Cambridge Launching Fourth Participatory Budgeting Cycle June 1
Residents Invited to Submit Ideas for Projects to Improve Cambridge
May 26, 2017 – The City of Cambridge is launching its fourth annual Participatory Budgeting cycle in which community members will decide how to spend $800,000 – an additional $100,000 over FY17 – on one-time capital projects to improve Cambridge.
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a different way to manage public money and to engage people in local government. In Cambridge’s PB process, community members submit project ideas during the summer; volunteer Budget Delegates research and develop ideas into final project proposals in the fall, and then residents age 12 and older vote in December to choose the projects that will be funded.
Winning projects from past cycles include bike repair stations, 100 new street trees, solar panels for the Main Library roof, a food rescue freezer van, the Central Square public toilet, bilingual books for kids, and many others.
The City will be collecting ideas from June 1 - July 31, on projects to improve the community. Residents can submit their ideas online at pb.cambridgema.gov or by contacting the Budget Office at email@example.com, 617-349-4270, or in person to the Budget Office in Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.
Interested in becoming more involved with PB? The City is actively recruiting volunteer Budget Delegates to research submitted ideas this fall and help develop them into final proposals for the December 2017 PB ballot. Volunteering as a Budget Delegate is a great opportunity to become a community leader, develop teambuilding skills, get to know your neighbors, build your resume, and help make your city a better place. Serving as a Budget Delegate requires a significant time commitment from mid-August through October, with one final meeting in mid-November.
For more information about the PB process or the Budget Delegate role, visit pb.cambridgema.gov or contact Michelle Monsegur and Justin Casanova-Davis in the City’s Budget Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-349-4270.
Summer school students submit project ideas for the City of Cambridge’s Participatory Budgeting Process
Community Preservation Act Committee Public Meeting June 7
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee will hold a working committee meeting Wednesday, June 7, at 5:30pm, at Cambridge City Hall, Ackermann Room, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The meeting agenda will include the following: Regular Meeting of the CPA Committee to discuss CPA financials, anticipated 2018 CPA funding resources, and refinement of the proposed schedule for the remainder of the 2018 CPA process. For more information, contact Karen Preval at (617) 349-4221 or email@example.com.
Affordable Rental and Homeownership Information Sessions June 6
The Housing Division of the City’s Community Development Department will hold Rental and Homeownership information sessions on Tuesday, June 6 at the North Cambridge Senior Center, 2050 Mass. Ave. Two sessions will be held; the first at 6:00pm and the second at 7:00pm.
Housing personnel from the Community Development Department will be available to discuss the City’s affordable rental and homeownership programs. The sessions are open to all. No advance registration is necessary. Currently, the Housing Division is accepting applications for the Homeownership Pool and the Rental Applicant Pool. Preference is given to Cambridge residents and families with children. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-349-4622.
HomeBridge Information Session June 12
The Community Development Department’s Housing Division is excited to announce HomeBridge, a program that provides financial assistance to first-time homebuyers interested in purchasing a home in Cambridge. For qualified applicants, HomeBridge offers financial assistance up to:
- 50% of the purchase price for 3BR units
- 45% of the purchase price for 2BR units
- 40% of the purchase price for 1BR units
Qualified applicants must currently live in Cambridge or have one adult family member who works full time in Cambridge. They must earn no more than 120% of Area Median Income (AMI), adjusted for household size, and they must be able to obtain a conventional, fixed-rate mortgage.
For more information about HomeBridge, visit www.cambridgema.gov/HomeBridge. An information session will be held on June 12th at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room at 6:00pm.
2017 Cambridge Arts River Festival
Saturday, June 3, 11am to 6pm
Cambridge Arts invites you to join us at the East Cambridge waterfront for our annual River Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 3. Occurring in Lechmere Canal Park and DCR’s Charles River Reservation Park along Cambridge Parkway, this exuberant celebration of the arts features music, dance and theater performed by local artists; hands-on, interactive art activities; and more than 150 artists and food vendors with work for sale. The Cambridge Arts River Festival is FREE and open to all. Download a pdf of our full festival guide. Sign up for updates at our Facebook event page for the festival.
When: Saturday, June 3, 11am-6pm, Rain or Shine
Where: East Cambridge waterfront, in Lechmere Canal Park, adjacent to the CambridgeSide Mall and DCR’s Charles River Reservation Park along Cambridge Parkway
Who: Produced by the Cambridge Arts Council, an awardwinning city arts agency founded in 1974, featuring numerous collaborating arts partners from across Cambridge
The festival kicks off at 11am with the annual People’s Sculpture Racing, a madcap competition in which artists wheel, drag and muscle curious contraptions down a 3/4-mile course beginning at the north end of Cambridge Parkway at the corner of Edwin Land Boulevard. Following the race, interact with the sculptures at the Sculpture Garden at the race start line. The race is an amusing embodiment of the science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) approach that has led nearby Kendall Square to be dubbed the “world’s most innovative square mile.”
Starting at noon, seven festival stages – including one floating iin the Lechmere Canal – will showcase music, theater and dance by llocal artists. New this year is the Cambridge Youth Performers Showcase featuring music and dance hosted and performed by local teens. The World of Food and Arts Bazaar offer delicious refreshment and unique artwork and crafts for purchase. In one day, visitors can get a deep sample of the creativity that happens in Cambridge year-round.
Cambridge Arts River Festival Stages, Interactive Areas & Roving Performances
Interactive areas and roving performances provide handson, interactive art activities for children and playful fun for all ages. Make masks with Bobby Brown and others from the North Cambridge Artist Association. Create and test your own unidentified-flying-objects at the Museum of Science. Craft paper kites and launch stomp rockets with Science On The Street. Test new bike technologies and ride in the bike rodeo with Bicycle Bonanza. March around as your favorite local critter with the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project. Learn beatbox sounds and vocal improvisation at the Beatbox Workshop. Keep an eye out for Cate Great’s roving circus antics and Felice’s magic. Join Shaina Semiatin as she hosts the Cambridge Arts Poetry Tent and readings by young poets, LGBTQ writers, and a range of voices from the area. For a full list of activities and events visit cambridgeartscouncil.org/riverfestival.
Each May the Cambridge Department of Public Works holds a BarBQ for everyone who works at DPW and guests. It's a fabulous affair with great food and the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with people from all walks of life whose common bond is their dedicated work for the people of Cambridge. Performance Recognition Awards are given at the event, including the prestigious Community Partner Award and the Commissioners' Awards - named for all who have served as Commissioner of Public Works.
