Cambridge InsideOut - April 18, 2017
1) Crazy Orange Updates
2) Civic Opportunities
3) Mass Pike Realignment
4) April 3, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
5) April Foolery
6) 2017 Candidates Cambridge Candidate Pages
Shapes of the campaign season to come
7) March 27, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
8) March 20, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
9) Civic Infrastructure
10) Civic Calendar
Continuing Question: How will the turmoil in national politics trickle down to the local level and, in particular, how might it influence the Cambridge municipal election?
Speculation: After over a century of non-partisan Cambridge elections (a major tenet of "The Cambridge Idea" dating back to the late 1800s), there are indications that "Our Revolution", the Bernie Sanders-driven national entity and effectively an emergent political party separate from the Democratic Party, may back candidates in the 2017 Cambridge municipal election.
This committee works to improve conditions for bicyclists in the City of Cambridge and promote bicycling as a means of transportation. Activities include organizing and participating in public events such as biannual community bike rides; reviewing plans for road construction; commenting on proposed development projects; creating promotional materials to encourage bicycling in the city; and working with City departments on network planning. Committee members must be prepared to work on projects outside of standing meeting times. This committee generally meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 5:30-7:30pm at City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway. For more information about the Cambridge Bicycle Program: http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Transportation/bikesincambridge; for questions about the committee: Cara Seiderman, email@example.com, 617-349-4629.
This committee works to promote walking and to help create a more comfortable, safe, and pleasant environment for walking in Cambridge. It advises on the design of roadway projects and policies related to traffic calming, traffic signals, and sidewalk design. It also identifies intersections and other locations where it is difficult to walk, makes suggestions about proposed development projects as they affect people on foot, and undertakes other activities to promote walking. Committee members must be prepared to work on projects outside of standing meeting times. This committee generally meets on the fourth Thursday of each month from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway (November and December meetings are on the third Thursday.) For more information about walking resources in Cambridge: http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Transportation/CitySmart; for questions about the committee: Cara Seiderman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-349-4629.
Transit Advisory Committee
This committee advances an agenda for a robust public transportation system for those who live and/or work in Cambridge. The committee is composed of a cross section of stakeholders, which may include individuals representing businesses and large institutions; commuters; persons with disabilities; residents that are low income, elderly, youth, and students as well as transit advocates. The committee advises on city positions and policies regarding long term sustainable funding for transit by the Commonwealth, transit expansion, service planning, and service improvements. This committee generally meets on the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30 – 7:30pm. If you have questions or require more information, please call Tegin Teich Bennett at 617-349-4615 or email email@example.com. See the committee’s webpage for more information: http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Transportation/forthepublic/transitadvisorycommittee
Applications are sought by dedicated individuals who live or work in Cambridge. Members are expected to attend monthly meetings as well as review materials and engage in projects outside of regular meetings. Appointments are made by the City Manager and are for two years of service.
To apply, please prepare a cover letter indicating that you are interested in the Bicycle, Pedestrian, or Transit Advisory Committee, why you are interested in this topic area, any relevant knowledge and experience you have, and any specific issues you would like to contribute time to working on. Please be sure to include your mailing address, phone number, and email. Send to:
Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager
c/o Patricia Tuccinardi
Community Development Department
344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
Application deadline is Friday, April 21, 2017.
April 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.
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Adventures with Ranger Jean
Dates: Tuesday, April 18th, 9-11:30am and 1:30-4pm; Saturday, April 29th, 1-3:30pm
Place: Meets at Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Go behind the scenes to see what’s involved in maintaining Cambridge’s most heavily visited open space. Join volunteer groups in tasks such as spreading wood chips to help control erosion in heavily used sections of the Reservation, and weeding invasive plants to free up space for native plants to thrive. Please come prepared to be in the woods with close-toed shoes and long pants. Gloves and tools provided! No experience necessary. 14+. Please RSVP to email@example.com in case of location change.
