Benefit for Comedian Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Tingle hosts "Humor for Humanity," a benefit for fellow Cambridge comedian Jimmy Smith, on Thursday, June 29 at 7:30pm at the Regent Theater, 7 Medford Street, Arlington. Guests include Tony V, Mike Donovan, Mike McDonald, Lenny Clarke, Christine Hurly, Jack Gallagher and musical guests Erie Blue Band. Tickets available

Jimmy was also a CRLS teacher.

Jimmy Smith Benefit - June 29, 2017

Here Comes Summer - Featured Attractions for the June 26, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting

On Vacation - See you in AugustThe City Council goes on Summer Vacation after this meeting except for what will likely be a fun-filled Midsummer Meeting on August 7. Here are a few items that drew my attention this week:

Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-31, regarding a report on the status of the Community Garden program.

This is useful information. However, any property owner can make space available for gardeners - residential property owners, institutional owners, and others. Even the narrowest strips of land can be gardened. Some of the best community gardens in Cambridge have been on private property.

Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-6, regarding an analysis and evaluation of "pop up" bicycle lanes.

Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to work with the appropriate City departments to accelerate the planning and installation of two or more protected bike lanes by September, to produce a plan by October 2017 for the roll-out of protected bike lanes on all major city thoroughfares, to ensure that the Bike Plan recommendations are fully implemented on all road projects, and that additional infrastructure changes to provide for safety are implemented when possible.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor McGovern

First, don't count on there being any actual analysis and evaluation of the "pop up" bicycle lanes. Unless there's a fatality in one of them they'll remain regardless how dysfunctional or unnecessary thay may be. As for this latest Council order on the subject, I'm now finally starting to get a sense of what the word "progressive" really means - pushing through changes with minimal analysis and without consulting those affected under the belief that they will one day agree with you. In other words - the opposite of actual democracy. There is a place for segregated bike paths - primarily along arterial roadways, but there are plenty of reasons why they are not ideal for streets with many cross streets and driveways. They also send the rather clear message that cyclists are not welcome on the road and they should stay on the sidewalk like obedient children.

Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the Street Performers Ordinance as well as Arts Council staffing and programming.

Not much to say here - just interesting information.

Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 17-46, 17-47, 17-48 and 17-49, short term rentals.

The regulation of short term rentals has become the central legislative theme for this year. There will be at least one more Ordinance Committee meeting to refine things, and ordination is expected at the Midsummer meeting (August 7).

Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an amendment to the City’s previous submission of a Home Rule Petition to the Legislature whereby I requested authorization to include in the planned reconstruction (the “Project”) of the King Open / Cambridge Street Upper School and Community Complex (“KOCSUS”) the area that is presently occupied by the public swimming pool known as the Gold Star Pool (the “Pool Site”) and to construct subsurface geothermal wells in a portion of Donnelly Field that lies directly along and adjacent to the current southerly boundary of the KOCSUS site.

Again, not much to say here - just interesting information.

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Affordable Housing Trust with the view in mind of immediately contacting the Episcopal Divinity School to begin negotiations for the purchase of 8-acre Episcopal Divinity School site for construction of critically needed affordable housing units including single occupancy spaces and middle income housing, particularly housing for eligible Cambridge residents, families, starter apartments for young adults, veterans, homeless and seniors who have been displaced. [Charter Right exercised by Vice Mayor McGovern on June 19, 2017.]

It's very unlike that any portion of this site will become available for subsidized housing - for a variety of reasons. It is, however, fun to listen to the well-heeled activists come up with creative ways to oppose it while still trying to look like high-minded progressives. For this, thank you Councillor Toomey for filing the Order.

Unfinished Business #10. An amendment to the Municipal Code Ordinance that Title 8 entitled “Health and Safety” be amended by adding a new Chapter 8.69 entitled “Running Bamboo Ordinance.” The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after June 26, 2017.

Perhaps this will be ordained at this meeting. My only question is: "What will the Cambridge City Council ban next?"

Applications & Petitions #2. A rezoning petition has been received from MIT/GSA Volpe to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance by adding a new Section 13.90 to Article 13.000 and amend the Zoning Map to add new PUD-7 District.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on June 7, 2017 to have a general discussion to receive an update on the planning that has been going on for the Volpe Project. [appended materials]

This has been a long time coming. If you want to learn more and participate, MIT is hosting a workshop on Thurs, June 29 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the Kendall Marriott hotel. There will be plenty of other opportunities in the future to be heard.

Order #1. City Council support of Massachusetts House of Representatives bill H.3542, legislation to establish a Massachusetts Infrastructure Bank designed to encourage borrowing and facilitate growth for municipalities.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen, Councillor Devereux

It's an interesting idea, but my sense is that it would make more sense for municipalities facing far greater challenges and with fewer resources than Cambridge. Our AAA bond rating has its advantages.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested work with the Department of Public Works and the Cambridge Arts Council to formally review the use of the Fern Street path as currently designed and consider options to ensure that the path functions as a safe, shared bicycle and pedestrian path and to work with the Department of Public Works to consider whether it is appropriate and feasible for a skateboarding feature to be included at Danehy Park.   Councillor Devereux

The planners delivered a skate park that was never mentioned when they were selling the concept to neighbors as an artsy bike path.

Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with Department of Public Works and Cambridge Fire Department (CFD) staff and other relevant City officials to determine if new facilities are needed by either DPW or CFD to best carry out their respective missions in the future and, if so, what type of facilities they would need and how much space that would require and where they might possibly be located.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey, Vice Mayor McGovern

This is an important matter that has to be explored, but sufficiently large sites are disappearing fast - especially in parts of the city where access to and from the site can be done efficiently.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on May 17, 2017 to discuss updates and data collected thus far for the Retail Strategic Plan, and other matters pertaining to the Study. [appended materials]

This continues to be an interesting topic both in the committee and as part of the Envision Cambridge process. That said, the City doesn't control economics or consumer habits, so the best we can do will always be a good guess. - Robert Winters


June 21 – MIT today has filed its Volpe rezoning petition. An MIT News Office article provides background on the proposal and a link to the zoning petition. [message from Sarah Gallop, Co-Director, MIT Office of Government and Community Relations]
[Boston Globe article (June 21)]  [text of the petition]

Political Updates

June 26 - Ilan Levy will apparently again be a City Council candidate.

June 22 - Fran Cronin will be hosting an issue forum on Tues, June 27 starting at 6:00pm at Atwood's Tavern (877 Cambridge St.).

June 21 - Marc McGovern has posted a re-election announcement.

June 21 - Denise Simmons has formally announced her reelection campaign and the date of her Campaign Kickoff (July 13).

