Notice (July 23) - There actually is a mailing list for the Cambridge Civic Journal, but many moons have passed since the last time anything was sent out to the list. Today a test message was sent out to the whole list just to see how many addresses were no longer working and in order to otherwise clean up the list - somewhat motivated by the municipal election on the horizon. If you received the test message and would prefer to not remain on the disribution list or if would like to change your email address, just reply to the message and I'll make the necessary updates. If you're not on the list (or thought you were but did not receive the test message) and would like to be added, you can Subscribe to the CCJ by clicking the highlighted link. The list is completely confidential and will be shared with no one. - Robert Winters
Reminder to all candidates – The deadline for submitting signatures is Monday, July 31 at 5:00pm. The Election Commission office will be open until 8:00pm that day, but the deadline is 5:00pm. Absolutely no exceptions will be made, so get your signatures in early. Do not wait until the last day.
July 21 - More signatures today from David Weinstein and Patty Nolan. Patty has now gathered sufficient signatures to be on the ballot - that makes 20 candidates (out of 30) for City Council and 6 candidates (out of 12) for School Committee who have now submitted the minimum number of required signatures (shown in bold in the table).
July 20 - A group of at least 10 registered voters filed a petition to have a non-binding public opinion question placed on this year's municipal ballot asking if voters will approve of public financing for municipal elections. My personal opinion is that this lies somewhere between frivolous and an attempt to influence this year's City Council and School Committee elections. New candidates don't appear to be having any difficulty at all raising sufficient funds to run a credible campaign and they all have unlimited free access to social media. The Election Commission certified that the required minimum of 10 signatures were filed in support of this petition, and it now will be referred to the City Council and will (presumably) appear on the agenda for the August 7 Midsummer City Council meeting. The City Council can approve of it being placed on the November municipal election ballot, but that has to happen a minimum of 90 days prior to the Nov 7 election. The Council could also disapprove (or someone could presumably delay it via the Charter Right) which would then require the petitioners to instead gather the valid signatures of 10% of registered voters (about 6500 signatures) - a substantial task. They would also have to file the necessary paperwork with the state if they intend to raise or spend any money. The number of days between Aug 7 and Nov 7 is 91 days. The lead petitioner appears to be someone named Adam Strich who was photographed recently carrying a sign that says, in Arabic, "The people want to bring down the regime." Well, as long as we're clear about where the petitioners are coming from.
July 20 - And then there were 30..... We have a new City Council candidate today - Curt Rogers. Kathleen Kelly, Adriane Musgrave, and Olivia D'Ambrosio now have sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot. The Election Commission certified all signatures submitted between July 13 and July 20 at their 5:30pm meeting.
July 19 - No new updates today.
Fun Facts: The most women City Council candidates prior to this year was 7 (in 1993). There are 10 women running for City Council this year.
The first PR election was in 1941 with 83 City Council candidates. Only one of them (Edna Spencer) was a woman.
July 18 - Piotr Flawiusz Mitros pulled papers to run for School Committee. We're now at 29 for Council and 12 for School Committee - at least for the moment. Richard Harding, Josh Burgin, and Dennis Carlone now have sufficient signatures to qualify to be on the City Council ballot.
July 17 - Paul F. Mahoney (who ran in 2015) pulled papers for City Council. Elechi Kadete (who ran in 2015) pulled papers for School Committee.
Late Update: Richard Harding submiited 93 signatures for City Council at 7:59pm.
|Candidates who have pulled nomination papers (as of July 21, 12:00pm)|
|E. Denise Simmons||CC||188 Harvard St. #4B, 02139||10/2/1951||Mayor||50(July 6),46(July 18)||50+40=90||July 3|
|Dan Lenke||CC||148 Richdale Ave., 02140||3/31/1947||-||July 3|
|Sam Gebru||CC||812 Memorial Dr., 02139||11/20/1991||Self-Employed||50(July 3),33(July 3)||45+28=73||July 3|
