Cambridge City Council meeting - Nov 2, 2015 - AGENDA
CITY MANAGER’S AGENDA
1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a Constable With Power for a term of three years, effective the first day of January, 2015: Martine X. Wong.
2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 15-91, regarding a report on whether fire hydrant markers are needed during the winter months.
3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 15-18, regarding a report on renaming the Area IV Youth Center as the “Dr. Robert and Janet Moses Youth Center.” [attachment]
4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an appropriation of the Fair Housing Assistance Program Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the amount of $42,800 to the Grant Fund Human Rights Salary and Wages Account ($31,800) and the Travel and Training Account ($11,000) which will be used to cover a portion of the salary of an Attorney-Investigator, who works on cases from the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP).
5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $21,000 from the General Fund Traffic Department Salary and Wages account to the Traffic Department Travel and Training account (judgment and damages) to cover current and anticipated medical services/prescription costs and a lump sum settlement cost for an employee injured during the performance of their work duties.
1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $3,300,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Community Development Department Extraordinary Expenditure Account for the Citywide Planning process. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on City Manager Agenda Number Twenty-seven of Oct 19, 2015.]
Cheung motion to Table Failed 2-6-0-1; Order Adopted 8-1-0
2. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City departments to draft a Home Rule petition that would allow Cambridge to establish a Job Creation and Training linkage fee to be managed by a Cambridge Jobs Trust. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Cheung on Order Number Two of Oct 19, 2015.]
Tabled - Cheung
3. That the scheduled Oct 26, 2015 roundtable meeting on citywide planning be designated a “special meeting” and that the City Manager is requested to coordinate with the appropriate departments to record, broadcast, and live-stream the scheduled Oct 26, 2015 “special meeting” to discuss citywide planning. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Order Twenty-two of Oct 19, 2015.]
Placed on File under Rule 19
ON THE TABLE
4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 15-60, regarding a report on restaurant employee parking. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on City Manager Agenda Number Twenty-five of Sept 21, 2015. Placed on Table on motion of Councillor Toomey on Sept 28, 2015.]
5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 15-107 and Council Order Number 54, dated 9/21/15, regarding the minimum wage. [City Manager Agenda Number Six of Sept 28, 2015 Placed on Table on motion of Councillor Mazen.]
6. That the Council go on the record to state that the second Monday of October henceforth be commemorated as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Cambridge, in recognition of the indigenous people of America’s position as native to these lands, and the suffering they faced following European conquest of their land. [Order Number Fifteen of Oct 19, 2015 Placed on Table on motion of Vice Mayor Benzan.]
7. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to proposed amendment to the Living Wage Ordinance. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 16, 2015.
APPLICATIONS AND PETITIONS
1. An application was received from the Suzanne Vargo, requesting permission for a curb cut at the premises numbered 149 Norfolk Street; said petition has received approval from Inspectional Services, Traffic, Parking and Transportation, Historical Commission and Public Works. No response has been received from the neighborhood association.
2. An application was received from Tanjore Indian Cuisine, requesting permission for an awning at the premises numbered 18 Eliot Street. Approval has been received from Inspectional Services, Department of Public Works, Community Development Department, Historical Commission and abutters.
3. A zoning petition has been received from the Friends of MAPOCO, to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance by a new sub-district of the Massachusetts Avenue Overlay District along Massachusetts Avenue between Porter Square and Cambridge Common.
Referred to Ordinance Committee and Planning Board
4. An application was received from the Boston Ballet, 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, requesting permission to hang twenty-three temporary banners on electrical poles on in Harvard Square. These banners will promote the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker. The temporary banners will be hung from Nov 23 to Jan 4, 2016. Approval has been received from the Electrical Department.
Charter Right - Benzan
1. A communication was received from Alison Field-Juma, 363 Concord Avenue, regarding the feasibility study of the Alewife Station/Bridge Platform Project.
2. A communication was received from Arthur Strang, transmitting opposition to the four sandwich board signs for Harvard Square Eye Care.
3. A communication was received from Michael F. Walker, 284 Sidney Street, transmitting support for the Cambridge Bicycle Plan.
4. A communication was received from Hasson Rashid, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, regarding homelessness in Cambridge.
5. A communication was received from Christopher Cassa, transmitting very strong support for protected, separated bike lanes as described in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan.
6. A communication was received from Lisa Martell, transmitting very strong support for protected, separated bike lanes as described in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan.
7. A communication was received from Timothy Sutherland, transmitting strong support for the protected bike lanes proposed in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan.
8. A communication was received from Mashaal Sohail, transmitting very strong support for protected, separated bike lanes as described in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan.
9. A communication was received from Tom Hall, 515 Green Street transmitting support for protected, separated bike lanes as described in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan.
10. A communication was received from Sebastian Akle, Harvard University, transmitting support for proposed separated and protected bicycle lanes which were described in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan.
11. A communication was received from Robert J. LaTremouille, regarding massive destruction commencing of hundreds of trees and of animal habitat on Memorial Drive between the BU and Longfellow Bridges.
12. A communication was received from John Pitkin, VP, Green Cambridge, regarding climate adaptation should include support for refugees from Syria.
13. A communication was received from Jack Mahoney, transmitting thanks for the thoughtful and meaningful resolution adopted by the City Council on behalf of his mother, Mary E. Mahoney.
14. A communication was received from Claudia Viglione, transmitting thanks for the City Council’s deepest sympathy on the loss of her mother, Gina Viglione.
15. A communication was received from Kim Courtney and Xavier Dietrich, regarding a package store with an invalid liquor license.
16. A communication was received from Nina Coslov, 28 Meadow Way, transmitting additional information about the public safety issue for pedestrians and children at the intersection of Fresh Pond Parkway and Brattle Street.
17. A communication was received from Hasson Rashid, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, requesting the creation of a Homelessness Trust Fund.
18. A communication was received from Ruth Ryals, 115 Upland Road, in support of the zoning petition filed to create a new sub-district along Massachusetts Avenue between Porter Square and the Cambridge Common together with two other letters of support from Ron Axelrod and Stephen Diamond.
1. Wishing Cambridge Art & Frame a Happy 7th Anniversary and congratulating Andy Montone on his 7 years of doing business in the City of Cambridge. Councillor Toomey
2. Resolution on the death of Thomas J. O’Connor Jr. Councillor Toomey
3. Resolution on the death of Paul A. Boudreau. Mayor Maher
4. Congratulations to Eva Martin Blythe on the occasion of her 8th anniversary as Executive Director of the YWCA Cambridge. Councillor Simmons
5. Congratulations to Nicola Williams on being named a Cambridge Food Hero. Councillor Simmons
6. Best wishes to Stacey King in her new position as Assistant Director of MPH Field Practice at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Councillor Simmons
7. Happy 100th Birthday wishes to Floyd Freeman. Councillor Simmons
8. Resolution on the death of Merrill Bacon. Councillor Simmons
9. Condolences to the family of David Gittens. Councillor Simmons and Vice Mayor Benzan
10. Recognition of Christopher M. Mattei Esq. for his dedicated service to the State of Connecticut and The United States of America. Councillor Carlone
11. Urge all residents to honor the men and women who have defended our country as well as those who are serving by celebrating Veterans’ Day. Councillor McGovern
12. That the City Council go on record commending the Brattle Theater and the organizers of the Independent Film Festival in Boston on their commitment to bringing great works of art into the Cambridge community. Councillor Cheung
13. Expressing its deep condolences to the family of Vivienne Campbell for their loss. Councillor Simmons
14. Happy 90th Birthday wishes to Frances Stanizzi. Mayor Maher
15. Recognition of Frank Duehay for his longtime dedicated commitment to the Cambridge Homes. Mayor Maher
1. That the City Council go on record in support of expanding access to Comprehensive Genomic Profiling tests to Medicare patients in Cambridge and nationwide. Councillor Toomey
2. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Cambridge Police Department and other appropriate City personnel to address the concern related to motorists ignoring traffic signs and signals at the intersection of Sherman Street and Rindge Avenue and Raymond and Walden Streets and to determine what measures should be taken to increase enforcement of the traffic signs and signals in these areas. Councillor Simmons
3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City personnel to address the safety concerns in Harvard Square to determine what measures should be taken to increase pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular safety. Councillor Simmons
4. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to investigate the feasibility of installing solar panels on suitable City-owned rooftops. Councillor Cheung
5. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Community Development Department and other appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of establishing an online database of “problematic landlords” modeled upon the databases of Chicago and New York, to determine what the criteria for establishing this designation would be, and to report back to the City Council on when such a database could be up and running in a timely manner. Councillor Simmons
6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with Public Works and Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to evaluate traffic calming methods to prevent motorists from making long turns in the Speedway lot. Councillor Kelley
7. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Department of Public Works and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation on ways to improve the safety of pedestrians at the intersection of Fresh Pond Parkway and Brattle Street. Mayor Maher
8. That the City Clerk, in consultation with the City Solicitor, draft a response regarding the attached Open Meeting Law complaint for the City Council’s consideration, so that the draft response may be considered and voted on by the City Council at its next regular business meeting of
Nov 9, 2015 Nov 23, 2015. Mayor Maher
9. That the Housing Committee of the City Council is requested to schedule a hearing with the Cambridge Housing Authority to address security issues by reviewing existing security procedures and, where necessary, propose changes in related security issues. Councillor Kelley
10. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Purchasing Department and other appropriate City personnel to report back to the City Council on what specific efforts are made to purchase goods and services from locally-owned, Cambridge-based businesses, and to evaluate whether additional measures can be taken to ensure that the City considers turning to local businesses whenever possible. Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Cheung
11. That the City Council go on record expressing support for the Treasury Department’s and Senator Warren’s demand for Congressional action addressing the crisis in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and that the City Council go on record urging U.S. Congress to make the necessary amendments to the current United States Bankruptcy Code to help the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico begin resolving its financial crisis and finding long-term solutions to its Medicaid programs. Vice Mayor Benzan
12. That the City Council go on record renaming Area IV Youth Center as the "Dr. Robert and Janet Moses Youth Center." Vice Mayor Benzan
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Chair of the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee for a public hearing held on Oct 6, 2015 to discuss Sustainable Transportation and the Transit Strategic Plan.