|Seasonal Walkabout at Lusitania Meadow
Date: Friday, April 21st, 10:30 to 11:30am
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
We will monitor wildlife by sign, track, or presence, and make note of weather, state of plants, condition of water and other abiotic resources. On these monthly walks, help chart the seasonal changes of some of our most active wildlife spots, or simply come and enjoy the walk. Come dressed to be outdoors for the hour. Attend one or the series and develop your ability to take in more of the reservation. No dogs please, except for service dogs. Extreme weather cancels. For more info or to RSVP, contact Ranger Jean at (508)-562-7605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Migratory Bird Walk #2
Date: Sunday, April 23, 7:30 to 9:30am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
Part of the thrill of birding is that every bird walk is unique and an opportunity for surprise sightings. We can only guess in advance what we might see and hear. At this time of year many of the birds at Fresh Pond are courting and claiming territories, so we will probably hear plenty of bird song. We welcome beginners, and we will lend you binoculars. Led by Nancy Guppy. Register with Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Pond Life Exploration at Black’s Nook
Date: Sunday, April 23, 10am-noon
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
Discover the amazing diversity of plants and critters that make their home in and around the water at Fresh Pond Reservation! We will observe and record living things such as algae, aquatic plants, and macroinvertebrates, and contribute to our biodiversity inventory. Drop-ins and families welcome!
|Fresh Pond Kids’ Walks
Dates: Fridays, 10 to 11am, except April 21st
Place: Meets at the gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Fresh Pond After-school Kids' Walks
Date: Friday, April 28th , 3:30-4:30pm
Place: Meets at the gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for an after-school romp in our urban wilds! This program is intended for kids of all ages accompanied by their caretakers. Please come dressed for the weather and in clothes that are ok to get dirty. Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Invasive Plants Walkabout @ Fresh Pond with Ted Elliman
Date: Monday, May 8th, 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Meets at front door of Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Curious about the seemingly innocuous plants you’ve observed volunteers removing from the Reservation during the summertime? Or are you suspicious of some strange new visitors popping up in your garden or climbing up your fences? Join Ted Elliman, botanist extraordinaire formerly of the New England Wildflower Society, for an evening walk around the Reservation, in which he will teach how to identify common invasive plants, why these invasive species pose such a danger to native plant and animal communities, and how to manage them for the health of our local ecosystems. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 349-6489.
|Reflecting on Fresh Pond: Art, Prose, and Poetry Share
Date (rescheduled): Saturday, June 10, 2 to 4pm
Place: Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Fresh Pond Reservation means so much to so many of us. Whether your come here to hear the tinkle of ice against the shore, the call of returning birds or the squeal of children sledding in Kingsley Park, you may have been inspired to make a note in a journal, write a poem or song; or take a photo or make a drawing. We are calling people of ALL AGES and CREATIVE CAPACITIES to share your Reflections on Fresh Pond at an open mic. All mediums welcome – paint, print, a note scribbled on a napkin, photography, poems, a child’s drawing or performance of song or dance. Please RSVP to email@example.com with a sentence or two describing your creative work(s). Start the sentence with “I was moved to make (my art) when I experienced (XXX) at Fresh Pond.” And go on from there. Come share your heartfelt experiences with others who are really touched when they walk the Pond and share the wonderment.
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at www.friendsoffreshpond.org to download a form.
Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants. Upcoming Programs
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Mon, Apr 17. Half-Marathon Walk, Minuteman Nat'l Park, Lexington. Brisk 13-mile walk on Battle Road Trail to Fiske Hill in Lexington, then out to Meriam's Corner and beyond in Concord, and back. 9:30am-3:30pm. Bring lunch/water. From Route 95/128, exit 30B in Lexington, take Route 2A W one mi. to Visitor Center lot on R. Rain cancels. L Marc Hurwitz.||Sun, Apr 23. Historic Middlesex Canal, North Billerica. Level 5-mi. walk along historic canal N to Chelmsford, 1:30-4:00pm. Meet at the Middlesex Canal Museum (opens at noon). From Rte. 95/128, take Rte. 3 N to exit 28, Treble Cove Rd., L towards N. Billerica 1.7 mi., L on Rte. 3A/129 0.7 mi., R on Lowell St. 0.7 mi. becomes Faulkner St., cross river at Faulkner Mills, R into pkg. lot opp. Joint w/Middlesex Canal Assoc. Info: www.middlesexcanal.org. L Robert Winters, Marlies Henderson.|
|Sun, Apr 23. Acton Arboretum, Acton. Slow-paced nature walk in search of a variety of early spring wild flowers and other signs of spring. The walk will focus on plant ID and natural history. 9:00am-12:00pm. From Concord rotary, take Rte. 2 West 2.2 miles, Right on Taylor Road 0.7 miles to Arboretum on right. The Acton Arboretum is opposite #7 Taylor Rd. Arrive early, parking limited. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.||Sun, Apr 23. Snake Hills, Groton. 1:00pm start. Snake Hills, Groton. We will traverse a large protected area that includes wetlands, upland forest, some hills, a rare true bog, and a surprise in the woods. Meet at the end of Indian Hill Rd (42.5850N 71.5539W). L Olin Lathrop.|
|Sun, Apr 23. Breakheart Reservation, Saugus. Mod.-strenuous approx. 5-mi. hike, hills/rough terrain, 9:00am-2:00pm. Bring snacks/lunch/water. Meet at Northeast Metro School. From 95/128 exit 39 (Wakefield ), take North Ave. E 2.5mi. (becomes Nahant St.), R on Farm St., L on Hemlock St. to end. Cancels if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.||Sun, Apr 30. Emerald Necklace, Boston. Enjoy our historical heritage, appreciate the wonder which is the Back Bay and learn more about Frederick Olmsted. We will walk about 6 miles at a moderate pace with stops to enjoy major sights but we should be done by 1:00pm. We will meet at the Arlington T stop, in front of Hermes at the corner of Boylston and Arlington at 10:00am. From the Commonwealth Mall to Park Drive to the Muddy River to Jamaica Pond and on to the Arboretum. Most of the Necklace will be covered. End at Forest Hills T on the Orange Line. We will cross 2 or 3 roads but otherwise be off the roads. L Eveline Weyl.|
|Wed, May 3. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 5 mile walk, 10:30am-1:30pm. Bring snack/water. From Rte. 3 exit 14, take Rte. 228N 6.5 mi., L on Rte. 3A 1.0mi. to rotary, R on Summer St. 0.5 mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6.00 parking fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sun, May 7. Hale Reservation, Westwood. Easy walk, mostly woods, across a dam & thru a meadow, 1:00-3:00pm. From Rte. 95/128 exit 16B, take Rte. 109 W 1.2 mi., R on Dover Rd. 0.3 mi., R on Carby St. 0.6 mi. to Cat Rock pkg. lot. Rain cancels. L Jean Veigas.|
|Sat, May 13. Arlington's Great Meadows, Lexington. Slow-paced nature walk in search of a variety of spring wild flowers and other cool plants. The walk will focus on plant ID and natural history. 9:00am-12:00pm. Meet at the Playground behind and to the right of The Waldorf School, 739 Mass Ave, Lexington. Please park along Mass Ave in Lexington in the vicinity of the Waldorf School (739 Mass. Ave.). After you park, walk down the driveway on the right side of The Waldorf School to the playing fields and turn right. We will meet off to the side of the playground and basketball court. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.|
|Sun, May 14. Blue Hills, Ponkapoag Pond. 4 mi. mod.-paced hike, 10:30am-1:30pm. Bring lunch+water. I-93/Rte. 128 exit 2A to Rte. 138S for 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course pkg lot on L. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sun, May 14. Lynn Woods, Lynn. Leader's Choice. 9am-1pm. Bring lunch/H2O/snacks. From Rte. 95/128 take Walnut St. exit, 4mi. From Rte.1, take Walnut St. exit, 2mi. Make L on Pennybrook Rd. to Western Gate pkg. lot. L Nelson Caraballo.|
Springing into April - Agenda items from the April 3, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
The BIG ITEM at this meeting is the ordination of the amendments to the City's Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. Then there's also the call for impeachment of the President. Here are some nuggets that caught my attention:
Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $5,250,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account to facilitate the complete renovation of the building located at 859 Massachusetts Avenue.
I'm glad that this building is being rehabilitated for this purpose, but I am astonished at the size of the appropriation - apparently just for this one residential building. Is this what the costs are "to meet the requirements of the City’s Net Zero standards"?