City of Cambridge Department of Public Works
Performance Recognition Awards Program
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Welcome – Owen O’Riordan, DPW Commissioner
National Anthem – Paul Lyle, Superintendent of Public Buildings
Greetings from the City
Mayor E. Denise Simmons
Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager
Dedicated Service Award – Introduction by Richard C. Rossi
Edward Chaisson - 30 years of service
Donald R. Copeland - 30 years of service
Edward R. Corey - 30 years of service
Michelle Maher - 30 years of service
Maryann Wojakowski - 30 years of service
Community Partner Award – Introduced by Rebecca Fuentes, Assistant Commissioner, Administration
Rob Gogan - Recycling Advisory Committee Member
|2017 Commissioner’s Award For Outstanding Performance – Introduced by Owen O’Riordan, DPW Commissioner|
|Meryl H. Brott||Diarra J. Jones||Richard M. McGregor||Alberto Pedro, Jr.|
|Certificates of Recognition to those nominated for Commissioners' Award
– Introduced by Lisa Peterson, Deputy City Manager and John Nardone, Deputy Commissioner
|Michael Abcunas||Marques Almeida||Steven Arruda||Edward Baldasaro||Debbie Cheng|
|Cheryl Cooper||Michael Cooper||Nelson Costa||Jane Demoulas||Edward Dodge|
|Kara Falise||John Fitzgerald||Ehren Flaherty||Catherine Fosher||Lawrence Frisoli|
|William Hannafin||Charles Harkins||Eric Josephson||Andreas Kostakis||David Lefcourt|
|Thomas Manley||Roy McGlashing||Sherry McGregor||Brian McLane||Jahi Murrell|
|Jeya Niranjan||Oscar Pena||Desi Powell||Wayne Reid||Daniel Riviello|
|Michael Robbins||Michael Rodgers||Leonard Russell||Marc Selby||Herbert Stern|
|Wayne Stevens||Robert Stone||Ronnie Sun||Lissbeth Torres||Paul Tully|
|Richard Vendetti||Craig Venezia||David Webster||Tracy White||Henry Williams|
FUN FACTS ABOUT DPW
- PARKS & URBAN FORESTRY MAINTAINS OVER 19,000 TREES
- PUBLIC WORKS PAYS UTILITY & FUEL EXPENSES FOR OVER 100 CITY BUILDINGS, PARKS, BALL FIELDS & PUMP STATIONS
- PUBLIC WORKS STAFF PROVIDES CARPENTRY, PAINTING, PLUMBING AND OTHER REPAIR SERVICES TO 35 CITY BUILDINGS
- PUBLIC WORKS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PLOWING & MAINTAINING 125 MILES OF ROADWAY
- PUBLIC WORKS MAINTAINS OVER 4500 CATCH BASINS
- PUBLIC WORKS MAINTAINS AND REPAIRS OVER 300 CITY OWNED VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT
- PUBLIC WORKS MAINTAINS 14 COMMUNITY GARDENS SERVING 535 RESIDENTS
THANK YOU TO ALL THE DPW EMPLOYEES WHOSE DEDICATED SERVICE MAKE THIS POSSIBLE!
Maine Voted for a Better Way to Vote. The Courts Just Shot It Down (May 23, 2017 by Henry Grabar, Slate)
Ranked Choice Voting was approved by Maine voters last year, but the Maine Supreme Court has decided that it violated a very specific requirement in the Maine state constitution. The Massachusetts state constitution does not have that language. - RW
Budget Passage - Notable May 22, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Items
Order #1. City Council endorsement of the letter of Community Representative and former Mayor Henrietta Davis to Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack regarding the Allston I-90 project, prepared in consultation with the community and City of Cambridge officials. Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern
You should really understand the whole proposed project and not get too caught up in the details of whether or not the River Street exit ramp from Storrow Drive should be preserved as is. [Jan 19 Cambridge presentation] It's a VERY interesting project and there's no question that the current state of the affected area is ripe for significant change in every way.
The FY2018 Budget
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for public hearings held on May 2, 2017, May 10, 2017 and May 9, 2017 relative to the General Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2018 and recommending adoption of the General Fund Budget in the amount of $568,246,680.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 10, 2017 relative to the Water Fund Budget for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2018 and recommending adoption of the Water fund Budget in the amount of $13,973,850.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Chair of the Finance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 10, 2017 relative to the Public Investment Fund for the City of Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2018 and recommending adoption of the Public Investment Budget in the amount of $19,912,815.
Councillors - Please limit your "thank you" remarks to under one minute per councillor. Your unanimous vote on the Budget will send that message clearly enough.
Peace, Love and Understanding
It's not what you think. Then again, maybe it is.
Order #2. City Council in support of Somerville officials in their efforts to achieve 20% affordable housing in all development projects. Councillor Carlone
This is pretty clearly about whether or not a waiver should be granted in the Assembly Row project. The situation there was that the developer (Federal Realty) was eligible for the waiver because it had entered into a master planned agreement with the City of Somerville prior to the raising of the affordable housing requirement for a building of that size from 12.5 percent to 20 percent. On Thursday, May 18 the waiver was granted, so this Order is essentially moot (unless there are additional projects permitted prior to the increase in the inclusionary requirement).
There is, however, one very questionable aspect to this City Council Order. It is not addressed to the Somerville Board of Alderman but rather calls on the Cambridge City Council "to stand in support of Somerville officials, like Alderman Matthew McLaughlin, in their efforts to achieve 20% affordable housing in all development projects." This reads an awful lot like a candidate endorsement. The Order also calls specifically for sending "a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution to Somerville Alderman Matthew McLaughlin on behalf of the entire City Council." This Order should really be amended to address the issue rather than the incumbent Somerville Alderman seeking reelection this November. - Robert Winters
ROBERT PHILIP MONCREIFF (Mar 26, 1930 - May 6, 2017)
MONCREIFF, Robert Philip – When Robert Moncreiff was 22 he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and left for his first trip abroad. His Oxford don encouraged him to travel and it was on one of his trips to Europe that he met Elisabeth Hohenauer, ("Liz") at the American Field Service library in Innsbruck. Rhodes scholars were not permitted to marry. The week Bob finished his studies, the two were married at Balliol College, Oxford and for the next 63 years, they were inseparable. They built a lovely life together in Cambridge.
Bob died on May 6th. He leaves behind his beloved wife and their three children: Anne Arrarte and her husband Carlos, Philip Moncreiff, and Jane Moncreiff and her husband Josh Passell. His seven grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren will also miss him dearly.