2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk transmitting a report from Councillor Leland Cheung, Chair of the Health and Environment Committee for a public hearing held on Oct 8, 2015 to discuss the City’s work towards implementing municipal procurement and energy aggregation.
3. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee for a public meeting held on Oct 20, 2015 to discuss coordinating local resources to provide housing and services for incoming refugees from the Syrian Civil War.
Tabled - Mazen
COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS FROM CITY OFFICERS
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by Kim Courtney and Xavier Dietrich, 955 Massachusetts Avenue #259, Cambridge, regarding the Minutes of the City Council meeting of Aug 10, 2015.
Mon, Nov 2
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 9
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Thurs, Nov 12
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a petition by the Planning Board to amend Section 13.10 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance so as to change the development controls applicable in the Planned Unit Development at Kendall Square (PUD-KS) Overlay Zoning District. The majority of the PUD-KS District is occupied by the Volpe Transportation Systems Research Center operated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Click here to view the petition. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 16
5:30pm Roundtable/Working Meeting between the School Committee and the City Council. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, Nov 17
5:30pm The Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the rodent problem. (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Nov 18
10:00am Economic Development and University Relations Committee (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to amend Article 6.000 to create a new Section 6.24 Carsharing Provisions that will create a definition and general provisions for Carsharing and will allow the limited use of parking spaces. Click here to view the petition. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Thurs, Nov 19
2:00pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a petition filed by Patrick W. Barrett III, et al. to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance by amending Article 2.000 (“Definitions”) and Article 4.000, Section 4.22 (“Accessory Apartments”). Click here to view the petition. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 23
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
7:00pm The City Council will conduct a public hearing to discuss a request from Normandy Real Estate Partners and Twining Properties to make available for disposition approximately 1,042 square feet of City owned land know as Coolidge Place, which is an eight foot wide public way that connects Massachusetts Avenue to the city-owned Municipal Parking Lot #6 on Bishop Allen Drive. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 30
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber) - MEETING CANCELLED.
Mon, Dec 7
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 14
5:30pm Roundtable/Working Meeting to discuss Transportation Issues. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 21
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 28
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber) - MEETING CANCELLED.
Mon, Jan 4
10:00am CITY COUNCIL INAUGURAL MEETING (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Jan 11
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Jan 25
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Feb 1
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Feb 8
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Feb 22
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Feb 29
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Mar 7
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Mar 14
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Mar 21
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Mar 28
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Apr 4
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Apr 11
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Apr 25
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
TEXT OF ORDERS
O-1 Nov 2, 2015 Amended
WHEREAS: Precision medicine is an emerging model within the healthcare field that seeks to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes by tailoring therapies to the unique characteristics of each patient; and
WHEREAS: Comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) is a new diagnostic test available to cancer patients that precisely identifies the underlying changes in a patient’s DNA or RNA that are causing cancer cell growth; and
WHEREAS: CGP is generally used for desperately ill patients with advanced cancer diseases, making the need even more urgent for Medicare coverage of a diagnostic tool that can identify all available treatment options quickly and accurately; and
WHEREAS: CGP enables physicians to consider the use of targeted therapies that are often more effective at treating cancer and leave patients with fewer side effects, and result in lower costs and better outcomes; and
WHEREAS: CGP will help the field of oncology transition to a precision medicine approach; and
WHEREAS: Foundation Medicine, Inc. (FMI) is a biotechnology company based in the City of Cambridge, employees approximately 400 people, performs CGP tests in its Cambridge lab, and provides the only CGP test currently commercially available; and
WHEREAS: The regional Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), National Government Services (NGS), must approve CGP tests before they can be covered by Medicare, and although other regional MACs have approved CGP tests, Medicare patients nationwide cannot receive coverage until the regional MAC for FMI’s Cambridge laboratory, NGS, approves Medicare coverage guidelines for cancer patients that include coverage for CGP; and
WHEREAS: Greater than 80% of all Medicare recipients across the country with non-small cell lung cancer present with Stage IIIb/IV disease at initial diagnosis, and it accounts for more than 70% of all deaths among lung cancer patients over the age of 65 possibly including our families, friends, and neighbors, who would access and benefit from CGP soon after it is covered; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record in support of expanding access to CGP tests, including research of similar companies, to Medicare patients in Cambridge and nationwide; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record requesting that NGS expedite its Local Coverage Determination review and establish Medicare coverage for CGPs.
O-2 Nov 2, 2015
WHEREAS: Residents have recently alerted the City Council to a number of motorists ignoring traffic signs and traffic signals at the intersection of Sherman Street and Rindge Avenue, the stretch of road from Wendell Street to Shepard Street (particularly around Massachusetts Avenue), and the intersection of Raymond Street and Walden Street, and this disregard of traffic rules places vehicles and pedestrians at great safety risk; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Cambridge Police Department and other appropriate City personnel to address the above concerns, to determine what measures should be taken to increase enforcement of the traffic signs and signals in these areas, and whether additional safety measures must be implemented, and to report back to the City Council and the public in a timely manner.
O-3 Nov 2, 2015
WHEREAS: Residents have alerted the City Council to a number of recent collisions and near-collisions between cars and bicycles or cars and pedestrians in the center of Harvard Square, mainly occurring in the area between the Out of Town News structure and the Harvard Coop building, with traffic heading toward Porter Square; and
WHEREAS: This large intersection has a number of faded bicycle lines on the pavement and a faded line indicating where vehicles should stop during a red light, and some residents have voiced concern that the lack of bright, distinctive street markings have led to confusion as to right-of-way and where vehicles should be stopping during red lights; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the appropriate City personnel to address the above concerns, to determine what measures should be taken to increase pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular safety in this section of Harvard Square, and to report back to the City Council and the public in a timely manner.
O-4 Nov 2, 2015 Amended
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge is concerned with both improving the quality of its residents’ lives and environmental sustainability; and
WHEREAS: The City Council recently adopted a “Net Zero” action plan, part of which included the City’s goal to reduce wasteful energy use in the pursuit of lower carbon emissions; and
WHEREAS: Installing solar panels provides an alternative source of energy that does not contribute to increasing levels of carbon in the atmosphere and falls in line with the City’s “Net Zero” goals; and
WHEREAS: The City owns a number of buildings which could potentially host solar panels that would help generate energy from a carbon neutral source; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to investigate the feasibility of installing solar panels on suitable City owned rooftops and report back to the City Council in a timely manner; and be it further
ORDERED: That in order to provide equitable access to solar energy to tenants and residents who do not have suitable roofs, the City Manager be and hereby is requested to investigate and report back to the City Council in a timely manner on the feasibility of issuing an RFP for Community Shared Solar facilities to be construced on three suitable City owned roofs prior to the expiration of the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit at the end of 2016.
O-5 Nov 2, 2015
WHEREAS: Members of the City Council, via constituent casework, and via direct interactions, often become aware of certain landlords that engage in harassing and abusive behavior toward their tenants, or who routinely violate the basic obligations of the tenant-landlord relationship; and
WHEREAS: Despite the fact that City Councilors may gradually accumulate knowledge of these specific bad actors, there does not exist any viable mechanism for
distributing this information in a way that can alert potential renters to steer clear of these problematic landlords, or to sign a lease at their own risk; and
WHEREAS: Municipal governments in Chicago and in New York have established online databases and watch-lists of landlords to be wary of, and these governments are providing a public service to potential renters, giving them important information that can help them make informed decisions prior to signing a lease and potentially sparing them from years of difficulty and distress; and
WHEREAS: The vast majority of landlords in Cambridge are decent, upstanding individuals who either work for professional housing management companies, or are renting out their privately owned apartments to those that wish to live there, these fine individuals should be able to distance themselves from the handful of bad actors, and establishing such a public database would be one new method of creating such a distinction; and
WHEREAS: Creating such a public database in Cambridge would be in the best interests of the thousands of residents who rent their homes, it would ease the caseloads of the local legal organizations that are overburdened with potentially avoidable tenant-landlord disputes, and it would be in the best interests of the Cambridge community overall; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to consult with the Community Development Department and other appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of establishing an online database of “problematic landlords” modeled upon the databases of Chicago and New York, to determine what the criteria for establishing this designation would be, and to report back to the City Council on when such a database could be up and running in a timely manner.
O-6 Nov 2, 2015
WHEREAS: The current approach for northbound traffic into the Speedway gas station at 2055 Massachusetts Ave allows for fast, angled turns into the lot; and
WHEREAS: Vehicles coming in such a manner pose a hazard to other drivers, but particularly to pedestrians and bicyclists; and
WHEREAS: From 2010 to 2013, the Cambridge Police Department reported 11 accidents at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Blake Street 4 accidents at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Hadley Street, and an additional 6 accidents at 2055 Massachusetts Avenue, making 21 accidents in one block, of which 7 involved a bicyclist; and
WHEREAS: In addition to those accidents that are reported, there are countless other near misses that go unrecorded; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with Public Works and Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to evaluate traffic calming methods to prevent motorists from making long turns in the Speedway lot; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter.
