95% of Buildings Report in First Year of Energy Benchmarking Ordinance
May 25, 2016 – The City of Cambridge Community Development Department today released a summary report and compliance map describing the results from the first year of mandatory energy and water use reporting.
The Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance (BEUDO), adopted in July 2014, requires both residential and non-residential properties in Cambridge that meet certain size thresholds to report their annual energy and water use to the City. The first reporting was required in 2015 and information was collected through the online ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. The 2015 reporting cycle covered consumption data for calendar year 2014 and the ordinance applied to 980 buildings, representing 57 percent of the total floor area in the City.
Key findings from analysis of the first year of data include:
- Cambridge properties had an average ENERGY STAR score of 61 (out of 100), compared to the average national score of 50, for building types rated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- More than half of Cambridge’s total energy use was consumed by 5% of the City’s buildings.
- The largest category of property type required to report was college/university, followed by multifamily housing, offices, and laboratories.
- The highest ENERGY STAR scores were achieved by residence halls/dormitories, K-12 schools, and multifamily housing.
Reports were received for 95 percent of all buildings subject to the ordinance, giving Cambridge the highest compliance rate for the first year of reporting among US cities with disclosure ordinances. The City’s summary report provides information on energy and water performance as well as general building characteristics of the properties that reported.
“The City of Cambridge has a deep commitment to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions” said Assistant City Manager, Iram Farooq. “The data in these reports will help us better understand energy use in Cambridge buildings and create strategies to improve energy performance.”
The report, map and other information on BEUDO can be found at www.cambridgema.gov/beudo. The map posted at this site shows which properties were subject to reporting under the ordinance in 2015 and their compliance status, including parcels that contained non-residential buildings with a total floor area of 50,000 square feet or more, parcels that included residential buildings with a combined 50 or more units, and municipal buildings with 10,000 square feet or more. These thresholds will change with 2016 reporting to incorporate parcels with smaller building sizes. Also in 2016, the City will begin posting building energy use data on the City’s Community Development Department website in accordance with the ordinance, as well as the Open Data Portal.
A copy of the 2015 Building Energy & Water Use Report can be downloaded at http://camb.ma/1TVbSvS.
For more information about the 2015 BEUDO report, contact John Bolduc at 617-349-4628 or email@example.com.
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Wed, May 25. Blue Hills Hike, Milton. 5 mile brisk-paced hike along yellow triangle trail with rolling hills, 10:30am-1:30pm. Meet at Houghton's Pond parking lot. Bring lunch and water. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sat, May 28. Blue Hills Wildflower Hike, Quincy. 10:00am-3:30pm. 7-mile hike in the eastern section of the Blue Hills Reservation viewing wildflowers and climbing scenic hills, some steep, including the new trail along the restored Blue Hill Reservoir. Joint with Friends of the Blue Hills. L Steve Olanoff.|
|Sat, May 28. Broadmoor Mass Audubon walk, Natick. 10:30am-12:30pm. Meet at the Visitors Center. Join us for a walk in this convenient (Natick on Route 16), yet expansive wildlife retreat. Moderate pace, easy trails with some gentle hills and rocks. Bring water and snacks. No children or dogs. Heavy rain cancels. Call Lisa if uncertain. Charge: $5 if not a Mass Audubon member, plus $1 if not an AMC member. L Lisa Fleischman. Driving directions: http://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/broadmoor/directions||Sun, May 29. Charles River's Edge: Cambridge-Charlestown-Boston. Approx. 5-6mi. walk via North Point Park, new North Bank Bridge, USS Constitution, and Charles River Dam. Meet at 10:00am at the gazebo at Cambridgeside Galleria Mall fountain. Bring lunch and desire to explore. We'll cover the past, present, and future plans for this historic area. Note: On Sundays, Cambridge parking meters are free and it's OK to park on streets marked for Resident Permit Parking. L Robert Winters.|
|Mon, May 30. Blue Hills, Ponkapoag Pond. 4 mi. mod.-paced hike, 10:30am-1:30pm. Bring lunch+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.||Sat, June 4. Blue Hills Bird Walk, Milton. 8:00am-11:30am. Bird Walk for 3 miles through the Fowl Meadow and along the Neponset River. Learn to bird by listening for and identifying late migrant and nesting species in the best birding area in the Blue Hills Reservation. Bring your binoculars and a bird book if you have one. Joint with Friends of the Blue Hills. L Steve Olanoff.|
|Sun, June 5. Horn Pond Conservation Land, Woburn. Slow-paced nature walk looking for late spring wildflowers. The walk will focus on plant ID and fun natural history. 9:00am-12:00noon. From Rte. 95/128 Exit 33A take Rte. 3 South for 3 miles. Left on Pond St. 0.8 miles to parking lot on left. The parking area is opposite #48 Lake Ave, Woburn. Parking limited, arrive early. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.||Sun, June 12. Greenwood Park, Stoneham. Easy 2 hr. walk in Middlesex Fells. Meet at 2pm at Greenwood Park (across from Stone Zoo). Take Rte. 93 to exit 34. Go N on Rte. 28 to South St., right to park. Bring water and snack. Storm cancels. L Betsy Goeke.|
|Sat, June 18. Middlesex Fells, Winchester. Easy walk in open woods. 10:00am-2:00pm. Meet at Wedgmere Station (Lowell line). I-93 to the Mystic Valley Parkway. Rain cancels. L Betsy Goeke.||Sun, June 19. Wollaston Beach, Quincy. Fast-paced 7-mi walk along Wollaston Beach, Marina Bay, 9:00am-noon. Bring snack/water. From SE Expwy, exit 8(Quincy), take Furnace Brook Pkwy. 2.8mi, L onto Quincy Shore Dr. L at first light into lot. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.|
May Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|WAKE UP AND WEED!