June 21 - Paul Toner has hired Hannagh Jacobsen as Campaign Manager and has received the endorsement of Mass Retirees.

June 20 - Adriane Musgrave will have her campaign kickoff on Sat, June 24 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at Christopher's in Porter Square.

June 18 - No new candidates to report, but at what point does calling oneself a "progressive" in an election where all candidates are "progressive" render the term completely meaningless?

June 10 - We have a new City Council candidate: Gwen Volmar

June 9 - We have a new School Committee candidate: Laurance Kimbrough

June 7 - We have a new City Council candidate: Jeffrey Santos

The following City Council candidates have either had or scheduled a campaign kickoff event or fomally announced their candidacy (19):
Ron Benjamin, Dennis Carlone, Olivia D'Ambrosio, Jan Devereux, Sam Gebru, Craig A. Kelley, Ilan Levy, Alanna Mallon, Marc McGovern, Adriane Musgrave, Nadya Okamoto, Jeffrey Santos, Sumbul Siddiqui, Denise Simmons, Vatsady Sivongxay, Sean Tierney, Paul Toner, Gwen Volmar, and Quinton Zondervan.

The following individuals have not yet formally announced their candidacy but are expected to be City Council candidates: None

The following individuals have not yet announced their City Council candidacy and it's not yet clear if they will (3):
Dennis Benzan, Leland Cheung, Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

The following School Committee candidates have either had or scheduled a campaign kickoff event or fomally announced their candidacy (6):
Manikka Bowman, Fran Cronin, Emily Dexter, Kathleen Kelly, Laurance Kimbrough, Will MacArthur

The following individuals have not yet formally announced their candidacy but are expected to be School Committee candidates (3):
Alfred B. Fantini, Richard Harding, Jr., Patricia M. Nolan

2017 Cambridge Candidate Pages

2017 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums
[Note: Only events open to the general public (with or without RSVP) will be listed.]

Campaign Finance Reports - 2017 City Council

Looking Ahead (revised June 26)

Probable City Council and School Committee candidates for 2017 (with age at time of election)

City Council Candidate Birthdate Age address Notes
Timothy J. Toomey 6/7/1953 64 88 6th St., 02141 incumbent, first elected in 1989, unclear if seeking reelection
E. Denise Simmons 10/2/1951 66 188 Harvard St. #4B, 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2001
Craig Kelley 9/18/1962 55 6 Saint Gerard Terr. #2, 02140 incumbent, first elected in 2005
Leland Cheung 2/11/1978 39 157 Garden St., 02138 incumbent, first elected in 2009
Dennis Carlone 5/7/1947 70 9 Washington St. #6, 02140 incumbent, first elected in 2013
Marc McGovern 12/21/1968 48 15 Pleasant St., 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2013
Jan Devereux 5/13/1959 58 255 Lakeview Ave., 02138 incumbent, first elected in 2015
Jeffrey Santos 5/28/1963 54 350 3rd St. #809, 02142 announced, registered with OCPF
Paul Toner 4/28/1966 51 24 Newman St., 02140 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Ilan Levy 11/1/1967 50 148 Spring St. 02141 apparently running based on email
Quinton Zondervan 9/15/1970 47 235 Cardinal Madeiros Ave., 02141 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Alanna Mallon 12/6/1970 46 3 Maple Ave., 02139 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Ronald Benjamin 1/5/1971 46 172 Cushing St., 02138 announced, registered with OCPF
Vatsady Sivongxay 2/20/1982 35 59 Kirkland St. #2, 02138 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Olivia D'Ambrosio 9/13/1983 34 270 3rd Street #305, 02142 announced, registered with OCPF
Sean Tierney 3/10/1985 32 12 Prince St. #6, 02139 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Gwen Volmar 9/25/1985 32 13 Ware St. #4, 02138 not yet announced, but registered with OCPF
Adriane Musgrave 10/14/1985 32 5 Newport Rd. #1, 02140 definitely running, registered with OCPF
Sumbul Siddiqui 2/10/1988 29 530 Windsor Street, 02141 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Sam Gebru 11/20/1991 25 812 Memorial Dr., 02139 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Nadya Okamoto 2/11/1998 19 Canaday Hall B44, 22 Harvard Yard, 02138 announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising
Dennis Benzan 1/25/1972 45 1 Pine St., 02139 served 2014-15, may seek reelection
Nadeem Mazen 9/20/1983 34 720 Mass. Ave. #4, 02139 has informed colleagues that he will not seek reelection
James Williamson 1/13/1951 66 1000 Jackson Pl., 02140 perennial candidate
Gary Mello 5/24/1953 64 324 Franklin St. #2, 02139 ran several times
Nathan Taylor Thompson 10/12/1985 32 31 Tremont Street $#3, 02139 probably not running, registered with OCPF
Andrew King 4/17/1986 31 40 Essex St., 02139 conflicting reports on whether or not a candidate
Romaine Waite 6/7/1991 26 60 Lawn St. #5, 02138 not announced, but may try again
School Committee Candidate Birthdate Age address Notes
Fred Fantini 6/8/1949 68 4 Canal Park #203, 02141 incumbent, first elected in 1981
Richard Harding 10/16/1972 45 189 Windsor St. #1, 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2001
Patty Nolan 8/28/1957 60 184 Huron Ave., 02138 incumbent, first elected in 2005
Kathleen Kelly 3/8/1960 57 17 Marie Ave. #1, 02139 incumbent, first elected in 2013
Emily Dexter 3/16/1957 60 9 Fenno St., 02138 incumbent, first elected in 2015
Mannika Bowman 11/27/1979 37 134 Reed St., 02140 incumbent, first elected in 2015
Fran Albin Cronin 2/14/1952 65 1 Kimball Ln., 02140 planning to seek reelection
Laurance Kimbrough 7/3/1979 38 24 Aberdeen Ave., 02138 definitely running for School Committee
Will MacArthur 5/24/1998 19 18 Shea Rd., 02140 definitely running for School Committee
Jake Crutchfield 3/31/1987 30 281 River St. #1, 01239 speculation that he may run again
Elechi Kadete 9/30/1989 28 10 Laurel St., 02139 will likely not run again this year
David J. Weinstein 12/10/1972 44 45 S. Normandy Ave., 02138 ran in 2015, possibility for 2017

2017 Cambridge Candidate Pages

There are others who are likely to be candidates but who have not yet chosen to be identified as such. Please let me know of other candidates. Not all of the individuals listed above may wish to be identified as candidates, and I will be more than happy to remove those names (unless I am absolutely certain they will be running!). Anyone who has filed papers with OCPF (Office of Campaign & Political Finance) is assumed to be running for City Council. - RW

