Upcoming Civic Opportunities

Mon, June 29

1:00pm   The City Council's Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee and the Economic Development and University Relations Committee will conduct a joint public hearing to bring the STEAM working group together to develop strategies and timelines for summer research.  (Community Room, Main Library, Level 2)

Joint committee meeting to bring the STEAM working group together to develop strategies and timelines for summer research around: 1) developing stronger and more coordinated partnerships with the corporate community; 2) increasing interaction, alignment, and coordination with the Cambridge School Department; and 3) discussing and identifying existing models for out of school time coordination around the country and the world.
1:00pm   Call of meeting and brief welcome
1:05pm   Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Mazen provide Comments and Context
1:15pm   Public comment from the group
1:45pm   Subcommittee breakout groups to develop on strategies and timelines
2:30pm   Report back to whole group
3:00pm   Adjournment

6:00pm   Special Joint Meeting of the City Council's Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board  (Sullivan Chamber)

The purpose is to discuss the zoning petition to amend Section 13.10 to change the development controls in the Planned Unit Development at Kendall Square (PUD-KS) Overlay District; said majority of the area of the PUD-KS is occupied by the Volpe Transportation Systems Research Center operated by the US Department of Transportation. [Petition text] [Summary of major proposed changes] [All currently proposed zoning amendments]

6:00-6:30pm   Presentation by the Planning Board/Community Development Department

6:30-7:30pm   Discussion between the ordinance Committee and Planning Board members

7:30-10:00pm   Public Comment

Public comment may be submitted in person or in writing to the City Clerk Donna P. Lopez at dlopez@cambridgema.gov or to the Planning Board via Liza Paden at lpaden@cambridgema.gov.

This hearing may be recessed to continue the joint public hearing between the Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board in order to receive additional public comment. Additional public comment will only be permitted at the reconvened public hearing from those who have not spoken in Public Comment before the Planning Board or the Ordinance Committee on this petition. A date for the continued joint public hearing will be scheduled at a later date if needed.

Tues, June 30

5:30pm   The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the License Commission on how it works, permitting and shared economy.  (Sullivan Chamber)

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

Wed, July 1

5:30pm   The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss policing and public safety, community policing and police training.  (Sullivan Chamber)

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



1. Executive Director’s Report

2. Assistant Director's Report

3. Commissioners' Reports



Unfinished Business

1. Municipal Election, November 3, 2015

New Business


Thurs, July 9

3:00pm   The City Council's Housing Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss whether there are measures the City and local housing agencies and advocates can take to assist the soon to be displaced tenants of 295 Harvard Street.  (Sullivan Chamber)

5:30pm   The City Council's Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss police equipment, including electronics, and planning for non-traditional police work.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, July 14

5:30pm   The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss proposed amendments to Section 11.200 entitled Incentive Zoning Provisions and Inclusionary Housing Provisions. This hearing to be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, July 15

3:00pm   The City Council's Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss how emergent out of school time programs recruit underserved youth in innovative ways, how programs engage youth in advanced research or professional skills building, and how these programs may present exciting models for other organizations seeking to impact socio-economic and educational equity in Cambridge.  (Sullivan Chamber)

5:30pm   The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code by adding a new Chapter 2.126 entitled Open Data Ordinance.  (Sullivan Chamber)

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

Likely City Council Challengers for 2015 (as of June 25, 2015)

Likely School Committee Challengers for 2015 (as of June 23, 2015)

Who else are you hearing about?

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

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

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates

Official 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election Calendar (and advice for candidates)

Wed, July 1:

Municipal Election Nomination Papers available at Election Commission office.

Nomination papers will be available through the July 31 submission deadline, but it is advisable that a candidate pick up papers early and get started collecting signatures. The process is an excellent way for a new candidates to "get their feet wet" and acclimate to the process of asking for support. ALL pages of your nomination papers must be notarized and there are a total of three sheets. You will also want to get a current database of registered voters. This is available from the Election Commission free of charge to any candidate who has pulled nomination papers. Voter history files and the street listing are also available.

Fri, July 31:

5:00pm deadline to submit nomination papers & statements of financial interest for candidates.

A minimum of 50 valid signatures must be filed and a candidate may submit up to 100 signatures. Once a voter's signature has been recorded for a particular candidate, it cannot be used for another candidate in the same race. That is, a voter should sign for exactly one candidate for City Council and one candidate for School Committee. Candidates should submit as many signatures as possible over the minimum of 50 because it is very likely that some signatures will not be certified. It is advisable that all signatures be checked against the voter registration list before submitting them. Candidates do not have to submit all their signatures at one time, and it is advisable that signatures be submitted as each sheet becomes full. The Election Commission staff traditionally checks signatures soon after they are submitted, so it is possible to know how many signatures have been tentatively certified in case it is necessary to obtain more signatures to reach the minimum of 50 certified signatures. Actual certification is only official when the Election Commission votes to approve them.

Fri, Aug 14: 5:00pm deadline for Election Commission to certify signatures on nomination papers.
Tues, Aug 18: 5:00pm deadline for municipal candidates to file withdrawal of nomination.
Wed, Oct 14: 8:00pm deadline to register to vote in municipal election. In person registration hours are 8:30am to 8:00pm at Election Commission office only. (Mail in registration must be postmarked by Oct 14).
Mon, Oct 26:

Deadline for School Committee candidates and Political Committees to file Municipal Campaign & Political Finance Reports. (City Council candidates should consult their OCPF packets regarding depository-filing requirements).

City Council candidates are required under state law to set up a depository account at a bank. The bank will report all deposits and expenditures directly to the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF). School Committee candidates are not required to set up a depository account, but they must file a campaign finance report in mid-October and at the end of the year.

Fri, Oct 30: Election Commission will be open 8:30am to 5:00pm for over-the-counter absentee voting.
Sat, Oct 31: Election Commission office will be open 9:00am to 5:00pm for over-the-counter absentee voting.
Mon, Nov 2: Noontime (12:00pm) deadline to apply for absentee ballot, either for mail-in or over-the-counter voting.
Tues, Nov 3:

Municipal Election. Polls are open 7:00am until 8:00pm.
All absentee ballots (except Overseas Absentee Ballots) must arrive at the Election Commission office by 8:00pm to be counted. Ballot count begins at Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue, Central Square after the polls close. Overseas Absentee Ballots are due by 5:00pm on Friday, Nov 13, but must be postmarked by Nov 3.

