Cambridge InsideOut - Feb 26, 2019
1) Not So Great Expectations - Feb 25, 2019 City Council Agenda
2) Books on Cambridge history
3) February Falderol - Feb 11, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda and OMFUG
4) Ordinance Committee, Tree Removal Ordinance, Moratorium proposal & amendments
5) Save the Groundhogs - Feb 4, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting
6) Which potential 2019 City Council election campaign accounts have been active?
7) The Paper of Record - Selection from the Cambridge Chronicle
8) Civic Calendar
Not So Great Expectations - Feb 25, 2019 City Council Agenda
Perhaps the biggest draw for this meeting will be the anticipated vote on a proposed moratorium on property owners removing any tree above a certain diameter without City permission and an onerous fine. Though I understand there may be some amendments, the current proposal would allow the removal of only "dead, diseased, or dangerous" trees. The background motivation is that some Big Developers removed some trees, so therefore every small property owner must be penalized or prevented from making difficult choices about how to manage their property. I'm still hoping that some wisdom may emerge from this hopelessly politicized travesty, but I expect to be disappointed. I suppose I should start getting used to it because this group of nine city councillors may continue to disappoint as the year progresses as they set the stage for the November municipal election. The script is basically to declare an emergency and then use it to justify loss of freedom and flexibility. Sound familiar? Here are the relevant items:
Unfinished Business #5. 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 Jan 9, 2019 to discuss a 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 8.66.055 entitled “Procedure for other projects.” THE QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED ON OR AFTER FEB 18, 2019.
Committee Report #1. 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 Feb 14, 2019 to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal code to amend Chapter 8.66 entitled “Tree Protection”: in section 8.66.055 entitled “Procedure for Other Significant Tree Removals”.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-105, regarding the feasibility of placing a condition in the public bidding documents prohibiting municipal contractors from displaying any signage other than company makers and contact information on vehicles. [City Solicitor's Response]
If you recall, this requested legal analysis stems from that rather shallow reaction by some city councillors some months ago to a construction vehicle that carried a political message not to their liking. The City Solicitor's response confirms what everyone surely must have known when this Order was filed. Free speech may not always be what you want to hear, but it is protected. That's what has long been Great about America.
Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $600,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Executive Department Extraordinary Expenditures, to be used for shoreline and landscape improvements at Magazine Beach.
This continues to be one of the most refreshing collaborations in recent memory between local residents, their City and State government, and the Mass. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (DCR). There will, of course, be hundreds of pages of gibberish filed by our local "Goose Guy" accusing all parties of every sort of malfeasance. Free speech, you know.
Applications & Petitions #4. A Zoning Petition has been received from the residents of the City of Cambridge requesting that the City Council amend Chapter 8.16 "Noise Control" of the Cambridge Municipal Code. [They are proposing an outright ban on leaf blowers.]
I suppose regulating leaf blowers just wasn't enough for some people. It's got to be a ban. There is a Cambridge subculture that really must be modeling their behavior on Boston's old Watch & Ward Society. Will books be next on the list of Things to be Banned? I'm already expecting to have the future Climate Police one day impound by gas-fired boiler and the internal combustion engine from my VW Bus. Please don't tell them that I also eat meat.
Resolution #5. Resolution on the death of Paula Sharaga. Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Carlone
I knew Paula and considered her one of the most likable politically active people I have met in years. I don't have the words to say just how much of a tragedy this was and how much of a shock it was to hear the news of her death while she was bicycling in the Fenway area.
Resolution #7. Appreciation for Red Mitchell. Councillor Simmons
I want to join with Councillor Simmons in this appreciation. Red is a wonderful guy and a scholar of history. He and I will have to one day soon take a trip down to the Adams Homestead in Quincy, MA to indulge our shared interests.
Order #1. City Council opposition to MBTA Fare Increase Proposal. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon
I was looking for the clause in this Order with suggestions for other funding mechanisms for the MBTA. I'll keep looking. I'm sure it's in there somewhere.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department on a process for establishing a formal, thorough review of the City’s Affordable Home Ownership programs, incorporating a plan for obtaining and analyzing substantial quantitative data inclusive of all types of units. Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Simmons, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey
I suppose the requested information may prove interesting, but the whole concept strikes me as somewhat artificial. If you don't really have the freedom to do with your property as you see fit (within the bounds of applicable zoning), is it really yours?
