Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut:

August 28 - If you would like to be a guest (or co-host) this Tuesday, August 30, let me know. Otherwise we'll skip this week's broadcast.

Episode 165 (Aug 23, 2016, 5:30pm) with Ronald Benjamin Episode 166 (Aug 23, 2016, 6:00pm)
Episode 163 (Aug 9, 2016, 5:30pm) Episode 164 (Aug 9, 2016, 6:00pm)
Episode 161 (Aug 2, 2016, 5:30pm) Episode 162 (Aug 2, 2016, 6:00pm)
Episode 159 (July 26, 2016, 5:30pm) Episode 160 (July 26, 2016, 6:00pm)
Episode 157 (July 19, 2016, 5:30pm) - 1996 episode of original Cambridge InsideOut [Bob Moncrieff's 1996 article on demise of rent control] Episode 158 (July 19, 2016, 6:00pm) - 1996 episode of original Cambridge InsideOut
Episode 155 (July 12, 2016, 5:30pm) - featuring the Cambridge Water System Episode 156 (July 12, 2016, 6:00pm)
Episode 153 (July 5, 2016, 5:30pm) Episode 154 (July 5, 2016, 6:00pm)

September 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 lower parking lot.
    Join our weed-warrior crew! We are Fresh Pond citizens dedicated to keeping invasive plants at bay for the benefit of wildlife, water and humans alike. No experience or long-term commitment necessary! All tools are provided; sturdy shoes, pants, long-sleeves and a water bottle are strongly recommended.
Dates: Fridays 10 to 11am after Labor Day
Place: The Gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
    Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their parents/caretakers, and play in our urban wild! Please come dressed ready for the weather (and in clothes that are OK to get dirty). Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at
Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays between 9:30am and 1pm
    Join other stewardship-minded volunteers in caretaking the native plant restoration area next to Lusitania Meadow, and learn all about the diversity of native plant life! Drop in and lend a hand with watering new plantings, making rabbit cages, pruning, weeding, and other gardening tasks. Please email if you would like to come, and for more information.
Monday Night Community Weed-Outs
Dates: Monday, September 12 & 26, 5 to 6:30pm
Place: Meets at the Maher parking lot.
    Help us protect valuable native plants and wildlife habitat on the Reservation by keeping vegetative intruders, such as mugwort, burdock, bittersweet, and buckthorn, at bay. No experience necessary! Long pants and sturdy shoes highly recommended. Please RSVP to in case of location change.
Seasonal Walkabout with Ranger Jean
Dates: Friday, September 9th, 10:30 to 11:30am
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
    Join Ranger Jean for a Ranger walkabout around Fresh Pond. We will monitor wildlife by sign, track, or presence, and make note of weather, state of plants, condition of water and other abiotic resources. On these monthly walks, help chart the seasonal changes of some of our most active wildlife spots, or simply come and enjoy the walk. Come dressed to be outdoors for the hour. Attend one or the series and develop your ability to take in more of the reservation. No dogs please! Extreme weather cancels. For more info or to RSVP, contact Ranger Jean at 508-562-7605 or email
Meadow Wildflower Walk with Ted Elliman of NEWFS
Date: Saturday, September 10th, 11am to 1pm
    If you wish that you could identify the wildflowers you see lining the paths around Fresh Pond, this walk might be perfect for you! Ted Elliman of the New England Wildflower Society will lead a walk around our lovely meadows, demonstrating the use of identification guides and sharing information about some of our most lovely floral inhabitants. We have several field guides and hand lenses to lend out. Feel free to bring your favorite wildflower guide! Ted will also have copies of his book, Wildflowers of New England, available for purchase. Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti for parking and meeting information at
Welcome to Fresh Pond! @ Kingsley Park
Date: Saturday, September 10th, 1 to 2pm
Place: Meets at Ranger Station, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
    Are you new to Cambridge or the Fresh Pond area? Looking to learn more about restoration on the Reservation? Join Ranger Jean for an introductory tour of Kingsley Park. The tour will cover the rich human and natural history of the land, as well as new improvements. A great opportunity to bring questions or to see what Fresh Pond Reservation is all about! For any RSVPs or questions, please email or call 508-562-7605.
Walter J. Sullivan Water Purification Facility Tour
Date: Monday, September 12th, 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Meets at the front door, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
    Find out how water that falls as rain in the suburbs 10 miles west of Cambridge is transported to Fresh Pond, and then tested, treated, and delivered to the City’s residents and businesses! You’ll have the chance to speak with water treatment staff, see the equipment in action, and check out our water quality lab. Advance notice is appreciated if coming with a large group. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or
PARK(ing) Day: The Cambridge Park of Microscopic Life!
Date: Friday, September 16th, 8am to 6pm
Place: 1817 Mass. Ave. - right in front of the Lesley University building
    As part of the annual City of Cambridge PARK(ing) Day celebration, stop by the pop-up Park of Microscopic Life in Porter Square! Join us as we celebrate urban open space, and all its opportunities for recreation and learning. Get up close and personal with algae using a microscope, take a closer look at pond water, make algae hand puppets, and learn more about the tiny plants and animals in nature and our lives. Informal drop-ins and passersby welcome! To volunteer with microscopes or crafting, contact the organizer at
Nature Journaling for Kids & Adults
Date: Saturday, September 17th, 10-11am
Place: Please register for meeting details
    Come and join us for a relaxed morning of sitting, seeing, and sketching the natural world at Fresh Pond Reservation. Please bring a favorite notebook and writing utensil. Absolutely no drawing experience is necessary. Kids and their caretakers are welcome! Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at for meeting details.
Early Migration Bird Walk
Date: Sunday, September 18, 8-10am
Place: Register for location and parking information
    Many birds stop at Fresh Pond to rest and eat while heading south for the winter. In September we look for migrating warblers in their non-breeding plumage and several species of ducks. We also might see local summer residents such as herons, vireos and orioles that will soon be leaving and birds that stay year-round, such as woodpeckers and hawks. Beginners are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. Led by Nancy Guppy. To register and for important parking information, email Catherine Pedemonti at
Fly, Buzz and Honk! A Flying Creatures Expo for All Ages
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Place: Maynard Ecology Center, 650 Concord Ave.
    Come explore the world of "things with wings” that live in our city and help our Cambridge Wildlife Puppets get ready for the Honk! parade on October 9th. Ongoing activities include face painting and paper plate mask-making for wee ones and building dragonfly headgear or creating feathers for our oversized bird puppets for elementary-aged kids. At 2:30 we’ll learn about bats from a bat expert. From 2:00 to 2:30 and also from 3:00 to 3:30, a guest artist will guide adult/child pairs in creating three Little Brown Bats for Honk!. Learn from Ranger Jean about flying creatures and why they make their home at Fresh Pond, and look for butterflies, dragonflies, and things with wings at the Neville Butterfly Meadow. This is an all-ages event. Young people and adults who come can help refurbish and strengthen our giant Great Blue Heron and other large puppets (community service hours can be arranged for CRLS students). All children under 12 must be accompanied. Co-sponsored by the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project. Bookmark the Facebook event here:

Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or 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, 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

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 WalksMon, Sept 5. 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 WalksSat, Sept 10. 3rd Annual Duxbury Beach Walk. 10:00am-Noon, moderate pace. Bring water and snacks. No children or dogs. Lunch afterwards at a local restaurant for anyone interested. Heavy rain cancels. Call if uncertain. Directions: From North or South: Take Rte. 3 to Exit 11. Exit roundabout at 2nd turn from either direction which is Congress/West Street for 1.8 miles. (stay right at fork,continuing on West St.). Straight at traffic light onto St. George Street 1.1 miles to Washington Street, Left for 30 yards and then immediate right onto Powder Point Road. 1.0 mile to the Powder Point Bridge Parking lot before bridge. L Lisa Fleischman, CL Mary Wisbach.
AMC Local WalksSun, Sept 11. Maudslay State Park, Newburyport. 1:30pm-4:00pm. Easy 4 miles on mostly flat terrain, through woods, fields, gardens. Meet at 1:30pm at parking lot. Small parking fee or DCR parking pass required. Rain cancels, no dogs please. L Ted Harney, CL Sheila Pendleton. [Maudslay SP infoDriving Directions: I-95N to Exit 57, L onto Route 113W, over I-95 and through the lights, 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Hoyt's Lane and follow to the end. Turn right into parking lot. AMC Local WalksSat, Sept 17. Boxford State Forest. Meet at 1:00pm in the parking lot on Middleton Rd. in Boxford, at the steel gate. Take Rte. 95 and use exit 51 on the Topsfield-Boxford line. Go west (left if heading north, right if heading south on 95) and then an immediate right on Middleton Rd. Go about 1 mile to parking area on left. Easy terrain. moderate pace, kids and dogs welcome, time about 2 hours. L Steve Davis.
AMC Local WalksSun, Sept 18. Purgatory Falls, NH. 6-mi. lollipop route along picturesque stream past waterfalls, cascades, along ledges & hilly forest terrain, 9:30am-3:30pm. From Nashua NH go W on Rte. 101A toward Milford 7 mi., L onto Rte. 101 W ramp toward Wilton, NH 5 mi., continue N thru light (cross Rte. 101A) over bridge onto North River Rd., 0.8 mi. cross Center Rd. 0.5 mi. to McClellan Tr. lot on L. Storm cancels. L Mark Levine. AMC Local WalksWed, Sept 21. 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 WalksMon, Oct 10. 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, Oct 16. Hale Reservation, Westwood. Easy walk, mostly woods, across a dam & thru a meadow, 1:00-3:00pm. From Rte. 95/128 exit 16B, take Rte. 109 W 1.2 mi., R on Dover Rd. 0.3 mi., R on Carby St. 0.6 mi. to Cat Rock pkg. lot. Rain cancels. L Jean Veigas.

Busy Thursday - August 25

Today's a busy day in Cambridge. In addition to the comings and goings of thousands of new and returning students (and the usual wealth of curbside treasures from people moving out), there's an important meeting on the City Manager search, a City Council committee meeting on a proposal to pay disinterested voters to vote, and, most importantly, the Oldtime Baseball Game tonight at St. Peter's Field on Sherman Street. I may briefly attend the meeting on "voter rewards" to express my opposition, but my highest priority is the baseball game - one of the great get-together events for Cantabrigians around this time of year. - RW

Hello Recycling & Composting Neighbors! - September 2016

recycling symbol"Get Rid of It Right" Move Out Video - share widely!
Moving Season Reminders
Donate Books and Buy Pre-Loved Books
Order Recycling Materials
Seeking Enthusiastic School Composting Helpers
Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance a Success
Part-Time Opportunities

"Get Rid of It Right" This Move Out Season

Plan ahead for move out day, and give your stuff a second chance at life!

You're protecting the environment, and reducing waste.

Click the image below to watch a short video and visit www.CambridgeMA.Gov/MoveOut for more information.

Get Rid of it Right

Moving Season Reminders

Moving Out?

Donate It

  • Clothing and Textiles: ALL CLEAN, DRY TEXTILES can go in drop boxes found around Cambridge. Stained, torn, broken or incomplete OK. More info here. Use our Google Donate Map to find donation boxes. Good stuff gets reused and damaged stuff gets repurposed. Not accepted in curbside recycling.
  • Furniture in Good Condition: Plan ahead and arrange for a pickup of items from inside your home. Coalition for the Homeless does Cambridge pickups twice a month, and sometimes more, including Aug 28 - Sept 9! Complete the Pickup Request Form. They take all sorts of furniture as well as rugs, lamps, dishes, pots & pans, and blankets & linens. Check out other options: CambridgeMA.Gov/Furniture.
  • Household Goods (clean, good-condition): Goodwill, 520 Mass. Ave. / Boomerangs, 563 Mass. Ave. / Some items accepted on swap shelves at the Recycling Center.
  • Freecycle and Craig's List: Freecycle: People give away and get stuff for free. Craigslist: People submit online classifieds, "For Sale" section includes a "Free" category.
  • Get Rid of It Right: City’s online list with details on how to recycle, donate or dispose of just about anything.

Sell It

  • On-line: ebay, letgo, Craigslist are just a few examples of where you can sell your stuff
  • Bring to a Consignment Shop or have a Yard Sale

Recycle in the Curbside Bin

  • Large Plastics: All large rigid plastic items are accepted, such as storage containers, laundry baskets, and toys.
  • Books: Rip off hard covers. But, please donate good-condition books. Reuse is better than recycling.
  • Items Accepted in the Curbside Recycling Program.

Common Curbside Recycling Mistakes - Leave It Out

  • NO Electronics: Special recycling or donate.
  • NO Pots, Pans, Hangers or Other Scrap Metal: Bring metal items to the Recycling Center. Many dry cleaners accept metal hangers for reuse.
  • NO Blinds/Shades, Ceramics, Dishes, Glasses, Mirrors, Frames, Video/Cassette Tapes: Donate items in good-condition, otherwise place in trash.
  • NO Clothing or Textiles: Donate all dry and clean textiles. More info here.
  • NO Plastic Bags: Bring empty, clean and dry bags to designated bins at store entrances or the Recycling Center (clean, dry bubble and shrink wrap and air pillows also accepted at RC).

Special Handling Required

  • NO Non-Alkaline Batteries: Non-Alkaline batteries accepted at the Recycling Center or Household Hazardous Waste collections. Alkaline batteries made in USA after 1994 do not contain mercury and can go in the trash.
  • NO Fluorescent Bulbs, including CFLs: There are several disposal options including most Cambridge hardware stores and the Recycling Center.
  • NO Hazardous Waste, such as Paint: Review what must be brought to one of our four annual Household Hazardous Waste collections, including oil-based paint, chemicals and waste fuels. The webpage also has alternative options if you can't make the next collection (Sept 10).

Moving In?

Recycling is Mandatory in Cambridge - and Easy!
Review what is accepted in the curbside recycling program closely. Curbside recycling is primarily for clean containers, papers and cardboard. Recycling helps the environment and significantly reduces waste disposal costs for the city. Stay in the loop and subscribe below to receive the monthly e-newsletter from Cambridge Recycling.