Robert Moncreiff was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1930, the son of Maxine (Emmert) and William Philip Moncreiff. When his father was called to serve at the Pentagon during World War II, the family moved to Washington DC. Bob graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and attended Yale where he was a member of the Aurelian Society, the Elizabethan Club, Scroll and Key and junior Phi Beta Kappa. After Oxford, Bob attended Harvard Law School and joined Palmer & Dodge in Boston where he worked until his retirement in 1995. He wrote a history for the centennial of the firm shortly after he retired.
During the late 1960s, Bob became involved in Cambridge politics. He served on the Cambridge City Council for two terms and Chaired The Cambridge Bicentennial Corporation in 1976. In an article written for the Harvard Crimson in 1973, he said (despite the cynicism of the Watergate era) "I think politics is a potentially noble thing to do, and I don't agree that it's dangerous for decent people. I do think it's worth getting involved."
He stayed involved with organizations he cared about: the Boston Conservatory, the Metropolitan Opera, the Youville Hospital, Yale and Oxford. He was pleased when Oxford asked him to represent the University when Jehuda Reinharz became president of Brandeis and happily he donned the appropriate gown.
Liz used to ask Bob how long he would be on a quest for self-improvement. The answer was "forever." Upon his retirement, he went back to Harvard for a masters degree in English literature, culminating in a thesis on Spenser. He wrote a study of the repeal of rent control in Cambridge which was published by the New England Journal of Public Policy at UMass, followed by a book on A. Bartlett Giamatti, of whom he was a long-time admirer, published by Yale University Press.
In the last several years, he had started notes on the history of Plan E (proportional representation) in Cambridge. He was an opera fanatic, a lover of Shakespeare, Chaucer and Dante, and an enthusiast of 20th and 21st century political history. And of course, he cheered the Red Sox.
Toward the end of his life, he would often say how lucky a man he had been. When asked the secret of his long love affair with his wife, he replied simply "just look at her."
Family and friends are invited to gather and share memories on Monday, May 15th between 12:30pm and 2:30pm at the house of his daughter Jane, 19 Shattuck Road, Watertown. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in memory of Bob to the Boston Athanaeum. To leave a message of condolence, please visit www.keefefuneralhome.com.
Published in The Boston Globe on May 11, 2017
Recycling Advisory Committee Appointments
The City Manager appointed new members to the Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) for a 3-year term. The RAC meets monthly to support, advise and volunteer for DPW. Since 1991, the RAC has helped make Cambridge a regional leader in waste reduction and diversion. The RAC's impressive wealth of knowledge and experience will help Cambridge reach its goal of reducing trash 30% by 2020.
Spring Cleaning/Move-Out Reminder
Plastic film (i.e plastic bags, bubble wrap, trash bags, etc) cause costly shutdowns at our recycling facility. Plastic film should never be placed in curbside recycling.
Did you know:
Bottom Line: Don't discard your plastic film into curbside recycling. This includes using plastic bags for your recyclables; throw all recyclables loose into your curbside bin/cart. You may bring plastic film to the DPW Recycling Center for special recycling.
See Your Recycling Get Sorted!
Take a tour of the Casella recycling facility in Charlestown on Thursday, June 15, 8:30am-11:30am. Requisites for attending:
We meet at DPW and carpool to Charlestown. Register to attend.
Can't make it? Take the Virtual Tour to see how your recycling gets sorted.
Rain Barrel Discount Ends May 27
DPW wants you to capture rainwater and store it in a rain barrel for later use on your lawn or garden. By capturing rainwater you are reducing stormwater runoff, conserving water and recharging the groundwater. A 60-gallon rainwater collection system is available for $69 until May 27. Choose "Massachusetts" and "Cambridge" when ordering.
Note: Green Cambridge is offering to install rain barrels for Cambridge residents free of charge.
City of Cambridge Awards Record $210,000 in Scholarships
84 scholarships given out to residents pursuing higher education
May 18, 2017 – The City of Cambridge on Monday, May 15, 2017, hosted a special ceremony to honor the recipients of the 2017 City of Cambridge Scholarship. This year, the City awarded a record $210,000 in scholarships to 84 Cambridge high school seniors and others Cambridge residents pursuing higher education. The City of Cambridge provides these scholarships through the generous contributions of many residents and businesses.
While speaking to the recipients during the ceremony, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said, “I know how expensive higher education has become, and I hope that today’s scholarship will make a difference.” He went on to say, “When you complete your higher education, I hope that you will seriously consider returning to Cambridge to work for one of the amazing companies located here, or better yet, you will consider working for the City of Cambridge. I can personally tell you that there is no career more rewarding than public service.”
The City Scholarship program is open to all Cambridge residents who are currently attending, have an application pending or have received acceptance to attend an institute of higher education beyond high school level. Award recipients were selected from the 198 applications received this year based on a number of criteria including academic achievement, school and community involvement, work experience, aspirations and goals, financial need, and special circumstances. The City encourages individuals who did not receive a scholarship this year to consider applying again, as awardees do not have to be graduating from high school to receive this scholarship.
The City extends its gratitude this year’s selection committee: Colin Dicke, John Kosko, Bill Neukomm, James Peck, Elaine Thorne, and Craig Yearwood.
The 2017 City Scholarship recipients are:
Eden Abebe, Zahyyeh Abu-Rubieh, Nusrat Africawala, Demi Akins, Alexander Alvarado Cortez, Samprity Ankita, Malate Aschalew, Hicham Asekkour, Alyxandra Bassile-McCarthy, Reya Begum, Helen Bekele, Bouchra Benghomari, Serena Bialkin, Johnson Blaise, Alia Campbell, Milo Cason-Snow, Kevin Chavez, Emily Chowdhury, Savanna Clegg, Amaniya, Cotton, Celeste De Lancey, Andre Domond, Nedjine Doreus, Emiliano Duran, Hend Elkatta, Carmen Enrique, Noah Epstein, Ayub Farah, Marian Farah, Bukhaari Farah, Misam Farsab, Roan Farsab, Emmanuella Fede, Yvette-Simon Figaro, Alexander Flamm, Mariamawit Gashaw, Walker Gillett, Kamaria Gooding, Anna Griffin, Nathaniel Habtom, Syed Hoque,Jacob Hunter, Amena Indawala, Jeremie Jean-Baptiste, Rebecca Jean-Louis, Gabrielle Joella, Ruksat Kabir, Nina Katz-Christy, Zainab Lakhani, Maisha Lakri, Diego Lasarte, Angel Lazar Osegueda, Albert Lee, Zoe Levitt, Samantha Liu, Jemima Mascary, Ean McDonald Wojciechowski, Natalie McPherson-Siegrist, Yeabsera Mengistu, Alexander Michael, Juliet Nadis, Sheikh Noohery, Rihana Oumer, Christelle Paul, Zian Perez, Ra-vonne Pierre, Asif Rahman, Fnu Ratna, Ariann Renaudin, Elliott Ronna, Charlotte Rosenblum, Akeru Sakakibara, Veronica Sargent, Hugo Schutzberg, Asikrahima Shajahan, Daniel Shin, Rikka Shrestha, Oliver Sussman, Miles Toussaint, Sana Vegamiya, Alyssa Watson, Eric White, Kenan White, and Alessandra Zona.