Campaign Finance Summaries - City Council 2017 (updated June 26)
Candidate From To Start Receipts Expend Balance As Of
Benjamin, Ronald 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 9.00 541.12 532.39 17.73 16-Jun-17
Carlone, Dennis 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 17827.87 2572.34 737.56 19662.65 19-Jun-17
Cheung, Leland 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 90880.32 0.00 8830.50 82049.82 20-Jun-17
D'Ambrosio, Olivia 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 122.75 5250.31 3193.80 2179.26 16-Jun-17
Devereux, Jan 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 8715.10 15313.05 5808.60 18219.55 16-Jun-17
Gebru, Sam 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 26223.50 24027.40 2196.10 16-Jun-17
Levy, Ilan 26-Jun-17 26-Jun-17 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 26-Jun-17
Kelley, Craig 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 2231.84 230.52 534.00 1928.36 19-Jun-17
Mallon, Alanna 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 100.00 27960.00 9687.61 18372.39 16-Jun-17
McGovern, Marc 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 14966.66 19919.62 11711.51 23174.77 19-Jun-17
Musgrave, Adriane 16-May-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 5000.00 1867.55 3132.45 16-Jun-17
Okamoto, Nadya 16-Mar-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 3018.66 581.91 2436.75 16-Jun-17
Santos, Jeffrey 7-Jun-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 35.00 19.72 15.28 16-Jun-17
Siddiqui, Sumbul 16-Feb-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 22154.60 5662.06 16492.54 16-Jun-17
Simmons, Denise 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 10179.79 7398.35 5118.26 12459.88 19-Jun-17
Sivongxay, Vatsady 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 21011.31 9860.72 11150.59 16-Jun-17
Tierney, Sean 1-Feb-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 8384.35 5282.73 3101.62 16-Jun-17
Toner, Paul 16-Feb-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 30464.25 7447.31 23016.94 19-Jun-17
Toomey, Tim 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 4069.67 26679.94 8054.26 22695.35 16-Jun-17
Volmar, Gwen 9-Jun-17 15-Jun-17 0.00 20.00 0.00 20.00 16-Jun-17
Zondervan, Quinton 1-Jan-17 15-Jun-17 3510.00 14747.51 15460.89 2796.62 16-Jun-17

Campaign Finance Reports - 2017 City Council (updated June 21)

Campaign Contributions (2017) - Total Receipts and Cambridge Receipts
(updated June 28)
Candidate ID Total Receipts Cambridge Receipts Percent Cambridge
Kelley, Craig 14104 $480.00 $480.00 100%
Volmar, Gwen 16691 $1,429.00 $1,429.00 100%
D'Ambrosio, Olivia 16520 $5,250.00 $5,000.00 95%
Carlone, Dennis 15680 $2,572.34 $2,350.00 91%
Devereux, Jan 16062 $15,183.50 $13,728.50 90%
Musgrave, Adriane 16657 $5,000.00 $4,000.00 80%
McGovern, Marc 15589 $21,818.83 $16,732.66 77%
Mallon, Alanna 16530 $28,060.00 $15,810.00 56%
Zondervan, Quinton 16516 $14,157.53 $7,769.65 55%
Toner, Paul 16576 $32,585.11 $16,950.00 52%
Toomey, Tim 12222 $27,179.94 $13,304.69 49%
Siddiqui, Sumbul 16556 $24,019.60 $11,095.00 46%
Tierney, Sean 16559 $13,059.35 $5,575.00 43%
Simmons, Denise 13783 $7,398.35 $3,100.00 42%
Santos, Jeffrey 16686 $35.00 $10.00 29%
Sivongxay, Vatsady 16528 $21,755.67 $4,965.00 23%
Gebru, Sam 16531 $26,286.00 $4,788.00 18%
Benjamin, Ronald 16493 $141.15 $20.00 14%
Okamoto, Nadya 16596 $3,316.72 $350.00 11%
Cheung, Leland 14923 $0.00 $0.00 -
Levy, Ilan 16173 $0.00 $0.00 -

Almost Summer - June 19, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights

On the HorizonAs is often the case, a packed agenda is followed by a light agenda. Here are a few items of possible interest on this relatively lean menu:

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and any other appropriate City departments on the feasibility and cost of installing computerized traffic signals along the City’s main corridors.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen

This Order could easily have been written 40 years ago when the issue wasn't climate change so much as air quality. Back then a number of two-way streets were made one-way in order to move traffic through more quickly. I might argue that some of those one-way streets should be restored to two-way so that desirable routes can be made less circuitous. [Word has it that the Prospect Street bridge to Union Square, Somerville may be restored to two-way traffic - a good idea, in my opinion.] Of course all the best technology will still not resolve the problem of intersections with heavy traffic on both streets. Shorter or longer signal cycles won't change the average throughput for an F-rated intersection when traffic is queued up in both directions.

Order #3. That the matter of reviewing the placement of the Committee Reports section within the City Council agenda be referred to the Rules Committee for consideration.   Councillor Cheung, Councillor Kelley

There is a certain logic in doing this consistent with Robert's Rules of Order. One could argue that Committee Reports are more in line with "Old Business" and City Council Orders are really "New Business", and Old Business is generally taken up before New Business.

Order #5. City Council opposition to dismantling of the Dodd-Frank reforms that were put into place following the 2007-2010 Great Recession.   Councillor Carlone

The race is on to see which City Council candidates will most effectively associate themselves with national politics in this election year. There's plenty of red meat to work with - even though the City Council has close to zero influence in national and international affairs.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Affordable Housing Trust with the view in mind of immediately contacting the Episcopal Divinity School to begin negotiations for the purchase of 8-acre Episcopal Divinity School site for construction of critically needed affordable housing units including single occupancy spaces and middle income housing, particularly housing for eligible Cambridge residents, families, starter apartments for young adults, veterans, homeless and seniors who have been displaced.   Councillor Toomey

A few years ago it was Shady Hill Square and a call to pack subsidized housing into the middle of that Square just to stick it to the residents who wanted to preserve the open space that was part of the original design of this group of buildings when built. Now the call is to insert subsidized housing into a parcel facing Brattle Street with land values somewhere in the stratosphere. It's hard to interpret this as anything other than a statement sticking it to Brattle Street just because it's Brattle Street.

