A Quick One - Featured Items on the Dec 11, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Here are a few of the more interesting agenda items:
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a legal opinion relative to the City Manager’s authority to make Historical Commission appointments.
This one was never in doubt. Councillors really should learn about the Plan E Charter.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the Final Landmark Designation Report for the Harvard Square Kiosk.
Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $444,534.67 from the Hubway Capital Projects Equipment Fund to the Community Development Department Public Investment Fund Extraordinary Expenditures Account. These funds will be used for the purchase and expenses of Hubway bikeshare equipment. These funds represent the donor agreement revenues and will contribute to the purchase, installation and maintenance of approximately 10 additional stations and bicycles, pending identification of acceptable locations.
Manager's Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $489,780 associated with the Hubway Bike Share Equipment from the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund to the Public Investment Fund Community Development Extraordinary Expenditures account. These mitigation funds will be used for the purchase and expenses of Hubway bikeshare equipment.
That's nearly a million dollars for Hubway.
Manager's Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-114, regarding a report on the plan for snow removal from the new bike infrastructure in the city.
Plow the streets from curb to curb. If any plastic posts get in the way, sharpen the blades on the snow plows.
Unfinished Business #8. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge on Beekeeping. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 6, 2017. Planning Board hearing held on Oct 3, 2017. Petition expires Jan 3, 2018.
It's very possible this will be ordained at this meeting. - RW
Running Down the Clock - Dec 4, 2017 City Council Agenda Highlights
It's a pleasingly light agenda this week, and there are no more committee meetings scheduled this term. The Inaugural Meeting of the 2018-19 City Council will take place on New Years Day starting at 10:00am. In the meantime, here are a few items on this week's agenda - with minimal comment:
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the Beekeeping Zoning Petition with proposed amendments to the petition.
Unfinished Business #8. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge on Beekeeping. The Question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 6, 2017. Planning Board hearing held on Oct 3, 2017. Petition expires Jan 3, 2018.
Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-118, regarding a report on an update on the City's plan to expand the curbside composting program citywide.
Sundry communications on the closing of Petco and appeals to rescind the ban on non-rescue animal sales.
Resolution #1. Resolution on the death of Kathleen P. (Tracy) Carlisle. Councillor Maher, Councillor Toomey
Kathy was my neighbor and a friend to all who knew her.
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to mail the “Street Code” Booklet to all households in Cambridge as an educational outreach measure for road safety. Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons
There are a number of additions this otherwise decent booklet could use. For example, bicycles should be equipped not only with lights but with sufficiently bright lights that are not obscured by clothing, backpacks, or anything else. It's stunning to see how many cyclists have dim lights or no lights at all. Batteries are not eternal. Dark clothing may be a great fashion statement, but it's an invitation for disaster.
Order #3. That the City Manager request an investigation by the State Department of Public Utilities into the maintenance of the district energy system and ask appropriate officials from the State Department of Public Utilities to appear before the City Council to report on the state of repair of the district energy system in Cambridge and to discuss why there are no state regulations governing steam energy systems in Massachusetts when it is widely known that these operations create potential serious public health hazards and risks. Councillor Maher, Councillor Toomey, Mayor Simmons
I'm not sure what this is about but it has an ominous tone to it.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 10, 2017 to discuss feedback on bike safety related issues, and to plan for future bike safety measures in the City of Cambridge.
This was a meeting designed to not listen to anything the Chair didn't want to hear.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Vice Mayor Marc McGovern, transmitting Opioid Working Group Report.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #4. A communication was received from Tanya L. Ford, Executive Director, Cambridge Election Commission, transmitting the Final Official Results from the Municipal Election held on Tues, Nov 7, 2017 for City Council.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #5. A communication was received from Tanya L. Ford, Executive Director, Cambridge Election Commission, transmitting the Final Official Results from the Municipal Election held on Tues, Nov 7, 2017 for School Committee.