Overseas Absentee Ballots and Provisional Ballots will be counted on Fri, Nov 13 at 5:00pm.

It is expected that the Election Commission will report preliminary election results Tuesday evening (Nov 3), but this tally does not include auxiliary ballots (write-in ballots and other ballots not yet counted for a variety of reasons). These will be scanned and tabulated on Wednesday. Unofficial election results are expected to be announced on Wednesday when all of the auxiliary ballots have been included. The official election results will not be complete until any overseas absentee ballots and provisional ballots have been included on Fri, Nov 13.

Wed, Nov 4: 9:00am-5:00pm. Ballot count resumes at Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue, Central Square.
Fri, Nov 13: Overseas Absentee Ballots and Provisional Ballots will be counted at 5:00pm.
Regular Election Commission Office Hours: (Unless otherwise indicated)  
Mondays: 8:30am to 8:00pm
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays: 8:30am to 5:00pm
Fridays: 8:30am to Noon
Holidays: The Election Commission will be closed for the following holidays:
Independence Day - Friday, July 3
Labor Day - Monday, September 7
Columbus Day - Monday, October 12

Printable copy of 2015 Municipal Election Calendar

June-July 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:
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: jcoffey@cambridgema.gov, (617) 349-7712.
Summer Bird Walk
Date: Saturday, July 5
Time: 7:30 to 9:30am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
    During the summer, early morning is the best time to look for birds. They are most active when the air is cool and they are hungry for breakfast. With walk leader Nancy Guppy, we may find adults feeding babies in the nest and fledglings that are following their parents and begging for food. As always, beginning birders are welcome. We have binoculars to lend and will show you how to use them. Register with Elizabeth at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com.
A Tour of the Water Purification Facility
Date: Monday, July 6
Time: 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Water Purification Facility front door, 250 Fresh Pond Pkwy
    Come learn how the Cambridge Water Department purifies drinking water for your tap after it's pumped into our facility from nearby Fresh Pond. You'll have the chance to speak with water treatment and testing staff, see the equipment in action and check out our water quality lab! For more information, contact Julie Coffey: jcoffey@cambridgema.gov, 617-349-7712. Please call ahead if coming with a large group.
Future Water Department Tours: Mon, Aug 3, Sept 14, Oct 5, Nov 2
Summer Lunchtime Walking Series - Fresh Pond Nature & History
Dates: Every Friday starting July 10
Time: 12 noon to 1pm
Place: Fresh Pond Ranger Station
    Learn during lunch! Join Ranger Jean and staff on a walk to different habitats around the reservation. We will discuss the ecology and natural & human history of the landscape, with topics varying based on the interest of the group. Come with questions, or just to walk and listen. For more information or to register, contact Ranger Jean at jrogers@cambridgema.gov, 617-349-4793 or Julie at jcoffey@cambridgema.gov, 617-349-7712.
Fresh Pond Herb Walk
Date: Saturday, July 11
Time: 9 to 10:30am
Place: Register for parking and meeting information
    Learn about some of the most interesting, abundant (and weedy) plants that grow around us in our city environs. We'll discuss the medicinal and edible uses of these herbs as we stroll around the pond, and also review tips for harvesting and preserving plants. Learn to see your urban surroundings in a whole new light, and discover the wonder of the plant world, from humble dandelions to graceful lindens. Led by Steph Zabel of Flowerfolk Herbal Apothecary. Register with Elizabeth Wylde at friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com.
Pod Patrol: Pre-Monarch Prep!
Date: Monday, July 13
Time: 6-8pm
Place: Front door of water purification facility
    Help us patrol the reservation for black swallow-wort, an invasive, non-native plant that threatens monarch butterflies. We will be releasing monarchs later this summer to help a struggling wild population: getting rid of black swallow-wort will help our Fresh Pond Monarchs thrive! We will pod-pluck our way around the pond at a moderate pace-no experience or equipment necessary. For more information, contact Julie Coffey: jcoffey@cambridgema.gov, 617-349-7712.
Caterpillar Craft Craze
Date: Saturday, July 18
Time: 1 to 2pm
Place: Fresh Pond Ranger Station
    When our Monarch caterpillars arrive they’ll need places to eat, grow, and form chrysalides to become butterflies! Come learn about the life stages of a butterfly and help build enclosures to keep them safe and happy. All ages welcome, materials will be provided. For more information, contact Julie Coffey: jcoffey@cambridgema.gov, 617-349-7712.
Milk Weed Planting in Weir Meadow
Date: Monday, July 20
Time: 6 to 7:30pm
Place: Volunteer trailer in the lower parking lot
    To kick off Fresh Pond Monarch Watch this summer, let's plant some food for the butterflies. Milk weed is a native plant species that is essential for the growth and development of monarch caterpillars. We will be receiving our caterpillars this week, so help us establish more butterfly-friendly habitat to welcome them to! For more information, contact Julie Coffey: jcoffey@cambridgema.gov, 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 friendsoffreshpond@yahoo.com, call 617-349-6489, or visit our website at www.friendsoffreshpond.org to download a form.