Order #7. That the City Council go on record opposing H.R.38 and S.446, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, and calls on its representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to vote against these bills, and to work with their colleagues to oppose these bills.   Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern

See Order #5 above. That said, the lunatics are clearly running the Congressional asylum if they really believe that gun-toting dudes from the deepest red states should have license to pack heat in Massachusetts just because they come from or simply visited a wacky state in order to get a gun and a license. Even some bars in the Wild West required patrons to check their weapons at the door.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on May 30, 2017 to discuss the role of police officers in the community, the installation of a police substation in Central Square and the stationing of a uniformed police officer in City Hall.

Though I like the idea of having a police officer in the vicinity of City Hall, I really don't think the best use of highly-trained police is to serve as professional greeters. Regarding the installation of a police substation in Central Square, this would only make sense if done as a multi-purpose storefront location for police, MBTA workers, public information, and a public bathroom. That, of course, would require coordination among different agencies, so it will never happen. - Robert Winters


Cambridge Announces Finalist for Police Commissioner
Meet the finalist forum to be held on June 20, 2017

Branville G. BardJune 16, 2017 – The City of Cambridge today announced Branville G. Bard,, Jr. of Philadelphia, PA as the finalist in the search process for a new Police Commissioner. In January, the City engaged the services of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to develop a leadership profile, conduct recruitment, and perform the initial screening of applicants.

"I am pleased that the search process yielded a highly qualified candidate who can lead Cambridge's 21st-century police department beginning on day one," City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said. "Chief Bard has a proven track record and possess the qualities that our community expects in a Police Commissioner: cultural awareness and sensitivity, a commitment to department-wide equity and inclusiveness, a deep commitment to procedural justice, and visionary, effective, and strong police leadership."

Chief Bard currently serves as the Chief of Police and the Director of Public Safety for the Philadelphia Housing Authority's Police Department. Prior to this, he served in numerous positions for the Philadelphia Police Department, including Police Inspector, and Police Captain for the 22nd District. Chief Bard holds a Doctorate in Public Administration from Valdosta State University.

"Chief Bard has an appreciation for the unique challenges faced by sanctuary cities, and will take a data-driven approach to improvement, quality assurance, and policing," City Manager DePasquale said. "I want to thank the City staff, community stakeholders, and members of the City Manager's Advisory Committee who participated in the selection process to date, and provided me with valuable feedback on each of the candidates. I am so pleased that a representative group of the Cambridge community could participate in this confidential hiring process."

Chief Bard was selected as a finalist following two days of in-person interviews held in Cambridge in early May. Five candidates were initially interviewed in May. The first day of interviews included two review panels comprised of City staff and community stakeholders. After the initial day of interviews and a debriefing of the panels, each candidate was interviewed by City Manager DePasquale and Deputy City Manager Peterson. This week, Chief Bard participated in a day-long series of additional interviews with City Manager, Deputy City Manager, and City staff. On June 20, 2017, at 6:00pm, Chief Bard will participate in a public "Meet the Finalist Forum" at the Main Public Library, 449 Broadway. The public will be invited to submit written feedback at the forum. Chief Bard will also participate in additional stakeholder interviews.

The City Manager is expected to make a final decision by early July after reviewing the public feedback and conducting reference checks.

About the Cambridge Police Department: With a budget of over $50 million, the Cambridge Police Department has 272 sworn police officers and 47 professional staff members. The Department is committed to providing residents and visitors with the highest level of professional police services while respecting the constitutional rights of all. The strength of the organization lies within its philosophy and method of operation, which combines community policing, problem-oriented policing, and collaboration with our community and city partners. Community engagement and outreach are focused on youth, homeless, seniors, and residents with mental health issues. Crime in Cambridge dropped for the sixth consecutive year in 2016, to record low levels not experienced since 1961.

About PERF: Founded in 1976 as a nonprofit organization, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is a police research and policy organization and a provider of management services, technical assistance, and executive-level education to support law enforcement agencies. PERF helps to improve the delivery of police services through the exercise of strong national leadership; public debate of police and criminal justice issues; and research and policy development.

Review panel participants: Ann Fleck-Henderson, City Manager Advisory Committee; Frank Pedro, City Manager Advisory Committee; Joshua A. Reyes, City Manager Advisory Committee; Rev. Eliis Washington, City Manager Advisory Committee; Lisa Thurau, Police Commissioner Advisory Board; Bishop Brian Greene, Police Chaplain; Lisa Peterson, Deputy City Manager; Ellen Semonoff, Asst. City Manager/Human Service Programs; Betsy Allen, Director/Equity and Inclusion; Andrea Brown, Chief Administrative Officer/Police; Brian Corr, Peace Commission/Police Review and Advisory Board; Louis DePasquale, City Manager; Christina Giacobbe, Director/ Emergency Communications; Lee Gianetti, Director/Communications and Community Relations; Nancy Glowa, City Solicitor; Sheila Keady Rawson, Personnel Director; Brent Larrabee, Interim Police Commissioner; Robert Wasserman, Advisor.

Former Police Commissioner Robert Haas and Acting Fire Chief Gerard Mahoney participated in interviews.

Branville Bard's resume

City Dance Party Friday, June 30, 7-11pm
Mass Ave. will be Closed to Traffic but Open for Dancing!

Join thousands of Cambridge residents and visitors who will gather on Massachusetts Avenue in front of Cambridge City Hall (795 Massachusetts Ave.) for the City’s 20th Annual Dance Party. The portion of Mass. Ave., between Prospect and Bigelow streets, will be closed to traffic from 7pm – Midnight but open for dancing. This event is free and open to the public. MBTA: Red Line to Central Square.

The annual dance extravaganza with DJ spun music is a special opportunity for the entire Cambridge community to celebrate summer. After dark, colorful lights will be launched, adding to the magic of the evening.

PLEASE NOTE: MBTA #1 Bus Line will terminate in Central Square at 6pm and is expected to resume full service by Midnight. (Take the Red Line subway to travel between Central & Harvard Squares). The closest subway stop to the Dance Party is Central Square, then two blocks to City Hall.

For more information, contact Maryellen Carvello at 617-349-4301 or

Dance Party 2017

Coming up at the June 12, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting

It's a loaded agenda this week. Not so many Council Orders, but plenty on the City Manager's Agenda and Committee Reports. Here are a few brief comments on some of these matters.

Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a request for authorization to transfer a leasehold interest in the property at 1-15 Vail Court to the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust and to appropriation $750,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Department Extraordinary Expenditures to facilitate the abatement and demolition of the existing structures on the site.

The Vail Court project slowly moves along. In an ideal world there would be a more comprehensive plan for not only the Vail Court property but also the adjacent parking lot at Prospect St. and Bishop Allen Drive that could transform that whole block into something great. I haven't heard anything lately regarding challenges to the compensation for the eminent domain taking.