There is a minor error in the posted Final Official Results for the City Council election. The actual order of election was Simmons, Siddiqui, McGovern, Devereux, Zondervan, Mallon, Toomey, Carlone, Kelley. The posted document has Mallon and Zondervan in the reverse (incorrect) order. Additional information is posted on the CCJ Elections Page. - Robert Winters
Dec 2 - We returned for additional Cambridge InsideOut programs this week (Nov 28) with an Election Data Binge. This included a demonstration of how this year's City Council election would have played out using fractional transfer instead of the Cincinnati Method. We also revealed who would replace each of the elected councillors and School Committee members in the event of a vacancy. Unfortunately, CCTV changed the recording equipment in the studio (without any notice) which delayed making the recorded programs available. I finally figured out on my own a way to edit the recordings and was able to post them.
[What DID work was Windows (Live) Movie Maker (which comes with Windows 7+ or can be downloaded for free), but not until I (a) downloaded and installed a "K-Lite Codec Package - Mega Version" (which gave me the audio but not the video, and (b) a K-Lite update from just two days earlier (Nov 29) that gave me the ability to view the video. I was then able to trim the extraneous material and save the edited videos as mp4 files with very good quality. As an extra added benefit the file sizes were quite reasonable, e.g. a 9.06GB original ended up at 407MB. This compares well with the 709MB file that CCTV generated for download, and the quality is actually better. I should really write this up and post it at CCTV somewhere so that other users, especially Windows users, can edit and post their shows. Finally, uploading the smaller files was fast and the quality appears to be preserved.]
These unexpected changes make me think the time may be ripe to change the way we produce the shows. If there are any volunteers out there who may be interested in helping to produce the show each week (for a salary of $0), let me know. - RW
Popularity - Total Rankings (#1, Top 2, Top 3, etc.)
The table below indicates the percentage of ballots for which the #1 ranked candidate was elected; the percentage of ballots for which the #1 or #2 ranked candidate was elected; and the percentage of ballots for which the #1, #2, or #3 ranked candidate was elected.
|Voter Success in Cambridge Elections|
|Election||elect||candidates||valid||invalid||total ballots||Pct #1 elected||Pct #1 or #2 elected||Pct #1, #2, or #3 elected||Pct none elected||Pct blank|
Note: Almost all of the invalid ballots were blank ballots. It's common that some voters will vote only the City Council ballot and cast a blank School Committee ballot.
Nov 23 - The Shifting Demographic
The voter history file for the 2017 municipal election was made available yesterday, and it provides evidence of a dramatic shift toward younger voters in the recent election. This provides at least some partial explanation for the election results. Here are some histograms for the municipal election years (2013, 2015, 2017) followed by the federal/state election years (2012, 2014, 2016).
Municipal Elections: 2013 - 2017
(note the dramatic peak in the 27-29 age range)
Federal/State Elections: 2012 - 2016
Election Update (Fri, Nov 17): The Final Official Election Results produced the same winners in the same order of election:
City Council Elected (in order of election): Simmons, Siddiqui, McGovern, Devereux, Zondervan, Mallon, Toomey, Carlone, Kelley
City Council Official Election Results (Fri, Nov 17, PDF, 2 pgs.)
School Committee Elected (in order of election): Nolan, Bowman, Dexter, Fantini, Kelley, Kimbrough
School Committee Official Election Results (Fri, Nov 17, PDF, 1 pg.)
Round-by-Round City Council Official Results (Fri, Nov 17, HTML)
Round-by-Round School Committee Official Results (Fri, Nov 17, HTML)
City Council Distribution of #1 Votes by ward/precinct (PDF) - corrected (Pcts. 3-2A and 3-3 were mislabeled in original)
I'll be posting more information as the spirit moves me. - RW
City Council Unofficial Election Results (Wed, Nov 8, PDF, 2 pgs.)
Elected (in order of election): Simmons, Siddiqui, McGovern, Devereux, Zondervan, Mallon, Toomey, Carlone, Kelley
School Committee Unofficial Election Results (Wed, Nov 8, PDF, 1 pg.)
