Meltzer, Daniel J.
Of Cambridge. Died on May 24th, 2015 at 63 years of age. Professor at Harvard Law School since 1982. Principal Deputy Counsel to President Obama in 2009-10. Dear son of the late Bernard & Jean (Sulzberger) Meltzer. Beloved husband of Ellen Semonoff, Assistant City Manager of Human Services for the City of Cambridge. Devoted father of Josh Meltzer & his wife Shannon Stockdale and Jonathan Meltzer. Loving brother of Joan FitzGibbon and Susan Yost. Doting grandfather of Delilah. Cherished uncle to his nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be private. A memorial service will be held at Harvard Law School on a date in June to be announced. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Dan's memory may be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, MA 02445, with a designation for use for pancreatic cancer research. Stanetsky Memorial Chapel 617-232-9300 www.stanetsky.com - [Obituary]
Meltzer received an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University in 1972, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1975 where he was President of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he clerked first for Judge Carl E. McGowan of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and then for Justice Potter Stewart of the United States Supreme Court. From 1977 to 1978, Meltzer was Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph Califano, Jr. Thereafter he worked three years in private practice with the District of Columbia firm of Williams & Connolly.
Meltzer joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1982 as assistant professor, was promoted to full professor in 1987, served as associate dean 1989-93, was named the Story Professor of Law in 1998, and the vice dean for physical planning in 2003. Meltzer co-authored several books on the federal court system, habeas corpus, and other subjects with Richard Fallon and David L. Shapiro. Criminal procedure was another of his specializations.
In 1989, Meltzer was elected to the American Law Institute and was elected to the ALI Council in 1999. In January 2013, Meltzer was selected to succeed Lance Liebman as ALI Director. Meltzer later declined the appointment for health reasons. In January 2014, the ALI announced that that Richard Revesz, the Dean Emeritus of New York University School of Law, would succeed Liebman as ALI Director in May 2014.
Meltzer was appointed Principal Deputy Counsel to President Barack Obama in January 2009, deputy to Counsel Greg Craig. Meltzer had originally agreed to serve in the position for one year but agreed to stay longer to help in the transition from Craig to Robert Bauer early in 2010. Returning to Harvard in mid-2010 allowed Meltzer to resume his faculty position within the preferred two-year leave tenure. At the time of his resignation, his service for the administration was noted for efforts to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, related policies affecting terrorism detainees, anti-abortion issues in the health care reform debate, and preparation of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor in her 2009 confirmation hearings. Also noted was close work during his tenure with the acting leader of the Office of Legal Counsel, David Barron (also a fellow Harvard law professor), and with United States Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, both in the Department of Justice.
Meltzer died on May 24, 2015, after a long battle with cancer. Meltzer was married to Ellen Semonoff, the Assistant City Manager of Human Services for the City of Cambridge, MA. His wife did not move to Washington during the 2009-2010 appointment, and Meltzer commuted to Cambridge during the period.
Meltzer's father, the late Bernard D. Meltzer, was a member of the United States prosecutorial delegation to the Nuremberg trials and a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. Meltzer's cousin, David F. Levi, is the dean of Duke Law School.
Likely City Council Challengers for 2015 (as of May 22, 2015)
- Courtney, Kimberly S., 2 Ware St., Cambridge, MA 02138
filed organizational papers Jan 9, 2015 [Treasurer: Jessica Ernst]
- Degoes, Plinio T., 99 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138
has a website and Facebook page
- Devereux, Janis A., 255 Lakeview Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
filed organizational papers Feb 11, 2015 [Treasurer: Doug Brown]
- vanBeuzekom, Minka Y., 20 Essex St., Cambridge, MA 02139
announced intentions [Treasurer: Ian Carlson]
- Hopson, Diane, 1 Leighton St., Cambridge, MA 02141
multiple people reporting
- Sanzone, John, 540 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA 02139
Has a website for his City Council campaign
Likely School Committee Challengers for 2015 (as of May 7, 2015)
- Elechi Kadete, 10 Laurel St., Cambridge, MA 02139
stated on C-Port listserv
- Manikka Bowman, 134 Reed Street, Cambridge, MA 02140
Has a website for School Committee campaign
Cambridge Candidate Pages - 2015
(candidates are encouraged to send additional information)
Catching Up on the Cambridge News (May 23, 2015)
See how Cambridge's second largest park came to be, from an island surrounded by marshes to a gunpowder depot and, later, a favorite Charles River swimming beach. As a public space, the site has inspired many plans and schemes. Consider the courses taken and passed by as we plan for the park's future – this year.
Magazine Beach – Its History and Your Stories!
When & Where: Cambridge Sr. Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave. on Thursday, May 28 at 1:00pm
Magazine Beach Park, at the bottom of Magazine Street, is Cambridge's second largest park, and it has long been a favorite swimming and picnicking site. Hear about its long history, about Captain's Island and its powder magazine, and its becoming a popular beach for Charles River bathers. We're eager to hear your stories, too!
Library Program: Renaissance on the Cambridge side of the Charles
Where & When: Main Branch, Cambridge Public Library on Thursday, June 11 at 6:30pm
While the Esplanade has long been the jewel on the Charles, the Cambridge river parklands, at long last, are beginning to receive their due. Hear the latest about North Point Park's skate park and Magazine Beach and Greenough Boulevard improvements. Presenters from the Charles River Conservancy, Solomon Foundation, Cambridgeport Neighbors Association's Magazine Beach Committee, Mass. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (DCR), and the City of Cambridge will share current projects.
Cambridge Fire Department, along with PRO EMS of Cambridge, have jointly received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.
Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.
Unfortunately, a significant number don't receive this prompt treatment. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.
Emergency Medical System providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. EMS agencies provide access to 12-lead ECG machines (devices that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat and can help medical personnel determine if a heart attack has occurred), and follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.
Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Silver award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for the entire year, and treat at least eight STEMI patients for the year.
“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud Cambridge Fire Department and PRO EMS for achieving this award that shows they meet evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”
“Cambridge Fire Department and PRO EMS are dedicated to making our units among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all STEMI patients,” said Cambridge Fire Chief Gerry Reardon. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients.” For more information, contact Assistant Chief Gerard Mahoney, Phone: 617-349-4970. For more information about the program, visit: heart.org/missionlifeline.
May 21 - The Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) presented the 22nd biennial public relations awards to the winning applicants at the Association’s Annual Conference at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Winners were chosen by a panel of independent judges from the public relations, advertising, press, and graphic design fields. Evaluation criteria included messaging, originality, and presentation. Entries were submitted for 20 categories, including brochures, community reading programs, social media, and Websites.
The Cambridge Public Library received five awards in the logo, booklist, community reading program, summer reading program, and newsletter categories. The Library also received first prize in the merchandise category for its tote bags promoting library confidentiality.
Library graphic designer, Luke Kirkland was presented with the awards by the MLA Public Relations Committee at the 2nd Annual Awards Gala and Dinner.
"The Cambridge Public Library is proud of Mr. Kirkland’s work which is visually engaging and representative of the highly professional programs and services offered to our community," said Susan Flannery, Director of Libraries.
Last year, the Cambridge Public Library checked out 1.4 million items and offered 3,000 programs to more than 87,000 individuals.
The Massachusetts Library Association advocates for libraries, librarians, and library staff, defends intellectual freedom, and provides a forum for leadership, communication, professional development, and networking to keep libraries vital. MLA has been working libraries for over 100 years, representing members from all library types in the Commonwealth. For more information visit www.masslib.org.
May 21 - Today, Mayor David P. Maher announced that 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the City of Cambridge’s Pride Brunch, a tradition that honors the service of individuals working toward equal access and social justice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.
This year, Mayor Maher, along with the City Administration and the Cambridge GLBT Commission will hold the event in the Sullivan Chamber in Cambridge City Hall on Saturday, June 13 at 9:00am, at 795 Mass. Ave.
Refreshments will be provided and the annual program celebrating the progress for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people in Cambridge will begin at 9:30am. The program will include a ceremony presenting the annual Bayard Rustin Award to a person of color with an outstanding history of service to the Cambridge GLBT Community. Community recognition awards as well as the Rose Lipkin award to a Cambridge Rindge and Latin School student will also be presented.
Bus transportation will be provided to the Boston Pride Parade after the Brunch, departing Cambridge City Hall at 11:15am.