|Gwen Volmar||CC||13 Ware St. #4, 02138||9/25/1985||University Admin.||70(July 6)||59||July 3|
|Ronald Benjamin||CC||172 Cushing St., 02138||1/5/1971||-||80(July 7)||66||July 3|
|Jeff Santos||CC||350 3rd St. #809, 02142||5/28/1963||Radio Host||83(July5)||79||July 3|
|Paul Toner||CC||24 Newman St., 02140||4/28/1966||Teacher, Lawyer||50(July 6),37(July 7)||49+35=84||July 3|
|Vatsady Sivongxay||CC||59 Kirkland St. #2, 02138||2/20/1982||-||50(July 10),7(July 10)||49+7=56||July 3|
|Marc McGovern||CC||15 Pleasant St., 02139||12/21/1968||Social Worker||99(July 10)||83||July 3|
|Craig Kelley||CC||6 Saint Gerard Terr. #2, 02140||9/18/1962||Politician||86(July 10)||73||July 3|
|Sumbul Siddiqui||CC||530 Windsor Street, 02141||2/10/1988||Attorney||96(July 10)||78||July 3|
|Sean Tierney||CC||12 Prince St., 02139||3/10/1985||Lawyer||49(July 6),28(July 10)||45+25=70||July 3|
|Nadya Okamoto||CC||220 Banks St. #5, 02138||2/11/1998||Student||100(July 10)||86||July 3|
|Quinton Zondervan||CC||235 Cardinal Madeiros Ave., 02141||9/15/1970||Entrepreneur||58(July 13)||54||July 3|
|Michelle Lessly||CC||410 Memorial Dr., 02139||5/12/1983||-||July 3|
|Jan Devereux||CC||255 Lakeview Ave., 02138||5/13/1959||City Councillor||50(July 7),19(July 10)||46+18=64||July 3|
|Richard Harding||CC||189 Windsor St. #1, 02139||10/16/1972||Administration||93(July 17)||78||July 3|
|Alanna Mallon||CC||3 Maple Ave., 02139||12/6/1970||Nonprofit Admin.||99(July 10)||93||July 5|
|Josh Burgin||CC||812 Memorial Drive, 02139||2/7/1976||-||33(July 13),32(July 18)||29+29=58||July 5|
|Dennis Carlone||CC||9 Washington St. #6, 02140||5/7/1947||Architect||70(July 18)||68||July 5|
|Adriane Musgrave||CC||5 Newport Rd. #1, 02140||10/14/1985||-||50(July 17),14(July 20)||44+13=57||July 5|
|Timothy J. Toomey||CC||88 6th St., 02141||6/7/1953||City Councillor||July 5|
|Bryan Sutton||CC||764 Cambridge St. #6, 02141||5/19/1982||Management||July 5|
|Gregg Moree||CC||25 Fairfield St. #4, 02140||6/16/1957||perennial candidate||July 6|
|Leland Cheung||CC||157 Garden St., 02138||2/11/1978||City Councillor||July 10|
|Olivia D'Ambrosio||CC||270 3rd Street #305, 02142||9/13/1983||Theatre Artist||64(July 20)||56||July 10|
|David J. Stern||CC||50 Follen St. #516, 02138||5/10/1952||-||July 11|
|Ilan Levy||CC||148 Spring St. 02141||11/1/1967||Software Engineer||July 11|
|Paul F. Mahoney||CC||23 Lawn St., 02138||5/8/1950||-||July 17|
|Curt Rogers||CC||8 Austin Pk., 02139||5/21/1962||Administrator||July 20|
|Jake Crutchfield||SC||281 River St. #1, 01239||3/31/1987||Teacher||50(July 3),38(July 6)||35+34=69||July 3|
|Will MacArthur||SC||18 Shea Rd., 02140||5/24/1998||Student||50(July 5),35(July 11)||40+30=70||July 3|
|Fred Fantini||SC||4 Canal Park #203, 02141||6/8/1949||Retired||47(July 6),42(July 10),11(July 11)||47+41+11=99||July 3|
|Richard Harding||SC||189 Windsor St. #1, 02139||10/16/1972||Administration||July 3|
|Mannika Bowman||SC||134 Reed St., 02140||11/27/1979||-||100(July 10)||92||July 5|
|Fran Albin Cronin||SC||1 Kimball Ln., 02140||2/14/1952||Aide||July 5|
|Patty Nolan||SC||184 Huron Ave., 02138||8/28/1957||School Committee||44(July 14),24(July 20)||42+22=64||July 5|
|Laurance Kimbrough||SC||24 Aberdeen Ave., 02138||7/3/1979||Educator||July 6|
|Kathleen Kelly||SC||17 Marie Ave. #1, 02139||3/8/1960||Social Worker||69(July 20)||65||July 10|
|David J. Weinstein||SC||45 S. Normandy Ave., 02138||12/10/1972||Writer/Comm.||49(July 21)||45||July 13|
|Emily Dexter||SC||9 Fenno St., 02138||3/16/1957||Research||July 13|
|Elechi Kadete||SC||10 Laurel St. #4, 02139||9/30/1989||Accountant||50(July 20)||40||July 17|
|Piotr Flawiusz Mitros||SC||9 Michael Way, 02141||3/6/1979||Engineer||July 18|
Signatures are unofficially certified by Election Commission staff pending approval by Election Commission.
July 15 - Having now heard it from a number of reliable sources, it's pretty safe to now say that Richard Harding will soon be submitting signatures for City Council and not for School Committee. The Cambridge Candidate Pages have been updated to reflect this.
July 14 - No new candidates today, but Quinton Zondervan reached the threshold and is now on the City Council ballot.
July 13 - Emily Dexter pulled papers for School Committee which now accounts for all known candidates (which doesn't mean there won't be more). David J. Weinstein also pulled papers today for Cambridge School Committee. He was a candidate in 2015.
July 12 - The Election Commission met and officially certified all candidates who had submitted at least the minimum 50 valid signatures through July 12.