Dates: Thursdays 10am to noon
Place: Meets at the volunteer trailer in the front parking lot.
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. Please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any RSVPs or questions!
|FRESH POND KIDS WALK
Dates: Fridays 9 to 10am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their parents/caretakers, and play in our urban wild! Please come dressed ready for the weather (and in clothes that are OK to get a bit dirty). Register with Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|SPRING BIRD WALK
Date: Sunday, May 29, 8 to 10am
Place: Register for meeting location and parking information
By the end of May our avian summer residents have returned. We may see tree swallows, catbirds, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, phoebes, vireos, warblers and orioles. At this time many will be nesting, so we may also hear baby birds, and see their parents bringing them food. Beginners are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. Led by Nancy Guppy. To register and for important meeting and parking information, email Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or email@example.com for any RSVPs or questions!
Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership in Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation costs only $10 per year ($5 for seniors and students, $15 for families). To join, fill out a membership form available in the Ranger Station information racks, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at www.friendsoffreshpond.org to download a form.
Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants. Upcoming Programs
• The Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship Program
• Grow Native Massachusetts is offering a series of free nature-related "Evenings with Experts" lectures at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway. Details are at www.grownativemass.org and grownativemass.org/programs/eveningswithexperts in particular. First Wednesdays of the Month, 7:00-8:30pm.
• Sign up for the City of Cambridge's informative "Recycling and Composting Newsletter" by e-mailing email@example.com.
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
Budget Adoption Night - Highlights of the May 23, 2016 Cambridge City Council Meeting Agenda
The main order of business for this meeting is the vote to adopt the FY2017 Budget and related loan authorizations. There is, however, nothing to debate. Rarely are there any changes to the City Manager's proposed budget, so this usually amounts to a sequence of well-deserved thank-yous to City staff and the Chair of the Finance Committee for jobs well done. In addition to the committee reports relative to the Budget, there are a few other items of potential interest:
Relative to proposed changes to the current liquor license regulations:
Reconsideration #1. Councillor Devereux filed reconsideration of the vote taken at the City Council meeting of May 9, 2016 on Policy Order #2 as amended that the Public Safety Committee conduct a public hearing to discuss proposed changes to the current liquor license regulations and the City Council policy goals on liquor licenses, economic development, the impact on neighborhoods and local business and that the License Commission refrain from any liquor license regulations changes until said hearing before the Public Safety Committee.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Councillor Jan Devereux, explaining why reconsideration was filed on the order adopted on May 9th pertaining to proposed changes to the city's liquor licensing regulations.
I will not pretend to understand all of the reasons for the License Commission's proposal to revise some of these regulations. Many date to an earlier time and some do not align with current state laws/regulations - hence the need for revision. On the other hand, one could also argue that the state laws and regulation could use some revision as well. For example, the current Cambridge practice of permitting sidewalk dining where the pedestrian way bisects the restaurant and the seating is apparently a no-no. Does anyone seriously believe it would be good to change this? State law also requires any outside dining that includes alcoholic beverages to be essentially enclosed in a steel cage. That's idiotic - but that's the law. [On an unrelated matter, if the legislature feels to compelled to address the matter of who may enter a given bathroom, don't you think they should also address the need to simply HAVE a public bathroom in areas where people may feel the need to use one. Isn't this a civil right?]
I found it interesting that it is not permissible for any licensed establishment to offer or deliver any free alcoholic drinks to any person or group of persons. Where I came from it was very common that after buying a few beers at a bar the bartender would "buy you back one" and, most likely, see a bigger tip later as a result. We even had one sentimental bartender who would sometimes send a free pitcher to your table if you played "Good Night Irene" on the jukebox (he was a widower whose wife's name was Irene). All this generosity and sentimentality is apparently illegal here in the Land of the Puritans.
Regarding the issue of "cap areas" and artificial limits on pouring licenses, this limited supply seems guaranteed to just drive up the value of a transferable license with no concurrent public good. It seems preferable that the License Commission should simply exercise good judgment of a case-by-case basis (assuming that revocation of licenses remains an available option for chronic or egregious offenders).
Regarding the notion that there may never have been a legal basis on which the City Council could (and did) delegate to the License Commission some regulatory authority, I shudder to think how things would be otherwise. A sizable fraction of City Council business would be consumed by this, and I can easily imagine Public Comment being dominated by patrons and potential patrons of various bars and nightclubs.