Vail Court - 2013
Vail Court in 2013

Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-4, regarding current or potential future public-private partnerships that could deliver an operational Foundry that consists of significant community space for the community.

The gift that keeps on giving. </sarcasm>

Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-39, regarding a report on the City's policy of conducting CORI checks on applicants of the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program.

As the Manager's letter notes: "It is a state requirement that every staff person or volunteer who works with children in a licensed summer camp or a childcare setting must have gone thru the CORI process." Indeed, even those of us who teach at Harvard Summer School have to submit to this every year. However, as the letter says: "The CORI record results are not used in any way to deny young people an opportunity to participate in the Mayor’s Program." Seems fair enough.

Community Benefits $$

Manager's Agenda #19. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a member of the Community Benefits Advisory Committee for a term of three years, effective June 1, 2017: Kathryn Fenneman, Risa Mednick, Elizabeth Aguilo, Cibele Goncalves, Daniel Liss, Rowan Murphy, Amy Salomon, Geeta Pradhan, Susan Lapierre, Paul Parravano, Ellen Semonoff, Sandra Clarke, and Lisa Peterson (Chair)

Manager's Agenda #20. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $3,728,500 from Free Cash to the Community Benefits Stabilization Fund.

Manager's Agenda #21. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $1,366,506 from Free Cash to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund.

This represents the culmination of an idea that was first proposed some years ago - namely that instead of "mitigation" being worked out in what sometimes were side deals with individual councillors in order to gain their support, money is now to be deposited into the General Fund, worthy recipients and projects will be vetted by the advisory committee, and then ultimately voted by a majority of the City Council. I'm still not sure how this would work for donations of real property (as was the case with the Foundry Building).

A Bonanza of Planning Board Reports

Manager's Agenda #22. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the Zoning Petition regarding rooftop spaces in the Harvard Square Overlay District.

"...the Board believes that a more comprehensive examination of Harvard Square’s zoning needs, including community discussion, should be undertaken before implementing a single limited zoning change."

Manager's Agenda #23. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the petition to rezone the block bounded by Third Street, Cambridge Street, Second Street and Gore Street from Business A to a new designation Business A-5.

"...the Board believes that this petition would benefit from additional study and input from the community to determine if it should stand alone or if there should be a broader vision for the area as a whole, and also to determine the range of impacts such change(s) might have. Some of this study may occur in the future as the Envision Cambridge process focuses on major corridors, including Massachusetts Avenue and Cambridge Street."

Manager's Agenda #24. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the Observatory Hill Village (Mahon, et al.) Zoning Petition.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Leland Cheung and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 18, 2017 to discuss a zoning petition filed by the Friends of Observatory Hill Village to establish the Observatory Hill Village Overlay District.

According to the petitioners, "the zoning petition was submitted to preserve the business residential mix [in this 3-block long stretch of Concord Ave.]. Developers have an economic interest and an incentive to replace commercial retail buildings with high end housing. This puts the businesses at risk." It seems likely that this petition is headed for re-working and re-filing.

Manager's Agenda #25. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation (no recommendation at this time) on the Zoning Petition regarding vacant or abandoned buildings.

The key sentence here is: "The Board also believes that the proposed fee structure needs to be reconsidered, especially in consultation with the Law Department as to the legality of certain of its provisions." Basically, the fee that was proposed is a clear regulatory taking and could never pass legal muster. Perhaps if they can replace that with something reasonable this petition could be re-filed and perhaps some good will come of it.

Manager's Agenda #26. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the City Council Petition on Short-Term Rental Housing.

Committee Report #4. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 31, 2017 to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance to create a new chapter 4.60 to regulate short-term rentals (STR).

There may be some additional details to be ironed out prior to ordination, but this is the petition that seems destined to pass. It will likely be passed to a 2nd Reading at this meeting and enter the queue for ordination in a couple of weeks or at the Midsummer meeting in August at the latest. The petition expires Aug 29.

Manager's Agenda #27. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the Cockrill, et al., Petition on Short-Term Rental Housing.

Committee Report #6. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 24, 2017 to discuss the zoning petition filed by Latoyea Hawkins Cockrill, et al. to regulate short-term rental uses throughout the City.

This petition was apparently filed by industry people who favor the proliferation of short-term rentals with minimal regulation. It won't be ordained and the City Council would be wise to just let it die without even being passed to a 2nd Reading. It's interesting that the first signer after whom the petition is named doesn't even support it. In the committee report Councillor Devereux suggests that in light of this fact the City should reconsider how petitions are named. In fact, there's already an established precedent for this situation. In the year 2000 the "Yoder Petition" was renamed the "Tringo Petition" when Ralph Yoder stated that he no longer supported the petition that bore his name. The new name was derived from the second signature on the petition. Perhaps we should now refer to the "Cockrill Petition" as the "Stonehouse Petition" after the next valid signature on the petition, but for all we know he may not support it either. Seriously, the petitioners should really be taken to the woodshed for how they pushed this petition.

Manager's Agenda #29. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 17-7, regarding an update on the City's Community Choice Electricity Aggregation Plan.

I'm now almost convinced that this may be a good thing. I've been getting offers for several years now from energy companies who want me to sign up with them and lock in a reduced rate. The Eversource rate is then often later adjusted to be lower, so I've always told them to take a hike. Apparently, with the City's arrangement I could go back to Eversource at any time if I don't like the relative cost, so I suppose I'll just go along. It's an opt-out arrangement, so many of us will just allow laziness to prevail.

Manager's Agenda #34. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $750,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Department Extraordinary Expenditures Account to be used to conduct geotechnical, and environmental services to support the site assessment for a Concept Plan to site the new school on Callahan Field and future Feasibility Study for the Tobin School project.

This could yield an attractive option to construct the new school adjacent to the existing school. The entire area used to be brickyards and then landfill.

Manager's Agenda #36. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $1,000,000 from Free Cash to the Public Works Department Public Investment Fund Extraordinary Expenditures Account for the citywide curbside organics program.

If all goes well we could have citywide organics collection possibly by next April. This appropriation will provide for purchase of a rubbish packer and purchase and delivery of curbside bins, kitchen collector pails and other materials and services necessary to roll out the program to approximately 20,000 households (in addition to the 5,200 households on the Monday trash route that currently have organics collection).