O-7 Nov 2, 2015
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and is hereby requested to consult with the Department of Public Works and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation on ways to improve the safety of pedestrians at the intersection of Fresh Pond Parkway and Brattle Street and to report back to the City Council with any findings and recommendations.
O-8 Nov 2, 2015 Amended
WHEREAS: The City Council is in receipt of an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by Kim Courtney and Xavier Dietrich, 2 Ware Street which appears under Communications and Reports from City Officers Number One; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Clerk, in consultation with the City Solicitor, draft a response regarding the attached Open Meeting Law complaint for the City Council’s consideration, so that the draft response may be considered and voted on by the City Council at its next regular business meeting of
Nov 9, 2015 Nov 23, 2015.
O-9 Nov 2, 2015
WHEREAS: Crime in Cambridge is a concern for the whole community, particularly for residents who because of age or ability are more vulnerable than others; and
WHEREAS: Senior residents in many of the Cambridge Housing Authority apartments have expressed concern for the security measures of their buildings; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the Housing Committee of the City Council be and hereby is requested to schedule a hearing with the Cambridge Housing Authority to address security issues by reviewing existing security procedures and, where necessary, propose changes in related security issues.
O-10 Nov 2, 2015
VICE MAYOR BENZAN
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge, as a large consumer of everything from office products to catering for official banquets, functions, and receptions, has the capacity to positively impact the local economy by supporting local businesses and turning to said businesses when making purchases for official City functions and purposes; and
WHEREAS: The City Council has focused on this issue in the past, most recently in a Council Order introduced on June 27, 2011, and questions remain as to the City’s working policies and practices in this regard; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Purchasing Department and other appropriate City personnel to report back to the City Council on what specific efforts are made to purchase goods and services from locally-owned, Cambridge-based businesses, and to evaluate whether additional measures can be taken to ensure that the City considers turning to local businesses whenever possible; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Council formally goes on record in urging the Purchasing Department, and all City departments, to take pains to make purchases that are used for official City business wherever and whenever possible, from locally owned Cambridge based business in order to better support the local economy.
O-11 Nov 2, 2015
VICE MAYOR BENZAN
WHEREAS: In the 1960s, Puerto Rican communities began moving into the City of Cambridge; and many of these residents worked the blue-collar jobs in our City’s factories that once started Cambridge in order to provide a better future for their families; and
WHEREAS: Over years, the Puerto Rican community has become an invaluable asset to our City’s economic progress, history, and culture; and
WHEREAS: The Puerto Rican Community is well known for being dedicated small business owners, remarkable students, outstanding employees, distinguished parents, and dedicated public servants; and
WHEREAS: Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States shortly after the Spanish-American War under the Treaty of Paris of 1898; and
WHEREAS: On Mar 2, 1917, the U.S. Congress enacted the Jones-Shafroth Act, granting American citizenship to Puerto Ricans, which allowed them to be drafted into U.S. military service; and
WHEREAS: The Jones-Shafroth Act, also exempted Puerto Rican bonds from federal, state, and local taxes, regardless of where the bond holder resides; and
WHEREAS: In 1973, the Government Puerto Rico began to use debt to balance its budget as well as to repay and refinance older debt; and
WHEREAS: Four decades later, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is approximately $72 billion in debt with hedge funds, mutual bonds, and other investors; and
WHEREAS: Since 2006, the economy in Puerto Rico has shrunk by 10 percent, shed more than 250,000 jobs, closed over 150 schools, and reached poverty rates of 56 percent among children and 45 percent among adults; and
WHEREAS: Since 2009, the Government of Puerto Rico has passed pension reforms, furloughed Government employees, cut expenditures, and significantly raised its taxes; and
WHEREAS: Despite drastic actions by the Puerto Rican Government, the island is rapidly becoming insolvent and will exhaust all of its emergency measures by the end of 2015; and
WHEREAS: Bond holders are not willing to negotiate with Puerto Rican Government, instead, they are asking Puerto Rico to increase its taxes, eliminate state-sponsored healthcare, layoff teachers and continue foreclosure, cut pensions, privatize public ports, reduce support to the University of Puerto Rico in order to pay its debt; and
WHEREAS: The severe economic struggles in Puerto Rico are forcing residents to flee; in 2014, 84,000 people left the island and a total of 300,000 in the last decade; and
WHEREAS: In the past, countries or cities facing similar circumstances have either reached out to the International Monetary Fund or filed for bankruptcy through the Chapter 9, Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code to workout reasonable debt reductions and payment plans; and
WHEREAS: According to U.S. Federal Law, the Territory of Puerto Rico cannot exercise either of these since it is neither a country nor a U.S. municipality, leaving the fate of the 3.5 million American citizens on the island at the mercy of Puerto Rico’s lenders and hedge fund investors; and
WHEREAS: On Wed, Oct 21, 2015 the U.S. Department of Treasury proposed the Roadmap for Congressional Action, outlining four immediate steps to address the crisis of Puerto Rico: (1) Provide tools for Puerto Rico to comprehensively address its financial liabilities; (2) Enact strong fiscal oversight and help strengthen Puerto Rico’s fiscal governance; (3) Provide a long-term solution to Puerto Rico’s historically inadequate Medicaid treatment; (4) Reward work and support work; and
WHEREAS: The Treasury Department proposed an extension of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to the Puerto Rican municipalities, asked that the island’s debt is addressed in its entirety, and urged for U.S. Congress to pass a legislation forcing creditors to the negotiating table, in the same way any American city or any country can do; and
WHEREAS: On Thurs, Oct 22, 2015, Cambridge resident and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren demanded the Treasury Department to utilize the same creativity to resolve Puerto Rico’s debt as it did to aid the banks during the financial crisis; and
WHEREAS: Senator Warren supported the Treasury’s plan requiring Congressional action, stressing the importance of an amendment to Chapter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code; and
WHEREAS: The lives and wellbeing of the 3.5 million American citizens living on the island are also the U.S. Congress’s responsibility; and without immediate Congressional action, a solution to the financial crisis in Puerto Rico will not be achieved; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record expressing support for the Treasury Department’s and Senator Warren’s demand for Congressional action addressing the crisis in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record urging U.S. Congress to make the necessary amendments to the current United States Bankruptcy Code to help the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico begin resolving its financial crisis and finding long-term solutions to its Medicaid programs; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward suitably engrossed copies of this policy order resolution to Congressman Michael E. Capuano, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator Ed Markey and United States Treasurer Rosa Gumataotao Rios on behalf of the entire City Council.
O-12 Nov 2, 2015
VICE MAYOR BENZAN
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record renaming Area IV Youth Center as the "Dr. Robert and Janet Moses Youth Center."
TEXT OF COMMITTEE REPORTS
Committee Report #1
The Transportation & Public Utilities Committee held a public hearing on Tues, Oct 6, 2015 at 5:10pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss Sustainable Transportation and the Transit Strategic Plan. The Transit Strategic Plan was transmitted to the City Council on the City Manager’s Agenda on Sept 21, 2015 (ATTACHMENT A).
Present at the hearing were Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Chair of the Committee; Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan; Councillor Craig Kelley; Councillor Nadeem Mazen; Joseph Barr, Director, Transportation, Traffic and Parking Department; Adam Shulman, Transportation Planner, Transportation, Traffic and Parking Department; Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development Department (CDD); Susanne Rasmussen, Director, Environment and Transportation Planning, CDD; Cara Seiderman, Transportation Planner, Environmental and Transportation Planning, CDD; Tegin Bennett, Transportation Planner, Environmental and Transportation Planning, CDD; and City Clerk Donna P. Lopez.
Also present were Stephen Kaiser; Saul Tannenbaum, 18 Cottage Street; Emily Kinc; Charles S. Fineman; Nick Dahlberg; James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place; William Lovotti; and Allison Quack.
Councillor Carlone convened the hearing and explained the purpose. He announced that the meeting was being privately recorded. He outlined the format of the hearing.
Councillor Carlone stated that this is the first of three hearings on Sustainable Transportation. This hearing will focus on transit; the next hearing will focus on the bike plan and there will be scheduled a hearing on pedestrian. This will focus on the Kendall Square and the development.
Susanne Rasmussen gave a brief overview on the sustainable transportation program (ATTACHMENT B). This is to headline what the focus is on. She listed the four benefits. Healthy communities focus on multiple transportation options without owning cars. A healthy community is defined as a walkable city and has vibrant open space with physical space for cars. This give equity for low income communities that have fewer resources. Low environment impact reduces green gas emissions. The city is focused on climate change preparedness. She stated that when people bike or walk they spend more money locally. She spoke about the focus areas. She stated that most vulnerable citizens can take advantage of all modes of transit without affecting their health. She stated a new program, Safe Routes to School has been started which promotes safe walking and biking to school. Five schools are in the program. Outreach activities have been the focus with education programs. She stated that social media is an important media to get the message out about sustainability. Reducing the traffic impact of development is done through the PTDM ordinance and the special permit review process. She stated that the City has received positive impact in reducing the traffic impact of development. She spoke about adapting and expanding the infrastructure. When new projects are worked on the City takes advantage of sidewalk/street reconstruction for transportation modes. She stated that the transit screens show the timing of the buses and Hubway will be included. She stated that the City is working regionally to influence how the state is allocating its resources to increase transit use and capacity, planning new services and there are new modes coming on line such as BRIDJ. She highlighted the policies and strategies that the City has in place: Climate Protection Action Committee, Pedestrian Plan, Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance, PTDM, Bike Plan and the Transit Strategic Plan. She spoke about the results that the City has achieved such as America’s most walkable City on 2 occasions and Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community Award, Massachusetts Excellence in Commuter Options and the Pinnacle Award. She stated that 29% of Cambridge residents drive to work.