I continue to marvel at how basic maintenance-level legislation often evades the state legislature - simple corrections for ordinary purposes. Why does it remain so difficult to adjust the funding formulas for charter schools? Why can't we have a more rational way of filling legislative vacancies? How about making a few modifications to the Open Meeting Law to address the problem of frivilous complaints? If the legislature can devote time to who can use which bathroom, then surely they can take up some of these other matters.
Relative to the vote to approve the FY2017 Budget:
Unfinished Business #5-11. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow:
#5: $17,350,000 to provide funds for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the City’s Alewife Watershed, Cambridgeport Neighborhood, and areas in Harvard Square as well as the Sewer Capital Repairs Program.
#6: $5,000,000 to provide funds for a Comprehensive Facilities Improvement Plan.
#7: $2,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.
#8: $149,600,000 to provide funds for various School building infrastructure projects including construction for the King Open/Cambridge Street Schools & Community Complex, building envelope repairs at the Fletcher Maynard Academy, and a new boiler at the Amigos School.
#9: $150,000 to provide funds for the purchase and installation of mechanical components to ensure the operational integrity of the elevator at the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility.
#10: $4,000,000 to provide funds for the renovations of the Out of Town News Kiosk Building and adjacent plaza area in Harvard Square.
#11: $10,000,000 to provide funds for the design and construction of a multi-use path/greenway along the eastern Grand Junction railroad right of way from Broadway to the city line.
That's a total of $188,100,000 in Loan Orders - dominated by the cost of construction of the King Open/Cambridge Street Schools & Community Complex.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for public hearings held on May 5, 2016, May 12, 2016 and May 10, 2016 relative to the General Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2017 and recommending adoption of the General Fund Budget in the amount of $538,608,450.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 12, 2016 relative to the Water Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2017 and recommending adoption of the Water fund Budget in the amount of $13,969,210.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 12, 2016 relative to the Public Investment Fund for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2017 and recommending adoption of the Public Investment Budget in the amount of $16,890,570.
These are the three traditional Finance Committee reports associated with the Budget approval.
Relative to City Manager appointments to City Boards & Commissions:
Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following members to the Cambridge Human Rights Commission for a term of three years, effective May 23, 2016: Olinda Marshall and Chara Itoka
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following members to the Cambridge Arts Council Advisory Board for a term of three years, effective June 1, 2016: Luis Edgardo Cotto, Lori Lander and Stella Aguirre McGregor.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the reappointment of the following members to the Cambridge Public Art Commission for a term of three years, effective June 1, 2016: David De Celis and Dina Deitsch.
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a member of the Coordinating Council for Children, Youth and Families (aka Family Policy Council) for the 2016-17 term: Tony Clark.
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Harvard Square Advisory Board for a term of two years, effective May 23, 2016: Bridget Dinsmore and Maximillan Frank.
Manager's Agenda #21. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a full member of the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeals for a term of 5 years, effective May 23, 2016: Patrick Tedesco.
Manager's Agenda #22. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a member of the Police Review & Advisory Board for a term of five years, effective May 23, 2016: Ted Robitaille.
Many appointments to Cambridge Civic University - no tuition required. Being an active member of a City volunteer board provides a great civic education as well as an opportunity to fully participate as a resident.
Other matters on the City Manager's Agenda:
Manager's Agenda #10. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $10,500 from the General Fund City Council Travel and Training account to the General Fund City Council Other Ordinary Maintenance account for the facilitation of a goal setting session on June 8.
I hope and expect that this is a public meeting, but I'll be happy to just watch without comment.
Manager's Agenda #16. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $404,505 associated with Forest City’s 300 Massachusetts Avenue building project (Ordinance #1354) from the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund to the Grant Fund Community Development Other Ordinary Maintenance account which will be used to support middle income housing programs for Cambridge residents with consideration of neighborhoods impacted by development.
Manager's Agenda #17. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $375,000 associated with Novartis’ Special District 15 (opposite the NECCO Building; Ordinance #1338) from the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund to the Grant Fund Community Development Other Ordinary Maintenance which will be used to support middle income housing programs for Cambridge residents with consideration of neighborhoods impacted by development.
Every little bit helps.
Manager's Agenda #23. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, requesting the City Council move to Executive Session for an update on the potential acquisition of property located at 859 Massachusetts Avenue by eminent domain.
This has been the home of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce since the 1970s and any eminent domain action will be what is known as a "friendly taking". I'm not sure what City functions might end up there. There's a neat photo of the ribbon-cutting when the Chamber first moved there.
Notable City Council Orders & Resolutions:
Resolution #3. Urge all Cantabrigians to pause on Memorial Day, and every day, to remember and pay tribute to our nation’s defenders, living and deceased, for their service and devotion to country. Vice Mayor McGovern
With every passing year I find myself feeling more and more grateful to all the veterans who have served.
Order #5. That the City Council formally go on record declaring June 2, 2016 to be Gun Violence Awareness Day, and in encouraging all Cambridge residents to work proactively and collaboratively in preventing this shameful epidemic of violence to continue. Mayor Simmons
Cambridge has seen its own share of gun violence during the last few years with several murders still unsolved (or at least unprosecuted for lack of witnesses coming forward to help make a solid case for prosecutors).