What to Do with Packaging

  • Cardboard Boxes: Place in or next to recycling bin. Make sure boxes are empty (no Styrofoam, bubble wrap, or trash). Flatten when possible. Try to reuse! Post your moving boxes on Freecycle or Craigslist.
  • Bubble Wrap, Air Pillows, Shrink Wrap: Place with plastic bags at the Recycling Center during open hours. Must be empty, clean, and dry. Review accepted plastic film items here. Do not place in the curbside recycling.
  • Styrofoam Blocks and Peanuts: Blocks go in the trash. Bring peanuts to a UPS Store or to the Recycling Center during open hours for reuse. No cornstarch peanuts, which dissolve in water. Do not place in the curbside recycling.
  • Blister Packaging: Hard clear plastic form packaging can be recycled in the curbside program.

Shop Second-Hand
Shopping second-hand is much more affordable, fun, green, supports the local economy, and you can find great stuff!

  • Local Second-Hand Shops: Check out the red, green, and yellow pins on this map.
  • Stuff Sale, the biggest yard sale in Cambridge: Aug 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 & Sept 3, 4, 5. Open to all from 9 AM - 5 PM, located at the Harvard Science Center Plaza at 1 Oxford Street. You'll find mini-fridges, rugs, lamps, futons, storage bins and hundreds of other items useful to anyone setting up an apartment. Proceeds support Harvard Habitat for Humanity's mission to build housing for the needy.
  • On-line: Try Freecycle, Craigslist, ebay, letgo.

Donate Books and Buy Pre-Loved Books

There are many places you can donate books, including the Cambridge Recycling Center community shelves during our open hours, Tues/Thurs 4pm-7:30pm and Sat 9am-4pm. At the Recycling Center, textbooks and excess books and are taken by More Than Words, a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth by taking charge of a business. Here are a few more places you can donate books: Boomerangs, Goodwill, Rodney’s Bookstore, and the “Recycle That” and “Big Hearted Books & Clothing” donation boxes. Use our handy map.

Feel good when you read second-hand books! Some of the same places where you can donate books you can also buy them (Boomerangs, Goodwill, Rodney’s Bookstore), and here are a few more on-line: More Than Words, Amazon, Of course there are also those wonderful places where you can borrow books -- visit Cambridge Public Libraries!

You can also make use of the Little Free Libraries located at various locations throughout Cambridge, including private homes. Of course, there's also that great Cambridge tradition: a Free Box thoughtfully located in front of your house.

Have New Residents? Faded Labels? Order Recycling Materials!

Email to order.

  • recycling flyers with translations* (8.5x14)
  • toters
  • toter labels
  • "no trash, no plastic bags" stickers
  • "donate more trash less" flyers*
  • refrigerator magnets
  • translated recycling information sheets* (Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Creole, Ethiopian (Amharic))

*Also found in the "Educate Residents" section here.

Thank you for helping to spread the word!

Recycle More, Trash Less

Compost That StuffHelp Cambridge Kids Compost in the Cafeteria!

As kids head back to school they need help remembering "what goes where," as well as why recycling and composting is important. Additionally, new students need to be introduced to the program. Please consider joining us at a few school breakfasts and/or lunches at the start of the school year. We need many people to join in, as all 13 public schools now compost their food scraps, so sign up today, and tell a friend!

Email us to learn more. Thank you!!

Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) Ordinance a Success

Thanks to strong support from the local business community and their customers, the City's Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) Ordinance has led to a significant reduction in use of single-use bags in Cambridge.

Public Works staff and volunteers from the Cambridge Recycling Advisory Committee performed a study in July at several large Cambridge businesses and found a sizeable reduction in the consumption of single-use bags.

"What we observed was significant," said Meera Singh of the Cambridge Recycling Advisory Committee. "We saw a reduction in single-use bags of 50-80% across this group."

Read the full press release here.

Part-Time Opportunities

Cambridge Recycling is hiring a Recycling & Composting Outreach Assistant.

Public Works is also hiring an Energy & Sustainability Intern.

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

  • 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 or fill out this form.
  • Following a weekday holiday, curbside trash, recycling, compost and yard waste collection is delayed one day. Check the 2016 collection schedule.
  • Next Household Hazardous Waste Collections: Sat, Sept 10; Sat, Oct 29. Learn more here.

Cambridge Fire DepartmentCambridge Fire Department: A visual exhibition celebrating 184 years of service
8:30am, August 15 – 5:00pm, September 30 at Cambridge Arts Gallery 344, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor

The exhibit explores the incredibly varied aspects of the past 184 years of service provided by the Cambridge Fire Department. The installation contains stories of famous fires, the evolution of the department, people, and equipment through text, photos, and an artistic display using materials found at the Fire Houses.

Gallery 344 is free and open to the public.

Exhibit Reception: Monday, August 29, 6-8pm

City SealPreliminary Screening Committee for New City Manager Selected

Aug 19, 2016 – The Mayor is pleased to announce the appointment of the following people to participate in the Preliminary Screening Committee for a new City Manager. We also extend our appreciation to the 50 people who submitted applicants and were generously willing to volunteer their time in support of our search efforts.

The Preliminary Screening Committee, comprised of 15 community members reflecting citywide constituencies and four City Council members, will be facilitated by our search firm GovHR USA. The purpose of the Committee will be to interview the most qualified applicants and determine the three finalists to present to the public and to the City Council for their vote.

The public will have opportunities to meet the three finalists and provide feedback prior to the nominating vote taken at a City Council meeting in late September.

The following provides a list of the Committee’s constituent members and a brief recap of their qualifying credentials.

