AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksSat, Sept 5. Parks & Greenways, Cambridge to Malden. Mostly wooded, somewhat hilly 9-mi. hike w/8 ponds and incl. Middlesex Fells & ending at Oak Grove T sta., 9:30am-2:30pm. Bring lunch & water. Meet on W side of Alewife T sta. at passenger drop-off. L Robert Winters, CL Mike Stadelmaier. AMC Local WalksMon, Sept 7. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 5 mile walk, 8:30am-11:30am. Bring snack/water. From Rte. 3 exit 14, take Rte. 228N 6.5 mi., L on Rte. 3A 1.0mi. to rotary, R on Summer St. 0.5 mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6.00 parking fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.
AMC Local WalksMon, Sept 7. Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain. 4-mi. walk among 5000 kinds of trees & shrubs, 12:30-2:45pm. Bring snack & water. Meet at Admin. Bldg., Arborway. Take T to Forest Hills sta., walk 0.6 mi. L Robert Winters, CL Mike Stadelmaier. AMC Local WalksSun, Sept 13. Horn Pond Conservation Land, Woburn. Slow paced nature walk looking for late summer wildflowers and fruits. Focus on plant ID and fun natural history. 12:30pm-3:30pm. From Rte. 95/128 Exit 33A take Rte. 3 South for 3 miles. Left on Pond St. 0.8 miles to parking lot on left. Parking limited, arrive early. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.

Three Cheers for George Scialabba

Cambridge-based "The Baffler" is presenting "Three Cheers for George Scialabba" on September 10 at the Brattle Theatre - timed to coincide with George Scialabba Day in Cambridge. Yes, that's an official proclamation. The Cambridge City Council passed a resolution to this effect on August 10.

From the balloons and brass band to the speakers, including Noam Chomsky along with Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Frank, Rick Perlstein, and N+1's Nikil Saval, Three Cheers is shaping up to be a memorable affirmation of the values of independent thinking in the age of Trumpism. It's a star-spangled retirement party not for a big shot in finance or law or real estate, but for a chronic depressive and Harvard clerical worker who turned himself into one of "the country's best all-around intellects," as the New Yorker's James Wood says.

There will also be video tributes from Bill McKibben and MSNBC's Chris Hayes among many others.

Visiting Lucius R. Paige and I.F. Stone at Mount Auburn Cemetery

Rev. Lucius R. Paige was the Town/City Clerk of Cambridge in 1839 and from 1843 through 1855. In 1877 he published his History of Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1630-1877, the definitive text on the subject. Lucius Paige lived from 1802 to 1896.

Lucius R. Paige portrait

Lucius R. Paige

Lucius Paige

Lucius R. Paige

 I. F. Stone

Not far from the grave of Lucius Paige is the final resting place of I.F. Stone (Isador Feinstein Stone). As his Wikipedia page says: "In 1999, a New York University poll of journalists ranked I.F. Stone’s Weekly at 16 in "The Top 100 Works of Journalism in the United States in the 20th Century," placing the Weekly second among print journalism.

Both Lucius Paige and I.F. Stone are inspiring figures for anyone who cares to write about local history, government, or politics. Mount Auburn Cemetery is an inspiration in so many ways.

City of Cambridge Selects Consultant for Citywide Plan
Utile Architecture + Planning team selected to run multiyear process

Cambridge NeighborhoodsAug 21, 2015 – Today, Cambridge Officials announced that an interdisciplinary team led by Utile Architecture + Planning (Utile) has been selected for the Cambridge citywide planning project. “The City is looking forward to embarking on this important citywide process with Utile,” said Richard C. Rossi, City Manager. “This multiyear effort is a major investment that the City is making in the future of our community. Residents, business employers and employees, property owners and developers, institutions, non-profit organizations, and many other stakeholders will be active participants in this process and a key component to ensuring that the citywide plan reflects the values of our community. I want to thank the other highly qualified and respected firms that participated in our selection process.”

The other finalists in the City’s selection process were Sasaki, and Perkins + Will.

On July 27, 2015, the finalists made presentations to and answered questions from the public in an event held in the Sullivan Chambers in City Hall. Following the public presentations, the City’s Selection Committee conducted a multi-day evaluation process that resulted in City Manager Richard C. Rossi accepting the recommendation to hire Utile. Over the next few weeks the City will be working with Utile to finalize a contract, including financial arrangements, for the public process that will begin this fall.

“The Utile team brings a deep understanding of local planning issues and a fresh, creative approach to public engagement,” said Lisa Peterson, Chair of the Selection Committee. “Using a rigorous, data-driven process, the Utile team will complement and augment the capacity of City staff to develop a strategic framework to address a broad range of issues including mobility, housing, land use, urban design, environment, social equity, economic development, and open space.”

The planning process that will be kicked off this fall will span multiple years and will include a robust community engagement process.

“Cambridge’s citywide plan will create a shared vision for the city, develop policy and design goals and actionable recommendations to guide future changes in the city,” said Iram Farooq, Acting Assistant City Manager for Community Development. “The end result of this process will be a shared vision on how Cambridge can remain livable, sustainable, and equitable not just for the current generation, but also for generations to come.”

The citywide planning process aims to integrate and build upon the City’s existing policies, programs, and initiatives through an inclusive, wide-reaching process that looks beyond traditional planning efforts to guide future change in Cambridge. During the multi-year process, early action items and pilot projects may be identified and launched. [Read Utile Proposal (22.6MB PDF)]

The planning process will examine a broad range of issues, including mobility, housing, land use, urban design, environment, social equity, economic development, and open space. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks about the public process that will begin this fall!

