Cambridge InsideOut - Dec 11, 2018

Robert and JudyPossible Topics:

1) Opening of new Police Substation in Central Square

2) Lotsa Ordainin' To Do - Dec 10, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda

3) Dec 3 City Council meeting

4) The Paper of Record - Selection from the Cambridge Chronicle

5) The Peoples Pledge, Publicly Funded Municipal Elections

6) Ranked Choice Voting - Discussion of Alternate Voting Systems Here and Elsewhere

7) News, Upcoming Events, etc.
Civic Opportunities

8) Civic Calendar

Ribbon-Cutting of new Police Substation in Central Square - Dec 11, 2018

New Police Substation - Central Square

New Police Substation - Central Square

New Police Substation - Central Square

Lotsa Ordainin' To Do - Dec 10, 2018 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Information Security Begins With You!The ordaining queue has been growing over the last few weeks - Surveillance Ordinance, Revised Street Performers Ordinance, Revised Fair Housing Ordinance, and the Mandatory Book-Burning Ordinance (OK, not really). Perhaps next year we'll also see the Don't Touch That Tree Ordinance, the Chicken Farming Ordinance and Handbook, and the Socialized Housing Ordinance. The business of municipal ordinances was always complicated - even in days of yore, i.e. Cambridge in 1899 (Revised Ordinances of 1892) which even contains a precursor to the zoning ordinance that would not be enacted for another quarter century. Here's a sampler of some of the ordinances of the day:

CHAPTER 37. SECT. 1. Any minor, between the ages of seven and fifteen years, convicted of being an habitual truant, or wandering about in the streets or public places of Cambridge, having no lawful occupation or business, not attending school, and growing up in ignorance, and such children as persistently violate the reasonable rules and regulations of the public schools, shall be committed to the Middlesex Truant School for a term not exceeding two years. The Middlesex County Truant School is the place provided for the confinement, discipline, and instruction of such children.

CHAPTER 38. SECT. 1. There shall be established in the city of Cambridge a workhouse for the employment and support of the following description of persons, that is to say, poor and indigent persons that are maintained by or receive alms from, the city; persons who, being able of body to work, and not having estate or means otherwise to maintain themselves, refuse or neglect to work; persons who live a dissolute, vagrant life, and exercise no ordinary calling or lawful business; and persons who spend their time and property in public houses, to the neglect of their proper business, or who, by otherwise misspending what they earn, to the impoverishment of themselves and their families, are likely to become chargeable to the city.

CHAPTER 45. SECT. 2. No person shall climb a tree in any street, or fasten or tie a horse or other animal to, or post a bill upon, any such tree, or allow any horse or other animal owned by him, or under his control to stand so near any such tree, that such tree may be gnawed or otherwise injured by such horse or other animal so allowed to stand, and no person shall place a sign upon or around any tree on any street of the city.

Penny FarthingCHAPTER 45. SECT. 16. No person shall coast upon a sled on any street of this city without the written permission of the mayor; and without such written permission no person, in any public street or square of this city, shall ride a bicycle or tricycle at a rate of speed exceeding ten miles an hour, and only for the time, and upon such portions of the public ways, streets, or squares aforesaid as may be specified in said permit. Such reasonable conditions shall be attached to such permits as the mayor may deem proper, and in accord with the circumstances and for the occasion for which the permits may respectively be granted. Between the hours of eight o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the afternoon, children under the age of fourteen years may use velocipedes on any sidewalk in any public way, street, or square of this city. In no part of any public grounds, commons, enclosures, and parks, now or that hereafter may be under the general charge of the park commissioners, shall children use a velocipede without the written permit of the park commissioners.

CHAPTER 45. SECT. 19. No person shall have in his possession a club or bludgeon, on any street, with intent to use the same in a sport, sham-fight or strife, or to intimidate any person or horse.

CHAPTER 45. SECT. 21. No person shall behave himself in a rude or disorderly manner, or use any indecent, profane or insulting language, in any street or public place.

CHAPTER 45. SECT. 35. No person, except by permission of the mayor, shall deliver a sermon, lecture, address, or discourse on any common or other public grounds.

CHAPTER 46. SECT. 1. No person in any public street of the city shall ring a bell or gong, between the hours of ten o'clock P.M., and six o'clock A.M., except as a warning of danger.

CHAPTER 48. SECT. 1. No child under sixteen years of age shall be, loiter or remain upon any street, highway, park or other public way or place in this city after the hour of half past nine o'clock in the afternoon of any day, unless accompanied by, or under the control or care of a parent, guardian or other adult person, or performing or returning from employment or from the performance of some duty, directed in writing by said parent, guardian or other adult person, and no such child, while performing such duty, or returning from the performance thereof, or from employment, shall loiter upon any such street, highway, park or other public way or place.