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City department to discuss the feasibility of allowing small businesses to host live acoustic music performances without a license, and if feasible, present the City Council with a proposal to allow such performances. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern
The requirement of a license simply gives the City (and abutters) some recourse in the event that problems or abuses arise. Perhaps a better idea would be to establish a very simple and very inexpensive (maybe even free) licensing procedure for acoustic music performances. Maybe even have it be an over-the-counter transaction where you simply pick up the list of expectations with the license and we simply trust that they'll be followed.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department and any other relevant City departments to amend the Zoning Ordinance “Table of Uses” to allow for lodging houses in Residential A1, A2, and B Zoning Districts and to determine what tax incentives could be utilized to assist in the conversion of single-family/multi-family houses into lodging houses. Councillor Toomey, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui, Mayor McGovern
I think this could be a good thing that might provide some housing opportunities. The truth is that some people in these districts have been taking in boarders for ages. No whistle, no foul. I don't see the harm even if the whole building is given over to such a use - as long as a resident manager is required to live in the building and keep an eye on things. This idea is a lot better than some other proposals currently being considered, e.g. the "Affordable Housing Overlay".
Order #9. City Council support of retirement fund fossil fuel divestment bill. Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone
There is something unsettling about city councillors dictating conditions on how public employees' pension money should be invested. I can certainly understand the City Council appealing to a retirement board to factor in the potentially negative consequences of their investment choices, but instructing them where they can and cannot invest those funds is a bit of an overreach. How would the City Council feel if the Retirement Board made recommendations about City Council salary and benefits?
Order #10. That the City Manager provide the City Council with information that is offered to limited equity condominium owners regarding the ability to recoup extraordinary repair and maintenance costs, the procedure that is in place to inform purchasers of existing or possible construction and maintenance issues that may result in higher-than expected condo fees, and the possibility of allowing roommates to cover unexpected expenses. Councillor Kelley, Councillor Simmons, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey
In an ideal world, limited equity condominium arrangements should be independent of City agencies. The fact that this Order is being filed only highlights the shortcomings of having the City play an oversized role in the affairs of such buildings. If questions of "the ability of owners of limited equity condominiums to recoup extraordinary repair and maintenance costs" even have to be asked, then maybe the real question should be about the sustainability of this kind of housing model. The order also asks about "the possibility of allowing limited equity owners to have roommates to allow them to cover these sorts of unexpected expenses". If you don't have the right to take in roommates to help cover your expenses, then you don't really own anything. This is more like "pretend ownership".
Order #13. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Economic Development Department on expediting zoning based on the 2015 Commercial Land Use Classification Study and exploring the feasibility of hiring more zoning planners. Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone
I still fail to see why this has taken so long. When we reach the point where a City Council order is filed suggesting how a City department should be managed and how many people should be hired, then something has gone terribly wrong. I haven't seen any City Council orders lately offering managerial advice to the Department of Public Works or the Department of Human Service Programs.
Order #14. That the City Manager is requested to provide the City Council with information regarding accessory dwelling units. Councillor Carlone, Councillor Siddiqui
Committee Report #3. 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 Feb 5, 2019 to discuss the petition filed by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinances in Section 4.22 to allow for a special permit for the alteration of a single, two-family or accessory structure in existence as of January 2019.
I think there are definitely more opportunities out there for accessory dwelling units as a good way to provide housing and flexibility. The recent hearing on this topic seemed to produce more questions than answers. This Order is an attempt to address some of the questions raised. - Robert Winters
Feb 10, 2019 - I'm cleaning up some old email today and found something I wrote a couple of years ago in response to a question about books on Cambridge history. Perhaps you'll find it useful. - RW
It's hard to say where to begin. There was a tradition of Cambridge history-writing in the 19th century that was largely lost during most of the 20th Century. The tradition seems to be having something of a 21st Century revival. Some of my favorites (and I've picked up many of these on eBay) are:
Lucius Paige's History of Cambridge (1877) - you can also read this on the web, e.g. https://archive.org/details/historyofcambrid00paigiala
I mention this one first because it is so often referenced in later histories.