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
Short-term housing rentals targeted for taxes and regulations in Massachusetts (May 26, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Friends of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School celebrates 10th birthday (May 26, 2017 by Leslie Brunetta)
Cambridge Historical Society announces 2017 program theme (May 26, 2017)
Cambridge city budget spends $3 million on affordable housing (May 23, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
REPORT: Fentanyl continues to fuel overdoses; Cambridge fatalities double in one year (May 22, 2017 by Amy Saltzman and Gerry Tuoti)
Cambridge to address Port flooding with $50M project (May 17, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
City Council forms committee to build ‘better working relationship’ with schools (May 17, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Developments could force expansion of Cambridge pre-K program (May 16, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Cambridge pilot program to help small business could grow (May 16, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Community Preservation Act Committee to hold public meeting (May 16, 2017)
Sumbul Siddiqui announces City Council candidacy (May 16, 2017)
Cambridge woman dies after Memorial Drive crash (updated May 17, 2017)
Cambridge launches 2017 Participatory Budgeting cycle (May 14, 2017)
Invention enables Good Samaritans to administer Narcan to overdose victims (May 16, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
Cambridge, Eversource partner to launch energy pilot (May 10, 2017)
Cambridge looks to coordinate efforts to maximize charitable giving (May 9, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
End of Keezer’s? 122-year-old Cambridge business may close if buyer not found (May 9, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
Mazen will not seek re-election to Cambridge City Council (May 4, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
New Inman Square design cuts parking, adds separated bicycle lanes (May 3, 2017 by Emily Cataneo)
Cambridge city councilors dig into budget proposals (May 3, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Vacant Fresh Pond property may be converted into affordable housing (May 2, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Cambridge Police now use Narcan and new drug detection tool (Apr 28, 2017)
Cambridge Police Department promotes officers (Apr 27, 2017)
Cambridge to update surveillance law as technologies advance (Apr 26, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Sivongxay announces run for Cambridge City Council (Apr 26, 2017)
Affordable housing, traffic safety prioritized in Cambridge’s proposed $605M budget (Apr 25, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Cambridge looks to crack down on vacant buildings (Apr 25, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Frayed Community Preservation partnership in danger of collapsing (Apr 10, 2017 by Colin A. Young, State House News Service)
World War I photos bear witness to war’s toll on Cambridge (Apr 7, 2017 by James Sanna)
How Cambridge built its $200M municipal ‘savings account’ (Apr 6, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
Nonprofit plans to rebuild affordable housing destroyed in Dec. 3 Cambridge fire (updated Apr 12, 2017 by James Sanna)
Federal officials OK key GLX funding (Apr 4, 2017 by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service)
‘Monumental’ step: Cambridge ups affordable housing requirement (Apr 4, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Cambridge City Council votes to urge Trump’s impeachment (Apr 4, 2017 by Adam Sennott)
Massachusetts greenhouse gas emissions down 21 percent compared to 1990 (Apr 3, 2017 by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service)
‘The pyramids were built faster:’ West Cambridge fed up with 5 years of construction (Apr 4, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
Interesting Items on the May 15, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda
Here are a few choice items on this week's menu:
Charter Right #1. A communication was received from Councillor Craig A. Kelley, apologizing to his Colleagues, City Manager and City Staff for not attending tonight's meeting in order to attend a conference on climate change adaptation and expressing his thoughts and apology for the events at the Budget Hearing. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on May 8, 2017.]
Let's get this one all clear up front. The issue here is that one city councillor (Mazen) acted abusively toward City employees during a recent Budget Hearing and used a malcontent resident's letter as cover to justify his inquisition. Last week's (May 8) City Council meeting ended with a heated interchange resulting from Mayor Simmons' defense of City employees which upset the super-sized ego of the offending councillor. The story should probably end there since nobody wants the drama to continue. There is an Order on this week's agenda (#7 - see below) that may represent some sort of resolution of this matter.
My hope is that one positive outcome of this kerfuffle is that councillors might get a better grip on what constitutes decent behavior toward City employees and of what is appropriate under the City Charter (which spells out quite clearly that if a city councillor wants to take issue with a department or any individual employee he or she should deal with the matter through the City Manager). If a councillor wants to propose any policy changes, that's what City Council orders are for, and they require a majority vote - though, quite frankly, city councillors often vote for policy orders without challenge or discussion out of a misplaced sense of courtesy toward their colleagues. If a matter is referred to a City Council committee for further discussion, it is incumbent on the sponsor(s) of the Order to convince his or her colleagues about the merit of the proposal. In the case of proposals involving elections (such as paying people to vote or using public money to subsidize City Council election campaigns), a convincing case was never made for those proposals.
Applications & Petitions #3. A petition was received from Cambridge Arts Council requesting eleven temporary banners to be hung on light poles along the north bound traffic lane side of First Street between Binney and Cambridge Streets, announcing the Cambridge Arts River Festival on Sat, June 3, 2017 from 11:00am to 6:00pm along the East Cambridge Waterfront in Lechmere Canal Park and in the DCR parklands adjacent to Cambridge Parkway.
Applications & Petitions #4. An application was received from Cambridge Arts Council requesting permission for two temporary banners across Massachusetts Avenue at City Hall and across JFK Street at Mount Auburn Street announcing the Hong Kong Boston Dragon Boat Festival on Sun, June 11th.
I highlight these only to remind everyone of the many attractions that occur during the months of May and June. The Riverfest worked out pretty well in the Lechmere Canal area last year, though many of us still would like to see it eventually return upstream to the area near the Weeks Footbridge.
Resolution #7. Resolution on the death of Harold J. Aseph III. Councillor Maher, Councillor Toomey
Just read this. It's one of the most thoughtfully and beautifully written death resolutions I've ever seen from the City Council. [It was written by Fran Cronin.]
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to determine the feasibility of installing one or more park benches around the Fresh Pond Reservation for the benefit of Cambridge residents, particularly senior citizens who would benefit from such conveniences. Mayor Simmons
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate staff about providing some appropriate seating on the grassy hill at Kingsley Park. Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern
These would be welcome additions - and not just for senior citizens.
Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the School Department, Human Resources, and any other relevant City departments to determine what it would look like financially and logistically for the new Tobin School to house half of Cambridge’s 3 and 4 year olds with the goal of providing universal pre-k split between the Tobin School and another school to be redesigned in the near future. Councillor Cheung, Councillor Devereux
I'm interested to see what the cost implications of this might be. It will likely be quite expensive. Having looked at what parents with good incomes shell out for the two pre-K schools and a day-care facility on my (very short) block in Cambridge, I'm sure some of those people would love to have a "public option". It could be the only affordable option for people of lower income.
Update: Councillor Carlone (wisely) suggested that it would be preferable if any pre-K options were diversified in the sense that they should be smaller groupings spread throughout the city rather than be concentrated into one or two school buildings.
Order #4. That a Standing Committee made up of three School Committee members, three City Councillors the Superintendent, the City Manager, as well as other members to be determined, be established to meet monthly to discuss issues pertinent to the School Department and the City and to improve communication between the School Committee and City Council. Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons
The City Council should think long and hard about the wisdom of this. It could go either way in terms of resolving conflicts or creating conflicts between these two elected bodies. I could easily see this becoming a place where some city councillors try to steer things that are really meant to be decided by the School Committee and the School Department. On the other hand, there are some matters such as community schools and after-school programming, that falls under the Department of Human Services Programs even though they take place in public school buildings and which the City Council clearly has some policy-making role. They may want to reconsider the plan of meeting monthly. That seems too frequent. Quarterly (and as needed) would be more than enough. Even then it would be meeting more frequently than half of the other City Council committees.
Update: Councillor Kelley floated the idea that perhaps there should be a charter change that "combines the School Committee and the City Council". This, of course, can only be interpreted as a suggestion that the School Committee be eliminated and its functions turned over to a subcommittee of the City Council. I am eager to hear how School Committee members feel about the idea.
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department and any other relevant City departments with a view in mind for a city-wide expansion of the piloted North Massachusetts Avenue and Kendall Square store frontage limitations, entrepreneurial co-working space, and local retail zoning regulations. Councillor Cheung
A current topic of discussion in the Envision Cambridge process is "Corridors", i.e. main thoroughfares in the city, including most retail locations. I doubt whether a single city-wide standard is appropriate, but some of these "corridors" could use a little reinvention.
Update: Councillor Mazen expressed his desire that an co-working space be subsidized - either from taxes or through some kind of nebulous "inclusionary" requirement. This, I suppose, would then require some City department to decide who will be eligible for this subsidized space - and the slow shift toward government control continues. Councillor Devereux suggested that this needs more study in concert with the ongoing Retail Strategic Plan. Councillor Carlone suggested that this proposal should be put on hold for now and that it is becoming clear that retail can no longer be supported everywhere.
Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Mayor’s Office, the City Clerk’s Office, and the Finance Chair to establish a framework for periodic Roundtables throughout each term that will provide City Councillors opportunities to invite different Department Heads in for open, unrestricted discussions on topics of interest to the City Councillors. Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mazen
This was exactly the intention of the City Council when Roundtable meetings were first established - way back around 1999. The City Council unearths its own history. As for "unrestricted discussions", I do hope that this does not include inquisitions and/or browbeating of department heads or other City employees. - Robert Winters
Update: Though most councillors seemed generally supportive of the idea, Councillor Devereux suggested that rather than do this as City Council Roundtable meetings they should be done within meetings of the Finance Committee which would allow public comment. Mayor Simmons explained that the idea was to have a more general discussion - not just about finance-related matters. Councillor Devereux wanted some clarification of what the expectations would be noting that Roundtable meetings with City departments often center around some kind of formal presentation followed by questions and discussion.
Councillor Carlone won the wisdom prize by proposing that such freewheeling discussions with City departments take place within existing City Council committees whose focus aligns with the particular department - and not just the Finance Committee. In fact, many years ago most of the City Council committees aligned almost exactly with City departments. It might be a good idea to move back closer to that system so that City Council discussion could be better aligned with what City government actually does.
At the very least, we can probably do with much shorter PowerPoint presentations at City Council Roundtables and more freewheeling informal discussion. That was the original idea when Roundtable meetings were established nearly two decades ago. - RW
Looking Ahead (revised May 20)
Possible City Council and School Committee candidates for 2017 (with age at time of election)
|City Council Candidate||Birthdate||Age||address||Notes|
|Timothy J. Toomey||6/7/1953||64||88 6th St., 02141||incumbent, first elected in 1989, unclear if seeking reelection|
|E. Denise Simmons||10/2/1951||66||188 Harvard St. #4B, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2001|
|Craig Kelley||9/18/1962||55||6 Saint Gerard Terr. #2, 02140||incumbent, first elected in 2005|
|Leland Cheung||2/11/1978||39||157 Garden St., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2009|
|Dennis Carlone||5/7/1947||70||9 Washington St. #6, 02140||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Marc McGovern||12/21/1968||48||15 Pleasant St., 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Jan Devereux||5/13/1959||58||255 Lakeview Ave., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2015|
|Dennis Benzan||1/25/1972||45||1 Pine St., 02139||served 2014-15, may seek reelection|
|Paul Toner||4/28/1966||51||24 Newman St., 02140||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Quinton Zondervan||9/15/1970||47||235 Cardinal Madeiros Ave., 02141||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Alanna Marie Mallon||12/6/1970||46||3 Maple Ave., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Ronald Benjamin||1/5/1971||46||172 Cushing St., 02138||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Vatsady Sivongxay||2/20/1982||35||59 Kirkland St. #2, 02138||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Olivia D'Ambrosio||9/13/1983||34||270 3rd Street #305, 02142||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Sean Tierney||3/10/1985||32||12 Prince St. #6, 02139||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Adriane Musgrave||10/14/1985||32||5 Newport Rd. #1, 02140||definitely running, but registered with OCPF|
|Sumbul Siddiqui||2/10/1988||29||530 Windsor Street, 02141||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Sam Gebru||11/20/1991||25||812 Memorial Dr., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Nadya Teresa Okamoto||2/11/1998||19||Canaday Hall B44, 22 Harvard Yard, 02138||announced, registered with OCPF, actively fundraising|
|Nadeem Mazen||9/20/1983||34||720 Mass. Ave. #4, 02139||has informed colleagues that he will not seek reelection|