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $2,875,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Public Works Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($1,940,000) and to the Public Works Public Investment Fund ($935,000) to cover winter 2016-2017 snowstorm expenses associated with snow plowing contracts, salt, other material, repair costs and equipment.
I would like to request that the contract not be renewed for whoever was responsible for using the front of my and my neighbors' houses as a snow storage area for snow moved there from elsewhere. My only other complaint is that apparently the City's snow clearance guidelines no longer include plowing all the way to the curb on snow emergency routes even for relatively modest snow events. This led to cars being parked 3-5 feet from the curb on some of these streets. The result is a significantly narrowed roadway that is less safe for everyone. I could understand this being the case in an especially harsh winter (like two years ago) where there's just no place else to put the snow, but this should not have been the case for this relatively mild winter.
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Betsy Allen as the new Director of Equity and Inclusion (formerly known as Director of Affirmative Action) for the City of Cambridge, effective Apr 10, 2017.
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Vision Zero Advisory Committee, effective Apr 3, 2017 for a term of two years: Nicholas Dard, Anne Kreider, Jennifer Quick, Peter Kuhlmann, Stephen Varrichio, Becca Wolfson, Nathanael Fillmore, Stacy Thompson, Richard Fries, Wendy Landman, Amy Flax, Sean Peirce, Jim Gascoigne, Michael Muehe, Diane Gray, Todd Robinson, Michele Trifiro and Steve Crossley
I hope this newly appointed advisory committee will focus on actual safety rather than recommending disruptive changes to roadways that are more political than practical and which primarily serve to marginalize cyclists (literally).
Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt with suggested modifications, the Zoning Petition to Amend Section 8.23 - Reconstruction of Nonconforming Structure or Use Following Fire, Explosion or Other Catastrophe.
Committee Report #3. 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 Mar 29, 2017 to discuss a proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment to strikeout Section 8.23 entitled “Non-conformity” and substitute in place thereof a new Section 8.23.
The modifications suggested by the Planning Board are sensible. The City Council may also wish to consider time extensions beyond the allowed time frame via special permit in case of extraordinary circumstances.
Update: The petition was amended by substitution using language recommended by the Planning Board, then passed to a 2nd Reading.
Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to amendments to Title 6 of the Municipal Code entitled "Animals" to include a new Chapter 6.20 entitled "Restrictions on the Sale of Animals in Pet Shops".
Very well, but where will you purchase mice and other live food for your pet snake or other animal?
Update: These amendments were referred to the Ordinance Committee.
Unfinished Business #7. An amendment to the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge in Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions in Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text to Sections 11.200 through 11.206. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Apr 3, 2017. Planning board hearing held Dec 20, 2016. Petition expires Apr 4, 2017.
This should be all set based on the language that was passed to a 2nd Reading on March 20, and the vote will likely be unanimous unless there are some problematic last-minute amendments. It remains to be seen whether the 20% affordable mandate will be viable in the long term or if it only serves to exacerbate the gap between high income and low income residents. My greatest concern is that the current policies will eventually lead to a future where only very high income people can buy or rent unrestricted housing units and the only option for everyone else will be to file an application with a City housing agency to obtain housing.
Update: Ordained 9-0, as expected.
Order #2. That the City Council call upon the United States House of Representatives to support a resolution authorizing and directing the House Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, including but not limited to the violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause and the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Cheung
This will certainly bring the TV crews out. [ABCNews story] City Council Orders don't generally get titles, but perhaps this one could be called "An Order Calling for Hard Right Conservative VP Mike Pence to Assume the Presidency". Be careful what you wish for. I received an email appeal recently about this Order with the subject heading "Support Bold Action by the City Council". It would perhaps better be characterized as a symbolic action meant to achieve nothing more than the attention of ill-intentioned Congressmen, Senators, and the Executive Branch. What exactly that achieves is yet to be determined.
Update: This purely symbolic order passed on a 7-1-1 vote with Councillor Maher voting NO and Councillor Toomey voting PRESENT. The real question is which councillor gets the most quotes in the local press and the most face time on national TV.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Feb 15, 2017 to discuss next steps on bike and transit safety in Cambridge.
