Passing the Buck - May 20, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Move along people - nothing to see here. Well, maybe that hidden state flag. The FY2020 Budget is expected to be approved at this meeting after some fiddling and diddling over some late budget-related communications touching on who gets to be artistic at CMAC (Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center).
The pickings are slim this week:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, in response to requests for additional information made by the City Council Finance Committee during hearings on the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) City Budget.
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-93, regarding Parcel C (Constellation Center) in Kendall Square.
Applications & Petitions #1. A re-filing of a zoning petition has been received from Joseph T. Maguire of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. transmitting a proposed revised amendment to the zoning ordinance by creating the Grand Junction Pathway Overlay District.
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, 2019 and May 7, 2019 relative to the General Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2020 and recommending adoption of the General Fund Budget in the amount of $638,060,155.
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 public hearing held on May 7, 2019 relative to the Water Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2020 and recommending adoption of the Water Fund Budget in the amount of $12,833,295.
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 public hearing held on May 7, 2019 relative to the Public Investment Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2020 and recommending adoption of the Public Investment Fund Budget in the amount of $26,796,725.
Committee Report #4. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councilor E. Denise Simmons, Co-Chair and Councillor Sumbul Siddiqui, Co-Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Mar 28, 2019 to discuss Affordable Housing Overlay District.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Mallon, transmitting notes for the meeting of the Mayor's Arts Task Force held on May 9, 2019.
Comments, etc. to follow
May 14 - Announcement from Vice Mayor Devereux
It’s May in an odd year and political engines are warming up across Cambridge. But you won’t hear any noise coming from my campaign bike because I will not be joining the race this year.
My decision not to seek re-election for a third term on the City Council is personal, not political. I am very proud of my policy work and my record, and of the positive contributions I've made to civic engagement and civil discourse.
But I have found it difficult, if not impossible, to strike a healthy, sustainable work-life balance, and I need to step back and reclaim time and space for my family, my friends and myself. I appreciate all the kind words, support, expertise and mentoring people have offered me over the course of my political journey, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow through public service.
There are still seven months left in this term, and I look forward to continuing to serve as Vice Mayor without also having to juggle campaigning. There’s still plenty left on the Council’s docket and more is sure to be added between now and the end of the year.
Here are a few items that might be of interest (or not):
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-139, regarding the possibility of planting a tree at the corner of Inman Street and Massachusetts Avenue, directly in front of City Hall.
This responds to a City Council Order that sought to "make a statement" by planting a prominent tree in front of City Hall. There are, of course, other statements that might go along with that gesture. As the response notes: "the area on the east lawn in front of City Hall has become an increasingly popular with families and neighbors who enjoy the afternoon and evening sun. Finally, there are concerns that the planting of an additional tree in front of a landmark building would obscure the view of City Hall and detract from the restoration of the landscaping that occurred during the 2000s."
Active use is a statement. Historic preservation and restoration are also statements. I would say that our esteemed Public Works Commissioner has offered a rather perfect remedy to plant one tree at the corner and three along the Inman Street side of City Hall - an otherwise forgettable patch of lawn that could use some dressing up. I'm sure former Councillor Born (who spearheaded the restoration of the area in front of City Hall two decades ago) will approve.
Communications #1. Written Protest to the zoning petition filed by Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridgeside Galleria Associates Trust (c/o New England Development), to amend the Zoning Ordinance by adding a Section 13.100 that creates a new PUD-8 District and to amend the Zoning Map by adding the new PUD-8 District, which District would include the property located at 100 Cambridgeside Place (currently zoned in the Business A and PUD-4 Districts).
This degree of protest may well cause this petition to require 7 of 9 votes to pass - a steep hill to climb. Perhaps if the petition were amended to replace the Cambridgeside Galleria with 100% subsidized housing it would sail through. Perhaps a local socialist State Representative would even get on board since it would involve smashing capitalism. I expect we may simply see some alteration of the proposed development, e.g. some height reductions.
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and Department of Public Works to determine what facilities, parking changes, and other improvements to the pavement conditions would be necessary and feasible to make Massachusetts Avenue a quick-build Complete Street between Sidney Street and Putnam Avenue. Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone
Do elected officials even bother any more to confer with the various stakeholders, e.g. business owners, transit agencies and their passengers, delivery vehicles? Or does it all come down to sucking up to social media savvy interest groups in a municipal election year? At the very least I would have expected the City Council Order to look more holistically at the parallel streets as part of any plan for better accommodating all vehicles passing through this part of Cambridge.
Order #3. City Council support of special commission to recommend changes to the seal and motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone
I'll repeat what I wrote 3 years ago when this last came up: Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject: 'The seal was adopted by the Provincial Congress on Dec 13, 1780. The shield depicts an Algonquian Native American with bow and arrow; the arrow is pointed downward, signifying peace. A white star with five points appears next to the figure's head. A blue ribbon (blue, signifying the Blue Hills of Quincy, Canton and Milton) surrounds the shield, bearing the state motto "Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem" This comes from the Book of Mottoes in the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, Denmark; written about 1659 by Algernon Sydney, English soldier and politician. It was adopted in 1775 by the Provincial Congress and the literal translation is, "With a sword, she seeks quiet peace under liberty." Although the looser English translation more commonly used is, "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." Above the shield is the state military crest: a bent arm holding a broadsword aloft. The sword has its blade up, to remind that it was through the American Revolution that independence was won."
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with relevant departments to explore establishing a partnership between the City of Cambridge and the MBTA to offer CharlieCards at certain public buildings throughout the city. Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui
Better yet - consult with the MBTA to have ATM-like CharlieCard charging stations in stores everywhere so that people can put money on their cards before they board a bus or enter a T station. The availability of cards is the easy part.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Department of Public Works to work with the Recycling Advisory Committee and other stakeholders to draft an ordinance banning single-use plastic items in Cambridge. Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui
One bit of advice — this time consider heeding the advice of the Advisory Committee and don't make changes on the fly at a committee hearing. Even better, spend some time learning about the recycling industry - from recovery of materials through the end markets. Recycling is as much about practicality as it is about idealism, and getting out too far ahead of the curve can often be counterproductive.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Electrical Department, Department of Public Works, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Community Development Department to explore a pilot for Level 1 (110V) EV and Micromobility charging stations on street light poles throughout the city. Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui
I'm sure maintenance won't be an issue nor will vandalism. Yeah, right.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 10, 2019 to discuss the possibility of pursuing a home rule petition to lower the voting age in City elections to 16 years old.