The Cambridge of Eighteen Hundred and Ninety Six (a 50th Anniversary compilation published in 1896 commemorating the transition of Cambridge from Town to City in 1846)
This has a lot of good history in it. I have loaner copies available.
Survey of Architectural History of Cambridge, Volumes 1-5, by the Cambridge Historical Commission
These you can still pick up on eBay and they're at the Cambridge Public Library. I have multiple copies of each volume as loaners.
Volume 1 was originally published in 1967, but a 1989 update is practically a whole other book.
A City's Life and Times, Cambridge in the Twentieth Century, various authors, published by the Cambridge Historical Society, 2007.
Building Old Cambridge, by Susan Maycock and Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commission, recently published and available (no sales tax!) at the Cambridge Historical Commission office as well as local bookstores (with sales tax).
This volume started out, I believe, as a successor volume to Volume 4 of the Survey of Architectural History of Cambridge (Old Cambridge), but it grew into something far more comprehensive.
There are at least, I believe, 5 oral history volumes put together by Sarah Boyer and the Cambridge Historical Commission. I believe they may all still be available for purchase at the CHC office, but some are also available at bookstores (and at the Library).
Cambridge on the Charles, by Alan Seaburg, Thomas Dahill, and Carol Rose, published by Anne Minerva Press. Alan and Thomas are friends and fellow Board members with the Middlesex Canal Association (I'm also the webmaster).
There are lots of other miscellaneous books that I really love, including Ten No License Years in Cambridge, published in 1898, that provides great insight into the temperance movement in Cambridge and the roots of the "good government" movement in the 20th Century. It's available in the Cambridge Room of the Main Library.
The books by Tip O'Neill all have some interesting bits and pieces about Cambridge in the 20th Century.
From: Robert Winters
Subject: Ordinance Committee - Feb 14 hearing on Tree Ordinance
I may not be able to attend or stay around to speak at the Feb 14, 2019 Ordinance Committee hearing on the Tree Ordinance due to teaching responsibilities, so I hope this message will suffice.
I have some concerns regarding the proposed amendments to the Tree Ordinance and the secondary proposal for a moratorium on tree removal except for "dead, diseased, or dangerous" trees. Sometimes the decision to remove a tree is not so clear cut. In fact, homeowners often have to weigh multiple factors before making the often agonizing decision to remove a tree. At the very least, anything that comes out of this process should permit at least some flexibility for homeowners as well as for the City Arborist and the Department of Public Works.
I have a very practical concern right now. I have an ash tree whose trunk leans significantly toward my house, that has already lost upper branches, that has branches that rest directly on my roof, and which currently does double-duty as a utility pole with an Eversource anchor screwed directly into the tree and live electrical lines draped over a branch. The Emerald Ash Borer may very likely kill this tree in another year or two anyway, and I have to make the practical decision whether or not to remove it while I'm dealing with all of these other factors. Eversource has been most unhelpful, but when they finally get around to addressing the electrical issue I have to decide how to proceed. This is not the willy-nilly removal of a tree just for the heck of it. The proposed moratorium completely ties MY hands. What may have happened in Alewife or elsewhere has NOTHING to do with my situation. I am quite sure that there are many other Cambridge homeowners who are in similar situations where they may have to regrettably decide to remove a tree because it's the only sensible thing to do under the circumstances, and they should not be made to pay an onerous fine simply because they had to make a difficult decision.
I would also like to emphasize that in many cases an existing tree is actually restricting the ability of other trees to grow and thrive. The rather simple-minded proposal that any tree removal should be coupled with a tree replacement ignores the fact that there may already be healthy trees that will grow and thrive and replace the tree that is to be removed. This is precisely the situation in my yard and the abutting yards.
In short, any proposal that comes out of the Ordinance Committee and which will ultimately be voted by the City Council MUST include some flexibility for homeowners who have to make a difficult decision. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.
February Falderol - Feb 11, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda and OMFUG
In between bemoaning divine trees at Harvard and ordaining a Tree Tribunal, here are a few mundane Monday items up for City Council consideration:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 19-08, regarding the Craigie Street Water Main break.
