Cambridge InsideOut - November 28, 2017

Robert and Judy

Election Data Binge - Summing up the Municipal Election

Possible Topics:

1) Election Data Binge

2) How We Elect Cambridge Officials: A Discussion on Proportional Representation (Nov 6 at the Library)

3) Envision Cambridge Roundtable - Nov 20, 2017

4) Nov 13 City Council meeting

5) Cambridge Candidate Pages

List of Candidates for City Council & School Committee - with sortable tables

Questionnaires and Endorsing Organizations - Who are they, WHAT are they, and what are they asking?

2017 City Council Campaign Receipts and Expenses

2017 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports

Index of all Cambridge City Council and School Committee candidates: 1941 to 2017
plain text version    PDF version

6) Civic Calendar

Election Data Binge:

City Council Elected (in order of election): Simmons, Siddiqui, McGovern, Devereux, Zondervan, Mallon, Toomey, Carlone, Kelley
City Council Official Election Results (Fri, Nov 17, PDF, 2 pgs.)

School Committee Elected (in order of election): Nolan, Bowman, Dexter, Fantini, Kelley, Kimbrough
School Committee Official Election Results (Fri, Nov 17, PDF, 1 pg.)

Round-by-Round City Council Official Results (Fri, Nov 17, HTML)

Round-by-Round School Committee Official Results (Fri, Nov 17, HTML)

How would the City Council election have proceeded using "fractional transfer" - independent of ballot order? (NOT the official Count)

City Council Distribution of #1 Votes by ward/precinct (PDF)

School Committee Distribution of #1 Votes by ward/precinct (PDF)

Voter Turnout by Precinct: 2013-2017 Municipal Elections (PDF)

#2 Vote Distribution - 2017 City Council (PDF)

#2 Vote Distribution - 2017 School Committee (PDF)

The table below indicates the percentage of ballots for which the #1 ranked candidate was elected; the percentage of ballots for which the #1 or #2 ranked candidate was elected; and the percentage of ballots for which the #1, #2, or #3 ranked candidate was elected.

Voter Success in Cambridge Elections
Election elect candidates valid invalid total ballots Pct #1 elected Pct #1 or #2 elected Pct #1, #2, or #3 elected Pct none elected Pct blank
1997 Council 9 19 16879 350 17229 88.7 96.2 97.6 1.6 0.3
1999 Council 9 24 18777 384 19161 76.5 92.5 95.5 3.0 0.5
2001 Council 9 19 17126 562 17688 83.8 94.0 96.2 2.8 1.1
2003 Council 9 20 20080 878 20958 72.7 87.0 91.0 6.7 2.0
2005 Council 9 18 16070 132 16202 78.7 93.4 96.1 2.6 0.5
2007 Council 9 16 13633 88 13721 79.3 93.2 96.0 2.9 0.4
2009 Council 9 21 15995 118 16073 75.1 90.9 94.1 4.3 0.6
2011 Council 9 18 15845 126 15971 77.8 92.6 95.5 3.3 0.5
2013 Council 9 25 17743 103 17846 68.6 87.8 93.0 4.9 0.4
2015 Council 9 23 17854 105 17959 71.7 90.4 94.8 3.3 0.3
2017 Council 9 26 22524 72 22596 68.7 87.0 92.8 4.7 0.2
1997 School 6 8 16386 285 16671 83.3 96.4 97.6 2.4 0.1
1999 School 6 13 17961 307 18268 76.0 91.1 94.4 4.7 0.1
2001 School 6 10 16489 1160 17649 76.2 90.5 92.6 7.1 4.8
2003 School 6 8 18698 2210 20908 81.9 89.7 90.0 10.0 8.8
2005 School 6 8 15470 719 16189 77.4 90.6 93.1 6.9 4.2
2007 School 6 9 13276 433 13709 77.0 91.2 92.7 7.1 3.0
2009 School 6 9 15423 549 15972 72.6 90.1 91.6 8.4 3.3
2011 School 6 11 15290 614 15904 77.6 90.3 92.2 6.9 3.6
2013 School 6 9 16592 1128 17720 80.9 90.0 91.2 8.5 6.2
2015 School 6 11 16797 1062 17859 69.2 84.7 88.0 11.1 5.7
2017 School 6 12 20708 1744 22452 67.2 81.5 85.2 13.3 7.7

Note: Almost all of the invalid ballots were blank ballots. It's common that some voters will vote only the City Council ballot and cast a blank School Committee ballot.