For more information, please visit the project page on the Community Development Department's website, or email

Utile is a 40-person, Boston-based planning and design firm. Built like a think tank, the firm thrives on solving complex problems in intelligent and pragmatic ways. From theoretical issues that frame policy to the practical implementation of architectural commissions, Utile develops a rigorous research-based approach for finding the best solutions. Utile specializes in unique regulatory, political, and design challenges, and is committed to the revitalization of the American city through proactive planning and design that bridges public and private jurisdictional boundaries.


Cambridge Candidate Pages - 2015
(candidates are encouraged to send additional information)

2015 Calendar of Election-related Events
[ submit your events ]

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates

Cambridge Municipal Election Candidates – 2015
(candidate lists with sortable tables)

The 2015 Candidates - Final List of Candidates Appearing on the November 3, 2015 Ballot

City Council Candidate Address   Birthdate Occupation
Dennis A. Benzan 1 Pine Street, 02139 Candidate for Re-Election 1/25/1972 Attorney
Dennis J. Carlone 9 Washington Avenue #6, 02140 Candidate for Re-Election 5/7/1947 Architect
Leland Cheung 157 Garden Street, 02138 Candidate for Re-Election 2/11/1978 -
Mike Connolly 20 Harding Street #3, 02141   6/3/1980 -
Kim Courtney 2 Ware Street #401, 02138   12/6/1973 Attorney
Mariko Davidson 2 Ware Street #411, 02138   11/20/1981 -
Plineo T. Degoes, Jr. 99 Garden Street, 02138   2/10/1981 Teacher
Jan Devereux 255 Lakeview Avenue, 02138   5/13/1959 Writer/Commun.
Xavier Dietrich 2 Ware Street #401, 02138   12/2/1961 -
Craig A. Kelley 6 Saint Gerard Terrace, 02140 Candidate for Re-Election 9/18/1962 Politician
Ilan S. Levy 148 Spring Street, 02141   11/1/1967 Software Engineer
David P. Maher 120 Appleton Street #2, 02138 Candidate for Re-Election 8/8/1958 Non-profit Mgr.
Paul F. Mahoney, Jr. 23 Lawn Street, 02138   5/8/1950 -
Nadeem A. Mazen 720 Mass. Avenue #4, 02139 Candidate for Re-Election 9/20/1983 Entrepreneur
Marc C. McGovern 15 Pleasant Street #2, 02139 Candidate for Re-Election 12/21/1968 Social Worker
Gary W. Mello 324 Franklin Street #2, 02139   5/24/1953 Clerk
Gregg J. Moree 25 Fairfield Street #4, 02140   6/16/1957 Carpenter
John Sanzone 540 Memorial Drive #304, 02139   10/16/1988 -
E. Denise Simmons 188 Harvard Street #4B, 02139 Candidate for Re-Election 10/2/1951 Public Office
Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. 88 Sixth Street, 02141 Candidate for Re-Election 6/7/1953 Councillor
Minka Y. vanBeuzekom 20 Essex Street #1, 02139   7/24/1960 Government
Romaine Waite 60 Lawn Street #5, 02138   6/7/1991 -
James M. Williamson 1000 Jackson Place #45, 02140   1/13/1951 -
School Committee Candidate Address   Birthdate Occupation
Manikka L. Bowman 134 Reed Street, 02140   11/27/1979 -
Pia Cisternino 62 Holworthy Street #1, 02138   8/28/1974 speech-lang. pathologist
Fran Albin Cronin 1 Kimball Lane, 02140 Candidate for Re-Election 2/14/1952 School Committee
Jake W. Crutchfield 281 River Street, 02139   3/31/1987 Teacher
Emily R. Dexter 9 Fenno Street, 02138   3/16/1957 Educational Researcher
Alfred B. Fantini 4 Canal Park #203, 02141 Candidate for Re-Election 6/8/1949 Retired
Richard Harding, Jr. 189 Windsor Street #1, 02139 Candidate for Re-Election 10/16/1972 Administrator
Elechi M. Kadete 10 Laurel Street #4, 02139   9/30/1989 Accountant
Kathleen M. Kelly 17 Marie Avenue #1, 02139 Candidate for Re-Election 3/8/1960 Social Worker
Patricia M. Nolan 184 Huron Avenue, 02138 Candidate for Re-Election 8/28/1957 School Committee
David J. Weinstein 45 S. Normandy Avenue, 02138   12/10/1972 Writer/Commun.

CC = City Council, SC = School Committee

Mervan Osborne will not seek reelection (July 21). Lesley Phillips withdrew as a City Council candidate (Aug 14).

Official List of Candidates for the 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election (PDF - released Aug 19, 2015)

