October and November Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|WAKE UP AND WEED!
Dates: Thursdays 10am to noon
Place: Meets at the volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot.
Join our weed-warrior crew! We are Fresh Pond citizens dedicated to keeping invasive plants at bay for the benefit of wildlife, water and humans alike. No experience or long-term commitment necessary! All tools are provided; sturdy shoes, pants, long-sleeves and a water bottle are strongly recommended.
|FRESH POND KIDS' WALKS
Dates: Fridays 10 to 11am
Place: The gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their parents/caretakers, and play in our urban wild! We might read stories, look out for birds and bugs, and make some crafts. Please come dressed ready for the weather (and in clothes that are OK to get dirty). Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays between 9:30am and 1pm
Join other stewardship-minded volunteers in caretaking the native plant restoration area next to Lusitania Meadow, and learn all about the diversity of native plant life! Drop in and lend a hand with watering new plantings, making rabbit cages, pruning, weeding, and other gardening tasks. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come, and for more information.
|Fresh Pond After-school Kids' Walks
Dates: First and third Fridays (November 4th and 18th), 3:30 to 4:30pm
Place: Meets at the Gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for an after-school romp in our urban wilds! This program is intended for kids of all ages accompanied by their parents/caretakers. Please come dressed for the weather and in clothes that are ok to get dirty. Register for parking and meeting information with Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Fascinating Fungi of Fresh Pond
Date: Sunday, October 23, 2 to 4:30pm
Place: Maynard Ecology Center, 650 Concord Avenue, basement of Neville Place
Mycologist Lawrence Millman has identified 256 mushroom species at Fresh Pond Reservation. For the past twelve years he has led Fresh Pond mushroom forays that give participants the chance to add to this list as well as learn more about the world of fungi. He'll also be signing copies of his beautiful book Fascinating Fungi of New England, the first guidebook devoted exclusively to New England mushrooms. To register and for important parking information, email Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|A Bug’s Night Out
Date: Monday, October 24, 6:00 to 7:30pm
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
The night air is filled with mysterious flying insects and other creatures scuttling across the dirt. Come learn about the invertebrate nightlife at Fresh Pond! We’ll set up some bright lights set up to draw in stealthy night dwellers. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
|Do the Duck Walk
Date: Saturday, October 29, 1 to 3pm
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
Fresh Pond Reservation is an attractive resting place for a variety of birds - especially waterfowl - during the fall migration. We will use a telescope to get good looks at birds on the water, and binoculars to look at songbirds. We have binoculars to lend, and will show you how to use them. Beginners are welcome! To register and for important parking information, email Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Halloween Animal Parade for Families
Date: Sunday, October 30th, 2 to 3pm
Place: Starts at the Kingsley Park benches
Join us for a Halloween ramble around Kingsley Park! Come dressed as a Fresh Pond animal or color your own mask from Ranger Jean. Have your picture taken and posted in the ranger station! Elementary aged children accompanied by an adult are welcome! If you need ideas- here are a few: raccoon, squirrel, coyote, rabbit, turtle, frog, fish, butterfly, red winged black bird, American eagle, ant, spider, crow, coyote, chipmunk. This is a treat-free event!
|Howl-O’-Ween Dog and Companion Costume Promenade
Date: Sunday, October 30th, 4:30 to 5:30pm
Place: Kingsley Park Bowl
Calling all reservoir dogs and their human companions! Let your creativity shine by the two of you coming to Fresh Pond in costume for a pre-Halloween promenade. Photos will be taken and posted in the Ranger Station! Dog treats offered from Ranger Jean. All dogs must be leashed except Cambridge license-wearing dogs that respond to their keeper’s commands.
|Family-Friendly Mushroom Walk & Nature Crafts
Date: Saturday, November 5, 10:00am to 1:00pm
10am-11am: Mushroom Walk (Meeting place: Ranger's station)
11am-1pm: Nature Arts & Crafts (Kingsley Park, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway)
12pm-1pm: Milkweed Planting (Kingsley Park, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway)
Join us for some family-friendly fun at Fresh Pond! We will begin with a ramble in search of fungi around Fresh Pond. Afterwards, drop by Kingsley Park for some nature-themed arts and crafts. We’ll have mushroom prints, potato stamps, leaf rubbings, and more! While you’re there, learn about the monarch butterfly and plant some milkweed to support its caterpillars. On your way out play at our new nature playground, also located at Kingsley Park. All ages welcome! For more information and to register, please email Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Milkweed Pod Swap & Planting in Kingsley Bioswale
Date: Saturday, November 5, noon
Place: Kingsley Park, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Perhaps best known as the sole source of sustenance for Monarch butterfly caterpillars, the milkweed plant has diverse uses in the natural world. Many other insects depend on it for their habitat. Monarch butterfly numbers have plummeted in recent years as a result of the loss of milkweed habitat. Bring a few (ripe) milkweed pods from your own property or legal collection site to swap, or come to learn and help plant some milkweed seeds in the Kingsley Bioswale. We will provide seed-collecting guidelines and information on planting techniques. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility Tour
Date: Monday, November 14, 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Meets at the front door, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Find out how water that falls as rain in the suburbs 10 miles west of Cambridge is transported to Fresh Pond, and then tested, treated, and delivered to the City’s residents and businesses! You’ll have the chance to speak with water treatment staff, see the equipment in action, and check out our water quality lab. Advance notice is appreciated if coming with a large group. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Martine at (617) 349-6489 or email@example.com.