Keep up to date on events at the Pond. Visit the Friends group website at http://friendsoffreshpond.org to learn more about Friends group activities and the reservation and its inhabitants. Upcoming Programs

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

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

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

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

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

AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.
AMC Local WalksSun, June 28. Mt. Auburn Cemetery. [Rte. 16 (Mt. Auburn St.) on Cambridge/Watertown line]. 2.5 hr. walk exploring its beauty and history. Theme: Beliefs and Symbols. Meet at side of Story Chapel (about 100 feet beyond the main entrance) at 1:00pm. Cars should not be parked on roads with solid or broken green lines on them. No food allowed. T accessible - both the #73 and #71 buses stop nearby. L Jim Loughlin. AMC Local WalksSat, July 4. Worlds End Reservation. Scenic 5-mi. walk, 8:30-11:30am. Bring snack/water. From Rte.3A rotary in Hingham, take Summer St. 0.5mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6.00 per person fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Avoid Rte.228 due to holiday event road closures. Storm cancels. No e-mail after 7/3. L Beth Mosias.
AMC Local WalksSat, July 4. Parks & Greenways, Boston, MA. 10-mi. walk incl. Arnold Arboretum, Emerald Necklace, SW Corridor Park, Boston Harborwalk, Freedom Trail, 12:30-5:15pm. Many shorter options. Optional extension over new pedestrian bridge to North Point Park in Cambridge. Bring snacks. Meet at Forest Hills T by exit turnstiles. Bring snacks. Meet at Forest Hills T by exit turnstiles. L Robert Winters; CL Mike Stadelmaier. AMC Local WalksSun, July 5. Middlesex Fells, Malden. 6-mi. shady hike w/lunch on peninsula cooled by 340 acre Spot Pond, 10:15am-2pm. Bring lunch and water. Meet on Washington Street side of Oak Grove T station. I-93 Exit 32, Medford, head east on Route 60 for 1.2 miles, then turn left on Highland Avenue and follow for 0.5 miles. Turn right on Glenwood Street and go 0.6 miles, then turn left on Washington Street and go 0.1 miles, then turn right into T station lot, or park on street. Call L if severe weather. L Robert Winters; CL Mike Stadelmaier.
AMC Local WalksSat, July 11. Parks & Greenways, Quincy. 7-mi. walk w/beach, woods, salt marshes, historic sites, 10:00am-2:30pm. Bring lunch. Take Quincy Shore Drive to Wollaston Yacht Club pier at Beach St. Or T to Wollaston, walk 1 mile. Email if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey. AMC Local WalksSun, July 12. Cambridge to East Boston Walk. 13 mi. Explore Northpoint Park, historic sites in Charlestown, and East Boston Greenway. Return via T. Shorter options available. Lunch enroute. Meet 9:00am at inbound Red Line Kendall Sq. T station in front of Marriott Hotel. Rain cancels. L Shelly Elzweig.
AMC Local WalksSat, July 25. Neponset River Greenway/Milton Hill. 5-mile walk along Neponset River to Hutchinson Field, 9:30am-12:15pm. Bring snack. Meet at Hallet Street entrance to Pope John Paul II Park. From Route 93N, take exit 11 (11B from Route 93S) to Granite Avenue, north over Neponset River, immediate right on Hilltop Street, right under bridge into parking lot. E-mail if severe weather. L Mike Tuohey. AMC Local WalksSun, July 26. Middlesex Fells, Medford. Slow-paced nature walk in the Bellevue Pond area focusing on plant ID and fun and interesting natural history of summer wildflowers and fruits. 12:30pm-3:30pm. Rte. 93 to Exit 33. At rotary, go right onto South Border Rd/Winchester and continue a couple of hundred yards to Bellevue Pond Parking Lot on right (opposite #68 South Border Rd, Medford). Parking limited/arrive early. Steady rain cancels. L Boot Boutwell.

Historic and Neighborhood Conservation District Commissions Seek New Members

City of CambridgeThe Cambridge City Manager is seeking to fill vacancies for members and alternate members on the Cambridge Historical Commission, Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) Commission, Half Crown-Marsh NCD Commission, and the Mid Cambridge NCD Commission. Nominations from interested Cambridge residents are welcome through August 14.

The Cambridge Historical Commission, a body of seven members and three alternates, establishes historic preservation policy for the city and administers two historic districts, the Harvard Square Conservation District, the citywide landmark and demolition ordinances, and the preservation grant program for rehabilitation assistance. The neighborhood conservation district commissions are made up of five members and three alternates, with most members being residents of the neighborhoods. Each of the four Commission generally meets monthly to review alterations to protected buildings.

The Cambridge Historical Commission, established in 1963, is the city’s historic preservation agency. It is managed by a professional staff that supports four Commissions made up of appointed volunteers.

The current vacancies are for one alternate on the Cambridge Historical Commission, one alternate on the Avon Hill and Half Crown-Marsh NCD Commissions, and one member, who must be a tenant in the neighborhood, in the Mid-Cambridge NCD. Alternates are expected to attend all meetings and participate fully in discussion, and are designated to vote as needed.

Applicants should have an interest in architecture, local history or historic preservation and be committed to protecting the historic resources and built environment of the City. Appointments to the Commission are made by the City Manager with regard to a diversity of viewpoints. Minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply. Individuals interested in being considered should send a letter of interest and a resume by Friday, August 14, 2015 to Charles Sullivan, Executive Director, Cambridge Historical Commission, 831 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 or by e-mail to histcomm@cambridgema.gov.

Legislature Allows Establishment of Mount Auburn Cemetery: June 23, 1831

...in 1831, the legislature granted the Massachusetts Horticultural Society permission to purchase land for use as an experimental garden and a rural cemetery. Located on the border of Cambridge and Watertown, the garden failed, but the cemetery became world famous. As the first rural cemetery in America, Mount Auburn pioneered the idea of burying the dead not in urban churchyards but in a beautifully designed, naturalistic landscape on the outskirts of the city. The idea caught on and eventually led to the creation of public parks in metropolitan areas. 180 years after the cemetery was consecrated, the dead are still being laid to rest along Mount Auburn's winding paths, in her wooded dells, and on her gentle hillsides.

Listen to this moment: http://www.massmoments.org/audio/JUNE231%2Em3u
Read more about this moment: http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=183
Visit Mass Moments to search past moments: http://www.massmoments.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P - Policy orders

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

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

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

D - Death resolutions

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

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

F - Foreign and national policy matters

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

The Appointed Hour - Summer at Sullivan - Highlights of the June 22, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda

Sullivan ChamberThis Monday's meeting will be the last regular meeting before the summer break. [The June 29 meeting was cancelled in favor of a joint Ordinance Committee/Planning Board meeting to discuss the uniquely complex zoning petition concerning the Volpe site in Kendall Square.] Chief among the items that caught my attention are the many appointments and reappointments to City Boards & Commissions - a most honorable calling:

Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to appointments and reappointments of the following persons as members of the Cambridge Peace Commission effective June 22, 2015:
Reappointments: Frank Connelly, Larry Kim
New appointments: George Atallah, Aboma Dirbaba, Jame Eliscar, Gladys Friedler, Elelchi Kadete, Lijun Li, Johanne Méléance, John Ratliff, Regina Yang

Manager's Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of William G. Barry, Jr. as a member of the Harvard Square Advisory Committee for a term of three years, effective June 10, 2015.