Trade in those diapers for ballots! Seriously, even though age thresholds are pretty arbitrary I have not yet heard a convincing argument in favor of this change. As one person at this hearing pointed out - if a 16-year old can vote can he/she also run as a candidate? Would he/she need parental permission to be a candidate? In any case, the age for voting eligibility should be the same throughout the Commonwealth, so if anyone is so hot about this issue they should talk directly to the State Legislature. - Robert Winters
May 7, 2019 - New City Council candidates emerging from winter hibernation
The incumbents (assuming, for the moment that they all seek reelection) will be joined by a number of challengers. Here's the list so far:
|Name||Address (Nov 2018)||Birth Year||Notes|
|Adriane Musgrave||48 Haskell St., 02140||1985||ran in 2017|
|Charles Franklin||162 Hampshire St. #1R, 02139||1992||filed March 5|
|Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler||19 Trowbridge St #6, 02138||1992||filed March 11|
|Nicola Williams||8 Brewer St. #5, 02138||1963||filed March 12|
|Ben Simon||67 Bishop Allen Dr. #2, 02139||1984||filed April 2|
|Burhan Azeem||471 Memorial Drive, 02139 (MIT)||1997||filed May 7|
Several other candidates who ran in 2017 are expected to run again in 2019. They'll be added as confirmed.
2019 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports
You can sort the table by any field or open the full spreadsheet which will be frequently updated.
PS (May 14): There is also at least one new School Committee candidate – Ayesha Wilson, 15 Concord Ave., 02138; Birth Year 1982.
Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities Vacancies
Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) advisory board.
Made up of 11 members who serve three-year terms in a volunteer capacity, the CCPD board meets on the second Thursday of every month at 5:30pm. 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 email@example.com or 617-349-4692 (voice) or 617-492-0235 (TTY).
Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the city’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and résumé or summary of relevant experience and the kinds of disability-related issues or projects that interest them can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. For assistance with filling out applications, contact the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-349-4692 (voice) or 617-492-0235 (TTY). The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, May 31, 2019.
City of Cambridge Seeks Volunteers for 2019 Participatory Budgeting Cycle
Recruitment for Outreach Committee Underway
The City of Cambridge is seeking volunteers to serve on the Participatory Budgeting Outreach Committee for the upcoming 2019 Participatory Budgeting cycle. Volunteers will help ensure that the next Participatory Budgeting process, which will run from June – December 2019, engages as many community members as possible.
This year, $1 million will be set aside to fund the winning projects. Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of the City’s capital budget.
Outreach Committee members will serve from May-December 2019 and will assist with:
- Organizing community events and promoting PB through their networks and social media
- Attending monthly outreach check-in sessions from May-November (no meeting in September)
- Distributing PB fliers, doorhangers, and posters around Cambridge
- Setting up and/or volunteering for at least four idea collection events in June/July
- Setting up and/or volunteering for at least four voting events in December
- Working in mobile voting teams during Vote Week in December to increase voter turnout
- Recruiting volunteers to serve as Budget Delegates
Cambridge residents interested in serving on the PB Cambridge Outreach Committee can apply online at pb.cambridgema.gov or by contacting Matt Nelson in the Budget Office at email@example.com or 617-349-4270. The deadline to apply is May 17, 2019.
City of Cambridge Seeking Members for Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Transit Advisory Committees
Application Deadline Extended to May 17
City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the city’s Bicycle, Pedestrian or Transit Advisory Committees. Members are expected to attend monthly meetings as well as review materials and engage in projects outside of regular meetings. Below is more information on each of these committees.
The Bicycle Committee works to improve conditions for bicyclists in the City of Cambridge and promote bicycling as a means of transportation. Activities include: organizing and participating in public events such as biannual community bike rides; reviewing plans for street construction; commenting on proposed development projects; creating promotional materials to encourage bicycling in the city; and working with city departments on network planning. Committee members must be prepared to work on projects outside of standing meeting times. This committee generally meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30-7:30pm at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Cambridge. For more information about the Cambridge Bicycle Program, visit: CambridgeMA.Gov/bikes. For questions about the committee, contact Cara Seiderman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-349-4629.
The Pedestrian Committee works to promote walking and to help create a more comfortable, safe, and pleasant environment for walking in Cambridge. It advises on the design of roadway projects and policies related to traffic calming, traffic signals, and sidewalk design. It also identifies intersections and other locations where it is difficult to walk, makes suggestions about proposed development projects as they affect people on foot, and undertakes other activities to promote walking. Committee members must be prepared to work on projects outside of standing meeting times. This committee generally meets on the fourth Thursday of each month from 6-8pm at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Cambridge. (Note: November and December meetings are on the third Thursday.) For more information about walking resources in Cambridge, visit: CambridgeMA.Gov/citysmart. For questions about the committee, contact Cara Seiderman, email@example.com or 617-349-4629.
Transit Advisory Committee
The Transit Advisory Committee advances an agenda for a robust public transit system for all who live, work, and visit Cambridge, including the transit services provided by the MBTA and EZRide, among others. The committee membership represents a cross-section of stakeholders, including: businesses and large institutions; commuters; persons with disabilities; neighborhood residents with low income; elderly, youth, and students; and transit advocates. The committee advises on city positions and policies on transit service planning, scheduling, infrastructure modernization, expansion and long-term sustainable funding for transit by the Commonwealth. This committee generally meets on the first Wednesday evening of each month from 5:30-7:30pm. For more information, contact Tegin Teich, firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-349-4615. Visit the committee’s webpage at: CambridgeMa.Gov/transitadvisorycommittee.
Applications are sought for a diverse group of dedicated individuals who are representatives of people who live and/or work in Cambridge. Members are expected to attend monthly meetings, review materials, and engage in projects outside of regular meetings. Appointments are made by the City Manager and are for two years of service. Applications to serve on any of these committees can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply and selecting the respective committee(s) of interest. 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. The deadline for submitting applications for above referenced boards is May 17, 2019.
Recycle Your Mattress for Free!
The City of Cambridge has partnered with UTEC, a nonprofit organization serving proven-risk young adults, to provide free weekly curbside mattress and box spring recycling services. Approximately 100 tons of mattresses are trashed in Cambridge each year, taking up a massive amount of space in landfills compared to other waste. This initiative will support the city’s goals of reducing waste and is launched in accordance to guidelines from the City’s Zero Waste Master Plan.
“This program will build upon our current waste diversion programs,” said Commissioner Owen O’Riordan, Department of Public Works. “By scheduling a pickup, you can divert mattresses from clogging landfills, while helping an outstanding social enterprise. UTEC will pick up, deconstruct, and recycle mattresses. The textiles and foam will be recycled into new carpeting or padding. The steel will be melted and recycled into a new steel product.”
The Mattress Recycling Program is partially funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. This is a free service to Cambridge residents, but advanced scheduling is required. For more information, visit CambridgeMA.gov/Mattress. To schedule a pick up, visit https://utec-mattress.org/schedule/.
Note: Mattress Recycling is one of three social enterprises that offer paid work experience as part of UTEC’s intensive programming for young adults. UTEC is dedicated to helping young adults ages 17-25 overcome the very real challenges of poverty, gang involvement, unemployment, and cultural barriers that are pervasive in our communities. When these young adults succeed, the community sees the greatest positive impact on public safety, public health and economic development. To learn more about UTEC’s mission and its social enterprises, visit www.UTECinc.org.
Spring Showers Bring Limited Time Offer on Rain Barrels
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 stormwater runoff, conserving water and recharging the groundwater.