RSVPs to this event are appreciated (but not required) and can be made to Mayor Maher’s Office at (617) 349-4321 or email@example.com.
(Behind King Open School, between Willow and Berkshire streets).
Rain Location: King Open School Cafeteria
The Agenda for Children, the Center for Families and the Cambridge Health Alliance invites families to come and join us for a reading adventure at Donnelly Field.
Pages from the children's books Forest Bright, Forest Night and One Hot Summer Day will be posted along the field. Parents and kids can enjoy free pizza, books, arts and crafts, along with a special performance by Silly Sally.
For more information about StoryWalk, contact Priscila de Calvache at 617-665-3825 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community Preservation Act Committee will hold a public meeting Tuesday, June 16, at 6:00pm, at Cambridge City Hall, Sullivan Chamber, 795 Mass. Ave. The meeting agenda will include providing the public an opportunity to suggest and recommend projects for CPA funding for Housing, Open Space and Historic Preservation in FY16. For more information, contact Karen Preval at 617-349-4221 or email@example.com.
The Cambridge City Manager is seeking volunteers to serve on a new Foundry Advisory Committee that he is establishing. This group will advise and provide regular updates to the City Manager as well as providing regular updates to the Executive Director of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) on proposed uses within the Foundry building, which will be redeveloped and operated consistent with the vision and objectives that grew out of an extensive community planning process.
In evaluating potential uses, programs, and use of shared spaces for creativity and innovation at the Foundry, the Committee will take into account the interior configuration, ongoing operations, changing demand and market forces, updates in technology and innovation, and other outside impacts. The Committee will also review any proposals for significant capital changes to the building as they affect the Foundry’s objectives.
Meetings are anticipated to occur quarterly, although more frequent meetings may be required in the initial stages of the redevelopment process. The Committee will provide annual updates to the CRA Board at regular Board meetings, which will provide the public with information regarding its activities and provide a forum for input. Members of the Committee will be initially appointed by the City Manager to staggered terms of 1-3 years.
The City Manager seeks individuals with demonstrated ability to work effectively on a team with diverse opinions to craft consensus recommendations. The City Manager’s intention is to create a committee that includes experience and expertise in related topic areas, as well as representation from various neighborhoods within the city, and local non-profit and community organizations.
Additional information regarding the Foundry building is available on the project webpage: www.cambridgema.gov/foundry
To apply, please send a letter by June 12, 2015 describing your interest in the Foundry Advisory Committee as well as any relevant experience and qualifications to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
May 18, 2015 – Today, Mayor David P. Maher and City Manager Richard C. Rossi announced a partnership with the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to install truck side guards on city-owned trucks in order to enhance safety for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling in Cambridge. The city intends to install these side guards on heavy-duty vehicles in an effort to lead by example in Massachusetts and to encourage private entities to do the same.
These efforts dovetail with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets, which was launched on Jan 22, 2015, by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“Cambridge has always led the way with progressive multimodal transportation options for our residents. Now we are stepping up once again to lead the charge to make our streets safer and to mitigate the deadly consequences of common traffic collisions,” said Mayor Maher.
“The Mayors’ Challenge was designed to help small and large cities increase the safety of all bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Secretary Foxx. “These truck guards are another safety feature that can help save lives in Cambridge and other communities around the country.”
“Cambridge has decided to quickly and definitively make changes to its fleet to establish a new standard for safety in our community and the private sector,” said City Manager Rossi. “I’m immensely proud of how the city and federal government have come together to work to protect our residents.”
Side guards, which are installed on large trucks to protect bicyclists and pedestrians from falling underneath the vehicle, helped reduce bicyclist fatalities by 61 percent and pedestrian fatalities by 20 percent in side-impact crashes with trucks in the United Kingdom after side guards became required, starting in 1986. Side guards are devices intended to sweep aside a pedestrian or bicyclist in a side-impact crash, rather than being swept underneath the vehicle.
Volpe and the City of Cambridge are jointly working on a vehicle redesign strategy that will establish recommendations for implementing truck side guards, blind spot mirrors, and other vehicle-based technologies on the city-owned truck fleet. In addition to reviewing international best practices and safety data for developing the recommended technical specifications, operational and human factors issues will also be considered, such as:
- Installing additional blind spot mirrors, lenses, or cameras intended to increase a driver’s field of view and situational awareness of bicyclists and pedestrians in the vicinity of a truck;
- Posting educational messaging inside and/or outside of large trucks intended to increase awareness of all road users about avoiding blind spots and other specific hazards; and
- Integrating the recommended safety countermeasures into the vehicle bodies and operations of the city’s truck fleet, on up to 50 identified vehicles starting in the fall of 2015, to lead by example and to encourage the private sector truck fleets to follow.
“I see Volpe’s first partnership with the City of Cambridge as an exciting opportunity to bring together the complementary strengths of our two government agencies,” said Dr. Alex Epstein, the Volpe team lead. “Even more importantly, this partnership is likely to save lives if the side guards and other truck-based safety initiatives succeed as expected, advancing transportation innovation for the public good.”
This initiative was brought to the attention of the City of Cambridge from social media. By coincidence, a member of Mayor Maher’s staff was walking by the scene of a crash sometime after a bicyclist had collided with a garbage truck. Thanks to the quick response of emergency personnel, the young father who had been on his bicycle was already being treated at a local hospital. Crews had started to remove the twisted frame of the bicycle from underneath the truck when Alanna Mallon, from the Mayor’s Office, walked by. She posted a picture of the bicycle frame on social media, which happened to reach Alex Epstein at the Volpe Center.
Within an hour of the picture being posted, Dr. Epstein was on the phone with the Mayor’s Office to arrange a meeting about the potential to work with Volpe on installing truck side guards. Not only was a meeting arranged with the City Manager, Deputy City Manager, Commissioner of Public Works, and Police Commissioner about this effort, but Dr. Epstein also testified at a Cambridge City Council meeting shortly after speaking with the Mayor’s Office to expand the dialogue about implementing truck side-guard solutions.
“Accidents between trucks and cyclists are unfortunately not out of the ordinary for urban communities in Massachusetts,” said Mayor Maher. “What is unique, however, is the speed with which Cambridge was able to engage with the talented folks at Volpe and to help institute a solution for our city in record time.”
The City Council's Health and Environment Committee, chaired by Councilor Leland Cheung, will be holding a public hearing on Tuesday, June 9th from 4:00pm to 6:30pm in Sullivan Chamber, City Hall. The purpose of the hearing is to discuss a proposed framework for the goal of setting Cambridge on the trajectory to becoming a “net zero community.” All are invited to attend this hearing. [more information on the Net Zero Action Plan]
Join the Cambridge Water Department at its 8th annual Fresh Pond Day on Saturday, May 30, from 11am-3pm to celebrate Fresh Pond Reservation, Cambridge’s in-city drinking water reservoir and urban wild. This event is free and open to all; all dogs must be leashed.
The festivities are held around the Water Treatment Facility at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway. Use of public transit and bicycles to get to the event is strongly encouraged, especially for those wanting to participate in the bike parade! Visitors arriving by car are asked to park at the Tobin School on 197 Vassal Lane.
Fresh Pond Day is an occasion for all ages to jubilate in honor of Fresh Pond Reservation, which protects the City’s drinking water supply, is critical wildlife habitat, and provides Cantabrigians with a green, recreational oasis.
The day’s schedule of events includes:
- Stories with Doria - 11:30am
- Wildflower Walkabouts - 11:30am and 1pm
- Wildlife Parade - 12:30pm (feel free to bring a costume - sign and mask making will be offered all morning!)
- Live Wildlife Demonstrations - 1pm to 3pm
- Treatment Facility Tour - 1pm (Open House all day)
- Bee Hive Talk & Tour - 1pm
- Bicycle Parade - 1:30pm (decorate at the flair station!)
- Kingsley Park Restoration Tour - 2pm
- Nature Drawing - 2pm
All-day highlights include: live music by Lux, Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band, and the Wicked Pickers; kids’ activities, StoryWalk and book giveaway; face painting; truck climb-aboards; bike tune-up and flair stations; dog training clinics; pedi-cab rides; a chance to meet and greet with City staff and community groups; and more!
