2001 Notes

Final 2000-2001 City Council Scoreboard
Council Orders of Jan 10, 2000 through Dec 17, 2001

Councillor P I R M D C A F
Kathleen Born 53 40 18 18 27 56 9 1
Jim Braude 32 31 15 5 2 19 7 0
Henrietta Davis 77 56 33 46 26 122 43 2
Marjorie Decker 50 46 15 30 14 161 20 3
Anthony Galluccio 30 50 12 21 763 566 174 2
David Maher 29 17 10 31 168 165 7 1
Kenneth E. Reeves 31 21 9 26 43 176 29 2
Michael Sullivan 63 37 28 62 568 380 74 1
Tim Toomey 40 50 10 37 379 199 63 0
Total 255 286 117 251 1289 1589 369 9

Record of City Council Committees for 2000-2001

“Conflict and discord are the bread and butter of politics. Our differences, our debates, our passions, and sometimes our anger often galvanize the public’s attention and make for interesting television on Monday nights. In the last two years I have found that solutions are so much more interesting than problems - solutions to the affordable housing crisis, to the shortage of open space, to traffic and congestion, to discrimination and bias, to hunger and homelessness. Coming to agreement on solutions to the problems we face is ever so much more rewarding than continuing to debate the same issues over and over again.”

“ I believe that we, in the last two years, have proved that we could move beyond the old political labels. We could make coalitions some people would have thought impossible only a decade ago. Even if the Council debates are not as long or loud or angry, and even if they don't make for such exciting TV viewing or newspaper coverage, I believe that most of our citizens would agree with me that this Council of 2000-2001 has left Cambridge a better place to live in and to work in and I want to thank you all for your help in that.”

Kathy Born, December 17, 2001, at her last meeting as a Cambridge City Councillor

School Committee Recount 2001 in Words and Pictures

Thurs, Oct 25 - There was a Special City Council meeting tonight to propose a response to Mass. House Speaker Tommy "Da Boss" Finneran's redistricting plan that would carve Cambridge up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Not only would the plan jeopardize one of the rare districts whose representative for a long while has been a person of color, but the plan might also impact the political aspirations of some of our current city councillors. The Council went into executive session to discuss possible litigation and voted to have the City Law Department draft language for such a lawsuit should the Council choose to pursue this. There are also political avenues being explored to challenge the plan. A map of the proposed districts is available at Jarrett Barrios' website: www.barrios.org.

Late Night News (Oct 15) - The City Council tonight voted 9-0 for the ECPS/Planning Board petition as amended by the Ordinance Committee. Immediately following the ECPS vote, the Council made a statement about the alternate Birk petition filed by the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods (ACN) by unanimously defeating it. What was surprising about the second vote was that normally this other petition would have simply been allowed to quietly expire. The 0-9 vote can only be interpreted as a message of denunciation from the City Council to the ACN for their abusive treatment of elected officials over a span of months, if not years. In this sense, it was a vote long overdue.

Monday, October 15 - The Eastern Cambridge Rezoning process will reach its goal tonight as the City Council votes on the ECPS/Planning Board Petition and, possibly, on the competing Birk Petition filed by a local civic group (ACN). The future of the North Point area (and other parcels in East Cambridge) may well be determined by this vote. Indications are that the Council will give the nod to the ECPS Petition on a unanimous or nearly unanimous vote, though it is possible that a few ideas from the Birk Petition may still find their way into the discussion and into the ordinance. (The Planning Board gave thumbs-down to the Birk Petition.) This vote has been years in the making and essentially completes the rezoning process that has been in the works in one form or another since 1995 (the Pitkin Petition) and earlier.

Though there are still a few zoning matters that remain unsettled, particularly the area covered by the Loose Petition in Riverside, zoning as the defining issue of City Council politics may well fade into memory in the near future, taking its seat beside rent control. One has to wonder whether the only thing left for the Council to debate now will be who's going to turn off the light at the end of the meeting.

On the horizon, should the Community Preservation Act pass on November 6, we can look forward a few years from now to debate on balancing priorities (and funds) between affordable housing, open space acquisition and enhancement, and historic preservation. That will be an interesting battle of good guys vs. good guys - something to look forward to. - Robert Winters

Sat, Oct 13 - This was dedication day for the Mayor Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility at Fresh Pond. The dedication ceremony took place outside the facility under a tent with speeches from various members of the Sullivan family, Councillor David Maher and several people associated with the project. Those present were then invited inside the plant to tour the facility. Everyone was dazzled not only by the state-of the-art technology but by the water system map embedded into the floor of the building with inlaid brass marking all of the water mains of the city. Artist Mags Harries deserves praise for this remarkable piece of work.

Detracting from what would otherwise have been an entirely festive occasion was the fact that nine days earlier a power interruption at the NSTAR distribution center in Chelsea/Everett led to significant damage at the new water treatment plant. Though Cambridge has been enjoying its own high quality, city-produced water since early March, we are now back on MWRA water until the damage can be assessed and repairs completed. It seems certain that some of the design will have to be re-engineered in order that this problem does not occur again in the future. Financial liability for this failure is uncertain at this time, but it does seem clear (to this writer) that the plant's engineering firm (Camp, Dresser, and McKee) must bear some, if not all, of the cost either directly or through their insurers.

One other aspect of the dedication requires some comment. This facility is, above all, a remarkable addition to the long-term infrastructure needs of Cambridge, paid for by all of us and benefiting all of us for many years to come. The official opening of the plant should have been announced broadly and everyone from the public invited. Sadly, this was not the case. This should have been much more than just an occasion to honor former Mayor Sullivan. This is, after all, the single largest capital investment ever by the City of Cambridge.

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