Elected: Nolan, Bowman, Dexter, Fantini, Kelley, Kimbrough
Round-by-Round City Council Unofficial Results (Wed, Nov 8, HTML)
Round-by-Round School Committee Unofficial Results (Wed, Nov 8, HTML)
Charts showing City Council election - round by round (PDF - best to save and open in Acrobat)
Charts showing School Committee election - round by round (PDF - best to save and open in Acrobat)
Round-by-Round City Council Preliminary Results (Tues, Nov 7, HTML)
Round-by-Round School Committee Preliminary Results (Tues, Nov 7, HTML)
City Council Preliminary Election Results (Tues, Nov 7, PDF, 2 pgs.)
School Committee Preliminary Election Results (Tues, Nov 7, PDF, 1 pg.)
Preliminary City Council Results (in order of election): Simmons, Siddiqui, McGovern, Devereux, Zondervan, Toomey, Mallon, Carlone, Kelley
Notes: (1) At the end of the 14th Count, Tierney had only 3 more votes than Toner; (At the end of the deciding 17th Count, Kelley had only 3 more votes than Tierney. The Unofficial Results on Wednesday when auxiliary ballots are included could change the results in several ways.
Preliminary School Committee Results (in order of election): Nolan, Bowman, Dexter, Fantini, Kelley, Kimbrough
Note: It is not likely that these results will change with the Unofficial Results on Wednesday when auxiliary ballots are included.
Featured Items on the Nov 13, 2017 City Council Agenda
For the moment at least, all six incumbents who ran to retain their seats seem to have been reelected. We'll know for sure on Friday (Nov 17) unless the closeness of the results warrants a recount. In the meantime, here are a few items of interest on this week's agenda.
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $2,274,829 from Free Cash to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund. Funds appropriated to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund will be used to fund specific projects which will require individual appropriations by the City Council for the related projects in the future.
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a recommendation from the Planning Board to adopt the Alexandria Zoning Petition regarding Innovation Space in the PUD-3A and PUD-4C Districts.
Manager's Agenda #14. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report 16-86, regarding a report on which public campaign finance options are legal for municipal elections in Cambridge; and Awaiting Report 17-84, regarding potential plans and options, responsive to community concerns, for creating a program of tax revenue financing for candidates running for City Council and School Committee in the City of Cambridge.
This is a topic that deserves a lot more discussion than was ever permitted in either the NLTP Committee (no idea why it would even be discussed as part of "neighborhood and long-term planning" or "public facilities" or "arts and celebrations") or the Government Operations Committee. It's not something Cambridge could even do without approval from the State Legislature and it's not at all clear that such approval would be forthcoming. In addition, there has been no indication of what scale of funding would be asked - and that's important in light of the fact that the total campaign expendtitures for the recent City Council election now totals about $600,000 and climbing. The correlation between campaign spending and electoral results is also not at all clear. The cost per #1 vote as of today among successful City Council campaigns runs from a low of $9.75 to a high of $33.50 (these numbers will rise).
It's also worth noting that MANY Cambridge voters are now consulting the Cambridge Candidate Pages and other resources to learn about candidates, and that costs NOTHING. Indeed the number of visitors to the Cambridge Candidate Pages last week went like this: Nov 4: 1,082; Nov 5: 1699; Nov 6: 6,632; Nov 7 (Election Day): 11,058; Nov 8: 3,584; Nov 9: 941. That's a lot of visits for an election that had about 22,600 voters, and the Cambridge Candidate Pages aren't even linked from any City website.
Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to appoint a Transportation Task Force to develop a large and comprehensive street safety and education plan that speaks to the needs of bicyclist, motorists, and pedestrians, and that can be easily disseminated and understood by all citizens. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Oct 30, 2017]
At this point I'm leaning toward the belief that we should transition toward a single Transportation Board that has subcommittees for transit, motor vehicles, bicycling, and pedestrians. Single issue advocacy has become King and ideas like balance and collaboration among stakeholders has become all but lost. It's become militant with single-issue advocates using social media to pack any and all meetings. I gave up going to these meetings. It's become just Bad Political Theater at this point and, contrary to claims of relative safety, it's really all about turf - establish a beachhead and then defend it even against reasonable criticism.