Suffice to say that I am very concerned that for purely political reasons some Cambridge streets may soon look like a forest constructed of upright PVC pipe, marginalized cyclists, dangerously narrowed roadways, loss of parking in places where it's needed, and no net additional safety. I am often reminded of the fact that "skyways", i.e. elevated highways, were one touted as the be-all-end-all solution to traffic problems. Decades later many of these misguided visions are being dismantled as the wrong solution. - Robert Winters
End of the March - Interesting Items on the March 27, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Here's my take on this week's agenda:
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Harvard Square Kiosk Working Group, effective Mar 27, 2017: Abra Berkowitz, Robyn Culbertson, Ankita Deshpande, Timothy Hyde, Janet Si-Ming Lee, Sarah Rosenkrantz, Daniel Andrew Schofield-Bodt, Kenneth Taylor, John DiGiovanni, Bertil JeanChronberg, Frank Kramer, Peter Kroon, Sohail Nasir, Abhishek Syal, Thomas Lucey and Mary Flynn
This is shaping up like a classic turf war and I hope these appointees can get beyond that. Personally, I would just like to see an active use for the Kiosk that's not all about the tourists - a place where the locals want to gather. My ideal would be something like Sullivan's at Castle Island in South Boston, but I don't suppose the Old Cambridge crowd could ever tolerate that much humanity.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the requirements of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) that the City Council adopt an order for the Statement of Interest Form to be submitted to MSBA no later than Apr 7, 2017 for the Tobin and Vassal Lane Upper School located at 197 Vassal Lane.
The Putnam Avenue School is done and the King Open and Cambridge Street Upper Schools are now under construction. This Statement of Interest concerns the next major renovation or replacement - the Tobin and Vassal Lane Upper School. Let's hope there's some state grant money available to help pay for the project.
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a proposed ordinance related to the growth and maintenance of “Running Bamboo”.
Alternatively, we could import pandas. City officials are just so resistant to creative solutions.
Manager's Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 16-64 and 17-9, regarding trash and recycling pick up for small businesses.
"DPW is proposing to expand the municipal recycling pick-up program on a trial basis to small businesses beginning in the spring/summer of 2018. It is proposed that this program will be made available to all small businesses throughout the City on a once per week basis, and will help reduce the cost to businesses in eliminating the need for them to contract with outside vendors as well as enabling the City to further increase the quantity of material diverted from the waste stream in the City. Funds are included in the FY18 budget to initiate the program."
Manager's Agenda #14. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $1,000,000 from the Water Fund Other Ordinary Maintenance account to the Public Investment Fund Water Extraordinary Expenditures account to fund the replacement of water meters and meter transmitter units (MTUs).
Contained in the message is the following piece of good news: "In October 2016, the Council approved an appropriation to use $3.6 million from the Water Fund’s Fund Balance to purchase water from the MWRA to ensure an adequate supply of water to meet the needs of the community. The severity of the drought has lessened and the usable capacity in our reservoir system has stabilized. The City has not had to use MWRA water since the beginning of December and has only expended $1.6 million."
Manager's Agenda #15. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to recommendations for the block rates for water consumption and sewer use for the period beginning Apr 1, 2017 and ending Mar 31, 2018.
According to the Manager's report, the average triple-decker uses about 122 CCF of water per year. My triple-decker apparently uses nearly twice that and we're generally pretty conscientious about water use. This past year I paid over $2850 and the report says the average for a triple-decker was $1590. Either something is amiss with the plumbing or the Manager's figures or my water meter is reading a lot higher than it should. Actually, I just checked my records and it appears that the higher readings coincide with when the new meter was installed. Time to call the Water Department, I guess.
Order #1. City Council go on record urging the Governor to resist reducing funding for The Ride. Mayor Simmons
It's stunning just how backwards things are in this state and, in particular, the Boston Metropolitan Area when it comes to public transportation. I don't doubt that there are some efficiencies to be had with The Ride and other services, but this hardly seems the place to close a budget gap.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Acting Police Commissioner with a view toward piloting a Cambridge Police outpost located in Carl Barron Plaza, to be ready for operation by Summer 2017. Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern
What should really happen is for the City and the MBTA and a Central Square property owner to create a multi-function site that can house a police substation, an MBTA facility for bus drivers and other personnel, an information center, a public bathroom, and maybe even a newsstand. That, of course, would take coordination, so I won't hold my breath.