This list of candidates is also available as sortable tables at

2015 Receipts with Cambridge totals, overall totals recorded through Aug 20 with the
Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF), and Cambridge percentage of total receipts
Summaries (2015) Open Bank Receipts Expend Balance Cambridge 2015 OCPF Receipts Cambridge %
Benzan, Dennis 8207.46 25800.00 22324.61 11682.85 12000.00 25725.00 46.6%
Carlone, Dennis 4272.67 18509.21 550.00 22231.88 17845.00 20335.00 87.8%
Cheung, Leland 6002.06 30799.60 14531.73 22269.93 10890.00 30799.60 35.4%
Connolly, Mike 0.00 4471.65 1327.26 3144.39 2200.00 2750.00 80.0%
Courtney, Kim 0.00 1472.91 1260.03 212.88 410.00 1160.00 35.3%
Davidson, Mariko 0.00 2327.21 223.04 2104.17 1242.00 2692.00 46.1%
DeGoes, Plineo 0.00 1450.00 1209.68 240.32 1450.00 1450.00 100.0%
Devereux, Jan 0.00 34126.35 29381.45 4744.90 28615.00 35050.00 81.6%
Dietrich, Xavier 0.00 300.00 0.00 300.00 0.00 0.00 none
Kelley, Craig 2601.58 2353.84 2159.38 2796.04 2377.00 2427.00 97.9%
Levy, Ilan 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 none
Maher, David 28741.21 5150.00 8206.90 25684.31 11046.05 19346.05 57.1%
Mahoney, Paul F. 0.00 100.00 0.00 100.00 0.00 0.00 none
Mazen, Nadeem 12273.54 6138.68 11855.17 6557.05 661.00 4029.19 16.4%
McGovern, Marc 6098.45 42877.59 19242.19 29733.85 20708.33 42351.21 48.9%
Mello, Gary 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 none
Moree, Gregg -46.46 0.00 0.00 -46.46 0.00 0.00 none
Sanzone, John 0.00 752.90 599.74 153.16 550.00 825.00 66.7%
Simmons, Denise 7447.29 27554.33 17774.10 17227.52 14145.00 26485.73 53.4%
Toomey, Tim 18782.29 24550.49 18268.74 25064.04 7799.34 24549.34 31.8%
vanBeuzekom, Minka  7380.40 21761.87 13372.38 15769.89 16095.00 21890.14 73.5%
Waite, Romaine 0.00 250.00 19.98 230.02 0.00 0.00 none
Williamson, James 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 none
Total 101951.77 106025.38 70315.37 137661.78 148033.72 261865.26 56.5%

Select Stories from the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):

Medford man arrested in connection with Cambridge murder (Sara Feijo w/Amy Saltzman, Aug 24, 2015)

Cambridge looks to build variety among street performers (Sara Feijo, Aug 21, 2015)

Cambridge skatepark completion slated for late fall; work surpasses halfway mark (Sara Feijo, Aug 19, 2015)

Mid East owners look to expand club into former T.T.'s space (Sara Feijo, Aug 18, 2015)

Metered parking extended in Harvard and Porter squares (Aug 18, 2015)

LETTER: Cooperate with Cambridge police to help bring justice to Area Four murder (Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan, Aug 17, 2015)

COLUMN: Progress is accumulative (Cathie Zusy, Aug 16, 2015)

Cambridge police probe continues as neighborhood reacts to fatal shooting (Sara Feijo, Aug 13, 2015 w/Aug 19 update)

‘Stop killing our future:' Murder victim’s mom says Area Four violence needs to end (Sara Feijo, Aug 13, 2015 w/Aug 18 update)

Family, friends mourn man slain in Cambridge shooting (Sara Feijo, Aug 13, 2015)

MLK school to be complete in December (Sara Feijo, Aug 13, 2015)

60 Seconds: Cambridge City Council (Aug 10) meeting highlights (Sara Feijo, Aug 12, 2015)

Story maps show off Cambridge city data (Haiyun Jiang, Aug 11, 2015)

Growing Older column: Newspapers must not be abandoned (Richard Griffin, Aug 9, 2015)

West Nile virus found in Cambridge mosquitoes (Aug 9, 2015)

Divide remains over Forbes Plaza proposal (Sara Feijo, Aug 6, 2015)

Kendall 3.0: MIT submits plans for square remake (Erin Baldassari, Aug 4, 2015)

Angry cabbies bash Uber, march on Cambridge City Hall (Amy Saltzman, Aug 3, 2015)

West Nile virus found in Cambridge mosquitoes (July 31, 2015)

Cambridge seeks public's input on how to spend $600K (July 31, 2015)

Developer sought for 14-acre Volpe campus (Sara Feijo, July 29, 2015 w/July 31 update)

Second rabid raccoon captured at Fresh Pond (July 28, 2015)

Developers' affordable housing payments could triple (Sara Feijo, July 23, 2015)

Garden Street housing development to stay affordable (July 20, 2015)

Multi-use path unveiled near Cambridge Common (Sara Feijo, July 15, 2015)

Cambridge's superintendent search moves to interview phase (Sara Feijo, July 15, 2015)

Guest column: Significant victory for affordable housing in Cambridge (Denise Simmons, Dennis Benzan, Marc McGovern)

Cardullo's Gourmet Shoppe sold after six decades in Harvard Square (Sara Feijo, July 13, 2015)

Timeline set for Cambridge superintendent hire (Sara Feijo, July 10, 2015)

Big plans for Out of Town News in Harvard Square (Sara Feijo, July 10, 2015)

Upcoming Civic Opportunities

Wed, Sept 2

5:30-7:30pm   Transit Advisory Committee meeting  (Senior Center, 806 Mass. Ave.)

Thurs, Sept 3

6:00pm   Cambridge Historical Commission meeting  (Senior Center, 806 Mass. Ave.)