This is the kind of topic-specific response I especially like. For example: "The Cambridge water transmission and distribution system consists of about 185 miles of underground pipe, 4,450 valves and 1,800 hydrants (the “Water System”). All these pipes and appurtenances are documented in the City’s GIS system. Each water main is defined by its age (date installed), material, size and whether it is cement lined or not." And this: "CWD has replaced, repaired or added over 2,730 valves in the Water System since 1980 and has also formalized a valve exercising program." And this: "CWD has replaced/rehabilitated or improved about 43 miles of pipe within the Water System since 1992." And this: "In the 50’s and 60’s, all of the large transmission mains were cement lined. In the 90’s, about 9,500 feet of pipe were cement lined as well."
Cambridge residents should really try to get a basic idea of what it takes to keep the most basic elements of their city functioning - things like water, sewer, electric supply, natural gas infrastructure, roadways as well as things like rubbish disposal and recycling. Call it civic education.
Manager's Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-111, regarding a report on TNC vehicles blocking travel lanes.
TNC stands for "Transportation Network Company", a relatively new term necessitated by the advent of entities like Uber and Lyft that do all they can to distinguish themselves from the (regulated) taxi industry. By their account, they're just referral services that connect customers to drivers. One big difference is that there is built-in accountability for taxis, e.g., you could lose your right to operate as penalty for frequent or egregious violations. In contrast, many TNC drivers are just people with a license to drive with no special requirements for either customer service, geographical knowledge of an area, or expertise in lawful driving. Bending and breaking rules are common. This response from Police Commissioner Bard is primarily about short-term blocking of bike lanes for pickup/dropoff of passengers. Designated curb space for this purpose would help, and some existing taxi zones should be re-purposed for this. I don't personally buy the notion that brief stops in bike lanes endanger either cyclists or pedestrians, but it is an inconvenience and the prevalence of these TNC vehicles warrants better allocation of space. However, congested areas with competing needs will never operate like a Swiss watch and it's foolish to believe they ever will. Everybody has to give a little.
Unfinished Business #5. 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 Jan 9, 2019 to discuss a 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 8.66.055 entitled “Procedure for other projects.” [THE QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED ON OR AFTER FEB 18, 2019.]
It will be interesting to see if any actual wisdom emerges from the Feb 14 hearing on this (which some hasty councillors wanted to prevent). This has never been as simple as "Thou Shalt Not Cut That Tree No Matter What", and property owners deserve some flexibility in managing their property. Even if a tree is not currently dead, diseased, or dangerous there are situations when removal is still the best long-term option, especially if the removal may lead to better-situated, healthier trees thriving in the long term.
Applications & Petitions #1. A Zoning Petition has been received from Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridge Side Galeria Associates trust to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance by adding a new Section 13.100 to Article 13.00 of the Zoning Ordinance and to amend the Zoning Map to add a new PUD-8 District overlay that certain area (which includes parcels and portions of ways and streets) labeled as "PUD-8 district".
It would be premature to comment much about this, but I definitely will look forward to a revitalized First Street, greater permeability through the site, and more diverse uses (including some housing), and improved architecture. I'm looking forward to hearing what the Planning Board and Councillor Carlone (who was involved in the original planning and development of the site) have to say as this petition makes its way through the hearings.
Order #1. That the City Council go on record reaffirming its support of the homeless issues bills awaiting action in the House and Senate, and entreats its elected delegation in both bodies to actively work on moving these measures out of their respective committees on toward adoption. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons
Order #2. City Council support of legislation that protects children. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons
Order #7. That the City Council go on record in support of an “Act relative to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program” and an “Act to ensure right to counsel in eviction proceedings". Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui
These three Orders encompass support for a range of proposals that shouldn't be particularly controversial.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on the Apr 23, 2018 Policy Order seeking additional funding for affordable housing concerns. Councillor Simmons, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern
This Order really should be understood in the context of other housing-related proposals currently being considered. These include the "Overlay" proposal to facilitate the transfer of private property to public or quasi-public ownership, support for a real estate transfer tax either via Home Rule or enabling legislation at the state level to fund this property transfer, and other initiatives. The City's policy seems to be centered on transferring as much privately-owned property into public or quasi-public ownership as possible. I'm not so sure that this is a very good long-term policy in spite of any short- or medium-term housing affordability issues.