July 12 - No new candidates so far today, but Will MacArthur reached the threshold and is now on the School Committee ballot.
July 12 - Gwen Volmar issued a press release with some relevant information about her candidacy.
July 11 - Ilan Levy pulled papers today for City Council.
July 11 - We have a new City Council candidate: David J. Stern.
July 10 - Emily Dexter is having a Campaign Kick-Off party on Wednesday, July 26, 6-8pm at Asgard's Pub, 350 Mass Ave.
July 7 - Fran Cronin's campaign issued a press release regarding "More Early Childhood Education in Cambridge".
July 6 - Perennial candidate Gregg Moree has pulled papers for City Council.
July 5 - Five more candidates pulled nomination papers for City Council (including Tim Toomey) for a total of 23 (including Richard Harding who pulled papers for both races). Three more candidates pulled papers for School Committee for a total of 7 so far.
July 3 - School Committee candidate Will MacArthur hosted a "Picnic & Politics" event at Danehy Park. In attendance were School Committee candidates Will MacArthur, Laurance Kimbrough and Emily Dexter as well as City Council candidates Craig A. Kelley, Alanna Mallon, Marc McGovern, Jeff Santos, Sumbul Siddiqui, Sean Tierney, and Quinton Zondervan. That's 10 candidates in all - pretty impressive!
July 3 - Municipal Election Nomination Papers available at Election Commission office from 8:30am to 8:00pm. Nomination papers will be available through the July 31 submission deadline during regular Election Commission hours. A minimum of 50 valid signatures must be filed and a candidate may submit up to 100 signatures. Once a voter's signature has been recorded for a particular candidate, it cannot be used for another candidate in the same race. That is, a voter should sign for exactly one candidate for City Council and one candidate for School Committee.
July 3 - Richard Harding has pulled papers for both City Council and School Committee. This is not the first time he's done that. He also pulled papers for both races in 2009 but only gathered signatures for School Committee.
July 3 - We have a new candidate for School Committee: Jake Crutchfield (who also ran in 2015)
A press release is included on Jake's Candidate Page.
July 1 - Paul Toner has picked up several union endorsements.
June 30 - And then there were 23. Bryan Sutton has filed papers with the Commonwealth to be a City Council candidate.
June 29 - Josh Burgin has filed papers with the Commonwealth to be a City Council candidate.
June 26 - Ilan Levy will apparently again be a City Council candidate.
June 22 - Fran Cronin will be hosting an issue forum on Tues, June 27 starting at 6:00pm at Atwood's Tavern (877 Cambridge St.).
June 21 - Marc McGovern has posted a re-election announcement.
June 21 - Denise Simmons has formally announced her reelection campaign and the date of her Campaign Kickoff (July 13).
June 21 - Paul Toner has hired Hannagh Jacobsen as Campaign Manager and has received the endorsement of Mass Retirees.
June 20 - Adriane Musgrave will have her campaign kickoff on Sat, June 24 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at Christopher's in Porter Square.
June 18 - No new candidates to report, but at what point does calling oneself a "progressive" in an election where all candidates are "progressive" render the term completely meaningless?
June 10 - We have a new City Council candidate: Gwen Volmar
June 9 - We have a new School Committee candidate: Laurance Kimbrough
June 7 - We have a new City Council candidate: Jeff Santos
The following City Council candidates have either had or scheduled a campaign kickoff event, announced their candidacy, or submitted sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot (22): Ron Benjamin, Josh Burgin, Dennis Carlone, Olivia D'Ambrosio, Jan Devereux, Sam Gebru, Richard Harding, Jr., Craig A. Kelley, Ilan Levy, Alanna Mallon, Marc McGovern, Gregg Moree, Adriane Musgrave, Nadya Okamoto, Jeff Santos, Sumbul Siddiqui, Denise Simmons, Vatsady Sivongxay, Sean Tierney, Paul Toner, Gwen Volmar, and Quinton Zondervan.
The following individuals have not yet formally announced their candidacy but are expected to be City Council candidates and have pulled papers (8): Leland Cheung, Dan Lenke, Michelle Lessly, Paul F. Mahoney, Curt Rogers, David J. Stern, Bryan Sutton, and Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.
The following School Committee candidates have either had or scheduled a campaign kickoff event, formally announced their candidacy, or submitted sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot (9): Manikka Bowman, Fran Cronin, Jake Crutchfield, Emily Dexter, Alfred B. Fantini, Kathleen Kelly, Laurance Kimbrough, Will MacArthur, and Patricia M. Nolan.
The following individuals have not yet formally announced their candidacy but are expected to be School Committee candidates and have pulled papers (3): Elechi Kadete, Piotr Flawiusz Mitros, and David J. Weinstein.
