Cambridge City Council meeting - May 13, 2019 - AGENDA
CITY MANAGER'S AGENDA
1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-132, regarding consulting with the City of Somerville relative to proposed traffic circulation and urban design changes in Davis Square and to better understand the impact that these changes might have on Cambridge.
Placed on File
2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $2,500, donated from the Carl Barron Awards for Administrative Excellence to the Fire Department Grant Fund Other Ordinary Maintenance account.
Order Adopted 9-0
3. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $100,800 from Free Cash to the General Fund Fire Department Other Ordinary Maintenance account to cover the cost of equipment and screening for 10 new firefighters.
Order Adopted 9-0
4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-139, regarding the possibility of planting a tree at the corner of Inman Street and Massachusetts Avenue, directly in front of City Hall.
Placed on File
May 8th, 2019
To: Louie DePasquale, City Manager,
From: Owen O’ Riordan, Commissioner DPW
Re Awaiting Report 18-139: Possibility of planting a substantial-sized tree at the corner of Inman Street and Massachusetts Avenue, directly in front of City Hall.
In response to the above awaiting report, the Department of Public Works proposes to plant a number of trees on the eastern side of City Hall; in the Lawn area, on the Inman Street side of the building.
There are a number of reasons associated with not placing a tree immediately in front of City Hall on the eastern lawn: Firstly, there are a number of drainage, sewer and electrical utilities, together with a structural infiltration system directly under the front lawn in question. Such present a challenge in trying to site a tree in this location. Additionally, over the last number of years, the area on the east lawn in front of City Hall has become an increasingly popular with families and neighbors who enjoy the afternoon and evening sun. Finally, there are concerns that the planting of an additional tree in front of a landmark building would obscure the view of City Hall and detract from the restoration of the landscaping that occurred during the 2000s.
There are no trees on the street between Dotty Doyle Way and Massachusetts Avenue due to both the narrowness of the sidewalks and the extent to which there are utilities running under those spaces. We propose planting one shade tree (tulip) adjacent to the front corner on the Inman side of the building together with three flowering trees (Serviceberry) in the sloped area between the retaining wall and the edge of the building along the Inman Street edge.
5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the City of Cambridge Getting to Net Zero Action Plan Fiscal Year 2018 Progress Report.
Referred to Health & Environment Committee
1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to proposed amendments to the following ordinance: and proposed amendments to Chapter 14.04 of the Cambridge Municipal Code (the “Fair Housing Ordinance”). Fair Housing (passed to a 2nd reading) [AWAITING HOME RULE LEGISLATION-BEFORE PROPOSAL CAN BE ORDAINED]
2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-108, regarding a report on offering early voting in City Council and School Committee Elections. [PENDING RESPONSE FROM LEGISLATURE]
3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance. [ON OR AFTER APR 22, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED]
4. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $3,000,000 to provide funds for the Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan. [ON OR AFTER MAY 6, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ADOPTION]
5. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $800,000 to provide funds for various Schools for repairs to entrance doors, upgrade of energy management software, replacement of analog phone system with the voice over internet protocol (VOIP), and the replacement of an emergency generator. [ON OR AFTER MAY 6, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ADOPTION]
6. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $20,500,000 to provide funds for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the Alewife area. [ON OR AFTER MAY 6, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ADOPTION]
7. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks. [ON OR AFTER MAY 6, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ADOPTION]
8. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $10,000,000 to provide funds for the construction of improvements at City Hall. [ON OR AFTER MAY 6, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ADOPTION]
9. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $22,000,000 to provide funds for the construction of improvements at the Fire Station Headquarters Building located at 491 Broadway. [ON OR AFTER MAY 6, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ADOPTION[
10. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,000,000 to provide design and construction of Eliot Street between JFK St. and Brattle St. which is a continuation of the Harvard Square Kiosk and Plaza and Surface Enhancement project. [ON OR AFTER MAY 6, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ADOPTION]
11. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation and authorization to borrow $10,000,000 to provide funds for the design and reconstruction of the Tobin School building. If approved, this appropriation will be included in the City’s FY20 bond issue. [ON OR AFTER MAY 6, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON ADOPTION]
APPLICATIONS AND PETITIONS
1. A petition was received from Gypsy Place, Sayed Mousawi, regarding outdoor seating in front of premises numbered 90 Hampshire Street seating to include, 3 tables and 6 chairs, proposed start date Apr 15, 2019 through Apr 15, 20121 with a start time of 7:00am and end time of 7:00pm.
2. An application was received from Community Development requesting permission for a temporary banner across JFK at Mount Auburn St from July 29th to Aug 5th, 2019 and Aug 19th to Aug 26th, 2019 and across Mass Ave in front of City Hall from July 29th to Aug 5th, 2019 and Aug 19th to Aug 26th, 2019. This event will be held on Sept 20th, 2019 announcing for Parking Day.
3. An application was received from Gail Wang requesting permission for a temporary banner across Massachusetts Avenue in front of City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue from June 3, 2019 thru June 10, 2019 and at the location of JFK at Mount Auburn Street May 27, 2019 thru June 10, 2019 announcing Dragon Boat Festival held on June 9, 2019.
1. Written Protest to the zoning petition filed by Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridgeside Galleria Associates Trust (c/o New England Development), to amend the Zoning Ordinance by adding a Section 13.100 that creates a new PUD-8 District and to amend the Zoning Map by adding the new PUD-8 District, which District would include the property located at 100 Cambridgeside Place (currently zoned in the Business A and PUD-4 Districts).
Referred to Petition
2. A communication was received from Susan and Fred Good, 27 Gray Gardens East, regarding the proposed 100% Affordable Housing Zoning Overlay.
3. A communication was received from Peter Valentine, regarding living in a wonderful world.
4. A communication was received from Pauline Joseph, 6 Canal Park, regarding support for the PUD-8 petition by New England Development.
5. A communication was received from Scott Haviland, General Manager, Tahaza Hummus Kitchen, One Canal Park, regarding support for the development of the Sullivan Courthouse building in East Cambridge.
6. A communication was received from Robert L. Lindamood, 29 Otis Street, regarding the Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment.
7. A communication was received from Doug and Rebecca Castoldi, 82 Otis Street, regarding support for the Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment.
8. A communication was received from Frank Saviano, regarding opposition to an up-zoning from the existing PUD-4 at this time.
Referred to Petition
9. A communication was received from Shelley Rieman, 201 Franklin Street, regarding banning single use plastics.
10. Sundry communications were received in support of protected bicycle lanes.
11. A communication was received from Melissa Ludtke, regarding supporting Policy order 6 that would set in motion the process leading to writing and passage of a city ordinance that would ban and/or sharply curtail the use of single-use plastic in the city of Cambridge.
12. A communication was received from Joshua Hartshorne, expressing strong support of banning singleuse plastics and installing EV stations.
13. A communication was received from Jeanne Koopman, River Street, regarding new funds for affordable housing.
14. A communication was received from Olga Slavin, 17 Otis Street, expressing frustration with the continued delay of the redevelopment of the former Sullivan Courthouse.
15. A communication was received from Sofia Rose Wolman, 453 Huron Avenue, regarding changing the State Seal and Flag.
16. A communication was received from Mark Tang, 32 Spring Street, regarding the bid by LMP GP Holdings LLC that responds to the city of Cambridge's Request for Proposal for the leasing of 420 parking spaces and certain retail space at the First Street Garage.
17. A written protest was received from Susan Morgan, 4 Canal Park, regarding the PUD-8 Petition.
18. Sundry communication was received, regarding Policy Order #3 changes to the seal and Motto on the State Flag.
19. A communication was received from Itmar Turner-Trauring, regarding adding quick build protected bike lanes.
1. Congratulations to Melissa and Maya Ludtke on the book "Touching Home in China." Vice Mayor Devereux
2. Congratulations to the Honorees at the Legacy Small Business Luncheon. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon
3. That the City Council go on record congratulating and commending the hard work of the award recipients of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Inspire Awards which celebrates the achievements of women leaders. Councillor Toomey, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui
4. Congratulations to the Pentecostal Tabernacle Jr. Bible Quiz Team for being selected to participate in the Junior Bible Quiz National Championship in Tucson, Arizona in June 2019. Councillor Simmons, Mayor McGovern
5. Recognizing Abe Rybeck’s enduring good works in launching and guiding the Theater Offensive over the course of its existence, and in wishing him well as he embarks upon his next exciting chapter. Councillor Simmons
1. That the City Manager is requested to contact AT&T, the owner of the parking lot located at the corner of Bent Street and Sixth Street across from the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility, about making improvements to their landscaping and taking better care of their property that abuts the public way. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey, Vice Mayor Devereux
Adopted as Amended
2. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and Department of Public Works to determine what facilities, parking changes, and other improvements to the pavement conditions would be necessary and feasible to make Massachusetts Avenue a quick-build Complete Street between Sidney Street and Putnam Avenue. Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone
Adopted as Amended (Toomey - Present)
3. City Council support of special commission to recommend changes to the seal and motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Toomey
Adopted as Amended
4. That the City Manager is requested to work with relevant departments to explore establishing a partnership between the City of Cambridge and the MBTA to offer CharlieCards at certain public buildings throughout the city. Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui
5. That the City Manager is requested to join the Massachusetts Right to Counsel Coalition on behalf of the City, signing “The City of Cambridge” on as an official supporter of the Massachusetts Right to Counsel Campaign. Councillor Siddiqui, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Carlone
6. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Department of Public Works to work with the Recycling Advisory Committee and other stakeholders to draft an ordinance banning single-use plastic items in Cambridge. Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone
Adopted as Amended
7. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Electrical Department, Department of Public Works, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Community Development Department to explore a pilot for Level 1 (110V) EV and Micromobility charging stations on street light poles throughout the city. Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui
8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with Cambridge Police Department and other relevant City staff on adding a cybercrime assessment section to the list of monthly Bridgstat reports or, alternatively, create a separate report to help formalize the information flow about cybercrime to the same level as the currently used Bridgstat. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui
9. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Executive Director of the Election Commission and the City Solicitor to report back to the City Council on potential ballot changes at a public hearing of the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee on May 28, 2019. Vice Mayor Devereux
10. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to prepare a home rule petition for the City Council to lower the voting age to sixteen (16) in municipal elections. Vice Mayor Devereux
Adopted (Kelley, Toomey - NO) [Note: This Order is not listed by the City Clerk even though it is shown in the Committee Report as having been adopted.]