Order #9. That Rule 39, "Rules of Travel" under the “Rules of the City Council” hereby be amended to be titled "Rules of Travel and Other Council-Related Expenditures." Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey
The basic idea here is that some councillors want more flexibility in funds available to them for hosting constituents and similar purposes. Do they realize that this is the reason there is a City Council office with a budget and staff? When has it not been the case that a city councillor could simply ask the staff to make arrangements for such get-togethers?
Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez transmitting a memorandum from Councillor Siddiqui, transmitting the submission of the Mayor's Blue-Ribbon Task Force on Tenant Displacement Jan 29, 2018 meeting minutes.
It will be interesting to see if this task force actually focuses on practical ways to address these difficulties.
Awaiting Report: 5 from 2016, 2 from 2017, 56 from 2018 (8 resolved this week), and 16 from 2019 (1 resolved this week).
That's a total of 79 items awaiting a response with 9 of them addressed in this agenda. That's better than most weeks. It really is ridiculous to be dragging along items from so long ago without a response. If there really is neither the need nor the willingness to act on some of these, a simple response to the effect of "Not now, Councillors" would be better than leaving so many of these things to moulder. Seriously, is anyone still all that fired up to modify zoning to restrict restaurants where a wood-fired oven is used? If the City would just come back with a very basic proposal for an Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, we could scratch a couple more items off the list. It's a lot easier to respond to a shorter list. - Robert Winters
Save the Groundhogs - Feb 4, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Research indicates that the groundhog population in Cambridge has reached an historic low. The consequences in terms of city planning will likely be devastating. While contemplating this impending disaster, consider the following items up for discussion as we enter the last six weeks of winter.
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, requesting that the City Council vote to accept Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64N, Section 3 (“G.L.c.64N, §3”), which is the state law that allows municipalities to impose a local excise tax of up to 3% on retail sales of cannabis within the City.
Into the General Fund, please. No earmarks.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-104, regarding a report on a list of streets where it is recommended that the speed be reduced to 20 MPH.
If you look at the map, this is pretty close to a citywide 20mph speed limit.
Addendum: Sign, sign, everywhere a sign; Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind; Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign? Apparently there are over 400 streets that will have to get a 20mph sign because, you know, state law. You can't paint it on the roadway, and you can't just post the whole city as 20mph with the roads (including numbered highways) with slightly high speed limits being the exception. Logic vs. legislation.
Charter Right #2. That the City Manager is requested to direct the appropriate City departments to conduct a formal and professional financial assessment of the additional value created for the owner/petitioner by up-zonings for developments of more than 50,000 square feet.
The information will be interesting and useful, but I'm still concerned about the quid-pro-quo aspect of zoning for sale whether it be for cash or subsidized housing units.
Addendum: The Mayor amended the Order to also assess the added benefit to the City associated with upzoning. I pointed out to the Mayor after the meeting that similar analysis should accompany downzoning petitions as well. About 20 years ago downzoning was all the rage and this definitely reduced the value of many properties. Some of the upzonings in recent years simply added back the height/density that had been taken away.
Resolution #5. Retirement of Paul Burke from the Cambridge Police Department. Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mallon
I have met many members of the Cambridge Police over the years, and Paul Burke ranks among my most favorite. Happy trails, Paul, and I hope to see you around town.
Order #1. Dedication sign in honor of Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Mayor McGovern
Ray worked on my VW Bus once, but he'll never admit it. Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe.
Order #3. That the City Manager confer with Eversource and the appropriate City departments to undertake a series of studies and analyses related to finance, health and safety, building design, and long-term electricity needs before the construction of a substation in East Cambridge. Councillor Mallon, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Siddiqui
Anyone who has ever dealt with Eversource knows that they rarely do long-term planning - just reaction to developments being built, so let's just look at this as a way of assisting them. I'm sure they do need the new substation. The only question is where it should be located.
Addendum: There were concerns expressed during Public Comment and by some city councillors regarding potential adverse health effects associated with the electromagnetic fields adjacent to major electrical infrastructure such as the one proposed on Fulkerson Street. I wonder if they are aware that there are several high voltage underground transmission lines criss-crossing the city. Should we all run for the exits?