Constituency Applicant Choice Bio
Resident representative Peter Traversy Peter is a resident of North Cambridge. He’s a small business owner and active in youth sports.
Resident representative Elaine Thorne Elaine is a Riverside resident and was a longtime Project Planner for the City of Cambridge with extensive experience working in all neighborhoods in our City. She is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Cambridge Community Center.
Resident representative Laura Booth Laura is a resident of the Port neighborhood. She’s a CPSD parent who brings extensive work experience in the local nonprofit community and is a longtime advocate for affordable housing. She has experience with senior level hiring.
Large Business representative Jay Kiely Jay currently serves as Chair of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. He is a senior level manager with Forest City and has been active in Cambridge’s civic, nonprofit, and corporate arenas.
Small Business representative Patrick Magee Patrick is a Wellington/ Harrington resident who owns and manages Atwood’s Tavern on 877 Cambridge Street. He is a founding member of ECBA and has served as President for the past five years.
CPS Representative Richard Harding Richard is a resident of the Port and has been a longtime elected member of the School Committee. He is Co-president of the Cambridge NAACP and served as a member of former Police Commissioner Haas’ Community Advisory Board. He’s been a leader in the Men of Color Task Force.
Public Safety representative Gerald Reardon Chief Reardon is a nationally recognized leader in Fire Safety. He has spent his entire professional career with the City of Cambridge Fire Department and the last 17 years as its Chief.
Person with demonstrated knowledge of municipal finance Fred Fantini Fred is an East Cambridge resident and served as Deputy Treasurer for the Town of Arlington for 35 years. He’s a former CCTV president; a longtime member of the Cambridge School Committee; and has experience with executive searches.
Health and Human Services/Public Health representative Claude Jacob Claude is Cambridge’s Chief Public Health Officer at the Cambridge Health Alliance. He’s also Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Association of County and City Health Officials and has experience with executive search hires.
Representative with knowledge of City Planning/Urban Development Susan Schlesinger Susan is a Cambridgeport resident and longtime advocate for affordable housing. She’s been an active member of the Affordable Housing Trust and with the Community Preservation Act Board. She has experience with high level executive searches.
Higher Education/Institutional partner Kevin Casey Kevin is Associate Vice President at Harvard University with oversight of nonprofit engagement, government relations and local economic development.
Public Art and/or Recreational representative Ellen Semonoff Ellen is a Mid-Cambridge resident and has longtime served as Cambridge’s Assistant City Manager for Human Services, which has oversight of the city’s recreation department. She’s the Chair of the Cambridge Public Health Committee and former Chair of the Cambridge Health Alliance. She has experience with high level executive searches.
Affordable Housing advocate Susan Connelly Susan is a North Cambridge resident and a CPSD parent. She has extensive experience working in the field of affordable housing and serves as Director of the Community Housing Initiatives at the Massachusetts Housing Partnership and serves as Treasurer of the Cambridge Housing Authority Commissioner’s Board.
Nonprofit Community representative Elaine DeRosa Elaine is a Cambridgeport resident and has extensive experience working on behalf of low-income individuals and families serving as Executive Director of CEOC for past 28 years. She has committee experience working on city public policy, affordable housing, health care and delivery of community services issues.
Representative who advocates for the quality of our community’s civic and social well-being Reverend Lorraine Thornhill Rev. Lorraine Thornhill has served as Lead Pastor in the Port neighborhood for the past 19 years. She’s also Lead Chaplain, Cambridge Police Department; Vice-Chair, Board of Trustees Cambridge YWCA; Commissioner, City of Cambridge Human Services Department; and President, Cambridge Black Pastors Alliance.
City Council member Councillor Leland Cheung
City Council member Councillor David Maher
City Council member Councillor Nadeem Mazen
City Council member Councillor Timothy Toomey

August 11 - A little friendly advice to Cambridge City Councillors, their personal aides, and any advocacy group acting under the auspices of a city councillor

The Plan E Charter under which the City of Cambridge operates requires that any city councillor (and, by extension, anyone acting on his or her behalf) must interact with City departments through the City Manager except for the purpose of inquiry. Violation of this provision can result in very severe penalties, including a fine, imprisonment, being removed from office, and prohibition from ever again holding City office or working for the City.

Mass. General Laws, Chapter 43: Section 107. Interference with city manager by council forbidden; penalty
Section 107. Neither the city council nor any of its committees or members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to, or his removal from, office by the city manager or any of his subordinates, or in any manner take part in the appointment or removal of officers and employees in that portion of the service of said city for whose administration the city manager is responsible. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the city council and its members shall deal with that portion of the service of the city as aforesaid solely through the city manager, and neither the city council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinate of the city manager either publicly or privately. Any member of the city council who violates, or participates in the violation of, any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both, and upon final conviction thereof his office in the city council shall thereby be vacated and he shall never again be eligible for any office or position, elective or otherwise, in the service of the city.

This section of the Plan E Charter is worth considering the next time a member of an advocacy group working on behalf of an individual city councillor (regardless of how official-sounding a name they choose for their group) leans on a City department head or any other City employee for any purpose other than a simple inquiry. Even in the case of inquiries it is still advisable to introduce a City Council Order requesting the desired information.

There are important reasons why this clause is included in the Charter. Essentially, the City Manager acts on policies established via majority vote of the City Council - and not based on the whims of any individual councillor no matter how well-meaning his or her intentions may be. - RW

Baker’s economic development chief wants to be Cambridge city manager (Boston Globe)
August 10 - We now have at least one really excellent candidate publicly declaring his interest in the Cambridge City Manager position. Jay Ash's credentials are pretty great. - RW

Voter Registration and Absentee Ballots for the State Primary, September 8, 2016

Vote!The State Primary will be held on Thursday, September 8, 2016. Please be advised that under the authority provided to the Secretary of the Commonwealth under section 75 of chapter 119 of the Acts of 2015 the deadline time for the last day to register to vote for the State Primary has been changed and will end at 5:00pm instead of 8:00pm. For Cambridge residents not already registered, the last day to register to vote is Friday, August 19, 2016 from 8:30am until 5:00pm. The Office of the Secretary of State has developed an Online Voter Registration System at Individuals may use the online system to submit an online application, update their address, or change their party affiliation. You must have a valid driver's license, learner's permit, or non-driver ID issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). You must also have a signature on file with the RMV. If you do not have an RMV ID you can use the system to create an application. Print and sign the completed form and mail or bring it to the office of the City Cambridge Election Commission.

Please contact the Cambridge Election Commission office to find out when the Absentee Ballots will be available for the State Primary. Any voter who is unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to physical disability, religious belief, or absence from the City may request an Absentee Ballot from the Commission. The deadline to apply for an Absentee Ballot is Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at Noon. Absentee Ballots may be mailed to voters, or such voters may choose to vote at the Commission office during regular city office hours: Monday, 8:30am-8:00pm; Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30am-5:00pm; Friday, 8:30am-Noon. The office will also be open for Absentee Voting on Tuesday, September 6th from 8:30am until 8:00pm. The polls will be open on Election Day from 7:00am until 8:00pm.

For any additional information, please visit the Cambridge Election Commission office at 51 Inman Street, call (617-349-4361) or visit our website at

Selected Agenda Items for the Aug 1, 2016 Cambridge City Council (Midsummer) meeting

There are a lot of substantive matters on the agenda for this meeting - primarily on the City Manager's Agenda and in a dozen City Council committee reports covering a range of topics. Here's a sampler of some items that I found especially interesting. The meeting is taking place at the Attles Meeting Room at CRLS (where the School Committee usually meets).

Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-43, regarding publishing a Cambridge Voter's Guide to be distributed to each household in Cambridge a month before the 2017 municipal election.

Order #2. That the regular City Council meeting scheduled for Oct 24, 2016 be a Roundtable/Working meeting to discuss election issues with the Election Commission.   Mayor Simmons

My guess is that the best we can hope for on the City side will be an improved and expanded guide to PR voting, relevant dates, and a list of candidate names with addresses and possibly photos. Having assembled the Cambridge Candidate Pages for over a decade, I will attest to the fact that voters do want information about candidates, especially in the days immediately preceding the election, but asking the Election Commission (and inevitably the Law Department) to manage this will open a huge can of worms. It would be preferable to get local media outlets to work out a cooperative arrangement to make unbiased information available about municipal candidates. Better coordination of candidate forums would also be helpful, but that also is out of the hands of City officials.