Tegin Bennett gave a presentation on the Transit Strategic Plan that has recently been completed (ATTACHMENT C). She spoke about the purpose and overview of the Transit Strategic Plan, process in development of the plan, the goals and objectives, the work plan and the next steps. The Strategic Plan will keep up with the increased changing needs related to mobility, economic development, livability, social equity and environment. The development of the plan included stakeholders and the public. The Strategic Plan answered the question what the City can do to improve transit. She spoke about the process to develop the Strategic Plan and the timeline. She stated that the Transit Committee has received much interest. She defined the transit in context of the Strategic Plan. She stated that transit plays a role in implementation of various policies in the City. There is about 1/4 mode share. She broke down the different modes of transit. The Redline has crowding issues and is under discussions. Trains are most crowded in Central Square. She had a graph of bus speeds. She spoke about how the regional growth will affect the City. She stated that the Strategic Plan identified key goals. The first is to maximize transit and prioritize investment. Goal Two deals with transit funding to allocate more funding, both city and state level for transit improvements. Goal Three is to increase the efficiency and reliability of transit services by improving the current services. Goal Four is to expand transit service. A rendering was shown of the new Lechmere Station. Goal Five is to improve usability, accessibility and safety to improve branding, signage, bus stop amenities. Goal Six was to improve public outreach and participation and get feedback. Goal Seven improves resiliency to and preparedness for climate change. She stated that the Strategic Plan has an extensive work plan and the work plan is a living plan and is being tracked. The Strategic Plan is planned to be updated.
Councillor Carlone opened the hearing to public comment at 5:48pm.
Steve Kaiser, 191 Hamilton Street, stated that it would have been good to have clarification of how Strategic Plan relates to Master Plan. He suggested an addendum about the crucial strategic transit plan. He stated that the system is in crisis now, including the Greenline and he fears that the Governor will say there is no funding to fix transit. Express buses and urban ring go on the back burner and focus on Redline and Greenline which offers best capacity. He stated that no one has planned for the increased ridership with transit oriented housing. He stated that resources exist in Cambridge to work on this including MIT and Harvard. He spoke about capacity issue for Kendall Square. He stated that maintenance backlog has not been dealt with and there is no funding plan to deal with this. He suggested a gas tax and increase with capacity. He has concern with the available capacity that is not being used. He further stated that the Greenline erratic running is not recognized. He submitted his comments (ATTACHMENT D).
Saul Tannenbaum, 18 Cottage Street, member of advisory committee stated what he would expect from the City Council. Public transportation is an affordable issue, reduces greenhouse gases. He expects the City Council to support public transportation with the same zeal for parking spaces. If there is a way to get 60-80 people through faster it should be done. He spoke about the financial situation of the MBTA. He stated that public transportation has created great wealth to the City. The City should step up to the funding challenge and put money into the infrastructure. He urged fixing the MBTA.
James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place, he stated that he finds the information frustrating. The transportation is not connected with the City, but driven by staff. A policy is needed that is massive consensus building. He stated that the bike policy is the City’s focus. He stated that Hubway in the City is a mistake. Hubway stations were placed in locations where staff felt was the best without community input. He stated that bike behavior is appalling. He stated that nothing has been done to improve the pedestrian safety of the City. He stated that it is offensive to hear that Cambridge is the most walkable City. This needs to be done right. This is being dismissed and sandbagged. He stated that a DOT hearing was scheduled for Sept 29th and this was unknown. The City lacks communication. Beacon Street is falling apart. He wanted to revisit MIT’s plan for Kendall Square and put student housing there.
William Lovotti stated that transit as a whole, mixed with cars were not included in this plan. He spoke about parking minimum and maximum; has Cambridge considered parking maximums. Ms. Rasmussen stated that there has been focus on parking ratios and it has come up in the Kendall Square study and the ratios have been tightened. There is no minimum required in certain districts. Residential parking has been treated differently. With a new building unable to accommodating parking creates negative impact. Cambridge has a unique system to have resident development with no parking at all. Mr. Lovotti stated that transit oriented development is conflicted if parking is required. This needs to continue to be discussed. Funding for transportation going forward is important and needs to be flexible. Councillor Carlone noted that a discussion on parking strategies could be held.
Allison Quack stated that she supports the Strategic Plan and looks forward to see it implemented and wanted subsequent meetings to see if the goals are being met. She supports the idea of pilot transit priority.
Councillor Carlone read portions of a letter from Fred Salvucci, former Director of Transportation during Dukakis Administration and professor at MIT (ATTACHMENT E).
Councillor Carlone closed public comment at 6:22pm.
Councillor Mazen stated it would be good to get clarification by the City on the letter by Mr. Salvucci. He questioned the graph that shows Broadway, Binney and Third Street traffic decreasing. He stated that something happened in 2010-2015. Ms. Rasmussen stated that CRA has taken annual quadrant counts around Boston Property property. There is data from last year. In the center of Kendall Square the traffic has remained flat for 15 years. This is consistent with what is seen on other streets in Cambridge. Councillor Mazen spoke about self-mitigating. What is seen is slower transits time, with similar vehicles with slower streets. He stated that his lived experience is that with more development there is more congestion. Ms. Rasmussen stated that the daily trips are the same. If there is more development and more people they are getting to their destination somehow. More people are using transit, walking and biking with walking and biking the more preferred modes of transportation. Ms. Rasmussen stated that this can only happen because there is a change in transportation mode and since 1990 modes other than driving have been chosen. Councillor Mazen stated that traffic is a nightmare and there is a need for the release of pressure. Mr. Barr stated that the level of construction is creating capacity on travel time. Alexandria and the bridge work has impacted the traffic. Councillor Mazen asked if MIT housed their graduate students would this reduce traffic. Mr. Barr stated that when he was in graduate school he did not travel in peak hours. Councillor Mazen suggested that passengers move into the center of the train and if the MBTA removed one side bench on the train more riders could get on the train.
Vice Mayor Benzan asked Mr. Barr and Ms. Farooq how they see this Strategic Plan in light of their trip to Amsterdam. People chose to bike because it is healthy, not because it reduces greenhouse gases.
Ms. Farooq stated that the structure of the government and the philosophy is a big difference. She stated that funding for transportation comes from national sources in Netherlands and if the funding came from the federal government it would be different. Vice Mayor Benzan stated that national level is where transportation starts and here we do not have the funding for the capacity. We need to rethink narrowing our streets. In Amsterdam the streets are straight. Cambridge designates streets as major arteries and the get riders on bikes across the city. In Amsterdam children are educated about biking since age 2. He spoke about the state improving driver education classes. Traffic has gotten worse and it is not related to development, but how the streets are redesigned. The traffic pattern needs to be studied. How are the benefits of walking, biking and taking a car measured? He would rather the City say it is encouraging health living versus reducing greenhouse gases.
Councillor Kelley sated that he does not think there is data about biking to talk about. If the City was serious about biking it would have the data. He spoke about biking accidents occurring because cars turn right. He stated that he heard nothing about electric vehicles and this needs to be thought about including charging stations. He wanted drastic thinking. He stated single occupant vehicles is not the way to go. The City has a long way to go.
Councillor Carlone stated that this is the first of four hearings to be held. He stated that the Bicycle Plan will be heard in two weeks.
Vice Mayor Benzan spoke about the importance of bike facilities with new development and discourage college student from bring cars into the City, look at the commercial parking ban and create public parking.
Councillor Carlone thanked all attendees for their participation.
The hearing adjourned at 6:47pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Dennis J. Carlone Chair
Committee Report #2
The Health and Environment Committee held a public hearing on Thurs, Oct 8, 2015 at 12:09pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the City’s work towards implementing municipal procurement and energy aggregation. He stated that the hearing is being privately video recorded.
Present at the hearing were Councillor Leland Cheung, Chair of the Committee; Councillor Dennis J. Carlone; Lisa Peterson, Deputy City Manager; Susanne Rasmussen, Director, Environment and Transportation Planning, Community Development Department (CDD); Meghan Shaw, Associate Planning Outreach, Director, Cambridge Energy Alliance, CDD; Amy Witts, Purchasing Agent; Michelle Kincaid, Director, Financial System & Operation, Finance Department; Ellen Katz, Fiscal Administrator, Public Works Department; Paul Gromer, Peregrine Energy Group; and City Clerk Donna P. Lopez.
Also present were Emily Norton, Sierra Club, 58 Prescott Street, Newton; Beth Adams, 31 Donnell Street; Ginger Ryan, 35 Crescent Street; Rachel Wyon, 283 Sidney Street; Michele Sprengnether, 31 Chilton Street; Sharon deVos, 118 Antrim Street; Pamela Blau, 15 Sherman Street; Pattie Heyman, 66 Martin Street; Jeannie Ramey, 101 Chilton Street; Nina Dillon, 386 Walden Street; Kristine Jelstog, 120 Pleasant Street; and John Pitkin, 18 Fayette Street.
Councillor Cheung convened the hearing and explained the purpose. He stated that there will be a presentation from City Staff (ATTACHMENT A). He spoke about municipal power and procurement. He stated that Cambridge is seen as a leader in this area. The City needs to continue to lead and push forward. He explained that buildings are the biggest source of emissions in the City.
Deputy City Manager Peterson spoke about the growth of the energy and sustainable plans. She introduced the city staff. She stated that the Mr. Gromer is here from Peregrine Energy Group and Bay State. The presentation is on community aggregation.