|Seasonal Walkabout with Ranger Jean
Date: Friday, November 18, 10:30 to 11:30am
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
We will monitor wildlife by sign, track, or presence, and make note of weather, state of plants, condition of water and other abiotic resources. On these monthly walks, help chart the seasonal changes of some of our most active wildlife spots, or simply come and enjoy the walk. Come dressed to be outdoors for the hour. Attend one or the series and develop your ability to take in more of the reservation. No dogs please! Extreme weather cancels. For more info or to RSVP, contact Ranger Jean at (508)-562-7605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Autumn Bird Walk
Date: Saturday, November 19, 9:00am to 11:00am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
We will look for migrating songbirds and waterfowl that stop at Fresh Pond Reservation to rest and feed while on the way south for the winter. We also may see a variety of year-round avian residents. We have a telescope for close looks at ducks on the water, and binoculars to lend you if you don’t have your own. Beginners are welcome! Children are welcome with an adult. To register and for important parking information, email Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com.
|Welcome to Fresh Pond @ Black’s Nook
Date: Saturday, November 19, 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Place: Meets at the Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
Are you new to Cambridge or the Fresh Pond area? Looking to learn more about restoration on the Reservation? Join Ranger Jean for an introductory tour of Black’s Nook. The tour will cover the rich human and natural history of the land, as well as new improvements. A great opportunity to bring questions or to see what Fresh Pond Reservation is all about! For any RSVPs or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (508) 562-7605.
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or email@example.com for any RSVPs or questions!
Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership in Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation costs only $10 per year ($5 for seniors and students, $15 for families). To join, fill out a membership form available in the Ranger Station information racks, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at www.friendsoffreshpond.org to download a form.
Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants. Upcoming Programs
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sun, Oct 23. Crow Hill, Leominster, MA. 5 mi. scenic hike on the Mid-State trail from Redemption Rock to Crow Hill and back. Easy pace with good views along the way. Mostly easy woods walk, but with a few steep sections. May also see rock-climbers at Crow Hill. 9:30am-4pm (approx). Bring lunch/water/sturdy footwear. Carpool from Lincoln. From Rte. 95/128 exit 28, take Trapelo Rd. W (2.5 mi.) to end. L onto Lincoln Rd. (1.3 mi.) to RR sta. pkg. on R before tracks. Heavy rain cancels. Ls Jerry Yos & Gail Zwink.||Wed, Oct 26. Blue Hills Hike, Milton. Blue Hills - 5 mile brisk-paced hike along yellow triangle trail with rolling hills, 10:30am-1:30pm. Meet at Houghton's Pond parking lot. Bring lunch and water. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.|
|Sat, Oct 29, 2016. Cutler State Park walk, Needham. 10:00am-Noon. Join us for a walk in this convenient (Needham just off of Route 95/128), yet expansive reservation. Moderate pace, easy trails with some gentle hills and rocks/roots. Bring water and snacks. No children or dogs. Heavy rain cancels. Call Lisa if uncertain. Ls Lisa Fleischman (617-244-5747 before 9 pm), Mary Wisbach (781-771-3680 before 9pm).||Sat, Nov 5. Castle Island, South Boston. Fast-paced seven-mile scenic walk along ocean to Castle Island, 10:00am-1:30pm. Bring lunch and water. Meet inside JFK/UMass Red Line T station, upper level gates (no nearby parking). Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.|
|Sat, Nov 12. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Great Meadows and Two Brother's Rocks. 10:00am-12:30pm. Enjoy nature and camaraderie, laced with environmental and historical tidbits: A five mile easy walk along the Concord River, through Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Timber Creek Conservation Land, Governor Thomas Dudley Park. Start and end at Great Meadows parking by the intersection of Rte 4 and Concord River. L Marlies Henderson.||Sat, Nov 19. Rock Meadow Conservation Land, Belmont. Slow-paced nature walk through fields and forests to enjoy nature in mid-autumn as the natural world prepares for winter. The walk will focus on plant ID and fun natural history. 9:00am-12:00noon. Click on link for directions. Steady rain or heavy snow cancels. L Boot Boutwell.|
Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut:
If you would like to be a guest (or co-host) one of these Tuesdays, let me know. - RW
|Episode 177 (Oct 18, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Recap of Oct 17 City Council meeting, esp. bike-related Orders
|Episode 178 (Oct 18, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Bicycle safety; demographic analysis of the Sept 8 primary, 26th Middlesex House district
|Episode 175 (Oct 11, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: presidential debates, Red Sox elimination, a death in Porter Square, Riverside zoning
|Episode 176 (Oct 11, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: The Foundry, charter school opinions, absentee ballots, Early Voting
|Episode 173 (Oct 4, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]||Episode 174 (Oct 4, 2016, 6:00pm)|
|Episode 171 (Sept 27, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]||Episode 172 (Sept 27, 2016, 6:00pm)|
|Episode 169 (Sept 13, 2016, 5:30pm)||Episode 170 (Sept 13, 2016, 6:00pm)|
|Episode 167 (Sept 6, 2016, 5:30pm) - w/remarks on the State Primary||Episode 168 (Sept 6, 2016, 6:00pm)|
|Episode 165 (Aug 23, 2016, 5:30pm) with Ronald Benjamin||Episode 166 (Aug 23, 2016, 6:00pm)|
|Episode 163 (Aug 9, 2016, 5:30pm)||Episode 164 (Aug 9, 2016, 6:00pm)|
|Episode 161 (Aug 2, 2016, 5:30pm)||Episode 162 (Aug 2, 2016, 6:00pm)|
|Episode 159 (July 26, 2016, 5:30pm)||Episode 160 (July 26, 2016, 6:00pm)|
|Episode 157 (July 19, 2016, 5:30pm) - 1996 episode of original Cambridge InsideOut [Bob Moncrieff's 1996 article on demise of rent control]||Episode 158 (July 19, 2016, 6:00pm) - 1996 episode of original Cambridge InsideOut|
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
ELECTION: Early voting begins October 24 (Oct 21, 2016)
Plans for Out of Town News kiosk in Harvard Square draw more fire (Oct 20, 2016 by Joanna Duffy)
'Safe Streets Now:' Cambridge City Council endorses safety measures following fatal bike crash (Oct 19, 2016 by Joanna Duffy)
'Drought of record' forces Cambridge to pay double for water (Oct 18, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)