Manager's Agenda #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment and reappointments of members to the Cambridge Historical Commission:
Reappointments: William King, Robert Crocker, Chandra Harrington, Jo M Solet, Joseph V. Ferrara, Susannah Tobin
New appointment: Shary Berg

Manager's Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as members of the Mid Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District Commission, effective June 22, 2015:
Sue Myers, Monika Pauli, Nancy Goodwin, Charles Redmon

Manager's Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as members of the Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District Commission:
Reappointments: Theresa Hamacher, Arthur Bardige
New Appointment: John Sanzone

Manager's Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments and reappointment of the following persons as member of the Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District Commission:
Reappointment: William King
New Appointments: James VanSickle, Judith Dortz, Charles Smith, Marie P. Dillenseger, Dr. Peter Schur

Manager's Agenda #7. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments and reappointments of the following persons as members of the Board of Trustees of the Cambridge Health Alliance, effective June 11, 2015:
Reappointments: Maren Batalden, MD; William Hart, Everett; Madge Kaplan, Cambridge; Katharine Kosinski, MD, Cambridge
Officers: Carol Van Deusen Lukas, Chair; Joshua Posner, Vice-Chair
Reappointments: Robina Bhasin, EdM, Somerville; Danna Mauch, Ph.D., Cambridge; Barbara Anthony, Cambridge

Manager's Agenda #15. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments of the following persons as member of the Commission for Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board, for a term of three years, effective June 22, 2015:
Maria Fontellio, Zarha Kanji, Alicia Zeh-Dean

Serving on a City volunteer board isn't for everyone. There's plenty of room for disagreement among the members of any City board, but it's really a place where reasonable people can learn from their peers and from City staff and come to reasonable conclusions - whether it be a regulatory board or an advisory board. It's not a place for inflexible people unwilling to compromise. I have a reverence for people who choose to take on these roles without any compensation. Real civic activism is about giving your time and effort to serve on a City board or volunteering in countless other ways throughout the city. We should all tip our hats to every person named above.

The Rest:

Manager's Agenda #17. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 15-30 and 15-41, regarding License Commission Fees and Cap Areas.

This is the first time I've ever seen a complete list of all the established liquor cap areas. It would have been helpful if the number of licenses in each cap area was included in the report. It would also be interesting to get maps showing both the liquor cap areas and the fast food cap areas.

Applications & Petitions #4. A zoning petition has been received from Elizabeth M. Stern, et al. to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map by changing the current zoning designation of Lot 84 (2551 Mass. Ave.) and Lot 65 (7 Richard Ave.) on Assessing Block Map 186 from Business A-2 to Residence B and remove both from the MAOD and the NMAS, redraw the zoning district boundary lines so the two lots are in the Residence B zone and not in the MAOD or the NMAS and revise Article 20, Sections 100-111. [Petition text]

Another week, another zoning petition. The intent of this petition appears to be to prevent either new commercial construction or higher density residential construction from happening at the northwest corner of Richard Ave. and Mass. Ave. where a one-story dry cleaning business is now located.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the School Committee with the view in mind to request the Superintendent of Schools to provide data regarding Charter Schools.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Cheung, Councillor McGovern and Councillor Simmons

This would be good information to receive, but I can't see what the City Council can do or will do with that information.

Order #2. That the City Council go on record adopting the Net Zero Action Plan which includes key actions to reduce emissions and the process that engages stakeholders.   Councillor Cheung

The recommendations are all well and good for new construction, but I do hope the City Council acts more cautiously on any requirements for existing residential buildings. If significantly onerous requirement are imposed on homeowners thinking of renovation, many homeowners will either defer necessary renovations or quietly make improvements without seeking permits. I also hope that the elected councillors also take a moment or two to understand enough physics to see why "net zero" may be unrealistic for certain building types and uses, especially in this New England climate. It would be so much better if the language could be shifted away from the often unrealistic "net zero" and toward the more sensible "maximally efficient".

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to write a letter to the Department of Public Health indicating the City of Cambridge's non-opposition for Commonwealth Alternative Care's application to operate a RMD at 135 Fawcett Street, Cambridge, MA.   Councillor Cheung, Councillor McGovern, Councillor Simmons and Councillor Mazen

Two points – First, it's amazing how many roadblocks have been thrown up to block any medical marijuana dispensaries from actually being built after being approved by voters via initiative petition. Second, it should be pretty clear that full legalization of marijuana for recreational use may be only a year or two away via the ballot box, and it seems likely that any dispensaries that are approved under the current law may become the initial sites for sale for recreational use if and when that is made legal.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to install ADA compliant sidewalks, create protected bike lanes, and consider additional features to guarantee the safety of young students and all other users in the Huron Avenue area.   Councillor Mazen

This Order is about half right. The referenced sections of Huron Ave. lack sidewalks along the perimeter of the Fresh Pond Reservation and it would be good to add them from Fresh Pond Parkway to as far as the Russell Youth & Community Center. They would then also be available to young children on their bicycles. For adult cyclists there are already well-functioning bike lanes on both sides of Huron Ave. that are quite safe and allow for reasonable speeds and normal turning movements. A "cycle track" in this location is not only unnecessary, but it would also require narrowing the travel lanes to a point where cyclists who prefer the road would be less safe. The alternative would be to remove a significant number of parking spaces used frequently by people using Glacken Field, the Russell Center, the golf course, and Fresh Pond Reservation. Installing just a sidewalk would be an improvement without any negative consequences - Robert Winters.


Connecting the Green Line Extension Outbound from NorthPoint

While wandering around NorthPoint the other day I got to thinking about when the construction of the Green Line Extension might bridge the railroad tracks where the old "Red Bridge" used to be until it was demolished in 2004. I decided to check out the area and what did I find? The construction is well underway. The old bridge abutments have been removed and the new construction is moving along.

