Cambridge InsideOut - February 7, 2017
1) Crazy Orange Updates
2) Civic Opportunities
3) Feb 6 City Council meeting
4) Feb 1 State of the City address
5) Jan 30 City Council meeting
6) Jan 23 City Council meeting
7) Cambridge Chronicle News Stories
8) 2017 Candidates
9) Civic Infrastructure
10) Civic Calendar
Surge in young women planning to run for office (CS Monitor, Feb 2, 2017)
The City of Cambridge is currently recruiting applicants to take the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Competitive Examination for Police Officers on March 25. Learn more at an informational open house for Cambridge residents Monday, February 6, 2017, from 6-7:30pm, at Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility, 125 Sixth St., Cambridge. To apply go online to www.mass.gov/civilservice or call 617-878-9895. Also visit http://CambridgeMA.Gov/CPD.
Jan 13, 2017 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women. Commissioners support staff in their mission to create and promote programs that increase public awareness and understanding of multiple issues affecting women and girls, particularly marginalized women and girls, within the city; advocate to improve the quality of women’s and girls’ lives; and build coalitions and partner with community organizations on these issues.
The Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women meets the second Wednesday of every month, from 6:30-8 p.m., at 51 Inman St., Cambridge, in the Women's Commission Conference Room, 2nd floor.
For more information, contact Kimberly Sansoucy, Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women, at 617-349-4695 or email@example.com. Letters of interest, including resume and/or applicable experience, can be sent via mail or e-mail by Friday, February 17, 2017 to:
Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Jan 23, 2017 – The City of Cambridge is pleased to announce that it intends to offer Cambridge residents the chance to invest directly in Cambridge infrastructure by purchasing minibonds. Minibonds enable residents to earn tax-exempt interest and invest for the future while supporting the Cambridge capital budget.
A minibond is similar to a traditional municipal bond in which investors loan money to a city or public agency for an agreed period of time, receive interest on the investment, and get their loan paid back when the bond matures. The City will use minibond proceeds to support capital projects such as school building renovations, municipal facility upgrades, and implementation of the Complete Streets plan.
All municipal bonds previously sold by the City were sold in denominations of $5,000 or more. Minibonds are different because residents can purchase them for as little as $1,000, making them more accessible than traditional municipal bonds for potential investors.
The City is working with Neighborly Securities* to issue the minibonds. Neighborly is not affiliated with the City of Cambridge in any way, other than as the broker-dealer for this sale of minibonds.
The City expects to sell up to $2 million of minibonds in its first minibond sale, which will take place from February 17-23, 2017. Each Cambridge resident may purchase up to 20 minibonds for a total possible investment of $20,000 (20 x $1,000/minibond). The interest rate on the 2017 minibonds will be determined on February 17, 2017 and interest will be paid semiannually. Principal on the 2017 minibonds will be paid in five years in 2022.
Minibonds will only be offered to investors following release of a Preliminary Official Statement of the City that will describe the terms of the minibonds and provide other financial information concerning the City. The City expects to issue a Preliminary Official Statement by February 13, 2017.
Residents who are interested in buying Cambridge minibonds will need to create an account through Neighborly.com before the order period ends or purchase minibonds through their own broker. Once a minibond order is submitted through Neighborly, Neighborly’s investment team reviews it for approval and allocation. If the order is approved, minibonds will then be allotted and filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Neighborly representatives will be at Cambridge City Hall on Wednesday, February 15 from 6-8pm and Tuesday, February 21 from 6-8pm to provide assistance and discuss the minibond process.
*Minibonds will only be ordered through Neighborly Securities, member FINRA, SIPC & registered with MSRB, pursuant to a preliminary and final official statement to be made available during the ordering period. This information does not constitute an order to sell or the solicitation of an order to buy any securities. You will be responsible for making your own independent investigation and appraisal of the risks, benefits, and suitability of any securities to be ordered and neither the City of Cambridge nor Neighborly Securities is making any recommendation or giving any investment advice.