A 60-gallon rainwater collection system is available to Cambridge residents for $69. This offer is valid until midnight on May 15, 2019. To provide the lowest cost, the company is arranging for a general delivery of the rain barrels on Wednesday, May 22, from 4-7pm, to Cambridge Public Works, 147 Hampshire St.
For more information, to order online and to check out the design and variety of color options, visit The Great American Rain Barrel Company website, www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com select “Massachusetts” and “Cambridge” under Shop Community Programs. You can also order by phone 1-800-251-2352 and specify the City of Cambridge promotion.
Magazine Beach: Shoreline Restoration and PM Patio Work Begin,
Planning for Parkway Improvements, Education, Cleanups & More
Phase II-1 Will Be Starting Soon
Bids are in and in the next weeks DCR will sign a contract to improve the shoreline and Powder Magazine surround. The goal of this work is to replace invasive plants with native ones; to add trees, seating and a dry shoreline path; and to expand the patio and terrace, making it a better site for its future community tenant. $55,000 of community contributions will go towards these improvements, along with many City and State dollars. Thank you, all!
DCR Begins Planning for Memorial Drive Greenway Improvements—Phase III
April 11, DCR held a Listening Session for parkland improvements from the BU Boathouse (east of the rotary) to the Eliot Bridge. We are thrilled that DCR will be replacing broken paths and planting new trees, in this way realizing ideas from their 2002 Charles River Master Plan. But first, they want to hear our priorities. Please share your thoughts by Thursday, May 9 here or mail them to: DCR Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway Street, 6th floor, Boston, MA 02114. For more about the project and Thursday's program program, click here.
AECOM is overseeing this design process for DCR. They are currently gathering information on existing conditions and their next public meeting will be in late June. They hope to have bid documents out by June of 2020 and to complete construction by 2022, before work starts on I-90.
Thank You, Volunteers!
Many thanks to the CRLS’s Charles River Cleanup Project for gathering fallen branches and sticks into piles along the park’s paths and to DCR for whisking them away. With high winds, dead wood is falling, including two mature trees in the grove on Feb. 25. Many thanks also to Boston College High and Riverside Boat House for cutting down some of the shoreline’s willow hedges before the red-winged blackbirds nest there. And thanks, CRC, for loaning the tools. As part of Phase II-1, we’ll be opening up some river views.
Third Grade Charles River Curriculum Rolls Out at Park
In late April, start watching for schools groups at the park. They will be learning by observing about the river habitat—the plants and animals that live there—and they will be collecting data about river herring needs at different stages in their life cycles. The herring will be appearing soon, too.
UMass Amherst Landscape Architecture Students Design Magazine Beach
Three UMass students are focusing on the park this spring as their senior capstone project. April 29, they’ll present their designs. We’re eager to see the fruits of their studies!
*ArtBoat Paintings on Exhibit at MIT, Opening: Monday, April 22nd, 4:30-6:30 pm (at the Wiesner Gallery, MIT student center, 2nd floor) Through May 23. Last July Laura Perovich of the Media Lab brought ArtBoat to Magazine Beach. Now she’s bringing to the public images from this event and others from Chelsea and Herter Park in Participatory Self-Portrait. This is collaborative exhibit investigates art, environment, and community in our past and present. Come shape and be shaped by this interactive installation.
*Earth Day Cleanup April 27, 9am-12noon, rain or shine To sign up, contact Sasha at email@example.com. It’s great to be working outside!
*Run of the Charles Relay at Magazine Beach Sunday, April 28, 11am-3pm The CRWA needs volunteers on and off the water. For further info, click here. Contact Meg Rivett at 508.698.6810 X10 to sign up or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Magazine Beach Summer Events 2019 Kick-Off Friday, June 21 and the Veterans Memorial Pool Opens Saturday, June 22. Summer is just ahead! More about our programs here in the next month.
Magazine Beach Updates is brought to you by the Magazine Beach Partners, a 501c3. We work with the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to make Magazine Beach a more welcoming and vibrant park, connecting its community and stewarding its natural grounds. We advocate for the park; we raise money for park improvements; and we organize events and cleanups with partners the Charles River Watershed Association, Charles River Conservancy, the Riverside Boat Club, and so many others! It won’t happen without you, so please join in our efforts and like us on Facebook, too.
More Monday Madness - May 6, 2019 Cambridge City Council Curiosities
The Nine will again convene to recite their ABCs. Here are a few things I thought looked marginally interesting:
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-143, regarding requiring a Business Entity’s Beneficial Ownership and Residential Real Estate Beneficial Ownership Transactions be Disclosed in all Cambridge Real Estate Transactions.
I would certainly like to know who is gobbling up Cambridge real estate and apparently there may be a way to get some of this information. I am a bit curious about the questions posed by our esteemed City Solicitor, specifically: "would it apply to both for-profit and non-profit organizations; would it apply to trusts, or only to corporations; and if the corporation's beneficial owner is another corporation, would the disclosure of the name of that other corporation be sufficient?" My cynicism leads me to believe that no matter what disclosure requirement might be established there will always be a way to obscure things. That said, I am steadily becoming more distrustful of the City's possible intent in getting hold of this information. It is becoming clear that our ever-controlling City Council has preferences regarding which entities should own property in Cambridge.
Applications & Petitions #5. A petition was received from residents at Thomas Graves Landing opposing PUD-8 by New England Development requesting Special Permit to exceed the 85' height limit at CambridgeSide.
I honestly don't know how to feel about all this. The Cambridgeside Galeria could use a little re-envisioning (though perhaps a less loaded term would be preferable). First Street is a failure by any standard, and shopping centers all over are being reinvented as mixed-use developments. The Galeria owners apparently are seeking heights up to 185 feet. Is that necessary or desirable in order to reinvent the complex? Is anyone in the City administration looking at the Bigger Picture (and I don't mean height) that includes the Galeria complex, the not-too-distant Sullivan Courthouse development (assuming that doesn't become a Million Dollar Per Unit Affordable Housing Contradiction), the future redevelopment of the Lechmere site after the Green Line Extension relocates the station, and what is sure to be a very different-looking McGrath/O'Brien Highway? [By the way, did anyone ever talk about any of this during the "Envision" process?]
Applications & Petitions #6. A Zoning Petition has been received from the Self Storage Group, regarding a revised Zoning Petition seeking to create the New Street Overlay District. Based on the feedback received concerning their earlier petition.
This is the 2nd pass at this.
Order #1. City Council support of bills opposing Weymouth Compressor Station/Fracked Gas. Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone
I do have an opinion about this, but I'm afraid to say it publicly lest I have Mothers Out Front of my house holding signs.
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Cambridge Police Department and other relevant City staff on how media collected by hand-held photo/video recording devices is used, stored, and shared. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui
Perhaps we can reinvent the Fusion Center as a suburban mall for people who don't trust the government.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the License Commission to establish a "play streets" permit. Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui
I actually like ideas like this. An easier solution would be to just post Do Not Enter signs at both ends of the street.