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to collaborate with the Cambridge Arts Council to create a process for Artist Certification to ensure that applicants are full-time/career practicing artists and is requested to prioritize the placement of artists in the Inclusionary Housing Program by assigning artists who have been certified by the Cambridge Arts Council one additional point in the Rental Application Pool. Councillor Mazen, Councillor Cheung
This is not the first time there has been a City Council Order like this, and I remain unconvinced that this is a wise idea. It is never a good idea to play favorites like this. If we want to give preferential treatment to artists, what about the thousands of others who work traditional labor-intensive jobs at less than a living wage? Do child-care workers deserve less that artists? I can assure you that there are also many adjunct faculty who have annual incomes comparable to starving artists. Don't they count as much as artists? Perhaps everyone should just declare themselves to be performance artists and fill out the appropriate application form at the Cambridge Arts Council. - Robert Winters
MIT plan for Kendall Square transformation approved (Natalie Handy, Cambridge Chronicle, May 18, 2016)
Envision Cambridge feedback reflects need for housing solution (Cambridge Chronicle, May 18, 2016)
‘Paul’s’ Newtowne Variety closes in The Port after 55 years in Cambridge (Natalie Handy, Cambridge Chronicle, May 18, 2016)
City of Cambridge Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity and the City of Cambridge Present
Cambridge: Who We Are and How We Got Here - May 26
The Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity and the City of Cambridge invite you to the event Cambridge: Who We Are and How We Got Here on Thursday, May 26, 6:30-9:00pm, at Cambridge College, Room 152, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Families are welcome!
Join us for a special presentation by Charles Sullivan, Executive Director of Cambridge Historical Commission and Clifford Cook, Planning Information Manager for the City of Cambridge, on the dynamic demographics of Cambridge and how the diverse community we love came to be.
The presentation will examine the diversity of the City, including when and how different groups of residents came to Cambridge, how the City’s demographics have evolved over time, and some of the conditions that have fostered changes in the community. The presentation will be followed by facilitated group discussions and an opportunity to share your thoughts and questions.
This community event, which helps connect the City’s past with the present, is intended to lay the foundation to better understand the context of the current demographics in Cambridge, as well as to help identify and explore new opportunities to build community connections and conversations.
The present day Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity began meeting in early 2015 and builds on the history and work of Cambridge’s prior Civic Unity Committee, which existed until 1992 and was formed to address racial discrimination faced by returning World War II veterans.
The mission of the Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity is to foster fairness, equity, unity, appreciation, and mutual understanding across all people and entities in Cambridge. The group aims to do this through recognition and awareness of historic, existing, and potential civic issues; providing opportunities for honest dialogue and engagement; and by building bridges across different communities.
Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) advisory board. Made up of 11 Members who serve three-year terms in a volunteer capacity, the CCPD board meets on the second Thursday of every month at 5:30pm.
CCPD seeks to build a membership that reflects the cultural and racial diversity of the City, is cross-disability in nature and representative of the different geographical areas of the community. Members must be current residents of Cambridge.
CCPD works dynamically to maximize access to all aspects of Cambridge community life for individuals with disabilities, and strives to raise awareness of disability matters, to eliminate discrimination, and to promote equal opportunity for people with all types of disabilities – physical, mental and sensory. CCPD members are expected to work with other members and CCPD staff to fulfill the goals and objectives of the CCPD Ordinance (CMC Chapter 2.96). CCPD members are expected to attend monthly meetings, participate in subcommittees, and work on various short and/or long-term projects, as needed.
For more information, contact Kate Thurman, Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-349-4692 (voice) or 617-492-0235 (TTY). Interested persons should submit a letter by Friday, June 17, 2016 describing their relevant experience and the kinds of disability-related issues or projects that interest them (along with a résumé if possible) to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Rep. Tim Toomey Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign
State Representative Tim Toomey announced today that he has officially qualified for the Democratic Primary ballot on Thursday, September 8th for re-election to the 26th Middlesex District seat representing parts of Somerville & Cambridge. Toomey submitted nearly three times the required 150 certified signatures.
Rep. Toomey is hosting a Campaign Kick Off meeting at Atwood’s Tavern, 877 Cambridge St, Cambridge on Thursday, May 19th at 7 pm and has invited everyone interested in helping in the campaign to attend. Refreshments will be served.
“I’m grateful to all of the Somerville and Cambridge residents who have again placed their faith in me to serve as their State Representative,” said Toomey. “I’m very excited to be running this year and plan to continue to lead the way in our community for better public transit options, sustainable development, fair wages and equal pay for working families, and expanded affordable housing options.”
“I look forward to continuing my work at the State House because our neighborhoods deserve a progressive State Representative who also provides outstanding constituent services to the residents of Somerville and Cambridge,” said Toomey, a lifelong resident of the district.