Back in the present (2018), here are a few items on the agenda that drew my attention this week:

Manager's Agenda #7. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of an Advisory Committee on Climate Resilience Zoning.

Unfinished Business #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-85, regarding a report on the feasibility of appointing an advisory committee to work through resilience elements raised during the Envision process and through the Brown Petition.

The City Manager's original 25 appointees included four city councillors and a representative from the Mayor's Office. This led to concerns of possible Open Meeting Law violations unless the entire advisory committee was rethought as an ad-hoc City Council committee - but that would have diminished the role of all the other appointees. The new list of 20 appointees has zero councillors and nobody from the Mayor's Office, and one MIT appointee was reclassified from "Institutional/Non-Profit Representative" to "Business Representatives/Property Owners".

Charter Right #1. Legal Opinion on Portland's Relocation Assistance Ordinance.

Yes, it would require a Home Rule Petition. Needless to say, if the threshold for triggering this is a 10% rent increase (even if the rent was unchanged for years) I would expect a 9.5% rent increase every year to become commonplace.

Unfinished Business #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to proposed revisions to the draft Surveillance Ordinance. QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED ON OR AFTER DEC 10, 2018.

Unfinished Business #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed amended Street Performers Ordinance. QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED ON OR AFTER DEC 10, 2018.

Time for some ordainin'. Please be advised that street performers may not deliver a sermon, lecture, address, or discourse on any common or other public grounds except by permission of the mayor.

Order #1. Improving Pedestrian Safety.   Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan

This Order is primarily a request for information on how various "traffic calming" treatments have been working. The current policy seems primarily to be to create as much congestion as physically possible so that traffic cannot move very quickly. This has the added goal of infuriating drivers to the point that they consider alternate modes of transportation.

Order #2. Tree on City Hall Lawn.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor ZondervanCity Hall

I would suggest having conversations with both Charlie Sullivan (Historical Commission) and former City Councillor Kathleen Born before moving on this. There used to be a perimeter hedge around City Hall as well as a couple of spruce trees straddling the main entry to City Hall. About 20 years ago the consensus was that it would be ideal to restore the appearance of City Hall to its late 19th Century magnificence. This led to the removal of the hedge and the trees - as well as the ivy that had crept over much of the building surface. An additional unanticipated benefit was that the front lawn of City Hall became a significant open space resource for Central Square and a popular place for sunbathers during the warm weather months. We all love trees but any choice to plant a significant tree in front of City Hall should be weighed against these other factors.

Order #4. City Budget and Council Goals.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui

While it's a good idea to have the budget presentation highlight how it reflects City Council goals and priorities (and let's be clear that the City Manager already does this every year), I would not want to see every City department have to justify every expenditure against that short list of Council priorities. If DPW needs to buy another packer truck or if the Fire Department needs to purchase another fire engine or hire additional firefighters, I would hope they would not need to justify this by proving how it will "implement equity policies for the people of Cambridge". Most of the City budget goes to maintaining operations, and the goals expressed by individual departments in the annual Budget Book usually highlight how they can best deliver their services. - Robert Winters


First Look at the Dec 3, 2018 City Council Agenda

Here are a few agenda items that I found either interesting or infuriating:City Hall

Manager's Agenda #3. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $120,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Executive Department Other Ordinary Maintenance account to support the cable television license renewal process.

The only thing I'll say on this is to note just how little leverage we have in any of this. It's not just that Comcast is the only game in town. Just as bad is the fact that the United States Congress some time ago gutted the previous regulations governing the granting of Cable TV franchises by municipalities. The only thing we can even discuss/bargain is PEG - public access, educational programming, and government programming - and we can't even do much with those. We can't even discuss what stations should be in the basic Cable TV package.

Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative grant in the amount of $78,300 to the Public Investment Fund Water Extraordinary Expenditures account which will support Phase I of the Cambridge Water Supply Resilience project.

I'm always interested in hearing about what new projects are planned for protecting and improving Cambridge water whether or not it's related to "resiliency".

Manager's Agenda #17. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-79, regarding a report on the Grand Junction Overlay District.

Manager's Agenda #18. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an agreement with the Cambridge Housing Authority to take an easement and accepting the conveyance of a 2nd easement for the purpose of constructing a multi-use path along the Grand Junction Railway and to provide grant funding to assist in closing the funding gap for the Millers River Redevelopment Project by paying for part of the demolition of the community center building, reconstruction of a new community building, renovation of 15 housing units and the creation of permanent affordability restrictions for these units.