Susanne Rasmussen gave an overview of the procurement goals of the City with a goal of reach 100 % and increase the amount of renewal energy and procurement of renewable energy that leads to the development of new renewable energy projects which lead to additionality and the financing for the goals. She explained what community aggregation is. Aggregation is handled through an aggregation vendor and Peregrine was identified as the best, but today no contract has been signed. You are participating unless you opt out. A choice of opt in can be added. This creates rate stability and the winter spikes and could lead to less expensive electricity. Municipal aggregation could also allow the sourcing of a higher percentage of renewable energy. She stated that the City’s electric load is small compared to the aggregated customers. If the city switched from brown to green power and if the city goes to 100% green power it is impactful. If the amount of green power purchased was 5% this would be a l.7% reduction in CO2. She stated that Renewable Energy Credits (REC) is a critical issue on the aggregation. Green power reduces greenhouse gas emissions. She stated that the RECs differ in the REC regulations and markets. The vast majority of RECs are purchased by power suppliers. The prices for RECs are high. She stated that additionality impact of voluntary RECs when purchased is limited. She repeated that the demand is high. Utilities do not have to buy RECs if the price is too high and are allowed to make alternative compliance payments in lieu of buying RECs. The alternative compliance payments are not being invested in renewal project regeneration. She stated that there are better ways to invest money than in RECs. She explained the key issues for additionality. She explained that additionality is often referred to as the “but for” rule. For best additionality, RECs need to be bought and kept and cannot be sold.
Ms. Rasmussen explained the process to date for municipal procurement and aggregation. She stated that Bay State is the vendor for the municipal procurement and they teamed up with the Peregrine Energy Group. She stated that the strategy is that in the shortest amount of time will lead to 100% renewable energy and additionality.
Municipal Energy Supply has been the focus. A request for indicative prices was requested. A bid will be issued for the municipal energy load. The focus is to spend money on new projects with renewal energy and RECs. She spoke about procuring solar virtual net metering credits. The goal is to sign a long-term contract for bundled electricity and RECs purchased directly from new renewable energy projects in order to create additionality.
Ms. Rasmussen explained the four aggregation strategy options.
Councillor Cheung spoke about municipal supply getting to 100% renewable and questioned what we expect to get from the contract ending. Ms. Rasmussen responded that the City will get 10% renewable. The goals is to reserve the funds to go into renewable energy projects. Councilor Cheung stated that he wanted to know how much money this is. Ms. Rasmussen stated that municipal electric supply goes to 10% up to 100% in three years. The contract is a short term contract. Councillor Cheung asked can we go to 100% now. Ms. Rasmussen stated that the city wants to invest in a new project for additionality. This seems to be realistic with the funding that the City is looking at. Councillor Cheung wanted to see more detail on this.
Deputy City Manager Peterson stated that the bid is still being issued but it is not public information. Purchasing Agent, Amy Witt stated that the City expects to sign a brown energy company by November. An appropriation for the funds would be requested later.
Councillor Cheung wanted to see the city move to a higher energy renewal in the portfolio. He wanted to see a concrete plan and wanted the funding earmarked. Cleaner energy will provide stable funding. He asked if RECs provide tax offset. Ms. Rasmussen responded not to the City; but helps developer. She stated that if RECs are sold the City would not reduce greenhouse gas benefits. Councillor Cheung wanted more clean energy on line, rather than buying RECs.
Mr. Gromer stated that green energy would be created and RECs will be held. The city will make a commitment for a new project. RECs are retired and claims benefit. What is the benefit to claim energy reduction questioned Councillor Cheung. Ms. Rasmussen stated that the city wants the tracking of the greenhouse gas. This is not about the credit but about building new projects and further reducing emissions in the Commonwealth.
Councillor Cheung asked if power plant is included in aggregation. Ms. Rasmussen responded in the negative. The program needs to be planned and go to the state for aggregation program. There is a regulatory and review process. Councillor Cheung what is the aggregation timeline and next steps.
Ms. Rasmussen stated that once the option is chosen, regulatory review and set up program in 7-9 months; then go out for power; this will take 10 months to implementation. Councillor Cheung stated that the goal is to increase the portfolio. Ms. Rasmussen stated that this is option # 3 and how it would work, how does funds accumulate and invest in renewable energy. Option # 3 requires more thinking about how it would work and provides more additionality and the City is working with the consultant on this. She further stated that it could be better to have a smaller aggregated load. She spoke about the bid and the pricing challenge and not locking customers into a high price. The regulatory review process needs to go through every time. She expressed caution on this.
Councillor Carlone questioned what cost for municipal electricity are and what the price is. Ms. Katz responded $5-6 million per year. Councillor Carlone spoke about the investment into net zero and the long term commitment. Ms. Rasmussen stated that whatever type facility that the city invests in - such as a solar investment versus wind project that generates more than the city consumes. Councillor Carlone supported doing it right even if it takes longer. The notion that it could be higher in a few years is exciting. This review of a commercial/residential buildings is more realistic. He sees optimism here.
Councillor Cheung opened the hearing to public comment at 1:07pm.
Jeannie Ramey, 101 Chilton Street, Co-founder of Synapse Energy Economics, and part of Mothers Out Front, welcomed the discussion on RECs. Mothers are heads of households and the hope of the children. She stated that 148 households installed renewable energy and these households have to pay 2 bills. She urged the city to have a more aggressive target for the default product. She stated that many want to do something about climate change. She thanked the city staff for their work on this matter. She did not support a 3 year brown energy contract and supported purchasing RECs. Her written comments are attached (ATTACHMENT B).
Nina Dillon, 386 Walden Street, spoke about local actions in Cambridge. She stated that stepping back helps to see the impact of the decisions made. She spoke of storms and climate change. Everyone is connected to the atmosphere and the decisions made today about energy effects all. She stated that the City will be held accountable of the energy choice selected for all. Her written comments are attached (ATTACHMENT C).
Rachel Wyon, 283 Sidney Street, this is an important moment to buy renewal or continue fossil fuels. If the infrastructure is not built to build new for renewable energy and additionality. She stated that methane is as bad as coal. She would like to go to 100% now, but if we can go to this in 3 years. She wanted to stop the gas plant.
Emily Norton, Sierra Club is lobbying for a bill that doubles the RPS. If communities are doing this the state has less of a way to follow. She spoke about other options. She stated that less expensive RECs are not Class I REC. The consultant stated that there are other options other than additionality. The City is proposing to use the credits from the REC to reinvest. Ms. Norton stated that if the REC is retired and when the REC is sold this allows others to make dirty power. The consultant explained that when RECs are sold you cannot take credit for clean energy.
John Pitkin, 18 Fayette Street, supported additionality and it is the key. He stated that he is a grandfather.
Ginger Ryan, 35 Crescent Street, stated that this is complicated and how will you help the community to understand this. Ms. Rasmussen stated that the City is working on a way to explain the City’s position because it leads to new generation.
Ellen Katz, stated that the Virtual Net Metering is appealing. This will focus on solar panels in Cambridge. The long-term strategy may not be in Cambridge. The medium may show more solar in Cambridge. Ms. Ryan asked if this would be jobs for Cambridge residents. Ms. Peterson stated if constructed in Cambridge it could be Cambridge residents or local jobs.
Councillor Cheung is pleased with the progress; would prefer a shorter contract. The strategies on aggregation can go to a higher rate with an opt-out and setting a default of a high clean energy standard is his preference. Councillor Cheung stated that the City has been interest in this for some time and the impetuous of those in the room has pushed this forward.
Councillor Cheung thanked all those present for their attendance and the grass roots support with the City moving forward.
The hearing adjourned at 1:32pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Leland Cheung, Chair
Committee Report #3
The Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee held a public hearing on Oct 20, 2015 6:11pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss coordinating local resources to provide housing and services for incoming refugees from the Syrian Civil War.
Present at the hearing were Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen, Chair of the Committee; Councillor Dennis Carlone; Brian Corr, Executive Director, Peace Commission; Nancy Schlacter, Executive Director, Human Rights Commission; Dan Schwartz; Dave Mattei; and Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk.
Also present at the hearing were Valerie Vande Panne, Director of Communications for Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Action Coalition; Malika MacDonald-Rushdan, Director of ICNA Relief of MA Field Office and National Coordinator for Refugee Services; Emmanuel Lusardi; Madeleine Fletcher; Mojdeh Rohani; Michael Van Zandt Collins; Pastor Johnson; Larry Kim; James Nicholson; Rae Ann Lo Duca; Alexandre Weber; Katie Miller; Madeeha Channah; James Williamson; Dima AlBasha; and Lydia Marik.
Councillor Mazen opened the hearing and gave an overview of the agenda for the meeting. (Attachment A). He stated that by way of introduction, we are dealing with the largest and most significant refugee issue since World War II. He noted that the numbers of this displaced population is on par with populations of the State of Illinois, Pennsylvania or half of the residents of NY. He stated that 75,000 refugees are allowed into the country each year. He noted that 10,000 refugee slots have been committed largely for Syrian refugees. He stated that as that number increases, there are major problems including the fact that in urban environments it is unclear whether housing costs would deter long term settlement noting that the packages are not substantial in the first place, what can be done to aid and support refugees in this area as well as what can be done to aid refugees in Cambridge. He welcomed those present to engage in the conversation.
Councillor Carlone stated that the great thing about our country is almost all of our forefathers were refugees. He stated this is an issue that strikes all of us. He noted that Cambridge is unique in that it tends to welcome all and that should not stop because of federal government limitations. He said that the economic situation in Cambridge makes it difficult to have open arms to refugees because it is a wealthy city but stated that the city should be able to do more.