Red Bridge (demolished in 1974)
Red Bridge (demolished in 2004)
Green Line Extension site of new bridge
Green Line Extension site of new bridge

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

Cambridge proposal opens private lots to car-sharing (Sara Feijo, June 24, 2015)

Foundry's reincarnation: Tour gathers ideas for Cambridge building's revamp (Sara Feijo, June 24, 2015)

NorthPoint staircase honors work of the late Brian Murphy (Sara Feijo, June 23, 2015)

Harvard Towers tenants sent packing as owner plans renovations (Sara Feijo and Amy Saltzman, June 17, 2015)

Cambridge Councillors: Students need more exposure to building trades (Sara Feijo, June 17, 2015)

Fire delays MLK School opening (Sara Feijo, June 10, 2015)

Cambridge's Master Plan comes with $2M price tag (Sara Feijo, June 10, 2015)

Cambridge to plant 1,000 trees by 2020 (Sara Feijo, June 4, 2015)

Cambridge councilors take stand against standardized testing (Sara Feijo, June 4, 2015)

Cambridge councilors ‘in the dark' over Volpe; call for more details (Sara Feijo, June 3, 2015)

Cambridge councillors OK $546M budget (Sara Feijo, June 3, 2015)

Guest column: Cambridge's finances envy of commonwealth (Marc McGovern, June 1, 2015)

By the numbers: Community Development Department 2016 budget breakdown (Sara Feijo, May 28, 2015)

Four new candidates announce run for Cambridge City Council (Sara Feijo, May 27, 2015)

Cambridge DPW asks for conservative snow budget despite tough winter (Sara Feijo, May 27, 2015)

LETTER: Thank you, Cambridge councilors, for securing housing (Ellen Schlacter, May 26, 2015)

Connecting People and Places

Twenty|20 MapOn Wednesday, June 17 at 11:00am there will be a grand opening of the new Twenty/20 Northpoint building. There will be food, music and a short speaking program. This event will have as a central feature the dedication of the grand staircase connecting the Northpoint development at ground level to the John F. Gilmore Bridge. The bridge will be named the “Brian P. Murphy Memorial Staircase”. Brian was huge supporter of this staircase because it would allow people to easily walk from the Gilmore Bridge down to the new parks, residential buildings, retail stores and commercial buildings that will be built at NorthPoint. The staircase will play a central role in creating a new connection between Charlestown and Cambridge and between the Orange Line and the Green Line. This unique piece of infrastructure will forever change the way people think about this part of East Cambridge. The fact that this staircase now exists embodies much of what Brian thought was important in his leadership roles in government. Brian was a huge supporter of connecting people to residential, recreational and work spaces. He would have been honored to be recognized as a connector of people. [text taken in part from messages between the builders and Brian's family]

Brian P. Murphy Memorial Staircase

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

City HallThere are some substantial reports from the City Manager and some interesting Council Orders on this week's agenda.

Manager's Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-97, regarding a report on the MLK School construction compliance with the Cambridge Employment Plan.

Normally I don't care at all about this sort of bean counting, but I did find interesting the following facts in the Manager's report:

(1) The Cambridge resident worker hours on the MLK project totaled 3.8% which is less than the required goal of 25%. However, the Cambridge resident population of workers skilled and/or experienced in construction trades has been less than 2% making this requirement virtually impossible to meet. [Perhaps it's time to revise that goal.]

(2) The minority worker hours on the MLK project as of Apr 30, 2015 totaled 32.6% which is above the goal of 25%.

(3) The women worker hours on the MLK project as of Apr 30, 2015 totaled 1.0%. U.S. Census data reveals that women in Massachusetts skilled in the trades is less than 2%.

Manager's Agenda #19. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to recommendations of the Cambridge Off Leash Working Group regarding off leash dogs in Cambridge.

The discussions about how best to accommodate our canine friends have been going on for a decade. Dog owners actually comprise a pretty effective political lobby in Cambridge.

Manager's Agenda #20. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt, with suggested changes, the Carsharing Zoning Petition.

This has generated some concerns recently as well as some alternate proposals on how best to accommodate carsharing, e.g. using some on-street resident parking spaces for this purpose. This zoning petition is specifically about off-street spaces and the Planning Board recommends that off-street lots should maintain at least 75% of their spaces for privately owned vehicles and that only lots with a minimum of 4 spaces may accommodate carsharing vehicles. However, the Planning Board also recommends that these limits can be waived via a Special Permit on a case-by-case basis. The theory here is that by making carsharing more easily available the number of privately owned vehicles should decrease thereby relieving some of the demand for on-street spaces.

Manager's Agenda #21. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to appropriate zoning language for recommended changes to the Incentive Zoning provisions, as requested in Council Order Number 6 of May 18, 2015.

As the report states, "The intent of these proposed changes is to implement changes recommended by the recently completed Incentive Zoning Nexus Study." Specific changes include:

• Removing the current special permit trigger so that housing contributions would be made by all projects with 30,000 or more square feet of uses subject to the Incentive Zoning provisions;

• Expanding the definition of an incentive project to add seven new uses for which housing contributions would be required (in addition to the current uses of office, lab and retail): hotel/motel, radio/TV studios, institutional, health care, social services, light industry/wholesale, and heavy industry;

• Increasing the contribution rate to $12 per square foot [from the current $4.58], with an annual rate increase of $1 per year over the next three years;

• Making automatic the annual adjustment of the contribution rate based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI);

• Requiring that the City initiate a periodic reevaluation of the housing contribution by initiating an updated nexus study after three years;

• Eliminating the current deduction of the first 2,500 square feet from the calculation of the contribution;

• Establishing a definition of a “Middle Income Household” and adding language to make clear that the Affordable Housing Trust can use resources generated to assist Middle Income Households.