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 10, 2019 to discuss the possibility of pursuing a home rule petition to lower the voting age in City elections to 16 years old.
Report Accepted, Placed on File; Adopt Order #10 (Toomey, Kelley - NO)
COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS FROM CITY OFFICERS
1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Mayor McGovern, transmitting a memorandum regarding Committee Hearing by the Joint Committee on May 7, 2019 regarding An Act Establishing Indigenous Peoples Day H.3665.
Placed on File
2. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Mayor McGovern, transmitting a letter Widening the Design of the Community Path Extension.
Placed on File
3. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a communication from Assistant to the City Council Naomie Stephen, transmitting a recommendation from the Dedication Committee for approval.
May 9, 2019
The Honorable, the City Council
The Dedication Committee recommends to the full City Council the following for approval:
• Tom Magliozzi: A sign dedication in honor of the late Tom Magliozzi and his brother Ray, both of NPR’s “Car Talk” radio program fame, on the outside wall of DeGuglielmo Plaza, potentially in the shape of a ‘57 Chevy. (Policy Order 2/4/2019)
• Mary Jo Clark: A plaque on a bench in Sacramento Field in honor of Mary Jo Clark and her significant contributions to the Agassiz Neighborhood and the Cambridge community as a whole. (3/4/2019)
• Angel Fetene: A street corner dedication in honor of Angel Fetene at the corner of Sacramento Street and Oxford Street, or a similar location near the Baldwin School. (Policy Order 3/18/2019)
• Sarchioni Sisters: Update of the Dedication Plaque for Ann Marie Sarchioni (corner of Ames + Broadway streets), to be renamed “Sarchioni Sisters Square” (Policy Order 3/25/2019)
Lisa Peterson, Deputy City Manager
Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk
Naomie Stephen, Assistant to the City Council
4. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez transmitting a memorandum from Councillor Siddiqui, transmitting the submission of the Mayor's Blue-Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement Apr 23, 2019 meeting minutes.
Placed on File
Mayor’s Blue-Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement Monthly Meeting
Tues, Apr 23, 2019, 5:30-7:30pm
Sullivan Chamber, City Hall
795 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02139
Task Force Members in Attendance: Councillor Sumbul Siddiqui, Chair; Sonia Andujar; Jessica Drew; Betsy Eichel; Iram Farooq; Larry Field; Beth Huang; Alexandra Markiewicz; Maura Pensak (arrived before 6:00pm)
Task Force Members Absent: Patrick Barrett; Teresa Cardosi; Sean Hope; Kuong Lee; Maura Pensak; Cheryl-Ann Pizza-Zeoli
City of Cambridge Staff in Attendance: Sarah Stillman
City of Cambridge Staff Absent: Wilford Durbin
The meeting was called to order at 5:42 pm by Sumbul Siddiqui, Chair.
An overview of the agenda for the meeting was given by Sumbul Siddiqui, Chair.
Chair Siddiqui introduced Mr. Cliff Cook, Planning Information Manager, and Mr. Chris Cotter, Housing Director, both members of the City’s Community Development Department (CDD) staff, who presented the CDD’s data analysis of eviction complaints in Cambridge. [See attached slide presentation.]
• Half the complaints are filed against people who have been through the process at least once already, sometimes multiple times. February and April are lowest months for complaints, a striking difference.
• Noted drop off in 2015-17 when the great recession hit home in 2011, but by 2013 economy was getting better.
• Housing court comes in to play in 2018 - small number of filings in housing court vs district (which court you file in may depend on what your desired outcome is)
• Judgements under 500 dollars are generally only for court costs.
• East Cambridge has high number of market rate evictions (noted example of particular building with a particular policy)
• Black Box: this is as far as CDD can get with the data gathered, not knowing as much about eviction complaints as we do with foreclosures. We have more info than we’ve ever had on eviction complaints in Cambridge, but the challenge is knowing if what we’ve gathered is accurate with the case files (just because a complaint is filed does not mean someone is evicted); where are the points of action?
• Intern will fact check and dig deeper into the data we’re gathering; look at sample of case files from beginning to end in the two courts to survey what actions and outcomes we have in the city.
• CDD is hoping to put all of this in to an annual report and update this periodically.
The data may not show the full picture; having an eviction filing on your record will impede your ability to move forward with housing etc.
The Task Force members asked questions regarding the data presented, and a discussion followed, including input from Ms. Ellen Semonoff and Ms. Maria Melo of the City’s Department of Human Services. Chair Siddiqui thanked the presenters for providing this update and for the data presented.
Chair Siddiqui provided an update on the status of the hiring process for City’s Housing Liaison position:
• After a sizable first round of applicants, unfortunately the City has not yet completed its search and the job has now been reposted. Ideally looking for someone with CAE management experience and solid understanding of the issues, a very strong collaborator, and with broad enough experience to both properly address policy issues and deal with emergency situations. The person who steps in to this role will need to understand what’s happening and do some best-fit work between all the departments that touch on housing.
• Chair Siddiqui said that she will share the description with the Task Force.
Chair Siddiqui requested Mr. Cotter share the City’s plan for its upcoming “2019 Affordable Housing Action Week of Action”:
• This year, the CDD decided to shift to a month of events as opposed to one week in May - starting this Sat, Apr 27th, with the “Affordable Housing Fair” at the Community Arts Center on Windsor St, 11:00am-2:30pm. This is also in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust.
• Chair Siddiqui said that she will share out the calendar of events for the “2019 Affordable Housing Action Month of Action.”
Chair Siddiqui introduced the following Task Force Working groups—Tenant Education Legislative and Policy Agenda and Funding—to provide progress updates to the Task Force at large and present any pending questions or needs.
Tenant Education Working Group
Plan for a series of workshops on different topics is laid out (resources for tenants, familiarity with fair housing laws, preparing for inspections, etc.)
• Main question: would this plan be led by Task Force, or would it be passed off to someone from City to implement and institutionalize?
• Chair Siddiqui confirmed the latter (would make sense to have this passed to Liaison once hired).
Other ideas discussed:
• Task Force “Open House” – holding open house to invite residents into space, highlight what we’re collecting and the work we’re doing on displacement.
• City of Cambridge ordinance to protect tenants – a “Tenant Organizing Ordinance” – what would this look like for Cambridge, what will be the process; is this a home rule situation?
• Tenant Association / inclusionary tenant advisory group - TBD (Chris Cotter said CDD is looking at coming up with better process for residents to give us input).
Legislative and Policy Agenda Working Group
In process of reviewing different ordinances passed between 1998 and 2019: Boston, Somerville (just passed an ordinance on March 21), and policy considerations
• Following how Somerville’s ordinance plays out; will get sense of parameters (what lawsuits and challenges that may come up, etc); asking, ‘if Somerville is doing an 11/10, what is our 10/10?’
• Questions to investigate: If we were to propose some recommendations, what would they be and what kind of impact could they have? Will there be any effect?
• Working Group is planning to hold a meeting and involve the Assessor’s Office; Councillor Siddiqui will be joining as well.
Funding Working Group
Investigating how to both increase the funding resources available and use those we have more effectively.
• CASLS providers are dealing with recurring issues of how to source/cause/manage payments of damage (e.g. tenant with a disability damages apt with bumping wheelchair)—costs of these can be significant, especially when a tenant is on SSI; if a tenant owes a landlord thousands of dollars and can't pay it, that is a threat to their tenancy.
• How do we use funding specifically geared to damages?
• Increasing rental assistance cap? What is outcome we are expecting?
• Chair Siddiqui said she can put in request to the City Manager.
Advocating for push to generate revenue- new revenue; more fruitful to identify what we are looking for funding for (versus just how funding can be increased).
• Reaching out to organizations in Cambridge that give lip-service to improving quality of life in city and may have funding to give (e.g. Kendall Square Association, Science Cares); major institutions provide funding for a variety of things.
• Could write a letter of interest to inquire, and/or set up a meeting to discuss.
Options might include:
• Vouchers for getting people to housing court
• Volunteer Action Fund for Affordable Housing (as California is trying to set something like this up).
Chair Siddiqui thanked all the Task Force members for their updates and announced that for the last 15-20 minutes of the meeting the Task Force would break out in to these Working Groups and discuss next action steps.
Chair Siddiqui and her legislative aide, Ms. Sarah Stillman, met with each of the groups during this time.
Chair Siddiqui adjourned the meeting at 7:40pm.