Order #5. That the Central Square Massachusetts Avenue sidewalk maintenance/repairs and replacement tree planting become part of the River Street/Barron Plaza project to bring Central Square back to the original circa 1990 intent. Councillor Carlone, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon
Sure, fix up the sidewalks of Central Square and then some. I'm not sure that the "1990 intent" is necessarily the appropriate standard. There have been many reconfigurations of the sidewalks and streets of Central Square over the years and not all have been for the best.
Order #6. City Council support of traffic safety bills SD.847/HD.1653, SD.1461 and SD.1383/HD.1534. Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern
The most significant of these (to me) is the setting of a safe passing distance of vulnerable road users, including cyclists. Nobody should get buzzed by a ton or more of flying steel, and that includes people standing on the sides of roadways. I also like the use of red light cameras, but you know all too well this will lead to hours of pointless debate about the evils of surveillance and the inalienable rights of scofflaws.
Order #7. Proclaim Feb 12, 2019 as Darwin Day in Cambridge. Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone
You can use the opportunity to announce the Darwin Awards.
Late Order #12. City Council support of “An Act promoting housing opportunity and mobility through eviction sealing (SD 526 and HD 3815 HOMES).” Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Toomey
The concern expressed in the Order is that if a tenant files a complaint against a landlord it will go on the tenant's "permanent record" and may make renting more difficult in the future. That's a perfectly reasonable concern, though I don't have much sympathy for repeat offenders.
Committee Report #1. 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 Dec 12, 2018 to discuss 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.
I wish I could have attended this hearing, but I was busy teaching some of the very same people this proposal is about. I do wonder if the students the City Council hears from are really a representative sample. I somehow doubt it.
Addendum: Several councillors chimed in on this. I have to say that forming a commission of young people that deliberates only about things of concern to young people seems awfully self-serving. A much better perspective (and one expressed by some councillors) was the importance of aggressive outreach to younger people who might serve on the whole range of City Boards & Commissions - maybe even some new ones. My suggestion is that we create the Board of Fun and charge it with coming up with ways to make Cambridge more fun for people of all ages. I can't imagine the Planning Board ever generating plans for miniature golf and/or batting cages. It took the Charles River Conservancy to bring the skate park to North Point.
Communications & Reports #1. A communication was received from City Clerk Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a memorandum from Councillor Kelley regarding Tree Removal Comments.
Councillor Kelley makes some good points in his memo. The real problem, however, is the complete inflexibility of the moratorium proposal some councillors are backing. The inability last week of four city councillors to understand the meaning of due process continues to stun me. Will blind zeal rule the day or will an adult legislator emerge with a thoughtful compromise that provides some flexibility for homeowners faced with difficult decisions? The hearing on Feb 14 should be very telling. - Robert Winters
Which potential 2019 City Council election campaign accounts have been active?
[Let's be clear that not all of those listed will actually be candidates in 2019 and there may be others not listed here. You decide.]
2019 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports - The Usual Suspects - You can sort the table by any field or open the full spreadsheet
2017 Cambridge City Council Bank Reports (Feb 6, 2018)
Ranked-choice voting could change Massachusetts elections (Feb 25, 2019)
Housing crisis fuels homelessness in Cambridge, statewide (Feb 20, 2019)
A breakdown of 40B affordable housing (Feb 13, 2019)
Cambridge Community Center launches anniversary fund (Feb 11, 2019)
MBTA proposes 6.3 percent fare hike (Jan 28, 2019)
Should students have a say on policy? (Jan 28, 2019)
Cambridge eliminates fees for street performers (Jan 15, 2019)
Cambridge City Council passes CCOPS law (Dec 26, 2018)
CPA fund lacks cash in Massachusetts (Dec 18, 2018)
FCC rule could gut funding for Cambridge community TV (Nov 30, 2018)
Two arrested, one injured after shootout in Cambridge (updated Nov 29, 2018)
Cambridge residents asked to vote on budgeting (Nov 21, 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)
Resident parking permits for 2019 available (Oct 26, 2018)
Global market complicates local recycling, frustrates residents (Sept 17, 2018)
Mon, Feb 25
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
10:00am The City Council's Human Services and Veterans Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the lessons learned from the death of Laura Levis, and to discuss what measures are being enacted to instill a greater level of confidence in local Cambridge Health Alliance centers to prevent another occurrence of this nature. This meeting will be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
2:00pm The City Council's Transportation and Public Utilities Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the MBTA’s Better Bus Project report as it relates to proposed changes to bus lines and service throughout Cambridge. (Sullivan Chamber)
2:30pm School Committee Athletic Eligibility Ad-Hoc Sub-Committee meeting (School Committee Conference Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway)
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the new policy to be rolled out in the spring season. It is anticipated that this meeting will end by or before 4:30pm.