Applications & Petitions #2. A Zoning Petition has been received from Joseph T. Maguire of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Transmitting a proposed amended to the zoning ordinance by creating the Grand Junction Pathway Overlay District adjacent to the Grand Junction railroad right-of-way between Binney and Cambridge Streets.

There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear. In any case, it's nice to see some tangible progress on this project that we first proposed as part of the Green Ribbon Open Space Committee about two decades ago. I'm still curious how it would connect with the Somerville Community Path..

Order #5. Somerville’s Davis Square Neighborhood Plan.   Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor DevereuxPlan for Davis Square

Check out the draft of the Davis Square Neighborhood Plan. Many of us still remember when a railroad ran through the middle of Davis Square. Anyway, what we do affects Somerville and vice-versa. Envision That.

Order #6. Marijuana Public Consumption.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Simmons

Pretty soon the whole city is going to smell like Woodstock - only at 20X the potency.

Order #7. That the City Council refer to the Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board, for hearing and report, the proposed amendments to Article 5.000 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Zondervan

Flat Roof Zoning returns for another try. You know - Up On The Roof.

Order #8. Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning Petition.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan

Will this again get lost in the shuffle? I know a guy who can help with the amendments.

Order #11. Inclusionary Tenants' Association.   Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui

Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

Order #12. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the IT Department and Granicus to create a more inclusive city website, including an Open Meeting Portal registration form that does not require the use of gendered pronouns, salutations or titles.   Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon

Oh, the horror.

Order #13. Legal Opinion on Portland's Relocation Assistance Ordinance.   Councillor Zondervan

The relentless campaign to reimpose rent control piecemeal continues like death by a thousand cuts. Last year's jewel was the "Right of First Refusal" that fortunately never saw daylight. Now this. Though the order asks for a legal opinion on whether Cambridge can impose such a financial requirement, it should be obvious to any sentient city councillor that they cannot do so without authority from the Commonwealth.

Committee Report #4. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sumbul Siddiqui, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 3, 2018 to discuss a City-based Cannabis Social Equity Program and Policy Order #10 from June 25, 2018.

While I agree that this potentially lucrative business should not be dominated by the usual high-rolling entrepreneurs and that economic opportunity should be spread far and wide, I find unconvincing (to say the least) the notion that anyone should be provided an advantage based on ethnic identity.

Committee Report #5. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Nov 14, 2018 to discuss the Policy Order adopted regarding Cambridge publicly financed Municipal Election Program and the Cambridge Municipal People’s Pledge Program.

I wish I had been able to attend this meeting because I could go on for hours on this topic. For starters, I am not at all convinced that money is any longer the limiting factor in municipal elections. I will also note that most or all of the proposals floated seem pretty obviously chosen to advantage political friends or to disadvantage political opponents - even though the case is always framed in terms of "leveling the playing field". I have in previous discussions of these matters also pointed out how publicly financed municipal campaigns might perversely work in the context of proportional representation and organized candidate slates. This is conveniently overlooked by proponents. If there are future meetings on this topic, please try not to schedule them when I'm in the classroom teaching because I would really like to take a few people to school on this topic.

Committee Report #7. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Nov 15, 2018 to continue discussions on the petition filed by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance as it relates to cannabis uses.

Trees and marijuana. That's what this City Council will be remembered for. - Robert Winters


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

Cambridge ChronicleIf you would like to subscribe or pick up a free paper copy at various sites, I encourage you to do so. It really is The Paper of Record.

‘A win-win for everyone:’ Plans for Millers River, Grand Junction path move forward (Dec 4, 2018)

FCC rule could gut funding for Cambridge community TV (Nov 30, 2018)

Cambridge makes moves to start $25M renovation of fire headquarters (Nov 28, 2018)

Cambridge football loses late in game after Somerville rallies for win (Nov 22, 2018)

Cambridge residents asked to vote on budgeting (Nov 21, 2018)

Cambridge Mayor McGovern, City Manager DePasquale to deliver State of the City Address (Nov 21, 2018)

DA: Forensics link man with Cambridge ties to 1969 murder of Harvard student (Nov 20, 2018)

Cambridge leaders look for solutions after cyclist killed near Science Museum (Nov 20, 2018)

Controversial politics, early voting fueled turnout in Massachusetts elections (Nov 19, 2018)

Yard waste collection to continue through Dec 14 (Nov 16, 2018)

Baker open to fee hike to boost state CPA match (Nov 16, 2018)