Manager's Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of a $45,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 604b Water Quality Management Planning Program, to be used to fund conceptual green street design plans for three public rights of ways, as well as guidance on green street implementation in space-constrained residential settings; with a focus on smaller scale reconstruction projects that are not part of larger utility reconstruction projects.

For those who haven't yet seen some of the innovative stormwater management projects in West Cambridge and along Western Avenue, you should check them out. It would be great if more of these projects could be done on a smaller scale. If done right, street trees might actually have a chance to flourish.

Manager's Agenda #14. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation on the "Friends of MAPOCO" Zoning Petition.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on June 22, 2016 to discuss a petition by Peter B. Kroon, et al, also known as Friends of MAPOCO, to expand the requirements of the North Massachusetts Avenue Sub-district (Section 20.110) applicable generally within the portions of the Massachusetts Avenue Overlay District (MAOD) zoned Business A-2 (BA-2).

This zoning petition will likely now sail through to a 2nd Reading and eventual adoption as amended.

Manager's Agenda #15. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to authorizing the Purchasing Agent to award a five (5) year, two (2) month contract to the successful proposer on the Metropolitan Area Planning Council Bike Share System RFP.

The idea is for Cambridge, Somerville, Boston, and Brookline to jointly put out a longer-term request for proposals in order to entice more vendors, hopefully allow for more consistency in service, and possibly get a better price.

Manager's Agenda #29. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to pursuing the planning and development of a multi-use, bicycle and pedestrian pathway along the Grand Junction corridor that links East Cambridge, Kendall Square, MIT, and Cambridgeport, with potential connections into Boston and Somerville.

Manager's Agenda #30. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Items Number 16-46 and 16-59, regarding the Grand Junction Greenway, including the status of construction, developer contributions, and the zoning overlay.

It's nice to see the cooperation of the Mass. Dept. of Transportation in these efforts.

Manager's Agenda #32. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-22, regarding the opposition to investment funds from the Retirement System.

Some of you may remember the extensive public testimony and countless communications on the topic of the Cambridge Retirement System divesting any funds from any entity that is in any way supporting the production or upgrading of nuclear weapons systems. As it turns out, this was a typical Cambridge tempest in a teapot. As this report states: "upon reviewing the summary, that the Fund's investments in the production and/or upgrading of nuclear weapons systems is de minimis." I hope everyone at least had fun making their speeches and writing all those letters that all turned out to be about nothing.

Manager's Agenda #33. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-54, regarding finding a long term solution to adding a dog park in East Cambridge by the end of 2016 and fencing in a temporary location for off leash use by the end of Summer, 2016.

Take note, politicos: There are a lot of Cambridge voters who really love their dogs and want places for them to run and play. Actually, there's a lot more interest in dogs than in nuclear weapons divestment.

Manager's Agenda #36. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the submission of the attached Home Rule Petition that would authorize the City of Cambridge to include in the planned reconstruction (the “Project”) of the King Open / Cambridge Street Upper School and Community Complex (“KOCSUS”) the area that is presently occupied by the public swimming pool known as the Gold Star Pool (the “Gold Star Pool Site”) and to construct subsurface geothermal wells in a portion of Donnelly Field that lies directly along and adjacent to the current southerly boundary of the KOCSUS site (the “School Site”).

This is really a formality, but I always find it interesting which things require state authorization and which things do not.

Manager's Agenda #37. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the request that the City Council move to Executive Session.

Manager's Agenda #38. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $42,655 within statutory accounts of the Public Investment Fund Community Development Extraordinary Expenditure account to complete the purchase of two parcels from the B&M Corporation for the purpose of creating a future multi-use path and greenway.

These items are about making the necessary purchases to complete the Cambridge-owned portion of the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway along the now-abandoned railroad right-of-way. This will be a nice off-road addition when it's finally complete a few years from now.

Applications & Petitions #3. An application was received from Pill Hardware, requesting permission for a display of merchandise in front of the premises numbered 748 Massachusetts Avenue.

Central SquareWhenever I hear people talk about preserving the "funkiness" of Central Square, I want to remind people that before Central Square was "funky" it was an incredibly vital shopping district. It's really worth looking back at some of the available "Perceptual Form of the City" photos from over 50 years ago. This application to allow the display of mechandise on the sidewalk in front of Pill Hardware reminded me of one of those old photos. It's also a scene you can see today in Inman Square. The image shown is actually the frontage where the Mass & Main project is planned. This is the kind of thing some of us would love to see in some form as Central Square rediscovers its past and defines its future. It doesn't have to be just overpriced bars and restaurants.

Applications & Petitions #4. A zoning petition has been received from William Noyes Webster Foundation, Inc. to amend the provisions of the Medical Marijuana District Section 20.700 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance and Map.

Order #11. City Council support to Commonwealth Alternative Care to operate a Registered Marijuana Dispensary at 61 Mooney Street pursuant to local zoning and permitting.   Councillor Cheung

It should pretty clear by now that the way the City Council is handling the siting of medical marijuana dispensaries in totally wrong. Will there be a new zoning petition every time one of these facilities is proposed?

Resolution #6. Congratulations to Patrick and Norma Jean Barrett on the birth of their daughter Gemma Evelyn Barrett.   Councillor Toomey

Resolution #8. Congratulations to Jada Simmons and Toju Ononeme on their nuptials.   Councillor Toomey

Resolution #11. Resolution on the retirement of James Cullinane from the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department.   Mayor Simmons

This is a triple celebration - a birth, a marriage, and a retirement. Cambridge feels like such a little village sometimes.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Commissioner of Public Works with the intention of reinstating trash and recycling pick up for small businesses.   Councillor Toomey, Councillor Maher

This proposal has been made at various times over the last 25 years. A case can be made for this based on the fact that the commercial property tax rate is considerably higher than the residential tax rate and perhaps there should be some benefits to go along with the payment of those taxes. The additional cost and time could be significant, but perhaps there could at least be some accomodation for mixed residential/commercial buildings where the lines are often already intentionally blurred. [This happens, for example, right next door to me, and this has been the case for decades.]

Order #12. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on how traffic laws pertaining to crosswalks are currently enforced throughout the City, whether there are any regions where the City has found motorists tend to ignore crosswalk laws, and whether there are additional methods of reporting violators, raising awareness of applicable laws, and enacting stricter laws to ultimately increase pedestrian safety.   Mayor Simmons

Traffic laws pertaining to crosswalks are enforced? That's news to me. If we're taking requests, how about let's also start enforcing the requirement that motor vehicles must be parked less than a foot from the curb. That would make cycling safer. I never see that enforced.

Order #14. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Purchasing Department, the Community Development Department and any other appropriate departments to provide the City Council with an update on the status of the Classification of Commercial Land Use and Recommendations Study.   Councillor Devereux

This is included here only because I'm curious what's behind it. [Read the Request for Proposals] The RFP says: "In short, the expected result of this study is a commercial land use classification system that makes sense in modern Cambridge, that would be understandable to all community members, and that would be able to effectively regulate commercial use types as they evolve. Based on the study recommendations, the City would determine how the zoning could be amended to fit the recommended system, through either targeted changes to the current ordinance or a more substantial restructuring of the Table of Use Regulations." Uh, OK.