Tues, Sept 8

6:00pm   The City Council's Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a minimum wage of $15.00.  (Sullivan Chamber)

7:00pm   Planning Board meeting  (2nd Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)

General Business

1. Update from the Acting City Manager for the Community Development Department

2. Adoption of Meeting Transcript(s)

Public Hearings

7:00pm   PB#303, South of Main Street (SoMa) and located at 84 Wadsworth St, 36 Memorial Drive, 226‐254 Main St, 65 Wadsworth St, 16 Hayward St, 8, 26, 28, 34, 42, and 46 Carleton Street, 310, 322, and 336 Main St, 65 Carleton St, 5 and 21 Deacon St, and 40 Ames St. The Applicant is proposing new buildings at these addresses pursuant to Section 13.80 Planned Unit Development 5 in Kendall Square and Section 19.20 Project Review Special Permit. This proposal is for two below grade parking garages with a total of 809 net new parking spaces, and five new buildings. The new buildings will be for graduate student housing, retail, and office and/or research and development and approximately 1,443,600 square feet of new development. This will be the first of two required public hearings pursuant to Section 12.30 Planned Unit Development. A Preliminary Determination from the Planning Board is required to advance to the second public hearing for the Final Development Plan. The applicant is Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

8:30pm   PB #302, One Broadway, Special Permits to construct a new building at One Broadway pursuant to Section 13.80 Planned Unit Development 5 in Kendall Square and Section 19.20 Project Review Special Permit. The Applicant is proposing approximately 416,000 square feet of mixed use building with 300 residential units and ground floor retail, parking and potential office space. This will be the first of two required public hearings pursuant to Section 12.30 Planned Unit Development. A Preliminary Determination from the Planning Board is required to advance to the second public hearing for the Final Development Plan. The applicant is MIT One Broadway Fee Owner LLC.

General Business

3. PB#198, Discovery Park, 40 Acorn Park, Garage B, continuing design review of the parking garage, proposed banners and associated landscaping.

4. Board of Zoning Appeal Cases (to be heard at the Thurs, Sept 10 at the meeting of the BZA)

a. 4850-2014, 640 Memorial Drive, special permit to modify BZA 8105 to allow Verizon Wireless to upgrade the existing wireless facility.

b. 7696-2015, 11 Ellsworth Avenue, special permit to demolish a portion of a 2 family house and to construct a rear addition, the gross floor area will increase by 25% and add windows within the setback.

c. 7825-2015, 44 Griswold Street, variance to construct a single story addition to the rear of the existing house.

Wed, Sept 9

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

5:30-7:30pm   Bicycle Committee Meeting  (City Hall Annex, 4th Floor Conference Room)

5:30pm   Cambridge Election Commission meeting.  (1st Floor Meeting Room, 51 Inman St.)



1. Executive Director’s Report

2. Assistant Director's Report

3. Commissioners' Reports



Unfinished Business

1. Municipal Election, November 3, 2015

New Business

Tues, Sept 15

5:30pm   Community Preservation Act Meeting  (Ackermann Room, City Hall)

The Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAC) will hold a meeting Tues, Sept 15, at 5:30pm, at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Mass. Ave., in the Ackermann Room. The purpose of the meeting will be for the CPAC to vote on the percentage allocation to CPA expenditure categories and on particular projects to be funded with Community Preservation Act Funds for FY16. These funds may be allocated to affordable housing, open space and historic preservation. For more information, contact Karen Preval at 617-349-4221 or

Wed, Sept 16

2:00pm   The City Council's Health and Environment Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the referred report on tree grates, empty tree wells, and stumps in the tree wells and the role that the Committee on Public Planting should take in advising the City Council, City Manager, and Department of Public works concerning future public planting and maintenance issues.  (Sullivan Chamber)

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

Mon, Sept 21

5:30pm   City Council meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

6:00pm   Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District Commission meeting  (Friends Meeting House, 5 Longfellow Park)

Cambridge reacts while police continue search for shooter (by Sara Feijo, Cambridge Chronicle, Aug 13, 2015)

Family, friends mourn man slain in Cambridge shooting (by Sara Feijo, Cambridge Chronicle, Aug 13, 2015)

Medford man arrested in connection with Cambridge murder (Sara Feijo w/Amy Saltzman, Aug 24, 2015)

Message from Councillor Denise Simmons:
In response to the shooting earlier this week, the Cambridge Police will be convening a community meeting on Monday night at 6:30pm at the Pisani Center (131 Washington St.). Over the weekend, the CPD will be canvassing the neighborhood to notify the community.

The Volpe Outreach forum scheduled for Monday August 17 is being postponed. The rescheduled date for this meeting will be announced on the City's website in the coming weeks.

Topics for Municipal Election Candidates - 2015

Candidates for City Council and School Committee in each municipal election since 2003 have been asked to submit statements to be posted on their Cambridge Candidate Pages on a range of topics relevant to the respective offices. Candidates can also submit statements on other topics of importance to them. The request will soon go out again to this year's candidates. Are there any particular topic areas that should be on this year's list? Please let me know what you think so that we can have a good starting point for all candidates. For reference, the topics from the 2013 election are listed below with some modifications based on submitted suggestions. - Robert Winters

City Council candidates were asked in 2013 about:
1) Background [biographical, etc.]
2) Top Priorities [List about three, then elaborate]
3) Land Use, Planning, Zoning, Density
4) Economic Development and Commerce
5) Housing and Residential Development
6) Energy, the Environment, and Public Health
7) Traffic, Parking, and Transportation
8) Open Space, Parks, and Recreation
9) Municipal Finance (budget, assessments, property taxes, etc.)
10) Quality of Life and Public Safety

Other topics that you might wish to address (including some submitted suggestions): Civic Participation; Government and Elections; Plan E Charter; City Manager; University Relations; Youth Programs; Senior Programs; Arts and Public Celebrations; Cambridge Public Schools; Future of the Foundry Building; Municipal Broadband/Cable TV; Planning and budgeting for snow removal; Oversight of City contractors doing road, sewer, and water work.

Priority Question: What is your vision for Central Square over the next decade?