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to work with the relevant City departments and report back to the City Council with an update on the City’s plans to expand the curbside composting program citywide. Councillor Cheung
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 12, 2017 to discuss a Zoning Petition filed by Christopher D. Smith, et al., to create a new Section 13.913 Graduate Student Housing Production Requirement. This petition would require new graduate housing to be built in conjunction with the development of commercial uses in the proposed Planned Unit Development 7 District as well as a phasing plan to implement graduate housing development.
Everyone agrees with the idea that MIT and other universities should provide adequate housing options for their students. As we saw with the recent Volpe Petition, this has been acknowledged by MIT and they are planning accordingly. This Smith Petition, on the other hand, is not only moot but misdirected. - Robert Winters
As we get ready for this year's 2017 Cambridge municipal election, here are a few "Fun Facts":
The total number of registered voters for the Nov 2017 election is 66,354. Their median age is 37.9. Here's how their ages (as of Election Day - Nov 7, 2017) are distributed (in 3-year intervals):
Registered Voters - 2017
For the Nov 2015 election, there were 63,338 registered voters with identified birthdates. Their median age was 38.7. Here's how their ages (as of Election Day - Nov 3, 2015) were distributed (in 3-year intervals):
Registered Voters - 2015
Of these registered voters, 17,959 voted in the 2015 municipal election. Their median age was 56.0. Here's how their ages were distributed (in 3-year intervals):
Registered Voters Who Voted in the 2015 Municipal Election
If you compare 2015 and 2017, you can see that most of the gains in registered voters are in the younger age ranges - especially the 24-29 range.
It will be interesting to see if these shifts will be reflected in the age distribution of those who vote in the Nov 2017 election.
The total voter turnout has dropped over the years but has remained relatively stable for the last several municipal elections. It jumped in 2017.
City of Cambridge Announces Food Truck Pilot
The City of Cambridge is currently accepting applications from food truck operators for its Food Truck Pilot, which will bring a variety of food trucks to locations in Central Square, Cambridgeport, Kendall Square, and North Point Park. The application period is open until November 30, 2017 and food trucks will begin vending in the spring of 2018.
“The Food Truck Pilot aligns with the City’s goal to support local businesses,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development. “Food trucks allow restaurant entrepreneurs to test branding, menu ideas, and business concepts before making larger-scale investments. We have also thoughtfully designed the Pilot to prevent competition between existing small businesses in the designated areas.”
To be eligible for vending consideration, food truck operators must complete an application provided by the City’s Community Development Department. They must also have a valid State of Massachusetts Hawkers & Peddlers License and be licensed and permitted by the City of Cambridge prior to the start of vending. Consideration will be given to women- and minority-owned businesses, businesses operated by Cambridge residents, new businesses (2 years or under), and businesses without a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Food trucks will be open to the public April 2018 through October 2018 at the following locations:
- Cambridgeport (Sidney Street at Erie Street)
Weekday Lunch: 10:00am to 3:00pm, Monday – Friday
- Central Square / City Hall (795 Massachusetts Avenue)
Weekend Dinner: 8:00pm to 12:00am, Thursday – Saturday
- MIT / Kendall Square (Main Street at Ames Street)
Weekday Lunch: 10:00am to 3:00pm, Monday – Friday
- North Point Park (Education Street)
Weekend Lunch: 10:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday – Sunday
Final schedules, including food truck vendors at each location, will be announced in March 2018. An internal review committee will determine food truck scheduling at each location using a system that considers the eligibility requirements detailed above. Additionally, a People’s Choice Poll, available online in January 2018, will invite Cambridge community members to vote on their top vendor choice at select, high-demand locations.
For more information about the City of Cambridge Food Truck Pilot, visit cambridgema.gov/foodtruckpilot.