|James Williamson||1/13/1951||66||1000 Jackson Pl., 02140||perennial candidate|
|Gary Mello||5/24/1953||64||324 Franklin St. #2, 02139||ran several times|
|Ilan Levy||11/1/1967||50||148 Spring St. 02141||ran in 2015, seems to be planning to do it again|
|Nathan Taylor Thompson||10/12/1985||32||31 Tremont Street $#3, 02139||probably not running, registered with OCPF|
|Andrew King||4/17/1986||31||40 Essex St., 02139||conflicting reports on whether or not a candidate|
|Romaine Waite||6/7/1991||26||60 Lawn St. #5, 02138||not announced, but may try again|
|School Committee Candidate||Birthdate||Age||address||Notes|
|Fred Fantini||6/8/1949||68||4 Canal Park #203, 02141||incumbent, first elected in 1981|
|Richard Harding||10/16/1972||45||189 Windsor St. #1, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2001|
|Patty Nolan||8/28/1957||60||184 Huron Ave., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2005|
|Kathleen Kelly||3/8/1960||57||17 Marie Ave. #1, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Emily Dexter||3/16/1957||60||9 Fenno St., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2015|
|Mannika Bowman||11/27/1979||37||134 Reed St., 02140||incumbent, first elected in 2015|
|Will MacArthur||5/24/1998||19||18 Shea Rd., 02140||definitely running for School Committee|
|Fran Albin Cronin||2/14/1952||65||1 Kimball Ln., 02140||planning to seek reelection|
|Jake Crutchfield||3/31/1987||30||281 River St. #1, 01239||speculation that he may run again|
|Elechi Kadete||9/30/1989||28||10 Laurel St., 02139||will likely not run again this year|
|David J. Weinstein||12/10/1972||44||45 S. Normandy Ave., 02138||ran in 2015, possibility for 2017|
There are others who are likely to be candidates but who have not yet chosen to be identified as such. Please let me know of other candidates. Not all of the individuals listed above may wish to be identified as candidates, and I will be more than happy to remove those names (unless I am absolutely certain they will be running!). Anyone who has filed papers with OCPF (Office of Campaign & Political Finance) is assumed to be running for City Council. - RW
|Campaign Finance Summaries - City Council 2017 (updated May 20)|
Campaign Finance Reports - 2017 City Council (updated May 19)
|Campaign Contributions (2017) - Total Receipts and Cambridge Receipts
(updated May 29)
|Candidate||ID||Total Receipts||Cambridge Receipts||Percent Cambridge|
Noteworthy Agenda Items from the May 8, 2017 Cambridge City Council meeting
Here are the agenda items this week that I found interesting:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the recommended appointment of Kathleen L. Born as a member of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority for a term of five years.
The appointment of Kathy Born to the CRA by Bob Healy in 2012 was an inspired choice, and City Manager Louis DePasquale continues the inspiration. One correction to the manager's message is that Kathy actually served four terms on the Cambridge City Council. She was first elected in 1993 and served from 1994 through 2001 including one term as Vice Mayor.
There are only two Boards which the City Manager appoints that are subject to City Council approval - the Cambridge Housing Authority and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, so this appointment must formally be passed to the Neighborhood and Long-Term Planning Etcetera Committee before going to the City Council for confirmation (which as assured).
Contrary to the statement in this petition, there were actually 17 registered Cambridge voters who signed the original petition. If 5 of them submit a letter to withdraw the petition, even if these are the authors of the petition, that still leaves 12 registered voters who have not written to ask that the petition be withdrawn - 2 more than the minimum requirement. I believe this means that the original petition remains intact. It's a moot point, however. The petitioners have extracted their desired pound of flesh out of the developer and that's really what this petition was all about.
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to direct the City’s transportation planning staff to reach out to Bridj’s Founder and Chief Executive Matthew George to discuss whether there are opportunities for collaboration in meeting the needs of Cambridge residents for more flexible transit. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen
This would make for an interesting way to navigate around the municipal procurement regulations. Though I'm sure this company may have something to offer, the City would have to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) or similar device to ALL possible bidders. Those who call the shots at Bridj could then submit a proposal and possibly sign a contract. The real question is whether the City has an identified need around which an RFP could be written. It's not the role of the City to approach private companies asking if there's anything the City can do to keep them afloat.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to create a permanent office or public-private initiative for the purpose of fostering charitable giving in Cambridge and to work with non-profits to study the local charitable giving landscape, measuring the estimated maximum charitable carrying capacity of the city. Councillor Mazen
This is a good intention, but perhaps the more important goal should be to promote existing charitable giving organizations like the Cambridge Community Foundation rather than creating new City administrative positions.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 19, 2017 to discuss a zoning petition by the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinances of the City of Cambridge by creating a new Section 11.900 Maintenance and Security of Vacant or Abandoned Buildings. The proposed zoning would require that any building that is deemed to be vacant or abandoned for longer than 90 days shall be registered with the Inspectional Services Department, shall be secured and maintained so that it does not exhibit any evidence of vacancy, and shall pay an annual registration fee.
The basic premise of this initiative seems to be to come down hard on any property owner who leaves a property vacant for too long - either due to land-banking, wanting to flip a property for a tidy profit, or because of a dysfunctional property owner. I have serious concerns about the confiscatory nature of the original proposal that actually sought to extract the entire assessed value of a vacant property by means of fees in only two years. That is clearly a regulatory taking and it would never stand up to a court challenge. It's also an obnoxious example of government overreach. I assume the language will be modified to make this merely combative and confrontational rather than confiscatory.
Nobody likes having important properties (such as the Harvard Square Cinema) sitting vacant for years, but the best way to get good results is still to open up a conversation with the property owner. It would be better if parties other than City officials or elected councillors had those conversations.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Councillor Craig A. Kelley, apologizing to his Colleagues, City Manager and City Staff for not attending tonight's meeting in order to attend a conference on climate change adaptation and expressing his thoughts and apology for the events at the Budget Hearing.
I greatly appreciate Councillor Kelley's calling out the unforgivable misbehavior of one obnoxious soon-to-be-former city councillor at last week's Budget Hearings. - Robert Winters
The Budget Hearings continue this week on Tues, May 9 at 6:00pm (School Department Budget) and on Wed, May 10 at 9:00am (City Budget). The budget is available online at: www.cambridgema.gov. [Complete schedule with Budget Book references] [multi-year comparisons]
Wednesday's departments are as follows (the underlined ones are the ones that have been pulled (so far) by councillors for discussion).
Member Sought to Fill Vacancies on Central Square/Harvard Square Advisory Committees
May 8, 2017 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking to fill vacancies on the Central Square and the Harvard Square Advisory Committees.