Inclusionary Housing Committee Reports:
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on May 31, 2016 to continue discussion regarding the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study with community feedback from the May 18, 2016 hearing being shared and discussed with consultant David Paul Rosen & Associates.

Committee Report #11. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons and Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Co-Chairs of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on July 11, 2016 to continue the discussion regarding the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study and the Affordable Housing Trust’s recommendations to the City Council.

Committee Report #12. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on May 18, 2016 to discuss the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study and will focus on receiving feedback from the community.

Some revisions to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance seem inevitable later this year, but the economic foundations in the study still seem (to me) to be a bit shaky, especially the idea of increasing the net affordable housing percentage from 11.6% to 20% without any allowance for additional density. My first concern is that if the requirement is too high then it may be more economically advantageous to build something other than housing, e.g. labs. My other concern is that since zoning changes require a two-thirds vote for ordination there might never be the political will to actually lower the requirement even if the economics warrant a decrease. It would be better if there was some way to index the requirement based on current economics.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on June 28, 2016 to discuss the parameters for a potential zoning proposal that includes the Volpe Transportation System Center.

The Volpe zoning dilemma is unique in that it is contrained not only by the funding mechanism for a new Volpe building and the need to ensure that a developer might actually be able to deliver a development without financial loss, but also by a range of competing interests from residents for housing and open space. This may not even be a solvable problem even though the potential benefits could be enormous.

Committee Report #7. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee and Mayor E. Denise Simmons and Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Co-Chairs of the Housing Committee, for a joint public hearing held on July 19, 2016 to discuss the presence and impact of short-term rental units (Airbnb, FlipKey, VRBO, etc.) in Cambridge, and to hear suggestions from community members and operators on how best to address the challenges of this emerging market.

This was an incredibly informative hearing. My guess is that short-term rentals in owner-occupied buildings may get the blessing of the City Council but perhaps not so for residential properties that are effectively being operated as hotels by non-resident owner/investors. Another hearing on this topic is scheduled for Wednesday, August 3rd.

Committee Report #8. 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 June 29, 2016 to receive an update regarding the City Manager's Search in the Focus Groups that took place and the development of the draft profile.

I'm taking bets now on whether the City Council will successfully meet its proposed September 26 date for selecting the next City Manager. Even if they do make a decision by then, it's likely that there will still be a period of time before the new City Manager can take the reins (unless it's an internal candidate).

Committee Report #9. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on June 23, 2016 to discuss the proposed changes to the current liquor license regulations and the City Council policy goals on liquor licenses, economic development, the impact on neighborhoods and local businesses.

This was also an interesting hearing at which the rationale for these proposed changes was clarified.

Committee Report #10. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee and Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on July 19, 2016, to discuss safety issues as it relates to cyclist and pedestrians in Inman Square, and to hear suggestions from community members and on how best to address the safety challenges of this intersection.

This was a very well-attended meeting, especially by cyclists who were invited through various social media channels. The presentation by City officials was informative. The only down side was the manner in which attention to the safety of Inman Square was deflected by some, especially during public comment, toward other infrastructure proposals that have little to no bearing on the safety of this or any other Cambridge intersection. It was also interesting that numerous residents of Antrim Street were in attendence with concerns over the possiblity that one of the proposed realignment schemes might have the unintended consequence of redirecting more traffic onto Antrim Street.

Barring any emergencies, the next City Council meeting after this will be on September 12.


Update: State Rep. and State Senate races (Aug 26, 2016) - Primary Election Day is Thurs, Sept 8, 2016

Sen. Pat Jehlen vs. Councillor Leland Cheung (Second Middlesex - Senate)
This is an election in which two very qualified and electable candidates are competing.
Q:  If Leland pulls an upset and then resigns his City Council seat, who would take his place?
A:  Dennis Benzan - In the Final Round it would be Benzan 680 over Davidson 484.

Sen. Sal DiDomenico (Middlesex and Suffolk - Senate) - unopposed

Sen. Joseph A. Boncore (First Suffolk and Middlesex - Senate) - unopposed

Rep. Timothy Toomey vs. Mike Connolly (26th Middlesex - House)

There was quite a battle for endorsement by the Cambridge Ward 6 Democratic Committee. The votes were there for Tim Toomey from the start, but the insistence of a few Connolly supporters and the Ward Chair caused all of the trouble. In the end, it became necessary to force a vote over the objection of the Chair, and that vote was 11-3 for Tim Toomey of people actually present (with, I believe, 2 abstentions and one person voting Present). Had everyone been counted who "phoned it in" under rules made up on the spot by the Chair and her partner, it still would have been about 14-8 for Tim Toomey. Though the Chair has been known to send out press releases at the drop of any hat, it's unlikely that the results will be communicated to the Cambridge Chronicle or anywhere else since the vote was taken only after the committee voted to overrule the ruling of the Chair. The result is less important than the manipulations that went on in an effort to force one result. In some ways it was like the whole Bernie phenomenon in miniature - creative math, bending rules as a means to an end, and the intrinsic problem of small, not-necessarily-representative groups engaging in candidate endorsements.

Rep. Marjorie Decker vs. Leslie R. Phillips (25th Middlesex - House)
This is the same matchup every two years and the results will likely be the same as last time (83.2% Decker, 16.6% Phillips (and those were mainly anti-Decker votes)).

Rep. Jay Livingstone vs. Keith R. Anderson (8th Suffolk - House)
Nothing whatsoever from Keith Anderson - no website, nothing in Google - 29 years old, registered to vote in Cambridge on Jan 18, 2016.

Rep. Jonathan Hecht (29th Middlesex - House) - unopposed

Rep. David Rogers (24th Middlesex - House) - unopposed

Note: There are no Republican, no Green-Rainbow, and no United Independent Party challengers for any of these seats.

Where Do I Vote?

Democratic Debate for 2nd Middlesex Senate [Patricia Jehlen vs. Leland Cheung]

On July 21, 2016, Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) and Somerville Community Access Television (SCATV) hosted a debate between the 2 candidates for the 2nd Middlesex Senate District, incumbent Patricia Jehlen and challenger Leland Cheung. The debate was produced and hosted by Joe Lynch, producer of Greater Somerville. Panelists included Donald Norton, publisher and editor in chief of the Somerville Times, Alex Ruppenthal from the Medford Transcript and, and Robert Winters, founder of the Cambridge Civic Journal.

Democratic Debate for 2nd Middlesex Senate from Cambridge Community Television on Vimeo.