City of Cambridge Set to Mark Affordable Housing Milestone with Approval of 1000th Inclusionary Unit
Nov 1, 2017 – This month, the City of Cambridge will approve its 1000th inclusionary housing unit, marking a significant milestone in the City’s efforts to create new affordable housing.
Inclusionary housing, which requires developers to incorporate affordable units into new residential buildings, has been the greatest generator of affordable housing in Cambridge in recent years. Inclusionary housing in Cambridge is built without public funding, and the city’s inclusionary housing stock now represents more than $500 million in private investment in affordable housing in Cambridge.
“Diversity is the backbone of our vibrant and progressive community, and inclusionary housing has been a key component in our efforts to preserve and champion that diversity,” said Mayor E. Denise Simmons. “With the approval of its 1000th inclusionary unit, Cambridge is demonstrating our unwavering commitment to creating quality, affordable housing that will enable more families and individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds to remain a vibrant part of our City.”
Last April, the Cambridge City Council passed an amendment to the city’s 1998 Inclusionary Housing Zoning Ordinance that nearly doubles the amount of inclusionary housing units in new developments, requiring that developments of ten or more units allocate 20% of residential floor area for low- and moderate-income tenants or moderate and middle-income homebuyers.
“No City in the Commonwealth is as committed to affordable housing as Cambridge is, and we are proud of this milestone,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “By using various strategies, like inclusionary zoning, we are advancing our housing goals, and we have been able to help thousands of residents with some amazing results.”
The city’s inclusionary housing program has enabled individuals and families with a wide range of incomes to live in neighborhoods throughout Cambridge. Residents living in inclusionary housing include retirees, lifelong Cambridge residents, immigrants, young families, and households moving out of homelessness. Inclusionary residents are employed in healthcare, education, the nonprofit sector, public service, retail and other small businesses, local banks, and institutions.
“It is our mission to support housing affordability for Cambridge families, and the inclusionary program is our key tool to leverage the market to support this goal. While much work is still needed, we are proud of the success of the program,” said Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development.
Following the approval of the 1000th inclusionary unit, review of other new inclusionary housing developments will continue and applicants will be selected for inclusionary rental units being completed in North Cambridge and inclusionary homeownership units soon to be completed in East Cambridge.
The City’s Community Development Department (CDD) oversees inclusionary rental and homeownership programs through the Homeownership Resale Pool, the Inclusionary Housing Rental Program, and the Middle-Income Rental Program, each of which accepts applications on a rolling basis. For more information about the application process for each program, visit: cambridgma.gov/housing.
December Programs (and Beyond) at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays between 9:30am and 1:00pm (excluding December 26)
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 email@example.com if you would like to come, and for more information.
|Fresh Pond Stewards: Wake Up and Weed!
Dates: Thursdays, 10:00am to noon (excluding Thanksgiving Day & December 28)
Meeting location: Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
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.
|Fresh Pond Kids’ Walks
Dates: Fridays, 10 to 11am (excluding December 22 and 29)
Meeting location: The Gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their parents/caretakers, and play in our urban wild! We might look for frogs and turtles at Black’s Nook, or find pill bugs and bird nests in the Butterfly Meadow. Please come dressed ready for the weather and in clothes that are OK to get a bit dirty! Feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to RSVP.
|Winter Solstice Lantern Walk
Date: Friday, December 15, 3:30-5:00pm
Meeting place: Ranger station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Join us to bid farewell to Autumn and begin to welcome Winter! We will decorate lanterns, fill them with an LED light, and take a walk at dusk to bring some light to our shortest days. Please dress for the weather. Feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com with any questions or to RSVP.
|Solstice Celebration: A Farewell to Fall – And a Welcome to Winter!
Date: Sunday, December 17, 2:30 to 4:00pm
Meeting location: Ranger Station (door under the clock tower on the reservoir side of the Water Purification Facility), 250 Fresh Pond Parkway.