During his time in office, Rep. Toomey has become a well-known progressive advocate and has consistently been a voice for progressive causes at the State House. In the past year, Toomey has been an outspoken leader for single payer health care, promoting solar energy and other renewable energy sources, instituting smart criminal justice reforms, and providing rental assistance programs to help struggling low income families and people with disabilities find long-term housing solutions. He has also worked to strengthen protections for survivors of domestic violence and rape, and has been a leading voice behind efforts to expand access to drug treatment and rein in the opioid crisis.
“A lot of important work is still ahead of us,” said Toomey. “I will continue to fight for passing the Fair Share Tax Amendment, making insurance coverage mandatory for a wider variety of contraceptives, passing the Equal Pay Act, adding protections for gender identity in public accommodations and increasing funding for low income and affordable housing.”
For more information about Representative Toomey’s re-election campaign, residents are encouraged to visit www.timtoomey.org or contact Tim’s Campaign Manager, Jefferson Smith, at (978) 376-2143.
May 9, 2016 – Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking persons interested in serving on a Cambridge Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship. The Commission will consist of 11 volunteer members to be appointed by the City Manager. Commissioners are expected to be knowledgeable about immigrant rights and citizenship and must be residents of Cambridge. It is desirable for this Commission to be fully representative of the diverse Cambridge community.
Cambridge welcomes immigrants and wants to encourage their success and access to opportunity and advancement in this country. It will be a goal of this Commission to get the message of welcome out, through collaboration with organizations that already provide services and outreach to our immigrant community. The Commission will act as a centralizing organization in Cambridge, to address immigrant rights and citizenship issues. Through collaboration with other Commissions and service providers, outreach efforts to different cultural and language communities, and identification of existing resources, both in Cambridge and regionally, the Immigrant Rights and Citizenship Commission can assist in finding ways that existing services can better meet the identified needs of our immigrant population.
Commissioners are expected to work with other members of the Commission and staff to fulfill the goals and objectives of the Cambridge Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship Ordinance (CMC Chapter 2.123).
Resumes and letters of interest should be sent by June 10 via email to email@example.com or by mail to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4300; Fax 617-349-4307
At the Signpost Up Ahead - the May 9, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Here are some of the items that drew my attention this week:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Conservation Commission for a term to expire November : Dorothy Altman, Edward Pickering, Purvi Patel
Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Fresh Pond Master Plan Advisory Board effective May 9, 2016: Janice Snow (3-year term), Jim Barton (3-year term), Janet Burns (2-year term), Deborah Masterson (3-year term), Ann Roosevelt (3-year term), Claudia Thompson (2-year term), Susan Agger (2-year term)
I continue to celebrate all of the great people who agree to volunteer for Cambridge boards and commissions. Not only is it a great opportunity to offer your own insights and talents in the service of your community, it's also a great education that costs nothing but the time you put into the endeavor.
Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Police Superintendent Christopher J. Burke as Acting Police Commissioner, effective May 8, 2016.
When I heard about this at last Thursday's Budget Hearings, I couldn't help but think of things said by outgoing Police Commissioner Robert Haas and former Commissioner Ronnie Watson regarding the "bench strength" we have developed in the Police Department and other City departments. We often have multiple great people who can step up into a leadership role either temporarily or permanently. Congratulations to Commissioner Burke, and grateful thanks to Commisioner Robert Haas for his years of service!
Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-39, regarding the Green Line Extension (GLX) Project.
Much could be said about the latest developments in the status of the proposed Green Line Extension and the unprecedented offers of financial assistance from Cambridge, Somerville, and other parties to improve the chances of it becoming a reality. It's definitely worth reading the multiple communications from City Manager Rossi (and Somerville Mayor Curtatone) on this topic. Even if the project is scaled back and is somewhat less spectacular than originally proposed, this is something that really needs to more forward in some form and I hope the contributions from Cambridge and Somerville help to influence the decision to carry on.
Resolution #4. That the City Council go on record congratulating the 2015-2016 Cambridge Rindge and Latin Boys’ Basketball players, coaches, and support staff for their well-earned championship and recognizing them for their dedication and hard work. Vice Mayor McGovern
I'm crossing my fingers hoping that our heroic Cambridge Falcons will be there for the reading of this resolution!
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with all relevant City staff and departments to examine the feasibility of posting advisory signage to broadly encourage a motor vehicle speed limit of 20 to 25 miles per hour on City streets. Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern
I have been thinking a lot lately about how often the wrong questions and wrong solutions are offered in a variety of settings. This is one of them. As stated in this Order, there is plenty of evidence available showing how rapidly the risk of fatalities and severe injuries increases with motor vehicle speed. However, there are also compelling arguments that can be made in support of common standards across the borders of cities and towns. The issue really isn't what speed limit Cambridge or some other town should have the right to impose. The real issue is what the common standards should be for different kinds of roads and situations.
For example, on the many local one-way streets in Cambridge where there is one relatively narrow lane with cars parked on either side, the speed limit should be no more than 25mph because there is simply no time to otherwise react if someone were to dart out from between parked cars. Also, on these and other streets, no motor vehicle should ever pass a cyclist or pedestrian without at least 3 or 4 feet of clearance - and never at a great differential in speed. These are the kinds of laws that should be adjusted, and they should be adjusted statewide rather than by individual municipality. This is not just about whether or not a town is "thickly settled" and thereby subject to a 30mph speed limit (which is often not enforced other than to raise revenue). Standards for speed limits, sight lines, lane width, and more should be based on actual safety rather than political discretion. The proposal contained in this Order and in a concurrent effort in Boston should be addressed more comprehensively by the state legislature. Even the name "thickly settled" speaks to the archaic nature of how speed limits and safety standards are established and enforced.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on May 3, 2016.
Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from Councillor Jan Devereux, suggesting a random drawing of four City Councillors to serve on the Preliminary Screening Committee on the city manager's selection process.
The process continues. I'm perplexed at the addition of an "interfaith community representative" to the proposed Preliminary-Screening Committee. Unless the next City Manager will be delivering sermons, I see absolutely no reason to rub out the line between church and state here. Regarding Councillor Devereux's proposed random selection of City Council representatives in the screening process, I will say only that there are reasons why a majority of councillors choose a Mayor and how that Mayor chooses people to chair important City Council committees like the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee. There is still a place for good judgment here that is best not replaced by the successive flipping of coins or drawing of names from a hat. - Robert Winters
Joint Statement of Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi Regarding the Green Line Extension
May 5, 2016
Today the Cities of Somerville and Cambridge Massachusetts are pleased to make this important announcement of our continued support for and commitment of new funds to bridge the funding gap that will allow the construction of the Green Line Extension Project (GLX) to move forward.
It is our understanding that MassDOT has completed its review of the GLX and developed a new cost estimate, and that on Monday, May 9, MassDOT will transmit information for review and evaluation by the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors that includes a revised budget and plans and a statement of need for municipal governments hosting the GLX to contribute funding. Based on that understanding, we are prepared to make a recommendation that our municipalities assist the state in the funding solution for this project.
We would like to thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the interim design team for their swift but careful scrutiny of the project plans and budget, their commitment to the inclusion of public and municipal feedback, and their diligence in developing a new strategy for moving forward. Should the FMCB approve their expected recommendation to construct the GLX, residents of the Commonwealth will reap the benefits of the team’s critical effort for decades to come.
It is our understanding, however, that without firm financial commitments from our municipalities that the GLX could be canceled and the Commonwealth would forfeit not only its $996 million federal New Starts grant award, but an estimated $700 million in “sunk costs” of the state’s $996 million share of the project. Additionally, the fulfillment of the public needs that this project was designed to meet would remain unrealized.
The purpose of the GLX is to improve regional air quality as required by legally binding resolutions, reduce roadway congestion, encourage sustainable economic growth, and provide a convenient means of public transportation for Massachusetts residents, workers and visitors. To ensure that these needs and goals do not go unmet, the cities of Cambridge and Somerville intend to seek to expand their financial partnership with the Commonwealth to construct elements of the GLX program, subject to and contingent upon approval by the Cambridge City Council and the Somerville Board of Aldermen.
It should be noted that both the cities of Cambridge and Somerville have previously invested significant funds and resources in sunken costs in support of the GLX project, including the City of Somerville’s investment of more than $8 million for land acquisition and other infrastructure, that have relieved the Commonwealth of several specific required project costs. Similarly, the developers of the North Point area are investing tens of millions of dollars in improvements that support and enable the GLX to occur. Expanding this financial partnership is an extreme and unprecedented arrangement for a state infrastructure project. Despite the fact that our cities bear no responsibility for the cost overruns that brought the GLX to this moment of crisis, we will seek to support the Commonwealth by expanding our cost-sharing role. The Green Line is that important to our communities, our region, and our state.
It is our understanding that the new cost estimate for the GLX will retain core program elements including seven light rail transit stations including a spur to Union Square, a Vehicle Maintenance Facility, a Community Path, and related utility upgrades. With that clear understanding, it is our intention as Mayor of the City of Somerville and City Manager of Cambridge to recommend to the Somerville Board of Aldermen and the Cambridge City Council that our cities commit to underwriting project costs for specific, tangible elements that would deliver meaningful public safety and quality-of-life benefits for our residents.
After discussions with the state, the needed value of new financial participation in the GLX for the City of Somerville is projected to be $50 million and the value of the City of Cambridge’s contribution is projected at $25 million, including financial contributions from the North Point developers, to close the funding gap. Again, any contribution will be subject to Board and City Council approvals.
Furthermore, it is our intention to work, alongside MAPC, with Governor Baker’s administration and the cities’ state and federal delegations to seek legislative action on new and refined “value capture” tools capable of supporting new infrastructure investments around Massachusetts. In addition, we request that the Commonwealth establish a baseline tracking framework for future Infrastructure Investment Incentive (I-Cubed) state tax revenue accruals generated by transit-oriented development around the GLX, so as to not preclude a formal application to use eligible I-Cubed revenues to offset Cambridge’s and Somerville’s proposed municipal contribution, if they choose that option.