Order #8. Welcoming Community Ordinance. Councillor Carlone, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux
As near as I can tell, this is mainly a rebranding of "Sanctuary City" as "Welcoming City" just to confuse the President.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councilor E. Denise Simmons, Co-Chair and Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui Co-Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Apr 25, 2019 at 6:00pm in the Sullivan Chamber to continue discussion on the Affordable Housing Overlay District and other related matters.
This travesty is apparently not yet filed as a zoning petition. The proposed Order contained in the committee report says: "ORDERED: That the Housing Committee requests that the Chairs of the Ordinance Committee schedule hearings to further review and discuss the attached draft of the proposed citywide Affordable Housing Overlay District as prepared by the Community Development Department." It will be rammed through soon enough as a zoning petition and the clock will then start ticking.
Will there actually be any substantive discussions or just continuous streams of virtue signaling and innuendo directed toward anyone who questions the "wisdom" of this proposal to have different zoning codes for different players? Will there be a sunset provision or will this stand as a permanent policy to transform private property to "social ownership" in the Peoples Republik of Cambridge? Will this relieve our neighboring cities and towns from the burden of zoning modifications to permit multifamily housing? Inquiring minds want to know. The jury is still out regarding the minds of our elected councillors. - Robert Winters
UPDATE: Councillor Simmons amended the Order contained in the Housing Committee report to formally send the Subsidized Housing Overlay to the Ordinance Committee and Planning Board as a zoning petition. Nobody objected. The clock is now ticking. The juggernaut continues.
The City Council also ordained the Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning as amended on an 8-0-1 vote (McGovern ABSENT).
2019 Outstanding City of Cambridge Employee Award Winners
City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Outstanding City Employee Award. The annual award recognizes a select number of employees for superior performance, positive attitude, hard work and dedication to public service. The recipients will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, May 10, at 9:00am, in the Sullivan Chamber of Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. All are welcome to attend.
During the ceremony, the City Manager will also present the Brian Murphy Award to a City employee who is committed to making government improve the lives of others. [Note: Deputy City Manager Lisa Peterson was chosen to receive the Brian Murphy Award.]
Congratulations to our 2019 Outstanding City Employees:
- Hector Acevedo, Manager, Find It Cambridge, Human Services Department
- Elizabeth Belmonte, Training Supervisor, Emergency Communications
- Christina Correia, Animal Control Officer, Animal Control Department
- John Galli, Asst. Dir., Community Learning Center, Human Services Department
- Kessen Green, Director of Outreach & Community Programs, Police Department
- Claude-Alix Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Department
- Mary Legere, Personnel Analyst, Public Works Department
- Elizabeth Liss, Education Liaison, Mayor’s Office
- Steven Lopez, Sr., Fire Apparatus Repairman, Fire Department
- Matthew Nelson, Principal Budget Analyst, Budget Department
- Michael Rodgers, Senior Laborer, Public Works Department
- Pardis Saffari, Senior Economic Development Manager, Community Development Department
- Nancy Vargas, Administrative Assistant, Electrical Department
Community Preservation Act Working Committee Meeting May 16
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee will hold an organizing meeting Thursday, May 16, from 6-7:30pm, in the Ackermann Room of Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.
The purpose of this working committee meeting will be to discuss CPA financials, anticipated 2020 funding resources, and refinement of the proposed schedule.
Upcoming Community Preservation Act Committee meetings include a public hearing on project recommendations June 20, a public meeting on CPA Allocation recommendations on July 31, and a decision-making meeting on Sept 17.
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) was created by a state law (MGL Chapter 44B) to help cities and towns preserve the character of their community. In 2001, Cambridge residents voted to adopt the CPA which allowed a 3% surcharge on Property Tax bills to fund affordable housing, open space, and historic preservation projects. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides "matching" funds in addition to those raised locally by the surcharge. The percentage of the state "match" will vary from year to year, depending on the number of participating communities and fees paid at the Registry of Deeds. Each year, at least 10% of annual CPA revenues shall be spent or set aside for later spending on open space, historic preservation and community housing. The remaining percentage can be used towards any of the three funding categories.
For more information, visit CambridgeMA.gov/CPA.
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 395 (May 14, 2019, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Devereux announcement to not seek reelection; election-related matters, modifying the ballot, new candidates; candy and cannabis and Central Square
|Episode 396 (May 14, 2019, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Transportation planning vs. "quick build" for Mass. Ave.; budget matters; cannabis continued; civic opportunities
|Episode 393 (May 7, 2019, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: Jane Jacobs and the virtue of standing in the way of "progress"; reconsidering the roadways; Cambridgeport churches; Outstanding City Employees
|Episode 394 (May 7, 2019, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Budget hearings; new candidates; new, old, good, bad, and dreadful zoning petitions
|Episode 391 (Apr 30, 2019, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio] with guest Patrick Barrett
Topics: Affordable Housing Overlay proposal; broken zoning; the value of building market rate housing; luxury housing that isn't; virtue signalling and politics
|Episode 392 (Apr 30, 2019, 6:00pm) [audio] with guest Patrick Barrett
Topics: Retail vacancies - right and wrong solutions; problematic zoning; amateur cannabis regulation; Freakonomics
|Episode 389 (Apr 23, 2019, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topics: FY2020 Budget; Central Square Business Improvement District (BID) petition filed; cities reshaping themselves
|Episode 390 (Apr 23, 2019, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Webster Ave. bike alternatives; Eversource substation and misperceptions of risk; Courthouse opportunistic politics; cannabis proliferation; no-excuse absentee voting, lowering voting age, and non-citizen voting
|Episode 387 (Apr 9, 2019, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topic: Red Sox Home Opener; Destination Watertown; Livable Cambridge forum; Courthouse & other political opportunism; candidate updates; cycling safety ordinance; Beware of Zealots; the Wisdom of Kelley
|Episode 388 (Apr 9, 2019, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Graduate student realities, unionization; adjunct faculty exploitation; university relations; workforce development; STEM/STEAM initiatives; trades; rocket ships and science and mathematics
|Episode 385 (Apr 2, 2019, 5:30pm) [materials] [audio]
Topic: The Subsidized Housing Overlay proposal; political misrepresentation
|Episode 386 (Apr 2, 2019, 6:00pm) [audio]
Topics: Municipal candidates; rent control and tenant displacement; upcoming events; a word on applying to serve on City Boards & Commissions; political uprisings/opportunism in East Cambridge
City of Cambridge Board of Election Commissioners
Modifying the Municipal Ballot Design for the City of Cambridge
The City of Cambridge Board of Election Commissioners would like to invite the public to a meeting on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at 5:30pm at the Election Commission, 51 Inman Street, 1st Floor to discuss modifying the design of the City Council and School Committee Municipal Election ballots. The Board requests that anyone who is unable to attend the meeting, please submit questions and comments at email@example.com.