2017 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums
[Note: Only events open to the general public (with or without RSVP) will be listed.]
|Campaign Finance Summaries - City Council 2017 (updated July 21, 4:05pm)|
|Mahoney, Paul F.||1-Jan-17||30-Jun-17||2424.49||0.00||149.71||2274.78||5-Jul-17|
|Stern, David J.||11-Jul-17||11-Jul-17||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||11-Jul-17|
Campaign Finance Reports - 2017 City Council (updated July 20, 10:35pm)
|Campaign Contributions (2017) - Total Receipts and Cambridge Receipts
(updated July 23, 2:00pm)
|Candidate||ID||Total Receipts||Cambridge Receipts||Percent Cambridge|
|Mahoney, Paul F.||16174||$0.00||$0.00||-|
|Stern, David J.||--||$0.00||$0.00||-|
Cambridge City Manager Announces New Police Commissioner
Branville G. Bard Jr. of Philadelphia, PA Selected
July 13, 2017 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale today announced that Branville G. Bard, Jr. has been selected as Cambridge's Police Commissioner.
"I am pleased to appoint Mr. Bard as our next Police Commissioner. He has a proven track record and will be a strong leader for our 21st-century Police Department," City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said. "I am confident that under Mr. Bard's leadership, the Cambridge Police Department (CPD) will continue growing its commitment to community policing, crime prevention, cultural awareness and sensitivity, department-wide equity and inclusiveness, procedural justice, and visionary, effective, and strong police leadership."
Bard currently serves as the Chief of Police and the Director of Public Safety for the Philadelphia Housing Authority's Police Department. Prior to this, he served in numerous positions for the Philadelphia Police Department, including Police Inspector, and Police Captain for the 22nd District. Bard holds a Doctorate in Public Administration from Valdosta State University. Bard's contract is for 3 years with a starting salary of $210,125 ($205,000 base salary with a 2.5% cost of living increase that went into effect July 1). His first official day as Commissioner is August 21.
"It is a tremendous honor to be appointed as the next Commissioner of the Cambridge Police Department," Bard said. "This is a nationally regarded and accomplished department and I am committed to building on the success of CPD's talented and established personnel, programs and collaborations."
"I am pleased that we were able to involve so many people in the Commissioner search process and that the public was able to hear directly from Mr. Bard during the process," City Manager DePasquale said "I hope the entire community will join me in welcoming incoming Commissioner Bard and I look forward to introducing him to the community in the coming months."
July 12 - Apparently SeeClickFix (a.k.a. Commonwealth Connect) that the City uses to manage complaints and suggestions is subject to censorship if you express a valid point of view that differs from one of its moderators (and I have no idea who gets to be the moderators). Welcome to the New Cambridge where differing points of view are not tolerated. - RW
July 10 - I attended a meeting of the Harvard Square Advisory Committee tonight who were discussing a proposal for an over-the-counter restaurant that would take over the space that was once Nini's Corner and the adjacent storefront at 8 Brattle Street. Except for one relic on the Advisory Committee, their discussion was reasonable. However, in attendance and making comment were a number of people who made it quite clear that snobbery is alive and well in Harvard Square.
July 11 update - The Cambridge Planning Board unanimously voted to allow the &pizza (and Milk Bar) Special Permit application for 8 Brattle St. to go back to the Board of Zoning Appeals for review and a possible re-vote on the application.
Members Sought for Historic and Neighborhood Conservation District Commissions
July 5, 2017 – Cambridge City Manager Louis DePasquale is seeking to fill vacancies for members and alternate members on the Cambridge Historical Commission, Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) Commission, Half Crown-Marsh NCD Commission and Mid Cambridge NCD Commission.
The Cambridge Historical Commission, a body of seven members and three alternates, establishes historic preservation policy for the city and administers two historic districts, the Harvard Square Conservation District, the citywide landmark and demolition ordinances, and the preservation grant program for rehabilitation assistance.
Neighborhood Conservation Districts were established by City ordinance beginning in 1983. NCD designation recognizes the particular design qualities of distinctive neighborhoods and encourages their protection and maintenance for the benefit of the entire city. The three NCD commissions in Cambridge each include five members and three alternates. Most members must be residents of the neighborhoods. More information and maps of the Avon Hill, Half Crown-Marsh, and Mid Cambridge NCDs are available at cambridgema.gov/historic/districtsHistoricProperties/districtsmap.
Each of the four volunteer commissions meets monthly. All are supported by the professional staff of the Historical Commission. Applicants should have an interest in architecture, local history or neighborhood preservation and be committed to protecting the historic resources and built environment of the City. Appointments to the Commission are made by the City Manager with regard to a diversity of viewpoints. Minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.
Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the city’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply and selecting the relevant commission(s). A cover letter and résumé or summary of applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, August 14, 2017.
City Manager Seeks Members for Vacancies on the Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship (CIRC)
July 5, 2017 – Cambridge City Manager Louis DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship (CIRC).
The Commission consists of 11 volunteer members, who are appointed by the City Manager, following an application and interview process. The term of the appointment is three years. Commissioners are expected to be knowledgeable about immigrant rights and citizenship and must be residents of Cambridge. It is desirable for this Commission to be fully representative of the diverse Cambridge community.
