy water and other beverages in plastic bottles all the time and those drinks are often in contact with their container far longer than municipal water is with those pipe sections that are lined with epoxy. In addition to the matter of real vs. perceived hazard, there's also an interesting question here of who really has the authority to make decisions like these - the Water Department or the volunteer Water Board. A century ago the Water Board had very broad authority, but it's not so clear today where that authority ends under the current form of City government.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to create a structured commercial tax rate system for FY20 that prioritizes lowering the tax rate for small businesses.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Simmons

Any such change would require either a general change in state law or a Home Rule Petition. The tax classification (residential, commercial, industrial, open space, and personal property) allows different rates (within prescribed limits) among these categories but there is no further refinement within any of the categories. This can translate into a hardship for a small "mom 'n pop" retail business since (at least for Cambridge) the commercial tax rate is nearly 2½ times the residential tax rate, and there is nothing analogous to the residential exemption (which is a fixed exemption that can yield very inequitable benefit). Personally, I think the state legislature should create enabling legislation to give cities and towns a bit more flexibility, but there is an understandable risk that this would simply result in the maximum benefit being shifted onto those who vote in the local elections regardless of the net public good. Much of Cambridge retail is being driven into oblivion by rising rents (which factor in the taxes to some degree) and shifting consumer habits (like, you know, Amazon). Tax relief may help some, but the problem is bigger than that.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with the relevant City Departments to launch a program during the summer months to activate the Front Lawn of City Hall in the afternoon with games (such as cornhole boards), food trucks, and other forms of entertainment to engage a diverse age range of residents in recreation.   Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Zondervan

Why not a ferris wheel and a zipline? I do like the fact that people are drawn to this space, but it is passive for a lot of them and they may not appreciate all the activity. Regarding food trucks, there would be a certain irony in having them within 100 or so feet of the License Commission offices (but that cryptic reference is something you'll have to ask me about). In any case, a hot dog vendor on the sidewalk would be a nice addition, though I suppose it would have to be a vegan alternative "not dog" vendor to gain approval (in which case forget I ever mentioned it).

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Community Development Department and the City Solicitor to report back to the Housing Committee on how the City could establish a method of eviction data collection.   Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Cambridge Human Rights Commission to report back on housing-related activities including number of housing-related investigations, number of housing-related cases successfully mediated, relationships with regional housing-related organizations, and successes and challenges of the Cambridge Fair Housing Ordinance   Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons

My presumption is that these requests relate to the ongoing agenda of the City Council's Housing Committee, but these issues have also been discussed within the Envision Cambridge Housing Working Group and elsewhere. My presumption is that the concern here is the Bad Behavior of Very Big Mean Landlords, but this is, after all, the People's Republic of Cambridge which, unfortunately, has at least some history of collateral damage against owners of rental property regardless of virtue.

Order #7. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Recycling Division of the Department of Public Works to study the feasibility of expanding the curbside composting program to small businesses and nonprofits in the City by the end of 2019.   Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Mallon

It's definitely worth looking into, but it's not so simple to determine what constitutes a small business deserving of the City's largess. For example, if a large office building houses 50 small businesses should the City pick up the tab (and the garbage) for the whole building? There is already a lot of ambiguity with mixed residential/commercial buildings all over the city. - Robert Winters


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

Cambridge ChronicleThe Cambridge Chronicle has apparently chosen to install a paywall on its site, so I will no longer be posting links to their news articles. If 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 and I would prefer to be able to provide links to the news stories, but I guess this is the way the world goes round.

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 of each]

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 321-322: June 26, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 319-320: June 19, 2018 (w/Alanna Mallon, Sumbul Siddiqui)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 317-318: June 12, 2018 (w/Michael Monastime)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 315-316: May 29, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 313-314: May 22, 2018 (w/Patrick Barrett)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 311-312: May 15, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 309-310: May 8, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 307-308: May 1, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 305-306: Apr 24, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 303-304: Apr 10, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 301-302: Apr 3, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 299-300: Mar 27, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 297-298: Mar 20, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 295-296: Mar 6, 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 2015-2017 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

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

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

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

Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

Pre-Vacation Convocation – Highlights from the June 25, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda (posted June 24, 2018)

On Deck for the June 18, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted June 18, 2018)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (June 8, 2018)

First Look at the June 4, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda (June 4, 2018)

Rearranging the Deck Chairs – What’s Up on the May 21, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda (May 21, 2018)

On the Agenda – May 14, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted May 13, 2018)

On the Agenda – May 7, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting (May 7, 2018)

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)

Rhetorical Conflict – Safe Streets and Vision Zero: February 12, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting (Feb 11, 2018)

2017 City Council Campaign Receipts, Expenditures, and $/Vote - FINAL REPORT (Feb 11, 2018)

2017 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports (as of Feb 6, 2018)

Coming up at the Feb 5, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted Feb 5, 2018)

Cambridge School Committee 2017 Campaign Finance Summaries and $/Vote (revised Jan 26, 2018)

Civic Nerdiness (Jan 14, 2018)

The Shifting Demographic (Nov 23, 2017)

Age and Turnout: comparing the 2015 and 2017 Cambridge elections (Nov 4, 2017)

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2017 (Nov 4, 2017)

Cambridge City Council and School Committee Candidates – 2017 (posted July 24, 2017, updated July 31, 2017)

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

Women Candidates in Cambridge Municipal Elections: 1941-2017 (Aug 14, 2017)

Number of candidates in Cambridge municipal elections: 1941-present (posted July 25, 2017)

Sheet of ice draws praise from bicycle advocates (posted Apr 20, 2017 by John Allen)

All the News That’s Printed to Fit – April 1, 2017 (the April Fools edition)

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

Central Square is a Grandma (Dec 17, 2016)

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

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

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

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

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

Flashback to March 1998 (Oct 12, 2015)

Who Votes in Cambridge? (July 9, 2015)

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

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

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

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

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

Completing the Square (June 11, 2013)

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

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

On becoming a True Cantabrigian (Dec 29, 2012)

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

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

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

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 current Council committees)

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

City Council Committees (for the current term)

School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)

School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selected City of Cambridge References:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which People's Republic
written by Bill Cunningham, 1999

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

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"

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