Brian Corr stated that he has been doing work on issue recently due to a policy order directive to investigate how many refugees Cambridge could offer asylum and support. He stated that he has spoken to many different organizations and through a number of conversations, there are a few basic facts: 1. Housing cost is very high in Cambridge; part of resettlement is that they are looking at places where people can make a home. Mr. Corr stated that there is a national system of how refugees are brought into the country. He explained that it can be up to a two-year process before arriving in the United States due to the number of steps in the process. Mr. Corr stated that there are 70 Syrian refugees currently in the state of Massachusetts, adding that most are in communities such as Lynn, Worcester, and Springfield. He said that four refugees have come to Boston via Catholic Charities. He explained that people arrive and are placed but once they are here they can relocate to wherever they want. He stated that there is no way to track these people. Mr. Corr stated that as it relates to bringing refugees to Cambridge there are challenges. He stated that affordability is a big issue although there are ways that Cambridge could support refugees including advocacy on the political front as well as partnering with other communities. He stated that the resources are fairly limited in that when a refugee comes to the United States they receive approximately $1,150. He noted that this money would be eaten up when paying for first and last month’s rent on an apartment. He noted that the current situation from the State Department is that you have to have housing that meets criteria as well as being affordable. He stated that families are not brought into communities such as Cambridge because it is a very expensive city in which to live. He stated that in Fiscal Year 15 there were 70 refugees from Syria who were relocated to the United States. He added that the number of refugees that are relocated to the United States is approximately 2,500 a year from all over the world. Mr. Corr noted that Cambridge is on record with a number of agencies as a welcoming community. In sum, Mr. Corr stated that advocacy, welcoming of organizations and going on record as a welcoming community are some of the things that Cambridge can do to help aid in the resettlement of refugees.
Councillor Mazen stated his hope that after hearing public comment, the people can talk about specific brass tacks and the committee can pass motions regarding how many Syrian refugees Cambridge hopes to house. He said that the city should at least make a modicum of effort which could be used as a model for other cities and towns in Massachusetts. He stated that 1 or 2 families in every city in Massachusetts would be substantial chunk. He asked how best to channel charitable resources to the types of services that are difficult or costly to provide.
Emmanuel Lusardi read a prepared statement (Attachment B). He told the story of his father came to the United Stated from war-torn Europe 100 years ago. He stated that throughout his childhood his father told him and his brothers of the stories of hardship, racism and hatred felt by Italian-American immigrants early in the last century. He stated that while he is proud of his family and heritage. He stated that if the same national and local figures today who are speaking out against helping the Syrian refugees were around during the time his father came to America, not one of his family members would be around to add to the success of this nation. He stated that he is proud to live in Cambridge which is a city of many firsts. He noted that Cambridge often helps steer national policy and opinion.
Madeline Fletcher stated that the subject of refugees has come up at her church which is the Christ Church in Cambridge. She stated that she wants to find out what we can do to help with this. She stated that her only fear is retaliation towards any Muslims that are helped by her church if they ever went back home. She stated that she looks forward to the conversation.
Councillor Mazen responded to Ms. Fletcher’s comment by stating his belief that it is safe for the refugees as well as the churches to work together.
Mojdeh Rohani stated that she is Executive Director of Community Legal Services which provides assistance to low income individuals. She stated that currently she is gearing up for providing specialized mental health services to the population on arrival. She stated that she was told by ORI that the first refugees will go to western Massachusetts. She stated that they are trying to work on trainings and capacity building. She added that another issue is the refugees that are currently present in the community. She stated that asylum people enter with some status but have to prove that they have a well-founded fear of persecution. She stated that this is challenging because the person in most danger exits first and the rest are left behind. She stated that there is crisis in Central American countries and those refugees are here with detention centers being closed in New Mexico. She stated that they are working with asylum seekers. She stated that she sees Cambridge getting involved in this issue. She stated that the refugees have a one-year deadline to file for asylum. She added that throughout the asylum process, they are not allowed cash or housing benefits. She stated that she looks forward to serve the current population and supporting refugees in the next year.
Michael Van Zandt Collins stated that if we all work within our own communities, it goes beyond religious identities or belonging. He stated that one challenge that exists is the overtone of the conflicts. He wondered if Cambridge might be a site where people can work to bridging the divide that exists. He stated that there is very little work to put communications and groups in touch with each other. He explained that the City of Cambridge can facilitate that bridging especially since the conflict is going to exist for many years.
Councillor Mazen asked that people connect with his council aide, Dan Schwartz, if there is any interest in the process of aggregating and listing resources. He stated that it would be nice to know who has interest in continuing to convene. He stated that a lot of work needs to be done off-line and that the city doesn’t always have bandwidth to drive this conversation. He stated the need for leaders to organize.
Pastor Johnson stated that he was not sure what the goal of the gathering was. Councillor Mazen explained that after conversation they will make motions to the full City Council for action. He explained that if a policy order is initiated by him it gives the City Manager and City staff the backing to begin this work. He said that the point is that we are empowered to make changes and allocate budgets but added that it is unusual for the City to allocate massive dollars towards a specific initiative. He explained that in the meantime, there are liquid assets in the community which can materialize much more quickly.
Larry Kim stated that he is in attendance in his role as a minister and part of the Peace Commission as well as being a Chaplain at the Cambridge Police Department. He stated that he looks forward to the upcoming conversations.
Rae Ann LoDuca stated that she is concerned. She stated her desire to work together with all groups. She stated that this is a big undertaking and we must get various groups talking in one forum. Councillor Mazen admitted that most leadership will come from the community. He stated this is a vessel to fill with good ideas. He noted that the questions that are posed are a set of concrete questions that need to be answered moving forward. He stated that the City of Cambridge can be a model. He stated that America has created turbulence in the geopolitical landscape and it is incumbent upon us to do our part from a moral standpoint. He stated that he would be happy to be the convener when needed. He stated that the process will run faster if there are a few affinity groups that pop up.
Alexandra Weber, International Institute of New England, stated that she is excited for this meeting. She stated that the federal budget programming has changed over time. She said that we are facing a crisis. She explained that it is important for communities with resources such as Cambridge to help. She stated that there are many refugees in the community. She stated that there are many barriers to the resettlement program, the first being funding. She explained that most refugees need more resources upon arrival to the United States and most community providers need more resources. She stated that volunteer response is needed. She explained that people get a one-time welcome stipend that doesn’t even cover first, last and security deposit for an apartment. She noted that in her program they resettled are mostly families but they are now resettling mostly single men that can come into shared housing. She stated that they have struggles. She concluded that the program needs resources and she welcomed the response of city governments and other providers.
Valerie Vande Panne thanked all present. She explained that her organization is the largest coalition of organization in New England working on immigration and refugee issues. She stated that there have been a number of calls and emails specifically about the Syrian crisis. She stated that unfortunately the federal government is not permitted to grant asylum to the number of Syrians that we should. They are calling upon the federal government to allow 100,000 into the United Stated by the end of 2016. She said that the chances of any Syrians being resettled in Cambridge is very small. She stated that Syrians are living in Michigan, Illinois and California due to the cost of living in those places. She stated that in 2015 there have been zero new Syrian refugees and in 2014 there were 52. She stated that when people are forced out of their lands they want to stay close to their family and community. She stated that there are already people here that need help. She stated that unaccompanied minors who flooded the borders are still coming. She said that they are fleeing war, rape and torture in their own countries. They urgently need support and help. She encouraged people to contact President Obama and Congress and urge them to accept more Syrians.
Malika MacDonald stated that her organization has 14 field offices throughout the United States. She noted that 100 Syrian refugees are being placed in New Jersey. She stated that her organization does not do international relief work. She stated that they are working with other organizations to see what resources are available and setting up programs according to need. She stated that there would not be families coming to the Boston area but there would be individuals. She stated that her organization is looking in Boston for drop-off locations. She added that they offer limited financial assistance such as helping families with utilities. She explained that education and training is important and told of a story that one family she visited had no food but an EBT card with hundreds of dollars that they did not know how to use. She said that they are going to train mentors to work with families to help them navigate. She stated that many refugees that come to the United States are highly educated and qualified but cannot use their degrees in the United States. She suggested that scholarships or tuition assistance which would aid in getting professionals certified in the United States may be something that the City of Cambridge could help with. She stated that Mayor Walsh is open to accept Syrian refugees to the Boston area.
Dima AlBasha of Newton, stated that she came from Syria two years ago. She stated that people are often hopeless when they come to the states. She said that hope and the opportunity to work are needed. She stated that there are doctors who are here on a green card and they cannot practice in the United States because they need certain certifications. She stated that there needs to be way to help them live in dignity and not only live at the bottom of society. She stated that when she talks to her friends around the world, they talk about how they are happy when they are given opportunities to learn. She stated that it is very hard for those who cannot speak the English language. She explained that they are coming to a community where they do not know if they are welcomed or not. She stated that people are very eager to hear about solutions but the main issue is stopping the war. She stated that as it relates to the asylum process, people need to receive answers as to if they will be granted asylum or not. She said that families want to be united. She stated that it is torture waiting to hear a response. She added that people are not fully resettled until they know about their status. She stated that all religions in Syria would be okay to receive help from any religion. She offered her assistance to any organization that needs help with translation.
Ms. Vande Panne stated that people who are trained as professionals in their home countries work here as janitors because there is no pathway to getting credentialed. There are communities that speak languages who would like to communicate with medical professional that speak their language. She stated the need for pathways to help refugees work professionally here. She stated that getting information to the Governor is a huge first step.
Lydia Marik, 34 Essex Street, stated the possibility of offering loans at a low interest rate and community involvement on an economic level.
Ms. Kim, River Street, stated that she is from Cambodia and noted that the struggle is quite significant. She stated that living in Boston is very expensive. She stated that she would like to talk about the refugees and their emotional status. She said that most refugees are coming from war-torn places and there is trauma that accompanies this. She stated that we have to address the emotional impact that can affect one for generations. She noted that while resources are necessary, emotional support is very important.