Cambridge welcomes immigrants and wants to encourage their success and access to opportunity and advancement in this country. It will be a goal of this Commission to get the message of welcome out, through collaboration with organizations that already provide services and outreach to our immigrant community.
The Commission will act as a centralizing organization in Cambridge, to address immigrant rights and citizenship issues through providing information, referral, guidance, coordination and technical assistance to other public agencies and private persons, organizations and institutions engaged in activities and programs intended to support immigrant rights and citizenship.
Commissioners are expected to work with other members of the Commission and staff to fulfill the goals and objectives of the Cambridge Commission on Immigrant Rights and Citizenship Ordinance (CMC Chapter 2.123).
Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the city’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and résumé or summary of applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, August 14, 2017.
July 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 1pm
Join other stewardship-minded volunteers in caretaking the native plant restoration area next to Lusitania Meadow, and learn about the diversity of native plant life! We seek dedicated participants who enjoy camaraderie and hard work that includes weeding, pruning, planting, watering new plantings, hauling wood chips and moving logs. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come, and for more information.
|Fresh Pond Stewards: Wake Up and Weed!
Dates: Thursdays in July, 10am to 12 noon
Place: The volunteer trailer in the front parking lot
Join our weed-warrior crew! We are Fresh Pond citizens dedicated to keeping invasive plants at bay for the benefit of wildlife, water and humans alike. No experience or long-term commitment necessary! All tools are provided; sturdy shoes, pants, long-sleeves and a water bottle are strongly recommended. Meets at the volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot.
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.
Curious about the construction that's happening on the Reservation across from the Tobin school?
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Fri, July 21. Harborwalk and North End, Boston. Leisurely 4-mile walk along waterfront of downtown Boston and through hidden streets and alleyways of North End, including stops at Italian food shops, 6:30-9:00pm. 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, July 22. Noanet Woodlands, Dover. Approx. 7mi. hike with ponds and views. 9am-1pm. Bring lunch/water and sturdy footwear. From Needham center take Chestnut St. for 1.5mi. to end. Bear right on Dedham St. & go 1.5mi. to parking lot on left at the tennis courts in Caryl Park. Rain cancels. L Henry Gardner.|
|Sat, Aug 5. Blue Hills, Ponkapoag Pond. 4 mi. beat-the-heat hike, 7:00am-9:00am. Bring snack/water. I-93/Rte 128 exit 2A to Rte.138S for 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course pkg. lot on L. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sun, Aug 20. Blue Hills, Milton. 9am-Noon. Join us when the Boston and Southeast MA Chapters team up for a Skyline Loop hike. Moderate pace, on steep hills and rocky trails. Not for beginners. Visit the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory. Bring snacks and water. Sturdy foot wear. Rain cancels. Meet at Reservation Headquarters on Hillside St. Questions? Contact one of the leaders. Ls Ken Cohen, Lisa Fleischman. [www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-south/blue-hills-reservation.html]|
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
Comm. Ave. Bridge project: What it means to Cambridge (July 18, 2017)
What to do when you encounter wildlife in Cambridge (July 17, 2017 by Abigail Simon)
Police: Cambridge man knocked out, hospitalized after stealing phone (July 14, 2017 by Amy Saltzman) - then watch this video
Planning Board lets Harvard Square pizzeria application move forward (July 12, 2017 by Rob Carter)
Harvard Square group gives boost to &Pizza plans (July 11, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Diaries reveal 18th century life in Cambridge (July 7, 2017 by Betsy Levinson)
Proposed Cambridge Airbnb regulations headed for City Council vote (July 6, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
A gem polished in Cambridge (July 5, 2017 by Lisa Cerquiera)
Arlington, Cambridge officials see ways to improve transportation on Mass. Ave. (July 3, 2017 by Bram Berkowitz)
PHOTOS: MIT’s vision for a redeveloped Volpe site (June 30, 2017)
Community gives feedback to MIT on Volpe Center plans (June 30, 2017 by Rob J. Carter)
Cambridge investigating affordable housing on divinity school land (June 27, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Cambridge City Council seeking faster roll-out of protected bike lanes (June 27, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
To help struggling small businesses, Cambridge looks into reforms (June 15, 2017 by Jill Jaracz)
Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust to step down (June 14 by Abigail Simon)
‘Millionaire tax’ makes it to the 2018 ballot (with interactive map) (Jun 14, 2017 by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service)
Cambridge councillors call for action on ‘worthless’ liquor licenses (June 13, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
City, developer commit $6M to improve transit in Kendall Square (June 12, 2017 by Betsy Levinson)
PHOTOS: Cambridge Rindge and Latin Class of 2017 graduates (June 9, 2017)
‘Cambridge in your DNA:’ Rindge graduates encouraged to teach, give back (June 9, 2017 by Linda Kush)
‘We know there were witnesses:’ DA calls on public to help solve teen’s murder (June 5, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
PHOTOS: River Fest takes over East Cambridge waterfront (June 5, 2017)
Cambridge joins area towns to forge own path against climate change (June 5, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Family-run flower shop in Kendall Square celebrates 75 years (June 2, 2017 by Lisa Cerqueira)
Cambridge awards record $210K in scholarships (June 2, 2017)
Cambridge launches new plan for Foundry Building (June 1, 2017)
Questions, questions, questions..... (updated July 4, 2017 - revised from original posted in July 2013)
Question #1: What, if any, relationship is there between the number of City Council vacancies and the number of new candidates elected? As of July 4, there will be two City Council vacancies (two incumbents who are not seeking reelection) in the election this November, and people are asking what this might foretell. The basic answer is that there are too many other factors in play. There have been elections with no vacancies and 4 challengers elected, and there have been elections where the existence of vacancies has had no effect on the incumbents. It is, however, more common than not that the number of newly elected candidates exceeds the number of vacancies. See the table below.
