Robert LaTremouille

Robert LaTrémouille
2003 Candidate for Cambridge City Council

Home address:
2 Clinton Street
Cambridge MA 02139

Contact information:
Telephone 617-354-3858
website (background): [see white geese]

Send contributions to: 
La Trémouille Campaign
651 Green Street
Cambridge MA 02139

Born Cambridge, raised southeastern Massachusetts, Veteran, Returned to Cambridge while obtaining advanced degree at BU. 30 years’ experience in Cambridge politics with emphasis on the environment, transportation, landlord-tenant relations and police matters.

Have used zoning as a tool to improve the quality of life in Cambridge, with emphasis on livability and reasonable scale while providing maximum reasonable environmental protection. Emphasis on meaningful open space on private lots and concentration on housing at appropriate density.

Have had multiple victories in zoning which have impacted all parts of Cambridge, including successful downzoning of 80% of Mass. Ave. between Harvard and Central Squares. Protected neighbors against irresponsible development on Massachusetts Avenue, Green Street, Cambridge Street in Inman Square, East Cambridge and near Cambridge Hospital, on River Street, the Trader Joe’s Site, and places on Mount Auburn Street, Broadway, Western Avenue, Blanchard Road, Maple Ave., the Harvard Law School area.

Worked on Red Line planning during that extension; have been involved in planning for Urban Ring Subway connecting Cambridge directly to Kenmore, Harvard Medical School, Brookline and Charlestown.

Involved in police planning. Spent a year working on National Police Chiefs review of the department.

Was present for the MIT Police Riot in which MIT Police violently closed down a tent city of homeless people at the present location of the University Park Star. Would severely restrict powers of Campus Police to prevent recurrence.

Have created real housing districts on Massachusetts Avenue and many other places in the city with meaningful requirements for publicly valuable open space, including meaningful protection for trees and vegetation. Will work to extend this protection throughout Cambridge. Will fight the developer lobby’s attempt to destroy first floor housing and their attempts to allow development to the sidewalk.

Am currently fighting attempts by developer lobby / city manager’s people to facilitate Harvard’s eviction of the elderly from the 2 Mount Auburn building by creating garage zoning a block away. The garage would allow use of the building for normal Harvard purpose and make it worthwhile to evict the elderly.

We currently are 4th in the state in subsidized housing. For the last 14 years of Rent Control fought for meaningful protections for subsidized tenants in housing constructed during the 1968 to 1982 time period, tenants who had less protection than any one else in the state. Now would like to make our subsidized housing meaningful rather than the current improper emphasis being played with section 8 subsidies in very expensive housing, an emphasis which is really causing homelessness because tenant are being steered toward occupancy of very expensive condominiums rather than normal priced housing. The way the numbers work, if 2 families are housed, for example, in housing which cost $3000 per month and good housing would cost $2000 per month, you are spending $6000 to house 2 families rather than spending $6000 to house 3 families. The net result is that 1 family stays homeless.

During the Rent Control referendum battle, worked, as Director of Massachusetts Tenants Organization to improve the statewide organization which was attempting to defend rent control.

Supports meaningful Rent Control. Opposes current referendum because of illegal provisions which turn program into a subsidy program rather than a responsible state regulation of the market in which a scarce commodity is being overpriced. Does not want to fight a 10_year battle to save this illegal provision and then get Rent Control in 10 years. Wants meaningful rent control now, not 10 years from now.

Quality of Life:
Have spent 30 years with a great deal of success fighting against the Cambridge City Manager and his friends to maintain and improve the quality of life in Cambridge.

Co-CEO, Friends of the White Geese. Leading the defense of Charles River wildlife, wetlands, wetlands vegetation and trees against a belligerently destructive Cambridge City Government. Has gotten more complaints to the Cambridge City Council against these initiatives than they have received on any other issue this millennium.

Opposes the destruction of the entire habitat of Cambridge’s invaluable Charles River White Geese or any part of that habitat.

Opposes the destruction of Magazine Beach by vote of the Cambridge City Council. They are trucking away 7 acres of dirt because it is wet, replacing it with 7 acres of dry dirt and sprinklers.

This $1.5 million is intended as seed money for the massive destruction of the environment on Memorial Drive which is going forward with a vengeance. I oppose all this environmental destruction.

Most people, by MDC tally, think Memorial Drive is fine without "improvements" except they would like the MDC to pick up trash. So the MDC and many other entities WITH CAMBRIDGE ORGANIZING, is destroying all wetlands, all wetlands vegetation, all wildlife habitat and more than 300 trees.

Considers the entire mess irresponsible. Would fire the Cambridge City Manager and strip the MDC of environmental responsibilities in the City of Cambridge.

Municipal Finance & Government:
9 city councilors do their best to not know what is going on, especially the very reprehensible things on the Charles River. At the same time they put out nonsense about being pro-environment. This trick only works if everybody agrees to gang up on their constituents. Will stop this game.

Schools are being closed while $1.5 million is being spent destroying Magazine Beach, $7 million (and climbing rapidly) is being spent destroying 300 trees and all other animal habitat, wetlands and wetlands vegetation; and $3.5 million is being spent gilding a Harvard Square that does not needed to be gilded.

Would fire the Cambridge City Manager and gut a Development Department which seems to be looking for work in manners highly destructive to the City of Cambridge and highly wasteful to our scarce resources, not just on Memorial Drive but throughout the city.

Cambridge had a bird sanctuary on City Hall front lawn. Every day of the year, singing birds greeted people. The City of Cambridge and 9 City Councilors destroyed the birds’ trees and vines. They put in dead grass and are so happy with this "achievement" that they are now working to destroy the Charles River.

