Rearranging the Deck Chairs - What's Up on the May 21, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Here's my first pass at this week's menu:
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $44,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Executive Department Extraordinary Expenditures which will be used to assist the Department of Conservation & Recreation in constructing an ADA accessible canoe and kayak boat launch.
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-17, regarding the status and proposed next steps to advance the urban agriculture initiative.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a request for approval to submit the attached Home Rule Petition that would authorize the City of Cambridge to include as part of the Inman Square Intersection Safety Improvements Project (“Project”) the planned reconfiguration of the intersection of Hampshire Street and Cambridge Street in the Inman Square area of the City (hereinafter, “Inman Square”) as well as a portion of the land that makes up Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci Community Plaza (“Vellucci Plaza”).
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a request for approval to seek authorization from the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General (the “IG”) for the City to use the Construction Manager at Rick (“CMAR”) procurement and construction method (the “CMAR Method”) in connection with the redevelopment of the Foundry building.
Unfinished Business #1-4. Appropriation and Loan Authorization Orders for $5,000,000 (Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan); $650,000 (School building infrastructure projects, and a new boiler at CRLS); $61,500,000 (water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the The Port neighborhood, and the River Street neighborhood); and $21,000,000 (reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks).
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Finance Committee, for public hearings held on May 1, 2018, May 8, 2018 and May 9, 2018 relative to the General Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2019 and recommending adoption of the General Fund Budget in the amount of $597,219,385.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 8, 2018 relative to the Water Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2019 and recommending adoption of the Water fund Budget in the amount of $13,973,855.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 8, 2018 relative to the Public Investment Fund for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2019 and recommending adoption of the Public Investment Budget in the amount of $17,267,995.
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with a detailed accounting of locations, if any, where Cured-In-Place Plastic Pipe (CIPP) and other plastic pipes currently exists in Cambridge, when it was installed, and why there was no public process for such a potentially hazardous change in water policy. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to create a structured commercial tax rate system for FY20 that prioritizes lowering the tax rate for small businesses. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Simmons
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with the relevant City Departments to launch a program during the summer months to activate the Front Lawn of City Hall in the afternoon with games (such as cornhole boards), food trucks, and other forms of entertainment to engage a diverse age range of residents in recreation. Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Zondervan
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Community Development Department and the City Solicitor to report back to the Housing Committee on how the City could establish a method of eviction data collection. Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Cambridge Human Rights Commission to report back on housing-related activities including number of housing-related investigations, number of housing-related cases successfully mediated, relationships with regional housing-related organizations, and successes and challenges of the Cambridge Fair Housing Ordinance Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons
Order #7. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Recycling Division of the Department of Public Works to study the feasibility of expanding the curbside composting program to small businesses and nonprofits in the City by the end of 2019. Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Mallon
Additional details and comments to follow....
On the Agenda - May 14, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting
First... what's still Not On the Agenda (even though letters continue to pour in to the City Council commenting on this Non-Order): The HP Divest matter. Wherefore art thou? Perhaps it's with all the other missing Orders highlighting Bad Behavior (real or perceived) by governments around the world.
On the domestic front, there are these:
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-13, regarding electric vehicles.
It's an interesting report and it seems like the City is using good sense in knowing when and under what circumstances vehicles should be changed over to all-electric or hybrid-electric. Nobody wants to see a fire engine or police car crap out in an emergency situation because its battery ran down. This report also brings to mind two competing philosophies when it comes to making changes to meet environmental or other goals - the Carrot or the Stick. Some (like me) prefer the carrot to encourage people to make changes, i.e. to provide incentives or offer a convincing argument to make a switch, e.g. to participate in curbside organics collection or to buy efficient vehicles or appliances. Others are all about the stick, e.g. changing the Zoning Ordinance to TELL people what they have to do to be righteous - or else. I have long felt that mandates are what people make when they fail to make a convincing case on the merits.
Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to develop a small business parking pilot that would allow temporary on-street employee parking during typical daytime operating hours. [Charter Right Exercised By Mayor McGovern.] Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons
I'm interested to see where this goes. People seem to have forgotten that there used to be a lot more unregulated spaces around the city, i.e. neither Resident Only nor sporting a parking meter. In fact, it has often been said by the folks at Traffic & Parking that parking meters are installed not for the revenue but rather to ensure sufficient turnover adjacent to businesses. I don't know that I believe them anymore. What I do remember is that an enormous number of unregulated spaces were changed to regulated spaces during the days of the Interim Parking Freeze because that was one way to get spaces in the Commercial Parking Bank that could be used in the permitting of new commercial development. The deal was that for every two spaces you regulated you could put one in The Bank. Prior to that there were unregulated spaces that were available to people who worked at local businesses or who taught in Cambridge schools. I'm sure some of the anti-vehicle zealots in the Community Development Department would set themselves on fire rather than agree to ease up on any parking restrictions, but simple deregulation of some spaces in some areas (while keeping some time restriction for nonresidents) might actually be a good way to resolve this dilemma.
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council by June 11 with an updated schedule for resubmitting a revised draft of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance that incorporates suggestions from the Light Cambridge Committee. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone
I was wondering when this would again be brought back into the spotlight. The original idea to tone down lights glaring through bedroom windows was worthwhile (even though it originally - and wrongly - appeared as a proposed zoning amendment rather as a municipal ordinance) before it got clogged up and bogged down by its own details. That and the desire of some people to clamp down on lighting in places where they have no business calling the shots. Indeed, there are some places, e.g. Central Square, that would benefit by the return of some pretty spectacular lighting.
Applications & Petitions #1. A petition was received from Sue Butler, et al, regarding concerns of excessive speed on Clinton Street in mid-Cambridge, requesting the City install three speed bumps or speed platforms along the length of Clinton Street.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to explore the possibility of improving road safety conditions on Clinton Street. Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone
As near as I can tell, it took just one car getting clipped when backing out of a Clinton Street driveway to get this response. There must be some Very Special People living on Clinton Street. To borrow from the statement in this petition, I just want to point out that "there are small children and pets and elderly people" living on probably every street in Cambridge. Perhaps we all deserve to have "three speed bumps or speed platforms" installed along the lengths of all our streets.
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to complete a tree canopy study based on the April 2018 LiDAR data before the end of 2018, and to complete future LiDAR based studies as frequently as possible, but no more often than once a year. Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Kelley
I do like seeing the data generated by these studies, but I also find it curious how trees have become the defining Cambridge political topic for 2018. From one bandwagon to another, I suppose. I am once again reminded that there are Carrot Councillors and Stick Councillors. Some will prefer to give you encouragement and incentives to preserve trees on your property, while the others will make you hire a lawyer and file a string of permit applications before taking action against your resident Ents. - Robert Winters
Cambridge City Manager Seeks Applicants for Public Planting Committee
May 19, 2018 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking Cambridge residents interested in serving on the city’s Committee on Public Planting.
The Public Planting Committee is charged with the responsibility of promoting and improving the quality and diversity of plantings throughout all areas of Cambridge. This includes: reviewing planting plans for new public work in the city; advising the city on effective maintenance of public plantings; supporting the role of the City Arborist; and encouraging interest in public plantings in all neighborhoods. Candidates should have an interest in urban forestry and landscape issues, and, ideally, experience in horticulture. The Committee usually meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30-7pm, at the Department of Public Works, 147 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA.