Jan 13, 2017 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking volunteers to serve on the new City Manager’s Advisory Committee. Community input is a vital component of the decision making process in Cambridge and the City strives to engage and involve all stakeholders. In an effort to foster community collaboration and deepen the understanding of community issues, the City Manager is forming this new advisory Committee.
The City Manager’s Advisory Committee will consist of 12-15 residents and stakeholders who will meet at least quarterly to discuss issues happening in the city, develop working relationships, work with organizations, bring different opinions to the table, and work to resolve problems in advance.
Selection of individuals to serve on the City Manager’s Advisory Committee will be based on their ability to represent the diversity of the Cambridge community. The final group of committed participants selected will be broadly representative of many backgrounds including: small/local business community, large business community, non-profit community, neighborhood associations, higher education, arts community, primary/secondary education, public health and human services, housing advocacy, faith community, new immigrant/under represented communities, youth community, senior community, LGBTQ+ community, and mobility community (bike/transit/pedestrian).
Applicants should be Cambridge residents or individuals with a strong connection with the City.
For more information, contact Lee Gianetti, Director of Communication and Community Relations, at 617-349-3317 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters of interest, including resume and/or applicable experience, can be sent via email or mail by the deadline of Friday, February 17, 2017 to:
City Manager Louis A. DePasquale
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
On tap at the February 6, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
Here are some items of possible interest this Monday. Budget Season is on the horizon. More importantly, pitchers and catchers report February 13 and position players on February 16. Even more importantly, wasn't that come-from-behind Patriots victory in the Super Bowl just spectacular?
Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of of $3,709,949 in funds from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) Grant to the Public Works Public Investment Fund Extraordinary Expenditures account for the Alewife Sewer Separation Program.
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Department of Public Works to set and meet a firm 2017 deadline for fully completing all remaining parts of the Huron A, Huron B, and Concord Avenue contracts, provide a full accounting of all costs (to-date and future) compared to the original contracts and budgets and schedule a community meeting as soon as possible to update the public on the schedule and budget for completing the project, as well as a complete list of all remaining punch list items for each of the contract areas. Councillor Devereux
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $2,300,000 to provide funds for the design, drainage, and installation of new field surfaces at Russell Field and the Graham and Parks School.
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $1,100,000 to provide funds for the construction of sewer separation, storm water management, and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the Cambridgeport Neighborhood.
Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $1,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.
Call me an infrastructure geek, but I just love this kind of stuff - how all the systems of a city run from water supply to sewerage to electric service and everything else that goes on unseen and underappreciated (until something goes wrong).
Charter Right #8 (Order #3 of Jan 23, 2017). That the City Manager is requested to hire an independent consultant who shall assess the efficiency and effectiveness of how all City Departments conduct their work, who will begin implementing whatever necessary adjustments are deemed to be necessary, and who will report back to the City Manager and the City Council on his or her progress in regular monthly intervals. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Jan 23, 2017. Placed On Table on motion of Mayor Simmons on Jan 30, 2017.]
My understanding is that better language was being worked out and this item should be voted on Monday. Most importantly, any consultant hired by the City should advise the City Manager, but it's still entirely the Manager's decision how to structure City departments. As I mentioned last week, this may also be a good time to look at the structure of all the City's volunteer Boards and Commissions, and maybe the City Council should also give some thought toward how its subcommittees function (or not function).
Unfinished Business #10. A proposed amendment to the Ordinance entitled "Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge" to insert in Article 11.00 a new Section 11.800 Medical Marijuana. [The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Feb 6, 2017. Planning Board hearings were held Nov 1, 2016 and Jan 3, 2017. Petition expires Feb 7, 2017.]