Order #6. That the City of Cambridge opposes H.R. 482 and S. 103, and calls on its representatives in the House and Senate to vote against these bills, and to exert influence on other representatives to oppose these bills and support the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in all efforts to affirmatively further fair housing and collect data to assess the progress of fair housing initiatives and inclusiveness of its communities. Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons
In addition to the many positive effects of the Fair Housing Act, there is also the unintended consequence that efforts to more equitably locate some social-service types of housing throughout the city have actually been hindered by this Act. There is no legal way to prevent the over-concentration of such facilities in a place like Central Square.
Order #7. That the City Council agenda be altered to create a section in the agenda between public comment and the City Manager’s agenda entitled “General Council Discussion,” where Councillors would be able to bring their colleagues up-to-date on projects in which they are engaged or ask for updates about projects that other Councillors are working on, even if these issues do not appear on the Council’s agenda or have never been the subject of formal City Council attention. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux
In an ideal world, city councillors would actually be working on such projects collaboratively and in accordance with the Open Meeting Law via the various City Council subcommittees. If this were the case there would be no need to set aside a special time at City Council meetings to reveal what they've been doing out of public view.
Committee Report #1. 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 Mar 16, 2017 to discuss a zoning petition filed by Richard Harding, et al., to amend the Mass + Main Residential sub district and the Central Square Overlay District by amending Sections 20.307.8.1 (a) and (b) and 20.307.6.2 (a).
Even if someone has lingering objections to the Mass+Main project, this is an absurd way to go about expressing those objections long after that train left the station. - Robert Winters
Possible 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|
|Nadeem Mazen||9/20/1983||34||720 Mass. Ave. #4, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Jan Devereux||5/13/1959||58||255 Lakeview Ave., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2015|
|Dennis Benzan||1/25/1972||45||1 Pine St., 02139||served 2014-15, likely to seek reelection|
|Paul Toner||4/28/1966||51||24 Newman St., 02140||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Quinton Zondervan||9/15/1970||47||235 Cardinal Madeiros Ave., 02141||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Alanna Marie Mallon||12/6/1970||46||3 Maple Ave., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|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||not announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Sean Tierney||3/10/1985||32||12 Prince St. #6, 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Sam Gebru||11/20/1991||25||812 Memorial Dr., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Olivia D'Ambrosio||9/13/1983||34||270 3rd Street #305, 02142||not announced, registered with OCPF|
|Nathan Taylor Thompson||10/12/1985||32||31 Tremont Street $#3, 02139||not announced, registered with OCPF|
|Sumbul Siddiqui||2/10/1988||29||530 Windsor Street, 02141||not announced, registered with OCPF|
|Nadya Teresa Okamoto||2/11/1998||19||Canaday Hall B44, 22 Harvard Yard, 02138||not announced, registered with OCPF|
|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|
|Ilan Levy||11/1/1967||50||148 Spring St. 02141||ran in 2015, seems to be planning to do it again|
|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,
speculation he may run for City Council
|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|
|Will MacArthur||5/24/1998||19||18 Shea Rd., 02140||definitely running for School Committee|
|Fran Albin Cronin||2/14/1952||65||1 Kimball Ln., 02140||planning to seek reelection|
|Jake Crutchfield||3/31/1987||30||281 River St. #1, 01239||speculation that he may run again|
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 Apr 17)|
|Thompson, N. Taylor||1-Mar-17||15-Apr-17||0.00||5.00||156.25||(151.25)||17-Apr-17|
|Campaign Contributions (2017) - Total Receipts and Cambridge Receipts|
|Candidate||ID||Total Receipts||Cambridge Receipts||Percent Cambridge|
|Thompson, N. Taylor||16578||$5.00||$0.00||0%|
Springtime in Cambridge: Featured Mar 20, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Items
Here's a sampler of items of potential interest at the March 20 Cambridge City Council meeting. Happy spring! (It'll be warm again before you know it.)