It is clear that the Commonwealth is shifting to a new paradigm for major transportation infrastructure investments. Across the nation, many states have established predictable and equitable frameworks for local value capture financing in state transportation projects. As we work toward that goal, Somerville and Cambridge will stand with the Commonwealth to advance the state of the art. We do so with the expectation that this is truly a new precedent for statewide policy, and that our communities will not be held to higher standards than other Massachusetts municipalities seeking state and federal financing for roadway, transit or other infrastructure projects.
Additional Comment from Massachusetts Area Planning Council:
“I want to congratulate the Cities of Cambridge and Somerville for making this unprecedented municipal commitment to help fund a critical state transportation project,” said Metropolitan Area Planning Council Executive Director Marc Draisen. “The Green Line Extension will have a significant, positive impact on our region in terms of jobs created and retained, new housing units created, and increased transit access for tens of thousands of residents. Cambridge and Somerville have shown a willingness to help invest in a project that will benefit themselves and their neighboring municipalities. We applaud them and MassDOT for working together to create this opportunity to advance this project.”
Resolution #1. Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 Outstanding City Employee Award. Mayor Simmons
One of my favorite events. Special congratulations to Sandy Albano. The Awards Ceremony is this Friday, May 6 at 9:30am in the Sullivan Chamber at City Hall.
Order #2. That the Economic Development and University Relations Committee be and hereby is requested to review City Ordinance 12.08.010 Encroachments onto streets – Permit required – Fee – Exceptions to discuss whether including additional approval criteria and adjusting the permitting fees is appropriate. Councillor Devereux, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Mazen
On the Table #3-5. Three separate applications requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the respective premises.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting additional information on sandwich board sign application for Mexicali Burrito.
How did sandwich boards get elevated to the highest level of attention in this City Council term? Can the color of sidewalks be far behind? Is adjusting the fee required for displaying a sandwich board sign really necessary? I often encounter a sandwich sign partially obstructing the sidewalk in front of a small place on Mass. Ave. on my way to MIT. I just move the sign to a location where it's less of an obstruction. Problem solved. If a business continues to obstruct the public way after a warning, just revoke the permit. Again, problem solved. Recently I saw a complaint filed on See-Click-Fix about a mattress that was set out on rubbish day on Inman Street that had toppled onto the sidewalk. Wouldn't it have been simpler to just move the mattress out of the way than to photograph it and file a complaint with the City? It's not like that property owner will be putting out mattresses every week. Simple solutions aren't complicated.
Order #4. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to coordinate with the appropriate City departments to publish a Cambridge voter guide to be distributed to each household in Cambridge a month before the 2017 municipal election. Councillor Mazen, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern
Interesting proposal. Having curated the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the last 7 municipal elections, I'm in a rather unique position to comment on this. My purpose in setting up the Candidate Pages was always to provide a neutral, level playing field with the hope that it would mitigate the advantages that incumbents and candidates with very deep pockets had in getting their name and campaigns out to voters. Judging from the number of hits, especially in the days immediately before each municipal election, the Candidate Pages have been quite successful.
Some of the things that you may not know about is that in every election there are candidates who fail to provide basic candidate information even after repeated requests, candidates who frequently ask to change their posted information, candidates who submit statements that are truth-challenged, and candidates who are totally uncooperative - even though the site is completely neutral. There is also the rather severe constraint that this imposes on me personally since I have to refrain from saying what I really think about the various candidates in order to maintain some impartiality as the curator of the Candidate Pages. If the City chooses to go forward with this, I suppose this would give me the freedom to say exactly what I think about the candidates - something I am often asked to do and which I have resisted doing ever since I started the Candidate Pages. I may still choose to be impartial, but having this option does carry with it a certain appeal.
I can't help but wonder how things will play out when some of the more "out there" candidates object to what's permitted to go into the proposed voter guide. Will fact checking be required? Who will be in charge of putting this together and interacting with the candidates and their campaigns? This could open an interesting can of worms. I might speculate that with this free political advertising this could lead to local political parties (or entities that are effectively political parties) recruiting scores of candidates just to pack the pages with their platform. When all the fringe candidates get included, this might end up looking more like a comic book than a voter guide. - Robert Winters
Moving? Plan Ahead for Furniture Pickup from Inside Your Home
Moving? Plan Ahead for Furniture Pickup from Inside Your Home
Moving? Plan Ahead for Furniture Pickup from Inside Your Home PLAN AHEAD and arrange a FREE pickup of good-condition furniture from inside your home with the Coalition for the Homeless. They have pickups in Cambridge from May 18 � June 6 and the last Frriday and the first Monday of every month during the year, except holidays. Complete the form here to get a pickup scheduled. See additional furniture donation options here.
Moving? Check "Get Rid of It Right" the City’s online web resource with details on how to recycle, donate or dispose of just about anything.
New! Donate More Trash Less Flyer: Help spread the word -- please post our new “Donate More Trash Less” flyer at your building. Email us if you’d like us to send it to you. Don’t forget to fill in the box with the location of the nearest textiles donation bin.