The deadline is here, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to work with the relevant City staff to make available the City’s GIS system data regarding the total number of parking spaces designated as resident-permit only by street address, the total number of residential off-street parking spaces by street address, and the total number of cars registered in Cambridge by street address. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen
Councillors Devereux and Mazen are gathering data to make the case for removing parking on several major streets, including Broadway, Cambridge St., Hampshire St., and Mass. Ave. in order to remove bicycles from the roadway. They have apparently neglected to inquire about parking for schools, City buildings, churches, day care facilities, funeral homes, and all businesses. They also neglected to inquire about parking needs by times of day. I'm sure it was just an oversight. And pigs can fly. - Robert Winters
Mayor E. Denise Simmons and City Manager Louis DePasquale will deliver a joint State of the City address in the Sullivan Chamber of City Hall on Wednesday, February 1 at 6:00pm. The address will reflect upon the work of the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, and the City Manager’s Administration over the past year, as well as the anticipated issues this community shall face over the next 12 months.
Now Featuring.... Coming Attractions at the Jan 30, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
With Groundhog Day fast approaching, and in recognition of a really great movie, perhaps the City Council will find the wisdom (and the kindness toward the City Clerk) to dispense with On The Table Items #3, #4, #5, #7, and #8. I mean, seriously, the Nutcracker performances are over for 2016, so why is the matter of banners promoting the Boston Ballet's Nutcracker still on the agenda every week? This will take all of one minute to dispense with these zombies and allow the City Council move on to bigger and better things (as well as the usual lot of smaller and poorer things). Here are a few agenda items that seem either interesting, controversial, or just plain ridiculous:
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an update on the Bicycle Safety Work Plan.
One conclusion that I draw from this report is that this plan is basically non-negotiable. On-street parking will soon be removed on major streets and any claims of "evaluation" are fiction. Politicians will henceforth be in charge of traffic engineering. Those who believe that bicycles belong on the sidewalk and not in the streets are now calling all the shots. Those of us who choose to ride in the street are now squeezed into narrower lanes and greater danger. I have yet to meet an MBTA bus driver who has anything good to say about Cambridge's plans. I only wish City officials would drop the pretense of calling these "temporary measures" while at the same time making them permanent as was recently done in the Special Permit conditions imposed on the Mass and Main development in Lafayette Square.
Manager's Agenda #8. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the comprehensive Needs Assessment Report relative to the Community Benefits Ordinance.
This has been long in coming. There is a need for a more rational process in determining how money derived from new developments will be distributed for projects and institutions for the public good. I still have some concerns about "mitigation as shakedown" and the possibility that not-so-great projects will be permitted to go forward as long as the developers sufficiently "sweeten the pot" with additional contributions. I would rather see good projects regardless of the mitigation.
Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the results of the biannual City of Cambridge Citizen Telephone Survey for 2016.
I have taught statistics courses, but I get no pleasure in reading statistical reports like these. All you really need to know is in the City Manager's cover letter. "Overall opinions of the City remain very positive. Citizens’ extreme satisfaction with overall performance of City government in Cambridge ... is a reflection on responsible, forward-thinking policies, and a capable and extremely dedicated workforce." "Affordable housing/housing was again identified as the ‘single most important issue facing the City of Cambridge today’." Enough said.
Manager's Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-110, regarding the Central Square Restoration Zoning Petition.
Most of this is old news, but it's good to have it summarized in this report. There is an important legal opinion from City Solicitor Nancy Glowa on the legality of the proposed Formula Business regulations in the petition. The rest of the petition is pretty solid and received accolades from the Planning Board, but we may have to live for now without the proposed change from the current Fast Food Cap to the more desirable Formula Business regulations. Then again, maybe we'll see some revised language at the Feb 2 hearing on the matter. In any case, the core provisions of this petition should pass - and soon.
Charter Right #1. A zoning petition has been received from Richard Harding, et al. to amend 20.800 titled the Mass and Main Residential Mixed Income Sub district to reflect a more appropriate affordable housing contribution and height limitation for this zoning. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Jan 23, 2017.]
This petition was rendered moot by the granting of the Special Permit for the Mass and Main and related developments this past Tuesday by the Planning Board. The votes aren't there to pass this petition anyway.
Charter Right #2. That the City Manager is requested to hire an independent consultant who shall assess the efficiency and effectiveness of how all City Departments conduct their work, who will begin implementing whatever necessary adjustments are deemed to be necessary, and who will report back to the City Manager and the City Council on his or her progress in regular monthly intervals. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Jan 23, 2017.]