Feel free to bring a picnic. Rain does cancel the event. For schedule and weather updates, and to get involved, visit www.cambridgema.gov/freshpondday, or contact Kirsten Lindquist at 617-349-6489, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Normandy/Twining zoning petition ordained
May 19 - At Monday's City Council meeting, the Normandy/Twining zoning petition as amended was ordained on a 7-2 vote with Councillors Carlone and Mazen voting NO. A memorandum of understanding detailing a variety of committments was attached to the petition. - RW
May 15 - This is a good day. Grateful thanks to the jury in the Tsarnaev trial for all of their effort and good judgment. - RW
Coming up at the May 18, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting
There are plenty of items from which to choose on this week's agenda, but there's really little doubt that the one to watch is the vote to ordain the Normandy/Twining petition that would allow a significant number of new apartments to be built at the eastern end of Central Square, a.k.a. Lafayette Square.
Manager's Agenda #19. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation on the Normandy/Twining (Mass and Main) Zoning Petition. The Planning Board recommends adoption with suggested modifications.
Unfinished Business #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 1, 2015 to continue discussions on the Normandy/Twining petition. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after May 11, 2015. Planning Board Hearing held Feb 24, 2015 and continued on Apr 28, 2015. Petition expires May 27, 2015.
Communications - 30 letters in support of Normandy/Twining Petition and 21 letters opposing Normandy/Twining Petition.
The necessary votes appear to be there to ordain this petition, but the real story is the political dynamics surrounding it. The Cambridge Residents Alliance (CResA), an unregistered political action committee disguised as a non-profit civic association, was born a few years back in response to the very things this petition would bring, i.e. additional height and residential density in Central Square. Back then it was the prospect of apartment buildings popping up on Prospect Street and Bishop Allen Drive and a residential tower behind the firehouse in Lafayette Square. Those ideas were either withdrawn or put on permanent hold. Other ideas were floated during the C2 process that helped to shape their recommendations, but the prospect of something actually being built only began to materialize at the end of the C2 process when the Quest properties in and around Lafayette Square were sold. There was little doubt that something would be done with these properties.
Objectively speaking, there's a lot to be said for bringing significant new housing to this location, especially with a sizable number of units set aside for people with low/moderate income. There's also some great possibilities in terms of ground floor retail and what people these days like to call "placemaking". It's also very significant that a residential building is being proposed rather than an office or lab building.
On the other hand, this is also an opportunity for politics and we've seen a lot of that lately. There was an organized effort to turn an Ordinance Committee meeting on this petition into a tribunal directed at any city councillor who ever took a dollar from a property owner or developer. Poorly researched investigations into other Normandy-owned properties led to slanderous accusations propagated on various listservs. CResA activists and their scribes promoted conspiracy theories about City departments trying to work around the Zoning Ordinance and evade planning. A well-considered (and courageous) letter sent out by Councillor Kelley over the weekend has sparked some angry responses from the perpetually closed-minded. Through it all we've seen incumbent city councillors slandered while new candidates bulk up their campaign accounts and try to recruit feeder candidates for the November election - all of this over the building of new homes (near transit) where people can live.
It's worth noting that a significant amount of public testimony on this matter has been in support of the Normandy/Twining petition, and many people who are not taking sides on the issue at least generally acknowledge that if there is to be residential density in Cambridge this is a pretty sensible place for it to be located.
Manager's Agenda #20. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation on the Chestnut Hill Realty Zoning Petition. The Planning Board recommends adoption.
This appears to be just a technical improvement of a zoning change enacted a couple of years ago.
Order #4. Support of House Bill 340 that calls on the Department of Education to not approve PARCC for Massachusetts public schools; calls on the state to not require high-stakes standardized tests be used as a requirement for high school graduation for at least the next three years; and that the state establish an Educational Review Task Force to examine the effectiveness and impact of these high-stakes standardized tests. Councillor McGovern and Councillor Kelley
This is a matter that has lots of people pretty charged up. I teach mathematics primarily to university students, but I also have quite a few high school students in my Harvard Extension School classes. You'll never hear me arguing against the need for better standards in mathematics education - especially when it comes to challenging students to aim higher. Part of that means having some standardized testing and I don't especially care what form that testing takes as long as its fair. I also have never been of the "every kid gets a trophy" mindset, but I do think it's important that every kid have a path to graduation even if it means adjusting the path. Not all kids are destined to win Nobel Prizes, but everyone deserves a chance to one day have a chance at economic opportunity - especially in a city like Cambridge. Minimal standards won't help to achieve that goal. Is PARCC better than MCAS? I don't know, but I sure wish people would just make a good decision and go with it.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to review the attached seven recommendations submitted as part of the Apr 30, 2015 Housing Committee hearing minutes and instruct the City Solicitor and the Acting Assistant City Manager of the Community Development Department to prepare appropriate zoning language to achieve these recommendations. Councillor Simmons
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Apr 30, 2015 to continue the Apr 22, 2015 discussion on the incentive zoning study from the Community Development Department.
While the political people have been obsessing over Normandy/Twining, housing in the Alewife area, and the ultimate legal resolution of the Sullivan Courthouse, there has been an ongoing review and update to some of the financial mechanisms that help to fund various affordable housing initiatives via fees derived from new non-residential development. The recommendations contained in this Order are mostly timely and appropriate, but I'm skeptical about any effort to tie linkage fees to job training programs or the City's living wage ordinance for reasons similar to why unionized labor requirements should not be written into the Zoning Ordinance. Not all good standards and practices should be bound into law. Some things, like lease covenants requiring tenants to not seek residential parking permits, are best left as agreements and understandings rather than governmental requirements.
Order #16. That the Cambridge City Council officially go on record supporting the efforts and progress of the Cambridge Community Development Department related to the C2 study and we look forward to considering the zoning and non-zoning recommendations when presented to the Council. Mayor Maher and Vice Mayor Benzan
Ideally, once the Normandy/Twining zoning petition is settled, there should be renewed interest and greater seriousness about the C2 study and its recommendations. Sometimes it takes a serious development proposal to motivate people to actually get serious. This isn't the only example of that principle in action.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Chair of the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee for a public hearing held on Mar 25, 2015 to receive updates and to discuss next steps for the shared-use, rails-with-trail path along the City’s Grand Junction Corridor.
As I testified at the hearing, the most interesting parts of this proposal are how it will connect to places outside of Cambridge. It has the potential to create much better links between destinations at/near MIT to housing in Somerville and across the Charles River. At the Somerville end there are better and worse ways to align this route to the planned Somerville routes and the right-of-way being planned for the Green Line Extension. The primary bicycle facilities will always be the existing road network, but it's great to make better use of abandoned and underutilized rail assets to create more and better connections. - Robert Winters
Select Stories from the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
Cambridge Police Department fiscal 2016 budget breakdown (Sara Feijo, May 22, 2015)
Cambridge Fire Department 2016 budget breakdown (Sara Feijo, May 22, 2015)
Mass+Main project moves forward with stronger commitment to housing (Sara Feijo, May 20, 2015)
Cambridge Chronicle reporter honored (May 20, 2015)
DeLancey to retire as executive director of Agassiz Baldwin (May 17, 2015)
Guest column: Cambridge's commercial development must be in sync with housing needs (Councilors Denise Simmons, Marc McGovern and Dennis Benzan; May 11, 2015)
LETTER: Mass+Main's affordable housing units are critical for Cambridge (Ellen Shachter, May 8, 2015)
Cambridge councilors ask for clarity in roadwork projects (Sara Feijo, May 7, 2015)
Cambridge's MLK School to open this summer (Sara Feijo, May 7, 2015)
Cambridge City Council backs Foundry plan with $6M (Sara Feijo, May 6, 2015)
Guest column: Permit more housing in Cambridge to slow rising costs (Mark Boyes-Watson, May 5, 2015)
Proposed Cambridge school budget up 4.6 percent; district to add 29 fulltime positions (Sara Feijo, Apr 30, 2015)
MIT unveils memorial for Sean Collier (by Sara Feijo, Apr 30, 2015)
Mass+Main plan moves forward in Central Square (by Sara Feijo, Apr 29, 2015)
Cambridge city manager proposes $546M budget (by Sara Feijo, Apr 29, 2015)
A likely friendship: Volunteer honored after helping Cambridge man for 20 years (by Erin Baldassari, Apr 23, 2015)
Cambridge's Berman recognized as distance-running trailblazer (by Dan Guttenplan, Apr 17, 2015)
Housing prices soar after years of stability in Cambridge (by Danielle McLean, Apr 17, 2015)
Cambridge councillors' actions fuel strong criticism from rest of board (by Sara Feijo, Apr 15, 2015 - account of Apr 13 Council meeting)
With National Bike Safety Month and Bay State Bike Week taking place in May, the Cambridge Police have a number of events, initiatives and materials planned to increase the safety of all people who walk, cycle or drive.