Central Square Advisory Committee
The Central Square Advisory Committee works to review all major development actions in the Central Square Overlay District and monitors progress of the non-zoning recommendations of the K2C2 Study relevant to Central Square. Members represent a cross section of stakeholders, which includes residents from abutting neighborhoods and representatives of Central Square’s business community. The Committee meets as needed to advise non-zoning recommendations, to undertake all Large Project Reviews, and to review and comment on all Board of Zoning Appeal variances and special permits within the Overlay District. At this time, a resident of the Cambridgeport Neighborhood is being sought to fill a vacancy. This appointment, to be made by the City Manager, will serve a term of three years that will expire on June 15, 2020, with the option to renew. The Committee meets, at minimum, every two months with additional meetings scheduled as required based on project review needs. For more information, contact Wendell T. Joseph at 617-349-9462 or email@example.com, or visit the committee’s webpage at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/zoninganddevelopment/advcomms/centraladvcomm.
Harvard Square Advisory Committee
The Harvard Square Advisory Committee works to review all major development actions in the Harvard Square Overlay District. Members represent a cross section of stakeholders, which includes residents from abutting neighborhoods, real estate and/or development professionals, property owners, and an institutional property owner. The Committee meets as needed to undertake all Large Project Reviews and to review all Board of Zoning Appeal variances and special permits within the Overlay District. At this time, a resident of the Riverside Neighborhood is being sought to fill a vacancy. This appointment, to be made by the City Manager, will be to serve the remainder of a term that expires on April 23, 2018, with the option to renew. For more information, contact Liza Paden at 617-349-4647 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Harvard Square Advisory Committee webpage at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/zoninganddevelopment/advcomms/harvardadvcomm.
Applications to serve on either of these committees can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at www.cambridgema.gov/apply and selecting the respective committee(s) of interest. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline to submit an application for both committees is May 31, 2017.
Cambridge Retail Strategic Plan
The City is currently preparing a Retail Strategic Plan to determine best practice policies and programs that will support and enhance the retail environment in Cambridge. The consultant team Larisa Ortiz Associates (LOA) and the Community Development Department’s Economic Development Division are leading the planning efforts and will identify short and long-term goals to propose for the City’s retail retention and recruitment strategy.
LOA has conducted extensive community outreach and will be presenting retail data and strategy updates at 3 public meetings on May 17th. The content of each meeting will be the same, although different times will be provided to ensure maximum participation. The public is encouraged to attend any one of the following meetings:
Carl Barron Business Forum
The Barron Forum brings together the Cambridge business community and is sponsored by the Cambridge Business Coalition (Cambridge Chamber, KSA, CSBA, ECBA, ISBA, HSBA and CLF) in partnership with the City Manager's Office.
Please register here.
Location: Cambridge College, 1000 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
Economic Development and University Relations Committee
A public hearing will be hosted by the City Council's Economic Development and University Relations Committee. More details available here.
Location: City Hall Sullivan Chamber, 795 Mass. Ave.
Retail Strategic Plan Presentation
A public presentation will be hosted by Community Development Department’s Economic Development Division.
Location: City Hall, Ackerman Room, 795 Mass. Ave.
For additional updates on the Retail Strategy, please visit: http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/EconDev/retailstrategicplan
2017 Outstanding City Employee Award Recipients
May 4 – City Manager Louis DePasquale today presented the 2017 Outstanding City Employee Awards to the following people:.
George Alexander, Traffic Maintenance Worker II, Traffic Department
Neal Alpert, Chief of Staff, Mayor’s Office
Kevin Aruda, Laborer, Department of Public Works
Samuel Aylesworth, Assistant City Solicitor, Law Department
Robert Carey, Director of Golf, Human Services
Lee Gianetti, Director of Communications & Community Relations, Executive Office
Irene Giannopoulos, Project/Cash Manager, Finance Department
Florence Grant, Registered Nurse, Public Health Department
Maria Melo, Multi-Service Center Director, Human Services
Jean Montout, Account Clerk, Auditing Department
Michelle Monsegur, Principal Budget Analyst, Budget Office
Michael J. Morrissey, Deputy Fire Chief, Fire Department
Nicole Murati Ferrer, License Commission Chair, License Commission
Shawn Proctor, Family Support Worker, Human Services
Nancy Tauber, Family Policy Council Executive Director, Human Services
Carolyn Turk, Deputy Superintendent, School Department
The City Manager also present an Award in honor and memory of Assistant City Manager for Community Development Brian Murphy to a person who is committed to making government improve the lives of other. This year's superlative choice was Jeana Franconi.
The recipients were honored at a ceremony on Thursday, May 4, 2017 in the Sullivan Chamber of City Hall, for their superior performance, positive attitude, hard work and dedication to public service. Mayor Simmons and Councillors Devereux, Kelley, and Toomey were in attendance.
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sun, June 4. Northeast Groton. 1:00pm start. Explore a large protected area across the Groton/Tyngsboro line. There will be varied ecology from beaver ponds to meadows to upland forest. Additional interests include a physics demonstartion and an old quarry. From Route 40, N on Cow Pond Brook Rd. Meet at the end of Cow Pond Brook Road in Groton (42.6249N 71.5026W). L Olin Lathrop.||Sun, June 4. Lynn Woods, Lynn. 5 miles, Leader's Choice. 9:00am-1:00pm. Bring lunch, H2O, and snacks. Dress for the elements. I-95/Route 128 to Walnut Street exit, 4 miles. From Route 1, Walnut Street exit, 2 miles. Turn left on Pennybrook Road to Western Gate parking lot. Cancel if rain. L Nelson Caraballo.|
|Sun, June 11. Greenwood Park, Middlesex Fells, Stoneham. Easy 2 hr. walk in Middlesex Fells. Meet at 2pm at Greenwood Park (across from Stone Zoo). Take Rte. 93 to exit 34. Go N on Rte. 28 to South St., right to park. Bring water and snack. Storm cancels. L Betsy Goeke.||Sat, June 17, 2017. Newton Aqueducts walk. 9:30am-2:00pm. 8 miles, generally smooth and flat terrain, with one steep section at Hemlock Gorge (individuals can skip this if they want to). Meet in Newton Centre, at the corner of Centre Street and Tyler Terrace. Park on Tyler Terrace or a nearby street or take the T (Green Line D/Riverside) and get off at the Newton Centre stop. Meeting place is about 1/4 mile away. Bring water, lunch, snacks, bug repellent. No children or dogs. Heavy rain cancels. If uncertain, contact Lisa. L Lisa Fleischman, CL Jim Hammond.|
May and June Programs (and Beyond) at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|Woodland Restoration Area Gardening
Dates: Tuesdays between 9:30am and 1pm
Join other stewardship-minded volunteers in caretaking the native plant restoration area next to Lusitania Meadow, and learn about the diversity of native plant life! We seek dedicated participants who enjoy camaraderie and hard work that includes weeding, pruning, planting, watering new plantings, hauling wood chips and moving logs. Please email email@example.com if you would like to come, and for more information.
|Fresh Pond Stewards: Wake Up and Weed!