Emmanuel Lusardi wondered if the City can appoint a volunteer to be that person within the city that the organizations can turn to so that person can be funnel for that information. He stated that having one centralized person would make it a lot easier. Councillor Mazen stated that this work could be ongoing past his tenure. Councillor Mazen asked Mr. Corr for his thoughts. Mr. Corr responded that his sense is that there are many important resources and the reality is that there are experts that are doing the work. He suggested that rather than trying to recreate the wheel it would be beneficial to collect people and create roundtable space staff side.
Councillor Mazen stated that his hope that the City can take the dialogue to get to next step. He stated that volunteer response, funding in kind or financial, policy maker outreach and research and general refugee advocacy and PR Group are the main takeaway issues from this hearing. He asked the attendees to supply Mr. Schwartz with their contact information should they choose to volunteer in any capacity or they would like to serve as a group leader for future conversations.
Councillor Mazen made the following motion:
ORDERED: That the City allocate housing and in-kind human services resources for Syrian refugees as well as define what is possible for the city to allocate financially, and over what time period, and report back to the City Council on this matter.
The motion passed.
Ceylan Rowe asked if any work has been done with banks. She added that there needs to be a huge PR campaign which would showcase the refugees and allow them to share their stories. She added that there are a lot of people that want to help but don’t know what to do.
Councillor Mazen thanked those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 7:20pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen, Chair
AWAITING REPORT LIST
14-29. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on what options exist for dedicated office space for members of the City Council.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Cheung & Councillor Carlone 04/28/14 (O-5)
14-51. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the potential for creating a program to enable bilingual high school students to learn language interpretation skills and to practice those skills at community meetings and events throughout the City.
Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen, Councillor McGovern & Councillor Cheung 06/02/14 (O-5)
14-57. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on drafting an ordinance that would limit the sale of single-serving PET bottles of 1 liter or less and develop a task force to provide clear guidelines for this ordinance.
Councillor Cheung, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mazen & Vice Mayor Benzan 06/09/14 (O-3)
14-69. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on forming a pilot street team of engaged youth and residents as an experimental model for more consistent departmental outreach, community engagement, youth engagement and civic engagement.
Councillor Mazen 06/30/14 (O-13)
14-79. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of implementing a Neighborhood Captain Program.
Councillor Simmons & Vice Mayor Benzan 07/28/14 (O-11)
14-81. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on how to ensure that the apprentice program provision remains part of the Cambridge Employment Plan.
Councillor McGovern & Councillor Simmons 07/28/14 (O-14)
14-111. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of hosting a Cambridge Challenge Competition for Transportation that offers a prize to the resident or group of residents that come up with the best viable solution to solve our greatest traffic issues.
Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Carlone, Councillor McGovern & Councillor Mazen 10/20/14 (O-16)
14-113. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of reducing the minimum income requirement under the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance for single person households made up of a senior and/or disabled resident and provide any challenges associated with the proposed reduction.
Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor McGovern, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Carlone 10/20/14 (O-19)
14-119. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on review of drone use in Cambridge for developing a City regulation or Ordinance on such use.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Cheung & Councillor Mazen 10/27/14 (O-5)
14-127. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on best way to implement PaperHealth in Massachusetts Area Hospitals.
Councillor Mazen 10/27/14 (O-15)
14-135. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the legal limitation of the City to regulate all manner of vehicular traffic within Cambridge borders, including loading and unloading zones, truck and bus timing regulations.
Councillor Kelley 11/10/14 (O-6)
14-137. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of posting speed limit signs of 20-25 miles per hour on city streets.
Councillor Carlone 11/24/14 (O-2)
14-146. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on how the citywide planning efforts will impact staff workload and any capacity considerations the City Council should take into account when contemplating these or other initiatives.
Councillor Cheung 12/08/14 (O-13)
14-147. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on ways to streamline both the City’s process and the City’s technology for replying to Massachusetts Public Records Law requests and to examine how major cities’ open data and FOIA requests are handled, including options for a full time data management team including representatives of the City Clerk’s office, the City Solicitor’s office, and IT.
Councillor Mazen 11/24/14 (O-13)
15-02. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of taking Vail Court lot by eminent domain.
Vice Mayor Benzan 01/05/15 (O-3)
15-08. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on working with applicable boards and commissions to assist them in clarifying yearly goals and initiatives, to provide increased administrative oversight and accountability where necessary, and where possible, discuss ways to increase resident involvement.
Councillor Mazen 02/20/15 (O-15)
15-15. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on with language that could create a Grand Junction Overlay District that would help to create incentives and ensure the completion of the Grand Junction Multiuse Path.
Councillor Toomey 02/23/15 (O-24)
15-16. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on determining the feasibility of executing the recommendations of the STEAM Working Group.
Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Carlone & Councillor McGovern 02/23/15 (O-25)
15-18. Report from the City Manager: See Mgr #3
RE: report on the feasibility of renaming the Area IV Youth Center the “Dr. Robert and Janet Moses Youth Center”.
Vice Mayor Benzan 02/20/15 (O-30)
15-20. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the results from the PSI pilot and coordinate with the legal department to report back to the City Council on whether aspects of the ordinance could be safely adopted with specific attention to disposal of unwanted phone books.
Councillor Cheung 02/20/15 (O-34)
15-28. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on studying emerging business types and how they are affected by the Zoning Ordinance; evaluate ways to facilitate home-based businesses; and report on the status of the Table of Use work.
Councillor McGovern, Mayor Maher & Vice Mayor Benzan 09/22/14 (O-5)
15-32. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the analysis that has been done on financial conditions that apply to new development in Central Square, including the report by economic consultant Sarah Woodworth.
Councillor Carlone, Councillor Kelley & Councillor Mazen 03/30/15 (O-9)
15-33. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on parking needs and availability in Central Square including the possibility of adding additional levels to the Green Street garage.
Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Benzan & Councillor Carlone 03/30/15 (O-12)
15-34. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on inventorying a small set of innovative urban planning researcher at local universities and bring these resources into Cambridge’s planning discussions.
Councillor Mazen 03/30/15 (O-14)
15-35. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on how best to develop partnerships with local universities developing software and other resources related to city planning.
Vice Mayor Benzan 03/30/15 (O-15)
15-36. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on determining what types of traffic, parking, and other citations the city has legal jurisdiction over and to confer with the appropriate city departments to institute a day-fine policy in Cambridge.
Councillor Mazen 04/13/15 (O-2)
15-38. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of implementing “smart” parking solutions in the City of Cambridge, including: multi-spot meters, demand based price structuring, solar powered meters, RFID payment, floating car share vehicle spots as Boston is pursuing, pay by phone, meters that accept credit/debit or rechargeable parking card, and smart phone application integration.
Councillor Cheung 04/13/15 (O-4)
15-40. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on responding to the International Town-Gown Association’s Town-Gown Relations Survey.
Councillor Cheung 04/13/15 (O-6)
15-42. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of installing permanent grill areas at Cambridge parks and youth centers.
Councillor Cheung 04/27/15 (O-2)
15-43. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on working with the Retirement Board on the potential of excess fees charged by UBS Realty to investors.
Councillor McGovern & Councillor Simmons 04/27/15 (O-3)
15-45. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on existing capacity to address excessive noise complaints; analyze noise complaint trends; create a noise map of existing industrial noise that impact residential areas; and provide noise measurement and enforcement capabilities and responsibilities including 24/7 noise response capacity.
Councillor Kelley & Councillor McGovern 04/27/15 (O-7)
15-49. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on progress being made at the former Tokyo Restaurant site.
Councillor McGovern, Mayor Maher & Councillor Cheung 04/27/15 (O-13)
15-58. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on traffic impacts and school enrollment impacts due to new development in the Alewife area.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Cheung & Councillor McGovern 06/01/15 (O-1)
15-61. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on suggested changes to Cambridge’s policy regarding advertising revenue that could help support the continuation and expansion of Hubway.
Councillor Toomey 06/15/15 (O-5)
15-62. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of permitting cyclists to advance simultaneously with the pedestrian “walk” signal and on piloting bicycle-specific signal faces at the Cambridge-Hampshire Streets intersection.
Councillor Mazen 06/15/15 (O-7)
15-65. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on signing the White House and Small Business Administration’s “Startup in a Day” pledge and on the next steps the Council needs to take to successfully see the City adhere to the pledge.
Councillor Cheung 06/22/15 (O-3)
15-66. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of the City getting involved with the President’s TechHire initiative.
Councillor Cheung 06/22/15 (O-4)
15-67. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibilities to install ADA compliant sidewalks, create protected bike lanes, and consider additional features to improve the safety of young students and all other users in the area from the north side of Huron Avenue between Fresh Pond Parkway and Aberdeen Avenue, between Aberdeen Avenue and Glacken Field, or between Glacken Field and the Russell Youth & Community Center.
Councillor Mazen 06/22/15 (O-6)
15-70. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on reaching out to Easton Coach, Peter Pan, and Brush Hill Tours to relay the concerns raised regarding tour buses operating on restricted streets and to determine what actions should be taken against these companies and to determine how to enhance efforts to prevent tour buses from parking in multiple metered spaces in Harvard Square.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor McGovern, Councillor Cheung & Councillor Toomey 08/10/15 (O-3)
15-71. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on compiling a report of the housing and financial assistance options the City and its community partners offer to seniors living on fixed incomes in order to help them remain housed in their current units and to estimate how many seniors on fixed incomes are in danger of being priced out of their units in the coming half-decade.
Councillor Simmons 08/10/15 (O-4)
15-72. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on what kinds of incentives could be provided to landlords who choose to refrain from increasing the rents on their tenants.