Partial List of Endorsements

Pat Jehlen

Cambridge Ward 11 Democratic Committee

Medford Democratic City Committee

Somerville Wards 1-7 Democratic Committees

Winchester Democratic Town Committee



Clean Water Action

Environmental League Action Fund

Sierra Club

Mass Alliance

Mass. Peace Action

Mass. Retirees

Mass. Voters for Animals

Mass Women’s Political Caucus

NARAL Pro-Choice MA

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund

Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts

Progressive Massachusetts

Mass Teachers Association

American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts

Boston Teachers Union

Professional Fire Fighters of MA

Medford Firefighters

Somerville Firefighters

Somerville Municipal Employees Association


Bricklayers Local 3

International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators

IBEW Local 2222

SEIU State Council

SEIU Local 32BJ

SEIU Local 888



Mass. Nurses Association

Mass. State United Auto Workers

Teamsters Local 122

UFCW 1445

UNITE HERE New England Joint Board

Leland Cheung

Former Medford City Council President Robert Maiocco

International Association of Firefighters Local 30 and Local 1564

Cambridge Police Patrol Officer's Association

Somerville Police Employees Association

Medford Police Patrolmen's Association

Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition

Ironworkers Local 7

Sheet Metal Workers Local 17


Democratic Debate for 26th Middlesex State Representative [Tim Toomey vs. Mike Connolly]

On July 21, 2016, Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) and Somerville Community Access Television (SCATV) hosted a debate between the 2 candidates for 26th Middlesex Representative district, incumbent Timothy Toomey and challenger Mike Connolly. The debate was produced and hosted by Joe Lynch, producer of Greater Somerville. Panelists included Donald Norton, publisher and editor in chief of the Somerville Times and Susana Segat, correspondent from Cambridge Community Television.

Democratic Debate for 26th Middlesex State Representative from Cambridge Community Television on Vimeo.

Partial List of Endorsements

Tim Toomey

Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Massachusetts Teachers Association

MassEquality PAC

Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund

Cambridge Ward 6 Democratic Committee

Massachusetts Nurses Association

Greater Boston Labor Council

Massachusetts AFL-CIO

SEIU State Council

Carpenters Local 40

Laborers Local 151

SEIU 1199

SEIU 888

SEIU 509


IBEW Local 103

Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Local 3

Congressman Mike Capuano

State Senator Sal DiDomenico

Mike Connolly

Our Revolution

Sierra Club


NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts

Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts


Cambridge Employment Program Launches Ask the Career Counselor Series

City SealJuly 27, 2016 – The Cambridge Employment Program (CEP) provides free, individualized career counseling to support Cambridge residents in achieving their short and long-term employment goals.

In August, CEP is launching its new Ask the Career Counselor Series in collaboration with Cambridge Public Library. Drop by for a 15-30 minute session with a career counselor on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from August through December 2016 at Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway.

Session dates are: August 1, 15
September 19* (Note no session on September 5 due to Labor Day Holiday)
October 3, 17
November 7, 21
December 5, 19

No pre-registration is necessary. Limit one session per month. Please check CPL website, for changes or cancellations.

For more information, contact Susan Mintz at or call 617-349-6166.

“Dear City Manager…” – a Video Letter to the Next Cambridge City Manager

CCTVWhat would you like to say to the next City Manager? What do you want him or her to know about you, your neighborhood, organization, or business? Be part of the Video Letter to the Next City Manager, a project of Cambridge Community Television.

The CCTV recording studio at 438 Massachusetts Avenue will be open on Wednesday, July 20 from 2-6pm for you to record a minute or two of your thoughts. Please let us know you are coming and we will schedule you for a slot: or 617-661-6900.

Can't make it on the 20th? Let us know and we will schedule another time.

Be a part of the future of Cambridge!

Floyd Freeman

Floyd Freeman - neighbor, friend, philosopher
Nov 7, 1915 - July 11, 2016, age 100 years

Floyd Freeman and Robert Winters (2005)
Floyd Freeman and Robert Winters at Floyd's 90th birthday party (2005)

Ward 3 Precinct 1 - Polling Precinct Relocation

Please be advised that the polling precinct for Ward 3 Precinct 1 (King Open School) has been relocated to:Vote!
Frisoli Youth Center
61 Willow Street
Exercise Room
Cambridge, MA

All those who normally vote at the King Open School, 850 Cambridge Street, Cambridge will now vote at the Frisoli Youth Center. On Election Day signs will be placed at the old and new locations to help direct the voters. The new site is handicap accessible.

The Cambridge Election Commission approved the relocation of the polling precinct for Ward 3 Precinct 1, from the King Open School to the Frisoli Youth Center at a meeting held on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.

The relocation will be effective as of the State Primary which will be held on Thursday, September 8, 2016. As in past years, all registered voters in Cambridge will receive a polling notification card in the mail informing them of the location of their polling place. Registered voters may also verify their address, voting status, party affiliation and polling location on our website at

All polls will be open on Election Day from 7:00am until 8:00pm. For information, please visit the Cambridge Election Commission office located 51 Inman Street during regular city office hours: Monday, 8:30am-8:00pm; Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30am-5:00pm; Friday, 8:30am-Noon, call (617-349-4361) or visit our website at

Ward 3 Precincts 2 & 2A - Polling Location Renaming

Please be advised that the Area IV Youth Center, Ward 3 Precincts 2 & 2A, Area IV Youth Center has been renamed the Moses Youth Center. Only the name of the youth center has changed but the address will remain the same.

All those who normally vote at the Area IV Youth Center will now vote at the Moses Youth Center (formerly Area IV Youth Center), 243 Harvard Street, Lower Level, Rear Entrance, Cambridge.

As in past years, all registered voters in Cambridge will receive a polling notification card in the mail informing them of the location of their polling place and any changes to that location.

Those strange stained glass windows in Central Square are about to go. Here is their story. (June 28, 2016 - Sam Seidel)

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

Superintendent: Five things to know before heading back to school in Cambridge (Aug 27, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Former 'Car Talk' producer writes first novel about Cambridge (Aug 26, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Retirement prompts Lanes and Games apartment project (Aug 25, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Village People, The Platters and Tony Orlando to perform at Italian Feast in Cambridge (Aug 23, 2016)

'Salt and pepper' tower restoration almost complete on Longfellow Bridge (Aug 22, 2016)

Remains of Cambridge POW found 65 years after death (Aug 10, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

How many marijuana dispensaries does Cambridge need? (Aug 3, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

'Another chance at life:' Cambridge vigil highlights the hundreds of lives saved with Narcan (Aug 2, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Cambridge named clean energy leader (July 30, 2016)

Cambridge to host Bread & Puppet Theater's 'Whatforward Circus' (July 30, 2016)

Cambridge Health Alliance raises $118K to support addiction services (July 29, 2016)

Ban on Styrofoam, other plastics at Cambridge businesses to take effect in October (July 28, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Cambridge police officer placed on leave after 'bloody' assault in Revere (July 27, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Marijuana ballot question showcases Cambridge candidates' differences (July 27, 2016 by Kimberly Barnett)

MONROE nightclub slapped with one-week suspension, reduced hours after Cambridge disciplinary hearing (July 26, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Senate candidates square off; charter schools, GLX and income inequality top debate in Cambridge (July 25, 2016 by Kimberly Barnett)

Cambridge Police column: Looking beyond an officer's uniform (July 21, 2016 by Christopher J. Burke, Police Commissioner)

Inman Square redesign prioritized; 'bending' streets suggested for safer passage (July 21, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

'Not an attack on Airbnb:' Cambridge councilors look to protect homeowners while mulling regs (July 20, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

PROJECT TRACKER: What's happening with the Volpe site in Cambridge? (July 20, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Charles River swimming area proposed at North Point in Cambridge (July 19, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Cambridge's Stellabella Toys closes after losing business to online shopping (July 18, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Cambridge study recommends 20 percent of new housing units be affordable (July 13, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Two women hospitalized after another weekend of unrest at MONROE nightclub in Cambridge (July 13, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

'Long live River Gods:' Beloved restaurant closes in Cambridge (July 12, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Cambridge, Belmont residents team up to open first senior cohousing (July 8, 2016 by Bram Berkowitz)

Zeroing in on 'Vision Zero:' Call for safer streets amplified after Cambridge cyclist's death (July 7, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Rossi kicks off first Cambridge Talks (July 6, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Square dedicated to Cambridge's first black pharmacist (July 6, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Cambridge cabbies sue city over 'unfair' regs; demand level playing field (July 5, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Cambridge mulls Airbnb regulations as short-term rentals soar (June 30, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Witnesses asked to 'step up' in Cambridge homicide; community calls for end to violence (June 29, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)

Cyclist's death marks 'turning point;' Cambridge councilors look to fast track Inman safety plans (June 29, 2016 by Adam Sennott)

Restoration of Longfellow Bridge's salt and pepper towers near completion (June 28, 2016)

'Too good for this earth:' Memorial grows for Cambridge woman killed on bicycle (June 27, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)

Cambridge man shot, killed in The Port (June 25, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)

CPA funding serves as major supporter of Cambridge's affordable housing programs (June 24, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Cambridge Dads podcast offers stories, advice to fathers (June 24, 2016 by Natalie Handy)

Bicyclist dies after collision with truck in Inman Square in Cambridge (June 23, 2016 by Amy Saltzman)

Stories written by Luis Vasquez for the Cambridge Chronicle:

Q&A: Cambridge singer Mike Wyche talks family, influences, performing abroad (Aug 19, 2016)

Q&A: 'Just a kid from Cambridge' apparel creator, Anthony Mosley (Aug 11, 2016)

Q&A: Fundraiser organized for longtime Cambridge coach, Ted Coffman (July 22, 2016)

Q&A: Cambridge Rindge principal talks opportunity, student relations, being a Yankees fan (June 17, 2016)

Q&A: Albert Pless helps lead men's health advocacy in Cambridge (June 10, 2016)

Q&A: Couple to open martial arts school in West Cambridge (June 3, 2016)

Q&A: Acting Cambridge police commissioner, Christopher Burke (May 23, 2016)

SPOTLIGHT: Alissa Musto, Miss Cambridge 2016 (May 13, 2016)

SPOTLIGHT: Suzanne McKenzie, executive director of Breakaway Foundation (Apr 29, 2016)

SPOTLIGHT: Cambridge Vice Mayor Marc McGovern (Apr 22, 2016)

SPOTLIGHT: Phil Rizzuto, new owner of Lizzy's Ice Cream (Apr 7, 2016)

SPOTLIGHT: Lance Dottin, head coach, Cambridge Rindge boys basketball (Mar 31, 2016)

Bridging the Gap column: Tsarnaev is paying for two (May 22, 2015)

Bridging the Gap column: Tsarnaev should write a book (May 14, 2015)

Bridging the Gap column: The Boston Bomber finally cries (May 5, 2015)

Bridging the Gap column: Tsarnaev's middle finger is back to haunt him (Apr 28, 2015)

Bridging the Gap column: Is Tsarnaev paying for sins of his brother? (Apr 14, 2015)

Bridging the Gap column: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should live (Apr 7, 2015)

Bridging the Gap column: Tsarnaev's plea for help serves as a reminder (Mar 31, 2015)

Bridging the Gap column: Tsarnaevs at odds over homeland (Mar 23, 2015)

Here's Something Worth Watching

Robert & Judy on Cambridge InsideOutCambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.

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

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 165-166: Aug 23, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 163-164: Aug 9, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 161-162: Aug 2, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 159-160: July 26, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 157-158: July 19, 2016 – Looking Back at Rent Control (1996 show)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 155-156: July 12, 2016 – featuring Cambridge Water

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 153-154: July 5, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 151-152: June 28, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 149-150: June 21, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 147-148: June 14, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 145-146: June 7, 2016 (Part 2 with Luis Vasquez)

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 143-144: May 31, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 141-142: May 24, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 139-140: May 17, 2016 - with guest Will MacArthur

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 137-138: May 10, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 135-136: May 3, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 133-134: April 26, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 131-132 w/Patrick Barrett: April 19, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 129-130 w/Jesse Kansan-Benanav: April 12, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 127-128: April 5, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 125-126: March 29, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 123-124: Mar 22, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 121-122: March 15, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 119-120: March 8, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 117-118: Mar 1, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 115-116: Feb 23, 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

Preliminary Screening Committee for New City Manager Selected (Aug 19, 2016)

Selected Agenda Items for the Aug 1, 2016 Cambridge City Council (Midsummer) meeting (posted Aug 1, 2016)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (July 28, 2016)

Democratic Debate for 26th Middlesex State Representative [Tim Toomey vs. Mike Connolly] (posted July 28, 2016)

Democratic Debate for 2nd Middlesex Senate [Patricia Jehlen vs. Leland Cheung] (posted July 28, 2016)

Nominations Sought for City Manager Search Process Preliminary Screening Committee (July 21, 2016)

Floyd Freeman, Nov 7, 1915 – July 11, 2016, neighbor, friend, philosopher (July 16, 2016)

Taking a Break – Preview of June 27, 2016 Cambridge City Council agenda (posted June 26, 2016)

Cambridge Historical Commission Announces 2016 Preservation Award Recipients (June 23, 2016)

City of Cambridge names new Director of Libraries, Maria Taesil Hudson McCauley (June 21, 2016)

Hot Town, Summer in the City – Coming up at the June 20, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting (June 20, 2016)

Hello Recycling & Composting Neighbors! – June-July 2016 (updated June 17, 2016)

Kicking Off the Post-Columbian Era – June 13, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting (June 13, 2016)

Opening of the First Section of the Grand Junction Path – June 9, 2016

Goodbye, Columbus? – On the Cambridge City Council Agenda – June 6, 2016

Budget Adoption Night – Highlights of the May 23, 2016 Cambridge City Council Meeting Agenda (posted May 23, 2016)

Rep. Tim Toomey Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign (posted May 13, 2016)

At the Signpost Up Ahead – the May 9, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda (posted May 9, 2016)

Joint Statement of Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi Regarding the Green Line Extension (May 5, 2016)

Dos de Mayo – Interesting Items on the May 2, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda (posted May 2, 2016)

Real Money – The City of Cambridge FY2017 Budget tops the April 25, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda (Apr 25, 2016)

Up the Inclusionary – Hot Topics on the April 11, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda (Apr 10, 2016)

No Foolin’ – Coming up at the April 4, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting (Apr 4, 2016)

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

Subscribe to the Cambridge Civic Journal.
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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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