School Committee candidates were asked in 2013 about:
1) Background [biographical, etc.]
2) Top Priorities [List about three, then elaborate]
3) Top Challenges Facing CPS today
4) Evaluation of the Innovation Agenda
5) School Department Administration and Superintendent
6) School Department Budget and Capital Needs
7) Achievement Gaps, Meeting the Needs of All Students
8) Meeting the Needs of Advanced Learners
9) Controlled Choice, Student Assignment Policies
10) Curriculum and Programs
   a) Elementary School Grades
   b) Middle School Grades
   c) High School Grades

Other topics that you might wish to address: MCAS and Measuring Student Achievement, Teacher Evaluations and Performance Measures, School Safety and Student Behavior, World Languages, Parent Involvement and School Councils, Enrollment in Public vs. Charter vs. Private Schools

Priority Question: What are your recommendations for meeting the needs of high-achieving/advanced learners, especially in the middle-school grades?

Any topics to add, delete, or modify?

On Tap at the Aug 10, 2015 City Council Midsummer Meeting

People's RepublicThis is usually the biggest agenda of the year. Here are a few highlights:

Manager's Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Karen Kosko as a member of the Cambridge Library Board of Trustees effective Aug 1, 2015 for a term of three years.

Manager's Agenda #12. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Gary Dmytryk as a member of the Commission for Persons with Disabilities for a term of three years, effective July 1, 2015.

Manager's Agenda #13. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments of the following persons as members of the Kids' Council effective Aug 10, 2015: Bridget Rodriguez, Rabeya Akther, Michelle Lower, Ron Benham, Neal Michaels, Liz Hill, Claude Jacob, Geeta Pradhan

The appointments to City Boards & Commissions continues (more to come!).

Manager's Agenda #19. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to approve the Incentive Zoning Petition.

Committee Report #5. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on July 14, 2015 to discuss proposed amendments to Section 11.200 entitled Incentive Zoning Provisions and Inclusionary Housing Provisions.

The proposal as amended is ready to be Passed to a 2nd Reading and ordained at the first City Council meeting in September. No doubt some people will continue to clamor for even higher fees to be exacted, but the current amended proposal is the best compromise and is long overdue.

Manager's Agenda #24. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, requesting approval of the discontinuance of an approximately twenty (20) foot wide, 8,660 square foot parcel of City owned land along the eastern edge of Ames Street between Broadway and Main Street (the Ames Street Parcel) in connection with the disposition of this parcel that the City Council previously approved. [Map Plan]

The sale of this narrow strip will facilitate the development of a 200,000 square foot multi-family residential project with up to 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail and an improved Ames Street. This disposition is consistent with previous actions approved by the Planning Board and the City Council.

Applications & Petitions #9. A petition has been received from Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance in the Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan (KSURP) and to amend the current zoning for the MXD district in Kendall Square to reflect the proposed changes to the Plan. [Text of Petition]

No comments are necessary other than to suggest that you read the petition (93 pages). The proposed changes are consistent with much of the discussions regarding Kendall Square in recent years.

Resolution #23. Resolution on the death of retired Chief of Police of the City of Cambridge Anthony G. "Tony" Paolillo.   Councillor Toomey and Mayor Maher

According to his obituary in the Belmontonian, Chief Paolillo was hired as a patrol officer, worked his way to captain before being named acting chief in 1982, and was sworn in as chief a year later. He retired from the post in 1991, after which the city appointed a police commissioner to run the department. The Anthony Paolillo Tot Lot on Pine Street is named for him. He was quite "progressive" as a Chief, embracing the earliest concepts of "Community Oriented Policing".

Resolution #28. Congratulations to the Preservation of Affordable Housing on its acquisition of the Briston Arms Apartment and thanks for their commitment to affordable housing in Cambridge.   Councillor Toomey

According to the City's press release: "This acquisition by Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) will continue its use as a mixed-income community and make renovations which will help preserve and ensure its affordability for years to come. The mix includes Section 8 Housing Assistance rental subsidies for 73 of the apartments and new rental assistance subsidies for an additional 46 apartments. Thirty five of the apartments will continue to be offered at market rates. Briston Arms was at risk of losing its affordability when the subsidy restrictions were due to expire in 2018. Cambridge and Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust provided more than $4 million in loans to help preserve these apartments as affordable housing."

Resolution #67. That the City Council declare Sun, Aug 9, 2015 to be proclaimed as "Mike Brown Day" in the City of Cambridge.   Councillor Mazen

It's worth reading this: US Dept. of Justice Report on Ferguson incident

Order #1. That the City Council amend Policy Order #11 of June 22, 2015 attached.   Councillor Simmons

The Order seeks to amend the phrase "all lives matter and all lives are precious" to read "all lives matter and all lives are precious, and we must take actions to affirm that Black Lives Matter".

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the appropriate City personnel to determine the effectiveness of the policy of ticketing and towing vehicles that obstruct street cleaning, to determine whether modifying this policy to exclude towing vehicles would have a negative impact on the City's ability to maintain clean streets.   Councillor Simmons

Is the primary purpose of street cleaning to collect fines or to clean the streets? Perhaps a better alternative would be to fine the offending vehicle and tow it a half-block away to a parking spot that was just cleaned. Cars with alarms can be crushed.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Community Development Department and other appropriate City personnel to compile a report of the housing and financial assistance options the City and its community partners offer to seniors living on fixed incomes in order to help them remain housed in their current units and to estimate how many seniors on fixed incomes are in danger of being priced out of their units in the coming half-decade to determine whether additional City resources are needed to assist these seniors.   Councillor Simmons

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee, for a public hearing held on July 9, 2015 to discuss whether there are measures the City and local housing agencies and advocates can take to assist the soon to be displaced tenants of 295 Harvard Street.

Amidst all the advocacy for affordable housing, there should be additional emphasis on taking care of our older residents with limited resources who have fewer options than younger residents and newcomers. This is especially true now with outside investors looking to swoop down and buy properties at stratospheric prices.