*Free breakfast, as available, generously provided by Charles River TMA
On-Bike Training & Bike Rides
Be sure to view a complete list of events coordinated by the Community Development Department on their website.
Electronic Sign Boards
content taken from Cambridge Police Dept. press release
Perhaps the most common problem I see are bike lanes painted on streets in such a way that right-turning motor vehicles are encouraged to turn across the bike lane at intersections. This is common along Massachusetts Avenue westbound from MIT heading toward Central Square, and I see near-misses daily. In those locations it would be much safer without the bike lane or with the lane reconfigured so that right-turning vehicles would be directed to move as far right as possible prior to turning - as required by state law. Cyclists being "right hooked" by turning vehicles is probably the most common cause of crashes.
Another reality that I witness every day is the dysfunction of the Vassar Street "cycle track". This sidewalk-based bike facility was constructed in such a way that delivery vehicles, taxis, and other vehicles have no other option than to drive up onto the sidewalk (and the cycle track) in order to do what they need to do. I don't fault the drivers in any way since there really is no other practical option. I'm entertained when I see official City photos of this facility showing nothing but right-way cyclists riding along an unobstructed path. The everyday reality is that cyclists routinely ride wrong-way on this track and pedestrians generally make no distinction between the track and the rest of the sidewalk. It's like an obstacle course of pedestrians, parked vehicles, and turning vehicles and an accident waiting to happen. The better option is to ride in the roadway, but the right-of-way has been narrowed to the point where you generally have to "take the lane" to ensure your safety. Crossing Vassar is easily the riskiest part of my daily commute.
If I could have one wish granted it would be that City officials seriously reevaluate some of their decisions regarding bicycling infrastructure. - Robert Winters
Quatro de Mayo at the Cambridge City Council - May 4, 2015 Agenda Highlights
Here's a quick look at what's on deck for Monday. The most significant items are Manager's Agenda #1-6, the appropriation and loan authorization orders for capital budget items totaling $67,200,000. There's also an appropriation order of $6,000,000 in Manager's Agenda #10 "to facilitate necessary initial capital improvements to the Foundry building." After the Public Comment period (and hopefully starting at the scheduled time) there will be a 7:00pm public hearing on a proposal by the City of Cambridge to dispose of a long-term leasehold interest in the Foundry Property at 101 Rogers Street to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) and on a request for diminution of the full disposition process.
Here are the big ticket items:
Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $37,750,000 to provide funds for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the City's Agassiz Neighborhood, Alewife Watershed, Area IV Neighborhood, and Harvard Square areas as well as the Sewer Capital Repairs Program.
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $5,000,000 to provide funds for a Comprehensive Facilities Improvement Plan.
Manager's Agenda #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,600,000 to provide funds for surface improvements to the Harvard Square area including Eliot Street, Eliot Plaza, Brattle Street, and Brattle Plaza.
Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $150,000 to provide funds for the purchase and installation of mechanical components to ensure the operational integrity of the elevator at the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility.
Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $15,700,000 to provide funds for various School building infrastructure projects including the design and construction for the King Open/Cambridge Street School and Community Complex, roof replacement at the Kennedy Longfellow School, and a new boiler at the Fletcher Maynard Academy.
Manager's Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $4,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.
Manager's Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $6,000,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account to facilitate necessary initial capital improvements to the Foundry building consistent with City Council Policy Order O-16 adopted on Mar 17, 2014, and to support the reuse of the building according to the vision and objectives identified through a robust community process.
Presumably the following item of Unfinished Business will also be discussed during the 7:00pm hearing on disposition of the Foundry building.
Unfinished Business #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an update on the Foundry Building process, including the City's plans to collaborate with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (the "CRA") to redevelop the Foundry building in a way that meets the vision and objectives expressed by the City Council and the community.
Manager's Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a proposed framework for your consideration concerning the goal of setting Cambridge on the trajectory to becoming a "net zero community", with focus on carbon emissions from building operations.
There's a lot that can be said about this topic, but your homework assignment is to read the report first. It's available as a Word document, but if you prefer PDFs, try these:
Resolution #6. Congratulations to Patrick W. Barrett III on passing the Massachusetts Bar Exam. Councillor Toomey
There's a crowd of us out here in the bleacher seats cheering.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Apr 22, 2015 to continue discussion on the incentive zoning study from the Community Development Department.
The recent Nexus Study recommends an increase in the contribution rate "from the current $4.58 to $10-$12 per square foot of new commercial development, expansion of the uses that would be subject to the ordinance, removal of the special permit trigger which currently limits the applicability of the incentive requirements to projects needing certain special permits, elimination of the 2,500 square foot exemption, continuation of the 30,000 square feet building size threshold, maintenance of a uniform housing rate for all uses and continuation of adjustments to the contribution rate by the Consumer Price Index." [You should read the committee report for more detail on what this all means.] Some activists/candidates would like to raise it to $24 per square foot (or even higher), but it's likely that cooler heads will prevail.
That's all for now folks. - Robert Winters
City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking a Cambridge resident interested in volunteering to serve on the Cambridge Kids’ Council, which is dedicated to developing policy and program recommendations aimed at improving the quality of life for children, youth and families in Cambridge, so that youth are: healthy and living in safe communities; live in stable, self-sufficient, and supportive families; are engaged in enriching activities and civic life; and are prepared with the tools to help them succeed in school.
The Mayor of Cambridge serves as the Chair of the Kids’ Council. Committee members include key stakeholders in local government and in the community, which includes the following:
- City Councilor and School Committee member;
- City department heads (City Manager designee, Assistant City Manager for Human Services, Commissioner of Health and Hospitals, Police Commissioner, Director of the Cambridge Public Library, Superintendent of Schools);
- Representatives from the philanthropic community, a state agency serving children, youth and families, the business community, the university community, the early childhood community, the community-at-large, and youth (ages 14-18).
The Kids’ Council is currently focusing on family engagement and developing recommendations to create and support genuine partnerships between families and the organizations and institutions that serve them. Past initiatives include: creating a citywide Family Engagement Policy adopted by the Cambridge City Council in November 2013; developing recommendations to enhance the capacity of the Community Engagement Team (CET) by hiring additional outreach workers and a full-time program assistant; developing a training program; and establishing a more formal partnership with Cambridge Public Schools. The Council is also working with Code for Boston to develop an easy-to-use, single point portal which can be translated into multiple languages so that families, youth, and those who support them can easily find the activities, services and resources they are looking for in Cambridge.
The Kids’ Council meets approximately 6-7 times per year on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 5:15-7:15 p.m. For more information, please contact Nancy Tauber, Executive Director, at 617-349-6239 or email@example.com.
To apply, please submit a letter of interest and a resume, if possible by Friday, June 5, 2015 to: Cambridge Kids’ Council, 51 Inman St., Cambridge, MA 02139, or email your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees for the Cambridge Public Library. Library trustees are volunteer community representatives, library advocates, and leaders in the establishment of goals and policies for the Cambridge Public Library system. Trustees are a vital link between the library staff and the community and work to ensure the quality of library services, collections, and programs. This is an exciting opportunity to plan the future growth and priorities of the library as well as its long and short term goals and objectives.
Trustees serve a 3 year term and are expected to attend monthly board meetings and committee meetings. Attendance at community meetings and appropriate continuing education workshops may be required. Trustees are expected to articulate the library’s needs to the community and funders, seek funding for current programs and new initiatives, and to generally help promote the library.
Ideal candidates will have an interest in and passion for public libraries and an understanding of the importance of the public library as a center of information, culture, recreation, and life-long learning in the community. Candidates should also have knowledge of the community, including an awareness of diverse social and economic conditions, needs and interests of all groups. Strong verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking skills are required. Trustees work productively as a team.
To apply, a letter of interest and resume should be sent via email, mail or fax by June 1, 2015 to:
Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
c/o Susan Flannery, Director of Libraries
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA, 02138
Email: email@example.com; Fax: 617-349-4028
What's on Tap for the Monday, April 27, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting?