On the Table #5. That the City Manager is requested to establish the requirement that all appointments to the City's commissions, advisory committees, and task forces reflect the City's diversity and that the Civic Unity Committee is asked to sign off on all such appointments going forward. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Order #8 of Feb 27, 2017. Tabled on a motion by Councillor Cheung on a voice vote of 8 members on Mar 6, 2017.]
Perhaps they'll settle this on Monday. As I've stated before, the goal is laudable but you cannot give veto power over City Manager appointments to a committee.
Applications & Petitions #1. A zoning petition has been received from the Friends of Observatory Hill Village, to establish the Observatory Hill Village Overlay District. (1000+ additional signatures for this zoning petition are on file in the City Clerk's Office.)
The language of the petition seems reasonable enough, but I'm always curious about what recent activities in an area lead to the decision to submit a petition for a change in the zoning. Are back yards being built over? Are new buildings being built that bear no relationship to the existing buildings. Just curious.
Applications & Petitions #3. A zoning petition has been received from Latoyea Hawkins Cockrill, et a., to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge to regulate short-term rental uses throughout the City.
Committee Report #3. 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 Mar 1, 2017 to draft language for short-term rental regulations to be forwarded to the Ordinance Committee.
These two have to be discussed together, and I wouldn't be surprised if this petition and the soon-to-be City Council petition on the same topic are processed concurrently. There has been some discussion on the neighborhood listservs that the Cockrill Petition is really being submitted by AirBnB to counter the proposal coming out of the City Council that would normalize short-term rentals but restrict it to owner-occupied properties. I expect there will be a lot of public comment on this one.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments on the feasibility of installing a hitting tunnel at Danehy Park for youth and high school sports. Councillor Toomey
I've been badgering Kendall Square developers for years about putting a miniature golf course there. A batting cage would also be nice. Show us how Innovative you really are.
Committee Report #1. 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 Feb 14, 2017 to discuss the Retail Strategic Plan and similar issues related to the retail environment in Cambridge.
This report seems short on specifics, but apparently the process leading to a Retail Strategic Plan for Cambridge business districts still has a way to go. In any case, it's not always the City plans that govern the eventual outcomes. There are many hands stirring these pots and zoning alone cannot predetermine outcomes.
Committee Report #5. 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 Feb 28, 2017 to conduct an additional hearing to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend provisions of the Zoning Ordinance as it related to Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions in Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text to Sections 11.200 through 11.206.
This is the meatiest item on the agenda. It is presumed that the petition will be passed to a 2nd Reading with the 20% net inclusionary housing mandate and other changes. The sticky point is whether the Council wants to jettison legal reasoning and retroactively impose the same requirements on Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) that have already received Special Permits. It may be politically popular to impose requirements that are certain to be challenged and likely to be invalidated by the courts but, hey, enjoy your Revolution. Then educate yourselves about long-term planning and financing of large-scale developments. - Robert Winters
Civic Infrastructure (from Dec 1, 2015)
Civic landscape today dominated by single-issue advocacy and neighborhood groups that often do not represent their neighborhoods. Common pattern is that some dominant characters eventually drive out other participants rendering the group a narrow agenda-driven entity. Some groups (PSNA, Agassiz-Baldwin) generally have a better focus such as (a) children (Agassiz), or (b) cooperation with the local business community (PSNA).
Groups like the Cambridge Residents Alliance are dominated by zoning and, arguably, efforts to slow or stop new development - residential or commercial/office/lab. The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance is of this type (in addition to serving as a launching point for a City Council candidacy).
For the Cambridge Schools there are also advocacy groups (Special Ed and others), but not necessarily a general forum for broader discussion.
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:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 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.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
- Possible additions:
6. To foster an environment of mutual cooperation between local business districts and the neighborhoods they serve.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization.