The City Council should amend this Order to simply ask the City Manager to consider hiring a consultant to advise him on possible changes in the structure and function of City departments. While they're at it, the City Council and the City administration should take a good objective look at all of the City's volunteer Boards and Commissions to see if there are any efficiencies that can be made or if any of the ordinances that created some of these boards should be amended to better reflect today's needs and priorities.
Then the City Council should take a good hard look at its own operations. For example, wouldn't it work better if City Council aides were assigned to Council subcommittees rather than to individual councillors? Perhaps each Council subcommittee could also keep its own web page that tracks what each committee is doing, the status of any initiatives, and a record of all actions taken.
Resolution #2. Resolution on the death of Renae Gray. Mayor Simmons
Renae was the first person to invite me (in 1991) to be on a board of a civic organization in Cambridge. She always brought positive energy to anything with which she was involved. This is a very significant loss to the civic fabric of the city.
Order #2. Amendment to Chapter 8.12.010 of the Municipal Code. Councillor Cheung
This is almost like a mystery question. The Order basically just asks that the requirement that any gas station with self-serve pumps "have service bays and offer automotive repairs" be removed. On the face of it, this just seems like common sense since there are already self-serve gas stations in Cambridge where no repairs are made. But why is this revision being posed now? Is this just housekeeping or is there a service station that wants to do self-serve gas and get out of the repair business? It matters because self-serve stations usually come with bright lights, extended hours, and elaborate fire-suppression structures. That's a pretty big change from Goober's Fillin' Station.
Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with the MBTA to install a shelter on Aberdeen Avenue without advertising or lighting comparable to what was originally there and to consult with City staff to develop a policy that prohibits advertising and illumination on bus shelters in residential areas citywide and as well as in the Parkway Overlay District. Councillor Devereux
We probably all would rather see less advertising on bus shelters, Hubway stations, etc., but that is how the maintenance costs are covered. Perhaps they can just dim the lights and make the advertisements classier.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department, the Department of Public Works (DPW) and any other relevant City department and report back to the City Council on ways the City can help small businesses offset other costs, included but not limited to, the possibility of DPW picking up trash from these small businesses during their regular routes. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Cheung
This debate has gone on for at least 25 years. The truth is that DPW already does pick up trash from small businesses in some mixed-use buildings (like next door to me). If the City did choose to include more commercial customers, they would also have to include recycling services.
Communications and Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a response to an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by John Hawkinson alleging violation to attorney client privileged redactions of executive session minutes of the City Council for Aug 1, 2016, Oct 13, 2016 and the Oct 31, 2016.
While few will argue with the intent of the Open Meeting Law, there does come a point when complaints like these pass well into the realm of the ridiculous. In this particular case, these were Executive Session meetings specifically focused on contract negotiations. They are not subject to the Open Meeting Law and redaction in the minutes is permitted when appropriate, so no one should be surprised that much of the minutes were redacted. There are far more important things to worry about - even here in the Little Village of Cambridge. In any case, I wish the complainant would show a little more respect to the women who work in City government. Nobody appreciates being hounded while under threat of a negative "news" story that's barely distinguishable from a personal attack. - Robert Winters
Coming up this Monday - Jan 23, 2017 Cambridge City Council agenda [extra detail here or here (15.4MB PDF)]
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person to the position of Assistant City Manager for Finance, effective Mar 13, 2017: David Kale.
It's like that line from the Blues Brothers - "We're putting the band back together." Welcome back, David.
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-107, regarding the purchase of K9 Rumba by Officer Peter Neal.
There was no absolutely right resolution to this dilemma. In the end, four-year-old Rumba still has work to do for the City of Cambridge.
Manager's Agenda #11. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $35,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Human Services Other Ordinary Maintenance account, to be used to expand the existing contract with Food for Free to support the Weekend Backpack Program.
This is not the first time the City has taken up the slack when the state or federal government discontinued funding for a useful program such as this. I expect it won't be the last.
Manager's Agenda #17. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation regarding the Medical Marijuana Zoning Petition. [The Planning Board does NOT RECOMMEND adoption.]