Order #7. That the City Manager consult with the Community Development Department and other appropriate City personnel to determine what kinds of incentives could be provided to landlords who choose to refrain from increasing the rents on their tenants, and to report back to the City Council in a timely manner.   Councillor Simmons

Where do I sign up for my incentives? I love the intention, but I expect there's nothing that can be offered to kindhearted landlords other than a good handshake and a heartfelt "thank you".

Order #10. That the City Manager develop a program to offer home electricity monitors to residents at cost, in a program similar to the distribution of rain barrels through the Department of Public Works.   Councillor Cheung

I seem to recall that there was already a plan to do this at some point - perhaps as a checkout at the library. The monitors are relatively cheap, however, and there's no reason why residents can't just buy a few monitors and loan them around to their friends and neighbors. You only need to use them for a little while to determine how much power is being drawn by various devices.

Order #16. That the appropriate City departments in conjunction with other stakeholders, such as the Salvation Army, Cambridge Overcoming Addiction, and other non-profits conduct a survey of opioid-related deaths and persons struggling with the epidemic that are frequenting our squares, particularly Central Square.   Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor McGovern

This is a very detailed Order well worth reading. Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor McGovern should be applauded for their initiative. This is a BIG problem.

Order #17. That the City Manager confer with the Acting Assistant City Manager for Community Development with a mind towards informing new property owners of the desire, based on planning studies, to expand Ahern Field and for planning staff to keep these desires in mind as a vision for this site is developed by the owners, and report back to the City Council.   Councillor Toomey

I am reminded of one of our recommendations about 15 years ago from the Green Ribbon Open Space Committee that called for, when feasible, closing inessential city streets adjacent to existing parks as a means to create contiguous park space. I don't know if the property in question is well-suited for this purpose coupled with some reconfiguration of Fulkerson Street, but it certainly would provide a means to widen the Grand Junction RR corridor consisted with recent proposals for rail with trail.

Order #15. That the City Council hereby goes on record urging Governor Baker and the State Legislature to move expeditiously in issuing guidelines and regulations that will ensure that taxi services and ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are able to operate on a fair and even plane throughout the Commonwealth.   Councillor Simmons and Vice Mayor Benzan

Order #18. That the City Manager confer with the appropriate City Departments about the feasibility of placing an immediate moratorium on any fees paid by the Taxicab industry to the City of Cambridge until: 1) the State has enacted ridesharing regulations; and/or 2) action is taken by the City to deregulate the Taxicab industry following the Mayor's Roundtable on this matter.   Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Cheung

Order #24. That the Cambridge City Council go on record urging the Massachusetts House and Baker administration to move swiftly in clarifying new law and associated regulation, taking into account the needs of municipalities in flux, and ultimately act with the intention of achieving parity and safety amongst transit operators of all kinds.   Councillor Mazen

Other than stating my personal preference that town-by-town issuance of taxi medallions be replaced by a state licensing system applicable to all services that pick up passengers (regardless how the car is hailed), it is worth noting how much attention is being paid to this issue of late. Ideally, cars and vans for hire should supplement the public transit system at rates that are not exorbitantly more expensive than transit. The fact that someone might have to pay $50 for a ride to the airport with the taxi forbidden to pick up passengers on the return trip is absurd. I'll also note how fondly I remember my friend Arthur Santoro who did wonders for the Cambridge taxicab industry back in the days before human beings were transformed into robots with twitching thumbs habitually staring into small rectangles.

Order #19. That the City Council goes on record refiling as of Sept 16, 2015, the attached proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance to amend Article 6.000 of the zoning ordinance to create a new section 6.24 Carsharing Provisions which will create a definition and general provisions for carsharing and allow limited use of parking spaces for carsharing as a means to provide mobility options for Cambridge residents, employees and visitors.   Councillor Cheung

Some version of this will likely eventually pass. Some reassurances to neighbors and appropriate restrictions are in order, but this is basically a good idea - kinda like Hubway with engines.

Order #22. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments with an update for plans for the creation of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) coordinating office, including any financial pledges from the City to implement the STEAM working groups recommendations.   Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Cheung

Committee Report #7. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee, for a public meeting held on July 15, 2015 to discuss how emergent out of school time programs recruit underserved youth in innovative ways, how programs engage youth in advanced research or professional skills building, and how these programs may present exciting models for other organizations seeking to impact socio-economic and educational equity in Cambridge.

When Vice Mayor Benzan was Candidate Benzan two years ago he emphasized his goal of connecting people in the neighborhood in which he grew up with potential nearby job opportunities in places like Kendall Square. There have been countless meetings over the last year or so about ways to realize this and similar goals. It will be interesting to see if anything really tangible and lasting comes of this. Most of the reports I've read seem to focus on creating new staff positions which might facilitate results, but until we get to see some real success stories much of this remains just good intentions. Most of the Kendall Square jobs that have been created in the last few decades still require significant academic credentials and actual skills - and you really can't just output those on a 3D-printer or other gadget. As a practitioner of the M part of STEAM, I would like nothing more than to see local Cambridge kids develop the mathematical skills and other skills needed to better connect to the potential of the Cambridge economy.

Order #23. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments to setup the most effective voting method that maximizes community participation for the renaming of Area IV.   Vice Mayor Benzan

Ranked Choice Voting anyone?