Thurs, May 9
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to continue discussion on a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code by add a new Chapter 5.50 entitled “Cannabis Business Permitting.” (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
Mon, May 13
4:00pm 2019 City of Cambridge Scholarship Awards Ceremony. (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, May 20
5:30pm City Council Meeting - Budget Adoption (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, May 21
1:00pm The Health and Environment Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the “City of Cambridge getting to Net Zero Action Plan: Fiscal year 2018 progress report” and to receive a general update on the Net Zero Action Plan. (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
Wed, May 22
12:00pm Civic Unity Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Massachusetts Equal Pay Law that was enacted in 2018 - What employees, supervisors, and City Leadership should know, what are the best practices, and how metrics must be established to ensure compliance with this new law. (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
2:00pm The Transportation and Public Utilities Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss with Eversource any plans it has for meeting the anticipated electricity needs of Cambridge business and residents by expanding capacity on land it owns throughout the City, with a focus on sites in East Cambridge (Kendall Square and Fulkerson Street). (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
Tues, May 28
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a petition received from Verizon New England, Inc. to amend the zoning map of the City of Cambridge by creating a new Overlay Zoning district entitled “Ware Street Innovation Space Overlay District” encompassing 10 Ware Street and to amend article 20.000 of the Zoning Ordinance by creating a section entitled “Ware Street Innovation Space Overlay District”. (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
Wed, May 29
5:30pm The Health and Environment Committee will conduct a joint public hearing with the climate Resilience Task Force to receive an update on the task forces progress to date and to receive input and feedback. (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
Thurs, May 30
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to continue discussion on a zoning petition filed by Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridge Side Galleria Trust to add a new section 13.100 to Article 13 and to amend the zoning map to add a new PUD-8 District Overlay. (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
Mon, June 3
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, June 10
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
6:30pm The City Council will conduct a public hearing to discuss the petition filed by Kenneth S. Bannon, 614 Massachusetts Avenue, et al property owners, pursuant to MGL Chapter 40 section O petitioning that a Business Improvement District (BID) be established for the Central Square Business Improvement District. (Sullivan Chamber - televised)
Mon, June 17
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, June 24
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, July 29
5:30pm Special City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
TEXT OF ORDERS
O-1 May 13, 2019 Amended
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to contact AT&T, the owner of the parking lot located at the corner of Bent Street and Sixth Street across from the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility, about making improvements to their landscaping and taking better care of their property that abuts the public way, to include replanting trees that look to be in serious decline and keeping the planting beds free of overgrowth and trash while continuing to allow milkweeds to grow.
O-2 May 13, 2019 Amended
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: The Cambridge Bicycle Plan shows Massachusetts Avenue as having separation between Sidney Street and Putnam Avenue; and
WHEREAS: A new segment on Massachusetts Avenue between Sidney Street and Putnam Avenue would connect with an existing protected bike lane segment on Massachusetts Avenue from Memorial Drive to Sidney Street, another existing segment on Massachusetts Avenue between Bow Street and Trowbridge Street, and a proposed protected bike lane segment on Mount Auburn Street from JFK Street to Putnam Avenue, and therefore greatly increase connectivity along this crucial corridor; and
WHEREAS: The City Council recently ordained the Cycling Safety Ordinance, which prioritizes connectivity in creating a network of protected bike lanes; and
WHEREAS: Massachusetts Avenue between Sidney Street and Putnam Avenue has a high number of crashes according to the City's Crash Analysis Report; and
WHEREAS: The City has implemented quick-build protected bike lanes on other segments to reduce crash rates in keeping with their Vision Zero commitment; and
WHEREAS: For these critical protected bike lane connections to succeed, the City should implement the valuable community outreach lessons learned from the work done by the Consensus Building Institute around the Cambridge Street Bike Lane process, and ensure that key stakeholders such as the CSBA, the Commission for Persons with Disabilities, seniors, and neighborhood groups are engaged in the quick-build design process; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Community Development Department, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and Department of Public Works to determine what facilities, parking changes, and other improvements to the pavement conditions would be necessary and feasible to make Massachusetts Avenue a quick-build Complete Street between Sidney Street and Putnam Avenue; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager work with Traffic and Parking to conduct the appropriate community outreach meetings before the design process for the quick-build lanes begins; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back on this by the end of June 2019 with an outline of the process.
O-3 May 13, 2019 Amended
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: The history of the State of Massachusetts is replete with instances of conflict between the European Colonists and the Native Nations of the region, who first extended the hand of friendship to the Colonists on their shores in 1620, and helped them to survive starvation during the settlers' first winters on their land; and
WHEREAS: Members of the Native Nation for whom the State of Massachusetts is named were ambushed and killed by Myles Standish, first commander of the Plymouth Colony, in April of 1623, barely two years after the Pilgrims arrived on their shores; and
WHEREAS: The naked Colonial broadsword brandished above the head of the Native man on the Massachusetts State Flag and Seal is modeled over Myles Standish's own broadsword, borrowed from the Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth by the illustrator Edmund Garrett in 1884; and
WHEREAS: The belt binding the Native's cloak on the Flag and Seal is modeled after a belt worn by Metacomet, known to the English as King Philip, who was among the Wampanoag leaders who resorted to a mutually destructive war in 1675-76 in defense of Native lands against Euro-Colonial encroachment; and
WHEREAS: The proportions of the body of the Native man in the Flag and Seal were taken from a Native skeleton kept in Winthrop, the bow modeled after a bow taken from a Native man shot and killed by a colonist in Sudbury in 1665, and his features taken from a photograph of an Ojibwe chief from Great Falls, Montana, considered by the illustrator to be a “fine specimen of an Indian,” though not from Massachusetts; and
WHEREAS: The history of relations between Massachusetts since Colonial times and the Native Nations who continue to live within its borders includes the forced internment of thousands of so-called “praying Indians” on Deer Island, in Boston Harbor, where they died by the hundreds of exposure in 1675, their subsequent enslavement in Boston, Bermuda, and the Caribbean Islands, the offering of 40 pounds sterling as bounty for the scalps of Native men, women and children in Massachusetts beginning in 1686, increased to 100 pounds sterling for the scalps of Native adult males by 1722, half that amount for Native women and children; and
WHEREAS: Native Nations within the boundaries of Massachusetts were kept in a state of serfdom, and their members legally considered incompetent wards of the state until the nonviolent action of the so-called Mashpee Rebellion of 1833 led to the granting of Native self-rule by the Massachusetts legislature in 1834, as if the sovereign right of Native self-government was the Massachusetts legislature's to confer; and
WHEREAS: Native Americans were legally prohibited from even stepping foot into Boston from 1675 until 2004, when that law was finally repealed; and
WHEREAS: The 400th anniversary of the landing of the Euro-Colonists at Plymouth Plantation, which gave rise to the long chain of genocidal wars and deliberate policies of cultural destruction against Native Nations of this continent, is approaching in the year 2020, affording every citizen of the Commonwealth a chance to reflect upon this history and come to a new awareness of a better relationship between the descendants of the Euro-Colonial immigrants and the Native Nations of the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS: Native Americans have long suffered the many abuses of racism, the appropriation of their symbols for public schools and sports teams, the diminution and pollution of their ancestral lands and the encroachment of their cultural lifeways; now therefore be it
RESOLVED: That the City Council go on record in support of resolution H.2776 RESOLVE PROVIDING FOR THE CREATION OF A SPECIAL COMMISSION RELATIVE TO THE SEAL AND MOTTO OF THE COMMONWEALTH, including members of the legislature and representatives of Native Nations of Massachusetts, to recommend changes to the State Flag and Seal of the Commonwealth; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward suitably engrossed copies of this resolution to the chairpersons of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee, to the chairpersons of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, and to Executive Director Geoffrey Beckwith of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, on behalf of the entire City Council.
O-4 May 13, 2019
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: The City has long had a goal to increase both access to and ridership on public transportation, an important step in reducing the city’s carbon emissions from single occupancy vehicle trips and establishing smart, healthy, and climate-friendly commuting habits; and
WHEREAS: Riders in the metro area can use a CharlieCard to store fare purchase, track unused funds for future trips, access T stations and bus services, and apply a weekly/monthly link pass, a convenient and cost-saving option for frequent riders; and
WHEREAS: CharlieCards are not available at each T stop in Cambridge, nor on buses that run in the City; CharlieCards are only available at the Alewife and Harvard Stations from 7:00am to 3:00pm during weekdays and 7:00am to 7:00pm on weekends, and at select convenience store locations; and
WHEREAS: The City of Boston recently announced an agreement with the MBTA to make CharlieCards available at Boston City Hall and several Boston Public Library branch locations; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with relevant departments to explore establishing a similar partnership between the City of Cambridge and the MBTA to offer CharlieCards at certain public buildings throughout the city, to include: City Hall, designated Cambridge Public Library branch locations, the Citywide Senior Center, the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, and any additional location deemed appropriate by City staff; and further ensure that the new program be properly advertised in each public building; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on progress toward this goal, with a target implementation date no later than Aug 31, 2019.
O-5 May 13, 2019
WHEREAS: Over 40,000 households in Massachusetts were served with eviction papers in 2018; and
WHEREAS: Over 92% of these tenants received no legal guidance once the notice was delivered, nor assistance from an attorney in fighting the eviction in court; and
WHEREAS: Many tenants are unaware of their rights and legal protections both in and out of the courtroom; and
WHEREAS: Access to critical legal resources, guidance and support from an attorney prior to a court eviction can protect families from being displaced by an illegal or unnecessary eviction, prevent homelessness, and create a path to housing stability; and
WHEREAS: The Massachusetts Right to Counsel Coalition is a broad coalition of municipal leaders, housing advocates, and community groups who support legislation to provide a right to counsel in Massachusetts for those with low income who are facing eviction, and ensure access to resources and assistance that will prevent eviction and stabilize their housing; and
WHEREAS: Three Right to Counsel bills have been refiled for the 2019-20 Session and assigned to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary: S.913 ‘An Act to ensure right to counsel in eviction proceedings’ filed by Senator Sal N. DiDomenico; H.3456 ‘An Act to ensure right to counsel in eviction proceedings’ filed by Representative Chynah Tyler; H.1537 ‘An Act establishing a right to counsel in certain eviction cases’ filed by Representatives David M. Rogers and Michael S. Day; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to join the Massachusetts Right to Counsel Coalition on behalf of the City, signing “The City of Cambridge” on as an official supporter of the Massachusetts Right to Counsel Campaign.