Trees seem to have a life expectancy of 20 years in Cambridge. Witness Vellucci Park, planted 20 years ago, 3/4 of the trees destroyed this year because there were too many of them. City Manager, last I heard was working to destroy a mature grove of trees at Squirrel Brand because they have the wrong pedigree. The city manager has driven the gardeners off the Squirrel Brand lot.

Environment and Public Health:
See above.

Additionally, created the first open space zoning in residential Cambridge by rezoning the Marie St. tot lot to open space in the Maple Ave. downzoning. Did the legal drafting which rezoned the AD Little parking lot at Alewife to open space, to return that to open space.

Land Use, Planning, Development, and Transportation:
Has more meaningful experience in defending Cambridge’s environment than all other candidates combined.

Would help people with good zoning petitions to keep them out of the clutches of Cambridge’s irresponsible Development Department with its pride in complicated petitions and unexplained fine print.

Opposes provisions in the city-drafted Carlson petition which would allow construction to the sidewalk on Memorial Drive and which would make it worthwhile for Harvard to evict the elderly from 2 Mt. Auburn Street.

Has stood up to and defeated multiple irresponsible initiatives from the Development Department and its flunkies.

Got the secret fine print out of the massive 1997 zoning initiative, thus turning that victory into his personal victory instead of the defeat for responsible planning proposed initially. Failed to get the secret fine print out of the 2001 citywide upzoning and thus saw many zoning districts trashed at the whim of City Manager appointees.

Will get rid of that fine print and will oppose initiatives by friends of the Cambridge City Manager to transfer any zoning powers from the City Council to the City Manager.

Planning: Planning is the City Council’s responsibility. Cambridge has a plan for our city. It is called the zoning ordinance.

Strongly oppose attempts to transfer development control from the City Council where it belongs to the secrecy of City Manager_ and developer-controlled gatherings.

Transportation: Have two years railroad experience with meaningful on-the-ground experience. Worked on the Red Line extension. Have worked on a proposal for an inner subway connecting Cambridge directly to Harvard Medical area, Charlestown and Brookline. Proposed the better of two Charles River crossings currently under consideration by the MBTA.

See Memorial Drive analysis under University Relations below.

University Relations:
Have three meaningful victories over Harvard highlighted by forcing the smaller Inn at Harvard building on Harvard instead of allowing the building Harvard wanted, 72% larger with no grass.

Opposes and is leading the fight against the destruction of 300 trees on Memorial Drive and with associated wetlands and wildlife devastation, destruction which certainly looks like it is for the benefit of Harvard.

Harvard has purchased the exit ramps from the Mass. Pike in Allston.

Cambridge and the MBTA are proposing to use Rapid Transit money to create an on- and off-ramp from the Mass. Pike on the railroad bridge under the BU Bridge, connecting Mass. Pike traffic to Cambridgeport behind the former Polaroid / Ford building at Brookline Street and Memorial Drive.

Cambridge in the Cambridgeport roads project is building a two-way street from Brookline Street behind that building aimed straight at the new Pike ramp.

A few hundred feet away, Cambridge / the MDC is using state and federal moneys to destroy 300 trees and realign Memorial Drive to bring it closer to Storrow Drive standards.

A lot of other highways are being proposed in the area apparently as part of the infrastructure for the new Pike exit to Cambridge.

The MBTA is proposing a direct ramp from Park Drive off Mountfort Street in Boston which would connect without using the BU Bridge.

An access road is being proposed under the BU Bridge from Magazine Beach, damaging the Charles and the untouched area next to the pollution plant, and destroying a lot of trees. This would allow the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese (bounded by the BU Bridge, an on-ramp to Memorial Drive, the railroad track and the Charles River) to be used for parking in support of toll booths.

The MDC is talking a roadway from the rail bridge to Memorial Drive through the untouched woods between the bridge and the BU Boathouse. This could be used for direct access to Memorial Drive, with toll booths on the Boston side.

Four lanes are proposed for the existing rail bridge, two for traffic on and off the Mass. Pike, one for the railroad and one apparently for toll booth access.

Toll booths are also possible at the Destroyed Nesting Area or behind the Ford Plant / Polaroid building. If the latter, an entrance to the Destroyed Nesting Area from the BU Bridge / on-ramp (built October 1999) would provide workers sidewalk access to the toll plaza from the parking area

It strongly looks to me like Mass. Turnpike ramp traffic is being moved to Cambridge to allow Harvard to develop the riverfront Pike ramps it just purchased in Allston.

There is planning nonsense about there being bike paths in the area connecting to the Minuteman bike path which in turn would connect North Station to Alewife. The MBTA plans only show three lanes under Memorial Drive, two of highway traffic, one of railroad. The railroad area between Mass. Ave. and Main Street is now barely wide enough to hold the railroad, let along the two lanes proposed by the MBTA. A bike path in addition would be downright silly.

I oppose it all and am working to end it all.

Civic participation:
For experience see background and many other entries above.

I will assist residents in all ways I can to stand up to and defeat developer / city manager influence / control which exists in so many supposedly independent organizations.

Cambridge Public Schools:
I would reverse the bizarre allocation of funds to environmental destruction and to gilding Harvard Square while closing schools and firing teachers. I would like to reopen the Longfellow School in place as a school.

Want open space funds used to create open space in the city usable by the public schools and residents rather than gilding and destroying presently existing facilities.

Additionally, the very bad example given impressionable children by massive attacks on open space and beautiful animals can only be considered irresponsible teaching by the City of Cambridge.

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