Committee Report #2 and Committee Report #3 from the Ordinance Committee for public hearings held on Dec 21, 2016 and on Jan 3, 2017 relative to the City Council petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance to delete the existing Section 20.700 – Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts; create a new Section 11.800 – Medical Marijuana; and list Registered Marijuana Dispensary within Section 4.35 of the Table of Use Regulations, allowed only by Planning Board Special Permit within Business A, B, B-1, B-2, C, Industry A-1, B-1 and B-2 districts. These are the 2nd and 3rd hearings on this petition.
The basic issue here is that if there are to be medical marijuana dispensaries in Cambridge, the existing zones where it is allowed appear to be inadequate as evidenced by repeated zoning petitions to add new small zones tailored to specific sites. The alternative is to simply make this an allowed use in some or all of the existing business districts (as long as other constraints are met). One identified complication is that under the recently passed initiative petition to liberalize the use, possession, and sale of recreational marijuana, the dispensary sites could also become recreational marijuana outlets. One discussion I have not yet heard is the reality of where such facilities would actually end up being located if they become an allowed use in business districts. These are not the kind of facilities that would be dependent on foot traffic and they don't need a site that commands high rent, so the most likely sites would be in the smaller business zones or on the outer periphery of the Squares. Wherever they locate, their particular clientele will be sure to find them.
Applications & Petitions #1. A zoning petition has been received from Richard Harding, et al. to amend 20.800 titled the Mass and Main Residential Mixed Income Sub district to reflect a more appropriate affordable housing contribution and height limitation for this zoning.
Communications #1. A communication was received from Massasoit Elk's Lodge #129 Membership, 55 Bishop Allen Drive, transmitting opposition to the 19th floor height of the B-1 and B2 towers that are grossly out of scale for Central Square and Port neighborhoods, and far higher even than proposed by the C2 study.
I'm at something of a loss trying to understand out of which blue this petition came. The Normandy/Twining petition of a couple of years ago that has made possible the Mass & Main development that is now being permitted was a very public process with more than its share of controversy. That petition was ordained on a 7-2 vote on May 18, 2015 with significant concessions to produce affordable housing units as part of that development. A tremendous amount of planning and negotiation has occurred since then and many opportunities for the public to weigh in. This new petition is really the horse that left that barn 18 months ago. All of the relevant issues have already been debated. The communication from the Elk's Lodge specifically references the petition. It's difficult to guess what the real motivation is for this petition's appearance at this time. It could be related to a potential City Council candidacy or maybe it's a proxy petition promoted by an activist group, but it could also be based on fear of construction disruption when the Mass & Main development gets underway later this year. In any case, this petition is long past its freshness date.
Resolution #2. Congratulations to José Mateo for being named a 2017 Commonwealth Award honoree for Achievement by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Councillor Devereux
Resolution #14. Retirement of Greg Russ from the Cambridge Housing Authority. Mayor Simmons
In their respective fields, both José Mateo and Greg Russ are local giants.
Order #2. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the License Commission, the Cambridge Arts Council, the Community Development Department, the Police Department, and any other appropriate City department to discuss the feasibility of allowing small businesses to host live acoustic music performances without a license. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern
This seems like a great idea - certainly for occasional performances and particularly for those without amplification. There are, however, some factors that the City Council and the City administration may want to consider before making such a change, e.g. hours of operation, whether the business has "operable windows" that would project the sound outward, and if there might be some conflict with any residential abutters. Not all acoustic music is low volume, e.g. drums and horns. Acoustic doesn't necessarily mean a folk singer gently strumming her guitar strings.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to hire an independent consultant who shall assess the efficiency and effectiveness of how all City Departments conduct their work, who will begin implementing whatever necessary adjustments are deemed to be necessary, and who will report back to the City Manager and the City Council on his or her progress in regular monthly intervals. Mayor Simmons, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Mazen
Assessing the effectiveness of City departments and making necessary improvements should, of course, be standard practice. In that spirit, this Order seems perfectly great. However, the phrase "who will begin implementing whatever necessary adjustments are deemed to be necessary" in regard to a hired independent consultant is more than a little problematic. If read literally, this would imply that the City Manager would hire a consultant who would not merely advise the City Manager and the City Council but actually independently make changes in the management of City departments. At the very least, the City Council should amend this order to make clear that any recommendations are strictly advisory.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on current or potential future public-private partnerships that could deliver an operational Foundry that consists of significant community space for the community. Councillor Toomey
Lately I have begun to think that the entire process regarding the Foundry building has become one large circular discussion that has brought of back to pretty much the same place we were at four years ago.
Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to issue a report on the current status of the Broadband Task Force, including a schedule for ongoing discussion and final decision and recommendation. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Cheung
I still have not heard a convincing argument for why the City should invest a huge sum of money on a speculative initiative like this.
Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff and report back to the Council with an explanation of how the success of these “pop up” lanes will be measured and what lessens we expect to learn from them to help implement safer bicycling facilities throughout the City as soon as possible. Councillor Kelley
This is an incredibly perceptive Order from Councillor Kelley. I have already seen at least one advocacy group running surveys designed to "prove" the desirability of these changes. I cannot speak for the one near the Harvard Law School, but it's hard to imagine that the obstacle course that was installed in Lafayette Square would pass muster in any objective analysis. There are plenty of trouble spots that can be identified for improved bicycle safety in Cambridge, but these don't especially coincide with those promoted politically.
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 Dec 13, 2016 to discuss recent and anticipated development projects and commercial and institutional leasing in Harvard Square and how such changes may affect the future of Harvard Square.
This was an interesting hearing, but it's not at all clear what the action items are or where this discussion may be headed.
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 Jan 4, 2017 to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend provision of the Zoning Ordinance related to Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions into Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text of sections 11.200 through 11.206.
There is a noticeable urgency to pass these changes regardless of what the effect may be on new housing construction. The proposed mandatory percentage of "affordable units" is almost double what has been in effect since the 1998 ordinance was adopted. It may be economically sustainable, but this is not a sure thing. The only sure thing is that the adoption of these changes to Inclusionary Zoning will be prominently featured on a lot of campaign literature this fall. - Robert Winters
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
School budget talks heat up in Cambridge (Feb 6, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Lawmakers expect to tackle millionaires tax this year (Feb 4, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Cambridge Community Foundation announces fall grants (Feb 2, 2017)
State of City: Mayor vows to push back against 'hateful national policies' (Feb 2, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
What's Cambridge doing to make city's streets safer? (Jan 30, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Police K9 Rumba won't retire with handler, will remain on the force (Jan 26, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Sharon school committee picks Cambridge administrator for superintendent (Jan 26, 2017 by Scott Calzolaio/Sharon Advocate Staff)
Cambridge, Somerville, Boston could lose grants in Trump's immigration crackdown (Jan 25, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Report: Contractor 'sorry' for massive Cambridge fire (Jan 25, 2017 by Shaun Chaiyabhat / WCVB)
Final price tag for Volpe Center land revealed (Jan 18, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
T.T. The Bear's owner could lose $225k if license buyer can't be found (Jan 13, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Bikers, water officials clash over trails (Jan 13, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Could advocates' merger boost Cambridge small businesses? (Jan 13, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Retired fire captain spends half-century documenting Cambridge's fire history (Jan 12, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
Late Danvers coach Kevin Flynn follows the blueprint of his Matignon mentor (Jan 11, 2017 by Joe McConnell)
Councilors attack delays to Central Square revitalization (Jan 11, 2017 by Monica Jimenez)
Crimson Corner looks to relocate, owner says he was forced out (Jan 9, 2017 by James Sanna)
Pizzeria seeking to open in Crimson Corner space (Jan 6, 2017)
Councilors divided on aggressiveness of affordable housing push (Jan 6, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Cambridge Rindge girls basketball sets sights on another state tourney (Jan 4 by Wayne Gethers)
Employers warn $15 minimum wage would be costly (Jan 3, 2017 by Colin A. Young, State House News Service)
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, recently filed w/OCPF to change campaign acct. from state rep. to City Council|
|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|
|Quinton Zondervan||9/15/1970||47||235 Cardinal Madeiros Ave., 02141||privately announced, registered with OCPF|
|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|