Cambridge Police Department welcomes 10 new officers (Nov 13, 2018)

Cambridge cyclist killed by dump truck (Nov 9, 2018)

Enroot building housing almost a dozen Cambridge nonprofits to be sold (Oct 30, 2018)

Will a dog park be coming to the front lawn of Cambridge’s main library? (Oct 30, 2018)

Cambridge offering retrofit advisor service to help apartments and condos save energy (Oct 26, 2018)

Resident parking permits for 2019 available (Oct 26, 2018)

Cambridge man arrested for Craigslist post offering to buy cop killers a drink (Sept 19, 2018)

Members announced for new task force to support the arts in Cambridge (Sept 18, 2018)

Salvation for Sancta Maria: Nursing facility to remain open in Cambridge (Sept 17, 2018)

Global market complicates local recycling, frustrates residents (Sept 17, 2018)

2017 City Council Campaign Receipts, Expenditures, and $/Vote – FINAL REPORT (Feb 11, 2018)

2017 Cambridge City Council Bank Reports (Feb 6, 2018)

Cambridge School Committee 2017 Campaign Finance Summaries and $/Vote (Jan 26, 2018)

Election Methods in the News

Proposal for new Lowell election system coming soon (Lowell Sun, Nov 30, 2018)

Ranked Choice Voting - Discussion of Alternate Voting Systems Here and Elsewhere

Cambridge Rules (STV-PR) vs. Modified Borda: City Council 2009-2017

Number of Candidates Ranked: City Council 2009-2017

Cambridge Rules (STV-PR) vs. Modified Borda: School Committee 2009-2017

How does Cambridge fit into the broader discussion?

RCV in Maine - Second House District

Candidate Party #1 Votes Pct #1 Votes Transfer After Transfer Pct - Continuing Ballots
Bruce Poliquin* Republican 131631 46.41% 4695 136326 49.47%
Jared Golden Democrat 128999 45.48% 10232 139231 50.53%
Tiffany Bond Independent 16260 5.73% -16260 0  
William Hoar Independent 6753 2.38% -6753 0  
Exhausted       8086 8086  

* - Incumbent

Notes from the OK Corral - The Envision Cambridge Housing Working Group

Envision CambridgeEnvision Cambridge Updates - Sept 12 Advisory Committee & Sept 13 Housing Working Group Presentation

100% Affordable Housing Overlay Proposal (Sept 13, 2018)

Super-Inclusionary Housing Proposal (Sept 13, 2018)

Environment Performance Incentive Proposal (Sept 13, 2018)

Combined Super-Inclusionary & Environmental Performance Scenarios (Sept 13, 2018)


Mon, Dec 10

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

6:00pm   Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District Commission Meeting  (Lombardi Building, 831 Mass. Ave, Basement Conference Room)

Wed, Dec 12

12:00pm   The City Council's Economic Development & University Relations Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the formation of a city commission dedicated to providing a forum for exploring and addressing the concerns of undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and other post-high school students 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



Old Business

1. Early Voting & State Election, November 6, 2018 - Review

New Business

Thurs, Dec 13

5:30-7:00pm   Commission for Persons with Disabilities meeting  (51 Inman St., 2nd Floor Conference Room)

Mon, Dec 17

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

5:30pm   Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District Commission Meeting  (Lombardi Building, 831 Mass. Ave, Basement Conference Room)

Tues, Dec 18

3:00pm  The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to explore the responsibility and the relevant of CPD officers or other officers working in Cambridge under CPD authority, such as out-of-town officers working a construction detail, to respond to bike-related collisions, whether car/bike, bike/bike, bike/mobility device or bike/pedestrian, to include providing instructions and guidance on how to follow-up with accident reports and will also explore current efforts to digitalize both the state Citation and the state Accident report form.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, Dec 19

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

5:30pm   Cambridge Redevelopment Authority Board Meeting  (Police Station, 125 Sixth St., First Floor Community Room)

[Meeting Agenda and supporting materials]

Thurs, Dec 20

10:00am   Pole & Conduit Commission meeting  (Lombardi Building, 831 Mass. Ave, Basement Conference Room)

Mon, Jan 7

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Jan 8

5:00pm  The City Council's Neighborhood and Long-Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Port Infrastructure Project and ways to mitigate the impacts of this important project on the neighborhood, including the basketball court at Clement Morgan Park, and any other related matter.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, Jan 9

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

5:30pm   The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in Chapter 8.66 entitled “Tree Protection” to amend section 8.66.40 entitled “Applicability” and by adding a new section 8.66.050 entitled “Procedure for other projects”.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Jan 14

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Jan 28

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)