'Close to home:' Cambridge hospice celebrates 25 years pioneering end-of-life care (Oct 18, 2016 by Monica Jimenez)
Shuttered MONROE club to be taken over by Spanish-Caribbean restaurant (Oct 14, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)
Porter Square crash victim Joe Lavins remembered at vigil (Oct 11, 2016 by Al Gentile)
Harvard, MIT professors win Nobel in economics (Oct 11, 2016 by Paul Wiseman and Karl Ritter, Associated Press)
Councillor calls Foundry process egregious; city manager says project not finalized (Oct 10, 2016 by Adam Sennott)
Central Square's Dance Complex celebrates 25 years in Cambridge (Oct 6, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
Lexington cyclist killed after crash with 18-wheeler in Cambridge's Porter Square (Oct 5, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)
New Cambridge Dads podcast focuses on overcoming absent fathers (Oct 4, 2016 by Amy Saltzman w/Natalie Handy)
Guest column: Vote for equity, vote yes on Question 2 (Oct 3, 2016 by Patricia Nolan and Jan Devereux)
King Open School construction begins in Cambridge (Oct 2, 2016)
Longtime city employee, Louis DePasquale, selected as Cambridge's next city manager (Sept 29, 2016 by Monica Jimenez)
Play Me, I'm Yours: Pianos placed in public spaces throughout Cambridge (Sept 29, 2016 by Julie Cohen)
Magazine Beach Park to undergo renovations (Sept 29, 2016)
Ash withdraws candidacy for Cambridge city manager post; says 'not the right fit' (Sept 28, 2016 by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service)
COLUMN: Shaping the future of our public schools in Cambridge (Sept 23, 2016 by Mayor E. Denise Simmons and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Salim)
Corner of Ivy Street dedicated to Edward Cyril Chase (Sept 23, 2016)
3 vie for Cambridge city manager post; recent forum focuses on their visions for city (Sept 21, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
LETTER: Cambridge mayor writes of daughter's chemo treatment (Sept 20, 2016 by Mayor Denise Simmons)
Police: Woman's face slashed during 15-person fight after Cambridge Carnival (Sept 16, 2016)
[Ed. Note - I suppose that's in improvement over last year's shooting incident at Cambridge Carnival.]
PROJECT TRACKER: Update on the King Open School redesign in Cambridge (Sept 16, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
'Celebrating a milestone:' Italian Feast of Saints ushers in 90th anniversary (Sept 16, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
60 SECONDS: Cambridge City Council meeting highlights (Sept 14, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
Cambridge councillors 'lukewarm' on Foundry proposal (Sept 14, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
Connolly wins big victory over Toomey; Jehlen secures seat against Cheung (Sept 8, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
60 SECONDS: Cambridge School Committee meeting highlights (Sept 8, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
DPW employees honored with Barron Family Award (Sept 9, 2016)
COLUMN: Cambridge mayor responds to Black Lives Matter demonstration (Sept 6, 2016 by Mayor Simmons))
Superintendent: Five things to know before heading back to school in Cambridge (Aug 27, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
Former 'Car Talk' producer writes first novel about Cambridge (Aug 26, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
Retirement prompts Lanes and Games apartment project (Aug 25, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
Remains of Cambridge POW found 65 years after death (Aug 10, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
How many marijuana dispensaries does Cambridge need? (Aug 3, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
'Another chance at life:' Cambridge vigil highlights the hundreds of lives saved with Narcan (Aug 2, 2016 by Natalie Handy)
Cambridge Conservation Commission Member Sought
Oct 17, 2016 – Acting City Manager Lisa Peterson is seeking a Cambridge resident to fill a vacancy on the Cambridge Conservation Commission.
The Conservation Commission is responsible for administration of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (WPA), a state law governing activities in and immediately adjacent to local wetlands, waterways and floodplains. The Commission holds two regularly scheduled public meetings each month to review permit applications under the WPA, issue permits. and conduct other business related to the management of Cambridge’s natural resource areas.
The Conservation Commission consists of seven members appointed by the City Manager to serve three-year terms. Cambridge residents with expertise in landscape architecture, civil/environmental engineering, hydrology, ecology, or law are encouraged to apply.
The Commission generally meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month at the Cambridge City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 4th floor conference room. Please note that due to holidays and other scheduling conflicts, the Commission only has three meeting dates for the remainder of 2016, on October 24, November 14 and December 12.
Interested persons should send a letter of interest and/or resume via e-mail, mail or fax by Friday, November 18, 2016 to:
Lisa Peterson, Acting City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
City of Cambridge Recycling Advisory Committee Vacancy
Oct 11, 2016 – The City of Cambridge is seeking residents and local professionals interested in serving on the Advisory Committee on Environmentally Desirable Practices/Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) beginning January 2017. The RAC is a volunteer committee which provides advice, recommendations, and assistance to the Department of Public Works (DPW) regarding recycling, composting, reuse, and waste reduction. The DPW strives to meet the goals of the MassDEP Solid Waste Master Plan to reduce residential trash. The RAC does this through research, feedback, public outreach, and event planning.
Cambridge Recycling began in 1989 with a few volunteers dedicated to beginning a recycling drop-off program. Today, the City recovers more than 11,000 tons/year of recyclables from more than 44,000 households. Many residents drop off food scraps and every public school has composting. The curbside food scraps collection pilot diverts over six tons per week, and will expand citywide in the fall of 2017.
Currently the City’s goals to reduce waste match those in the MA Solid Waste Master Plan. Using 2008 as a baseline year, the City aims to reduce trash 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Some strategies that City staff have identified to realize this reduction in trash include maximize recycling, educate and increase reduction of food waste while implementing food scrap collection programs; strengthen programs that encourage reuse, repair and donation of durable goods and materials; and support extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation for problem products.