Question #2: How does the candidate who gets the most #1 votes fare in the next election? Generally, if you're the "top dog" in one election, you will almost certainly do well in the next election, though there are two notable exceptions for City Council and several for School Committee. A "top dog" has never been defeated in the next election. See the table below for how well the previous "top dog" fared in the next election.
|Cambridge City Council Elections|
|Year||Vacancies||Newly elected||Most #1 votes in prev. election||Rank in #1 votes in election|
|1945||3||5||John H. Corcoran||died in office|
|1947||0||2||John D. Lynch||1st|
|1949||2||3||John D. Lynch||4th|
|1951||0||1||Edward A. Crane||1st|
|1953||0||2||Edward A. Crane||3rd|
|1959||1||2||Edward Sullivan||did not run|
|1989||3||4||David Sullivan||did not run|
|1993||2||3||Alice Wolf||did not run|
|2007||1||1||Anthony Galluccio||did not run|
|2017||2||??||Nadeem Mazen||did not run|
In 27 of 37 City Council elections, the number of challengers elected exceeded the number of vacancies.
In 8 elections in which there were 2 vacancies, an incumbent was defeated in 6 of these elections.
|Cambridge School Committee Elections|
|Year||Vacancies||Newly elected||Most #1 votes in previous election||Rank in #1 votes in election|
|1943||2||3||James Cassidy||did not run|
|1945||2||2||Cora B. Conant||1st|
|1947||2||3||Cora B. Conant||did not run|
|1949||2||3||Bradley Dewey||did not run|
|1951||2||2||James Cassidy||did not run|
|1953||3||3||Pearl K. Wise||1st|
|1955||4||5||Pearl K. Wise||did not run|
|1959||2||2||Judson Shaplin||did not run|
|1961||3||3||William Barnes||did not run|
|1973||2||2||David Wylie||did not run|
|1981||2||2||Alice Wolf||did not run|
|1983||1||2||Sara Mae Berman||did not run|
|1989||1||1||Tim Toomey||did not run|
|1991||2||2||Frances Cooper||did not run|
|1995||1||2||Henrietta Davis||did not run|
In 21 of 37 School Committee elections, the number of challengers elected exceeded the number of vacancies.
In 11 elections in which there was 1 vacancy, an incumbent was defeated in 10 of these elections.
In 16 elections in which there were 2 vacancies, an incumbent was defeated in only 4 of these elections.
Here Comes Summer - Featured Attractions for the June 26, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
The City Council goes on Summer Vacation after this meeting except for what will likely be a fun-filled Midsummer Meeting on August 7. Here are a few items that drew my attention this week:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-31, regarding a report on the status of the Community Garden program.
This is useful information. However, any property owner can make space available for gardeners - residential property owners, institutional owners, and others. Even the narrowest strips of land can be gardened. Some of the best community gardens in Cambridge have been on private property.
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-6, regarding an analysis and evaluation of "pop up" bicycle lanes.
Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to work with the appropriate City departments to accelerate the planning and installation of two or more protected bike lanes by September, to produce a plan by October 2017 for the roll-out of protected bike lanes on all major city thoroughfares, to ensure that the Bike Plan recommendations are fully implemented on all road projects, and that additional infrastructure changes to provide for safety are implemented when possible. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor McGovern
First, don't count on there being any actual analysis and evaluation of the "pop up" bicycle lanes. Unless there's a fatality in one of them they'll remain regardless how dysfunctional or unnecessary thay may be. As for this latest Council order on the subject, I'm now finally starting to get a sense of what the word "progressive" really means - pushing through changes with minimal analysis and without consulting those affected under the belief that they will one day agree with you. In other words - the opposite of actual democracy. There is a place for segregated bike paths - primarily along arterial roadways, but there are plenty of reasons why they are not ideal for streets with many cross streets and driveways. They also send the rather clear message that cyclists are not welcome on the road and they should stay on the sidewalk like obedient children.
Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the Street Performers Ordinance as well as Arts Council staffing and programming.
Not much to say here - just interesting information.
Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 17-46, 17-47, 17-48 and 17-49, short term rentals.
The regulation of short term rentals has become the central legislative theme for this year. There will be at least one more Ordinance Committee meeting to refine things, and ordination is expected at the Midsummer meeting (August 7).
Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an amendment to the City’s previous submission of a Home Rule Petition to the Legislature whereby I requested authorization to include in the planned reconstruction (the “Project”) of the King Open / Cambridge Street Upper School and Community Complex (“KOCSUS”) the area that is presently occupied by the public swimming pool known as the Gold Star Pool (the “Pool Site”) and to construct subsurface geothermal wells in a portion of Donnelly Field that lies directly along and adjacent to the current southerly boundary of the KOCSUS site.
Again, not much to say here - just interesting information.
Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Affordable Housing Trust with the view in mind of immediately contacting the Episcopal Divinity School to begin negotiations for the purchase of 8-acre Episcopal Divinity School site for construction of critically needed affordable housing units including single occupancy spaces and middle income housing, particularly housing for eligible Cambridge residents, families, starter apartments for young adults, veterans, homeless and seniors who have been displaced. [Charter Right exercised by Vice Mayor McGovern on June 19, 2017.]
It's very unlike that any portion of this site will become available for subsidized housing - for a variety of reasons. It is, however, fun to listen to the well-heeled activists come up with creative ways to oppose it while still trying to look like high-minded progressives. For this, thank you Councillor Toomey for filing the Order.
Unfinished Business #10. An amendment to the Municipal Code Ordinance that Title 8 entitled “Health and Safety” be amended by adding a new Chapter 8.69 entitled “Running Bamboo Ordinance.” The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after June 26, 2017.
Perhaps this will be ordained at this meeting. My only question is: "What will the Cambridge City Council ban next?"
Applications & Petitions #2. A rezoning petition has been received from MIT/GSA Volpe to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance by adding a new Section 13.90 to Article 13.000 and amend the Zoning Map to add new PUD-7 District.
Committee Report #2. 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 June 7, 2017 to have a general discussion to receive an update on the planning that has been going on for the Volpe Project. [appended materials]
This has been a long time coming. If you want to learn more and participate, MIT is hosting a workshop on Thurs, June 29 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the Kendall Marriott hotel. There will be plenty of other opportunities in the future to be heard.
Order #1. City Council support of Massachusetts House of Representatives bill H.3542, legislation to establish a Massachusetts Infrastructure Bank designed to encourage borrowing and facilitate growth for municipalities. Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen, Councillor Devereux
It's an interesting idea, but my sense is that it would make more sense for municipalities facing far greater challenges and with fewer resources than Cambridge. Our AAA bond rating has its advantages.
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested work with the Department of Public Works and the Cambridge Arts Council to formally review the use of the Fern Street path as currently designed and consider options to ensure that the path functions as a safe, shared bicycle and pedestrian path and to work with the Department of Public Works to consider whether it is appropriate and feasible for a skateboarding feature to be included at Danehy Park. Councillor Devereux
The planners delivered a skate park that was never mentioned when they were selling the concept to neighbors as an artsy bike path.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with Department of Public Works and Cambridge Fire Department (CFD) staff and other relevant City officials to determine if new facilities are needed by either DPW or CFD to best carry out their respective missions in the future and, if so, what type of facilities they would need and how much space that would require and where they might possibly be located. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey, Vice Mayor McGovern
This is an important matter that has to be explored, but sufficiently large sites are disappearing fast - especially in parts of the city where access to and from the site can be done efficiently.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on May 17, 2017 to discuss updates and data collected thus far for the Retail Strategic Plan, and other matters pertaining to the Study. [appended materials]
This continues to be an interesting topic both in the committee and as part of the Envision Cambridge process. That said, the City doesn't control economics or consumer habits, so the best we can do will always be a good guess. - Robert Winters
June 21, 2017 – MIT today has filed its Volpe rezoning petition. An MIT News Office article provides background on the proposal and a link to the zoning petition. [message from Sarah Gallop, Co-Director, MIT Office of Government and Community Relations]
[Boston Globe article (June 21)] [text of the petition]
Almost Summer - June 19, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights
As is often the case, a packed agenda is followed by a light agenda. Here are a few items of possible interest on this relatively lean menu:
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and any other appropriate City departments on the feasibility and cost of installing computerized traffic signals along the City’s main corridors. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen
This Order could easily have been written 40 years ago when the issue wasn't climate change so much as air quality. Back then a number of two-way streets were made one-way in order to move traffic through more quickly. I might argue that some of those one-way streets should be restored to two-way so that desirable routes can be made less circuitous. [Word has it that the Prospect Street bridge to Union Square, Somerville may be restored to two-way traffic - a good idea, in my opinion.] Of course all the best technology will still not resolve the problem of intersections with heavy traffic on both streets. Shorter or longer signal cycles won't change the average throughput for an F-rated intersection when traffic is queued up in both directions.
Order #3. That the matter of reviewing the placement of the Committee Reports section within the City Council agenda be referred to the Rules Committee for consideration. Councillor Cheung, Councillor Kelley
There is a certain logic in doing this consistent with Robert's Rules of Order. One could argue that Committee Reports are more in line with "Old Business" and City Council Orders are really "New Business", and Old Business is generally taken up before New Business.