Order #1. Zoning Amendments to the Zoning Map and Ordinance for the area along Walden Street near the intersection of Garden Street and extending through the intersection of Sherman Street currently zoned Business A be rezoned to a newly created zoning district entitled Business A-4 and add a new Business A-4 line to Section 5.33.   Councillor Cheung

If eventually ordained, this new zoning designation will respond to some of the issues raised by a proposed residential development at the former Masse's Hardware site(s). It's interesting that the proposed maximum residential density would actually be higher than is currently the case, though there would now be minimum front and side setbacks that do not exist under the present zoning. I have been told that the affected parties are agreeable to this new zoning.

Order #4. That the City Council meeting scheduled for Mon, June 29, 2015 be and hereby is cancelled after consultation with the City Manager so that a joint public hearing between the Planning Board and Ordinance Committee be held at 6:00pm in the Sullivan Chamber to discuss the zoning petition to amend Section 13.10 to change the development controls in the Planned Unit Development at Kendall Square (PUD-KS) Overlay District; said majority of the area of the PUD-KS is occupied by the Volpe Transportation Systems Research Center operated by the US Department of Transportation.   Mayor Maher
[Petition text] [Summary of major proposed changes] [All currently proposed zoning amendments]

The process for this zoning amendment is uniquely different than just about every other petition due to the many constraints associated with this being a federally-owned property. There are time constraints based on the current presidential term as well as financial constraints inherent in the federal law that allows this arrangement in which revenue generated from the rest of the site must cover any costs associated with constructing a new building for the Volpe Transportation Center on the site. This may also impose some limitations on the lofty goals expressed by some regarding the percentage of affordable units to be mandated as part of any residential construction. One variable that could relieve some of those constraints is the allowance of greater height and, not surprisingly, this has some people bent out of shape about the possibility that the tallest building in Cambridge might grow from this zoning. The unusual procedure of having a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Board (rather than completely separate parallel processes) is also not setting well with the same people, but in this unique situation it seems warranted.

Order #5. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council with suggested changes to Cambridge's policy regarding advertising revenue that could help support the continuation and expansion of Hubway in the City of Cambridge.   Councillor Toomey

People may not like the advertising, but there are indications that Hubway may not be economically sustainable without it.

Order #6. That the City Council go on the record condemning Harvard Towers Corporation for neglecting to reach out to the City of Cambridge to determine if there are ways to mitigate the negative repercussions on the City's housing market stemming from the mass eviction of tenants of 295 Harvard Street.   Councillor Simmons and Councillor McGovern

This building (built in 1962) contains 111 apartments, and tenants were given very little warning that they all have to be gone by Aug 31, 2015. The building is just a block away from where I live and nobody in my neighborhood seems to even know what is ultimately planned for the building.

Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to determine the feasibility of permitting cyclists to advance simultaneously with the pedestrian "walk" signal and to to confer with the appropriate departments to determine the feasibility of piloting bicycle-specific signal faces at the Cambridge-Hampshire St intersection.   Councillor Mazen

Many cyclists already do start moving with the walk light (not me), but I have to say that this is really more about convenience than about safety. When motor vehicles and bicycles are both stopped at a traffic light, all parties are aware of each other and there's little or no conflict when the light changes. The greater hazard is from moving vehicles turning in front of moving cyclists and from cyclists positioning themselves in the roadway in ways that are fundamentally unsafe, i.e. passing a potentially turning vehicle on the right.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff or the appropriate departments on the feasibility of legally requiring supermarkets and other food seller and resellers to donate leftover food to donation centers in order to cut down on food waste.   Councillor Mazen

Many, if not most, food markets already do this to some degree. Facilitating food donations and composting programs would be more helpful than simply mandating that it be done. This means addressing the need for adequate transportation, scheduling, and other logistics.

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with total amount of funds currently in and total expected to be in the Community Benefits Funds account as well as the origins of the funds and any expenditures to date.   Councillor Toomey

Charter Right #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $88,430 from Free Cash to the General Fund Executive Other Ordinary Maintenance account to be used for consulting fees to conduct a community wide needs assessment relative to our Community Benefits plan. The requested amount is two-thirds of the total cost of the needs assessment ($132,430 total). With a vested interest in the outcome, the Cambridge Community Foundation has made a substantial financial commitment of $44,000 to cover one-third of the total cost (see Agenda Item Number 15). This is the first step regarding the further development of a plan to distribute funds earmarked for Community Benefits. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on City Manager Agenda Number Fourteen of June 1, 2015.]

This matter has been stewing for a number of years and it's about time that the City Council moved things in the direction of a resolution and a system for handling these funds and putting them toward productive use. - Robert Winters

The Upshot (the morning after): On Manager's Agenda #1, most of the councillors chimed in about their disappointment that the dreams of past Councils regarding apprenticeships in the trades have not been realized. Chalk it up, perhaps, to the changing demographics of Cambridge or maybe to the fact that many young residents don't understand that well-paying careers in construction, law enforcement, and other areas are actually available to them (Benzan).

There was some public comment on the Carsharing Zoning Petition (Manager's Agenda #20) - mostly concerns about the possibility of disruptive activity associated with this commercial activity taking place in residential neighborhoods. One deficiency in the petition is that it doesn't address the possibility that a resident with off-street parking might choose to park on the street in order to derive income by leasing their off-street space to a carsharing company. If that were to happen, there really should be a complaint-driven revocation process written into the regulations.

The recommended changes to the Incentive Zoning provisions that were the subject of Manager's Agenda #21 are now a zoning petition that will be scheduled for Ordinance Committee and Planning Board hearings.

The Council spent far too much time discussing the propriety of cancelling their June 29 meeting in favor of a Joint Special Meeting with the Planning Board (not a Roundtable, so there will be no fixed time limit and public comment will be permitted) to discuss the Volpe zoning petition. The Special Meeting was eventually unanimously approved with the possibility that a brief Regular Meeting might also be scheduled in the event that there is any pressing regular business.

The Council voted 8-1 (Mazen voted No) on Order #8 to open the possibility of advertising on Hubway bikes as a means of ensuring the economic viability of the program.

The Council expressed their condemnation of the actions of the owners/managers of Harvard Towers (295 Harvard St.) in evicting all residents (111 apartments) with very short notice and no information on their future plans for the building.