The Big Item is the arrival of the FY2016 Budget. In addition to that, here are a few of my favorite things....
Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the reappointment of the following members of the Community Preservation Act Committee for 5-year terms: Ellen Shachter, Gerard Clark, Albe Simenas, Susan Schlesinger
All of these people reappointed by the City Manager are wonderful, community-oriented people well-suited to the CPA Committee. I only wish that all the great people serving on the City's Boards and Commissions got half the attention that the elected officials receive for all that they do for an annual stipend of $0.00.
Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-139, regarding a report on a feasibility study and subsequent action plan on instituting suffrage for immigrants in Cambridge.
At the risk of infuriating some people, let me reiterate my point of view on this: Citizenship = The Right to Vote. If an immigrant living in Cambridge wants to vote in any elections - federal, state, or local - the proper route is to become a U.S. citizen.
Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-130, regarding a report on whether preference points can legally be allotted to all city employees for affordable housing units.
Though we can all appreciate the desire that City employees should be able to afford housing in Cambridge, that same sentiment applies to everyone else who works here. Seriously, why should a City employee get preferential treatment when there are so many other deserving people seeking affordable housing in and around Cambridge?
Manager's Agenda #7. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 15-39, regarding a report on the Citywide Planning Process (Master Plan) including next steps and timeline. [Word][PDF]
I suppose this is progress. However, the more I think about this continuing quest for a Mystical Master Plan the more it seems as though we're just spending money on outside consultants to replicate the planning the City has already been doing for the last two decades. I'm sure a few good ideas will grow out of the process and I do hope that constructive people will participate, but I strongly suspect that when all is said in done those people who are perpetually dissatisfied will continue to be dissatisfied.
This is the best time of year to become a student of how the City really functions. Here's some comparative information of the adopted budgets by department and function in past years and in the newly submitted FY2016 Budget:
(*) Does not include additional Public Investment Appropriation Orders for FY16 that require authorization to borrow funds.
Resolution #14. Recognition of the dedication of the Officer Sean Collier Memorial and gratitude to Officer Collier for his service and sacrifice. Councillor Toomey
Many of us who work at MIT and who had the pleasure of knowing Sean Collier will be at the dedication this Wed, Apr 29 at noon.
Resolution #17. Recognition to Sara Mae Berman for her accomplishments and for leading the way in women's sports and congratulations on her induction into the Distance Running Hall of Fame. Councillor McGovern
Congratulations to my neighbor and friend Sara Mae Berman. I would also give her an award for her rhubarb pies.
Resolution #32. Congratulations to the 2015 City of Cambridge Outstanding City Employee Awards. Mayor Maher
This year's recipients will be honored at a ceremony on Friday, May 1, 2015, at 9:30am, in the Sullivan Chamber at City Hall. The City Manager will also be presenting a special award in memory and honor of Assistant City Manager Brian Murphy to a person who is committed to making government improve the lives of others. I can think of many City employees who would be deserving of this award.
Order #6. Amendment by adding new Rule 31C regarding City Manager appointments to the Cambridge Housing Authority. Councillor Kelley
The City Council has the responsibility of approving appointments to only two Boards - the Cambridge Housing Authority and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. The intention of this Order is to establish a formal process for approving these appointments via review by standing City Council committees prior to being voted by the full City Council.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff to: determine the existing capacity of the City to address excessive noise complaints; analyze past complaints to determine if there have been any trends in type, location, time or any other aspect of formal noise complaints and response actions in Cambridge; create a noise map focusing on existing noise from industrial, lab and office buildings and the impact of that noise on residential structures; review opportunities to provide noise measurement and enforcement capabilities and responsibilities within the Police Department, Inspectional Services, DPW and the Department of Public Health to provide comprehensive, 24/7 noise response capacity with Cambridge. Councillor Kelley and Councillor McGovern
This is a good initiative that I hope will eventually lead to some clarification in the Zoning Ordinance regarding compatible uses in districts with a mix of housing and potentially noisy other permitted uses, especially laboratories and manufacturing facilities. This is a topic that should probably be rolled into the upcoming Citywide Planning Process, a.k.a. Master Plan. Ideally there would be some acknowledgement of the fact that even if labs and residences can coexist in a mixed-use district, that might not extend to 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The same goes for clubs, taverns, and any other use that extend into the night-time hours. Perhaps we need to create zoning based not just on location but also on time of day.
Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff and report back to the City Council with suggested language for either a Home Rule petition or a change to general state law that requires all individuals involved in a collision, to include dooring, to give everyone else involved written contact information, not just to offer it. Councillor Kelley
Another good idea from the city councillor who has the most experience navigating Cambridge by bicycle. It's always best to exchange information even for a minor collision because it's often the case that you only discover damage or injury hours or even days after the altercation.
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Mar 19, 2015 to provide an update and continue discussion on the incentive zoning study from the Community Development Department.
The current recommendation is to increase the housing contribution from $4.58 to $10 to $12 per square foot and to make regular CPI adjustments in the future. Some activists would prefer that it be multiplied ten-fold, but it's always easy to say that when you're spending other people's money.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 1, 2015 to continue discussions on the Normandy/Twining petition.
There's a good chance that this petition will be passed to a 2nd Reading at this meeting and be placed in the queue for ordination in a few weeks. The Planning Board will also be continuing their hearing on the petition the following day. I'm sure there will be a lot of public comment on this item, though I seriously doubt if there will be any new revelations. People are just digging in at this point and crafting their rhetoric as if this were a military matter. It's not. It's just about building a place where people can live. - Robert Winters
Tues, May 26
4:30-6:30pm School Committee Special Roundtable meeting - Update on the Upper Schools (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, CRLS)
7:00pm Planning Board meeting (2nd Floor Meeting Room, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)
1. Update from the Acting City Manager for the Community Development Department
2. Adoption of Meeting Transcript(s)
7:00pm PB#295, 305 Webster Avenue, (continued) Special Permit for 35 dwelling units and ground-floor retail or office space. The applicant, M & H Realty Trust, c/o Sean Hope, Esq., is requesting a special permit pursuant to Section 5.28.2 Adaptive Reuse to convert an existing industrial building with conforming additions to mixed use with multifamily dwellings. There is also a request for a Project Review Special Permit Section 19.20 as the proposal exceeds the 20,000 square foot threshold in the Business A zoning district.
3. Preliminary discussion among Planning Board members of potential changes to Planning Board rules and guidelines for community engagement. [CDD Memo on Rules and Community Engagement - May 21, 2015]
4. PB#231 – 159 First Street, 65 Bent Street, 29 Charles Street, Major Amendment, Extension Request
Mon, June 1
5:30pm City Council meeting and expected Budget Adoption (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, June 2
1:00pm The City Council's Economic Development and University Relations Committee will meet. (Sullivan Chamber)
4:00pm The City Council's Health and Environment Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss Urban Agriculture initiatives in the City of Cambridge and the creation of a regulatory environment that can foster the safe expansion of Urban Agriculture within City limits. (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, June 3
5:30pm Cambridge Election Commission meeting. (1st Floor Meeting Room, 51 Inman St.)
1. Executive Director’s Report
2. Assistant Director's Report
3. Commissioners' Reports
III. PUBLIC COMMENT
IV. ACTION AGENDA
1. 2015 Annual Census
Sat, June 6
Noon-6:00pm Cambridge River Festival (Central Square Cultural District, Mass. Ave. from Prospect to Sydney St, and Sydney Street from Mass. Ave. to Erie Street)
Join us for this free annual celebration of the arts, family art-making activities, and over 100 specialty food purveyors and craftspeople. Six dynamic festival stages will showcase local music, theater and dance. Community tables, poetry and storytelling tents, interactive areas (including a chalk art tribute to beloved icon Sidewalk Sam), roving performances, and the revival of Peoples Sculpture Racing combine to make the 2015 Cambridge Arts River Festival a vibrant celebration of the arts in Cambridge. The World of Food, Arts Bazaar, and two Brew Gardens offer refreshment and unique local artwork and crafts for purchase.