Councillor Simmons 08/10/15 (O-7)
15-73. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the diversity of direct reports to the City Manager and steps taken to reflect Cambridge’s diversity in his hiring practices, specifically in management positions, during his term.
Councillor Cheung & Councillor Simmons 08/10/15 (O-8)
15-74. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on implementing an affordable municipal identification card program for the City of Cambridge.
Councillor Cheung & Vice Mayor Benzan 08/10/15 (O-9)
15-76. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on a design, fund and implement an ongoing airplane noise management program in the current budget year.
Councillor Kelley & Councillor Cheung 08/10/15 (O-12)
15-78. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on developing and implementing a plan that would address the issues with tour bus parking.
Councillor Kelley & Councillor Cheung 08/10/15 (O-14)
15-80. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of expanding Ahern Field.
Councillor Toomey 08/10/15 (O-17)
15-83. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on an update for plans for the creation of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) coordinating office, including any financial pledges from the City to implement the STEAM working groups recommendations.
Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Cheung & Councillor Mazen 08/10/15 (O-22)
15-84. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on any legal protections the City can enact, either through Ordinance, Home Rule Petition or additional avenues, to protect tenants from dramatic rent increases and/or unfair evictions.
Councillor Simmons & Councillor McGovern 08/10/15 (O-26)
15-85. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of having the City purchase the buildings on Harvard Street and Harding Street that have recently become the focus of concern.
Councillor Simmons 08/10/15 (O-29)
15-87. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on developing and implementing both short and long term solutions to the paths from Rindge Avenue and behind the Russell Field that converge at the western end of the Russell Field House and proceed toward the back entrance/exit to the Alewife T Station.
Councillor Mazen 09/21/15 (O-3)
15-88. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on safety, trash issues and infrastructure concerns in Central Square.
Vice Mayor Benzan & Councillor McGovern 09/21/15 (O-6)
15-89. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on zoning and building potential along Cambridge Street and Gore Street between Second and Third Streets.
Councillor Toomey 09/21/15 (O-8)
15-90. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on installing a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Fifth & Otis Streets.
Councillor Toomey 09/21/15 (O-10)
15-91. Report from the City Manager: See Mgr #2
RE: report on if fire hydrant markers are needing during the winter months.
Councillor Toomey 09/21/15 (O-11)
15-92. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of outfitting fire emergency response vehicles with GPS.
Councillor McGovern, Mayor Maher & Councillor Toomey 09/21/15 (O-16)
15-93. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of creating a new part-time dog park steward for each Cambridge dog park.
Councillor Kelley 09/21/15 (O-19)
15-94. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of creating an electronic list containing the number of parking stickers issued to each development in the past ten (10) years should be made publicly available, to include, if possible, any demographic information that would help inform car ownership discussions such as age of the car owners.
Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Mazen & Councillor McGovern 09/21/15 (O-21)
15-95. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on implementing a program so that Cambridge’s various public notifications for events such as BZA or Planning Board meetings are legibly printed and convey useful information in a similar manner as those used in Somerville.
Councillor Kelley & Councillor Carlone 09/21/15 (O-25)
15-97. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on emulating the public art program begun in Japan that transforms sewer covers into original artwork.
Councillor Toomey 09/21/15 (O-28)
15-98. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on determining whether after-hours staff is needed in the Animal Commission.
Councillor Simmons 09/21/15 (O-29)
15-99. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possible applicability of the Washington decision to Cambridge charter school enrollment and tuition reimbursement issues.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor McGovern & Vice Mayor Benzan 09/21/15 (O-30)
15-100. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of piloting and testing technology to allow MBTA buses to communicate with City of Cambridge traffic signals to reduce bus delays.
Councillor Mazen 09/21/15 (O-34)
15-101. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the status of the bus delay mitigation project and present an implementation action plan to reduce delays on MBTA bus routes within Cambridge municipal boundaries.
Councillor Mazen 09/21/15 (O-35)
15-102. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on ascertaining how many refugee families Cambridge could reasonably offer asylum to, including the provision of basic necessities of life.
Councillor Mazen 09/21/15 (O-36)
15-103. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on initiating communications with the City of Boston and Waze to determine Cambridge’s eligibility as a part of the pilot program to monitor traffic patterns in real time and respond to deviations in expected patterns - and whether Cambridge can join the Boston pilot if a new Cambridge only pilot is infeasible.
Councillor Mazen 09/21/15 (O-38)
15-104. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on developing a plan that incorporates local artists and designers in the process of beautification of civic infrastructure, on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.
Councillor Mazen 09/21/15 (O-40)
15-105. Report from the City Manager:
RE: determine whether the Cambridge Historical Commission has the authority to initiate a Study for a possible designation of a Neighborhood Conservation District without exercising its jurisdiction during the study period to administer the area as though it had already been designated.
Vice Mayor Benzan 09/21/15 (O-41)
15-106. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the next steps necessary to working with league presidents to strengthen the regulation on concussions within their jurisdiction and expanding education on concussion to a broader group.
Councillor Cheung 09/21/15 (O-42)
15-108. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on ways to make the crosswalk from Charles Park to the entrance of the Galleria safer to pedestrians, and to improve the line of sight for drivers and cyclists and to evaluate whether the location of the Super Tour bus kiosk and station is appropriate considering the high volume of traffic on the road and hazard to pedestrians.
Councillor Kelley & Councillor Toomey 09/28/15 (O-1)
15-109. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on finding a collaborative solution to the specific problem of increased air traffic from 33L RNAV, including sharing the cost of an independent noise impact report in the current budget year.
Councillor Kelley 09/28/15 (O-4)
15-110. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on investigating the feasibility of installing meters that accept modern payment solutions: including credit and debit cards, rechargeable parking cards, and smart phone application payment.
Councillor Cheung 09/28/15 (O-6)
15-111. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on to drafting an ordinance extending Cambridge’s big bank retail storefront limitations to the rest of Porter, Harvard, Central, and Kendall Square.
Councillor Cheung 09/28/15 (O-7)
15-112. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on creating a “Project Notification Board” posted in a conspicuous public area near the Common to notify residents of any major project events and to provide a contact number questions regarding the project, ensure that all environmental standards are being closely followed and that up to date soil testing results are posted on the project notification board and to take appropriate action to mitigate the impact of the project on abutters.
Councillor Cheung 09/28/15 (O-8)
15-114. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on drafting an Ordinance to ensure the discontinuation of the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in Cambridge.
Councillor Mazen 09/28/15 (O-11)
15-115. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the ability to increase funding for affordable housing in a manner which would not adversely impact real estate taxes on existing housing units or cause a shift in taxes from commercial, industrial and personal property taxes to the residential class and given the limitation upon the tax classification, any recommendation must not jeopardize the current tax distribution by shifting a greater burden on the residential taxpayers which would result in making existing housing less affordable for current residents.
Councillor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Benzan & Councillor Kelley 09/28/15 (O-13)
15-116. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of installing signs ordering motorists to slow down when approaching the intersection of Fayerweather Street and Concord Avenue and to determine whether other additional measures to increase vehicular safety in this area should be implemented.
Councillor Simmons 09/28/15 (O-16)
15-117. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of allowing employees to opt in to a program that would see a percentage of their mandatory retirement deduction instead be directed towards payment of student loans.
Councillor Cheung 10/19/15 (O-1)
15-118. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on expanding the hose distribution program indefinitely for all new trees planted in sidewalk wells or behind sidewalks and explore establishing a credit to be applied to the water bills of participants, not to exceed $50 per year.
Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Cheung & Councillor McGovern 10/19/15 (O-3)
15-119. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of a redesign contest of Carl Barron Plaza.
Vice Mayor Benzan 10/19/15 (O-4)
15-120. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the planning work done thus far on the Alewife bridge/platform project and to review the next steps the City can take to see the bridge constructed.
Councillor Cheung 10/19/15 (O-9)
15-121. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of extending the 15% discount to condominium accounts where a meter serves one or more units and where all owners are seniors who pay their own water bills into the water and sewer discount program.
Councillor Cheung 10/19/15 (O-10)
15-122. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the progress of contract negotiations with the Police and Fire Unions.
Councillor Cheung, Councillor McGovern & Councillor Simmons 10/19/15 (O-12)
15-123. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on a review of the pedestrian and bicycle path plans for the Cambridge Common
Councillor Kelley 10/19/15 (O-13)
15-124. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of installing a walk signal at the intersection of Putnam Avenue and Western Avenue.
Councillor Simmons 10/19/15 (O-14)
15-125. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of installing a speed bump on River Street in order to slow down cars racing over the bridge as they enter Cambridge.
Councillor McGovern 10/19/15 (O-16)
15-126. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on conferring with appropriate shuttle operators about operating smaller shuttle service vehicles during off-peak hours.
Councillor Toomey 10/19/15 (O-17)
15-127. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on assessing all the catch basins along Cambridge Street to be certain vents and traps are functioning correctly and determine if any need to be replaced or repaired and consider long-term fixes to the foul odor issues.
Councillor Toomey 10/19/15 (O-19)
15-128. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on whether pedestrian safety can be improved at problematic intersection by incorporating illuminated pedestrian crossing signs similar to recently installed signage in the Union Square area of Somerville.
Councillor Toomey 10/19/15 (O-22)
15-129. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on current enforcement of Section 5.20.020 of the Public Transportation Ordinance and what potential obstacles there are to enforcement.
Councillor McGovern 10/19/15 (O-30)
15-130. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on whether more resources are needed to maintain the tree canopy, such as the need for an additional water truck and whether mulch and watering cans can be made available to residents for use in tree wells to keep down the weeds and addressing other issues and ideas raised at the Health & Environment hearing held on Sept 16, 2015.
Councillor Cheung 10/19/15 (O-31)