In Cambridge Municipal Elections, voters rank the candidates in order of preference by marking numbered ovals next to the candidates’ names. With twenty-six (26) candidates for City Council in 2017, the highest number of candidates since Proportional Representation was computerized in 1997, it became evident that ballot modifications would be needed to address a further increase in the number of candidates and to improve the usability.
Instead of having the same number of ovals as candidates, the Election Commission is considering capping the number of ovals at fifteen (15). There would be no limit to how many candidates run for City Council or School Committee, but the ballot would only have fifteen ovals next to each name, even if there are more than fifteen candidates.
Most Cambridge voters will be able to continue voting the same way they always have. In the past five elections, the average voter ranked five candidates on their ballot. Over 95% of voters ranked fifteen or fewer candidates.
The modified ballot will not change the results of the election. Election data from the 2013, 2015 and 2017 Municipal Elections was tested, and it was determined that the results would have been the same if voters had been limited to fifteen choices.
The Election Commission anticipates that this change will make the ballot easier for the voter to read and mark, leading to fewer spoiled ballots.
Thurs, Apr 25
6:00pm The City Council's Housing Committee will conduct a public hearing to continue discussions on the Affordable Housing Overlay District and other related matters. (Sullivan Chamber - Televised)
Will the Cambridge City Council now refer this half-baked and problematic proposal to the City Council and Ordinance Committee as a zoning petition? Or will they acknowledge that there has been insufficient analysis regarding the intended and unintended consequences?
At a minimum, the City Council should first refer this to the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee before proposing it as a zoning ordinance change. - RW
Note: Apparently, the Housing Committee voted to recommend this travesty to the City Council as a zoning petition.
Mar 27, 2019 – A few words on the "Overlay" proposal
Personally, this Overlay proposal obliterates over 35 years of what changes could be expected around where I live, and I don’t live in the upper crust part of town. The limiting factor has been the floor area ratio (FAR) – 1.0 for commercial and 0.75 for residential. I have always lived with the possibility that a higher building could appear next door, but that the footprint of the building would have to be smaller and additional setbacks would create a little breathing room between the buildings. That seemed like a reasonable expectation – one that I could easily live with.
During the time I have owned my triple-decker I negotiated with one neighbor so that a small extension would have a roof line that allowed light to continue to get to my first floor apartment. When the neighboring building changed hands and they wanted to add air conditioning units on the roof, I negotiated to ensure that they would be located far enough from my windows so that the added sound would be acceptable. These are the kinds of negotiations that happen when buildings are at or somewhat above the allowable density. Through it all I maintained very reasonable rents to all of my tenants since 1985.
If this Overlay proposal is approved, a new owner could build straight up to a height taller than my building with no setback whatsoever from the property line. Furthermore, the building could cover almost the entire lot yielding a density between 3 and 4 times what is allowed today. No sunlight whatsoever would get to my building. I would have no rights whatsoever to object.
Do I take this personally? Yes. If this were to happen I would likely look for another place to live after being here for over 40 years. So I’m looking now at the few potentially reasonable city councillors to step in and prevent this from happening. If adding to our already high percentage of subsidized housing units is your priority, you should really find a way to do this that doesn’t involve throwing me and others under the bus. – Robert Winters
Amateur Hour - Items of interest at the April 29, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting
The Nine will meet at the appointed hour on Monday to go through the usual ritualistic motions and possibly assist in the proliferation of cannabis retailers as they redefine Cambridge retail. Soon they'll take up the question of how to replace existing privately-owned residential housing with "social housing" where you have to apply to a City department to access the new dense-pack housing units. Honestly, I don't even know these councillors any more.
Here are some items that may get some attention (or not) - with minimal comment:
Manager's Agenda #8. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $24,000 from the General Fund City Clerk Salary and Wages account to the General Fund City Clerk Other Ordinary Maintenance account to pay for costs associated with required legal advertising for legal notices, hearings and petitions through the end of the fiscal year.
A few years ago the Massachusetts Legislature considered a bill that would have replaced the requirement that legal notices be placed in "a paper of general circulation" with alternatives like web listings. I don't know whatever became of that proposal but I imagine it would have removed one of the more significant revenue streams for local newspapers.
Manager's Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Council Order No. O-10 of Apr 22, 2019 regarding questions related to the draft Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance posed in Communication and Reports from Other City Officers No. 2 of Apr 22, 2019. [Solicitor's Responses]
I hope the councillors pay attention to the advice of the City Solicitor - because watching them write regulations about things they don't understand is like watching kids play on the monkey bars in the school playground. Maybe they should draft an Affordable Cannabis Overlay next.
Charter Right #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-127, regarding draft zoning for urban farming; Awaiting Report Item Number 19-23, regarding allowing lodging houses in Residential A1, A2 and B Zoning Districts; and Awaiting Report Item Number 19-28, regarding a timetable for updating retail and small business components of the zoning table of uses.
Unfinished Business #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance. [On or after Apr 22, 2019 the question comes on passage to be ordained]
Unfinished Business #7. 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 Mar 27, 2019 to discuss a zoning petition filed by Melissa and Christopher Grippo et al to amend the Zoning Ordinance by adding at the end of section 5.30.11 a sentence that reads: “notwithstanding the foregoing, in Industry B District, a hotel use (Section 4.31.2) shall be governed by the section number (4.0) for purposes of determining the maximum ratio of floor area to lot area. [On or after Apr 22, 2019 the question comes on passage to be ordained]
Order #2. City Council endorsement of Fossil Free Divest Harvard. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan
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 Apr 3, 2019 to discuss the zoning petition filed by Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridge Side Galleria Trust to add a new Section 13.100 to Article 13 and to amend the zoning map to add a new PUD-8 District Overlay.
Committee Report #2. 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 Apr 3, 2019 to discuss Applications and Petitions # 4 of Mar 4, 2019, submitted by the Cambridge Taxi Drivers Owners Association on whether additional regulations on Transit Network Companies (TNC) could be implemented in Cambridge.
The medallion owners thought they had an exclusive cartel and they got burned by Transit Network Companies who exploit marginally competent drivers for fun and big profits. How's that disruption working for you?
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councilor E. Denise Simmons, Co-Chair and Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui Co-Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Mar 20, 2019 to discuss the Affordable Housing Overlay District.
Lotsa people talking and nobody listening - solving problems symbolically, not actually. This is what democracy looks like? - Robert Winters
Living on a Budget (A Big Budget) - April 22, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting
As the councillors play their fiddles and cannabis outlets poke up through the ground like spring crocuses, the Manager will deliver the FY2020 Budget on Monday. Two departmental budgets appear to have vanished - General Services and Weights & Measures. The full budget details won't be available until the actual meeting, but the summaries are available now.
Here are some agenda items that piqued my interest (grouped as appropriate). The agenda is pretty full on its own, so I'll keep my comments to a minimum:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the FY2020 submitted budget and appropriation orders.
The Bottom Line is that the total proposed FY2020 Budget is $665,550,940. That's up 6.9% over last year's FY2019 budget of $622,477,255. You may want to take a longer view at the multi-year comparisons.
Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a memorandum regarding the School Department FY20 Budget. [At the Regular Meeting of Apr 2, 2019, the School Committee voted that the General Fund Budget of the Cambridge Public Schools be adopted in the sum of $201,770,255 for FY20.]
That's a 5.6% increase over last year's School Department budget.
Manager's Agenda #2 through 9: The Annual Big Loan Orders (appropriation and authorization to borrow) for:
#2 - $800,000 to provide funds for various Schools for repairs to entrance doors, upgrade of energy management software, replacement of analog phone system with the voice over internet protocol (VOIP), and the replacement of an emergency generator.
#3 - $22,000,000 to provide funds for the construction of improvements at the Fire Station Headquarters Building located at 491 Broadway.
#4 - $4,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.
#5 - $20,500,000 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 Alewife area.
#6 - $4,000,000 to provide design and construction of Eliot Street between JFK St. and Brattle St. which is a continuation of the Harvard Square Kiosk and Plaza and Surface Enhancement project.
#7 - $10,000,000 to provide funds for the construction of improvements at City Hall.
#8 - $3,000,000 to provide funds for the Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan.
#9 - $10,000,000 to provide funds for the design and reconstruction of the Tobin School building.
In addition to the Operating Budget, the City also each year seeks authorization to borrow significant amounts for various capital projects (presumably at very favorable interest rates thanks to our multiple AAA bond ratings). This year's loan authorizations total $74,300,000.
Manager's Agenda #13. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a member of the Grand Junction Multi-use Path Design Project Working Group: Joseph Aiello, Rebecca Bowie, Christopher Cassa, Carlone Lowenthal, Bill McAvinney, Sarabrent McCoy, Miguel Perez-Luna, Jose-Luis Rojas, Dalila Salcedo, Katrina Sousa, Florence Toussaint, Jason Alves, Nicholas Dard, Tom Evans, Amy Flax, Kathryn Lachelt Brown, Tony Lechuga, Brad Pillen, Michelle Lower, Diana Prideaux-Brune, Robert Ricchi and John Sanzone.
Manager's Agenda #16. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 19-9, requesting that the City determine what facilities, parking changes, and other improvements to the pavement conditions are possible to make Cambridge’s stretch of Webster Avenue a complete street.
Manager's Agenda #17. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the City Council Zoning Petition to amend Section 4.22 "Accessory Apartments," following further staff review and improvements to petition language.
Committee Report #2. 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 Apr 2, 2019 to continue discussion on a petition filed by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge in section 4.22 to allow for a special permit for the alteration of a single, two-family or accessory structure in existence as of January 2019 to provide one accessory apartment, if appropriate conditions are met.
Manager's Agenda #18. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 18-144 regarding a report on eviction data, and 19-10, regarding a report sharing information to assist in analyzing displacement.
Communications & Reports #5. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez transmitting a memorandum from Councillor Siddiqui, transmitting the submission of the Mayor's Blue-Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement Mar 19, 2019 meeting minutes.
Manager's Agenda #19. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-127, regarding draft zoning for urban farming; Awaiting Report Item Number 19-23, regarding allowing lodging houses in Residential A1, A2 and B Zoning Districts; and Awaiting Report Item Number 19-28, regarding a timetable for updating retail and small business components of the zoning table of uses.
Manager's Agenda #20. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-37, regarding the possibility of expanding the City of Boston's intergenerational housing pilot to Cambridge.
Manager's Agenda #21. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Central Square Business Improvement District (BID).
Applications & Petitions #2. A petition was filed by Kenneth S. Barron, 614 Massachusetts Avenue, et al property owners, pursuant to MGL Chapter 400, petitioning that a Business Improvement District (BID) be established for the Central Square Business Improvement District.
Communications & Reports #4. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from the Assessors Department, transmitting certification regarding the petition from Kenneth S. Barron, 614 Massachusetts Avenue, et al property owners, pursuant to MGL Chapter 40O, petitioning that a Business Improvement District (BID) be established for the Central Square Business Improvement District.
This has been discussed for over two decades and it has finally arrived. I should really buy someone a beer (or better yet they should buy me a beer). Special gratitude goes out to Michael Monestime, Executive Director of the Central Square Business Association for bringing this from theory to reality. Additional gratitude goes out to all the Central Square property owners for believing that the future can be better with a little cooperation and vision.
Charter Right #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a memorandum regarding the update on the search process to hire a new City Clerk to replace Donna Lopez when she retires.
Order #9. Appointment of Paula Crane as Interim City Clerk in the event that a City Clerk has not been named in time to begin service on June 1, 2019. Vice Mayor Devereux
Unfinished Business #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance. [ON OR AFTER APR 22, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED] [Attachment A][Attachment B]
Committee Report #3. 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 Apr 11, 2019 to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code to add a new Chapter 5.50 entitled “Cannabis Business Permitting”.
Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Kelley, transmitting a memorandum regarding Cannabis Business Ordinance Follow Up Inquiry.
Communications & Reports #6. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Zondervan, transmitting a memorandum regarding proposed amendments to the Cannabis Business Ordinance.
Perhaps the 2018-2019 City Council will one day be remembered for making Cambridge the Cannabis Capital of Massachusetts. I suppose they had to do something to look busy.
Order #1. City Council support for H.692 extending voting rights to certain noncitizens. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan
Order #5. City Council support of the EMPOWER Act (H.720/S.389: An Act ensuring municipal participation of the widest eligible range). Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan
Order #6. City Council support of H.78: A proposal for a legislative amendment to the constitution to provide for no excuse absentee voting. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan
Variations of these pop up every few years - generally when some politicians are desperate for attention. Of the three Orders listed above the only one that has merit (and a lot of merit) is the one calling for "no excuse absentee voting". This will require a state constitutional amendment to make it so, but this is by far the best way to increase flexibility in when registered voters can cast their ballots.
In my view citizenship equals the right to vote to elect your government. Non-citizens are welcome to be residents and to pay taxes and receive services, but voting to determine the government should be for actual citizens of the United States, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the City of Cambridge. As for lowering the voting age to 16 or 17, my feeling is that you have to draw the line somewhere, and maybe that line is somewhat arbitrary, but age 18 seems about right. Even if there was a strong movement to adjust that age downward, such a change would have to be uniform across the Commonwealth or across the country. It should not vary from town to town. Fundamentally, it's just populist horse pucky.
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to provide an update from Eversource and any other relevant City departments regarding the finance, health and safety, building design and the long-term electricity needs that was requested by the City Council before the construction of a substation on Fulkerson Street in East Cambridge. Councillor Toomey, Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui
Order #3. That the City Council go on record in opposition to the site owned by Eversource on Fulkerson Street to have a substation and that the City Manager be and hereby is requested to urge Eversource to reconsider its acquisition of the property. Councillor Toomey, Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui
I have my own issues with Eversource, but from these Orders you would almost think that nobody in East Cambridge or Kendall Square uses electricity or that the demand is dropping. (It isn't.)
Communications & Reports #3. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Kelley, transmitting a memorandum regarding CPSD, the Achievement Gap, and a Review of 8th Grade Math MCAS Results.
Various iterations of the Cambridge School Committee and the Cambridge School Department have been talking and talking about "The Achievement Gap" for decades, and all that talk has accomplished little. Perhaps at some point they should readjust their focus on simply doing the best possible job teaching and motivating students and just let the chips fall where they may. I suppose, however, that this is just not the way we do things in Cambridge. - Robert Winters
Acapulco Gold Rush
You wanted cannabis? Welcome to the future of Cambridge retail.
List of scheduled "community meetings" for proposed marijuana retailers [Full Schedule w/contact info here]
Apr 25 - The list keeps growing every day. Apr 30 - More listings! May 2 - Even more listings!
|Meeting Date||Project Address||Proposed Project||Developer/Contact|
|May 13, 2019||1674 Mass. Ave. (Evergood Market)||Marijuana Retailer||Sanctuary Medicinals|
|May 13, 2019||110 Fawcett Street||Marijuana Retailer *||Bert Vining, J.D., Revolutionary Clinics|
|May 10, 2019||1908 Mass. Ave.||Marijuana Retailer||Porter Square Remedies LLC; Water J. Sullivan, Jr.|
|May 9, 2019||1686 Mass. Ave. (Stereo Jack's)||Marijuana Retailer||Arish Halani|
|May 7, 2019||51 New Street||Marijuana Retailer||Binoj Pradhan, PH Organics LLC|
|May 2, 2019||86 Kirkland St||Marijuana Retailer||Binoj Pradhan, PH Organics LLC|
|Apr 30, 2019||1001 Mass. Ave.||Marijuana Retailer *||Sean D. Hope|
|Apr 29, 2019||31 Church Street||Marijuana Retailer||Leah Samura|
|Apr 26, 2019||567 Mass. Ave.||Marijuana Retailer||Timothy Flaherty|
|Apr 25, 2019||580 Mass. Ave.||Marijuana Retailer||Sean D. Hope|
|Apr 24, 2019||541 Mass. Ave.||Marijuana Retailer *||Bert Vining, J.D.|
|Apr 12, 2019||36 JFK Street||Marijuana Retailer||Adam F Braillard, Prince Lobel Tye LLP|
|Feb 7, 2019||701-703B Mt. Auburn St||Marijuana Retailer||Michael Pires, KG Collective, LLC|
|Dec 20, 2018||231 Third Street||Marijuana Dispensary||Michael Drayer|
|Nov 7, 2018||1001 Mass. Ave.||Marijuana Retailer||Sean D. Hope|
|Oct 5, 2018||259-261 Cambridge St||Marijuana Dispensary||Life Essence, Inc., Walter J. Sullivan, Jr.|
|Sept 27, 2018||200 Msgr O'Brien Hwy||Marijuana Dispensary||Ascend Mass, LLC|
|Aug 27, 2018||98 Winthrop Street||Marijuana Retailer *||Healthy Pharms, Inc., Paul Overgaag|
|July 16, 2018||541 Mass. Ave.||Marijuana Dispensary||Bert Vining, VP, Revolutionary Clinics|
|June 15 & 28, 2017||1385 Cambridge St||Marijuana Dispensary||Commonwealth Alternative Care|
|Nov 30, 2016||98 Winthrop Street||Marijuana Dispensary||Healthy Pharms, Inc., Paul Overgaag|
|Oct 26, 2016||110 Fawcett Street||Marijuana Dispensary||CAS Foundation, Inc., Bert Vining|
* - Registered Marijuana Dispensary proposing to expand to Marijuana Retailer
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sat, May 18. Crane Beach, Ipswich. Moderate pace 5 mile walk, across scenic sand dunes, and along the ocean beach. Beautiful desert landscapes, include pitch pine forest, views of Essex Bay, and sea birds. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at Woodman's Seafood Restaurant, in nearby Essex, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Crane Beach parking lot. Parking Fee. From Route 128, exit 14 in Gloucester, take Route 133 West for 5 miles. Turn right on Northgate Road. Then, turn right on Argilla Road, follow to beach. L Brian Connolly.||Sun, May 19. The General Field and Surrenden Farms, Groton. 1:00pm. Come see this unusual conservation area with large open-field habitat and great views to the south and west. We'll also duck into woods for a bit and stroll along the beautiful Nashua River with conservation land on both sides. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at the parking area at the top of the General Field, 42.5871N 71.5858W. L Olin Lathrop.|
|Mon, May 27. 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. Leader: Beth Mosias||Sat, June 1. Warner Trail, Sharon. 9am-5pm. 13-mi. mod. hike from Edge Hill Rd. in Sharon to High Rock in Foxboro. Bring lunch & water. We will spot cars before the hike. Meet at High Rock Rd. Turn onto High Rock Rd (paved woods road) 100 yds S of MOM South Motorcycles, 1000 Washington St (Rt 1), Foxboro. Heavy rain cancels. Email Jim if uncertain. Leaders: Jim Goyea, Laura Cerier|
|Sun, June 16. 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. Leader: Beth Mosias||Sat, June 22. Walden Pond, Concord. Moderate pace 5 mile walk, across grassy meadows and through hemlock forest, to scenic Walden Pond. Visit a cove, once inhabited by Henry Thoreau. Enjoy sit-down break, on the shore of Walden. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at China Ruby Restaurant, in nearby Maynard, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Lincoln Train Station commuter parking lot. From Route 2, take Route 126 South for 2 miles. Turn left on Codman Road, follow to end. Turn left, see Train Station on left. Leader: Brian Connolly|
|Sun, June 23. Groton Hills. 1:00pm. Come explore this large chunk of conservation land with varied topography, including beaver ponds, meadows, upland, and eskers. About 2 hours, moderate pace. Meet at the trailhead in the northeast end of a parking are on Chicopee Row roughly across from Fertiledale Drive, 42.6324N 71.5472W. L Olin Lathrop.||Thurs, July 4. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 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. $8.00 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. Leader: Beth Mosias|
May Programs (and Beyond) at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|Fresh Air Walks
Dates: Tuesdays, 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
These casual walks, led by Ranger Tim, will encompass Fresh Pond and take an informal look at each week in nature, life, and the city. Come alone or bring your co-workers! Rain or shine. Questions? Contact: tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov
|Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays (April to December) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come, and for more information.
|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 tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov for more information.