Mon, June 8
5:30pm Roundtable/Working City Council meeting to discuss the "Master Plan". No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, June 9
4:00pm The City Council's Health and Environment Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed framework for the goal of setting Cambridge on the trajectory to becoming a "net zero community." (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, June 15
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, June 17
5:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a City Council petition to amend Article 6.000 of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge to create a new section 6.24 Carsharing Provisions. This new section will create a definition and general provisions for Carsharing and will allow the limited use of parking spaces for Carsharing as a means to provide mobility options for Cambridge residents, employees and visitors who may not possess a private automobile, thereby promoting City goals by increasing mobility, reducing reliance on automobile ownership and use, and lessening the total demand for parking spaces. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
3:00pm Cambridge Biosafety Committee meeting. (Windsor Community Health Center, 119 Windsor Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room)
May and June 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:
|8th Annual Fresh Pond Day!
Date: Saturday, May 30
Time: 11am to 3pm
Place: Festivities around Water Treatment Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
Join us in celebrating the land, water, wildlife and people that make Fresh Pond Reservation a unique and vital part of our City! The festivities will feature bicycle and wildlife parades (for all ages!), live music, kids' activities, live wildlife demos by MassAudubon, water treatment, restoration project and nature tours; truck climb-aboards; free etiquette clinics for dogs; and more! Dogs are welcome but must be leashed at all times (Cambridge dogs included). For those arriving by car: plan on parking at the Tobin School (197 Vassal Lane). There are plenty of green transit options: the bikeway, bus routes 72, 74, 75 & 78; and Alewife T Station. Get your sun-boogie on: rain cancels! For full schedule, weather updates, and volunteering info, check out: http://ow.ly/LUJL3 on the CWD website or contact Kirsten at 617-349-6489, firstname.lastname@example.org.
|A Tour of the Water Purification Facility
Date: Monday, June 1
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 Kirsten: (617) 349-6489, email@example.com. Please call ahead if coming with a large group.
Future Water Department Tours: Mon, July 6, Aug 3, Sept 14, Oct 5, Nov 2
|Nesting Bird Walk
Date: Sunday, June 6
Time: 7:30 to 9:30am
Meeting Place: Register for parking and meeting information
Many birds choose Fresh Pond Reservation as the place to build their nests and raise their young. There is an abundance of insect food and plenty of safe habitat. We may hear birds singing to protect their territories and see others gathering food for their hungry babies. Walk leader Nancy Guppy will help us look for Baltimore orioles, yellow warblers, warbling vireos, and redwing blackbirds, all of which spend the breeding season at Fresh Pond. Beginning birders are welcome! If you don't have binoculars you may borrow a pair from us. Register with Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Fresh Pond Bioblitz
Date: Saturday, June 6
Time: all day
Meeting Places: Varies; REGISTER for meeting location schedule and/or to join Fresh Pond's iNaturalist page.
Be a citizen scientist for the day: join CWD staff & regional experts for a biological inventory of the plants, animals, and other living things that make their home at Fresh Pond! We will break into groups with specialists to identify birds, wildflowers, fish, insects, fungi, and mammals at different locations throughout the day. *Or do your own biodiversity survey and post your findings to our iNaturalist page! No experience necessary. Ages 12+ please! For a schedule or more information, contact Julie at 617-349-7712 or email@example.com.
Date: Monday, June 15
Time: 6 to 7:30pm
Meeting Place: Volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot
Help stop the spread of invasive Canada thistle in our beloved Lusitania Meadow! We won't be pulling out these prickly buggers (phew), but we will weaken them over time by cutting them at the base of their stems to make room for the lupine, sweet clovers, tansies and yarrows we (and the bees) love. Heavy leather gloves and tools are provided! Long sleeves & pants are recommended, as are a water bottle and bug spray. No experience necessary. For more information, contact Julie Coffey: firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-349-7712 . This program is still in the planning stages. Contact Julie for confirmation if you plan to come.
|Summer Solstice Bird Walk
Date: Sunday, June 21
Time: 6 to 8pm
Meeting Place: Register for parking and meeting information
If you can't bear to get up at dawn to look at birds, this walk, led by Nancy Guppy, is for you. Just as people take advantage of the longest days of the year to continue their outdoor activities, so do birds. They spend the extra hours of daylight foraging for food for their hungry babies. Beginning birders are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. Register with Elizabeth at email@example.com.
|Planting Night at Larch Corner
Date: Monday, June 29
Time: 6 to 7:30pm
Meeting Place: Volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot
Last season, dogged volunteers removed bundles, buckets and heaps of buckthorn and bittersweet from this woodland edge by Lusitania Meadow - freeing young larches from a jungle of weeds. Now it needs new plants to take the place of weeds! Come plant with us; no experience is necessary. All equipment will be provided. Long sleeves & pants, bug spray and a water bottle are recommended. For more information, contact Julie Coffey: firstname.lastname@example.org, (617) 349-7712.
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 email@example.com, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at www.friendsoffreshpond.org to download a form.
Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants. Upcoming Programs
• The Fresh Pond Reservation Stewardship Program
• Grow Native Massachusetts is offering a series of free nature-related "Evenings with Experts" lectures at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway. Details are at www.grownativemass.org and grownativemass.org/programs/eveningswithexperts in particular. First Wednesdays of the Month, 7:00-8:30pm.
• Sign up for the City of Cambridge's informative "Recycling and Composting Newsletter" by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sat, May 30. Blue Hills/Cunningham Park/Quincy Quarries, Quincy/Milton. Fast-paced 9-mi. hike connecting three scenic areas, 9:30am-2:15pm. Bring lunch, water. Meet at Shea Ice Rink, Willard St., Quincy. From SE Expwy exit 8 in Quincy, go S 0.6 mi. on Willard St. Or from Rte. 93/128 exit 6 in Braintree, go N 0.7 mi. Bus 238 from Quincy Ctr. T sta. Storm cancels. L Marc Hurwitz.||Sat, May 30. Blue Hills Bird Walk, Milton. Bird Walk 3 miles through Fowl Meadow, 8-11:30 am. Learn to bird by listening for and identifying late migrant and nesting species in the best birding area in the Blue Hills Reservation. Bring your binoculars and a bird book if you have one. From Route 93/128 Exit 2B, take Route 138 north 1.7 miles, go left on Neponset Valley Parkway for 0.5 miles to the small lot at Brush Hill Rd. Joint with Friends of the Blue Hills. L Steve Olanoff.|
|Sun, May 31. Lincoln Conservation Land hike via Flint (Sandy) Pond and old Wheeler farm area, Lincoln. 10 mi. [70+ temp. may lessen distance.] Meet at 10:00am in Lincoln RR commuter pkg. lot. From Rte. 95/128 take exit 28 in Waltham, follow Trapelo Rd. W 2.5 mi.., L on Lincoln Rd. 1.4 mi., R just before tracks into RR station lot. L Jim Loughlin.||Sun, May 31. Leominster State Forest, Leominster, MA. 5 mi. scenic hike Redemption Rock to Crow Hill cliffs/back. Carpool-Lincoln. 9:30am-4pm (approx). Bring lunch/water/sturdy footwear. From Rte. 95/128 exit 28, take Trapelo Rd. W (2.5 mi.) to end. L onto Lincoln Rd. (1.3 mi.) to RR sta. pkg. on R before tracks. Heavy rain cancels. L Jerry Yos.|
|Sun, May 31. Gifts of the Glaciers, Part 1 - Groton. This hike is part of Groton's day-long Connecting Communities event. See the flyer for details. We will explore glacial features in the Town Forest, then hike back to Town Hall in time for the keynote presentation. Moderate pace for a reasonably fit person. We will meet and spot cars at the end of Station Ave (42.6067N 71.5730W), then carpool to the trail head. L Olin Lathrop; CL James Luenig. Link: http://grotontrails.org/events/gifts-of-the-glaciers-may-31-2015.pdf||Sun, May 31. Gifts of the Glaciers, Part 2 - Groton. This hike is part of Groton's day-long Connecting Communities event. See the flyer for details. We will hike thru Groton's "Swarm of Drumlins" featured in the keynote presentation, take in the view from the tops of Gibbet and Chestnut Hills, both drumlins, and see beaver ponds and pretty woods. Meet at Williams Barn (42.6265N 71.5610W). A bus will take us to the trail head and the hike will return us to Williams Barn. L Olin Lathrop; CL James Luenig. Link: http://grotontrails.org/events/gifts-of-the-glaciers-may-31-2015.pdf|
|Sun, May 31. Middlesex Fells, Winchester. Sheepfold Pkg. lot. Mod to stren. 7 mi. hike over many hills & rough terrain. 9:00am-2:00pm. Bring lunch, H2O, snacks. Rte. 93 S to exit 35. At stop sign, go L under highway. At next stop sign go R. At first set of lights turn R onto Rte. 28. Turn R into Sheepfold entrance. Rte. 93 N to exit 33 (Route 28). Sheepfold entrance is 2 miles up on the L. Cancel if rain. No dogs; non-AMC members $1. L Nelson Caraballo (617-548-8579; Nelsonnec1@aol.com).||Sat, June 6. Blue Hills Skyline Trail, Quincy. 6.5-mile hike, rocky terrain with a number of steep hills with views. Moderate-rated hike, not for beginners. 10:00am-3:00pm, mainly on Skyline Trail, lunch on Nahanton Hill with great view. Meet at Shea Ice Rink, 651 Willard St., Quincy. Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey.|
|Sun, June 7. Horn Pond Conservation Land, Woburn, MA. Slow paced nature walk looking for late spring wildflowers. Focus on plant ID and fun natural history. 12:30-3:30pm. 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. Boot Boutwell is a freelance itinerant naturalist who teaches and leads nature walks for Mass Audubon - Habitat, The New England Wild Flower Society, the Winchester Public Schools, the Friends of the Middlesex Fells, the Appalachian Mountain Club and other organizations. L Boot Boutwell.||Sun, June 7. Burrage Pond, Hanson. 5-mile hike, 10:00am-12:15pm on abandoned cranberry bog, sandy trails featuring open water and marshland. From Rte. 27 in Hanson, Pleasant Street for 0.2 mi., take sharp right to Hawks Ave. across the tracks, left on dirt road at fence, past building to trailhead. GeoCode N 42 01 49.1 W 70 51 32.3. Bring water and snack. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey.|
|Sun, June 7. Boxford State Forest. Meet at 1:00pm. Easy terrain, moderate pace, about 2 hours. Kids and dogs welcome. Take route 114 in North Andover to Sharpners Pond Rd. (almost at Middleton line), turn east and go to parking area at other end. Joint listing w/Family Outings. L Stephen Davis.||Sat, June 13. Wompatuck State Park, Hingham. 8.5 mile. hike w/lunch at scenic pond, 9:30am-2:00pm. Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Rte. 3 Exit 14 to Rte. 228N toward Hingham, 4 mi. to Wompatuck sign, then R on Free St. 1.3 mi. to visitor center pkg. lot. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey.|
|Sun, June 14. Surrenden Farms and beyond, Groton. 1:00pm. We will start in the open field habit of this showcase conservation area, then experience upland woods, wetlands, and walk along the bank of the scenic Nashua River. About 2 hours. Meet at the trailhead by the kiosk on Shirley Rd, 42.5866N 71.5947W. L Olin Lathrop (email@example.com; 978-742-9014), CL Jim Luenig.||Thurs, June 18. West Cambridge, MA. Moderate paced 5-mi. city walk will include Longfellow Park, Brattle Street, many historic stops and return along the Charles River. 6-9pm. Meet in front of Harvard Square T-Stop at top of stairs. Heavy rain/storm cancels. L George Hovorka.|
Apr 2 - The City Council's Ordinance Committee met on Wed, April 1 for a hearing on the Normandy/Twining Zoning Petition to rezone an area in the Lafayette Square/Mass. & Main end of Central Square. There was plenty of public comment on both sides of the issue, but perhaps the most bizarre testimony was given by Larry Lessig, a prominent activist/academic, who rattled on about money and politics with barely any (informed) reference to the matter before the committee. Perhaps Professor Lessig should have researched the topic before the committee (a rezoning petition) before lecturing the councillors about how corrupt he has decided they are. Following his rant, Lessig headed back home to Brookline.
It's pretty clear that Lessig's appearance at the Ordinance Committee came at the request of Councillor Mazen (apparently not, see below). Councillors Carlone and Mazen (and at least one other new candidate) have apparently decided that one of the central narratives of their joint City Council campaign will be to brand most of the other incumbent councillors as corrupt - even though there is absolutely nothing to support that assertion. This year's municipal election campaign promises to bring more of the same.
The Ordinance Committee later voted 6-3 to forward the Normandy/Twining petition to the full City Council with a positive recommendation. Only Councillors Mazen, Carlone, and Kelley voted to keep the matter in committee. It's doubtful whether the self-righteous Prof. Lessig will care one way or the other. - RW
Apr 3 - I have been emphatically informed by a Larry Lessig disciple that it was not Councillor Mazen who invited The Great Professor to City Hall to lecture the city councillors on their bad behavior. [It was Mazen's announcement of the Coming of Lessig that tipped me off, hence the presumption that it was Mazen's invitation.] Very well, but since it's quite obvious that his visit was not based on his longstanding interest in all things relating to Central Square (though he does apparently know where it is), he surely must have been invited. But by whom? Hmmmmm..... Let's speculate!
Well, Lessig's write-up of his Great Visitation indicates that his "research" came from Doug Brown, the Treasurer of the Devereux campaign for City Council. Could they be the ones who brought in The Professor to educate our lowly councillors on their evil-doing? There was also an announcement from Dennis "Pearl Harbor" Carlone announcing the arrival of The Prophet.
That raises an even more interesting possibility (all speculation, of course!). Could the invitation have come from Carlone's trusty aide, Mike "No Money" Connolly, a Lessig adherent who continues his involvement with the Communications Committee of the Cambridge Residents Alliance (CResA), the group that is not only orchestrating the opposition to the Normandy/Twining petition but also actively organizing a slate of candidates for the November municipal election? City Council aides are paid by the taxpayers. Does the job description include active involvement in a political campaign and inviting people to committee hearings to berate other city councillors?
This is, of course, all speculation! Everyone likes a good whodunit.
There's also the rather curious timing of the Grand Alternative Vision for the Normandy/Twining properties introduced during the Ordinance Committee meeting by Councillor Carlone. Apparently this Grand Alternative Vision was known to activists with the Cambridge Residents Alliance prior to the meeting, but I'm not aware of any public availability of The Great Work prior to its appearance late in the Ordinance Committee meeting. This is interesting in light of Carlone's support of a recent Order that reads:
Order #8 (introduced Jan 29, referred to City Manager on Feb 20 for feasibility). That the City Manager is requested to ask all City Departments to have documents and presentations made available to the public and the City Council at least three business days in advance of the scheduled meeting to allow ample time for review. Councillor McGovern and Councillor Carlone
Apparently, Councillor Carlone now realizes that advanced notice is just not feasible, especially when there's the urgent need for a good delay tactic. I have no opinion of the merits of Carlone's Grand Alternative Vision, but I suppose if my drawing skills were better I could have hustled up some sketches as well. Together with the eternal delay in considering the recommendations of the C2 Committee issued many moons ago, perhaps my sketches would have included images of cans being kicked down the road along Mass. Ave. It is perhaps necessary to point out that the Normandy/Twining petition was introduced precisely because the City Council has done little more than kick the C2 can down the road for so long without any tangible action. At least that conversation might now actually begin.
I have to admit to being greatly entertained by statements by prominent CResA members about the wonderful possibilities of building housing on municipal parking lots in Central Square. These excited voices include those who signed the Area 4 Neighborhood Preservation Petition just a few years ago, a zoning petition that would have created a new Municipal Parking District MP in Central Square to include all of the parking lots along Bishop Allen Drive. The proposal included the following clauses in Section E:
8.1 - District MP shall not allow the construction of any permanent structures of any type whatsoever, except those necessary to collect parking fees, and/or provide charging facilities for electric vehicles. The maximum height of any permanent structure, other than for public lighting, must not exceed 15 feet, inclusive of signage.
8.2 - No residences, businesses, or other entities shall be permitted to construct structures in MP districts, except as follows: Public performances, festivals, community events, farmer's markets, and other temporary uses in accordance with procedures previously established by the Cambridge Traffic and Parking Department.
Signers of that "Permanent Parking Petition" included, among others, #1 (Susan Yanow), #4 (Charles Teague), #17 (Nancy M. Ryan), #18 (Paul Stone), #29 (Patricia Lee Farris), #30 (Jonathan King), #31 (Richard Goldberg), and #35 (Richard Krushnic). My favorite quote from the April 1 Ordinance Committee meeting after referral of the Normandy/Twinning petition with a positive recommendation: "It sucks. I can't believe they accepted permanently zoned parking on the residential side of Bishop Allen as part of the package," said Nancy Ryan.