Order #5. City Council opposition to dismantling of the Dodd-Frank reforms that were put into place following the 2007-2010 Great Recession. Councillor Carlone
The race is on to see which City Council candidates will most effectively associate themselves with national politics in this election year. There's plenty of red meat to work with - even though the City Council has close to zero influence in national and international affairs.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Affordable Housing Trust with the view in mind of immediately contacting the Episcopal Divinity School to begin negotiations for the purchase of 8-acre Episcopal Divinity School site for construction of critically needed affordable housing units including single occupancy spaces and middle income housing, particularly housing for eligible Cambridge residents, families, starter apartments for young adults, veterans, homeless and seniors who have been displaced. Councillor Toomey
A few years ago it was Shady Hill Square and a call to pack subsidized housing into the middle of that Square just to stick it to the residents who wanted to preserve the open space that was part of the original design of this group of buildings when built. Now the call is to insert subsidized housing into a parcel facing Brattle Street with land values somewhere in the stratosphere. It's hard to interpret this as anything other than a statement sticking it to Brattle Street just because it's Brattle Street.
Order #7. That the City Council go on record opposing H.R.38 and S.446, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, and calls on its representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to vote against these bills, and to work with their colleagues to oppose these bills. Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern
See Order #5 above. That said, the lunatics are clearly running the Congressional asylum if they really believe that gun-toting dudes from the deepest red states should have license to pack heat in Massachusetts just because they come from or simply visited a wacky state in order to get a gun and a license. Even some bars in the Wild West required patrons to check their weapons at the door.
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 May 30, 2017 to discuss the role of police officers in the community, the installation of a police substation in Central Square and the stationing of a uniformed police officer in City Hall.
Though I like the idea of having a police officer in the vicinity of City Hall, I really don't think the best use of highly-trained police is to serve as professional greeters. Regarding the installation of a police substation in Central Square, this would only make sense if done as a multi-purpose storefront location for police, MBTA workers, public information, and a public bathroom. That, of course, would require coordination among different agencies, so it will never happen. - Robert Winters
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 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
|Episode 233 (June 13, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: civic updates, electricity aggregation program, new municipal election candidates, and more
|Episode 234 (June 13, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: City Council wrapup, short-term rentals, liquor licenses
|Episode 231 - (June 6, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topic: June 5 City Council Roundtable meeting on Envision Cambridge - Alewife
|Episode 232 (June 6, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Envision Cambridge Roundtable; Mass. Democratic party platform; short-term rental regulation
|Episode 229 (May 23, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: ranked choice voting advocacy in Cambridge and elsewhere in Massachusetts; the role of City Council committees vs. unofficial (and not especially public) working groups
|Episode 230 (May 23, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: May 22 City Council meeting, affordable housing in Somerville, short-term rentals and more
|Episode 227 (May 16, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials] with Patrick Barrett
Topics: Cambridge politics and the municipal election [audio]
|Episode 228 (May 16, 2017, 6:00pm) with Patrick Barrett
Topics: City Council candidates, their political bases, and their viability [audio]
|Episode 225 (May 9, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials] with Patrick Barrett
Topics: death of former City Councillor Bob Moncrieff, vacancies on the Central Square and Harvard Square Advisory Committees, Participatory Budgeting, the Outstanding City Employee Awards
|Episode 226 (May 9, 2017, 6:00pm) with Patrick Barrett
Topics: Misbehavior of a city councillor at last week's Budget Hearing; this week's Budget Hearings; the AirBnB Question; and the issue of long-term vacant properties and how best to deal with them.
|Episode 223 (May 2, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: 2017 municipal election and some recent developments in the field of candidates
|Episode 224 (May 2, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: FY2018 Budget Hearings, Ranked Choice Voting in Cambridge and elsewhere
|Episode 221 (Apr 25, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: drawn from Apr 24 Cambridge City Council meeting, including the FY2018 Budget and the proposed Surveillance Ordinance
|Episode 222 (Apr 25, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Envision Cambridge Working Groups and general concerns about long-term planning
|Episode 219 (Apr 18, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Women in Comedy, Cambridge Science Festival, and more
|Episode 220 (Apr 18, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Mass. Turnpike Realignment and other infrastructure
|Episode 217 (Apr 4, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: national issues & municipal politics; City Council order calling for impeachment of the President, upcoming civic and other opportunities
|Episode 218 (Apr 4, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics chosen from the Apr 3 City Council meeting, including discussion of police presence in City Hall and Central Square; updates on municipal election candidates
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 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 227-228: May 16, 2017 (w/Patrick Barrett)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 225-226: May 9, 2017 (w/Patrick Barrett)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2016 featured co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]
Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 3. To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail email@example.com for more details.
Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]
Thoughts for these times:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
Subscribe to the Cambridge Civic Journal.
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“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (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"