Meet Ranger Tim and explore the solstice traditions of nature and culture in this guided loop walk around Fresh Pond (2.25mi). Open to all audiences, dress for the weather at hand.
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any RSVPs or questions!
Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership 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 email@example.com, 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:
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sun, Dec 17. Habitat Audubon Sanctuary, Belmont - Celebrate the Solstice Walk. Slow-paced nature walk through forests and fields and around pond focusing on plant ID of bare trees, naked shrubs and winter weeds as the natural world prepares for winter. We’ll also talk about fun and interesting natural history of the plants we see. 1:00pm-4:00pm. From Rte 2, Exit 59 go west on Rte 60/Pleasant St. 0.6 miles. Right onto Clifton St, first left on Fletcher Rd, bear left at fork, next left on Juniper Rd. 0.2 miles to Sanctuary at #10 Juniper Rd. Steady rain or heavy snow cancels. L Boot Boutwell.||Mon, Dec 25. Holiday Hike - Lynn Woods, Lynn. 5 miles, Leader's Choice. 9:00am-1:00pm. Bring lunch, H2O, and snacks. Dress for the elements. I-95/Route 128 to Walnut Street exit, 4 miles. From Route 1, Walnut Street exit, 2 miles. Turn left on Pennybrook Road to Western Gate parking lot. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.|
|Mon, Dec 25. Blue Hills Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 4-mi. hike/snowshoe around pond, 10:00am-12:15pm. Bring snack & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 S 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course lot on L. If no snow, bring traction device for boots. L Beth Mosias.||Mon, Dec 25. Foss Farm, Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge, Greenough Land, Carlisle. Easy approx. 4-5 mi. wander through a good birding area with river and pond views, pine forest and red maple swamp. Snowshoe if sufficient snow cover. Meet 10am. Foss Farms parking lot, about 1/3 mi west of Concord River off Rte. 225. From Rte. 128 Exit 31B follow Rtes. 4/225 through Bedford, continuing on Rte. 225 toward Carlisle. Storm cancels. If weather uncertain contact Leader. L Mark Levine.|
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
Residents celebrate, criticize new Cambridge bike lanes (Oct 30, 2017)
PHOTOS: What does MIT have planned for Volpe site? (Oct 25, 2017)
Cambridge City Council OKs MIT plan for Volpe site (Oct 25, 2017)
Cambridge City Council rejects move to delay Volpe vote (Oct 24, 2017)
Construction of new boutique hotel begins in Central Square (Oct 13, 2017)
Ward 3 Precinct 3 polling relocated (Oct 5, 2017)
Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut:
If you would like to be a guest (or co-host) one of these Tuesdays, let me know. - RW
|Episode 275 (Dec 12, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Dec 11 City Council recap, Hubway
|Episode 276 (Dec 12, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: more election-related facts, anticipating the next Council term
|Episode 273 (Dec 5, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Dec 4 City Council recap, curbside compost collection coming
|Episode 274 (Dec 5, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: more election-related facts
|Episode 271 (Nov 28, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Election Data Binge - Part 1, final results, voter turnout, demographics
|Episode 272 (Nov 28, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Election Data Binge - Part 2, fractional transfer, #2 votes, vacancy replacements
|Episode 269 (Nov 14, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Post-Election Notes - Part 1
|Episode 270 (Nov 14, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Post-Election Notes - Part 2
|Episode 267 (Oct 31, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Pre-Election Notes
|Episode 268 (Oct 31, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Pre-Election Notes
|Episode 265 (Oct 24, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Emily Dexter, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
|Episode 266 (Oct 24, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest or Topics: MIT Volpe Petition ordained, Sanders meddles in local affairs
|Episode 263 (Oct 17, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: David Weinstein, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
|Episode 264 (Oct 17, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Elechi Kadete, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
|Episode 261 (Oct 10, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Jake Crutchfield, candidate for Cambridge School Committee
|Episode 262 (Oct 10, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Josh Burgin, candidate for Cambridge City Council
|Episode 259 (Oct 3, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Manny Lusardi, Liaison for Immigrant Affairs (w/Vice-Mayor's Office)
|Episode 260 (Oct 3, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Elections, Harvard Square, Volpe Petition, property taxes
|Episode 257 (Sept 19, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: elections, endorsements, Harvard Square, Sept 18 Council meeting
|Episode 258 (Sept 19, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: School Committee candidate Piotr Mitros