5:30pm Roundtable/Working Meeting between the City Council and School Committee to discuss plans for the Tobin/VLUS school design and construction process. This meeting will be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
6:30pm 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
6:30pm PB# 345
229-231 Third Street – Special Permit application by Native Sun Wellness, Inc. to convert an existing building to a Medical Marijuana Dispensary with no change to the amount of gross floor area pursuant to pursuant to Section 11.800 (Registered Marijuana Dispensary Use in the Industry A-1 District). (Materials)
7:30pm Industry B Hotel Use Zoning Petition
Zoning petition by Melissa Grippo, et al., to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by adding the following sentence to the end of Section 5.30.11. (Materials)
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the Industry B District, a hotel use (Section 4.31.i.2), shall be governed by the second number (4.0) for purposes of determining the Maximum Ratio of Floor Area to Lot Area.”
8:00pm (expected) PB# 315 (continued from 10/2/2018 - Joint meeting of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority Board & Cambridge Planning Board)
325 Main Street – Design Review (Materials)
Presentation: Schematic Design Proposal of 325 Main Street, Phase Two of the MXD Infill Development Concept Plan, Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan
2:00pm The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to review unsolved and/or aging homicide investigations in Cambridge, to include “cold” case work and limitations, legal or tactical, on sharing relevant information with the general public. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in Title 12 entitled “Streets, Sidewalks and Public Places” by adding a new chapter 12.22 entitled “Cycling Safety Ordinance”. This meeting will be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm School Committee Special Education and Student Supports Subcommittee meeting (School Committee Conference Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway)
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the District’s reading curriculum, Foundations, Multi-Tiered Student Supports, and reading interventions, including Reading Recovery. It is anticipated that this meeting will end no later than 7:30pm.
Mon, Mar 4
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
6:00pm The City Council's Housing Committee will conduct a public hearing to continue discussions on the Affordable Housing Overlay District. This meeting will be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
1:00pm The City Council's Transportation and Public Utilities Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss how Transit Benefits Ordinance are used in other cities to further sustainable transportation goals, and whether Cambridge could benefit from implementing a Transit Benefit Ordinance. (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
2019 Annual City Census
Wed, Mar 13
8:00-9:30am Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) Meeting (Sullivan Chamber, City Hall)
3:00pm The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss under what circumstance the City of Cambridge might be interested in submitting a home rule petition to allow the City Council or another branch of Municipal Government to define, if, where and how public consumption of cannabis might be allowed in Cambridge. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Mar 18
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Mar 20
4:00pm The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the implications of identity theft and cybercrime on local residents and businesses to include Cambridge Police Departmental responses to these events and possible proactive measures to help people protect against such crimes. (Ackermann Room)
5:00pm The City Council's Housing Committee will conduct a public hearing to continue discussions on the Affordable Housing Overlay District. This meeting will be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Mar 25
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Mar 27
3:00pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a zoning petition filed by Melissa and Christopher Grippo et al to amend the Zoning Ordinance by adding at the end of section 5.30.11 a sentence that reads; not with standing the foregoing, in Industry B District, a hotel use (Section 4.31.2) shall be governed by the second number (4.0) for purposes of determining the maximum ratio of floor area to lot area. This meeting will be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:00pm The City Council's Housing Committee will conduct a public hearing to continue discussions on the Affordable Housing Overlay District. This meeting will be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Apr 1
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Apr 3
5:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the zoning petition filed by Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridge Side Galleria Trust to add a new Section 13.100 to Article 13 and amend the zoning map to add a new PUD-8 District Overlay. This meeting will be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)