In the end, the City Council voted 6-3 at the Ordinance Committee to move the Normandy/Twining petition to the full City Council without any additional consideration of Carlone's Grand Alternative Vision. It will undoubtedly make an appearance at the Planning Board hearing (Apr 28) on this matter and when the City Council discusses the Ordinance Committee report in a few weeks. Maybe the good people of the Planning Board will even incorporate some of its elements into its recommendations before issuing their report to the City Council. At least they'll have the advantage of seeing The Great Vision before their meeting. - RW
Regarding Campaign & Political Finance
Apr 4 - On the specific issue of "Money in Politics", I should perhaps more completely express my point of view on the subject. I believe in full disclosure of how much money is received by political candidates and who contributed that money. I also believe in the need for a clear account of campaign expenditures. The Commonwealth's Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) does a pretty good job of making that information easily available to the public. It's quite ironic that one of the loudest of the incumbent city councillors on the issue of "Money in Politics" actually does the lousiest job of providing clear campaign finance information to the OCPF. As the saying goes, "Do as I say, not as I do."
I don't really care what the individual campaign contribution limit is nor do I especially care if property owners/developers make sizable contributions to certain candidates - as long as it's all disclosed. People are free to draw any conclusions they want from the campaign finance information - even wrong-headed conclusions. Candidates and their campaigns are also free to draw attention to the "purity" of their campaign contributions if they feel that's a good tactic for winning an election, but let's understand this to be as much a tactic as a principled stand. Any such "clean" candidate then also has to fully understand the phrase "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." If a candidate chooses to question the integrity of other candidates, then that candidate should not be surprised when their own integrity is possibly questioned.
Personally, I would prefer that all candidates just stick to "the issues" and the presentation of their own viewpoints on where Cambridge should be heading and how, as an elected official, they might be able to contribute to that future. It's ironic when the supposedly "clean" candidates are the ones heaving the greatest amount of mud.
It's worth mentioning that historically those Cambridge municipal candidates who came from the tonier parts of town (Avon Hill, Shady Hill, Coolidge Hill, Brattle Street, the Larches) have always been able to generate sizable campaign chests with relatively minimal effort. Other candidates often have to work harder to generate campaign funds and it's pretty obvious that receiving a few big checks will free up time for other campaign activities. Few, if any, candidates enjoy having to be constantly begging for contributions.
In the end, I still have to come back to the fact that candidates like Craig Kelley and Fred Fantini manage to carry out successful campaigns on a shoestring simply by maintaining good contact with their constituents (most likely voters). Other candidates are learning to do this better (though I have to say that it's a bit fishy when the frequency of the candidate newsletters increases dramatically only during municipal election years). I would also prefer that City Council "aides" play no role whatsoever in what is so obviously their councillor's political campaign. If they choose to do that, their councillor really should list "City of Cambridge" among their in-kind contributors. It's all about full disclosure.
There's also the matter of the role of supposedly "non-profit" organizations (Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods, Cambridge Residents Alliance, and others) during municipal election campaigns and in their their year-round activities relating to municipal elections. At what point does carrying out a political agenda, including the support of candidate slates, run afoul of the laws regarding non-profit organizations? I'm not aware that these organizations even file their receipts and expenditures with the OCPF, though they really should. At least the old Cambridge Civic Association in its heyday never claimed non-profit status. It was simply an "association" and they even took the step to separate out the financial aspects of their biennial election activities from the finances of the association. Perhaps it's time to ask for full disclosure for all parties actively involved in the municipal elections. - RW
Back to Lafayette Square...
Apr 5 - The diversionary tactics surrounding the Normandy/Twining proposal for the Lafayette Square end of Central Square have included, among other things:
In truth, this is just a zoning petition that at its core attempts to realize some of the main themes espoused in the C2 recommendations - primarily residential development rather than office/lab development and a focus on enhanced ground floor retail and publicly accessible space for gathering, etc. Let's not forget that this whole latest wave of planning for Central Square was ignited by the Mayor's Red Ribbon Commission on the Delights and Concerns of Central Square that began meeting in 2010. That process culminated in a report that was finalized in December 2011. Though not so clearly spelled out in the formal report of the Red Ribbon Commission, one of the most prominent themes that emerged was the idea that Central Square could and should support a significant amount of new housing - especially for middle-income people.
This was followed by the so-called "C2 Committee" whose official name (Central Square Advisory Committee) unfortunately duplicated that of the existing committee established decades earlier with the designation of the Central Square Overlay District. That 21-person committee met frequently with consultant Goody/Clancy and the Community Development Department to develop a wide range of ideas and recommendations that were issued in a report in December 2012 and finalized the following year [Final Report].
One of the most central recommendations from the C2 Committee was that new housing should be seen as a desirable goal for Central Square and that permitting additional height to incentivize the creation of that housing was a good trade-off. Another core recommendation was that ground floor retail should be seen as a community benefit and that ideas like exclusion of the floor area of such retail space from density calculations or providing subsidies to retail tenants might be worthwhile incentives.
The C2 Report has now been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years due to City Council inaction. The Quest properties were bought by Normandy/Twining around the time the original C2 recommendations were issued and the new owners have clearly taken seriously the priorities spelled out in those recommendations. In the absence of a zoning plan from the City Council (or even a discussion), eventually Normandy/Twining introduced their own petition. This should not have come as a surprise to anyone.
Is the Normandy/Twining proposal the perfect expression of what would be best for Central Square? Perfection is a lot to ask. It is an interesting plan that takes into account a lot of constraints and desirable benefits. The nature of the Normandy/Twining properties puts a lot of constraints on what can be built - both physically and economically. They necessarily have to build around properties they don't own, and they attempt to make best use of a patchwork of parking facilities that were assembled over decades by the previous owners. They are choosing to build housing and ground-floor retail rather than labs and offices. They are responding to widely held desires for better interconnections with the surrounding neighborhood. They're also asking for building heights that may at first seem unprecedented until you look at the nearby Manning Apartments on Green Street that are of comparable height. They have promised a significant percentage (20%) of dwelling units to be set aside for people with limited incomes.
Reasonable people can disagree about the costs and benefits of the proposal, but it was clear from the start that this was a proposal that had to be seriously considered, and the fact that more people have spoken in favor of it at public meetings than those who are opposed is something that might not have been expected. (Personally, I don't believe the raw numbers of people who speak on any issue to be especially revealing.) The proposal is potentially a game-changer in terms of new transit-oriented residential development in Central Square with less required parking and with the potential to economically support existing Central Square businesses. - RW
Mass+Main Update (Apr 29)
For those who have been following the progress of the Normandy/Twining zoning petition (affecting an area at the Lafayette Square end of the Central Square Overlay District) that's been wending its way through the City Council's Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board, here's a brief update on where things stand:
For additional commentary on the process, see above. - RW
Normandy/Twining zoning petition ordained (May 18)
At Monday's City Council meeting (May 18, 2015), the Normandy/Twining zoning petition as amended was ordained on a 7-2 vote with Councillors Carlone and Mazen voting NO. A memorandum of understanding detailing a variety of committments was attached to the petition. - RW
We're taking some time off from Cambridge InsideOut. We hope to be back on the air in May or June 2015.
Recent Broadcasts of Cambridge InsideOut [complete list of shows]
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.
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
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
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
The 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)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 3. To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]
Thoughts for these times:
''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz
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 (rwinters.com)
Jorkin: “Come, come, Mr. Fezziwig, we’re good friends besides good men of business. We’re men of vision and progress. Why don’t you sell out while the going’s good? You’ll never get a better offer. It’s the age of the machine, and the factory, and the vested interests. We small traders are ancient history, Mr. Fezziwig.”
Fezziwig: “It’s not just for money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business, Mr. Jorkin…. It’s to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved. No, I can’t see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin. I’ll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must.”
Scrooge: “I think I know what Mr. Fezziwig means, sir.”
Jorkin: “Oh, you hate progress and money, too, do you?”
Scrooge: “I don't hate them, sir, but perhaps the machines aren’t such a good thing for mankind, after all.”
Memorable scene in "A Christmas Carol"