O-6 May 13, 2019 Amended
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: Cambridge has successfully enacted ordinances that ban plastic bags and polystyrene takeout containers; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge has ambitious Zero Waste goals including achieving a trash reduction of 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 from 2008 levels; and
WHEREAS: The recently released draft Zero Waste Master Plan contains recommended strategies for meeting these goals, including “support for additional ordinances to ban materials”; and
WHEREAS: The City of Berkeley recently enacted a groundbreaking ordinance that will, among other things, ban all single use plastic foodware by 2020, with waivers for vendors who can demonstrate that no comparable alternative item exists, or that the cost of the alternative item would cause undue financial hardship; and
WHEREAS: Brookline recently passed a bylaw that will ban many types of single-use plastic foodware by 2020, including cups and utensils, with waivers similar to the Berkeley ordinance; and
WHEREAS: As a major offtaker of recycled materials from the Greater Boston area, new regulations imposed by China have presented significant challenges for municipalities, giving a fresh urgency to the reality that we must reduce our overall waste production; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge has an opportunity to join Berkeley and Brookline in leading the way towards a single-use plastic-free city, while also being mindful of the unique needs of our small business community as well as seniors and people with disabilities, particularly related to the use of plastic straws; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the City Solicitor in consultation with the Department of Public Works and the Recycling Advisory Committee and other stakeholders to draft an ordinance banning single-use plastic items in Cambridge; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back on this matter no later than Dec 31, 2019.
O-7 May 13, 2019
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: Electrifying our transportation, including through the use of Micromobility devices, is an important part of our response to climate change and comes with numerous environmental and public health benefits, including an immediate reduction in air and noise pollution; and
WHEREAS: Use of electric vehicles (EVs) instead of vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE), which run on fossil fuels, can drastically reduce the carbon footprint of passenger vehicle trips; and
WHEREAS: Costs have decreased significantly, and many EV automobiles are now equally as affordable as their ICE counterparts, with significant savings on maintenance and fuel, and the price point for Micromobility platforms has decreased as their capacities have increased, but a lack of convenient and reliable access to charging stations remains a barrier for those who might otherwise use EV automobiles or Micromobility devices; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge is committed to expanding public EV charging station availability in municipal-owned parking lots, including 6 new dual-head EV charging stations in 2019, but more needs to be done in the residential neighborhoods to increase accessibility and convenience for EV automobiles and throughout the City for Micromobility; and
WHEREAS: California, London, and New York City have all begun piloting the installation of charging stations on street lights, a clever way to use existing infrastructure to increase charging station availability within residential neighborhoods; and
WHEREAS: Level 1 charging stations (110 volts) are suitable for overnight charging of EV and micromobility devices, allow batteries to survive more charging cycles, and would appropriately meet the needs of some residents looking to electrify their transportation; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Electrical Department, Department of Public Works, Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Community Development Department to explore a pilot for Level 1 (110V) EV and Micromobility charging stations on street light poles throughout the city; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back on this matter by the end of September 2019.
O-8 May 13, 2019
WHEREAS: The Cambridge Police Department regularly produces and reviews Bridgstat reports on a range of topics and issues; and
WHEREAS: New research shows the rate of cybercrime is continuing its rapid increase presenting dramatic growths in a variety of digital crimes as the hockey-stick trend pushes into 2019 with, for example, Q1 historically doubling the amount of breached login credentials and personal information records year-over-year; and
WHEREAS: While the actual occurrence of a cybercrime can create nebulous jurisdictional boundaries, Cambridge Police Department does have a cybercrimes unit and many people and businesses will start their cybercrime reporting process in the jurisdiction where they live or work; and
WHEREAS: Tracking cybercrime and formalizing how we measure and report such crimes is crucial in helping plan and appropriately resource, to include staffing and training, the City's cybercrime capacities as they relate to prevention as well as post-crime response capacities; now therefor be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with Cambridge Police Department and other relevant City staff on adding a cybercrime assessment section to the list of monthly Bridgstat reports or, alternatively, create a separate report to help formalize the information flow about cybercrime to the same level as the currently used Bridgstat; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this issue.
O-9 May 13, 2019
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
WHEREAS: At their May 15, 2019 meeting, the Cambridge Election Commission will continue its discussion of possible changes to the ballots used for municipal elections that would limit voters to marking only up to 15 candidates, which could be less than the total number of candidates; and
WHEREAS: In Cambridge’s ranked choice voting system, voters have always had the ability to include all candidates in their rankings; and
WHEREAS: Discussion of this change has raised concerns about protecting voter rights and process, and any change to the ballot design could confuse voters and candidates for office; and
WHEREAS: Before any change to the ballot design is implemented, it is important for the City Council and the public to learn what other alternatives have been explored, and to understand the Election Commission’s authority to make changes of this nature; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Executive Director of the Election Commission and the City Solicitor to report back to the City Council on this initiative at a public hearing of the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee on May 28, 2019; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the appropriate staff to promptly post online all available minutes of the Election Commission’s 2019 meetings, none of which is available online as of today.
O-10 May 13, 2019 [Note: This Order is not listed by the City Clerk even though it is shown in the Committee Report as having been adopted.]
VICE MAYOR DEVEREUX
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to prepare a home rule petition for the City Council to lower the voting age to sixteen (16) in municipal elections.
TEXT OF COMMITTEE REPORTS
Committee Report #1
The Government Operations/Rules and Claims Committee held a public hearing on Apr 10, 2019, at 4:01pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the logistics and feasibility of implementing early voting in City elections, and to discuss the possibility of pursuing a home rule petition to lower the voting age in City elections to 16 years old.
Present at the hearing were Vice Mayor Devereux, Chair of the Committee; Councillor Siddiqui; Councillor Simmons; Councillor Zondervan; Councillor Carlone; Councillor Kelley; Tanya Ford, Executive Director, Election Commission; Lesley Waxman, Assistant Director, Election Commission; Charles Marquardt and Victoria Harris, Election Commissioners; Arthur Goldberg, Deputy City Solicitor; and City Clerk Donna P. Lopez.
Also present were Robert Winters, 366 Broadway; Adam Gould, 35 Rice Street; Brandon Klugman, 41 Garden Street; and Sam Gebru, 812 Memorial Drive.
Vice Mayor Devereux convened the hearing and explained the purpose. She announced that the hearing was being audio and video recorded. An agenda was distributed (ATTACHMENT A).
She stated that there are two items on the agenda, early voting and youth voting. Early voting will be discussed first. She stated that there was an early voting for municipal elections home rule petition filed by the City Council in October 2018, and she had been at the State House today to testify in support of this bill. Cambridge’s home rule legislation had a brief hearing during the last General Court term and it did not advance, so it is back on the agenda for this session. She spoke about the value of early voting. This home rule would allow Cambridge to offer early voting in municipal elections at the discretion of the City Council and the Election Commission, and details and implementation would be worked out between those two bodies.
She explained that with this home rule petition the City is merely seeking the power to offer early voting, and it’s important to hear the thoughts of the Election Commission as to how it may work. Switching to the topic of youth voting, she stated that the third time may be the charm.
She stated that in Cambridge and other communities there have been numerous efforts to lower the voting age to 16 or 17. Cambridge filed two separate home rule petitions in 2002 and 2006 to lower the voting age to 17 years old. These efforts were led by many CRLS students, including Councillor Siddiqui when she was a student at CRLS. She stated that today there is new momentum nationwide to lower the voting age. In Congress, U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (MA) has sponsored a bill to lower the voting age to 16 in federal elections. In Massachusetts, at the state level, Representatives Vargas and Fernandes are lead sponsors of a bill nicknamed the EMPOWER Act (ensuring municipal participation of the widest range) that would allow all cities and towns in the state to change the minimum voting age to 16, if they wish. She announced that there will be a hearing on the EMPOWER Act on June 12, 2019, at the State House. She stated that many other communities in the state have expressed interest in seeking permission to change the voting age to 16. She stated that she did not have to spend a lot of time on why it would be a good idea to empower younger people. They can be employed, pay taxes, have a driver’s license, donate blood, attend public schools and are impacted by the School Committee decisions. She added that young people have stepped up in leadership roles on issues such as gun control, resiliency planning for climate change, youth and workforce development programs, road, pedestrian and bike safety issues and surveillance technology. Currently, she stated that many residents turn 18 and move away to go to school. Their first voting experience is often an absentee ballot and they may not be as engaged in their local community as they were when living at home. In jurisdictions where there is a lower voting age there is data that shows that the 16- and 17-year-old first-time voters consistently turn out to vote at a higher rate than 18- and 19-year-old first-time voters. There is evidence that starting to vote earlier creates a good habit of voting throughout life. She stated that according to her office’s research, there are currently 1700-1800 16- and 17-year-old residents in Cambridge that could potentially be empowered to vote, if the law is changed.
Vice Mayor Devereux asked Ms. Ford about early voting. If it were implemented for municipal elections, what considerations would she like to discuss with the City Council? Ms. Ford stated that the Board of Election Commissioners has substantial concerns surrounding logistics, establishing regulations, and implementation. The Election Commission is concerned there is not enough time to go through the implementation process, should this change be implemented this fall. She felt that before promulgating regulations, the Board of Commissioners would want to produce a draft, have a public hearing and hear public comment. At this point, there will not be enough time for that. She stated that the costs will double for workers and for professional and technical services. Ballots, other than absentee ballots, are currently rotated for municipal elections. She questioned whether rotating ballots could be done with early voting ballots. She spoke about the necessity of training poll workers, and the staff costs associated with education.
She stated that the Election Commission Office is already having difficulty accommodating early voting for the elections where it’s currently offered because of a lack of space. She spoke about the congestion at Election Commission headquarters, 51 Inman Street, when it is operating as a polling station, and the resultant safety concerns.
Ms. Ford stated that the state incurs the cost for early voting for the state elections. Vice Mayor Devereux asked what the amount of this cost is. Ms. Ford stated that for the state election the cost was approximately $80,000, which includes the costs of early voting location staffing, supplies, rentals, and ballots. This does not include overtime pay for the City staff from the Election Commission, Police Department and Department of Public Works. Vice Mayor Devereux noted that early voting for municipal elections wouldn’t necessarily need to be for the full 11-day period, as is required in state elections. Ms. Ford agreed that the days could be adjusted so that the cost is lower. Another concern was that the cost for the type of ballot Cambridge uses may be more expensive than the state ballot.