The Committee has been active for over 20 years and consists of at least nine members with a demonstrated interest in the topics listed above. Members serve a three-year term and are expected to attend monthly meetings (Sept-June). The City seeks members that represent local businesses and property managers, Cambridge residents and users of the Recycling Center, universities, non-profit organizations and social service agencies whose goals overlap with waste reduction.
Duties, Responsibilities, and Minimum Requirements include:
- Attend and participate in monthly meeting, held second Wednesday of the month (September-June) at 8am;
- Participate in creating committee direction and implementation of ideas;
- Take a leadership role in projects, such as doing research, organizing & attending events, advocating for Extended Producer Responsibility legislation, etc;
- Work with the Public Works Recycling Division, Climate Protection Committee, and other appropriate City staff to provide feedback on City initiatives and collaborate on various projects;
- Research different approaches to communication, education and best practices for recycling, composting, reuse and waste reduction programs;
- Disseminate outreach materials and post flyers in the community to educate the public;
- Write articles for all varieties of media promoting City programs and services including newspaper editorials, blog posts, newsletter articles, etc;
- Initiate, plan, attend and run events to promote recycling, composting, reuse and waste reduction;
- Recruit additional volunteers for specific events and projects;
- Meet with the community and participate in at least 2-3 events, such as Danehy Park Family Day, Family Fun Day, Fresh Pond Day, May Fair, block parties;
- Continually promote positive recycling, composting, reuse, and waste reduction whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Helpful Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
- Advocacy for state and federal policy on extended producer responsibility;
- Knowledge of the reuse industry;
- Familiarity with the Cambridge Public Schools;
- Knowledge about using recycled materials
Interested persons should submit a letter of interest by email by Friday, November 10, 2016 describing their relevant experience and their professional/personal interest in these issues to:
Lisa Peterson, Acting City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Please note that all current Committee members interested in serving again must submit a letter of interest by November 10, 2016.
Cambridge Human Rights Commission Vacancy
Sept 23, 2016 – Acting City Manager Lisa Peterson is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Human Rights Commission (CHRC). Made up of 11 members who serve three-year terms, the CHRC meets on the first Thursday of every month at 6pm. The Commission seeks Cambridge residents representing the diversity of Cambridge.
Commissioners are expected to work with other members of the Commission and staff to fulfill the goals and objectives of the Cambridge Human Rights Commission Ordinance (CMC Chapter 2.76). Commissioners are expected to attend monthly meetings, participate in subcommittees on outreach and public education, and work with Commission staff on the investigation, mediation and resolution of complaints filed with the Commission which allege discrimination in housing, public accommodations, employment or education based upon race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, family status, military status or source of income.
For more information, contact Nancy Schlacter, Cambridge Human Rights Commission, at 617-349-4396 or email@example.com. Letters of interest, including resume and/or applicable experience, can be sent via mail, fax or e-mail by Friday, October 28, 2016 to:
Lisa Peterson, Acting City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Coming up at the October 17, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting
The dominant items this week are a flurry of environment-related communications from Acting City Manager Lisa Peterson and a torrent of bicycle-related City Council orders. There is also the anticipated filing of the "Central Square Restoration Petition." Here are some of the more interesting items:
One again we see the wisdom of the Cambridge Water Board in establishing years ago this backup plan for emergencies and prolonged droughts. Hopefully we'll be able to get back on Cambridge water (from Lexington, Lincoln, Weston, and Waltham) before too long.
Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting Communication from Lisa C. Peterson, Acting City Manager, relative to the transfer of $33,500 from the General Fund Employee Benefits (salary adjustment) Salary and Wages account to the General Fund Election Salary and Wages account to pay for wages associated with early voting for the State/Presidential election.
As you can see, Early Voting isn't cheap. It will be interesting to see what the actual utilization is by location, day, and time of day so that Early Voting can be done most efficiently in future state and federal elections.
Perhaps the most interesting sentence in the report is this: "The first phase of this plan is to ready the City for the expansion Citywide of the curb-side organics collection program. It is presently expected that such will occur in the fall of 2017."
Manager's Agenda #7. Transmitting Communication from Lisa C. Peterson, Acting City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $190,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Community Development Other Ordinary Maintenance account to complete a Low Carbon Energy Supply Study.
Manager's Agenda #8. Transmitting Communication from Lisa C. Peterson, Acting City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $47,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Community Development Other Ordinary Maintenance account to complete a community-wide Greenhouse gas inventory.
Manager's Agenda #9. Transmitting Communication from Lisa C. Peterson, Acting City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $38,300 from Free Cash to the General Fund Community Development Other Ordinary Maintenance account which will be used to procure consultant services to augment Cambridge’s core environmental goals.
I'm not sure why all of these appropriations appear on this agenda this week. It seems to not be a coincidence.
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Lisa C. Peterson, Acting City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the William Noyes Webster Foundation, Inc, Zoning Petition (expansion of Medical Marijuana Overlay District 1 in Alewife).
Committee Report #2. 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 Sept 22, 2016 to discuss the zoning petition filed by Jane W. Heatley, President of the William Noyes Webster Foundation, Inc. to amend Section 20.700, Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts by extending the district.
In regard to this and other marijuana-related zoning petitions, they may all be eventually eclipsed by (a) a citywide change in the use tables in most business zones and (b) the outcome of Question 4 on Election Day that may legalize/regulate recreational marijuana. In spite of a variety of statements saying that there is no relation between medicinal marijuana legalization/regulation and recreational marijuana legalization/regulation, this seems nearly certain to be only a temporary state of affairs.
Committee Report #5. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Oct 5, 2016 to discuss the refiled petition to amend the Zoning Map in the Riverside Neighborhood from the existing Residence C-1 to Residence C within the area bounded by Franklin Street, River Street and Putnam Avenue.