Order #25. That the City Council go on record petitioning the Massachusetts General Court to enact the attached Home Rule Petition entitled "AN ACT TO ENABLE CERTAIN NON-CITIZEN RESIDENTS OF CAMBRIDGE TO VOTE IN SCHOOL COMMITTEE AND CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS".   Councillor Mazen, Councillor Simmons and Councillor Cheung

Some version or another of this comes up every few years - and usually in the months leading up to a municipal election. I'll just restate my own view that citizenship and voting rights are closely intertwined and that's the way it should remain. Someone who is currently a citizen of another country but residing in the United States can generally still vote in the country of their citizenship, and many continue to do so. Inventing a new term like "pre-citizen" as is done in this petition actually seems to be unwittingly acknowledging the connection between citizenship and the right to vote. I hope this Order does not pass and, if it does, I hope that the State Legislature rejects it as they have done in the past. There should be uniformity in voting requirements across all cities and towns in Massachusetts. The fact that all cities and towns subscribe to a common statewide voter database is just one example of this principle in action.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a joint public hearing with the Planning Board on June 29, 2015 to discuss a petition by the Planning Board to amend Section 13.10 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance so as to change the development controls applicable in the Planned Unit Development at Kendall Square (PUD-KS) Overlay Zoning District.

This is arguably one of the hottest issues these days - at least among residents in East Cambridge and other neighborhoods close to the Volpe Center property. There is some pressure to gaze into the crystal ball and decide on the best zoning regulations consistent with the constraints associated with the disposition of the Volpe Center, but there are some councillors who feel that kicking this can down the road is a reasonable option. - Robert Winters


Random Thursday Thoughts

The Midsummer Cambridge City Council Meeting is coming up this Monday, August 10. With this being a municipal election year, it's likely there will be a few very politically-oriented Council orders on the agenda (available tonight) illustrating just how much Councillor X cares about the needs of every voting constituency that can be harvested in November. I expect to see scores of Orders and over a hundred Resolutions.

Random ThoughtsWe now have our first candidate slate - basically one incumbent councillor (Mazen) and several feeders (Davidson, Sanzone, Waite) recruited to help ensure the reelection of the incumbent though it's being portrayed as a selfless act in support of civic engagement.

I expect there will be other candidates slates before all is said and done. The Cambridge Residents Alliance (CResA) is guaranteed to assemble its own slate - perhaps under an alias because, after all, they are a non-profit, charitable tax-exempt organization and not a political organization. If you believe that, I have some nice bottomland at Alewife for sale just for you. As for the election, it will be interesting to see if the CResA challengers help to re-elect their favorite incumbent (Carlone) or facilitate his exit by elevating one or more of their challengers past him.

I'm curious to see how Minka vanBeuzekom fares. Two years ago she was ranked very favorably by many voters (4th best out of 25 candidates if you count the number of voters who ranked her #1 through #5 on their ballots), but she lost by a narrow margin because many of her supporters chose to give their #1 vote to a newcomer. Will they come back? We'll have to wait and see. - RW

Cambridge Animal Commission Advises Precautionary Measures due to Rabid Raccoon Finding

raccoon and skunk (Wikipedia)July 16, 2015 -- On Monday, July 13, Cambridge Animal Control Officers picked up a raccoon at Fresh Pond Reservation that has tested positive for rabies.

Earlier this month, a skunk and a fox found in Belmont tested positive for rabies, though they were not found in very close proximity to Fresh Pond. The skunk was found towards the center of Belmont and the fox was located in the area of Belmont Hills.

At this time, Cambridge Animal Commission has received no reports of any person or animal having contact with a rabid animal, but advises that people take precautionary measures, especially at Fresh Pond Reservation. Dog owners should maintain their pets in clear view and keep them from running in brush areas where they cannot see if something occurs.

Tips for Protecting Against Rabies

Please notify the Cambridge Animal Commission if you see a potentially rabid animal or come in contact with one at 617-349-4376. If you get the voice mail, please try to convey the time and location of the siting and your contact number.

Who Votes in Cambridge?

There are 61,910 registered voters with identified birthdates (as of June 29, 2015). Their median age is 39.3. Here's how their ages as of Election Day (Nov 3, 2015) are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters - 2015

Of these currently registered voters, 31,789 voted in last year's state election. Their median age is 50.7. Here's how their ages are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters Who Voted in the 2014 State Election

Of these currently registered voters, 16,773 voted in the 2013 municipal election. Their median age is 58.7. Here's how their ages are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters Who Voted in the 2013 Municipal Election

August and September Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation

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

A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
Fresh Pond Monarch Release and Parade!
Date: Rescheduled to Monday, August 24
Time: 6:00-7:00pm
Place: Parade starts at the Water Purification Facility front door, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    Join us to celebrate the growth of our monarch caterpillars into beautiful butterflies, and wish them luck on their long migration to Mexico. Volunteers have helped us raise the caterpillars, monitor their growth, and make decorations to celebrate their release. Come join the fun and witness the beginnings of an inspiring natural phenomenon! We will be releasing them at Lusitania meadow. To be part of the parade, meet us at the treatment facility at 6pm. Otherwise you can meet us at Lusitania field at 6:30pm. For more information, contact Julie Coffey:, (617) 349-7712.
A Tour of the Water Purification Facility
Date: Monday, Sept 14
Time: 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Water Purification Facility front door, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    Come learn how the Cambridge Water Department purifies drinking water for your tap after it's pumped into our facility from nearby Fresh Pond. You'll have the chance to speak with water treatment and testing staff, see the equipment in action and check out our water quality lab! For more information, contact Julie Coffey:, 617-349-7712. Please call ahead if coming with a large group. [Future Water Department Tours: Mon, Sept 14, Oct 5, Nov 2]

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, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at to download a form.

Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at 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 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 and 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

City Council Scoreboard: Jan 1, 2014 through June 22, 2015

Here's an update of the scoreboard of activity of the individual city councillors for the current term. Though there are other matters that occupy the time of these elected officials, the records of committee attendance and the number and type of City Council Orders and Resolutions introduced are two objective measures for which data is readily available. Here are the figures through June 22, 2015:

City Council Committee meetings
chaired and attended (2014-2015)

through reports of June 22, 2015
Councillor Chaired Attended
Carlone 30 68
Mazen 11 67
McGovern 12 61
Benzan 34 60
Cheung 3 52
Kelley 5 48
Simmons 15 38
Toomey 5 30
Maher chairs all
CC and SC meetings
Council Orders and Resolutions:

through June 22, 2015
Councillor  P I R M D C A F
Benzan 46 25 5 12 24 194 7 3
Carlone 39 11 6 7 0 9 0 1
Cheung 88 31 11 24 30 305 6 2
Kelley 16 21 4 7 0 7 0 0
Maher 22 4 20 9 179 198 16 0
Mazen 52 20 8 7 0 8 0 3
McGovern 62 23 7 16 6 187 4 1
Simmons 51 19 13 16 47 160 3 8
Toomey 19 16 4 13 129 87 1 0
Total 241 107 64 91 385 1088 35 12

There were 2023 Orders and Resolutions
filed so far during the 2014-2015 term.

The distribution of Orders and Resolutions by city councillors can provide insight into how they approach their job and how they spend their time and staff resources.

P - Policy orders

I - Requests for information from the City Manager and City departments

R - Rules and procedural items, such as the scheduling of hearings

M - Maintenance orders: fixing things, putting in stop signs, potholes, traffic, etc.

D - Death resolutions

C - Congratulations, get-well wishes, birthdays, naming of street corners, etc.

A - Announcements of upcoming events, holidays, proclamations, etc.

F - Foreign and national policy matters

Year-by-year and current totals can be found on the City Council page. More detailed information on each City Council committee can be found on the City Council Committees page (including links to each committee report).

2015 Summer Event Listing at Magazine Beach Park

Magazine Beach 2015 Events

The Central Square Cultural District
welcomes a new weekly Wednesday evening
Food Truck Event called “Central Square StrEATS!”

Featuring the Middle East and Harpoon “Take Five” Beer Garden”
and 5 food trucks every Wednesday Night from 4 to 8pm
in the Courtyard between Sidney and Blanche at the Landsdowne Quad.

Introducing Central Square StrEATS - the city’s first weekly evening food truck event every Wednesday night at 4pm.

Central Square StrEATS features five food trucks and the “Take Five” Harpoon beer garden in the gorgeous green spaces at University Park at MIT!

This new event endeavor is a partnership between Forest City Enterprises, The Central Square Business Association, The Central Square Cultural District, The City of Cambridge, The Middle East, Harpoon and Food Truck Festivals of America!”

There is no admission fee for Central Square StrEATS. The public is invited to stop by, enjoy snacks, dinner, dessert, a beer, or all of those options from one of five of Boston’s best gourmet food trucks.

Central SquareThe participating trucks at Central Square StrEATS include:

  • Bon Me – mouthwatering Vietnamese noodle and rice bowls and banh mi sandwiches
  • Jamaican Mi Hungry – jerk chicken, beef patties and other Jamaican delicacies
  • Roving Lunchbox – savory and sweet hand pies, soups aand salads
  • Zinneken’s – gourmet waffles with fresh toppings
  • Chubby Chickpea – modern Mediterranean falafel, shwarma and more

Free raffles for Taste of Cambridge and Cambridge Jazz Festival T-shirts will be conducted weekly! These two exciting summer events are held in the same gorgeous University Park at MIT location at Central Square StrEATS! For more information and any questions about weather and cancellations, please visit @go_centralsq and

We're taking some time off from Cambridge InsideOut. We hope to be back on the air in Summer 2015.

Recent Broadcasts of Cambridge InsideOut (2014)    [complete list of shows]

Aug 19 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 79 and 80 with Terry Smith

Cambridge InsideOutAug 5 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 77 and 78 with Patty Nolan

July 29 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 75 and 76 with Brian Corr

July 22 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 73 and 74 with Marc McGovern

July 15 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 71 and 72: News and Events, July 2014

July 1 - Transportation Safety w/guest Rozann Kraus

June 24 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 67-68: More News Around Town

June 17 - Tales from the Democratic Convention and other news from around town

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.

June 3 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 61 and 62 – News and Commentary

Watch Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm. The co-hosts are Susana Segat 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.

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.


Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

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

Cambridge Municipal Election Candidates – 2015 (last updated Aug 19, 2015)

On Tap at the Aug 10, 2015 City Council Midsummer Meeting (Aug 9, 2015)

Cambridge Jazz Festival – July 26th, 2015 from Noon to 6pm (July 25, 2015)

Cambridge Animal Commission Advises Precautionary Measures due to Rabid Raccoon Finding (July 16, 2015)

Who Votes in Cambridge? (July 9, 2015)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (July 1, 2015)

Official 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election Calendar (w/advice) (updated June 30, 2015)

The Appointed Hour – Summer at Sullivan – Highlights of the June 22, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda (June 21, 2015)

Noteworthy items on the June 15, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda (June 15, 2015)

Catching Up on the Cambridge News (May 23, 2015)

Catching Up on the Cambridge News (April 21, 2015)

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

Catching Up on the Cambridge News (Mar 20, 2015)

Cambridge School Committee 2013-2014 Campaign Finance Summaries (updated Mar 15, 2015)

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

Campaign Finance – 2013 Cambridge City Council candidates (May 25, 2013, updated Jan 14, 2015)

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

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher (June 10, 2014)

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, 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

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 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 (

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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