Order #2. That the City Council condemn President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and urge Governor Charles D. Baker to publicly commit to ensuring that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts similarly adheres to the goals and ideals of the Paris Climate Agreement.   Mayor Simmons, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Cheung

Nobody should be surprised by the introduction of this City Council order. My guess is that neither the Commonwealth nor the City will be changing any plans as a result of the bloviations of the current occupant of the White House.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department and the Planning Board to determine how Visual Preference Surveys (VPS) could be incorporated into the planning and zoning process.   Councillor Carlone

I did one of these surveys not long ago. It seemed like a useful exercise for things like building heights relative to street width and how retail fits in with residential. That said, I don't know that it would be wise to make this a binding requirement so much as an advisory measure of public support for various options. I hate to think where we'd be if every proposed change was subject to plebiscite.

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the License Commission with the intent of formulating a plan that will provide relief and fair compensation to liquor license holders that have been impacted by dramatic devaluing of their liquor license.   Councillor Toomey

The value of liquor licenses may go the way of taxicab medallions. I have sympathy for someone who sank a lot of money into the purchase of a liquor license from an existing license-holder, but the old phrase "caveat emptor" still applies. Taxpayers should not be asked to bear the lost value of something freely purchased by a willing buyer from a willing seller. Times change. The loss of value of a license in no way reduces the ability to operate a business profitably.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on May 22, 2017 to discuss the creation of a section in the agenda entitled “General Council Discussion;” and dedications to identify a suitable location site to honor the commitment to the City made by City Councillor and State Representative Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. and to identify an appropriate building to dedicate to Richard C. Rossi’s decades of service to Cambridge.

I attended and gave testimony during the first part of this meeting. The topic grew out of a City Council order from Councillor Kelley to carve out a section in the City Council agenda where any councillor could inform his colleagues what he's been working on in a manner that doesn't violate the Open Meeting Law. What interested me is the emergent (and questionable) practice of some councillors holding unpublicized and essentially private meetings leading to policy proposals. There is a better way. Any councillor can give adequate notice and hold a public meeting of an ad-hoc committee (possibly with just one councillor) on any topic. Anyone interested in that topic could then attend and possibly provide useful input.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 23, 2017 to discuss a proposed Municipal Code amendment to Title 8 entitled “Health and Safety” by adding a new Chapter 8.69 entitled “Running Bamboo Ordinance.”

It looks like the City Council may finally be running with the Running Bamboo Ordinance. Now they'll have start thinking about the next thing to be banned. - Robert Winters


Maine Voted for a Better Way to Vote. The Courts Just Shot It Down (May 23, 2017 by Henry Grabar, Slate)
Ranked Choice Voting was approved by Maine voters last year, but the Maine Supreme Court has decided that it violated a very specific requirement in the Maine state constitution. The Massachusetts state constitution does not have that language. - RW

Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):

Short-term housing rentals targeted for taxes and regulations in Massachusetts (May 26, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)

Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School celebrates 10th birthday (May 26, 2017 by Leslie Brunetta)

Cambridge Historical Society announces 2017 program theme (May 26, 2017)

Cambridge Veterans’ Services announces Memorial Day parade and observance (May 23, 2017)

Cambridge city budget spends $3 million on affordable housing (May 23, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

REPORT: Fentanyl continues to fuel overdoses; Cambridge fatalities double in one year (May 22, 2017 by Amy Saltzman and Gerry Tuoti)

Cambridge to address Port flooding with $50M project (May 17, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)

City Council forms committee to build ‘better working relationship’ with schools (May 17, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Developments could force expansion of Cambridge pre-K program (May 16, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Cambridge pilot program to help small business could grow (May 16, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Community Preservation Act Committee to hold public meeting (May 16, 2017)

Cambridge seeking members for Central Square, Harvard Square committees (May 16, 2017)

Sumbul Siddiqui announces City Council candidacy (May 16, 2017)Cambridge Chronicle

Cambridge woman dies after Memorial Drive crash (updated May 17, 2017)

Cambridge launches 2017 Participatory Budgeting cycle (May 14, 2017)

Invention enables Good Samaritans to administer Narcan to overdose victims (May 16, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)

Cambridge, Eversource partner to launch energy pilot (May 10, 2017)

Cambridge looks to coordinate efforts to maximize charitable giving (May 9, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

End of Keezer’s? 122-year-old Cambridge business may close if buyer not found (May 9, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)

Cambridge Water Board questions safety of plastic water pipes (May 8, 2017

Mazen will not seek re-election to Cambridge City Council (May 4, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)

New Inman Square design cuts parking, adds separated bicycle lanes (May 3, 2017 by Emily Cataneo)

Cambridge city councilors dig into budget proposals (May 3, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Vacant Fresh Pond property may be converted into affordable housing (May 2, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Cambridge Police now use Narcan and new drug detection tool (Apr 28, 2017)

Cambridge Police Department promotes officers (Apr 27, 2017)

Cambridge to update surveillance law as technologies advance (Apr 26, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Sivongxay announces run for Cambridge City Council (Apr 26, 2017)

Affordable housing, traffic safety prioritized in Cambridge’s proposed $605M budget (Apr 25, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Cambridge looks to crack down on vacant buildings (Apr 25, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Frayed Community Preservation partnership in danger of collapsing (Apr 10, 2017 by Colin A. Young, State House News Service)

World War I photos bear witness to war’s toll on Cambridge (Apr 7, 2017 by James Sanna)

How Cambridge built its $200M municipal ‘savings account’ (Apr 6, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)

Quinton Zondervan announces candidacy for Cambridge City Council (Apr 6, 2017)

Nonprofit plans to rebuild affordable housing destroyed in Dec. 3 Cambridge fire (updated Apr 12, 2017 by James Sanna)

Federal officials OK key GLX funding (Apr 4, 2017 by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service)

‘Monumental’ step: Cambridge ups affordable housing requirement (Apr 4, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Cambridge City Council votes to urge Trump’s impeachment (Apr 4, 2017 by Adam Sennott)

Massachusetts greenhouse gas emissions down 21 percent compared to 1990 (Apr 3, 2017 by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service)

‘The pyramids were built faster:’ West Cambridge fed up with 5 years of construction (Apr 4, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)

AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksSat, July 1. Blue Hills Skyline Trail, Quincy. 6.5-mile hike rocky terrain with a number of steep hills with views, moderate-rated hike, not for beginners. 10:00am-3:00pm, mainly on Skyline Trail, lunch on Nahanton Hill with great view. Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Meet at Shea Ice Rink, 651 Willard St., Quincy. From SE Expressway Exit 8 in Quincy, go south 0.6 miles on Willard St. Or from I-93/Route 128 Exit 6 in Braintree, go north 0.7 miles. Or for public transit take Bus 238 from Quincy Center T Station. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey. AMC Local WalksSat, July 1. Middlesex Fells, Winchester. Easy walk in open woods. 10:00am-2:00pm. Meet at Wedgmere Station (Lowell line). I-93 to the Mystic Valley Parkway. Rain cancels. L Betsy Goeke.
AMC Local WalksTues, July 4. Worlds End Reservation. Scenic 5-mi. walk, 8:30-11:30am. Bring snack/water. From Rte.3A rotary in Hingham, take Summer St. 0.5mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6.00 per person fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Avoid Rte.228 due to holiday event road closures. Storm cancels. No e-mail after 7/3. L Beth Mosias. AMC Local WalksSun, July 16. Middlesex Fells, Winchester. Sheepfold pkg. lot. Mod to stren. 7 mi. hike over many hills & rough terrain. 9am-2pm. Bring lunch, H2O, snacks. Rte. 93 S to exit 35. At stop sign, go L under highway. At next stop sign go R. At first set of lights turn R onto Rte. 28. Turn R into Sheepfold entrance. Rte. 93 N to exit 33 (Route 28). Sheepfold entrance is 2 miles up on the L. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.

June Programs (and Beyond) at Fresh Pond Reservation

These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.

Fresh Pond Kids’ Walks
Dates: Fridays, 10-11am
Place: Meets at the gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
    Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their parents/caretakers, and play in our urban wild! We might read stories, look out for birds and bugs, and make some crafts. Please come dressed ready for the weather (and in clothes that are OK to get dirty!). Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at
Monday Night Weed-Outs
Dates: Mondays, 5:30-7:30pm
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
    Help us improve the health of our urban wild’s ecosystems by keeping invasive plants at bay! We will be removing noxious weeds such as garlic mustard, bittersweet, and black swallow-wort for the health of our environment. No experience necessary; all equipment provided! Please email to RSVP in case of weather-related cancellation.
Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays between 9:30am and 1pm
    Join other stewardship-minded volunteers in caretaking the native plant restoration area next to Lusitania Meadow, and learn about the diversity of native plant life! We seek dedicated participants who enjoy camaraderie and hard work that includes weeding, pruning, planting, watering new plantings, hauling wood chips and moving logs. Please email if you would like to come, and for more information.
Fresh Pond Stewards: Wake Up and Weed!
Dates: Thursdays, 10am to 12noon
Place: Meets at the volunteer trailer in the front parking lot.
    Join our weed-warrior crew! We are Fresh Pond citizens dedicated to keeping invasive plants at bay for the benefit of wildlife, water and humans alike. No experience or long-term commitment necessary! All tools are provided; sturdy shoes, pants, long-sleeves and a water bottle are strongly recommended. Meets at the volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot.
Volunteer Opportunity: Buckthorn Bonanza
Date: Thursday, June 29th, 8:30-11:30am
Place: Meets at Glacken Field Tot Lot
    Join FORMA Therapeutics of Watertown in a community service program. If you’re looking for some community service hours or would like to take your exercise outdoors, this could be the right project for you. We’ll be removing invasive buckthorn saplings in the woodland behind Glacken Field using weed wrenches and other tools. All tools, gloves, water and instruction provided. We’ll be there working with you. Contact Chief Ranger Jean Rogers to register by Monday, June 26 at 5pm at or 508-562-7605.

Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or for any RSVPs or questions!

Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership in Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation costs only $10 per year ($5 for seniors and students, $15 for families). To join, fill out a membership form available in the Ranger Station information racks, e-mail, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at to download a form.

Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants.

Upcoming Programs

Curious about the construction that's happening on the Reservation across from the Tobin school?
Go here to learn more about the drainage and community garden project.

A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:

Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut:

If you would like to be a guest (or co-host) one of these Tuesdays, let me know. - RW

Episode 237 (June 27, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Paul Toner, City Council candidate
Episode 238 (June 27, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: to be determined
Episode 235 (June 20, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Guest: Sean Tierney, City Council candidate
Episode 236 (June 20, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Adriane Musgrave, City Council candidate
Episode 233 (June 13, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: civic updates, electricity aggregation program, new municipal election candidates, and more
Episode 234 (June 13, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: City Council wrapup, short-term rentals, liquor licenses
Episode 231 - (June 6, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topic: June 5 City Council Roundtable meeting on Envision Cambridge - Alewife
Episode 232 (June 6, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Envision Cambridge Roundtable; Mass. Democratic party platform; short-term rental regulation
Episode 229 (May 23, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: ranked choice voting advocacy in Cambridge and elsewhere in Massachusetts; the role of City Council committees vs. unofficial (and not especially public) working groups
Episode 230 (May 23, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: May 22 City Council meeting, affordable housing in Somerville, short-term rentals and more
Episode 227 (May 16, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials] with Patrick Barrett
Topics: Cambridge politics and the municipal election [audio]
Episode 228 (May 16, 2017, 6:00pm) with Patrick Barrett
Topics: City Council candidates, their political bases, and their viability [audio]
Episode 225 (May 9, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials] with Patrick Barrett
Topics: death of former City Councillor Bob Moncrieff, vacancies on the Central Square and Harvard Square Advisory Committees, Participatory Budgeting, the Outstanding City Employee Awards
Episode 226 (May 9, 2017, 6:00pm) with Patrick Barrett
Topics: Misbehavior of a city councillor at last week's Budget Hearing; this week's Budget Hearings; the AirBnB Question; and the issue of long-term vacant properties and how best to deal with them.
Episode 223 (May 2, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: 2017 municipal election and some recent developments in the field of candidates
Episode 224 (May 2, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: FY2018 Budget Hearings, Ranked Choice Voting in Cambridge and elsewhere
Episode 221 (Apr 25, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: drawn from Apr 24 Cambridge City Council meeting, including the FY2018 Budget and the proposed Surveillance Ordinance
Episode 222 (Apr 25, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Envision Cambridge Working Groups and general concerns about long-term planning
Episode 219 (Apr 18, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Women in Comedy, Cambridge Science Festival, and more
Episode 220 (Apr 18, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Mass. Turnpike Realignment and other infrastructure
Episode 217 (Apr 4, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: national issues & municipal politics; City Council order calling for impeachment of the President, upcoming civic and other opportunities
Episode 218 (Apr 4, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics chosen from the Apr 3 City Council meeting, including discussion of police presence in City Hall and Central Square; updates on municipal election candidates

Stories written by Luis Vasquez for the Cambridge Chronicle

Cambridge Civic/Political Review 2016

Book Release - Building Old Cambridge by Susan E. Maycock and Charles M. Sullivan (published by MIT Press)

A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904

[original PDF]

Here's Something Worth Watching

Robert & Judy on Cambridge InsideOutCambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.