|Sean Tierney||3/10/1985||32||12 Prince St., 02139||definitely running, not yet registered with OCPF|
|Sam Gebru||11/20/1991||25||812 Memorial Dr., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Vatsady Sivongxay||2/20/1982||35||59 Kirkland St. #2, 02138||not yet announced, but registered with OCPF|
|Olivia D'Ambrosio||9/13/1983||34||270 3rd Street #305, 02142||not yet announced, but registered with OCPF|
|Theodora Marie Skeadas||8/16/1990||27||988 Memorial Drive #185, 02138||not yet announced, but 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|
|Greg Moree||6/16/1957||60||25 Fairfield St. #4, 02140||perennial candidate|
|Paul Toner||4/28/1966||51||24 Newman St., 02140||rumored to be considering a City Council run|
|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|
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
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
5:00-8:00pm 2nd Public Meeting on Inman Square intersection redesign (Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Lower Level L2)
7:00pm PowerPoint presentation on the design options
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
3. Town Gown Reports
Town Gown reports are submitted annually by Cambridge's educational institutions. The reports include information about student, staff and faculty populations, parking and transportation, and current and future development plans.
The Planning Board will hold a meeting to discuss Town Gown reports submitted at the end of 2016. You are invited to attend the meeting and hear presentations by Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lesley University, Hult International School of Business.
The Town Gown Reports can be viewed online on the Community Development website at: http://www.cambridgema.gov/towngown. For more information about the Town Gown report, please contact Cliff Cook at 617-349-4656 or email@example.com.
4. Board of Zoning Appeal case
BZA#012369-2017 – 575 Memorial Drive, T Mobile Northeast. Special Permit to modify the existing wireless facility by collocating three new antennas on the building together with supporting equipment.
Wed, Feb 8
5:30-7:30pm Bicycle Committee Meeting (4th Floor Conference Room, 344 Broadway)
6:00-8:00pm Envision Cambridge Alewife Public Workshop (Tobin School, 197 Vassal Lane-Cafeteria)
On Wednesday, February 8th, Envision Cambridge will host a public workshop to solicit feedback on a range of future scenarios for the Alewife district.
12:00pm MIT Informational meeting on Volpe Site (W20-407, fourth floor of MIT's Stratton Student Center, 84 Mass. Ave.)
6:00pm MIT Informational meeting on Volpe Site (Salons I and II, Marriott Hotel, 50 Broadway, Kendall Square)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30-7:30pm Bike-Ped-Transit Committee Meeting (MIT building 4, room 149)
The Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Transit Committees will get together to hear about the design options for Inman Square and provide feedback.
10:00am-12:00pm The City Council's Economic Development and University Relations Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Retail Strategic Plan and similar issues related to the retail environment in Cambridge. (City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room)
6:00pm Roundtable between the City Council and School Committee (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
3:00pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct an additional public hearing to a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in chapter 8.28 entitled “Restrictions on Youth Access to Tobacco Products” and on “Definitions for Prohibition of Smoking in Workplaces” to expand the definition of “Workplace” to include construction sites. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm The City Council's Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss next steps on bike and transit safety in Cambridge. (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
6:30pm Harvard Square Advisory Committee (City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Cambridge)
6:00-7:00pm Cambridge Historical Commission Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
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 The City Council's Public Safety Committee will hold a public working group meeting to gather feedback on a short-term rental policy for Cambridge. These findings will be communicated to the Public Safety Committee during a meeting scheduled on Mar 1, 2017 at 4:00pm. (Sullivan Chamber)
3:00pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct an additional hearing to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend provisions of the Zoning Ordinance 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 hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
4:00pm The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to draft language for short-term rental regulations to be forwarded to the Ordinance Committee. (Sullivan Chamber)
6:00-8:00pm Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee meeting (4th Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)