Cambridge Kids’ Council Vacancy - Application Deadline Extended to June 30

City of CambridgeCity 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:

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 5:15-7:15pm. For more information, please contact Nancy Tauber, Executive Director, at 617-349-6239 or ntauber@cambridgema.gov.

To apply, please submit a letter of interest and a resume by the newly extended deadline of June 30, 2015 to: Cambridge Kids’ Council, 51 Inman St., Cambridge, MA 02139, or email your letter to ntauber@cambridgema.gov.

Cambridge Announces Formation of Foundry Advisory Committee - Application Deadline Extended to June 30
City Manager seeking volunteers to serve on committee

City of CambridgeThe 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. The deadline to submit a letter of interest has been extended to June 30, 2015.

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 30, 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
Email: citymanager@cambridgema.gov
Fax: 617-349-4307

Cambridge PARKing Day 2015 Call for Proposals

Park(ing) DayJune 8, 2015 – The City’s Community Development Department (CDD) seeks creative folks to participate in the official City of Cambridge PARK(ing) Day celebration, an international event in which metered parking spaces are transformed into “parks” for a day. Previous years have brought many creative ideas, including: gymnastics, bicycle-powered smoothies, book swaps, dance floors, micro parks, nature preserves, games, dog parks, and concerts.

PARK(ing) Day is an annual open-source global event where residents, artists and activists temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

Original concept by Rebar. www.rebargroup.org.
Source: http://parkingday.org

Applications are due June 30, 2015. For more information, contact Jennifer Lawrence, jlawrence@cambridgema.gov or visit: cambridgema.gov/CDD/News/2015/06/parkingday.

2015 Summer Event Listing at Magazine Beach Park

Magazine Beach 2015 Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

Central SquareThe participating trucks at Central Square StrEATS include:

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

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

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

Recent Broadcasts of Cambridge InsideOut    [complete list of shows]

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

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

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

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

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

July 1 - Transportation Safety w/guest Rozann Kraus

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

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

June 10 - Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 63 and 64 with Glenn Koocher
We had a great time doing these shows with the man who invented the original Cambridge InsideOut - Glenn Koocher.

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

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

MBTA Role in Jump-starting Development of the Cambridge Center Project Kendall Station Urban Initiatives Project, 1979-1989
By Thad Tercyak, Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Associate Director, 1968-1990

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

A new report is estimating that the greater Boston area will need another 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to lure new workers and accommodate an aging population. [Reports available here]

Note: When comparing the peak population of Cambridge back in the 1950s (over 120,000) to what it is today (perhaps 107,000) it's important to keep in mind that families were typically much larger then. It's also the case that what people find acceptable in terms of living space and amenities has changed dramatically over six decades. This translates into considerably more "units" of housing (and higher density) in Cambridge if the population should rise to levels close to what they were in days of yore.

K2C2 Final Reports Released

K2C2 areaThe final reports for Kendall Square and Central Square are now available for download. Zoning discussions based on the recommendations of the K2 and C2 Advisory Committees, which are encapsulated in these reports, will continue in 2014.

Community Development Department

Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (K2C2)

Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013

Central Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013

Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 1, December 2013

Kendall Square Final Report 2013 Part 2, December 2013

This comprehensive planning effort guided by stakeholder advisory committees, City staff, and a team of multidisciplinary consultants led by Goody Clancy, developed a vision and master plan for Central Square, Kendall Square, and the area South of Main Street (including the Osborn Triangle) connecting the two squares. Both final reports are divided into two parts; in each case you will need to review both parts to read the entire report.


Open for Comments - CCJ Forum

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

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates (last updated June 19, 2015 - updated periodically)

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (June 15, 2015)

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

Official 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election Calendar (w/advice) (June 10, 2015)

Budget Approval is the Big Item on the June 1, 2015 Cambridge City Council Agenda (June 1, 2015)

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

Coming up at the May 18, 2015 Cambridge City Council meeting (May 18, 2015)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

K2C2 Final Reports Released (Dec 31, 2013)

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

Completing the Square (June 11, 2013)

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

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

On becoming a True Cantabrigian (Dec 29, 2012)

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

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

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

The Advent of PR in Cambridge
originally published in the Cambridge Civic Journal on Feb 12, 1998

April 2, 2015 - Another fun April Fool's Day

April 2, 2013 - Well, that was fun. Thanks to everyone for being such a sport on April Fool's Day.

Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)

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

The Neverending Study of Central Square

Aug 11, 2012 - While preparing to write a series of essays on Central Square, I put together the following list of Central Square studies culled from a variety of sources. I have originals for most of these. If you know of any others, please let me know. - Robert Winters

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

June 1980 - CDD booklet entitled "Facade Improvements" with focus on Central Square

Apr 1983 - "Central Square Report" produced by City Council's Central Square Subcommittee (study began in 1980 or 1981)

1987 - A report produced in 1987 about a Subcommittee that allegedly built on the 1983 report (may be same as Central Square Action Plan)

Nov 1987 - Central Square Action Plan

1989 - Draft Central Square Development Guidelines

May 1993 - Results of the "Mayor's Forum on Central Square"

Oct 1993 - Report by the Committee to Promote and Enhance Central Square Now!

Aug 1994 - A Study of the Visual Images and Signage of Central Square (CDD)

May 1995 - Central Square Improvements Project, Master Plan Report

May 1995 - An Urban Design Plan for Central Square (executive summary)

May 2001 - Summary Notes from "A Conversation about Central Square"

Feb 2000 - The Gibbs Report, Central Square Commercial Market Study

Oct 2004 - Central Square, Cambridge - Rising Fortunes at a Regional Crossroads (Rekha Murthy)

Dec 2004 - Reviving a Traditional City - Central Square, Cambridge, gets a facelift (Rekha Murthy)

June 2005 - Street Media: Ambient Messages in an Urban Space - a photographic analysis of Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Rekha Murthy)

2009 - CDD Central Square Customer Intercept Survey Report

2011 - Central Square Market Profile

2011 - Red Ribbon Commission Study Report

2012 - Goody/Clancy report and recommendations

2013 - K2C2 Final Reports

THE TASTY DINER of HARVARD SQUARE - A film by Federico Muchnik (33½ minutes)