It was interesting to read articles in the Boston Globe and elsewhere taking a very dim view of this zoning petition as thwarting the creation of affordable housing in the name of "neighborhood preservation". I suspect the truth is a little more nuanced, e.g. the desire to slow or stop infill/backyard development. It's not at all clear that any of that kind of development is leading to much or any "affordable" housing.
Applications & Petitions #5. A zoning petition has been received entitled "Central Square Restoration Petition," to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance in Article 2.000 ("Definitions") and Article 20.300 ("Central Square Overlay District") signed by area residents.
Though some may try to characterize this petition (whose lead signers are members of the Sater family who own and operate The Middle East) as some kind of upzoning of Central Square, I'd have to say that the name "Central Square Restoration Petition" characterizes it much better. Central Square used to be a major shopping destination and civic center for the greater Cambridgeport area (before the somewhat arbitrary re-designation of neighborhood names). It's in recovery, but it could be so much better than it is now. This petition cobbles together some of the better (and less controversial) ideas from the C2 Committee a few years back plus some other forward-looking features. The review before the Planning Board and Ordinance Committee should provide great opportunities for people of good will to "envision" Central Square in a manner that actually leads somewhere other than a dusty shelf along with decades of planning studies.
City Manager Search Process
It's much better to be now looking back at this process - the first ever during the Plan E era (since 1941). The official transition to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is expected be completed within another week or so when all contract details are finalized.
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to work with the appropriate City Departments to design a pilot system of flex-post separated bike lanes and intersections, along Massachusetts Avenue, Hampshire Street, and Cambridge Street to determine how installation of flex-posts might be used as either interim or permanent bike safety solutions while other infrastructure improvements can be designed and analyzed for safety and implemented as appropriate. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley
Order #4. That the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations committee be and hereby is requested to hold a committee hearing to discuss the possibility of adding a bike-bus lane to Pearl Street and any measures that can be taken to accommodate on-street parking preferences of residents. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to include separated bicycle facilities or adjacent off-street paths in any plans for reconstructing all or part of Massachusetts Avenue, along the entire length of the reconstructed segment and to give first priority to the safety and convenience of the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users – with second priority to the safety and convenience of motor vehicles in any plans for reconstructing all or part of Massachusetts Avenue. Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mazen
Order #6. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, Department of Public Works, Community Development Department, Fire Department, Police Department, Budget Department, and other relevant City departments to install pilot program protected bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue between Cedar Street and Harvard Square starting on Nov 1, 2016, to install pilot program protected bike lanes on Cambridge Street between Inman Square and Quincy Street and to install pilot program protected bike lanes on Broadway between Prospect Street and Quincy Street, all for the period of at least one month. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to include protected bike lanes on both sides of Huron Avenue for the full length of its reconstruction, per the Cambridge Bicycle Plan. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen
Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to form a Vision Zero Working Group comprised of staff from the relevant City departments and residents to collaboratively develop and review traffic safety plans, street designs, public education initiatives, traffic enforcement and related policies with the shared goal of eliminating crashes that result in serious injuries and deaths as quickly as possible. Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern
Order #11. That the City Manager is requested to consult with staff on what authority the City has to further restrict the routes of travel and delivery hours of oversized trucks on City street. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor McGovern
These are a mix of good ideas and ill-considered opportunism in the wake of a tragic death in Porter Square. On the good side are Orders #2, #8, and #11. Order #2 asks City staff, including CDD and the Police Department, to report back on specific recommendations that might prevent future bicycle accidents and fatalities from occurring, and to make city streets safer for bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. This is both timely and appropriate. We all know of locations, primarily complicated intersections, that need to be made safer for all users. Porter Square is one such location. We can likely assume that the Police Department will base their recommendations on actual causes rather than on a wish list generated by an advocacy group.
Order #8 is also a sensible request to establish a "Vision Zero Working Group" comprised of staff from relevant City departments and residents "to collaboratively develop and review traffic safety plans, street designs, public education initiatives, traffic enforcement and related policies with the shared goal of eliminating crashes that result in serious injuries and deaths as quickly as possible." We should hope that this group will take a broad look at the whole picture of safety and operation in the design of roadways, intersections, and signaling systems (as opposed to the narrow view of single issue advocacy).
Order #11 addresses the problem of the operation of oversized trucks on City streets. There may be limitations on what the City can do based on federal and state laws regulating interstate commerce, but there may be some opportunities. There certainly should be. Anyone who has ever seen an 18-wheeler blocking a swath of sidewalk and street lanes just to make a small delivery to a 24-hour store understands the current absurdity of the status quo. Every cyclist also needs to understand that whenever there is a large truck in the vicinity it is essential to get away from it pronto. Even if you believe you're riding lawfully, you still may not even be seen by the truck driver - and the risk is simply never worth it.
In contrast, Orders #3-7 are opportunistic moves that attempt to cure problems that don't necessarily exist and to do so with maximal disruption. The recent death in Porter Square was on a stretch of road where parking was prohibited and where there is already a "protected turn lane" for bikes heading inbound wanting to make a left turn toward Somerville Avenue, though it's not clear that many cyclists actually use it. This is what makes it so strange to hear advocates arguing for elimination of on-street parking and the segregation of cyclists from the roadway in response to this fatality. It will be helpful to eventually get a full report from the Cambridge Police and the District Attorney's Office on the exact cause of this fatality (and other fatalities in the last few years). It is often the case that the actual cause of such a tragedy does not coincide with the early conclusions of advocates who are understandably upset in the aftermath of tragedy.
I really hope that our elected city councillors pause and take a deep breath before demanding changes that will have little or no effect (and maybe even have negative effects) on actual safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Address problematic intersections and designate some streets as bicycle-priority streets (like Harvard Street, Garden Street, Magazine Street and others) before radically altering currently well-functioning streets by destroying sight lines and dramatically increasing traffic congestion for little or no benefit. Eliminate parking at bends in streets where conflicts between cyclists and motorists are most likely. There's plenty to do right now in simply addressing intersection safety - and that's where most of the safety problems are. Let reason prevail. There is a whole city full of people - pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, residents with and without private parking, and businesses with and without customer or employee parking that need to be heard. Doing anything less would be undemocratic.