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.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge - by David Goode
7:00pm Planning Board meeting (2nd Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)
1. Update from the Community Development Department
2. Adoption of Planning Board meeting transcripts
7:00pm City Council zoning petition, to amend the Zoning Ordinance Section 20.50 Harvard Square Overlay District by creating a new section 20.54.7 exempting rooftops from Floor Area by Planning Board Special Permit to read as follows:
20.54.7 Exempting rooftop spaces from FAR
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Ordinance, the Gross Floor Area of open-air spaces on the roofs of buildings, such as roof gardens, terraces, walkways, including open and enclosed egresses, covered staircase head houses, or observation spaces shall be exempted from Gross Floor Area and FAR limitations upon the granting of a special permit by the Planning Board in the Business B district of this overlay. In granting the special permit, the Planning Board may place further requirements on the design or operational aspects of spaced exempted pursuant to this paragraph, including hours of operation, range of activities permitted, signage, sound mitigation, lighting, or other measures to ensure that the use of the space is consistent with the intent of the section.
3. PB#303 MIT SoMa Building 5, 310-336 Main Street, Design Review
4. Board of Zoning Appeal Cases
a. BZA 012619 – 2017 – 263 Monsignor O’Brien Highway, Special Permit for a hotel use in SD-1, containing 120 guest rooms and accessory parking.
3:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a zoning petition by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance by creating a new Section 11.900 Maintenance and Security of Vacant or Abandoned Buildings. The proposed zoning would require that any building that is deemed to be vacant or abandoned for longer than 90 days shall be registered with the Inspectional Services Department, shall be secured and maintained so that it does not exhibit any evidence of vacancy, and shall pay an annual registration fee. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm Cambridge Election Commission meeting (1st Floor Meeting Room, 51 Inman St.)
1. Executive Director’s Report
2. Assistant Director's Report
3. Commissioners' Reports
III. PUBLIC COMMENT
IV. ACTION AGENDA
1. 2017 Annual City Census
1. Municipal Election, November 7th
2. Annual Organization of the Board Members
5:30pm City Council meeting - and Budget Overview (Sullivan Chamber)
3:00pm The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Needs Assessment Report. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
1:30pm The City Council's Transportation and Public Utilities Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the possibility of the City subsidizing the $30 unlimited monthly MBTA passes for low income CRLS students who participate in extracurricular activities. (Sophie Anastos Room)
3:00pm The City Council's Health and Environment Committee will conduct a public hearing to receive an update on the City’s urban forestry programs, tree inventory and maintenance, planting programs, the role of the Committee on Public Planting, the impacts of the drought on the urban forest, and any other matters related to trees. (Sullivan Chamber)
10:00am The City Council will continue its Goal Setting Session at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 40 Edwin Land Boulevard, Cambridge. This session is open to the public.
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
9:00am The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the FY2018 City Budget. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
3:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a zoning petition from Mark Lechmere, LLC, Owner and Amadan Management, LLC, Manager, of the property at 207 and 227 Cambridge Street to amend the existing zoning at that location to authorize the construction of a 45 unit residential building with small scale retail on the ground floor and parking below grade. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
6:00pm The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the FY2018 School Department Budget. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
9:00am The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the FY2018 City Budget. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
9:00am The City Council's Finance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the FY2018 City Budget (if necessary). This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
4:00pm 2017 Scholarship Award Ceremony (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
3:30pm The City Council's Housing Committee will meet for an undisclosed purpose. (Sullivan Chamber)
3:30pm The City Council's Economic Development and University Relations Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss updates and data collected thus far for the Retail Strategic Plan, and other matters pertaining to the Study. (Sullivan Chamber)
6:00-8:00pm Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee meeting (4th Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)
3:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a zoning petition from the Friends of Observatory Hill Village, to establish the Observatory Hill Village Overlay District. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council meeting - and Budget Adoption (Sullivan Chamber)
3:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing 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.” (Sullivan Chamber)
3:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the zoning petition filed by Latoyea Hawkins Cockrill, et al. to regulate short-term rental uses throughout the City. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing 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. (Sullivan Chamber)
3:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on an undisclosed topic. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council Roundtable/Working Meeting to discuss Envision Cambridge citywide, including the Alewife planning. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
3:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in Title 6 entitled ”Animals” to insert a new Chapter 6.20 entitled “Restrictions on the sale of Animals in Pet Shops.” (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council Roundtable meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Roundtable/Working Meeting to discuss Envision Cambridge citywide, including the Alewife planning. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised.
5:00pm Special Presentation - A Celebration of Cambridge Volunteers (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm Special (Midsummer) City Council meeting (Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway)