Leighton StreetA Memorial Service for Election Commissioner Peter Sheinfeld will be held Friday April 29, from 3-5pm, in the Avalon Building’s Cambridge Room, 1 Leighton St., East Cambridge. There is parking in the lot across from Lechmere Green Line. [See map at right]

Fresh Pond Advisory Board Vacancy

Apr 26, 2016 – City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking Cambridge residents to fill vacancies on the Fresh Pond Advisory Board. The Fresh Pond Advisory Board was created in 2001 to advise the City Manager and City boards and commissions on implementation of the Fresh Pond Reservation Master Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in January 2001. The Master Plan provides guidance for the maintenance and improvement of Fresh Pond Reservation, a critical element of the City’s water supply, and the City’s most heavily used open space.

The primary purposes of the Advisory Board are to oversee the general stewardship of Fresh Pond Reservation in accordance with the Master Plan and to maintain collaborative relationships among City departments and user groups that impact the Reservation. The Advisory Board also provides a forum for public discussion and evaluation of proposals for land-use and land-management projects.

City SealThe Fresh Pond Advisory Board includes up to 15 members (at least nine of whom are resident volunteers with active, long-term knowledge of the Reservation, who are not City employees or consultants to the City). Board members are appointed for three-year terms and may be reappointed at the City Manager’s discretion. Persons with expertise in landscape architecture, park management and environmental management are encouraged to apply. The Fresh Pond Advisory Board meets at least four times annually, on Thursday evenings.

For more information, contact Sam Corda, Managing Director, Cambridge Water Department at 617-349-4770 or scorda@cambridgema.gov. Interested persons should send a letter and/or resume via e-mail, mail or fax by Monday, May 23, 2016, to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4300; Fax 617-349-4307
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov

2016 Outstanding City Employee Award Recipients

April 22 – City Manager Richard C. Rossi is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Outstanding City Employee Award.

City SealAlessandra Albano, Executive Assistant to the City Council, City Council Office

Kia Benjamin, Executive Assistant to the Police Commissioner, Police Department

Stacey Cooper, Administrative Assistant to the Finance Director, Finance Department

Brian Corr, Executive Director/Peace Commission & Executive Secretary/Police Review & Advisory Bd.

Lei-Anne Ellis, Division Head/Childcare Family Services, Department of Human Service Programs

Joshua Foley, Senior Job Developer, Department of Human Service Programs

Gary Littles, Laborer/Streets Cleaning Division, Department of Public Works

Timothy MacDonald, Director of Water Operations, Water Department

Linda Prosnitz, Project Planning/Housing Division, Community Development Department

Gerald Reardon, Fire Chief, Fire Department

Brendon Roy, Assistant Project Manager/Capital Construction Projects, Executive Office

Nancy Schlacter, Executive Director, Human Rights Commission

Jeremy Warnick, Director of Communications & Media, Police Department

Amy Witts, Purchasing Agent, Purchasing Department

Jason Yee, Associate Librarian, Library

The City Manager will also present an Award in honor and memory of Assistant City Manager for Community Development Brian Murphy to a person who is committed to making government improve the lives of other.

The recipients will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2016 at 9:30am in the Sullivan Chamber of City Hall, for their superior performance, positive attitude, hard work and dedication to public service.  All are welcome to attend.

City Manager Appoints Members to the Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee and Working Groups

April 21 – The Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee, the Alewife Working Group, and the Engagement and Communications Working Group have been formed to advise City staff and a multidisciplinary team of consultants on Envision Cambridge. View the list of the Committee and Working Group members.

At later stages of the planning process, additional working groups will be formed. We anticipate working groups on topics such as climate and energy, economic development, housing, and mobility.

Meetings are open to the public and non-members are welcome to attend. Stay tuned for an announcement of the first meeting dates.

For more information about Envision Cambridge, visit www.cambridgema.gov/citywideplan.

Cambridge Awarded Prestigious 5-STAR Community Rating
City Becomes the 50th Certified Community; Receives the Highest STAR Score to Date

Star Community SealApril 21 – The City of Cambridge has won national recognition by achieving a 5-STAR Rating from STAR Communities (STAR), a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit. STAR is the nation’s leading framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability, encompassing environmental, social, and economic performance measures. Cambridge received high marks for its work on a range of issues, including transportation choices, energy efficiency, arts and culture, and innovative programs for youth engagement and community policing.

Cambridge distinguished itself by receiving the highest STAR score to date and joins Seattle WA; Baltimore MD; and Northampton MA as the only communities that have received the Certified 5-STAR Community Rating, the top certification level. In all, 50 communities and counties across the country have received STAR certifications, and hundreds of others are actively using the rating system to measure sustainability progress.

“Our strong performance with STAR Communities serves as affirmation of many years of work by City departments to build a better City for future generations” said City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “For decades, the City has incorporated innovative principles into our planning and programing to create a City that provides a high quality of life. As a result of the City, our residents, businesses and institutions working together, Cambridge has been able to achieve not only the 5-STAR rating, but also the highest point total STAR has ever awarded.”

In March 2015, Cambridge joined the STAR Communities Leadership Program, conducted a baseline assessment and compared best practices with other communities nationwide. Assistant City Manager for Community Development Iram Farooq added that “achieving a 5-STAR rating reflects a shared philosophy about the importance of a sustainable community that cuts across City government. Over 20 departments, boards and commissions contributed time, expertise and information to the STAR Communities certification effort, one that showcases Cambridge’s commitment to healthy, resilient and sustainable environmental, economic, and social policies.”

STAR includes seven goal areas: the built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education; arts and community; health and safety; and natural systems. Cambridge attained 90% or more of possible points in four of these areas (built environment; economy and jobs; education, arts and culture; and health and safety). The City also received credit for exemplary performance in affordable housing preservation, superior fire protection, supporting sustainable transportation choices, and proximity to public parks.

“Sustainable cities provide a healthy environment, support a strong economy, and continually improve the well-being of the community,” said Hilari Varnadore, Executive Director of STAR Communities. “Cambridge’s 5-STAR Community Rating clearly demonstrates their national leadership in sustainability. We look forward to sharing Cambridge’s success stories with other cities around the country and working with city leaders as they continue to make improvements that benefit the whole community.”

To learn more about Cambridge’s Star Community Rating, please visit: www.cambridgema.gov/star.

Real Money - The City of Cambridge FY2017 Budget tops the April 25, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

FY2017 BudgetOne of the things that distinguishes a city manager submitted budget from what you might see in a city with a strong mayor form of government is its consistency from year to year. Rather than see budgets for individual departments or initiatives skyrocket or plummet depending on which voters the mayor is courting, we generally see in the Cambridge budgets predictable changes based on rational objectives. That's worth remembering the next time someone tries to convince you that we need to change the charter.

Here are what I see as the most notable agenda items this week:

Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the FY2017 submitted budget and appropriation orders. [$560,592,915 total proposed FY17 Operating Budget - a 5.4% increase over FY2016; $13,969,210 Water Fund; $16,890,570 Public Investment Fund; (plus the total of $188,100,000 in Loan Orders - see #5-11 below)]

Communications and Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Judith T. Martin, Executive Secretary to the School Committee transmitting a copy of an order from the School Committee recommending the FY17 General Fund Budget of the Cambridge Public Schools be adopted in the sum of $172,793,980.00.

The City Manager and his Finance staff are expected to give a Budget Overview at this meeting during which they'll provide additional details (and a possible correction to the apparently missing Conservation Commission budget). The FY2017 Budget Book (either in print or online) is also expected to be made available around the time of the meeting. The Budget Hearings conducted by the City Council's Finance Committee commence May 5.

For the sake of comparison, here's a table showing how some of the budgets have changed over the last year, 2 years, and 12 years.

GENERAL GOVERNMENT FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
City Clerk $720,925 $1,240,705 $1,123,935 $1,217,510 8.3 -1.9 68.9
City Council $975,570 $1,711,115 $1,789,700 $1,880,205 5.1 9.9 92.7
Election Commission $756,540 $1,072,390 $1,149,425 $1,308,220 13.8 22.0 72.9
Employee Benefits $20,499,920 $32,882,665 $33,025,885 $37,756,330 14.3 14.8 84.2
Executive $1,353,140 $2,298,685 $2,356,150 $2,463,020 4.5 7.1 82.0
Finance $8,837,560 $14,540,220 $16,024,605 $17,151,925 7.0 18.0 94.1
General Services $984,345 $704,725 $683,040 $710,735 4.1 0.9 -27.8
Law $1,780,975 $2,176,975 $2,174,415 $2,219,965 2.1 2.0 24.6
Mayor $430,035 $589,680 $586,635 $671,920 14.5 13.9 56.2
Public Celebrations $671,505 $874,335 $905,900 $939,685 3.7 7.5 39.9
Reserve $37,500 $37,500 $37,500 $40,000 6.7 6.7 6.7
TOTAL $37,048,015 $58,128,995 $59,857,190 $66,359,515 10.9 14.2 79.1
PUBLIC SAFETY FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Animal Commission $228,870 $323,535 $331,365 $338,775 2.2 4.7 48.0
Electrical $2,239,640 $2,767,880 $2,594,885 $2,809,845 8.3 1.5 25.5
Emergency Communications $3,097,485 $4,631,960 $5,077,255 $5,342,040 5.2 15.3 72.5
Fire $28,891,840 $44,661,535 $44,990,895 $46,094,005 2.5 3.2 59.5
Inspectional Services $2,261,215 $3,270,335 $3,414,450 $3,706,080 8.5 13.3 63.9
License Commission $726,735 $1,063,745 $1,183,145 $1,240,340 4.8 16.6 70.7
Police $31,515,220 $49,260,625 $50,646,165 $51,145,765 1.0 3.8 62.3
Police Review & Advisory Board $77,210 $75,235 $77,435 $3,700 -95.2 -95.1 -95.2
Traffic, Parking & Transportation $8,175,095 $11,088,415 $11,483,870 $12,299,375 7.1 10.9 50.4
Weights & Measures $98,910 $142,935 $145,875 $148,945 2.1 4.2 50.6
TOTAL $77,450,040 $117,286,200 $119,945,340 $123,128,870 2.7 5.0 59.0
COMMUNITY MAINT/DEVELOPMENT FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Cable T.V. $999,500 $1,452,495 $1,536,585 $1,642,360 6.9 13.1 64.3
Community Development $4,472,620 $6,335,440 $7,359,590 $8,464,085 15.0 33.6 89.2
Conservation Commission $89,760 $127,770 $130,585 - ?? ?? ??
Debt Service $23,917,070 $50,446,035 $54,664,525 $58,096,295 6.3 15.2 142.9
Historical Commission $457,580 $687,860 $654,580 $644,990 -1.5 -6.2 41.0
Peace Commission $76,215 $148,445 $151,510 $154,690 2.1 4.2 103.0
Public Works $23,648,125 $33,634,490 $35,090,060 $37,181,700 6.0 10.5 57.2
TOTAL $53,660,870 $92,832,535 $99,587,435 $106,184,120 6.6 14.4 97.9
HUMAN RESOURCE/DEVELOPMENT FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Commission on Women $155,860 $241,295 $246,425 $253,965 3.1 5.3 62.9
Human Rights Commission $158,730 $266,890 $275,140 $257,270 -6.5 -3.6 62.1
Human Services $14,581,590 $24,225,290 $25,354,795 $27,926,755 10.1 15.3 91.5
Library $5,461,430 $9,249,325 $9,723,990 $9,702,575 -0.2 4.9 77.7
Veterans $510,885 $1,092,655 $1,123,070 $1,102,545 -1.8 0.9 115.8
TOTAL $20,868,495 $35,075,455 $36,723,420 $39,243,110 6.9 11.9 88.0
CITY TOTAL $189,027,420 $303,323,185 $316,113,385 $334,915,615 5.9 10.4 77.2
EDUCATION FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Schools Operating (TOTAL) $122,053,195 $156,669,635 $163,940,420 $172,793,980 5.4 10.3 41.6
INTERGOVERNMENTAL FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Cambridge Health Alliance $6,500,000 $6,750,000 $7,000,000 $7,000,000 0.0 3.7 7.7
Cherry Sheet Assessments $11,569,960 $21,504,975 $21,336,755 $21,984,465 3.0 2.2 90.0
MWRA $16,177,455 $22,189,730 $23,516,200 $23,898,855 1.6 7.7 47.7
TOTAL $34,247,415 $50,444,705 $51,852,955 $52,883,320 2.0 4.8 54.4
GRAND TOTALS $345,328,030 $510,437,525 $531,906,760 $560,592,915 5.4 9.8 62.3
FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
WATER $17,098,120 $13,964,275 $13,964,115 $13,969,210 0.0 0.0 -18.3
PUBLIC INVESTMENT $8,834,255 $31,954,025 $18,076,290 $16,890,570 -6.6 -47.1 91.2

Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-14, regarding the possibility of closing two lanes to cars on Memorial Drive on April 29th for Walk/Ride Day.

I hate to say "I told you so", but... no, I actually enjoy saying "I told you so." The City's application was not approved due to concerns of the State Police around traffic safety and congestion. There was never any realistic chance that this would be approved. I told you so.

Manager's Agenda #5-11. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow:

#5: $17,350,000 to provide funds for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the City’s Alewife Watershed, Cambridgeport Neighborhood, and areas in Harvard Square as well as the Sewer Capital Repairs Program.

#6: $5,000,000 to provide funds for a Comprehensive Facilities Improvement Plan.

#7: $2,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.

#8: $149,600,000 to provide funds for various School building infrastructure projects including construction for the King Open/Cambridge Street Schools & Community Complex, building envelope repairs at the Fletcher Maynard Academy, and a new boiler at the Amigos School.

#9: $150,000 to provide funds for the purchase and installation of mechanical components to ensure the operational integrity of the elevator at the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility.

#10: $4,000,000 to provide funds for the renovations of the Out of Town News Kiosk Building and adjacent plaza area in Harvard Square.

#11: $10,000,000 to provide funds for the design and construction of a multi-use path/greenway along the eastern Grand Junction railroad right of way from Broadway to the city line.

That's a total of $188,100,000 in Loan Orders - dominated by the cost of construction of the King Open/Cambridge Street Schools & Community Complex.

Manager's Agenda #19. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a report on potential issues related to the Barrett, et al. Zoning Amendment.

As promised on the night the Barrett Petition was passed, the proposed amendments have arrived.

Manager's Agenda #20. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the City of Cambridge receiving a 5-STAR Rating from STAR Communities (STAR) - the highest score ever given in the country and Cambridge is one of only four cities nationally to earn the top 5-STAR rating.

More gold stars for Cambridge.

Unfinished Business #4. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 24, 2016 to discuss a zoning petition by the Sage Cannabis, Inc. to amend the Zoning Ordinance in Section 20.700 Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts by creating an additional Medical Marijuana Overlay District (MMD-3). Question comes of Passing To Be Ordained on or after Apr 18, 2016. Planning Board hearing held on Mar 15, 2016. Petition expires June 22, 2016.

Manager's Agenda #21. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-34, which requested a legal opinion on the legality of the Zoning Petition filed by Sage Cannabis, Inc. For a medical marijuana dispensary and whether it is spot zoning.

Communications and Reports from City Officers #3. A communication was received from Councillor Craig A. Kelley, regarding MDD-3 Special District Zoning Petition or the draft letter from the City Manager of non-opposition to the Department of Public Health for Sage Cannabis, Inc.

The Sage Cannabis Petition will likely sail through ordination at this meeting, but the communication from Councillor Kelley is interesting. Apparently, in some other places where marijuana dispensaries have been approved there were agreements signed that would produce revenues for the host cities. It's a bit odd that Cambridge with its host of community benefit and other mitigation protocols in place never asked for anything from Sage Cannabis.

Communication #1. A communication was received from Steven C. Marsh, Managing Director, Real Estate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Investment Management Company, 238 Main Street, providing a brief update on several requirements related to the Kendall Square zoning (PUD-5).

This letter notes that:
1) MIT's first community fund contribution payment of $2.5 million and its first community-based organization fund payment of $1 million were made to the City on July 3, 2013; and MIT's second community fund contribution payment of $2.5 million and second community-based organization fund payment of $1 million were recently made to the City on Apr 7, 2016 bringing MIT's contributions to $7M. Two more sets of payments will be made in the future, as stipulated by the Kendall PUD-5 final documents.

2) MIT has been working with the City to finalize the property transfer of 35 Cherry Street. The City is working through a community process to determine the future use of the parcel, after which the closing and the transfer of title will be finalized. The City's acquisition of 35 Cherry Street includes the stipulation that the parcel be used "in perpetuity in a manner that directly benefit residents in the Area Four Neighborhood and surrounding communities."

3) MIT's $500,000 contribution to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority's Grand Junction pathway project between Main Street and Broadway has enabled that work to proceed to the point that a grand opening celebration is now being planned for the spring.

Resolution #3. Resolution on the death of Suzanne Schell Pearce.   Mayor Simmons, Councillor Maher

Cambridge has lost one of the most kind-hearted activists I personally ever met.

Order #1. That the City Council go on record urging the National League of Cities to move the venue for the NLC City Summit scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in November 2017 to another state which does not have such discriminatory legislation on the books.   Mayor Simmons

Punishing the local businesses who had no say whatsoever in what laws their state government chose to pass.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council and the community with a response to the concerns and assessment of the Bring Your Own Bag ordinance.   Mayor Simmons

This might also be a good time to get some feedback on reactions to the proposed polystyrene ban set to go into effect later this year. There's nothing wrong with tweaking ordinances when necessary.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department, the Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs, and other appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of waiving the motor vehicle excise tax for electric vehicles.   Councillor Devereux

First, this would require authorization from the state. Second, it's a slippery road to travel when you start taxing people differently based on what you perceive to be better behavior. Why not charge different excise taxes for people who use their vehicles less frequently?

Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council if any progress has been made on the willingness of the City of Cambridge to contribute to a successful Green Line Extension and if there has been conversations with local developers regarding the same.   Councillor Toomey

Though I suppose you can make the case that "local developers" and cities through which public transit passes derive benefit from the presence of the transit, this is still a sorry state of affairs when the state and the MBTA cannot manage their fiscal affairs to maintain and enhance their assets.

Order #8. City Council opposition to any off-peak hour fare surcharges as a means of mitigation for continued off-peak hours T service and support for a fair and equitable solution to mitigating the loss of late night T service, specifically one that does not unduly burden those with the least flexibility in their reliance on an affordable means of off-hours transportation.   Councillor Cheung

I didn't know this was even being considered. It is worth mentioning that when the T shuts down at night the cost of transportation goes up considerably for those who must then take taxis or one of the pseudo-taxi services.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 6, 2016 to continue to discuss the development of the process for the selection of a new City Manager.

The process continues. Hopefully not for too long and leading to a good outcome. If the Council becomes deadlocked, I'm happy to make the decision. - Robert Winters


Cambridge Family Policy Council (Formerly Kids’ Council) Vacancy

City SealApr 14, 2016 – City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking a Cambridge resident interested in volunteering to serve on the Cambridge Family Policy Council (Formerly Kids’ Council), which is dedicated to developing policy and program recommendations aimed at improving the quality of life for children, youth and families in the City of Cambridge, so that children and youth are:

The Family Policy Council meets approximately six times per year on the 3rd Thursday of the month, from 5:15-7:15pm.

The Mayor of Cambridge serves as the Chair of the Family Policy Council, and membership is comprised of key stakeholders in local government and in the community, which includes the following:

Recent Family Policy Council Initiatives
The Family Policy Council has been focusing on family engagement and developing recommendations to create and support genuine partnerships between families and the organizations and institutions that serve them by:

Past Family Policy Council Initiatives:

For more information, please contact Nancy Tauber, Executive Director, at 617-349-6239 or ntauber@cambridgema.gov. To apply, please submit a letter of interest and, if possible, a resume, by Friday, May 20, 2016 to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4300; Fax 617-349-4307
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov

April 19 - We'll be broadcasting Cambridge InsideOut tonight on CCTV at 5:30pm and 6:00pm. Our guest will be Patrick Barrett. Expected topics of discussion may include the recently released Inclusionary Housing Study, pending state legislation regarding multifamily zoning, Envision Cambridge, Central Square, and more. - RW

April 12 - We'll be broadcasting Cambridge InsideOut tonight on CCTV at 5:30pm and 6:00pm. Our guest will be Jesse Kanson-Benanav. Expected topics of discussion include the recently released Inclusionary Housing Study, the upcoming Cambridge Science Festival, today's Special Primary election (Petruccelli State Senate seat), and more. - RW

Up the Inclusionary - Hot Topics on the April 11, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Inclusionary ZoningHere are the relatively few agenda items that seem interesting this week:

City Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, recommending the reappointment of Conrad Crawford to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority.

City Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, recommending appointment of Naomie Stephen to the Cambridge Housing Authority.

These are the only two City Boards for which City Council approval is required for appointments by the City Manager. Under recently amended protocols, these will each have a City Council committee hearing prior to coming back to the City Council for a vote.

City Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study.

This is by far the most significant agenda item. Any change to Inclusionary Zoning would be a zoning amendment, so this matter will now have to be referred to the Ordinance Committee and Planning Board for further deliberation. The study and the Manager's recommendation call for a substantial increase in the inclusionary requirement. If I read it correctly, the current 15% requirement (which ends up being under 12% of the new units created after the density bonus is added in) would go up to somewhere between 17% and 20% after the density bonus is added. Some activists will, no doubt, want an even higher percentage, but there are at least some indications that the sky is no longer the limit in terms of housing prices and rents. There may be some logic in exercising at least a little caution in increasing the mandatory requirements.

Resolution #4. Resolution on the death of Dorothy Steele.   Councillor Toomey

If you didn't see the recent Eric Moskowitz article on Dorothy Steele on the front page of the Boston Globe (Apr 5, 2016), you really should. It was one of the most beautifully written tributes I've ever read in a newspaper.

Order #2. That all future Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee meetings related to the selection of a new City Manager be televised.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux

The actual level of interest in this process among the general public is not nearly as great as the sponsors of the Order seem to think. Interest will definitely pick as we get nearer to an actual vote, but for now it's just the usual suspects.

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to write a letter to the Department of Public Health indicating the City of Cambridge's non-opposition for Sage Cannabis Inc., application to operate a RMD in the Business B-2 (MMD-3 Zoning) District within the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts.   Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor McGovern

I can certainly understand why the City Council might support a zoning change to allow Sage Cannabis to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at a location not previously permitted under zoning, but does the City Council really have to also write them a letter of recommendation? Surely the zoning change should be sufficient. - Robert Winters


No Foolin' – Coming up at the April 4 Cambridge City Council meeting

Every once in a while, reality can be like an April Fools joke on an April Fools joke. As I was preparing to post my annual April Fools Edition of the Cambridge Civic Journal, along came Order #1 on this agenda. See below.

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the City Solicitor and other relevant City departments to consider the pending State legislation and pending legislation in the City of Boston and any other actions that would allow Cambridge to institute municipal lobbying regulations. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Kelley on Mar 21, 2016.]

As I stated in advance of the previous meeting, this is a "solution" in search of a problem. Modeled on a similar proposal being explored in Boston, this Order would require that "lobbyists ... to file twice-yearly reports declaring campaign contributions, the names of their clients, policies that they tried to influence or that they advocated on behalf of, compensation received from clients, and dates of lobbying communications." Who exactly are we talking about here? Is this specifically targeting property owners and their representatives who bring forward zoning petitions or file Special Permit applications? Would this also apply to people employed by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the government relations people associated with the city's major universities? Would representatives of hotel worker unions or the Sierra Club have to register and provide a log of all their activities? Why not also require anyone with a financial interest in the outcome of any City administration or City Council action to register and to provide detailed records of all of their interactions? What exactly is the problem that this measure seeks to cure? Should a residents organization registered as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit also then be required to divulge all of their contributions and expenditures if they exceed the minimum threshold?

Charter Right #3. That the City Manager is requested to update the City Council on the effects of the removal of sidewalk vaults in Central Square. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Kelley on Mar 21, 2016.]

Once again, this is just one of many things that continue to need attention in Central Square. See page 24 of the Central Square Action Plan (1987) which states; "Even upon completion of the MBTA project there will be many areas without trees or greenery because of the extensive vault and utility system that lies beneath the sidewalks. Improvement and maintenance of these improvements to Central Square's physical image, both public and private, is essential to gain consumer confidence and interest." Next time you walk through Central Square, take note of the broken sidewalk pavement, the missing, sunken, or heaving bricks (especially neat the T entrances), the number of dead or dying trees, and the tree wells that serve little function other than trip hazards.

Applications & Petitions #2. A zoning petition has been received from the Riverside Neighborhood Protective Zoning Proposal to amend the Zoning Map and the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by changing the current zoning designation for the parcels within the Putnam Avenue-Franklin Street and River Street boundaries from C-1 to C zoning.

Though I may need a registered municipal lobbyist to help me read and understand the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance, as near as I can tell this would reduce the permitted Floor/Area Ratio (FAR) from 0.75 to 0.6 (compare to 0.5 for Res A districts), increase the minimum lot area from 1500 sq. ft. to 1800 sq. ft., and increase the minimum ration of private open space from 30% to 36%. The biggest question I have is what fraction of residential properties in Riverside that might now be legally conforming to the Code would be made nonconforming. Would this change make it all but impossible for homeowners to make even modest changes to their buildings without have to expend a lot of time on money seeking a variance (that they might likely not even get)?

Resolution #7. Resolution on the death of Peter Sheinfeld.   Councillor Toomey, Councillor Maher, Mayor Simmons

Peter has been a friend for many years. This was an entirely unexpected death - here one day gone the next. Peter had a constellation of friends as eclectic as Peter's many interests. I'll have more to say elsewhere - especially when some of the people who have known Peter over the years get together soon to exchange recollections.

Order #1. That the City Council go on record asking the Massachusetts State Legislature to review the symbolism of the Official Seal of Massachusetts to determine whether it may be perpetuating or promoting hurtful symbolism.   Mayor Simmons

Great Seal of MassachusettsI had just put the finishing touches on an April Fools joke about the City of Cambridge changing its City seal to obliterate any and all references to anything more controversial than Winnie the Pooh when I saw this City Council order on this week's agenda. Is this what the future holds - that every historical reference has to be sanitized? This has become ridiculous. I'm sure somebody will be offended no matter what.

In any case, here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject: "The seal was adopted by the Provincial Congress on Dec 13, 1780. The shield depicts an Algonquian Native American with bow and arrow; the arrow is pointed downward, signifying peace. A white star with five points appears next to the figure's head. A blue ribbon (blue, signifying the Blue Hills of Quincy, Canton and Milton) surrounds the shield, bearing the state motto "Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem" This comes from the Book of Mottoes in the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, Denmark; written about 1659 by Algernon Sydney, English soldier and politician. It was adopted in 1775 by the Provincial Congress and the literal translation is, "With a sword, she seeks quiet peace under liberty." Although the looser English translation more commonly used is, "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty." Above the shield is the state military crest: a bent arm holding a broadsword aloft. The sword has its blade up, to remind that it was through the American Revolution that independence was won."

Go ahead. Be offended. Get a life.

Order #3. That the amendment to the Zoning Ordinance in 5.23 Height Exceptions Proposal for Converting Flat Concave Roofs for Green Uses be referred to the Ordinance Committee and Planning Board for hearing and report.   Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor McGovern

This seems to be a reintroduction of something Councillor Kelley had pushed in the last City Council term. There is certainly some merit in the goal.

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to take steps necessary to impose a moratorium, to include the possibility of the City Council implementing a zoning change, on the permitting of all new restaurants where a wood-fired oven is used as a significant method of food preparation.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone

I can't say that a moratorium is warranted here, but one thing I will say is that in this age when "mixed-use districts" are being encouraged is that there doesn't seem to nearly enough attention paid to what the reasonable standards and expectations should be for places (like mine) where businesses and residents are crowded together. Perhaps it's not enough to just hope that the Cambridge License Commission will ensure that everyone gets along.

This specific Order is about emissions from restaurants (I'm interested in which ones in particular triggered the Order), but there's not a whole lot to be found in the Zoning Ordinance addressing the reality that some businesses that might operate late into the night in the middle of Central Square or Harvard Square might not be a welcome addition to a more neighborhood-scale mixed use district. This is something I got to thinking about a few years ago during the MIT/Kendall rezoning. Many people came out advocating for more housing (generally a great thing) but there was little attention paid to whether that housing should be located in the busiest location in Kendall Square or perhaps, more appropriately, with at least some small separation from all the activity. I suppose you could argue that tall buildings provide such separation but maybe being a short walk away is preferred.

Sorry for the digression, but I do think that the issue of well-functioning mixed-use districts that don't drive people crazy is a topic that needs more discussion.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to initiate a process to add high-capacity dedicated motor scooter and motorcycle on-street parking within dense commercial areas, taking care to coordinate with local residents, businesses, and business associations.   Councillor Mazen

The City already does this during the warmer weather months for bikes, so why not? If the City is already OK with removing a few parking spaces in favor of bike parking, allowing for scooters and maybe creating smaller spaces for motorcycles seems worth considering. We're already seeing some of these scooters parked on sidewalks. On a related matter, we could really use a purge of all the derelict bicycles that are occupying the various bike posts and bike racks around the city.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Department of Public Works, the City Arborist and any other relevant City departments to discuss the feasibility of an education campaign that would be available to all property owners through tax bills and other sources to educate residents about watering street trees near their property, refilling Gator Bags, and other tips for caring for street trees and the possibility of implementing an "Adopt-a-Tree" program.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone

There's already a really good program in place for this. It's called: "Just Do It." Seriously, if there's a street tree near your house that needs a little love, just adopt it and start taking care of it. Nobody from the City is going to haul you into court for doing so, and the costs are small enough that you hardly need a tax abatement to cover them. I've been pruning and watering trees in my neighborhood for years. The core message in this Order is that people just need a little more information and initiative - and that's worth it. If you do the math you'll quickly realize that when it comes to basic neighborhood maintenance (including keeping storm drains clear), there's no way it can get done if you expect others to do it. So..... Just Do It.

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to investigate the possibility of allowing local businesses to voluntarily donate collected bag fees to non-profit organizations, the newly designed Community Benefits Fund, or the Cambridge Non-Profit Coalition.   Councillor Cheung

The language is curious, don't you think? Do we really have to take legislative action to allow local businesses to make voluntary donations to non-profit organizations? Perhaps it would be appropriate to change "allow" to "encourage" and provide some suggestions for where the fees might be directed.

Order #12. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with the number of parking spaces in the City of Cambridge as well as the number of cars registered in the city.   Councillor Cheung

I would like to see this information, but the aggregate totals have little value. It would be much better if this could perhaps also be done by neighborhood or other some convenient divisions.

Order #16. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments to develop a timeline for the implementation of the C2 non-zoning recommendations.   Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons

While many of us appreciate the intention here, it needs to be pointed out that those non-zoning recommendations are just recommendations and some of them are pretty general and not necessarily in a form that can or should be implemented. The C2 recommendations were to be further refined with the help of the Central Square Advisory Committee, but that process could use a little more attention (and a little spark).

Order #18. That the City Manager is requested to ban all taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina due to the recently passed discriminatory legislation against the LGBTQ community.   Councillor Toomey

The specific legislation is kind of backwards, but one core aspect of the North Carolina law is not so different than how we do things in Massachusetts. I'm not talking about bathrooms here, but rather the principle that some things are best done uniformly throughout a state and some things can and should be determined at the discretion of individual cities and towns. In Massachusetts there are many things that can only be enacted via Home Rule legislation.

Order #20. City Council support of State Senate Bill S. 1022 which would allow municipalities in Massachusetts to set their own minimum wage without contest.   Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern

Here's a perfect illustration of the dilemma of who should have authority in enacting a law - the city or the state. Personally, I feel that minimum wage laws are appropriately determined at the federal level and at the state level - and NOT at the municipal level. The same was true about the smoking ban and it's also true for standards on voting. Uniformity across municipal boundaries is generally a good idea. If you want to adjust the minimum wage, talk to your state legislators and maybe suggest different zones in the state, but don't have different standards in every city and town.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 11, 2016 to discuss the continued employment of City Manager Richard Rossi beyond June 30, 2016 and to initiate negotiations for a successor employment contract and any other related business put forth.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 23, 2016 to discuss the development of the process for the selection of a new City Manager.

The process has begun and the next meeting is Wed, Apr 6. I just hope everyone can stay on task and not try to cure all ills when they should be focusing on hiring a person. I also really hope we can identify someone (soon) who can not only manager a city with a large budget but who also already has great familiarity with Cambridge and its people.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting the determination on an Open Meeting Law Complaint of Kim Courtney dated Oct 28, 2015, amended on Jan 5, 2016.

There really does come a point when the filing of complaints rises to the level of harassment. I'm glad this pointless complaint has been dismissed, but it's a shame that time and money had to be wasted on the changing of these particular diapers.


Peter Sheinfeld 1947-2016

March 28 - Election Commissioner Peter Sheinfeld passed away early this morning. Additional details to follow.
Peter and I have been friends for many years. - Robert Winters

Note: Peter's last pre-recorded "Rockin' At Night" radio show on WRCA (1330 AM) will play this Friday, April 1 from 11:00pm to midnight.

March 23 - Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas has announced his intention to retire at the end of his current contract in May 2016.
Cambridge's top cop to retire in May (Cambridge Chronicle)

Hello Recycling & Composting Neighbors! - April 2016

recycling symbolYard Waste Begins 4/1, Household Haz Waste Collection 4/9
Special Rain Barrel Offer
Clean Green & Get Rid of It Right This Spring
Volunteer with Us!

Yard Waste Begins 4/1, Household Haz Waste Collection 4/9

Weekly yard waste collection of leaves, grass, plants and small branches begins Friday, April 1. Place yard waste in paper refuse bags or loose in barrels marked with City stickers, no plastic bags. To request stickers, email recycle@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-4800. Yard waste is collected the same day as your recycling and trash.

The first of four 2016 Household Hazardous Collection Days will be held on Saturday, April 9, 9am-1pm, at the Danehy Park Parking Lot on Field St at Fern St. Click here for what's accepted, including alternative options and what you can bring to the Recycling Center during open hours. Cambridge residents only, bring proof of residency. Property Managers: if you're bringing more than 25 pounds or 25 gallons from a Cambridge residential building or if you have no proof of residency, email recycle@cambridgema.gov in advance.

Special Rain Barrel Offer

Rain barrelsCapture the rainwater from your roof and store it in a rain barrel for later use in your garden. If rainwater is not captured and allowed to soak back into the ground, rivers and streams do not have the chance to sustain or "recharge" themselves. By capturing rainwater, you are reducing stormwater runoff, conserving water and recharging the groundwater.

Learn how to purchase a 60-gallon rainwater collection system for $79.00 here.

Clean Green & Get Rid of It Right This Spring

Buy non-toxic cleaners that are better for your family and the planet, or make them yourself. Search the web for "green cleaning products" or "DIY green cleaning products" to learn more.

You may have materials to dispose of properly this spring. Check our "Get Rid of It Right" resource.

Got Furniture? Plan ahead to donate your good-condition furniture. Check out the dates when you can schedule a pick-up from your home through the Mass Coalition for the Homeless, and other options here.

Got Textiles? All textiles, including clothing, shoes, belts, purses, linens, stuffed animals, and fabric scraps, can be donated for reuse and recycling at drop boxes around Cambridge. Find the closest drop off location on our handy Donate Your Stuff map. It's OK if items are torn, stained, broken or missing something. Even paint, wine and food stains are OK. Tie shoes together or wrap with a rubber band. Wearable clothing is used by people worldwide. Damaged clothing is recycled into rags and everything else is turned back into fibers to make paper, yarn, insulation, carpet padding, and sound proofing.

Volunteer with Us!

We're always looking for enthusiastic people to help spread the word about reducing, reusing, recycling and composting, as we strive to meet our goals to reduce trash by 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, from 2008 levels. Contact us at recycle@cambridgema.gov to be part of the solution!

recycling symbolKnow that recycling is easy and mandatory in Cambridge! Review what to recycle and help educate new residents! Encourage others to stay in the loop and sign up for the City’s monthly e-newsletter on recycling, composting and reducing waste. Just email us at recycle@cambridgema.gov.

  • Missed recycling or trash? Please use Commonwealth Connect and report it online or via mobile app (iPhone / Android) or call DPW at 617-349-4800 by 12 noon the day after collection to make a request.
  • Need toters, brochures, labels, or posters? Email recycle@cambridgema.gov.
  • Following a weekday holiday, curbside trash, recycling, compost and yard waste collection is delayed one day. Check the 2016 collection schedule.

Sunday Morning Statistics - Who Voted in the Cambridge Presidential primary (by age)

Mar 20 - Just in case you're interested, here are some histograms of the distribution of Cambridge voters in the recent March 1, 2016 Presidential Primary. Voters are grouped in 3-year increments, e.g. "20" represents the number of voters in the 18-20 range.

All Registered Cambridge Voters with identifiable ages - 65791 Total
Registered Voters - March 2016

Number of These Who Voted in March 1, 2016 Primary - 32732 Total
Voted - March 2016

Percent Turnout by Age - Cambridge Citywide Turnout was 50%
Percent Turnout - March 2016

Here are a few additional bits of information:

1) There were 10,409 unenrolled voters who voted in the March 1 Presidential Primary. Of these, 8285 (79.59%) chose to vote in the Democratic Party primary, 2,097 (20.15%) chose to vote in the Republican Party primary, and 27 (0.26%) chose to vote in the United Independent Party primary.

2) There were 997 registered Republicans vs. 2,097 unenrolled voters who voted in the Republican Party primary, i.e. only a third of those who voted in that primary were registered Republicans. In contrast, about 72% of those who voted in the Democratic Party primary were registered Democrats.

3) In the Cambridge Democratic Party primary (29,670 total ballots cast), it was Clinton 53.11%, Sanders 46.14%, O'Malley 0.15%, De La Fuente 0.07%, No Preference 0.19%, Write-Ins 0.20%, and Blank 0.14%.

4) In the Cambridge Republican Party primary (3,137 total ballots cast), it was Kasich 33.63%, Rubio 29.14%, Trump 24.96%, Cruz 6.79%, Carson 1.82%, Bush 0.92%, Paul 0.89%, Gilmore 0.35%, Pataki 0.13%, Fiorina 0.13%, Santorum 0.10%, Christie 0.06%, Huckabee 0.03%, No Preference 0.29%, Write-Ins 0.38%, and Blank 0.38%.


Member Sought for Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust
Application Deadline Extended to April 29

City SealMar 22, 2016 – City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking residents who are interested in serving on the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust.

Established in 1988, the Trust administers and oversees City funds allocated to the Trust for the creation and preservation of affordable rental and ownership housing and programs designed to meet the city’s affordable housing needs. The Trust reviews and acts on requests for Trust funding for affordable housing developments and programs, sets policies and standards for the Incentive Zoning and Inclusionary Housing Ordinances, and provides housing policy and program advice to City staff, City boards and commissions, and the Cambridge City Council.

The Trust is comprised of residents and representatives of non-profit housing organizations with expertise in affordable housing, housing policy, finance, urban planning and real estate development. The Trust is chaired by the City Manager and generally meets on the fourth Thursday of every month, from 4:00-5:30pm, at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.

To apply, please submit a resume and a brief letter describing your interest in serving on the Trust and related experience. Final selection will be made by the City Manager. Letters should be sent by Friday, April 29, 2016 to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4300; Fax 617-349-4307
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov

Cambridge Conservation Commission Member Sought

City SealMar 17, 2016 – City Manager Richard C. Rossi 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.

Interested persons should send a letter of interest and/or resume via e-mail, mail or fax by May 6, 2016 to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4300; Fax 617-349-4307
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov

2016 Evenings with Experts Lecture Series

Presented by Grow Native Massachusetts at the Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway Cambridge, MA 02138
Link for more information: http://grownativemass.org/programs/eveningswithexperts

May 4 – Planting in a Post-Wild World

April Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation

These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.

Dates: Thursdays 10am to noon
Place: Meets at the volunteer trailer in the front 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. Please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or fpr@cambridgema.gov for any RSVPs or questions!
Dates: Fridays 9 to 10am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
    Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their parents/caretakers, and play in our urban wild! Please come dressed ready for the weather (and in clothes that are OK to get a bit dirty). Register with Catherine Pedemonti at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com.
Date: Wednesday, April 27th, 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Meets at front door of Water Purification Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    Curious about the seemingly innocuous plants you’ve observed volunteers removing from the Reservation during the summertime? Or are you suspicious of some strange new visitors popping up in your garden or climbing up your fences? Join Ted Elliman, botanist extraordinaire formerly of the New England Wildflower Society, for an evening walk around the Reservation, in which he will teach how to identify common invasive plants, why these invasive species pose such a danger to native plant and animal communities, and how to manage them for the health of our local ecosystems. Please RSVP to fpr@cambridgema.gov or (617) 349-6489.

Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or fpr@cambridgema.gov 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 friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com, 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

The Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship Program
Fresh Pond Reservation users are getting involved! The Cambridge Water Department's Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship Program brings people together on a regular basis to monitor plants, conduct maintenance activities, and to learn about the ecology and history of the area. You can find out about projects that are being planned for this summer, including invasive plants removal, Purple Loosestrife nursery monitoring, bird box monitoring, and more. Call Kirsten Kindquist at 617-349 6489 or email klindquist@cambridgema.gov for more information.

Read the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation Annual "Year in Review (2013)"

Read the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation Annual "Year in Review (2014)"

Grow Native Massachusetts is offering a series of free nature-related "Evenings with Experts" lectures at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway. Details are at www.grownativemass.org and grownativemass.org/programs/eveningswithexperts in particular. First Wednesdays of the Month, 7:00-8:30pm.

• Sign up for the City of Cambridge's informative "Recycling and Composting Newsletter" by e-mailing recycle@cambridgema.gov.

A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksWed, Apr 27. 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. AMC Local WalksSat, Apr 30. Broadmoor Mass Audubon walk, Natick. 10:30am-12:30pm. Meet at the Visitors Center. Join us for a walk in this convenient (Natick on Route 16), yet expansive wildlife retreat. Moderate pace, easy trails with some gentle hills and rocks. Bring water and snacks. No children or dogs. Heavy rain cancels. Call Lisa if uncertain. Charge: $5 if not a Mass Audubon member, plus $1 if not an AMC member. L Lisa Fleischman, CL Mary Wisbach. [Driving Directions]
AMC Local WalksSat, Apr 30. Parks & Greenways, Quincy. 7-mile. walk w/beach, woods, salt marshes, historic sites, 10:00am-2:30pm. Bring lunch & water. Take Quincy Shore Drive to Wollaston Yacht Club pier at Beach St. Or T to Wollaston, walk 1 mile. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey. AMC Local WalksSun, May 1. Warner Trail, Wrentham. 9am-4pm. 10-mi. mod. hike from Wampum Corner to Crocker Pond. Bring lunch & water. We will spot cars before the hike. Meet at Crocker Pond Conservation Area on Myrtle St. (off Rt 1). Heavy rain cancels. Email Jim if uncertain. L Laura Cerier, CL Jim Goyea.
AMC Local WalksSun, May 8. Blue Hills, Ponkapoag Pond. 4 mi. mod.-paced hike, 10:30am-1:30pm. Bring lunch+water. I-93/Rte 128 exit 2A to Rte.138S for 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course pkg lot on L. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias. AMC Local WalksSun, May 15. Rocky Hill Sanctuary and adjoining woodlands, Groton. 1:00pm. This is a great area to hike around in, with a beautiful point on Long Pond, beaver marshes, heron rookerie, a true bog, and more. About 2 hours, moderate pace. No Dogs. Meet at the Rocky Hill Sanctuary parking area off of Robin Hill Rd in Groton, 42.5811N 71.5311W. L Olin Lathrop.
AMC Local WalksSun, May 15. Acton Arboretum, Acton. Slow-paced nature walk in search of a variety of early spring wild flowers and other signs of spring. The walk will focus on plant ID and natural history. 9:00am-12:00pm. From Concord rotary, take Rte. 2 West 2.2 miles, Right on Taylor Road 0.7 miles to Arboretum on right. The Acton Arboretum is opposite #7 Taylor Rd. (Note - sign faces opposite direction). Arrive early, parking limited. Steady rain cancels. Boot Boutwell is a freelance itinerant naturalist who teaches and leads nature walks for Mass Audubon - Habitat, The New England Wild Flower Society, the Winchester Public Schools, the Friends of the Middlesex Fells, the Appalachian Mountain Club and other organizations. L Boot Boutwell. AMC Local WalksSat, May 21. Blue Hills Bird Walk, Milton. 7:00am-10:30am. Beginner's bird walk 3 miles through the Fowl Meadow and along the Neponset River. Learn to bird. See both common and rare bird species at the height of spring migration in the best birding area in the Blue Hills Reservation. Bring your binoculars and a bird book if you have one. Joint with Friends of the Blue Hills. L Steve Olanoff.

Here's Something Worth Watching

Robert & Judy on Cambridge InsideOutWe are back on the air as of Tues, Oct 13, 2015. The show is broadcast live every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We plan to have other guest hosts as well.

[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos of each]

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 125-126: March 29, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 123-124: Mar 22, 2016 (post Mar 22, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 121-122: March 15, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 119-120: March 8, 2016 (posted Mar 9, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 117-118: Mar 1, 2016 (posted Mar 2, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 115-116: Feb 23, 2016 (posted Feb 24, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 113-114: The Picture Show (Feb 16, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 111 (BYOB Ordinance) and 112 (Feb 9, 2016)

Cambridge Inside Out Episodes 109 and 110 (Parts 2 and 3 of Conversation with Tip O’Neill (1992) (Jan 17, 2016)

New and Old – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 107 and 108 (Part 1 of 1992 Tip O'Neill Conversation) (Jan 26, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 105-106 with Anthony Galluccio (Jan 12, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 103-104 with Vice Mayor Marc McGovern (Jan 5, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 101-102: Looking Ahead to 2016-17 (Dec 29, 2015)

Cambridge InsideOut – Episodes 99 and 100: Looking Back at the 2014-15 Cambridge City Council (Dec 23, 2015)

Cambridge InsideOut – Episodes 97 and 98 (Dec 16, 2015)

Cambridge InsideOut – Episodes 95 and 96 with Patrick Barrett (Dec 9, 2015)

Cambridge InsideOutCambridge InsideOut Episodes 93 and 94 – On Civic Infrastructure (Dec 1, 2015)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 91 and 92 – Digging into the ballot data (Nov 17, 2015)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 89 and 90 – Making Sense of the 2015 Cambridge Election Results (Nov 11, 2015)

Election Day Discussion – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 87 and 88 (Nov 3, 2015)

One Week before the Election – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 85 and 86 (Oct 27, 2015)

PR Election Mechanics – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 83 and 84 (Oct 20, 2015)

Oct 13, 2015 - The Return – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 81 and 82

June 10 - 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

MAPC Study: 435,000 new housing units needed by 2040

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.

Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

Catching Up on the Cambridge News – April 1, 2016 (April Fools Edition)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 125-126: March 29, 2016 (posted Mar 29, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 123-124: Mar 22, 2016 (posted Mar 22, 2016)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (Mar 22, 2016)

Cambridge Works Transitional Jobs Program Gives Residents A Helping Hand (Mar 21, 2016)

Happy Spring! – Coming up at the March 21, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting (Mar 18, 2016, updated Mar 21, 2016)

Catching Up on the Cambridge News (Mar 21, 2016)

Sunday Morning Statistics – Who Voted in the Cambridge Presidential primary (by age) (posted Mar 20, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 121-122: March 15, 2016

The Eve of the Ides – March 14, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting highlights (Mar 14, 2016)

Cambridge City Manager Richard Rossi to retire later this year (Mar 11, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 119-120: March 8, 2016 (posted Mar 9, 2016)

Nominations Sought for 2016 Outstanding City Employee Awards (Mar 8, 2016)

Local Political Rumblings – State Representatives and State Senators (March 2016)

Sidewalk Poetry Returns to Cambridge! (Mar 8, 2016)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 117-118: Mar 1, 2016 (posted Mar 2, 2016)

Leapin’ Legislators – Items of Interest on the Feb 29, 2016 Cambridge City Council agenda (Feb 28, 2016)

Are You As Smart As A CRLS Student? (Feb 27, 2016)

Grand Opening Celebration and Tour of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School – Sunday, Feb 28, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 115-116: Feb 23, 2016 (posted Feb 24, 2016)

Back to Work – Monday, Feb 22, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting (Feb 21, 2016)

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates (last updated Feb 20, 2015 - updated periodically)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 113-114: The Picture Show (Feb 16, 2016)

Cambridge School Committee 2015 Campaign Finance Summaries (Feb 6, 2016)

A Conversation with Tip O’Neill (1992) on Cambridge Inside Out (Jan 17, 2016)

Who Voted in the 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election? (Dec 6, 2015)

Morning Thoughts – Nov 25, 2015 (Nov 25, 2015)

Final Official Election Results – Cambridge 2015 Municipal Election (Nov 13, 2015)

Cambridge’s new Superintendent of Schools – Dr. Kenneth Salim (Oct 27, 2015)

2015 Cambridge Pre-Election Fun Facts (Oct 24, 2015)

Flashback to March 1998 (Oct 12, 2015)

Cambridge Municipal Election Candidates – 2015 (last updated Oct 2, 2015)

Visiting Lucius R. Paige and I.F. Stone at Mount Auburn Cemetery (Aug 25, 2015)

City of Cambridge Selects Utile Architecture + Planning team for Citywide Plan (Aug 21, 2015)

Who Votes in Cambridge? (July 9, 2015)

April 1 Cambridge News (Apr 1, 2015) - the April Fool's Day edition

Brian Murphy, 1964-2015 (Feb 5, 2015)

Age Distribution of Voters in Cambridge Elections: 2007-2014 (Jan 4, 2015)

Master Plan Mythology and other Big Items on the Apr 7, 2014 City Council Agenda (Apr 7, 2014)

MBTA Role in Cambridge Center Project – Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989 (Feb 13, 2014)

K2C2 Final Reports Released (Dec 31, 2013)

The Advent of PR in Cambridge (Nov 10, 2013)

Completing the Square (June 11, 2013)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project: Six Pivotal Episodes (June 8, 2013)

April 1 Cambridge News (Apr 1, 2013) - the April Fool's Day edition

On becoming a True Cantabrigian (Dec 29, 2012)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Project, Initial Years, 1963 to 1982 (July 12, 2012)

Kendall Square Urban Renewal Area – Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (Apr 5, 2012)

“Cycle track”: a sidewalk by another name (posted Aug 11, 2010, letter of Paul Schimek)

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)

Introduction: Memorandum from the Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 on its Final Recommendations
Full Report (reformatted in HTML) Goals
Public Places to Build Community Public Places elements
Retail, Cultural and Non-Profit Diversity Housing
Connecting People to the Square Foster a Sustainable Future for Central Square
Leverage Future Private and Public Investments Definition of Central Square Districts
Zoning Recommendations Transfer of Development Rights
Transportation Recommendations Location Specific Issues

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

Feb 1980 - CDD report entitled "Central Square - Commercial Area Revitalization District

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

1989 - Draft Central Square Development Guidelines

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 - Central Square Improvements Project, Master Plan Report

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)

2009 - CDD Central Square Customer Intercept Survey Report

2011 - Central Square Market Profile

2011 - Red Ribbon Commission Study Report

2012 - Goody/Clancy report and recommendations

2013 - K2C2 Final Reports

K2C2 Final Reports Released

K2C2 areaThe 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.

Community Development Department

Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (K2C2)

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:

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:

Plan E Charter (Cambridge's city charter) Acts of 1921, Chapter 239 as amended (establishment of Cambridge Election Commission)

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
written by Glenn Koocher, November 2004 -- edited by Robert Winters, July 2006
[An alternate edit of this essay will appear, along with many other valuable essays, in a
centennial volume to be published by the Cambridge Historical Society in 2007.

Which People's Republic
written by Bill Cunningham, 1999

Cambridge School Volunteers is looking for people who can give one to two hours per week to help students in the Cambridge Public Schools, grades K through 12. No experience necessary. Call 617-349-6794 or e-mail csv@cpsd.us for more details.

Oliver Wendell Holmes – Morning Exercises of December 28, 1880
As recorded in the book 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Cambridge (1881)

Robert Winters
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
Philosophy of the CCJ Editor
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:
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

''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"

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