The deadline for submitting applications is June 11, 2018. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.
For more information about the committee, contact David Lefcourt, City Arborist, at 617-349-6433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Member Sought to fill Cambridge Public Library Board of Trustees Vacancy
May 7, 2018 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees for the Cambridge Public Library.
Library trustees are volunteer community representatives, library advocates, and leaders in the establishment of goals and policies for the Cambridge Public Library system. Trustees are a vital link between the library staff and the community and work to ensure the quality of library services, collections, and programs, and to make certain that the library reflects and is relevant to the community.
Trustees serve a 3 year term and are expected to attend monthly board meetings, committee and community meetings, appropriate continuing education workshops or conferences, and library programs as their schedules allow.
Ideal candidates will have an interest in and passion for public libraries and an understanding of the importance of the public library as a center of information, culture, recreation, and life-long learning in the community. Candidates should also have knowledge of the community, including an awareness of diverse social and economic conditions, needs and interests of all groups. Strong verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking skills are required. Trustees work productively as a team. It is also important for candidates to understand how the role of the public library is evolving and how information technology and societal changes inform the library’s future.
The deadline for submitting applications is June 4, 2018. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. For more information about the role of Library trustees, contact Maria McCauley, Director of Libraries at 617-349-4032 or mmccauley@Cambridgema.gov.
Members Sought for Cambridge’s Open Data Review Board
May 2, 2018 – Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking to fill a vacancy on Cambridge’s Open Data Review Board and is looking for representatives from public, private, academic, or nonprofit sectors with expertise in or relevant experience with Open Data.
The city’s Open Data Program makes government data easily available in useful formats, and is intended to increase transparency, foster engagement among residents, and create new opportunities for collaboration between Cambridge and the public.
The Review Board, comprised of at least three residents and four or more city employees, will meet quarterly to help ensure that the program balances its goals of transparency and accessibility with the city’s obligation to protect private, confidential, and sensitive information.
The Board will make recommendations to the City Manager and Open Data Program Manager on policies, rules, and standards related to Cambridge’s Open Data Program, including methods for determining the appropriate level of accessibility for new datasets and timelines for making new datasets available.
Specifically, the Review Board will help answer the following questions:
- What privacy and security standards should Cambridge adopt as it assesses potential open datasets?
- What data quality standards should be in place to ensure the accuracy and reliability of Cambridge's open datasets?
- What best practices should Cambridge employ to make use of its own open datasets in order to improve city operations?
- How might Cambridge align open data initiatives with the city's other strategic initiatives?
- How should Cambridge engage and educate the broader community – including residents, businesses, and research institutions – to maximize use of the city's open data?
- How might Cambridge partner with other municipalities, government entities, and institutions in the open data space?
- How should Cambridge market the open data program internally to improve participation among city departments?
For more information about Open Data Review Board, contact Josh Wolff, email@example.com. The deadline for submitting applications is June 4, 2018. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.
Residents Sought for Board Vacancy on Cambridge Human Rights Commission
Apr 20, 2018 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking a resident to fill a vacancy on the Cambridge Human Rights Commission.
The Cambridge Human Rights Commission (CHRC) seeks Cambridge residents representing the diversity of Cambridge. Commissioners are expected to attend monthly meetings, participate in subcommittees on outreach and public education, and work with Commission staff on the investigation, mediation and resolution of complaints filed with the Commission which allege discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment or education based upon race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, family status, military status or source of income.
The Human Rights Commission is made up of 11 members who serve three-year terms. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 6:00pm.
The deadline for submitting applications is May 25, 2018. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. For more information, contact Nancy Schlacter, Cambridge Human Rights Commission, at 617-349-4396 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Agenda - May 7, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting
Another week, another nonappearance of the much-heralded "Divest HP" matter. Perhaps it will never appear - good riddance. As for actual agenda items, here are some:
Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of a supplemental appropriation of $125,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Department Extraordinary Expenditures account to support the revitalization of the Martin Luther King Plaza, the art components and enhance the primary entrance into the Central Square Branch Library.
While the improvements are appreciated, what would be even better is if an additional deck or two were added to the Green Street garage to compensate for future losses if and when housing (and more) is built on some of the area's surface parking lots. The whole facade of the library branch should also be reimagined. Today it appears to be little more than a public urinal and shelter for substance abusers. This would never be tolerated in Harvard Square, so why do we tolerate it in Central Square?
Charter Right #1. That the Ordinance Committee be and hereby is requested to review and consider the proposed amendment to §10.17.070-- “Fees for Residential Parking Stickers” for a hearing and report. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor McGovern on Apr 30, 2018]
When the lead sponsor of an Order calling for increases in Resident Permit fees responds to a Facebook comment that said "Ban cars" with a "Like", then I have to believe this isn't really about the revenue.
Communication #15. A communication was received from Steve Sands, 4 Buckingham Street, regarding Hewlett Packard Boycott.
I normally don't pay much attention to these sorts of things (except for the fun or it), but this gentleman captures the absurdity of the HP thing perfectly.
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to develop a small business parking pilot that would allow temporary on-street employee parking during typical daytime operating hours. Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui
Oh my God! A reasonable viewpoint about compromise and reality.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to direct the appropriate City staff to work with all Harvard Square stakeholders, including the Harvard Square Business Association, the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association, abutting businesses, and Harvard University to actively engage the community in a design charrette process with a view in mind towards making Palmer Street a more active and inviting pedestrian walkway and public space. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern
Great idea, and I would love to participate even though I don't fit into any of the named categories. Shared streets (woonerfs) are a great idea that seems to fail in the execution, e.g. Palmer Street, Blanche Street. I want to see both of those streets looking like a crowded street fair after all the trucks have made their deliveries. Palmer Street, in particular, is perhaps the street with the least motor vehicle traffic and it's in the middle of busy Harvard Square. It's interesting that nobody seemed to give a damn about Palmer Street until the Harvard Square Business Association tried to do something positive about it and caught grief for it.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to develop a plan to achieve the above policy goals as it relates to the digital divide. Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Simmons
This week's "I want municipal broadband" Order. I would like to see an Order that asks for a Cable TV package that can get Red Sox games for less than $100/month.
Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Councillor Kelley, transmitting a memorandum regarding Bike Lanes, Street Use, and Micro-Mobility Challenges Facing Cambridge.
I really like reports like this from Councillor Kelley. Sometimes he seems like the only councillor who thinks broadly about transportation and the future. [Hint: It's not just about PVC plastic posts, segregation, and aggressive political lobbies claiming "turf".] - Robert Winters
How to Read Cambridge - Lesson 1
So there's a public meeting on Thursday, May 3 regarding what is called the "South Massachusetts Avenue Corridor Safety Improvements Project". The meeting will take place from 6:00pm to 8:30pm at MIT, Room 2-190 (182 Memorial Drive, Simons Building). The essentials from the meeting notice are:
"To improve safety and reliability for users of the street, the City of Cambridge is evaluating 'quick build' changes to Massachusetts Avenue from Sidney Street to Memorial Drive with an emphasis on increasing the comfort and convenience of people walking, biking and riding buses. This project supports the City’s Vision Zero goal to reduce and eliminate serious injuries/fatalities from crashes, as well as City policies that promote the use of sustainable ways to travel in Cambridge."
Having seen a few notices and having attended more than my share of meetings, allow me to interpret. When the public notice uses the word "comfort" or the phrase "comfort index", that's code for "separated bike lanes", i.e. PVC plastic posts bolted to the road, and I can pretty much guarantee that regardless whether this gives any safety improvement or if it creates significant traffic problems, the entire matter is nonnegotiable. The purpose of the meeting is to tell you what has already been decided, and the only public input that might have any effect will be in regard to aesthetic matters (color of the posts) and whether or not even more parking spaces should be removed to compensate for any potential hazards at intersections or reduced visibility.
This project will likely not be nearly as controversial as what was done to Cambridge Street or Brattle Street (due to the scarcity of residents along this stretch of Mass. Ave.), but I imagine there could be some concerns from the businesses since it's likely that most or all parking may soon disappear. Perhaps the only real question at this point is whether all of the parking disappears or if traffic is reduced to one lane each way for the whole stretch (which may well result in traffic being backed up during some hours along the entire stretch). One things is virtually certain – if you don't think that segregated bike lanes are a good idea here, you may as well stay home because nobody will hear you. - RW
Department-by-Department Budget Summaries: FY1992 through FY2019 (some interpretation required)
Department-by-Department Full-Time Positions: FY1992 through FY2019 (with total employee counts back to 1981)
Leaving April, Come What May - Spring Treats on the April 30, 2018 City Council Menu
Once again, the much-heralded "Divest HP" matter is NOT on this week's agenda, so if you want to get excited about this irrelevant initiative, come back in another week or so. Meanwhile, we close out April and look forward to the Lusty Month of May with the following featured treats:
Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a supplemental appropriation of $200,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account to fund the abatement and demolition of Vail Court.
Mister DePasquale, Tear Down These Walls!
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the Final Landmark Designation Report for the Blake & Knowles Foundry at 101 Rogers Street.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the Final Landmark Designation Report for the Cheney Read House at 135 Western Avenue.
These are highlighted because I really enjoy these histories and appreciate the work put in by the Historical Commission in producing them.
Charter Right #1. An application was received from the Harvard Square Business Association requesting permission for a temporary lighted banner across the Public Way located at 12 Palmer Street. [plus Communications #6,7,8,9,13]
Much Ado About Nothing. Objections from those who probably also disapprove of multi-colored Christmas lights as being too garish.
Resolution #1. Congratulations to the recipients of the Outstanding City Employee Awards. Mayor McGovern
This awards event is one of my favorite City events. The attendees are almost entirely City employees and their families, but it's an open event and really special.
Order #3. That the Ordinance Committee is requested to schedule a public hearing to consider the proposal put forward by the City Manager to amend Chapter 12.16, Section 12.16.170 of the Municipal Code, (the “Street Performers Ordinance”). Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone
The proposed changes primarily involve easing up the fee structure for some street performers.
Order #4. Campaign Finance Reform. Councillor Toomey
I haven't yet seen a proposal for municipal election campaign reform that I can support and which is legal. I'm also not yet convinced that there's a need for this at the local level.
Order #5. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to provide a report on the history of Constellation Charitable Foundation's Parcel C in Kendall Square including tax status and other relevant information on the site. Councillor Toomey, Councillor Mallon
This is a timely Order. The City Council may want to consider some changes to the zoning for this site as well as ways to leverage the original intentions formulated nearly 20 years ago when what was then the ComEnergy site was developed by David Clem and Lyme Properties as Cambridge Research Park. A performing arts center may still be a good use to be integrated into the site by the next owner if the finances and zoning can be made to work.
Order #6. That the City Council go on record supporting the Mass Senior Action Agenda. Councillor Simmons
It's good common-sense legislation.
Order #8. That the Ordinance Committee be and hereby is requested to review and consider the proposed amendment to §10.17.070-- “Fees for Residential Parking Stickers” for a hearing and report. Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux
As near as I can tell, Councillor Zondervan's rationale behind his proposal to jack up the resident parking fee to $35 and then $40 is that Somerville charges $40. Some have argued that the fee should be nominal rather than either punitive (because motor vehicle operators are considered evil in Cambridge) or just another revenue generator. A $40 fee isn't going to convince many people to give up their vehicle, but many of us don't appreciate councillors raising fees simply because they can or because they get a rush out of the revenue paid by drivers being used to create obstructions to driving in the city.
Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to prioritize the installation of protected bike lanes and bicycle traffic signals in Porter Square. Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone
The proposed changes that were presented a couple of months ago were pretty good for all users, including cyclists.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Chair Councillor E. Denise Simmons, of the Civic Unity Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 27, 2018 to discuss whether the City's Boards and Commissions adequately reflect the demographic makeup of the community.
Goals vs. Requirements - That is the question. I'll stick with goals.
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 and Public Utilities Committee, for a public hearing held on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 to discuss topics related to the MBTA bus service.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sumbul Siddiqui, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 28, 2018 to discuss Retail Strategic Plan.
I could say more about any of these committee reports, but for now they are provided here only for your reading pleasure. - Robert Winters
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.
|Weekly Walk for Health
Dates: Mondays, 10:00am to 11:00am
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Start your week off right with a weekly fitness walk! Join us as we walk the perimeter of the pond (2.25 miles). Meet other park goers, get some exercise, and together notice what's happening on the Reservation. All ages and abilities are welcome! Feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com with any questions.
|Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays, between 9:30am and 1:00pm
Place: Meets at the Woodland Habitat (Northeast Sector)
Join other stewardship-minded volunteers in caretaking the native plant restoration area next to Lusitania Meadow, and learn about the diversity of native plant life! We seek dedicated participants who enjoy camaraderie and hard work that includes weeding, pruning, planting, watering new plantings, hauling wood chips and moving logs. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come, and for more information.
|Fresh Air Walks
Dates: Wednesdays, 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
These casual walks, led by Ranger Tim, will encompass Fresh Pond and take an informal look at each week in nature, life, and the city. Come alone or bring your co-workers! Rain or shine. Questions? Contact: tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov
|Fresh Pond Volunteers
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.
|Spring Bird Walk
Date: Saturday, May 19th, 7:30am to 9:30am
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.
|Animal Detectives: Song Birds
Date: Sunday, May 20th, 11:00am to 12:00 noon
Place: Meets at the Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Parkway (under the clock tower)
May’s spotlight is on the song birds. Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day and see what it takes to be a bird as we explore how they live. This family program is best suited for kids between 4 and 12. Accompanying adult must be present, service dogs only please, and dress appropriately as this is an outdoor program. Groups please check-in with Ranger Tim at tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov prior to Thursday, May 17th.
|Sketching Fresh Pond
Date: Saturday, May 26th, 10:00am to 11:30am
Place: Meets at The Gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Come and join us for a relaxed morning of sitting, seeing, and sketching at Fresh Pond Reservation with local artist and educator Erica Beade. Become a better nature observer, using sketching and nature journaling as a tool. We'll practice techniques for capturing all kinds of natural wonders more accurately in your drawings. Adults of all skills are welcome, as are families with kids of all ages. Please bring your favorite notebook and writing utensil(s)! Please contact Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
Erica Beade is a freelance illustrator specializing in science, health and nature subjects. She teaches observational drawing for adults and kids at the Harvard Museum of Natural History and other venues
Learn more about her classes at www.observationaldrawing.com or on her
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/observationaldrawing
|FRESH POND DAY 2018
Date: Saturday, June 9th, 11:00am to 3:00pm
Place: Takes place at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway Parking at 197 Vassal Lane (Tobin School)
Fresh Pond Reservation is truly Cambridge's green gem - an urban wild that protects Fresh Pond, Cambridge's in-city drinking water reservoir. Fresh Pond Day is the Cambridge Water Department's annual tribute to this unique Reservation that is a vital natural resource, an invaluable sanctuary for wildlife, and a beloved recreational escape in the City. So, let's give Fresh Pond the celebration, jubilation and love it deserves; join in the festivities! Attendees will enjoy live wildlife presentations (pond creatures this year!), a wildlife and bike parade, live music, facepainting, truck climb-aboards, tours, and more.
Free and open to all, activities will take place around the Water Treatment Facility located at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway, Cambridge – at Kingsley Park, and the two parking lots. For those arriving by car, please plan on parking at the Tobin School (197 Vassal Lane). There are plenty of green transit options: the bikeway, bus routes 72, 74, 75 & 78; and Alewife T Station is 1 mile away.
On-leash dogs are welcome. Please note that rain cancels this event. For more information or if you’d like to get involved, please email tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov, call (617)-349-6489
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.
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
Attend an Envision Cambridge Meeting in May
Upcoming Envision Cambridge Meetings – Join the Conversation this May
Economy Working Group - Agenda
Tuesday, May 1, 6:00-8:30pm
City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 4th Floor Meeting Room
Housing Working Group - Agenda
Wednesday, May 2, 3:00-5:30pm
City Hall Sullivan Chamber, 795 Mass. Ave.
Alewife Working Group - Agenda
Thursday, May 10, 6:30-8:30pm
West Cambridge Youth Center, 680 Huron Ave.
Alewife Public Meeting - Agenda
Wednesday, May 16, 6:30-8:30pm
Tobin School Cafeteria, 197 Vassal Lane
Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee Meeting - Agenda
Wednesday, May 23, 6:00-8:00pm
Citywide Senior Center Ballroom, 806 Massachusetts Ave.
For more information about Envision Cambridge, visit envision.cambridgema.gov.
Cambridge Launches 2018 Participatory Budgeting Cycle
Volunteers Sought to Serve on PB Outreach Committee
Apr 25, 2018 – The City of Cambridge will launch its fifth Participatory Budgeting (PB) cycle from June-December 2018. Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of the capital budget.
For this next process, the City will set aside $900,000 for capital projects to improve the community. Winning projects from past PB cycles include a public toilet in Central Square, musical instruments for CRLS, a freezer van for prepared food rescue, solar panels for the Main Library roof, water bottle fill stations, and many others.
The City is seeking volunteers to serve on the PB Outreach Committee for the 2018 cycle. Volunteers will help ensure that the next PB process engages as many community members as possible.
Outreach Committee members will serve throughout the PB5 cycle (May-December 2018) by:
- Organizing community events and promoting PB through your networks and social media
- Attending monthly outreach strategy sessions from May-November (no meeting in September)
- Distributing PB flyers, doorhangers, and posters around Cambridge
- Setting up and volunteering for at least two idea collection events in June/July
- Setting up and volunteering for at least two voting events during Vote Week in December
- Working in mobile voting teams during Vote Week in December to increase voter turnout from last year
- Recruiting volunteers to serve as Budget Delegates
The Outreach Committee schedule is as follows:
- OC meeting 1: Tuesday 5/22 from 6-7:30pm
- Idea collection: 6/1 - 7/31
- OC meeting 2: Tuesday 6/5 from 6-7:30pm
- OC meeting 3: Monday 7/16 from 6-7:30pm
- OC meeting 4: Tuesday 8/7 from 6-7:30pm
- OC meeting 5: Tuesday 10/9 from 6-7:30pm
- OC meeting 6: Tuesday 11/13 from 6-7:30pm
- PB Vote Kickoff: Saturday 12/1
- PB Vote Week: 12/1 - 12/7
- PB Vote Results Party: Wednesday 12/12 from 6-7pm.
*Locations for all meeting will be in and/or around Central Square.
Outreach Committee members will work closely with Budget Office staff to make PB5 the most successful cycle yet. Food will be provided at Outreach Committee meetings and each volunteer will receive a PB T-shirt.
Cambridge residents interested in serving on the PB Cambridge Outreach Committee can apply online at www.Cambridgema.gov/PB5Outreach or contact Matt Nelson in the Budget Office at email@example.com or 617-349-4270. The deadline to apply is May 11, 2018.
For more information about the PB process visit pb.cambridgema.gov.
Cambridge City Manager Appoints Administrative Opioid Working Group
Members will advise City Manager on policies and practices that address epidemic
Apr 24, 2018 - The national public health emergency caused by the opioid epidemic is impacting communities across the country. The city of Cambridge has not been spared these tragedies despite the concerted efforts by key stakeholders, clinicians and advocates to aid those who may be struggling with the gravitational pull of addiction.
Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale has created a new working group which will review disease surveillance data, identify best practices about opioid-related prevention, intervention, and treatment activities as well as share information about the chronic nature of addiction.
In November 2017, then Vice Mayor (now Mayor) Marc McGovern produced a report “Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in Cambridge, which was based on the work of an ad hoc committee made up of city and community partners. In that report, he identified many of the critical challenges that individuals and cities around the country are facing and offered a series of recommendations to address this crisis.
“I want to build upon the work of Mayor McGovern and the ad hoc committee,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “Therefore, recognizing the continued impact that the opioid crisis is having within our community, I am establishing a working group to assess the feasibility of expanding harm reduction efforts in the City of Cambridge as well as consider more innovative strategies to assist residents, students and visitors alike.” The City Manager also noted his appreciation for the work of the advocates and service providers who have urged the City to look at all of the alternatives ways to address the opioid epidemic.
The charge of the City Manager’s Opioid Working Group is to advise the City Manager on policies and practices that address the opioid epidemic in Cambridge. This administrative working group is designed to include a cross-section of representatives from human services, public safety, public health, and healthcare who are instrumental with overseeing the response efforts in the City as well as addressing the clinical / counseling support needed by those who may be experiencing a health crisis.
The Working Group will be chaired by Dr. Assaad Sayah, Chief Medical Officer, Cambridge Health Alliance and Commissioner Branville Bard, Police Commissioner, Cambridge Police Department. The aim is to submit a report to the City Manager by October 2018 outlining specific short and long-term recommended goals that align with the City’s health improvement plan and actions that are currently underway.
Cambridge City Manager Submits FY19 Budget to City Council
Proposed plan aims to address pressing current and future needs of the city
Apr 23, 2018 -- Today, Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale submitted his proposed Operating and Capital Budgets for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19), as well as the proposed FY20-23 Operating and Capital Plans, to the Cambridge City Council. The proposed Operating Budget of $636.4 million represents an increase of $25.7 million, or 4.22%, over the FY18 Adjusted Budget. The proposed Capital Budget is $105.4 million.
Last year, the City Council prepared new goals, which are reflected in the FY19 budget submittal. The budget demonstrates the collaborative work of the administration and City Council to address the pressing needs for current and future Cambridge residents and visitors. The FY19 Budget includes many new initiatives and 25 additional staff positions.
“I want to thank the City Council for its leadership and for its active engagement in the FY19 budget process,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “The budget document released today contains many new initiatives and staff positions that are a direct result of the City Council’s collective feedback.”
The public is encouraged to review the budget document which contains the City Council goals, key initiatives, each department’s budget narrative, and this year’s capital projects to gain a deeper understanding of the FY19 objectives. Three highlights from the proposed budget include:
- The FY19 budget reflects additional resources to create and preserve affordable rental and homeownership opportunities for low, moderate, and middle-income families and residents. To assist in this important effort, the budget includes the funding of a Housing Ombudsman, and an Inclusionary Housing Planner. For the second year, the City Manager is recommending another capital allocation funded by Building Permit revenue of $3.45 million to support the City’s Affordable Housing Trust. This is an increase from the $2.8 million appropriated in FY18. Since 2002, and through FY18, the City has appropriated more than $147 million for affordable housing initiatives. In FY19, across several City budgets, there will be $23.9 million invested in funds dedicated to housing and homelessness.
- As part of Cambridge’s commitment to building a comprehensive early childhood system, the City is investing an additional $1.1 million in FY19 for the Birth to Third Partnership. These additional funds will more than double the number of very low-income children accessing high quality community-based preschools. The Partnership, a collaboration between the School Department and Human Services, will also expand home visiting programs, increase professional development workshops for all early childhood providers, and expand child development and behavioral health supports to early childhood programs. Human Services and Cambridge Public Schools will invest a total of $13.4 million in early childhood education and services in FY19.
- In FY19, the Cambridge Police Department is creating a Family and Social Justice Unit, which seeks to formalize its social justice approach to policing and increase its capacity to serve and protect the most vulnerable populations: juveniles, homeless, those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse, seniors in need of dependent care, and survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. The FY19 budget also formalizes the creation of the Office of Procedural Justice. Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, the Office of Procedural Justice will focus on proactively monitoring data related to police-citizen interactions for indications of possible racial profiling, racially-biased policing, or use of force incidents.
The long-term outlook for Cambridge continues to be very strong, which is confirmed by the City’s consistent AAA bond rating. The City will continue to use its five-year financial and capital plan, debt and reserve policies, and the City Council goals as guides in its long-term planning to maintain stability and predictability in the budgeting process and adherence to its policies.
“I believe that the initiatives and spending priorities recommended in this budget submission reflect not only the goals of the City Council, but also the priorities of the residents and taxpayers of Cambridge. Our effective short and long-term financial, economic, and programmatic planning strategies will help ensure that Cambridge can continue to provide the level of services that residents desire while maintaining the modest tax implications taxpayers have come to expect,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.
The City Council’s Finance Committee will conduct public hearings on the city and school budgets covering the fiscal period July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, in the Sullivan Chamber of Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue, on the following dates and times: Tuesday, May 1, at 9:00am, Tuesday, May 8, at 9:00am, Wednesday, May 9 at 6:00pm (School Department), and, if necessary, Thursday, May 10, at 9:00am. These hearings will be broadcast on 22-CityView, the Municipal Channel, and live-streamed on the Open Meeting Portal of the City’s website at www.CambridgeMA.Gov.
Copies (PDF) of the FY19 Budget Submission to the City Council can be downloaded at www.CambridgeMA.GOV/FY19SubmittedBudget.
2018 Outstanding City of Cambridge Employee Award Winners
Apr 23, 2018 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 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 11, at 9:00am, in the Sullivan Chamber of Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. All are welcome to attend.
The City Manager will also present an award in honor and memory of the late Brian Murphy, to a person who is committed to making government improve the lives of others.
Congratulations to our 2018 Outstanding City Employees:
- Keplin Allwaters, Assistant City Solicitor, Law Department;
- Melinda Camara, Fiscal Manager, Fire Department;
- Louis Cherubino, Jr., Police Sergeant, Police Department;
- Sandra Christie, Principal Clerk, City Clerk’s Office;
- Keith Fay, Danehy Park Site Supervisor, Human Services Department;
- Michelle Godfrey, Site Director/Center for Families, Human Services Department;
- Muna Kangsen, Program & Event Coordinator, Library;
- Jennifer Lawrence, Sustainability/Associate Planner, Community Development Department;
- James Rebello, Water System Maintenance Dispatcher, Water Department;
- Rainier Rosado, Parking Control Supervisor, Traffic, Parking & Transportation Department;
- Tracy Rose-Tynes, Clinical Manager School Health Services, Public Health Department;
- Charles Sullivan, Executive Director, Historical Commission;
- Patricia Tuccinardi, Executive Assistant, Community Development Department.
ABC to host Rothstein, local luminaries, for racial segregation discussion
In THE COLOR OF LAW, Richard Rothstein makes irrefutable that the segregation laws and policies passed by all levels of government expressly and systematically promoted the discriminatory patterns that persist to this day.
Pro-housing group "A Better Cambridge (ABC)" will host a Boston-metro community conversation with Richard Rothstein who will discuss his widely acclaimed book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. Through clear prose and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as "brilliant,” Rothstein’s book describes the forgotten story of how our federal, state, and local governments explicitly encouraged racial segregation across the country - in blue states, red states and as recently as the 2008 housing crisis. Today we are living with the repercussions of these policies with, for example, extreme racial wealth inequality and a stubborn achievement gap in our schools. This one-of-a-kind conversation will take place on May 22nd, at 6:30pm at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Fitzgerald Theater.
A panel discussion will follow Rothstein’s presentation, featuring Chrystal Kornegay, Executive Director of MassHousing; Dr. Atyia Martin, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Northeastern and former Chief Resilience Officer of Boston; Eva Martin-Blythe, Executive Director of the Cambridge YWCA; and Bob Terrell, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston; The conversation will be moderated by The Boston Globe’s Ideas Editor, Dante Ramos.
“The Color of Law is one of those rare books that will be discussed and debated for many decades. Based on careful analyses of multiple historical documents, Rothstein has presented what I consider to be the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation.”– William Julius Wilson, author of The Truly Disadvantaged
ABC founder and chairman, Jesse Kanson-Benanav, is thrilled to welcome Mr. Rothstein, saying that “in a progressive community like Cambridge and a deep blue state like Massachusetts, we often lose sight of how our own housing and land use policies have contributed to the government-sanctioned segregation that Mr. Rothstein writes about.” And while Cambridge makes a small but ominous appearance in the book, specifically with regard to the intentional racial segregation when the Washington Elms & Newtowne Court public housing developments were first built, “the community discussion following Mr. Rothstein’s presentation will provide more local context, explore how we continue to perpetuate segregation in Cambridge and Greater Boston, and examine what we can do about it.”
The event is free and open to the public, but registration at www.abettercambridge.org is strongly recommended. Doors open at 6:00pm and the discussion begins at 6:30pm. Copies of Rothstein's book will be available for purchase. Advanced purchases are encouraged at The Harvard Bookstore and Porter Square Books.
Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He lives in California, where he is a Fellow of the Haas Institute at the University of California–Berkeley. The Color of Law was a Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Best Books of 2017 and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
A Better Cambridge (ABC) is a non-profit organization made up of Cambridge residents who are committed to building a more diverse and sustainable city with housing for all people. They support increased housing of all kinds, smart, eco-friendly density, and growth that is public-transit centered, to create vibrant, walkable, bikeable, livable neighborhoods. Through education and advocacy, they seek to impact the public conversation, include under-represented groups, and encourage thoughtful, smart planning and policy.
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Fri, May 18. Harborwalk Walk in the Seaport District and Fort Point, Boston. Moderate-paced 5-mi. walk on waterside walkways of Boston/South Boston including new parklands and spectacular views throughout, 6:30-9:15pm. Meet just inside the main doors at entrance to South Station T Stop and Train Station on Summer Street. Rain cancels. L Marc Hurwitz.||Sat, May 19. Blue Hills Bird Walk, Quincy. 7:30am-11:00am. Beginner's bird walk 3 miles through the Fowl Meadow and along the Neponset River. Learn to bird. See both common and rare bird species at the height of spring migration 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.|
|Sat, May 19. Middlesex Fells, Stoneham. Fast-paced 6.5-mi. hike including lesser-traveled hills, an old-growth hemlock forest, and several ponds, 11:30am-2:45pm. Bring lunch, water & sturdy footgear. Meet at Stone Zoo lot. From Rte. 93S exit 35 or Rte. 93N exit 34, follow signs to Stone Zoo. Rain cancels. L Marc Hurwitz.||Sun, May 20. Rocky Hill Sanctuary and adjoining woodlands, Groton. 1:00pm. This is a great area to hike around in, with a beautiful point on Long Pond, beaver marshes, a heron rookerie, and more. About 2 hours, moderate pace. No dogs. Meet at the Rocky Hill Sanctuary parking area off of Robin Hill Rd. in Groton, 42.5811N 71.5311W. L Olin Lathrop.|
|Sun, May 20. Grassy Pond Conservation Land, Acton. Slow-paced nature walk through fields and forests to Grassy Pond and the bog boardwalk looking for spring wildflowers The walk will focus on plant ID and fun natural history. 1:00-4:00pm. Rte 2 to Exit 42 (Rte 27/Main St, Acton). Follow Rte 27 north for about 1 mile through Acton Center and turn left on Nagog Hill Rd. Go 1.1 miles. Parking lot on left just past small meadow. Co-listed under “Family Outings”. Registration Required. Steady rain or heavy snow cancels. L Boot Boutwell.||Sat, May 26. 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. L Jim Goyea, CL Laura Cerier.|
|Sat, May 26. Blue Hills Wildflower Hike, Quincy. 10:00am-3:00pm. 7-mile hike in the eastern section of the Blue Hills Reservation viewing wildflowers and climbing scenic hills, some steep. Joint with Friends of the Blue Hills. L Steve Olanoff.||Mon, May 28. 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 16. Walden Pond, Concord. Easy pace 5 mile walk, across grassy meadows and through hemlock forest, to scenic Walden Pond. Visit a cove inhabited by Henry Thoreau, during the mid-1800’s. We will walk upon the woodland footpaths, where the transcendentalist contemplated life, on his early morning wanderings. Walk followed by dinner/social hour at China Ruby Restaurant, in nearby Maynard, at around 2:00pm. Meet 11:00am, at Lincoln Train Station commuter parking lot. From Route 2, take Route 126 South for 2 miles. Turn left on Codman Road, follow to end. Turn left, see Train Station on left. L Brian Connolly.||Sun, June 17. 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. 1:00-4:00pm. 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. There is additional parking on Arlington Road on the east side of the pond. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.|
|Sun, June 17. 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.||Sat, July 21. Walk from Revere Beach to Copley Square, Boston. This 12+ mile walk (with shorter options) has it all - ocean, marsh, beach, harbor, river, and ethnic, downtown neighborhoods. It starts with a visit to the annual Sand Sculpting Contest, passes through East Boston including a lunch stop, the Boston Waterfront, the edges of Charlestown and Cambridge, the Boston Esplanade and the Commonwealth Mall, ending at the Boston Marathon finish line. Enjoy a summer day of walking, and celebrate completion of the route at the Solis Irish pub. Meet at 8:30am at the Wonderland Station (MBTA Blue Line) on the upper level plaza that overlooks Revere Beach. NOTE: If you do not want to complete the entire 12+ miles, there are many MBTA stops along the route that make it easy to exit the walk. Questions? Contact one of the leaders. Ls Lisa Fleischman, Fran Price. [Rain Date: Sun, July 22]|
Budget Season Returns - Featured Attractions on the Apr 23, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda
On this week's agenda:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the FY19 submitted budget and appropriation orders.
The Bottom Line is that the total proposed FY2019 Budget is $622,477,255. That's up 5.3% over last year's FY2018 budget of $591,057,460. You may want to take a longer view at the multi-year comparisons. The largest budget increases are actually in the Executive Department (City Manager's Office) with a 21.1% one-year increase. The budget for the Mayor's Office jumped by 11%.
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $5,000,000 to provide funds for the Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan.
Manager's Agenda #3. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $650,000 to provide funds for various School building infrastructure projects, and a new boiler at an Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.
Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $61,500,000 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 The Port neighborhood, and the River Street neighborhood.
Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $21,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.
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 $88,150,000.
Manager's Agenda #6. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a supplemental appropriation of $1,000,000 from Free Cash to the Public Works Public Investment Fund account to fund snowstorm related road repairs and capital equipment.
Manager's Agenda #7. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a supplemental appropriation of $2,475,000 from Free Cash to the Public Works Other Ordinary Maintenance account to fund snowstorm related expenses associated with snow plowing and snow removal contracts, salt, other materials, repair costs.
Winter doesn't come cheap. In addition to the amount already budgeted for FY2018, there are these $3,475,000 supplemental appropriations. You can See It and Click It, but it costs money to Fix it.
Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-23, relative to repairs to the Harvard Square Portland Loo and methods to prevent service interruptions in the future.
Whoever thought a bathroom would turn into a winter research project. I still think we should have found a way to integrate these bathrooms into existing buildings with actual heating systems.
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a member of the Election Commission effective May 2, 2018 for a term of four years: Victoria Harris
Congratulations to Victoria Harris. Unlike some years, the City Manager had several qualified candidates from which to choose. Congratulations also go to outgoing Commissioner Polyxane Cobb who did an outstanding job during her time as an Election Commissioner.
Manager's Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Arts Council Advisory Board for a term of three years, effective May 1, 2018: Olivia D'Ambrosio and Michael Monestime.
Two more outstanding appointments. I do, however, have to make one correction. Contrary to the narrative provided, Michael Monestime and his family now live in North Cambridge, a.k.a. the suburbs, though he's still our Man in Central Square.
Applications & Petitions #5. A Zoning Petition was received from Douglas Brown Et Al, regarding Zoning petition that aims to balance the future health and safety impacts of climate change.
Frankly, I don't know what to make of this petition. There was supposed to be a petition filed several weeks ago that went by the name "The Pause Petition" that sought to put all new construction in the Alewife area on hold. That proposed Moratorium was endorsed by the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee (NCSC), the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance (FPRA), the Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR), Green Cambridge, and the Cambridge Residents Alliance (CResA). It was met by a harsh response from the folks from A Better Cambridge (ABC) and others who saw it primarily as a mechanism to stop the building of new housing and, in particular, "affordable housing". Soon thereafter, the moratorium morphed into this new petition wrapped in green, i.e. "Zoning Amendments for a Flood and Heat Resilient Cambridge". Some parts are cribbed from the preliminary recommendations being developed for Alewife as part of the Envision Cambridge process, but there's little doubt that a significant goal of this petition is to make it a lot more difficult to build in some areas - particularly the Alewife area.
In addition, there is a very prescriptive 2nd half of this petition that seeks to introduce a "Green Factor" to rule over any new construction requiring a Project Review Special Permit under Section 19.23 of the Zoning Ordinance [50,000 gross sq. ft. or more in all applicable zoning districts - except Business A, Business A-1, or Business A-2 districts where the threshold is 20,000 gross sq. ft.]. This Green Factor "uses a value based system to prioritize landscape elements and site design that contributes to the reduction of stormwater runoff, the improvement of urban air quality, mitigation of the urban heat island effect, and improved well-being of residents and visitors." Without surveying all built properties in the city, I think it's a fair guess to say that very few of them would have a "Green Factor" that would satisfy the wishes of the petitioners. However, it's already the case that most new significant building proposals in Cambridge that go before the Planning Board go to great lengths to factor environmental benefits into their plans with the possible exception of those built in dense urban settings (such as the major Squares).
My sense is that this will play out politically in such a way that instead of the "Pause Petition" being spun as blocking housing, this new Petition will be spun as something only a climate-change-denier could oppose. But that's just politics. Personally, I think the petition should be divided into two separate petitions - one dealing with potentially flood-prone areas (and specifically parts of the Alewife area) and another that focuses specifically on the sustainability stuff citywide. I do think the "Green Factor" approach is overly prescriptive, but it would not be a bad outcome if a handbook of recommended standards grew out of this exercise - even if it was separate from the Zoning Ordinance.
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Community Development Department, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Department of Public Works, and any other City departments to work with the MBTA to address the above listed necessary improvements to the Harvard Square Station Tunnels while they are being renovated. Vice Mayor Devereux
The "above listed improvements" involve temporary relocation of stops, minor schedule adjustments, increased foot traffic in Harvard Square, repaving of bus tunnel roadways, hopefully better lighting and seating in the bus tunnels, general repair and restoration, and maybe even restoration of some of the artwork. To this you can add the current T elevator work that's going on there (as well as in Central Square).
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to work with the appropriate City staff to ensure that an additional commitment of $20 million from the City’s budget is devoted over the next five years toward the City’s efforts to preserve and create affordable housing units. Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui
As I often point out, the term "affordable housing" is a euphemism for regulated housing obtained by applying either to the Cambridge Housing Authority or similar agency. It is not the same as addressing the goal of affordability of housing in Cambridge and in the greater Boston area.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to contact the Constellation Charitable Foundation to receive an update on plans for the Parcel C in Kendall Square and when development can be expected to begin. Councillor Toomey
Based on the press release last week, that's a question best addressed by whatever party buys the property. When that sale happens the Constellation Charitable Foundation will be out of the picture.
Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the appropriate City Staff, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Friends of Poorman’s Landing, and the East Cambridge Planning Team to ensure the timely repair of Poorman’s Landing. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone
In addition to the letter and the pages specific to Poorman's Landing, the recently published (Jan 2018) Cambridge Riverfront Plan is worth the read.
Order #12. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Community Development Department and the City Solicitor to produce a report for use by the Housing Committee that contains information pertaining to the appropriate language for the creation of an Affordable Housing Overlay District. Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui
I repeat - The term "affordable housing" is a euphemism for regulated housing obtained by applying either to the Cambridge Housing Authority or similar agency. It is not the same as addressing the goal of affordability of housing in Cambridge and in the greater Boston area.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Quinton Y. Zondervan, Co-Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 22, 2018 to gain a better understanding of the extent of the City's digital divide and to explore possible ways to increase digital access.
I'm sure this will get a lot of play during the upcoming Budget Hearings, but the bottom line is still The Bottom Line - the related proposal that the City should build its own municipal broadband system is a very expensive proposition. Furthermore, the jury is still out on whether exposing the City to this financial risk is even a wise approach. Everybody wants alternatives to the Comcast monopoly, but there may be better ways to achieve this.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 21, 2018 to discuss the implementation of the Short-Term Rental Ordinance.
It doesn't help that AirBnB seems to be sending the message out to all of its "hosts" to join them in their lack of cooperation.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chair and Quinton Y. Zondervan, Co-Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 18, 2018, to discuss confirming the City's Manager's selection of Margaret Drury as a member of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA).
Slam dunk easy call on the reappointment of our most esteemed former City Clerk Margaret Drury to the revitalized Cambridge Redevelopment Authority.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a communication from Dosha E. Beard, Executive Secretary to the School Committee, transmitting a copy of an order from the School Committee recommending the FY19 General Fund Budget of the Cambridge Public Schools be adopted in the sum of $191,069,500.
This represents a pretty steady 31% of the City's Operating Budget (just in case you were wondering). - Robert Winters
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 311 (May 15, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: May 14 Council meeting and some history of the Parking Freeze and the Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance
|Episode 312 (May 15, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: May 14 Council meeting: proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, traffic calming, trees
|Episode 309 (May 8, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: FY2019 Cambridge Budget hearings, Curbside Compost Program, and related matters
|Episode 310 (May 8, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: May 7 City Council meeting, parking issues, update on some Squares
|Episode 307 (May 1, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Cambridge FY2019 Budget, historical look at City budgets
|Episode 308 (May 1, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Featured items from the Apr 30 Cambridge City Council meeting
|Episode 305 (Apr 24, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: proposed HP boycott and the new zoning petition relating to Alewife and climate and heat, etc. introduced at the Apr 23 Cambridge City Council meeting.
|Episode 306 (Apr 24, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: FY2019 Cambridge City Budget plus a note on the pending sale of the Constellation Center site in Kendall Square.
|Episode 303 (Apr 10, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Alewife planning, resiliency, Pause Petition rebranded
|Episode 304 (Apr 10, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Pause Petition rebranded, EMF building update, upcoming events
|Episode 301 (Apr 3, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: April 2 City Council meeting, EMF Building controversy
|Episode 302 (Apr 3, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: First Week of Citywide Compost Collection; Economic Development Committee meeting on retail strategy, Harvard Square; upcoming events
|Episode 299 (Mar 27, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: March 26 City Council meeting, Central Square Arts Overlay, Rooming Houses, and other housing issues
|Episode 300 (Mar 27, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: short-term rental regulation updates, Housing Committee priorities, citizen activism for municipal broadband
|Episode 297 (Mar 20, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials] w/guest Patrick Barrett
Topics: Tenant Right of First Refusal, Envision Cambridge
|Episode 298 (Mar 20, 2018, 6:00pm) w/guest Patrick Barrett
Topics: Envision Cambridge, Central Square
|Episode 295 (Mar 6, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: CRLS Boys Basketball, Mar 5 City Council meeting, rejection of proposed Tenant Right of First Refusal (a.k.a. Expansion of Eminent Domain to Residential Properties at Point of Sale)
|Episode 296 (Mar 6, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Ward caucuses, The Reluctant Delegate, Democratic party politics, upcoming meetings
|Episode 293 (Feb 27, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Feb 26 City Council meeting; new voting machines; Right of First Refusal; Bill Nobel; rent control.
|Episode 294 (Feb 27, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Feb 26 City Council meeting; bridges at Alewife; Fishbook; connectivity; and the future of transportation.
|Episode 291 (Feb 13, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Feb 12 City Council highlights - bike lanes, Inman Square redesign, Vision Zero, and more
|Episode 292 (Feb 13, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge Historical Commission landmark designation reports, fate of the "Tenant Right of First Refusal" bill, and more
|Episode 289 (Feb 6, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Feb 5 City Council meeting - Jerry's Pond, Central Square crosswalks, right of first refusal.
|Episode 290 (Feb 6, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: proposed "Right of First Refusal" enabling legislation now at the State House
|Episode 287 (Jan 30, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Jan 29 City Council meeting; electric vehicles; Mass Pike reconfiguration; committee appointments, and more
|Episode 288 (Jan 30, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Central Square news and opportunities, and more
|Episode 285 (Jan 23, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Transportation planning - Green Line Extension, Mass Pike realignment, and more
|Episode 286 (Jan 23, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: The Womens March - one year later; new voting machines coming; Kroon Petition and "formula business" regulation; Central Square news and opportunities
|Episode 283 (Jan 16, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Civic Nerdiness, City Council Rules and Committees
|Episode 284 (Jan 16, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge history of garbage
|Episode 281 (Jan 9, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Jan 8 City Council meeting highlights, supermarket closure, snow issues
|Episode 282 (Jan 9, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Council committee appointments; discussion of the record of the 2016-2017 City Council
|Episode 279 (Jan 2, 2018, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: 2018 Inaugurations of the Cambridge City Council and School Committee and the Election of Mayor Marc McGovern
|Episode 280 (Jan 2, 2018, 6:00pm)
Topics: Discussion of some of the more challenging priorities for the new 2018-2019 City Council
Watching the River Flow
Apr 8 - I've been taking a brief sabbatical from writing about civic and political matters as I wend my way through the semester with the classes I teach at MIT and at the Harvard Extension School. This doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention, mind you, only that I have felt little motivation to write about the things that have been flowing by other than at the superficial level of what's on the City Council agenda each week. There have been some interesting developments there, e.g. the truncated campaign for "Tenant Right of First Refusal" and some nascent indications of what is to come in the name of battling climate change (don't be surprised if lots of on-street parking disappears, more roadways are turned into obstacle courses, and your resident parking fee increases substantially).
This past month or so has been nearly unique in that there hasn't been a single zoning petition pending before the City Council. That was supposed to change last week with the filing by "no growth" activists from North Cambridge and the Fresh Pond area of what was being called "The Pause Petition" to put all new construction in the Alewife area on hold. This proposed Moratorium was endorsed by the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee (NCSC), the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance (FPRA), the Friends of Alewife Reservation (FAR), Green Cambridge, and the Cambridge Residents Alliance (CResA). The proposed filing was met with a harsh response from the folks from A Better Cambridge (ABC) who saw it primarily as a mechanism to stop the building of new housing and, in particular, "affordable housing". As a result, the Pause Petition was withheld so that it could be rebranded.
Personally, I've grown pretty sick of just about all of these activist groups. Some of the ABC activists have expressed open hostility toward such things as historical preservation (they think its sole purpose is to block dense development), and their counterparts in the "no growth" crowd will use every trick in the book to slow or stop any change other than toward farmland. It really sucks that some people see CResA and ABC as the two sides of the Cambridge political coin. I'll choose practical people over ideologues any day. If we could just agree that relatively dense development near transit is generally a good thing and that preserving many of the things we like (including some low density areas) may also be a generally good thing, then maybe we could have an actual conversation.
So the next chapter is that the Pause Petition has now been rebranded as "Zoning Amendments for a Flood and Heat Resilient Cambridge". I'm sure there are some good things in this proposal, especially those parts that were cribbed from the preliminary plans being developed as part of the Envision Cambridge process, but the bottom line is that this is still primarily a rebranding of the Pause Petition in which that original goal is embedded in a document that uses the threat of future climate change as cover. My cynical side gets the sense that this is being done quite intentionally so that any criticism of the petition will be interpreted as climate change denial.
This is becoming the new political norm in Cambridge. If you question the wisdom of a particular road design, you are branded as not supporting bicycle safety or worse. If you are skeptical of efforts to use climate change to justify political motives, then you're in denial of the threat of climate change. Did I mention how much I dislike ideologues? Now excuse me while I calculate my "Green Factor". - Robert Winters
The Cambridge Historical Commission is proud to present a new GIS Story Map created bySarah Burks, Preservation Planner, available here! This fun Story Map focuses on the long-gone lunch carts and dining cars in Cambridge.
"From the earliest horse-drawn lunch carts to the streamlined stainless steel cars, diners were once plentiful in Cambridge. But where did they all go? Some diners moved into brick and mortar locations and others relocated to other towns. The recent Food Truck trend appears to be a revival of the portable dining car, but they don't offer the seating and table service of yesterday."
Take a tour of Cambridge diner photos and share your diner memories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have you been to any of these diners?
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
The Cambridge Chronicle has apparently chosen to install a paywall on its cambridge.wickedlocal.com site, so I will no longer be posting links to their news articles. If you would like to subscribe or pick up a free paper copy at various sites, I encourage you to do so. It really is The Paper of Record and I would prefer to be able to provide links to the news stories, but I guess this is the way the world goes round.
THE MUNICIPAL SITUATION IN CAMBRIDGE
A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904
BY HENRY N. WHEELER, PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE
PRECEDED BY A PROGRAM OF THE WORK OF THE LEAGUE FOR 1904
Cambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.
[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos of each]
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2017 features co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]
Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2018-2019 (adopted January 29, 2018)
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
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"