Dates: Thursdays, 10am to 12noon
Place: Meets at the volunteer trailer in the front parking lot.
Join our weed-warrior crew! We are Fresh Pond citizens dedicated to keeping invasive plants at bay for the benefit of wildlife, water and humans alike. No experience or long-term commitment necessary! All tools are provided; sturdy shoes, pants, long-sleeves and a water bottle are strongly recommended. Meets at the volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot.
|Fresh Pond Kids’ Walks
Dates: Fridays, 10 to 11am
Place: Meets at the gazebo at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Join us for casual nature explorations, designed for young kids and their caretakers, and play in our urban wild! We might read stories, look out for birds and bugs, and make some crafts. Please come dressed ready for the weather (and in clothes that are OK to get dirty!). Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Reflecting on Fresh Pond: Art, Prose, and Poetry Share
Date (rescheduled): Saturday, June 10, 2 to 4pm
Place: Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Fresh Pond Reservation means so much to so many of us. Whether your come here to hear the tinkle of ice against the shore, the call of returning birds or the squeal of children sledding in Kingsley Park, you may have been inspired to make a note in a journal, write a poem or song; or take a photo or make a drawing. We are calling people of ALL AGES and CREATIVE CAPACITIES to share your Reflections on Fresh Pond at an open mic. All mediums welcome – paint, print, a note scribbled on a napkin, photography, poems, a child’s drawing or performance of song or dance. Please RSVP to email@example.com with a sentence or two describing your creative work(s). Start the sentence with “I was moved to make (my art) when I experienced (XXX) at Fresh Pond.” And go on from there. Come share your heartfelt experiences with others who are really touched when they walk the Pond and share the wonderment.
Unless otherwise specified, please contact Martine at 617-349-6489 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any RSVPs or questions!
Would you like to join Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation? Membership in Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation costs only $10 per year ($5 for seniors and students, $15 for families). To join, fill out a membership form available in the Ranger Station information racks, e-mail 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.
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
Check out the latest episodes of Cambridge InsideOut:
If you would like to be a guest (or co-host) one of these Tuesdays, let me know. - RW
|Episode 229 (May 23, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: ranked choice voting advocacy in Cambridge and elsewhere in Massachusetts; the role of City Council committees vs. unofficial (and not especially public) working groups
|Episode 230 (May 23, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: May 22 City Council meeting, affordable housing in Somerville, short-term rentals and more
|Episode 227 (May 16, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials] with Patrick Barrett
Topics: Cambridge politics and the municipal election [audio]
|Episode 228 (May 16, 2017, 6:00pm) with Patrick Barrett
Topics: City Council candidates, their political bases, and their viability [audio]
|Episode 225 (May 9, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials] with Patrick Barrett
Topics: death of former City Councillor Bob Moncrieff, vacancies on the Central Square and Harvard Square Advisory Committees, Participatory Budgeting, the Outstanding City Employee Awards
|Episode 226 (May 9, 2017, 6:00pm) with Patrick Barrett
Topics: Misbehavior of a city councillor at last week's Budget Hearing; this week's Budget Hearings; the AirBnB Question; and the issue of long-term vacant properties and how best to deal with them.
|Episode 223 (May 2, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: 2017 municipal election and some recent developments in the field of candidates
|Episode 224 (May 2, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: FY2018 Budget Hearings, Ranked Choice Voting in Cambridge and elsewhere
|Episode 221 (Apr 25, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: drawn from Apr 24 Cambridge City Council meeting, including the FY2018 Budget and the proposed Surveillance Ordinance
|Episode 222 (Apr 25, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Envision Cambridge Working Groups and general concerns about long-term planning
|Episode 219 (Apr 18, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Women in Comedy, Cambridge Science Festival, and more
|Episode 220 (Apr 18, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Mass. Turnpike Realignment and other infrastructure
|Episode 217 (Apr 4, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: national issues & municipal politics; City Council order calling for impeachment of the President, upcoming civic and other opportunities
|Episode 218 (Apr 4, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics chosen from the Apr 3 City Council meeting, including discussion of police presence in City Hall and Central Square; updates on municipal election candidates
Book Release - Building Old Cambridge by Susan E. Maycock and Charles M. Sullivan (published by MIT Press)
THE MUNICIPAL SITUATION IN CAMBRIDGE
A Paper read at the Annual Meeting of the National Municipal League at Chicago, April 28, 1904
BY HENRY N. WHEELER, PRESIDENT OF THE LEAGUE
PRECEDED BY A PROGRAM OF THE WORK OF THE LEAGUE FOR 1904
Cambridge InsideOut airs weekly every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm with producers/hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. We will have other guest hosts as well.
[complete list of shows - with links to YouTube videos of each]
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 227-228: May 16, 2017 (w/Patrick Barrett)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 225-226: May 9, 2017 (w/Patrick Barrett)
Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2013-2014 featured co-hosts Susana Segat and Robert Winters.
Cambridge InsideOut on CCTV during 2015-2016 featured co-hosts Judy Nathans and Robert Winters.
|MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990
A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]
Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.
The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
The Neverending Study of Central Square
Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters
June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square
Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)
1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)
Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan
May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"
Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!
Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)
May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)
May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"
Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study
Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)
Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)
June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)
2013 - K2C2 Final Reports
K2C2 Final Reports Released
The final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013
Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013
This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.
THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)
FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee
City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)
City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)
City Council Committees (for the current term)
School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)
School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)
June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).
I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:
Purposes: This association is formed for the following purposes:
- 1. To promote businesslike, honest, and efficient conduct of local government, open to public scrutiny.
- 2. To induce residents to take an active interest in the affairs of the City of Cambridge.
- 3. To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs.
- 4. To assure that the best qualified persons are appointed to positions in the City government after consideration of all qualified candidates.
- 5. To promote among the citizens of Cambridge equitable distribution and benefit of public services and equal opportunity for economic security, education, and social advancement.
These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.
One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.
With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.
Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.
It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters
This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.
Selected City of Cambridge References:
Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)
Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923
This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.
It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.
Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW
Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
Which People's Republic
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
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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"