Curbside Composting! Your Help Needed 4/30
This Saturday April 30, we need dozens of passionate volunteers to knock on doors in the Monday collection route to encourage more participation in food scraps collection. Currently, we are collecting 1300+ bins and 6.5 tons of food waste each week but we want to increase by another 10-20%. Help us maximize participation to ensure this program is a success and expands citywide. We'll provide volunteer training and supplies! Two sessions, 10-12:30 and 12:30-3. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. THANK YOU! With your help, we can see curbside composting go citywide and become the 2nd largest curbside composting program on the East Coast (behind NYC)!
Tour Where Your Recycling Goes Thurs. 5/12
Cambridge residents and City employees are invited to tour the Casella recycling facility in Charlestown on Thursday, May 12 in the afternoon. No children under 16. Tours last about 2 hours and involve walking on narrow catwalks and stairs, close to heavy equipment. You must be able to walk at a steady pace with a group. We meet at DPW and carpool, so please let us know if can drive and how many people you can take. Email email@example.com to sign up and we’ll send you detailed info.
Take a Virtual Tour! Watch a video to see how your recycling gets sorted.
Reduce Food Waste and Save Money
Admire What Your Food Scraps Turn Into – and take some for your garden
Finished compost, great for gardens, is available in small amounts at the Recycling Center at 147 Hampshire St from April-October during open hours (Tues/Thur 4pm-7:30pm & Sat 9am-4pm). Bring your own containers.
Wondering how YOU can help turn food scraps into finished compost instead of trashing them? Learn more here. Already composting? THANK YOU!
Rain Barrel Offer Ends May 12
Capture the rainwater from your roof and store it in a rain barrel for later use in your garden. If rainwater is not captured and allowed to soak back into the ground, rivers and streams do not have the chance to sustain or "recharge" themselves. By capturing rainwater, you are reducing storm water runoff, conserving water and recharging the groundwater. Barrels are just $79 (normally $119), and Green Cambridge will install it free of charge. The great rate ends May 12, learn how to order at this link.
Know that recycling is easy and mandatory in Cambridge! Review what to recycle and help educate new residents! Encourage others to stay in the loop and sign up for the City’s monthly e-newsletter on recycling, composting and reducing waste. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Manager Appoints Members to the Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee and Working Groups
April 21 – The Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee, the Alewife Working Group, and the Engagement and Communications Working Group have been formed to advise City staff and a multidisciplinary team of consultants on Envision Cambridge. View the list of the Committee and Working Group members.
At later stages of the planning process, additional working groups will be formed. We anticipate working groups on topics such as climate and energy, economic development, housing, and mobility.
Meetings are open to the public and non-members are welcome to attend. Stay tuned for an announcement of the first meeting dates.
For more information about Envision Cambridge, visit www.cambridgema.gov/citywideplan.
Mar 20 - Just in case you're interested, here are some histograms of the distribution of Cambridge voters in the recent March 1, 2016 Presidential Primary. Voters are grouped in 3-year increments, e.g. "20" represents the number of voters in the 18-20 range.
All Registered Cambridge Voters with identifiable ages - 65791 Total
Number of These Who Voted in March 1, 2016 Primary - 32732 Total
Percent Turnout by Age - Cambridge Citywide Turnout was 50%
Here are a few additional bits of information:
1) There were 10,409 unenrolled voters who voted in the March 1 Presidential Primary. Of these, 8285 (79.59%) chose to vote in the Democratic Party primary, 2,097 (20.15%) chose to vote in the Republican Party primary, and 27 (0.26%) chose to vote in the United Independent Party primary.
2) There were 997 registered Republicans vs. 2,097 unenrolled voters who voted in the Republican Party primary, i.e. only a third of those who voted in that primary were registered Republicans. In contrast, about 72% of those who voted in the Democratic Party primary were registered Democrats.
3) In the Cambridge Democratic Party primary (29,670 total ballots cast), it was Clinton 53.11%, Sanders 46.14%, O'Malley 0.15%, De La Fuente 0.07%, No Preference 0.19%, Write-Ins 0.20%, and Blank 0.14%.
4) In the Cambridge Republican Party primary (3,137 total ballots cast), it was Kasich 33.63%, Rubio 29.14%, Trump 24.96%, Cruz 6.79%, Carson 1.82%, Bush 0.92%, Paul 0.89%, Gilmore 0.35%, Pataki 0.13%, Fiorina 0.13%, Santorum 0.10%, Christie 0.06%, Huckabee 0.03%, No Preference 0.29%, Write-Ins 0.38%, and Blank 0.38%.
We are back on the air as of Tues, Oct 13, 2015. The show is broadcast live every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We plan to have other guest hosts as well.
[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos of each]
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 113-114: The Picture Show (Feb 16, 2016)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 105-106 with Anthony Galluccio (Jan 12, 2016)
Cambridge InsideOut – Episodes 97 and 98 (Dec 16, 2015)
Oct 13, 2015 - The Return – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 81 and 82
June 10 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2016 featured co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]
Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
April 2, 2016 - Yet another fun April Fool's Day
April 2, 2015 - Another fun April Fool's Day
April 2, 2013 - Well, that was fun. Thanks to everyone for being such a sport on April Fool's Day.
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 3. To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail email@example.com for more details.
Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]
Thoughts for these times:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
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“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (rwinters.com)
Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”
Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”
Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”
Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”
Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”
Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"