Ms. Ford stated that the Election Commissioners also have concerns about the fact that early voters need to put their ballots in a sealed envelope, instead of a machine. This means that they will not have an opportunity to correct their ballot if there is an issue with their ballot or they made a mistake. In Proportional Representation voting, if there is an issue with a submitted ballot, such as an over-vote, the machine will spit the ballot back out to allow the voter to make corrections. Early voting ballots cannot be put into the machine until Election Day, and thus cannot be corrected by the voter. As a result, they may be invalid.
Councillor Zondervan questioned where this requirement comes from. Ms. Ford stated that per state law, a ballot may only be processed on Election Day. Ms. Waxman stated that another issue is that the ballots have to be counted by precinct, and for early voting, all 34 precincts will be voting at the same location. The City cannot have 34 machines set up at each early voting location to be able to place each ballot in the correct precinct. The early voting ballots need to be in sealed envelopes and need to be labeled with the voter’s name, address and the precinct number so that on Election Day they can be put through the right machine. She further explained that for municipal elections, the same ballot is used for all precincts. Since the ballot does not indicate the precinct, the only way to separate the ballots is by having a different machine for each precinct. Councillor Zondervan acknowledged that this is a problem. Ms. Waxman stated that more mistakes are made on municipal ballots because they can over-vote. This pitfall does not exist for state elections. She explained that voter intent is determined by the Election Commission to the best of its ability. Councillor Zondervan commented that there are technological solutions that can be imagined. Ms. Ford stated that any voting equipment or application must go through state certification. Ms. Ford stated that she and the Board of Election Commissioners are not against early voting, but these are considerations that need to be prepared for. It cannot happen overnight.
Vice Mayor Devereux wanted to understand what the logistical challenges are in implementing municipal early voting. Vice Mayor Devereux asked whether the voting machine spits the ballot out if a mistake is made on a municipal ballot. Ms. Ford responded in the affirmative and stated that a new ballot is given to the voter to make corrections and it is reinserted into the machine.
Vice Mayor Devereux asked on what percentage of ballots mistakes are made. Ms. Ford did not know the percentage but stated that there are often mistakes made on municipal ballots because of the number of choices and the manner in which the ballot is set up. Vice Mayor Devereux noted that at the State House hearing today the “no excuses” absentee voting bill was discussed. She stated that perhaps no-excuse absentee voting is something the City should investigate.
Councillor Zondervan asked about what the full additional cost would be. Ms. Ford stated that she didn’t have a number, but that the cost is roughly doubled because regular municipal ballots and Election Day staff are required in addition to the added early voting costs. She estimated that it will add about $160,000 in additional costs. Councillor Zondervan asked whether rotating the ballots is done by having each candidate at the top on a rotating basis, so that they are not in alphabetical order on each ballot. He asked if there are any problems with doing this for absentee ballots, or they just don’t do it currently. Ms. Waxman noted that in the past, the printing method of the ballots meant they needed to be hand collated. She noted that they will have new voting machines, and maybe the specifications of those machines will mean they can do the ballots differently moving forward. Councillor Zondervan clarified that the standards in the past prevented automatically collating the ballots. He also noted that if absentee ballots needed to be hand collated as well it would represent an additional cost, however it is possible to do if the City wants to.
Vice Mayor Devereux spoke about the five polling locations for early voting for state elections and these choices may not be as universally welcomed because they are not tied to voter precincts. She commented that the five early voting locations were selected because they are geographically dispersed and are public buildings: the Police Department, the Water Department, the Main Library, the O’Neill Branch Library and the Election Commission. Ms. Ford noted that these locations were also selected because they must be able to access and utilize each building for 11 straight days. Vice Mayor Devereux asked if the Election Commission is thinking about moving the locations. Ms. Ford responded that it is up to the Board of Election Commissioners. She noted that voters have the opportunity to vote early by mail and do not have to go the above noted locations for the state election.
Councillor Simmons asked if the O’Neill library is the library on Rindge Avenue. Ms. Ford respond in the affirmative. Councillor Simmons stated that she took advantage of early voting and appreciated it. She asked about lessons learned to improve the process and whether there was an increase in participation from early voting. Ms. Ford responded that there was not a measured increase in participation, but voting was spread over a period of time, versus one day, which made it easier for people. She added that if more voting site employees are hired, it may expedite individuals standing in line. She further stated that some important considerations were left out of the state law. Ms. Ford noted that procedures for processing protected class and confidential voters’ ballots were not included in the regulations for early voting. She stated that during the public comment period, the state reached out to all the City Clerk’s Offices throughout Massachusetts. At the time, she mentioned this exclusion to the state, but it was past the point where the regulation could be amended. To date, the law has not been amended, and she has established a process for these voters within Cambridge’s Election Commission. She stated that moving forward these regulations need to be reviewed so that all voters have the same opportunity to vote. Councillor Simmons thanked the Election Commission for making this happen. She commented that it is odd that the state has not figured this out. Ms. Ford clarified that this is just for early voting. She added that prior to the early voting locations opening, and after their closing, she, her staff, and the commissioners worked 4-5 additional hours each day for 11 days and nights straight. She stated that her staff labeled, sorted by precinct, by street, by map the 17,000+ ballots received so that the poll workers would be able to process the ballots quicker. This sorting was performed by hand. She stated that Public Works had to break down the setups at some of the locations every night. For example, at the library site, the locations in the building were different day by day because of other programming in the library’s spaces.
Councillor Simmons stated that this is an important conversation. She is glad this information is being shared and appreciates the effort it takes to make early voting work. Ms. Ford also noted that Police Department staff picks up and delivers the ballots and stays at polling locations during the day.
Councillor Simmons asked whether using libraries was the best option. She asked if it would be easier to use a senior center or public housing building rather than another municipal building.
Ms. Ford stated that it depends on whether the building is available for 11 days at a time. She explained that Cambridge Housing Authority janitors and maintenance staff are reimbursed by the City and that adds a cost if their properties are used. The Election Commission has considered the fact that there is a cost savings by using their own staff to perform some of those duties, which is not possible at some of these other buildings. Councillor Simmons CHA has done extraordinary rehab on their buildings. For example, 237 Franklin Street has a room that is available. Ms. Ford spoke about trying to consider the seniors’ needs. Often the congestion on Election Day presents a challenge for seniors and bringing that congestion and parking difficulties to their building would create an additional hardship. She noted that she would give the matter more consideration, however.
Councillor Siddiqui spoke about the benefits to making changes to election laws. There is a current bill at the state level that would allow incarcerated persons to vote and noted that this change starts with civic engagement, access and equity. The challenges to achieving these goals are real, and resources are limited. She wanted the process to be very thorough to fulfill the goal of giving more access to the ballot in municipal elections. She gave statistics for voters in the 2011 – 2017 elections. In 2011, there were 15,845 people who voted; in 2013, there were 17,743; in 2015, there were 17,959. In 2017, there was an increase to 22,000. She is happy that voting numbers are increasing. She stated that it is very valuable to offer early voting. On Election Day in 2017, she received many calls from supporters who were unable to get to the polls because they could not get out of work at all that day. She spoke about the importance of providing more flexibility, and of understanding that we are in a new wave, and this will happen one day. She wanted the City to be creative and noted that she does not see these challenges as insurmountable. She stated that the logistics need to be figured out but getting answers to some of these nitty-gritty questions is helpful. She believes we can get to the point where we are truly supporting voter accessibility and boosting voter turnout. She is supportive of the home rule petition to allow Cambridge to offer early voting in municipal elections.
Councillor Carlone asked if the requirement for 11 voting days could be changed to a different number of days through the home rule process. Ms. Ford stated that the bill stated that regulations could be set that are not inconsistent with state law. Councillor Carlone noted that there is not state law to reference for municipal elections. He suggested that for municipal elections, the City could offer early voting for fewer days and include weekends. Councillor Carlone questioned whether there was an increase in voting participation with early voting and stated that even if it is not measurable, it doesn’t mean change is not significant. Ms. Waxman noted that in the two most recent Presidential election years, the turnout was about 73% in 2012, and 75% in 2016. She stated that for every election there will be different candidates and a different resulting amount of engagement. She stated that statewide, there was 1% difference in turnout between 2012 and 2016. She stated that in Cambridge there was a 2% difference. She noted that there is a bigger difference between 2014 and 2018, but she did not know if this was due to early voting. This could be due to the governor’s race or the Elizabeth Warren Senate seat race. She commented that this is the only mid-term election that can be compared, since we have only had two cycles of early voting, one Presidential election and one mid-term election. She stated that the congressional race increased voter turnout in 2018. She stated that it was 66% in 2018 and in 2014 the mid-term was 49%. She acknowledged that voter turnout is typically driven by voter interest in particular campaigns and the campaigns’ efforts to get out the vote. She stated that throughout the country, early voting has not made a big effect on voter turnout. She stated that early voting does make voting easier for a lot of voters but does not necessarily increase the number of people who are voting.
Councillor Simmons asked why we would question using the full 11 days. Councillor Carlone explained that he raised the issue because 11 days seemed to be an overwhelming effort for the Election Commission, and maybe there is an interim number that would work. Councillor Simmons stated that early voting has been offered twice for 11 days and it would be important to be consistent about the number of days whenever early voting is done. Councillor Carlone stated that right now for municipal elections, the number of days is zero, so he was trying to negotiate an in between number that would work better for the Election Commission. Ms. Ford explained that the way that the home rule petition was written, she believes the municipal early voting would need to be consistent with the state regulation of 11 days. She stated that it states in the home rule petition that the Election Commission act in a manner not inconsistent with MGL Chapter 54, Section 25B. Vice Mayor Devereux asked if the state law states that it must be 11 days. Ms. Ford responded in the affirmative. Vice Mayor Devereux asked if the state law set the hours that early voting occurred. Ms. Ford stated that every city/town used 11 days but did not have the same hours. Vice Mayor Devereux asked if the state law stated that you must offer an 11-day period for early voting and then each city or town can determine on which 11 days it will offer early voting and at which locations. Ms. Ford stated that the only requirement by the state is that either the Election Office or the City Clerk’s Office must be open and if there are alternate early voting locations, they are required to be open during the same regular business hours. She stated that Cambridge chose to do extended hours and weekends, but not everyone did a Saturday, nor did everyone provide late night, weekday hours. She stated that the Election Commission remained open until 6 PM on the Friday before Election Day. She clarified that an 11-day period is required for every city and town, but not all provided the amount of service that Cambridge did.