Nov 23 - The Shifting Demographic

The voter history file for the 2017 municipal election was made available yesterday, and it provides evidence of a dramatic shift toward younger voters in the recent election. This provides at least some partial explanation for the election results. Here are some histograms for the municipal election years (2013, 2015, 2017) followed by the federal/state election years (2012, 2014, 2016).

Municipal Elections: 2013 - 2017

2013 Election Histogram

2015 Election Histogram

2017 Election Histogram
(note the dramatic peak in the 27-29 age range)

Federal/State Elections: 2012 - 2016

2012 Election Histogram

2014 Election Histogram

2016 Election Histogram

The total voter turnout has dropped over the years but has remained relatively stable for the last several municipal elections. It jumped in 2017.

Voter Turnout - Cambridge Municipal Elections

% Turnout - Cambridge Municipal Elections

Turnout data - Cambridge municipal elections


How We Elect Cambridge Officials: A Discussion on Proportional Representation (Lecture Hall, Cambridge Main Library)

Short Description
Did you know we vote for Cambridge City Council and School Committee through a system called Proportional Representation (PR)? Discover how PR works and learn just how much your vote counts to be better prepared for the November 7th election.

Join us for a lively discussion with panelists Howie Fain (Co-founder of FairVote), Glenn Koocher (former Cambridge School Committee Member), Susana Segat (former Cambridge School Committee Member), and Robert Winters (founder of Cambridge Civic Journal).

Long Description
Cambridge municipal elections happen on Tuesday, November 7th. Do you find it curious that we rank our candidates numerically when we vote? Did you know that this process of voting is called Proportional Representation? Do you know how Proportional Representation works? Do you know how it came to be that Cambridge adopted this system?

Join us for a lively panel discussion with experts on Cambridge political history. Discover how Proportional Representation works in our city. Learn just how much your vote counts to be better prepared for the November 7th election.

Panelists include Howie Fain (Co-founder of Fair Vote), Glenn Koocher (former Cambridge School Committee Member), Susana Segat (former Cambridge School Committee Member), and Robert Winters (founder of Cambridge Civic Journal).

Howie Fain
In 1992, Fain Co-founded Fair Vote, a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice. He served as the President of the Fair Ballot Alliance of Massachusetts from 1991-1997. Fain has been a consultant to the Cambridge Election Commission, authoring the 1994 report, Computerizing a Cambridge Tradition. Fain serves as an Executive Committee Member of VoterChoice Massachusetts and is a science teacher in the Worcester Public Schools.

Glenn Koocher
A native of Cambridge, Mass., Koocher served on the Cambridge School Committee from 1974-1985. He was the budget chair during the implementation of Proposition 2 1/2 and was actively engaged in the city's multi-year desegregation effort. Koocher was the founding host of Cambridge InsideOut, a weekly TV show on CCTV focusing on current events that aired from 1989-2000. He has written extensively on the political history of Cambridge. Koocher is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

Susana Segat
Segat was a member of the Cambridge School Committee from 1996-2001. From 1999-2008, she served on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. A longtime union official, Segat was the President of the Local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) from 2003-2009. She is currently the Chief of Staff for the President of MassArt.

Robert Winters
Winters is the founding editor of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online news source that monitors the Cambridge political scene. Starting in 1989, he spearheaded the campaign to bring curbside recycling to Cambridge. He ran for City Council several times in the 1990's. Since 2013 he has been the co-host of CCTV's Cambridge InsideOut, a remake of Glenn Koocher's original TV show, focusing on Cambridge politics. Currently, Winters is a Lecturer in Mathematics at MIT and the Harvard Extension School.

Featured Items on the Nov 13, 2017 City Council Agenda

City HallFor the moment at least, all six incumbents who ran to retain their seats seem to have been reelected. We'll know for sure on Friday (Nov 17) unless the closeness of the results warrants a recount. In the meantime, here are a few items of interest on this week's agenda.

Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $2,274,829 from Free Cash to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund. Funds appropriated to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund will be used to fund specific projects which will require individual appropriations by the City Council for the related projects in the future.

Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a recommendation from the Planning Board to adopt the Alexandria Zoning Petition regarding Innovation Space in the PUD-3A and PUD-4C Districts.

Manager's Agenda #14. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report 16-86, regarding a report on which public campaign finance options are legal for municipal elections in Cambridge; and Awaiting Report 17-84, regarding potential plans and options, responsive to community concerns, for creating a program of tax revenue financing for candidates running for City Council and School Committee in the City of Cambridge.