Pollinator Survey at Fresh Pond
|Spring Bird Walk
Date: Saturday, May 18th, 8:00am to 10:00am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information and for notice of cancellation due to inclement weather
By mid-May our avian summer residents have returned, and many will have babies in the nest. We may see tree swallows, catbirds, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, phoebes, vireos, warblers and orioles. We also may hear baby birds crying for breakfast, and see their parents bringing them food. Led by Nancy Guppy. Beginners are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. To register and for important meeting and parking information, email Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Make Your Own Nature Storybook
Dates: Sunday, May 19th 10:30am to 12:00pm & Sunday, May 26th 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Place: Walk Meets at the Ranger Station (under the clock tower), 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
Join Ranger Tim for this fun Sunday family program, enjoy a nature discovery walk and even adventure a little off-trail! Participants will be encouraged to explore to find ideas to create a nature story. Following the walk, we’ll gather in the building to draw or write down discoveries to create your own book. Child/adult teams are encouraged to assist in writing the narrative. All supplies will be provided. Walk is roughly ½ mile. For ages 3 and up, siblings welcome, service dogs only, please.
Interested in Volunteering? Get hands on and give back to the land! Contact Ranger Tim at tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov to find out more!
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any RSVPs or questions!
Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership is $10 and can be paid online or sent to 31 Mt. Pleasant St., Cambridge, MA 02138.
Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants.
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
Books on Cambridge History
Feb 10, 2019 - I'm cleaning up some old email today and found something I wrote a couple of years ago in response to a question about books on Cambridge history. Perhaps you'll find it useful. - RW
It's hard to say where to begin. There was a tradition of Cambridge history-writing in the 19th century that was largely lost during most of the 20th Century. The tradition seems to be having something of a 21st Century revival. Some of my favorites (and I've picked up many of these on eBay) are:
Lucius Paige's History of Cambridge (1877) - you can also read this on the web, e.g. https://archive.org/details/historyofcambrid00paigiala
I mention this one first because it is so often referenced in later histories.
The Cambridge of Eighteen Hundred and Ninety Six (a 50th Anniversary compilation published in 1896 commemorating the transition of Cambridge from Town to City in 1846)
This has a lot of good history in it. I have loaner copies available.
Survey of Architectural History of Cambridge, Volumes 1-5, by the Cambridge Historical Commission
These you can still pick up on eBay and they're at the Cambridge Public Library. I have multiple copies of each volume as loaners.
Volume 1 was originally published in 1967, but a 1989 update is practically a whole other book.
A City's Life and Times, Cambridge in the Twentieth Century, various authors, published by the Cambridge Historical Society, 2007.
Building Old Cambridge, by Susan Maycock and Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commission, recently published and available (no sales tax!) at the Cambridge Historical Commission office as well as local bookstores (with sales tax).
This volume started out, I believe, as a successor volume to Volume 4 of the Survey of Architectural History of Cambridge (Old Cambridge), but it grew into something far more comprehensive.
There are at least, I believe, 5 oral history volumes put together by Sarah Boyer and the Cambridge Historical Commission. I believe they may all still be available for purchase at the CHC office, but some are also available at bookstores (and at the Library).
Cambridge on the Charles, by Alan Seaburg, Thomas Dahill, and Carol Rose, published by Anne Minerva Press. Alan and Thomas are friends and fellow Board members with the Middlesex Canal Association (I'm also the webmaster).
There are lots of other miscellaneous books that I really love, including Ten No License Years in Cambridge, published in 1898, that provides great insight into the temperance movement in Cambridge and the roots of the "good government" movement in the 20th Century. It's available in the Cambridge Room of the Main Library.
The books by Tip O'Neill all have some interesting bits and pieces about Cambridge in the 20th Century.
|Cambridge Public Schools (official website)||Cambridge School Committee website|
|School Committee Meetings||School Committee Members & Subcommittees|
|The Unofficial Guide to School Choices for the Cambridge Kindergarten Lottery|
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
Cambridge Democrats to elect delegates for convention (May 8, 2019)
Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler announces candidacy for city council (Apr 29, 2019)
Cambridge Emergency Communications recognizes dispatchers (Apr 23, 2019)
Early risers blossom at Mount Auburn Cemetery (Apr 19, 2019)
City renames streets to honor women’s suffrage (Apr 18, 2019)
Study examines changes to Cambridge’s Port neighborhood (Apr 16, 2019)
DCR kicks off Memorial Drive project in Cambridge (Apr 15, 2019)
Cambridge will require separated bike lanes (Apr 10, 2019)
Top earners: Who earned the most in 2018? (Apr 8, 2019)
Proposed affordable housing district in Cambridge speaks to ‘the lost middle,’ official says (Apr 2, 2019)
[Note: There are several misrepresentation of fact in the statements of public officials in this article.]
LETTER: Tearing Cambridge in two for affordable housing (Apr 2, 2019)
GUEST COLUMN: Demystifying Cambridge’s proposed Affordable Housing Overlay (Apr 1, 2019)
[Note: This is a propaganda piece was written by two Board members of A Better Cambridge (ABC), a subsidized housing advocacy group with an affiliated political action committee (PAC) promoting candidates in the 2019 municipal election.]
Cambridge police deputy superintendents inducted into Hall of Fame (Mar 20, 2019)
[Stephen Ahern and Jack Albert]
Uproar over GLX cuts to Union Square station accessibility (Mar 19, 2019)
GUEST COLUMN: Why the zoning appeal on Vellucci Plaza matters (Mar 18, 2019 by John Pitkin)
GUEST COLUMN: Proposed zoning overlay in Cambridge is a major opportunity (Mar 20, 2019)
[Note: This is a propaganda piece was written by two Board members of A Better Cambridge (ABC), a subsidized housing advocacy group with an affiliated political action committee (PAC) promoting candidates in the 2019 municipal election.]
Cambridge earns AAA rating for 20th straight year (Mar 6, 2019)
East Cambridge Planning Team to hold annual elections (Mar 4, 2019)
Cambridge community invited to vote for design finalists (Mar 1, 2019)
Tues, Oct 30, 2018 -- Today's Homework Assignment:
Please identify which policies, if any, from Cambridge's Growth Policy Document should be changed.
[To the best of my knowledge, these important policies have never been part of the discussion among the current Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee or its various Working Groups. Indeed, some of the current recommendations growing from the Envision Cambridge process clearly contradict some of these current policies. - RW]
Percentage of Subsidized Housing Units (not including group quarters) - September 2017
|Community||Housing Units||Subsidized Units||%||Rank (of 351)||Notes|
|Cambridge||46,690||6,911||14.8%||11||~7,800 of 53,000 currently|
Note: It must be pointed out that the figures above only show subsidized units. In many cities and towns there are many "naturally occurring" affordable units, i.e. apartments that simply have affordable rents. In addition, some tenants live in unregulated apartments but pay reduced rent due to such mechanisms as Section 8 vouchers. The figures above should therefore be understood only as a baseline.
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 MUNICIPAL SITUATION IN CAMBRIDGE
A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904
BY HENRY N. WHEELER, PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE
PRECEDED BY A PROGRAM OF THE WORK OF THE LEAGUE FOR 1904
Cambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.
[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos (and now audio too!) of each]
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 391-392: April 30, 2019 (w/Patrick Barrett)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 351-352: Nov 6, 2018 (w/Patrick Barrett)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2018 features co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2018-2019 (adopted January 29, 2018)
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect revised Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (Adopted January 1, 2018; Revised June 19, 2018)
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.
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"