Vice Mayor Devereux stated that she did not think that the intent of the home rule petition was to bind Cambridge to do this the same way that it is done during the state election. She thought that the City simply wanted to ask the state for the power to do this, and then the City Council and Election Commission would work together to figure out how to implement it because of the unique Proportional Representation voting process in Cambridge. She asked if the language of the home rule petition commits Cambridge to implement early voting exactly as it is done under the current state law. Mr. Goldberg stated that this issue will be reviewed. He stated that the language in the home rule petition states that to implement this act, the Cambridge Election Commission may promulgate regulations not inconsistent with Section 25B of Chapter 54 of the MGL. He stated that the Law Department would have to review exactly what “not inconsistent” means in this context. He stated that it could be the case that a shorter time period is not inconsistent with the statute.
Councillor Zondervan stated that perhaps there could be fewer locations, because this seems to be at the discretion of the Election Commission. He said that Ms. Ford mentioned that about 17,000 early voting ballots were cast in the state and national elections, and it is not expected that as many ballots to come through for early voting for the municipal election. Councillor Zondervan asked about a comparison between no excuses voting mail in and contrast this with early voting. Ms. Waxman stated that she wished the state had taken the route taken by many other states, allowing everyone to have no excuse absentee voting instead of having early voting, which is much more difficult to implement because it is a completely different category of voting with different rules. This reform would have required amending the Massachusetts Constitution, so the state legislators chose to make a change by legislation instead. She stated that in every election there is confusion about the difference between absentee and early voting. She explained that currently there are requirements for absentee voting that a voter be out of town or unable to get to the ballot by reason of disability or religious belief. These requirements do not exist for early vote-by-mail ballots. She stated that when a voter applies for an early ballot by mail, it cannot be mailed to them until the first day of the voting period, whereas if a voter applies for an absentee ballot by mail, it is mailed out a couple of weeks earlier. She said she would prefer no excuse absentee voting by mail or in the office, as long as the office is big enough to handle it. It would be justified to offer voting at other locations for a big election. This would be an easier way to expand voting beyond in person on Election Day, but it is not the way the state law was written. Councillor Zondervan asked whether the constitution needs to be amended in order to implement no excuse absentee voting. Ms. Waxman stated that there is a bill in the legislature to offer no excuse absentee voting. It is possible to do this, but it may simply require more steps by the legislature. She stated that early voting period ends the Friday before the election, but absentee voting ends at noon the day before the election, so the Election Commission would have to verify if the voter was going to be away the day of the election and if not, then the voter could not vote, even though there were others voting absentee. She noted that this is the way that the law was written, and she hoped that the law would be amended. She stated that she had hoped that there would be changes to the early voting law between the 2016 and 2018 elections but none of the pending bills to amend the law went anywhere.
Vice Mayor Devereux asked whether the Election Commission had reviewed or would support that bill, H.78, A Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution to provide for no excuse absentee voting. Ms. Waxman said they had not had a chance to review it. Vice Mayor Devereux noted that the City Council could go on record supporting the legislation. Ms. Waxman also considered a scenario where Cambridge received its special act for municipal early voting, but the state changed their early voting law so that it was more similar to no excuse absentee voting and was extended to include primaries and municipal elections statewide. In that scenario, would Cambridge still be under its own home rule or under the new state law that was passed for the entire state. Mr. Goldberg stated that the special act applicable to Cambridge would apply even if the general law changed. He further explained that if Cambridge has a special act applicable specifically to the City, the City is not relying on the state law, so if the state law changes and the City’s special act does not, then the special act would continue to govern until changed by the City through the state legislature.
Councillor Zondervan clarified that if the special act is not inconsistent with the state law and the state law changes, then the City would have to evaluate whether the City would still be consistent with state law. Mr. Goldberg stated that Cambridge has to be consistent with the general law as it exists at the time of the City’s special act. This does not necessarily mean that if the general law changes in the future that the City would have to change what it has done. He stated that the Law Department could review this issue if it comes up. Councillor Simmons stated that she wanted to see this in writing to compare and contrast what the City and state can do. Vice Mayor Devereux stated that she agreed and added that this is all hypothetical because the state has not changed the law or passed the home rule petition.
Councillor Carlone stated that if the Election Commission would favor the no excuse absentee voting, it makes sense from a workload aspect, and voters appreciate it, it seems to him it would be a win-win, as it eliminates the 11 days of effort. He asked whether voters would still have to come in person to pick up the ballots or submit them. Ms. Waxman explained the process to vote by mail. She stated that to vote by mail, a written application is either picked up by or mailed to the voter, both for absentee and early voting. The application needs to be signed and can be mailed, scanned, e-mailed, faxed, or returned in person. For an absentee voter, a family member can fill out the application for the voter, but not for early voting.
At this point, Vice Mayor Devereux shifted the conversation to the topic of youth voting.
Ms. Ford explained that 16-year-olds’ information is not public record, and the Election Commission cannot provide a list of these voters to the candidates. She stated that voters under 18 are not in the state system, therefore Cambridge would require its own voter database, separate from the state, for those under 18. She stated that lowering the local voting age needs to take into consideration state and federal laws and whether there would be legal consequences. There is also the question of whether youth would be qualified to run for City Council or School Committee if the voting age were lowered, as this is one of the requirements to run for City Council. She stated that these names could not be included in the same voter list, and not included in the voter list files that are distributed by the Election Commission. Because of this, their voting history cannot be tracked. This change would mean double data entry and would create more work for the Election Commission. She stated that most preregistrations they receive come from the RMV, a state database. She did not know if approval is required from the state to access this information, and asked if once the information is received, would the Election Commission be able to register the 16-year-old. She asked if approval would be needed from both the state and RMV to use their information for this purpose. She stated that currently there are 241 16- and 17-year-old pre-registrants in Cambridge, of which 172 are from the RMV. She stated that these are the considerations that the Election Commission has.
Councillor Zondervan asked if the pre-registration is open to 16-year-olds. Ms. Ford responded in the affirmative. Ms. Ford stated that this information could be used with state permission, and each 16-year-old would have to give their permission also. Councillor Zondervan stated that it could be required that in order to vote as a 16- or 17-year-old you have to pre-register with the state, and this would be a way for the City to collect and obtain this information. Vice Mayor Devereux asked where else is pre-registration done. Ms. Waxman stated that there have been voter registration drives at the high school. Ms. Ford stated that there are other issues to think about, such as when a student leaves to go to college, there could be ramifications by registering to vote in certain areas based on their financial aid. This information is on the handouts that the Election Commission distributes at voter registration sessions. The legal ramifications need to be determined and then explained to the students before they register to vote, so that they do not jeopardize any of their eligibility.
Councillor Zondervan asked a final question about early voting. He wanted to know what the Election Commission’s recommendation or preference was between early voting and no excuse absentee voting. He asked is it worth pursuing early voting for municipal elections or should efforts be focused on the no excuse absentee ballot. Ms. Ford stated that no excuse absentee would be something to pay more attention to. She commented that early voting is beneficial, and all have had a great experience with it, but the issue is the difficulty of the logistics and having so many different procedures that complicate their work. She wanted to see if the state passes early voting statewide and then see City Council can focus on no excuses voting.
Councillor Zondervan suggested clarifying for younger people present at the hearing what a home rule petition is. He explained that the City cannot change the voting age themselves, but they have to ask the higher controlling power, the state, for permission to make the change.
Vice Mayor Devereux opened public comment at 5:09pm.
Robert Winters, 366 Broadway, stated that he favored no excuse absentee and the period of time for early voting is not an issue, just offering a reasonable amount of time to vote and consistency with state law. He stated that pursuing anything else is just creating needless complication. He suggested putting the investment into whatever is the best bet and moving forward. He stated that the case has not been made showing the sufficient benefit for 16-year-old voting. He stated that in terms of the basic standards for who is eligible to vote he believes that there should be a single uniform standard that crosses all city and town lines. He is not receptive to the notion that Somerville, Arlington and Cambridge should each have different definitions of who can vote. He urged convincing the state of the appropriate standard and make the change across the state.
Adam Gould, 35 Rice Street, stated his support for the City Council filing a home rule petition to lower the voting age to 16 for the off-year municipal elections. He spoke about a University of Pennsylvania paper published by Joshua A. Douglas, a professor of Election, Voting Rights and Constitutional Law, arguing that psychologists agree that 16-year-olds are as strong cognitively speaking as 20- and 40-year-olds at processing information related to voting. He stated that there is controversy that 16-year-old brains are not fully developed, which is true in certain types of impulsive decision-making, but the parts of their brains needed for voting are just as developed as adults’. He stated that another convincing argument is about habit: when something is done when young, such as voting, it can become a habit. People who have voted once tend to vote again, and currently not enough Americans vote. He believed this is a clear way to improve that. He stated that too often, people in power don’t listen to young people like him. Young people’s concerns and ideas are not listened to because they hold no power in election. This change to the voting age would enable young people to have a say in their lives and to make people listen. This is crucial in Cambridge with so many transient residents. It’s valuable to hear the voices of young people who have lived here for up to 16 years, such as his sister, who this change would affect. She’s lived in Cambridge her whole life and seen their local barber shop be turned into an upscale café, and seen their local donut shop close due to the rent being raised. He stated that when one is 16, one can drive, work, pay taxes, drop out of school, consent to medical treatment and be tried as an adult, but one cannot vote. He stated that one of the founding principles of our nation was “no taxation without representation.” He stated that there are many 16- and 17-yearolds who pay taxes but are not represented in the democratic process, and this makes it hard to call the process democratic. He noted that American women got the right to vote in 1920. As we approach 2020, it would be powerful to follow this example, as many of the same arguments are said today against youth voting that were said in 1920. Detractors said women’s brains were not as developed as men’s brains and that women belonged to their husbands, just as some say children belong to their parents. He commented that once women were given the right to vote, they turned out more than men in elections, and he believes the same would be true of youth voters. This is the reason why it is important to keep this democracy democratic.