FYI - Current Rules and Goals: Cambridge City Council & Cambridge School Committee

City Council Rules 2014-2015 (adopted January 7, 2014, amended Feb 10, 2014 to reflect current Council committees)

City Council Goals - FY2012-2013 (adopted Dec 13, 2011)

City Council Committees (for the current term)

School Committee Rules (adopted January 7, 2008)

School Committee Goals (adopted October 7, 2008)

June 7, 2009 - Once upon a time there was a civic organization in Cambridge known as the Cambridge Civic Association (CCA). It was formed in 1945 out of several organizations that had been existed through the 1930s and that had lobbied the state legislature to create the Plan E Charter option (1938) which featured a city manager form of government and proportional representation elections for city council and school committee. These reforms were central to model charter reform movements active in the United States from the early 1900s. The central theme of the CCA in its early days was "good government" in the sense of being anti-patronage and for professionally managed local government. This changed with the introduction of rent control at the end of the 1960s after which the CCA shifted leftward and became permanently lashed to the mast of the rent control vessel. Though the CCA still exists on paper (I believe), it rapidly declined after the statewide abolition of rent control (late 1994) and essentially disappeared a decade later (early 2005).

I bring up the ghost of the CCA today only to point out that when it was created it had some very admirable goals. Here's the original Mission Statement of the CCA:

These are pretty good founding principles for a civic organization and I'm tempted to say that some should be incorporated into the recently adopted City Council's Goals for FY2010 (adopted Feb 2, 2009). In fact, of the 22 current goals, the only one that comes close is: "An increased level of recruitment and opportunities for membership on boards and commissions." The current Council goals emphasize things like "fostering community" via block parties and such, though one has to wonder if the City should be promoting these activities or just getting out of the way so that people can foster community on their own. The goals also seem to put some emphasis on developing "successful nightlife campaigns" while mentioning nothing about promoting ordinary "daytime" economic activity that supports the everyday needs of residents.

One founding principle of the CCA that fell into disuse over the years is listed above as #3: To encourage and support the candidacy of men and women seeking election to public office and to support intelligent, wholesome leadership in public affairs. Indeed, I can personally testify to the fact that in its dying years the only reason the CCA made endorsements at all was because the CCA-endorsed incumbents wanted the benefit of having an advertised CCA slate of candidates that would help secure their reelection. There was precious little effort to recruit new candidates or to support them. Today, the benefits of incumbency are greater than ever. The cost of political campaigns have become absurdly high and most of the incumbents now have (City paid) staff who are inevitably political appointees who directly or indirectly assist in the reelection efforts of their bosses. The deck is increasingly stacked against challengers. Furthermore, the salary and benefits for elected councillors are now so sweet that it is unlikely that any of them would ever want to move on to another job.

With this background in mind, I would like to encourage all Cambridge residents to help level the playing field by finding out about this year's challengers for seats on the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge School Committee. This is not meant as a dig against any particular incumbent as much as an appeal to support the challengers in what is a difficult and laudable effort. Please see the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the current list of expected candidates. Then use your own judgment - don't expect me or anyone else to do it for you.

Speaking of this year's municipal election, there are some activists who are now expending great effort to attack the City Manager and most of the current City Council. That is not nor has it ever been the intention of the Cambridge Civic Journal or its editor. Candidates are now being seduced by financial promises from one angry fellow with a Brattle Street address and a basketful of grudges. Former CCA Executive Board members from its darkest and most manipulative days are oozing up from the civic swamp trying to at last make good on their failed campaigns of the early 1990s to oust city manager Bob Healy.

It's entertaining to watch people who have primarily earned disrespect in their civic efforts try to capitalize on the recent Monteiro jury decision as a means of realizing their decades-old vendettas. Conveniently forgotten in their recent letters to Cambridge's "oldest weekly newspaper" are the many achievements of City Manager Bob Healy, the strong financial position of the City, and the recent 8-1 vote of confidence bestowed upon Mr. Healy in granting him a three year contract extension. Also missing in this testimony is the fact that virtually all affirmative action in the hiring of employees and department heads has taken place on Mr. Healy's watch. These letters also fail to divulge how long these writers have been carrying their jealousy and anger toward Mr. Healy for actually orchestrating progress in Cambridge while the best they could ever do is snipe from the sidelines. - Robert Winters

This Old Land of Cambridge - The true story of the geological history of Cambridge - by George Ehrenfried
Sadly, George passed away (Jan 5, 2010) at the age of 96. He led many a geology-themed hike with the AMC Local Walks/Hikes.

Selected City of Cambridge References:

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

Mass. General Laws Chapter 54A (governing Cambridge's PR elections)

Pen Portraits of Prominent People - by Henry J. Mahoney Editor, Cambridge Sentinel - 1923

This book was published c. 1923 and features very witty one-page “pen portraits” (with photo) of prominent Cantabrigians of the day. I'll be adding names alphabetically as time permits. There are 182 portraits in the book.

It comes to mind that there may be some value in expanding these profiles to other prominent Cantabrigians who arrived on the scene after 1923, including prominent Cantabrigians of today. With this in mind, I extend the invitation to any and all who may wish to contribute their own “pen portraits” of Cambridge people. Contributions do not necessarily have to be in the style of Mr. Mahoney. Inclusion is, as always, subject to the erratic discretion of the editor.

Special thanks to Karen Welch for sending me the book. - RW

Political History of Cambridge in the 20th Century
written by Glenn Koocher, November 2004 -- edited by Robert Winters, July 2006
[An alternate edit of this essay will appear, along with many other valuable essays, in a
centennial volume to be published by the Cambridge Historical Society in 2007.

Which People's Republic
written by Bill Cunningham, 1999

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

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

Robert Winters
Robert Winters, Editor
Cambridge Civic Journal
(about me - updated!!)
Philosophy of the CCJ Editor
The Cambridge Civic Journal is an independent newsletter of civic affairs in the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is published as a public service by Central Square Publications. All items are written by Robert Winters unless otherwise noted. [Of course, I do sometimes forget.]

Thoughts for these times:
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

''This is our fucking city, and nobody is gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.'' -- David Ortiz

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"

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