This is a topic that deserves a lot more discussion than was ever permitted in either the NLTP Committee (no idea why it would even be discussed as part of "neighborhood and long-term planning" or "public facilities" or "arts and celebrations") or the Government Operations Committee. It's not something Cambridge could even do without approval from the State Legislature and it's not at all clear that such approval would be forthcoming. In addition, there has been no indication of what scale of funding would be asked - and that's important in light of the fact that the total campaign expendtitures for the recent City Council election now totals about $600,000 and climbing. The correlation between campaign spending and electoral results is also not at all clear. The cost per #1 vote as of today among successful City Council campaigns runs from a low of $9.75 to a high of $33.50 (these numbers will rise).

It's also worth noting that MANY Cambridge voters are now consulting the Cambridge Candidate Pages and other resources to learn about candidates, and that costs NOTHING. Indeed the number of visitors to the Cambridge Candidate Pages last week went like this: Nov 4: 1,082; Nov 5: 1699; Nov 6: 6,632; Nov 7 (Election Day): 11,058; Nov 8: 3,584; Nov 9: 941. That's a lot of visits for an election that had about 22,600 voters, and the Cambridge Candidate Pages aren't even linked from any City website.

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to appoint a Transportation Task Force to develop a large and comprehensive street safety and education plan that speaks to the needs of bicyclist, motorists, and pedestrians, and that can be easily disseminated and understood by all citizens. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Oct 30, 2017]

At this point I'm leaning toward the belief that we should transition toward a single Transportation Board that has subcommittees for transit, motor vehicles, bicycling, and pedestrians. Single issue advocacy has become King and ideas like balance and collaboration among stakeholders has become all but lost. It's become militant with single-issue advocates using social media to pack any and all meetings. I gave up going to these meetings. It's become just Bad Political Theater at this point and, contrary to claims of relative safety, it's really all about turf - establish a beachhead and then defend it even against reasonable criticism.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to work with the relevant City departments and report back to the City Council with an update on the City’s plans to expand the curbside composting program citywide.   Councillor Cheung

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 Oct 12, 2017 to discuss a Zoning Petition filed by Christopher D. Smith, et al., to create a new Section 13.913 Graduate Student Housing Production Requirement. This petition would require new graduate housing to be built in conjunction with the development of commercial uses in the proposed Planned Unit Development 7 District as well as a phasing plan to implement graduate housing development.

Everyone agrees with the idea that MIT and other universities should provide adequate housing options for their students. As we saw with the recent Volpe Petition, this has been acknowledged by MIT and they are planning accordingly. This Smith Petition, on the other hand, is not only moot but misdirected. - Robert Winters



Mon, Nov 27

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber) - cancelled

Tues, Nov 28

6:30pm   Planning Board meeting  (2nd Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)

General Business

1. Update from the Community Development Department

2. Adoption of Planning Board meeting transcripts

Public Hearings

6:30pm   PB# 330 (continued) - 55 Wheeler Street - Special Permit application by 55-9 Wheels Owner, LLC to construct multifamily residential buildings pursuant to Sections 4.26.1 multifamily housing; 19.20 Project Review; 20.95.1 Floor Area Ratio base of 2.0; 20.95.4 reduction of lot area per dwelling unit to 600 square feet; maximum height of 77 feet; 6.35.1 and 10.45 reduction of minimum required parking; 20.73 earthmoving and landscaping in a Flood Plain Overlay District; reduce the required yards to a minimum of 15 feet; and 20.95.34 permit hard surface of more than 25% within a yard to accommodate public sidewalks and building entryways. (Notice) (Materials)

General Business

3. PB# 179 North Point (Materials)

• Parcel “G” Building Design Review

• Parcel “H” Building Design Review

4. Board of Zoning Appeal Cases

BZA-014099-2017 - 140-142 Prospect Street - Variance to replace existing 2-family with 10 units of townhouses. Art. 5.000, Sec. 5.32 & Sec. 5.11 (Materials)

Mon, Dec 4

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Dec 11

5:00pm   Special Presentation for the Mayor’s Luminary Awards  (Sullivan Chamber)

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, Dec 13

8:00am-9:30am   Recycling Advisory Committee  (Sullivan Chamber, City Hall)

Mon, Dec 18

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Jan 1

10:00am   Inaugural City Council meeting and Election of Mayor  (Sullivan Chamber)