[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos of each]

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 235-236: June 20, 2017 (w/City Council candidates Sean Tierney and Adriane Musgrave)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 233-234: June 13, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 231-232: June 6, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 229-230: May 23, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 227-228: May 16, 2017 (w/Patrick Barrett)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 225-226: May 9, 2017 (w/Patrick Barrett)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 223-224: May 2, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 221-222: Apr 25, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 219-220: Apr 18, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 217-218: Apr 4, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 215-216: Mar 28, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 213-214: Mar 21, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 211-212: Mar 7, 2017

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.

Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2016 featured co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.

MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990

MAPC Study: 435,000 new housing units needed by 2040

A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]

Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.

Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

Benefit for Comedian Jimmy Smith – Thursday, June 29 (posted June 27, 2017)

Here Comes Summer – Featured Attractions for the June 26, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting (posted June 25)

Almost Summer – June 19, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights (posted June 18)

Cambridge Announces Finalist for Police Commissioner: Branville G. Bard (June 16, 2017)

Catching Up on the Cambridge News – June 13, 2017

Coming up at the June 12, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting (June 12, 2017)

Cambridge Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony – 2017 (posted May 29, 2017)

Budget Passage – Notable May 22, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Items (posted May 21, 2017)

Hello Recycling & Composting Neighbors! – May 2017 (May 19, 2016)

City of Cambridge Awards Record $210,000 in Scholarships (May 18, 2017)

Interesting Items on the May 15, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda (updated May 15, 2017)

Sheet of ice draws praise from bicycle advocates (posted Apr 20, 2017 by John Allen)

All the News That’s Printed to Fit – April 1, 2017 (the April Fools edition)

Cambridge Coalition Launches Solar Access Campaign (Mar 14, 2017)

Black ice blindness (Feb 21, 2017 by John Allen)

Cambridge Civic/Political Review 2016 (Dec 28, 2016)

Closing Down an Unusual Year – Dec 19, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda Notes (Dec 19, 2016)

Central Square is a Grandma (Dec 17, 2016)

Participatory Budgeting Results Announced: December 14, 2016!

Speed Limit on Cambridge’s City-Owned Streets Being Reduced to 25 MPH (Dec 4, 2016)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (Dec 1, 2016)

The Municipal Situation in Cambridge (1904) – by Henry N. Wheeler (Nov 6, 2016)

Louis A. DePasquale Selected as Next Cambridge City Manager (Sept 29, 2016)

Floyd Freeman, Nov 7, 1915 – July 11, 2016, neighbor, friend, philosopher (July 16, 2016)

Catching Up on the Cambridge News – April 1, 2016 (April Fools Edition)

Sunday Morning Statistics – Who Voted in the Cambridge Presidential primary (by age) (posted Mar 20, 2016)

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates (last updated Feb 20, 2015 - updated periodically)

Cambridge School Committee 2015 Campaign Finance Summaries (Feb 6, 2016)

A Conversation with Tip O’Neill (1992) on Cambridge Inside Out (Jan 17, 2016)

Who Voted in the 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election? (Dec 6, 2015)

Final Official Election Results – Cambridge 2015 Municipal Election (Nov 13, 2015)

Flashback to March 1998 (Oct 12, 2015)

Who Votes in Cambridge? (July 9, 2015)

April 1 Cambridge News (Apr 1, 2015) - the April Fool's Day edition

Brian Murphy, 1964-2015 (Feb 5, 2015)

Age Distribution of Voters in Cambridge Elections: 2007-2014 (Jan 4, 2015)

MBTA Role in Cambridge Center Project – Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989 (Feb 13, 2014)

The Advent of PR in Cambridge (Nov 10, 2013)

Completing the Square (June 11, 2013)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project: Six Pivotal Episodes (June 8, 2013)

April 1 Cambridge News (Apr 1, 2013) - the April Fool's Day edition

On becoming a True Cantabrigian (Dec 29, 2012)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project, Initial Years, 1963 to 1982 (July 12, 2012)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Area – Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (Apr 5, 2012)

“Cycle track”: a sidewalk by another name (posted Aug 11, 2010, letter of Paul Schimek)

April Fools Day - 2017 (and here)

April Fool's Day - 2016 (and here)     April Fool's Day - 2015 (and here)     April Fool's Day - 2013 (and here)

The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998

Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)

Introduction: Memorandum from the Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 on its Final Recommendations
Full Report (reformatted in HTML) Goals
Public Places to Build Community Public Places elements
Retail, Cultural and Non-Profit Diversity Housing
Connecting People to the Square Foster a Sustainable Future for Central Square
Leverage Future Private and Public Investments Definition of Central Square Districts
Zoning Recommendations Transfer of Development Rights
Transportation Recommendations Location Specific Issues

The Neverending Study of Central Square

Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters

Feb 1980 - CDD report entitled "Central Square - Commercial Area Revitalization District

June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square

Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)

1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)

Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan

1989 - Draft Central Square Development Guidelines

May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"

Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!

Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)

May 1995 - Central Square Improvements Project, Master Plan Report

May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)

May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"

Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study

Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)

Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)

June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)

2009 - CDD Central Square Customer Intercept Survey Report

2011 - Central Square Market Profile

2011 - Red Ribbon Commission Study Report

2012 - Goody/Clancy report and recommendations

2013 - K2C2 Final Reports

K2C2 Final Reports Released

K2C2 areaThe final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.

Community Development Department

Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (K2C2)

Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013

Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013

Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013

Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013

This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.


THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)

FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee

City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)

City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)

City Council Committees (for the current term)

School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)

School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)

June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).

I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:

These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.

One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.

With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.

Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.

It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters

This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.

Selected City of Cambridge References:

Plan E Charter (Cambridge's city charter) Acts of 1921, Chapter 239 as amended (establishment of Cambridge Election Commission)

Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)

Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923

This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.

It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.

Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW

Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
written by Glenn Koocher, November 2004 -- edited by Robert Winters, July 2006
[An alternate edit of this essay will appear, along with many other valuable essays, in a
centennial volume to be published by the Cambridge Historical Society in 2007.

Which People's Republic
written by Bill Cunningham, 1999

Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail for more details.

Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)

Robert Winters
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
Philosophy of the CCJ Editor
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]

Thoughts for these times:
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz

Subscribe to the Cambridge Civic Journal.
Specify in your message whether you wish to receive each new e-mail version or if you wish to be notified when the online versions are available at this web site. Under no circumstances will the subscription list be made available to any third party.

“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (

Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”

Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”

Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”

Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”

Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”

Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"

the known universe

Welcome to the Peoples Republic