Brandon Klugman, Generation Citizen, Vote16USA Campaign Manager, 41 Gordon Street, Boston, spoke about youth engagement. He stated that he is speaking on behalf of Generation Citizen, an organization that is dedicated to increasing youth engagement by ensuring that all students have access to action-oriented civics education that prepares them for a lifelong commitment to civic engagement and participation. He supports the efforts of young people who advocate for sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds’ right to vote. He explained Vote16USA. He spoke about Cambridge’s proud history of leadership in this endeavor in the past, and his hopes that it will continue in the future. He stated that voting is a habit and 16 is a better time than 18 to make this a habit. He stated that in Maryland, where this has been implemented, the towns have seen overwhelmingly positive results. He stated that 16- and 17-year-olds have turned out in higher rates, and Council members have reported an increase in interest in City programming and services, and more vibrant discussion around community issues. Most importantly, 16- and 17-year-olds are truly acting like residents, which is exactly what we want to see. Several other Massachusetts towns and cities have sent home rule petitions to the state legislature for this and it is the perfect time to bring this issue back to the forefront. He noted the leadership from young people, support from state and local leaders, and championing from national representatives, such as Ayanna Pressley. He urged the City Council to submit a home rule petition to lower the voting age to 16 for municipal elections. He submitted his comments (ATTACHMENT B).
Sam Gebru, 812 Memorial Drive, offered reflections on lower voting age. He stated that this is not the first time that Cambridge has filed a home rule petition to lower the voting age. He noted that there is an encouraging wave of youth-focused civic engagement currently happening. He stated that there are more student advocates at the high school today and there is more focus on civics education. There is also an initiative to have a civics trust fund to enable school districts to teach civics education. He stated that Generation Citizen was the leader in this coalition. He stated that that in Cambridge, 12-year-olds are allowed to vote in Participatory Budgeting. He spoke of the importance of allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in order to create this culture of voting while the students are still home and before they leave after high school. He noted that there are many young people in the City who do not understand Cambridge’s form of government. He stated that students need to feel that they are stakeholder in their City and part of this process. He favored the City Council filing a home rule petition to lower the voting age and to further to express support for the EMPOWER Act that would allow cities and towns to not have to go through the home rule process and to eliminate this requirement. He supported no-fault voting and wanted the absentee voting process to be less cumbersome.
Bill S. Coleman, III, from Worcester stated that in l976 he worked for Senator Ed Brooke and it was an incredible time. He was engaged and could not wait to vote and had to be 21 to vote. This is the same argument today that was made when he was 21 when there was a move to lower the voting age to 18. He stated then there was the conflict in Southeast Asia where 18-year-olds were being brought home in body bags. He stated that there were also 16- and 17-year-olds who had enlisted in the service with waivers signed by their parents who were also being killed in the war. He stated that suddenly, because of this, things changed. He spoke that now in our lives we are having mass shootings in the schools and this is not a question of if but when a shooting will happen again. He spoke about Proposition 2-1/2 that dismantled public education in the 1980s and in the l990s there was education reform that was to resolve the problems created by Proposition 2-1/2. He stated that he is a retired educator from UMass where he taught civic engagement and policy grant writing. Now he looks at this challenge of whether to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote. He stated that in Worcester, a petition was filed and did not pass, 6-5. Six City Councillors voted against merely holding a public hearing to discuss the idea (ATTACHMENT C). He spoke about a school to prison pipeline. He spoke about civics education. He stated that in Maryland in 2013 16- and 17-year-olds were allowed to vote and they are consistent voters and have outdone any other age group. He stated that what Cambridge is considering will lead the rest of the state. He stated that this should not be cumbersome for localities. He supports this as a statewide change to the voting age and supports giving the youth the right to vote. He spoke about ranked choice voting, which is gaining momentum in the Commonwealth. Vice Mayor Devereux stated that Cambridge has this type of voting. Mr. Coleman stated that the challenges are not unsurmountable to help give youth the opportunity to vote. In Worcester there are 1600-1700 students in the registered voter queue.
Vice Mayor Devereux closed public comment at 5:31pm.
Councillor Siddiqui wanted to convince the City Council to move forward on this. She added that the youth are the future. There are many benefits and above all it is about creating a habit to vote. It is important to have civic engagement and the new wave of civic engagement is on the rise. She is still supportive of this.
Councillor Carlone spoke about the learning process for 16-year-olds and what a great learning process it is to take a civics class and having election issues be a concrete part of this. He spoke about all the crucial local issues that the young people will grow up with in Cambridge. Housing overlay, sustainability. These people are going to grow up in these issues. His view on this is much stronger than before this meeting and he is appreciative for that.
Councillor Zondervan stated that he became a naturalized citizen in 1996 and was very excited to be able to register to vote. He stated that to him this is a no-brainer. His daughter recently came of age and was pre-registered to vote, and there’s no doubt in his mind that both his daughter and son would have been great 16-year-old voters. He agreed with Mr. Winters to have this be a uniform regulation across the state. He wanted to continue to file the home rule petition to try to encourage the state to get this done.
Councillor Kelley stated that he is on the fence. He enlisted in the Marines at age 17 and had to ask his parents’ permission to co-sign for him. He associates a certain level of independence with voting with when you can sign up for the Marine Corps on your own. He does not know where he is on this. He stated that there are many other ways people can get involved beside voting. He has had people under 18 helping him on his campaign, and they have been excellent and very involved. This is worth the discussion, though.
Vice Mayor Devereux stated that using home rule petitions can be part of a strategy to give other cities and towns a model they can follow. Cambridge’s stepping up to ask for this could help put pressure on the state to pass the EMPOWER Act. She noted that the City does not have a lot to lose in submitting a home rule petition and if the Council decides, they can ask the Law Department to draft the home rule. In terms of supporting the no excuse absentee ballot bill that is before the state legislature and the EMPOWER Act, she would submit supporting resolutions to the City Council on both.
At the conclusion of the meeting the following motion was made by Vice Mayor Devereux:
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to prepare a home rule petition for the City Council to lower the voting age to sixteen (16) in municipal elections.
The motion carried on a voice vote of three members.
Vice Mayor Devereux also noted that the City Council had talked about holding a youth town hall and that it was left to the Youth Policy Council to decide whether they want to move forward and what they want to discuss. She stated that civics education is an important part of this effort. She submitted a resolution previously supporting a state bill to make civics education mandatory in public schools, so it’s certainly something that the City Council has supported all along and continues to support.
Vice Mayor Devereux thanked all those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 5:41pm.
For the Committee,
Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair
AWAITING REPORT LIST
16-26. Report on the possibility of the City Council implementing a zoning change, on the permitting of all new restaurants where a wood-fired oven is used as a significant method of food preparation. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley (O-5) from 4/4/2016
16-42. Report on plans for the former Riverside Community Health Center on Western Avenue, including transfer of ownership of the building to the City and the process for determining future usage. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Vice Mayor McGovern (O-1) from 5/2/2016
16-83. Report on drafting possible legislation and other recommendations for interim actions to identify and address the public health impacts of any commercial wood-fired ovens. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Mayor Simmons (Calendar Item #4) from 10/31/2016
16-101. Report on the potential of building below market rental housing on City-owned parking lots along Bishop Allen Drive. On a communication from Councillor McGovern requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons (O-4) from 12/12/2016
16-108. Report on whether people displaced and qualify for Emergency Status who are using Section 8 in other cities or towns can retain their resident preference for the purpose of Inclusionary Housing. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Mayor Simmons, Councillor Toomey (O-4) from 12/19/2016
17-22. Report on the potential growth of next-generation wireless technology in the City, to include: the expected footprint of citywide coverage from just one company and what market competition might produce; the integration of public and private infrastructure to support the network; what local standards the City might hope to maintain relative to aesthetics and safety; and how this new technology fits into our Broadband access plans. On a communication from Councillor Kelley requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Councillor Cheung, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley (O-14) from 2/27/2017
17-87. Report on a schedule for resubmitting a revised draft of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance that incorporates clearer wording and/or more clearly explains each section in less technical jargon and is more coherent in its entirety, with the goal of seeing such an Ordinance adopted by the end of this City Council term. On a communication from Councillor Kelley and Councillor Devereux requesting that this matter be forwarded to the 2018-2019 Legislative Session.
Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux (O-8) from 9/18/2017
18-6. Report on information regarding electronic device usage by City-elected officials.
Councillor Toomey (O-7) from 1/22/2018
18-15. Report on any other relevant City Department to gain a sense of who is purchasing buildings in Cambridge.
Councillor Simmons (O-3) from 2/5/2018
18-21. Report on the feasibility of initiating a formal transit study and action plan of the Alewife area in response to unanimous concerns of the Envision Alewife Working Group.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Siddiqui (O-7) from 2/26/2018
18-38. Report on inventory of all City-owned vacant buildings and lots and the City's plans for them, if any.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui (O-2) from 3/26/2018
18-44. Report on ensuring an additional commitment of $20 million from the City’s budget is devoted over the next five years toward the City’s efforts to preserve and create affordable housing units.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui (O-6) from 4/23/2018
18-53. Report on an updated schedule for resubmitting a revised draft of the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance that incorporates suggestions from the Light Cambridge Committee by June 11, 2018.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-1) from 5/14/2018
18-60. Report on a small business parking pilot that would allow temporary on-street employee parking during typical daytime operating hours.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons (Calendar Item #1) from 5/14/2018
18-66. Report on establishing a Young Adult Civic Unity Committee to be modeled after the Citizen Civic Unity Committee and to recruit applicants from all across the community and across all socio-economic backgrounds.
Councillor Simmons (O-7) from 6/18/2018
18-68. Report on determining the permitting and legality issues of Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing in the City of Cambridge.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan (O-11) from 6/18/2018
18-73. Report on establishing and implementing a dynamic new initiative that will seek to place Port residents (ages 18 and over) on paths to jobs with family-sustaining wages.
Councillor Simmons (O-6) from 6/25/2018
18-83. Report on an action plan to work with the City’s Community-Based Organizations to create a network of summertime evening programming to reduce the threat of violence in the City’s public spaces in 2019 and beyond.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Mallon (O-9) from 7/30/2018
18-87. Report on the navigational editing capabilities of the City of Cambridge.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux (O-16) from 7/30/2018
18-93. Report on the sale of The Constellation Center's Parcel C in Kendall Square.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey (Calendar Item #7) from 9/24/2018
18-96. Report on how the City views internet-based platforms as opportunities for outreach and communication and what sort of guidelines have been, or are being, developed to help everyone understand how the City’s various departments do or do not utilize these communication resources and how any communications on these platforms are managed so that the messaging and information is kept up-to-date.
Councillor Kelley (Calendar Item #10) from 9/24/2018
18-100. Report on taking all possible immediate actions to preserve and restore Linear Park.
Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Kelley (O-3) from 9/24/2018
18-108. Report on offering early voting in City Council and School Committee Elections.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui (O-1) from 10/29/2018
18-119. Report on evaluating the existing capacity of fire stations in the Kendall Square area and whether a new fire station is needed, and if so, determining the feasibility of locating a plot of land for this use.
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey (O-2) from 11/5/2018
18-123. Report on ensuring funding for our municipal media services.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui, Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern (O-9) from 11/19/2018
18-129. Report on conducting a comprehensive, independent planning, and parking study of the neighborhood and use of the First Street Garage within 6months.
Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone (Calendar Item #1) from 11/19/2018
18-130. Report on working with the Chair of the Civic Unity Committee, the Director of the Cambridge Library, the Director of 22-CityView, the Director of the Women’s Commission, and any other appropriate City personnel to begin planning for a public discussion in recognition of 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux (O-3) from 12/3/2018
18-132. Report on the negative traffic impact regarding the Davis Square Neighborhood Plan. See Mgr #1
Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux (O-5) from 12/3/2018
18-134. Report on creating a more inclusive city website, including an Open Meeting Portal registration form that does not require the use of gendered pronouns, salutations or titles.
Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon (O-11) from 12/3/2018
18-137. Report on reviewing the FCC Regulations on Small Cell Technology.
Vice Mayor Devereux (O-18) from 12/3/2018
18-139. Report on the possibility of planting a substantial-sized tree at the corner of Inman Street and Massachusetts Avenue, directly on the front lawn of City Hall. See Mgr #4
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan (O-2) from 12/10/2018
18-141. Report on safe way to bring power to the curb and across sidewalks to power electric vehicles.
Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan (O-2) from 12/17/2018
19-2. Report on allocating a percentage of hotel/motel tax revenue and adult use cannabis tax revenue to the arts in the FY20 budget.
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern (O-5) from 1/7/2019
19-3. Report on establishing a Central Square Improvement Fund and allocate no less than 25% of funds generated to the arts.
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern (O-6) from 1/7/2019
19-4. Report on the City's 1% for arts ordinance, which projects have met the threshold and which have fallen short, and whether it can be adjusted to account for ensuring that all mediums and disciplines of art, including live performance art, receive funding.
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons (O-7) from 1/7/2019
19-5. Report on how to provide public representation to the major project Selection Committees.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone (O-14) from 1/7/2019
19-7. Report on Boston’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station Home Rule Petition and propose similar language for the City Council to consider.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Carlone (O-2) from 1/14/2019
19-11. Report on the feasibility of eliminating the use of plastic water bottles at City and School events.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Mallon (O-4) from 1/28/2019
19-13. Report on conferring with Eversource and the appropriate City departments to undertake a series of studies and analyses related to finance, health and safety, building design, and long-term electricity needs before the construction of a substation in East Cambridge.
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Toomey (O-3) from 2/4/2019
19-14. Report on conducting inventories of both local arts organizations and private foundations that may support them.
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern (O-4) from 2/4/2019
19-15. Report on the possibility of setting up an assistance fund/program to help low-income and/or elderly/disabled residents manage bed bug infestations.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan (O-9) from 2/4/2019
19-16. Report on the “Super Sunday” road race that was held on Feb 3, 2019 and if the proper procedures were followed in issuing permits and when/if the neighbors were notified.
Councillor Toomey (O-13) from 2/4/2019
19-18. Report on sharing regular project updates from the GSA and MITIMCO on the new Volpe Center.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan (O-13) from 1/7/2019
19-20. Report on seeking additional funding for affordable housing concerns.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern (O-6) from 2/11/2019
19-21. Report on the process for establishing a formal, thorough review of the City’s Affordable Home Ownership programs, incorporating a plan for obtaining and analyzing substantial quantitative data inclusive of all types of units.
Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey (O-3) from 2/25/2019
19-22. Report on the feasibility of allowing small businesses to host live acoustic music performances without a license, and if feasible, present the City Council with a proposal to allow such performances.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern (O-5) from 2/25/2019
19-25. Report on information that is offered to limited equity condominium owners regarding the ability to recoup extraordinary repair and maintenance costs, the procedure that is in place to inform purchasers of existing or possible construction and maintenance issues that may result in higher-than expected condo fees, and the possibility of allowing roommates to cover unexpected expenses.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Simmons, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey (O-10) from 2/25/2019
19-26. Report on communicating directly with the Volpe Center about the possibility of having their staff help the City set up a Micro-Mobility Pilot program in the Kendall Square area.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan (O-11) from 2/25/2019
19-29. Report on providing data on speed and vehicle counts on Garden Street between Concord Avenue and Linnaean Street and identify potential measures to improve its pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-2) from 3/4/2019
19-32. Report on the number of fines for failure to clear sidewalks issued from the winter of 2014-15 through the winter of 2018-19.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Kelley (O-4) from
19-33. Report on updating the bike data count chart, along with other data tables and charts, in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan to reflect 2016 and 2018 data.
Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan (O-9) from 3/18/2019
19-34. Report on how the data collected from the Broadway Eco-Display is used to inform the City’s transportation planning efforts and to address the possibility of installing additional Eco-Display counters at the highest trafficked bicycle locations to provide more comprehensive information about bike use and other vehicles such as scooters.
Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan (O-10) from 3/18/2019
19-35. Report on the status of any micro-mobility pilot programs or partnerships in Cambridge.
Councillor Kelley (O-12) from 3/18/2019
19-36. Report on how the Parking and Transportation Demand Management Ordinance is being used anecdotally, what the participation rates and trends are, and how it’s administered.
Vice Mayor Devereux (O-17) from 3/18/2019
19-37. Report on moving a Transit Benefit Ordinance proposal to an action plan.
Vice Mayor Devereux (O-18) from 3/18/2019
19-38. Report on designating a staff member in the Economic Development Division as an "arts liaison."
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern (O-2) from 3/25/2019
19-39. Report on creating a dedicated comprehensive "arts friendly" licensing web page.
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern (O-3) from 3/25/2019
19-40. Report on providing accessibility to the deaf community by hiring American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and using apps such as Language Line Solutions to communicate with the deaf community in their first language.
Councillor Mallon, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey (O-5) from 3/25/2019
19-41. Report on how Cambridge enforces moped registration requirements and the enforcement numbers.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey (O-6) from 4/1/2019
19-42. Report on plans this construction season to install sidewalk markings that appropriately indicate what types of mobility devices are allowed on which sidewalks.
Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-7) from 4/1/2019
19-43. Report on the types of vendor reporting programs that the City uses and how they are used as well as the ability to modify these programs given the constraints of relevant state and federal laws and similar limitations.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui (O-8) from 4/1/2019
19-44. Report on installing more metered parking spots in business districts that do not currently have any.
Councillor Toomey (O-1) from 4/8/2019
19-45. Report on compiling a full accounting of streets, schools, and public buildings that may be named in honor of those who have ties to the American slave trade, and to work towards renaming all of these streets, schools, and buildings.
Councillor Simmons (O-4) from 4/8/2019
19-46. Report on reviewing whether the MBTA is out of compliance with the amended MBTA/BCIL settlement agreement through the delay in completion of the elevator replacement and concurrent hazardous condition of the stairwells related to Central Square.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon (O-9) from 4/8/2019
19-47. Report on increasing traffic monitoring resources at the intersection of Prospect and Broadway, especially during morning rush hour.
Councillor Mallon (O-12) from 4/8/2019
19-48. Report on working with the MBTA to do whatever is necessary to alleviate the Green Street bus idling and unhealthy situation.
Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux (O-14) from 4/8/2019
19-49. Report on recommending restrictions on signage specific to retail establishments that sell e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey (O-15) from 4/8/2019
19-50. Report on clarifying the policy around future installation of new LED street lights and replacement of failed 4000K LED street lights with warmer alternatives 3000K or less.
Councillor Zondervan, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone (O-17) from 4/8/2019
19-51. Report on determining whether an all-way stop sign, a raised intersection or other safety improvements would be helpful at the Garden/Field/Alpine intersection.
Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern (O-7) from 4/22/2019
19-53. Report on working with the Cambridge Police Department and other relevant City staff on how media collected by hand-held photo/video recording devices is used, stored, and shared.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui (O-4) from 5/6/2019
19-54. Report on how a cloud-based data management system for DHSP's Children and Youth Programs will clearly protect all aspects of participant privacy and access security.
Councillor Kelley (O-5) from 5/6/2019
19-55. Report on working with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the License Commission to establish a "play streets" permit.
Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui (O-7) from 5/6/2019