|Episode 255 (Sept 12, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Sept 11 City Council meeting, tax-financed municipal campaigns, Volpe Petition
|Episode 256 (Sept 12, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Volpe Petition, MIT graduate housing, candidate forums, endorsements
|Episode 253 (Aug 29, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Hurricane Harvey and resiliency of cities, the Volpe Petition and a related new petition
|Episode 254 (Aug 29, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: some history of the Plan E Charter and some of the realities of PR elections
|Episode 251 (Aug 22, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Oldtime Baseball, Solar Eclipse, Politics
|Episode 252 (Aug 22, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge Candidate Pages - some history and a request for topics, questionnaires from political organizations
|Episode 249 (Aug 15, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: School Committee cabdidate Fran Cronin
|Episode 250 (Aug 15, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Wil Durbin and the newly ordained Cambridge regulations for short-term rentals
|Episode 247 (Aug 8, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Agenda items from the Aug 7 City Council meeting, especially the ordination of the Short-Term Rental Zoning Petition
|Episode 248 (Aug 8, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Agenda items from the Aug 7 City Council meeting, especially the MIT/Volpe Petition, controversy over segregated bike lanes, and an unsuccessful late effort to place a ballot question on the November ballot regarding publicly funded municipal campaigns
|Episode 245 (Aug 1, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Final list of candidates for Cambridge municipal election, Leland Cheung's decision to not seek reelection
|Episode 246 (Aug 1, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: municipal campaign finance, MIT/Volpe Petition
|Episode 243 (July 25, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Cambridge municipal election and its many candidates as well as some history of Cambridge's PR elections
|Episode 244 (July 25, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: upcoming events and some observations re: Harvard Square activism
|Episode 241 (July 18, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Alanna Mallon, City Council candidate
|Episode 242 (July 18, 2017, 6:00pm)
Guest: Will MacArthur, School Committee candidate
|Episode 239 (July 11, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Nomination papers for Cambridge City Council and School Committee, candidate list - who's on the ballot so far
|Episode 240 (July 11, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Cambridge PR election history (especially the probability of an incumbent being ousted when there are multiple vacancies), and the status of short-term rental regulation
|Episode 237 (June 27, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Paul Toner, City Council candidate
|Episode 238 (June 27, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: June 26 City Council meeting, upcoming events
|Episode 235 (June 20, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Sean Tierney, City Council candidate
|Episode 236 (June 20, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Adriane Musgrave, City Council candidate
Book Release - Building Old Cambridge by Susan E. Maycock and Charles M. Sullivan (published by MIT Press)
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 269-270: Nov 14, 2017 (Post-Election Notes)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 265-266: Oct 24, 2017 (w/guest Emily Dexter)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 263-264: Oct 17, 2017 (w/guests David Weinsten and Elechi Kadete)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 261-262: Oct 10, 2017
(w/guests Jake Crutchfield and Josh Burgin)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 259-260: Oct 3, 2017 (w/guest Manny Lusardi)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 257-258: Sept 19, 2017 (w/guest Piotr Mitros)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 249-250: Aug 15, 2017 (w/guests Fran Cronin and Wil Durbin)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 241-242: July 18, 2017 (w/City Council candidate Alanna Mallon and School Committee candidate Will MacArthur)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 237-238: June 27, 2017 (w/City Council candidate Paul Toner)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 235-236: June 20, 2017 (w/City Council candidates Sean Tierney and Adriane Musgrave)
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.
THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 3. To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]
Thoughts for these times:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
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“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (rwinters.com)
Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”
Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”
Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”
Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”
Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”
Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"