I can't speak to the broader goal here, but there is at least one location where a pedestrian bridge over the Little River in the vicinity of the recreated wetland area and its boardwalks would be a very welcome addition by creating a very nice walking loop.
Ordinances, Prohibitions, Bans
I certainly hope we don't ban excessively here. Unless such a ban were do be done statewide, the only effect will be to move the business to neighboring cities and towns or causing such sales to take place outside of established businesses.
Harvard Square Kiosk
This was an interesting meeting - especially in learning that it may be possible to bring utilities to the Kiosk that don't currently exist. While it's clear that some would like this structure to primarily serve visitors to Harvard Square, I still would love for it to have an active use where residents to gather. It doesn't have to be a hot dog stand or lunch counter, but it sure would be great to again have something like that right in the middle of Harvard Square. My dream is still to be able to watch Red Sox games there projected onto a wall of the Kiosk while eating a hot dog in the open air.
City of Cambridge Designated Early Voting Sites Locations, Dates and Hours for the State/Presidential Election, November 8, 2016
We are excited to announce that all registered voters will be able vote before Election Day for the first time ever in Massachusetts. Early voting will begin on October 24th and continue through November 4th, 2016. Prior to the enactment of this new law, the only way a registered voter was allowed to vote prior to Election Day was through absentee voting. Although absentee voting will still be available for registered voters who qualify, only those who will be absent from their city or town on Election Day, or have a disability that prevents them from going to the polls, or have a religious belief preventing the same, are legally allowed to vote by absentee ballot.
Unlike absentee voting, early voting is for every registered voter. Registered voters do not need an excuse or reason to vote early. Regardless of whether a voter wants to take advantage of early voting, vote absentee or vote on Election Day, the first step is making sure you are registered. To check to see if you are registered to vote, and to find information on how to register to vote, you may visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: www.sec.state.ma.us/ele. If you need to register to vote, you may do it online by visiting: www.RegisterToVoteMA.com. All you need is a license or an I.D. issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles to apply online. To be eligible to vote in the November 8th State Election, you must register to vote or make any necessary changes to your voter registration by October 19th, 2016.
Early voting can be done in person or by mail. In the City of Cambridge, early voting can be done in person at any of the five (5) designated early voting sites during the scheduled dates and times. To request a ballot by mail, simply fill out an application and mail it to the Election Commission, 51 Inman Street, Cambridge, MA 02139. You can find the application on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele
Please note, however, once a voter has cast an early voting ballot, the voter may no longer vote at the polls on Election Day.
For the first time in Massachusetts, the first choice all voters will make is which day to vote. Early voting will make the most fundamental right of our citizens more convenient than ever to exercise. We encourage all of our citizens to exercise that right and take advantage of the opportunity to vote on the sites during the scheduled dates and times. For public convenience, the City of Cambridge will also offer weekday evening hours and weekend hours on Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
CITY OF CAMBRIDGE EARLY VOTING SCHEDULE
DATE & TIME
City of Cambridge Election Commission Office
Mon, October 24, 8:30am to 8:00pm
Mon, October 31, 8:30am to 8:00pm
Police Department, Community Room
Mon, October 24, Noon to 8:00pm
Mon, October 31, Noon to 8:00pm
Cambridge Water Department
Mon, October 24, Noon to 8:00pm
Mon, October 31, Noon to 8:00pm
Mon, October 24, Noon to 8:00pm
Mon, October 31, Noon to 8:00pm
Voter Registration and Absentee Ballots for the State/Presidential Election, November 8th
The State/Presidential Election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. For Cambridge residents not already registered, the last day to register to vote is Wednesday, October 19, 2016 until 8:00pm. The Office of the Secretary of State has developed an Online Voter Registration System at www.registertovotema.com. Individuals may use the online system to submit an online application, update their address, or change their party affiliation. You must have a valid driver's license, learner's permit, or non-driver ID issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). You must also have a signature on file with the RMV. If you do not have an RMV ID you can use the system to create an application. Print and sign the completed form and mail or bring it to the office of the City Cambridge Election Commission.
Absentee Ballots are now available at the Cambridge Election Commission office. Any voter who is unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to physical disability, religious belief, or absence from the City may request an Absentee Ballot from the Commission. The deadline to apply for an Absentee Ballot is Monday, November 7, 2016 at Noon. Absentee Ballots may be mailed to voters, or such voters may choose to vote at the Commission office during regular city office hours: Monday, 8:30am-8:00pm; Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30am-5:00pm; Friday, 8:30am-Noon. The office will also be open for extended hours on the following dates:
Tuesday, October 25th & November 1st, 8:30am-6:00pm
Wednesday, October 26th & November 2nd, 8:30am-8:00pm
Thursday, October 27th & November 3rd, 8:30am-6:00pm
Friday, October 28th & November 4th, 8:30am-6:00pm
Saturday, October 29th, 9:00am-5:00pm
The polls will be open on Election Day, November 8th from 7:00am until 8:00pm. For any additional information, please visit the Cambridge Election Commission office at 51 Inman Street, call (617-349-4361) or visit our website at www.cambridgema.gov/election.
Not Your Average PSA - Watch and Share!
Not Your Average PSA - Watch and Share!
Click here or on the image above to watch a short video about recycling. Please share this video with others!
Final Days for Food Service Polystyrene in Cambridge
Last year the Cambridge City Council adopted a Polystyrene Ordinance prohibiting retail establishments from dispensing prepared food in polystyrene food containers. It goes into effect October 20, 2016. Polystyrene is a type of plastic that includes expanded polystyrene ("Styrofoam") and rigid polystyrene (all other #6 plastics).
Sustainable dining tips:
Visit our web page for more information.
Costume Swap and Other Great Reuse Opportunities
Halloween Costume Swap - Saturday, Oct 15 - 10am-2pm - Cambridge Community Center, 5 Callender Street. Go Green this Halloween and bring your complete, gently worn costumes and look for a costume that's new to you.
Harvard Surplus in Allston has LOADS of great stuff to give away. Thursdays, 10am - 2pm, 156 Western Avenue. Open to all, first-come, first served.
ReuseConex - Oct 17, 18, 19 - This biennial conference is in our backyard this year. Join in and get inspired!
Shop Reused! See our map of locations where you can shop second-hand (red and green pins).
Unwanted Stuff? See if your neighbors want it! Check out NextDoor.com.
See How Your Recycling Gets Sorted - Oct 27 Tour
Cambridge residents and City employees are invited to tour the Casella recycling facility in Charlestown on Thursday, Oct 27 in the morning. Tours last about 2 hours and involve walking on narrow catwalks and stairs, close to heavy equipment. You must be able to walk at a steady pace with a group. No children under 16. We meet at DPW and carpool, so when you sign up let us know if you can drive and how many people you can take.
Can't make the tour? Watch this video.
Seeking Recycling Advisory Committee Applicants
Learn about joining the Recycling Advisory Committee. Deadline November 10.
Shred Day Event - Oct 22
Learn more here! Please shred selectively. Shredded paper cannot be recycled as many times because it makes the fibers in the paper shorter.
Bring Items Marked "POISON, DANGER, WARNING, CAUTION" for Safe Disposal - Oct 29
The next (and last of the year) Household Hazardous Waste Collection will be Sat Oct 29, 9am-1pm, Volpe Transportation Center Lot 4 (via Munroe off 3rd St.). We encourage you to ask your neighbors if you can bring materials for them. See website for more info.
Pumpkins & Yard Waste
After Halloween, pumpkins are accepted with yard waste for curbside collection (remove candles). But, consider cooking your sugar pumpkins! Chop and roast in the oven or steam/puree to use in delicious roasted breads, soups, cookies, pies and more.
Composting in your backyard? Save fall leaves to cover up or bury food scraps in your backyard compost bin, and remember to keep right ratio: 3 parts "browns" to 1 part "greens".
Louis A. DePasquale Selected as Next Cambridge City Manager
Cambridge City Council votes to make an offer of employment
September 29, 2016 – The Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to make an offer of employment to Louis A. DePasquale as the next City Manager at a special meeting held on Thursday, September 29, 2016. Mr. DePasquale will succeed City Manager Richard C. Rossi who is retiring on September 30, 2016. The appointment of Mr. DePasquale is contingent on successful contract negotiations. He is currently the City’s Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs.
The City Council also voted to appoint Deputy City Manager Lisa C. Peterson as Acting City Manager effective October 1, 2016. She will serve as Acting City Manager until Mr. DePasquale is appointed.
Additional information on the Cambridge City Manager search process can be found at: www.cambridgema.gov/citymanagersearch
Louis A. DePasquale was appointed Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs in 2002 after serving as the City’s Budget Director for twenty years. As Assistant City Manager, Mr. DePasquale is responsible for setting financial policy direction for the City; planning, implementing and overseeing the City's operating and capital finances; and managing the City's investment, debt service, and reserve policies. In his current role, he also oversees the management of eight City departments, is a member of the City’s senior management team, and has been actively involved in major City policy and programmatic initiatives.
Mr. DePasquale currently serves as the Finance Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cambridge Health Alliance, an appointed member of the Neville Communities, Inc. Board, and as member of the Cambridge Community Preservation Act Committee and the Cambridge Family Policy Council. Louis is a lifelong Cambridge resident and is married to Cheryl DePasquale and has two children, Kristen DePasquale and Louis DePasquale, both of Medford. He has been a coach in the Cambridge Youth Baseball Programs for 35 years. He received a Bachelor of Science from Boston State College and a Masters of Public Administration from Northeastern University.
2. Appointment of Lisa C. Peterson as Acting City Manager Mayor Simmons
3. City enter into a contract with Elizabeth Valerio and John Foskett. Councillor Maher
TEXT OF ORDERS
O-2 Sept 29, 2016 Adopted 9-0
O-3 Sept 29, 2016 Adopted 9-0
Decisions, Decisions.... Notable items on the Sept 26, 2016 Cambridge City Council agenda
Barring any unexpected turns of events, this will be the last regular City Council meeting with City Manager Richard Rossi.
Here are the items that seem most interesting:
Appointments by the Manager
Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Water Board for a term of 5-years, effective Sept 26, 2016: Kathleen Kelly, Jason Marshall
Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the reappointment of the following persons as members of the Planning Board for a term of five years, effective Sept 26, 2016: Steven Cohen, Hugh Russell and Tom Sieniewicz
Manager's Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the Steering Committee for the City’s Birth to Grade Three Partnership.
Manager's Agenda #13. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Cambridge Arts Council Advisory Board for a term of 3 years effective Oct 1, 2016: Christine Lamas Weinberg, Katherine Shozawa and Olufolakemi Alalade
I have come to look upon those who choose to serve on City boards and commissions as possessing a sort of nobility. Regardless of their age, these public-spirited people are like the Village Elders. They serve without compensation and, in some cases, most notably the Planning Board, they devote a significant amount of time in this voluntary capacity. Perhaps we should form a congress of all those who serve or who have served at one time - The League of Extraordinary Ladies and Gentlemen.
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the Outdoor Lighting Zoning recommendations.
These are the zoning amendments that would go along with the proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance. It has been interesting, and at least somewhat entertaining, watching how this reasonable proposal to regulate intrusive lighting has led to some people wanting to expand it to deal with all lighting, including advertising signage that shine into the bedrooms of no one. This seems like a particularly Cambridge sort of thing - a proposal to regulate something turning into a proposal to regulate everything. I like the idea of establishing some standards for outdoor lighting, particularly in residential areas, as a courtesy to those who would like to get a good night's sleep. What this has to do with decorative lighting, especially garish and aesthetically questionable lighting in places like North Point, escapes me. Perhaps that's the real point of these zoning recommendations - to grant the Planning Board some regulatory authority for this other stuff while the Municipal Lighting Ordinance remains focused on ensuring that spotlights don't shine into people's bedroom windows or darken the night sky.
Manager's Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the votes necessary to seek approval from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue of the tax rate for FY2017:
As Bob Healy would always say, the City doesn't set the property tax rates. The Department of Revenue does. He would also add that once these votes are taken these rates are virtually guaranteed to be the same as those given in the communication: "Based on a property tax levy of $372.7 million, the FY17 residential tax rate will be $6.49 per thousand dollars of value, subject to Department of Revenue approval. This is a decrease of $0.50, or -7.2% from FY16. The commercial tax rate will be $16.12, which is a decrease of $1.59, or -9.0% from FY16." Don't jump for joy just yet. Property values have been escalating so rapidly (average of 13.5% in one year for residential properties) that you should expect to pay a bit more, especially in Riverside and Cambridgeport.
Boondoggle alert. One estimate is that it would cost $187 million dollars to build such a network, and there's no guarantee that customers would leave Comcast or another Internet service provider in favor of such a new network, especially if Comcast adjusts its pricing structure a little. That's a lot of public money expended for a discount. Anyway, this report just calls for a Feasibility Study.
Manager's Agenda #15. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to City accomplishments during City Manager 2013-2016.
Read Rich Rossi's memo. It has been a busy few years. Then think for a while about all of the major capital projects Richie has played a lead role in over the last few decades. It will make you feel pretty good about City government in Cambridge - even on the evening when votes are being taken to determine how much property tax you'll be paying this year.
Manager's Agenda #16. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-16, regarding the plan to take Vail Court by eminent domain.
Hallelujah! The City takes this step only when absolutely necessary, and this is long overdue.
Manager's Agenda #17. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the City's Agreement with MassDOT and MBTA regarding funding contribution agreement for Green Line Extension Project.
These are the details associated with the announced agreement that was made several months ago.
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to refer the attached short-term rental draft ordinance to the City Solicitor, Inspectional Services Department and any other relevant department for comment and review as components of a potential short-term rental ordinance and be referred to a joint hearing of the Housing and Public Safety Committees scheduled on Oct 26, 2016, at 5:30pm for discussion, and to hear back from the City on the proposed policies. Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Devereux
The Statement of Purpose says it best: "The purpose of this ordinance shall be to make the operation of short-term rentals legal for Cambridge residents, protect the safety of renters, owners, visitors, and neighbors, and ensure that short-term rentals will not be a detriment to the character and livability of the surrounding residential neighborhood."
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Aug 30, 2016 to continue public discussion regarding the recent completed Inclusionary Housing Study and the Draft Recommendations of the Community Development Department.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 8, 2016 to continue the public discussion regarding the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study and Draft Recommendations of the Community Development Department.
The Housing Committee has now voted that the Community Development Department's recommendations for Inclusionary Zoning be forwarded to the full City Council with a favorable recommendation. Primarily this will set the Inclusionary Housing required percentage for new construction over a minimum size at 20% net, though the City Council could still modify this proposed percentage. There will apparently still be some discussion about whether this will be phased in and, if so, over what period. I still remain skeptical whether this requirement will be economically feasible beyond the short term. I also have some misgivings about a future in which only wealthy people will be able to afford market housing with everyone else having to apply to a government agency to access housing that is affordable to them. The biggest mistake made over the last 20+ years was in allowing most of the housing stock of two- and three-family houses to be converted into now-unaffordable condominiums. That had previously been one of the most significant sources of affordable housing for both owners and renters.
Thurs, Sept 29
Later this week the City Council will vote on whether Jay Ash, Paul Fetherston, or Louis DePasquale will be the next City Manager of Cambridge. As I stated at the microphone last Monday - I wish the City Council good wisdom and good luck. - Robert Winters
Cambridge Employment Program Launches Ask the Career Counselor Series
July 27, 2016 – The Cambridge Employment Program (CEP) provides free, individualized career counseling to support Cambridge residents in achieving their short and long-term employment goals.
In August, CEP is launching its new Ask the Career Counselor Series in collaboration with Cambridge Public Library. Drop by for a 15-30 minute session with a career counselor on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from August through December 2016 at Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway.
Session dates are:
August 1, 15
September 19* (Note no session on September 5 due to Labor Day Holiday)
October 3, 17
November 7, 21
December 5, 19
No pre-registration is necessary. Limit one session per month. Please check CPL website, www.cambridgema.gov/cpl for changes or cancellations.
For more information, contact Susan Mintz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-349-6166.
Cambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.
[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos of each]
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 157-158: July 19, 2016 – Looking Back at Rent Control (1996 show)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 155-156: July 12, 2016 – featuring Cambridge Water
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 145-146: June 7, 2016 (Part 2 with Luis Vasquez)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2016 featured co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]
Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
April 2, 2016 - Yet another fun April Fool's Day
April 2, 2015 - Another fun April Fool's Day
April 2, 2013 - Well, that was fun. Thanks to everyone for being such a sport on April Fool's Day.
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
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.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
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.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
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Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]
Thoughts for these times:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
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“The Number One thing I would emphasize is that journalists and bloggers would do well to see themselves as partners in the provision of information and that each can benefit greatly from the other. I’ve never seen this as a competition. It is especially true these days that local papers and young journalists are not very well-versed in the communities they serve. Much of the institutional memory has either died out or been bought out.” -- Robert Winters, mathematician and creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, an online publication about Cambridge, MA (rwinters.com)
Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”
Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”
Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”
Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”
Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”
Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"