Coming up this Monday - Jan 23, 2017 Cambridge City Council agenda [extra detail here or here (15.4MB PDF)]
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person to the position of Assistant City Manager for Finance, effective Mar 13, 2017: David Kale.
Manager's Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-107, regarding the purchase of K9 Rumba by Officer Peter Neal.
Manager's Agenda #11. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $35,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Human Services Other Ordinary Maintenance account, to be used to expand the existing contract with Food for Free to support the Weekend Backpack Program.
Manager's Agenda #17. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation regarding the Medical Marijuana Zoning Petition. [The Planning Board does NOT RECOMMEND adoption.]
Applications & Petitions #1. A zoning petition has been received from Richard Harding, et al. to amend 20.800 titled the Mass and Main Residential Mixed Income Sub district to reflect a more appropriate affordable housing contribution and height limitation for this zoning.
Communications #1. A communication was received from Massasoit Elk's Lodge #129 Membership, 55 Bishop Allen Drive, transmitting opposition to the 19th floor height of the B-1 and B2 towers that are grossly out of scale for Central Square and Port neighborhoods, and far higher even than proposed by the C2 study.
Resolution #2. Congratulations to José Mateo for being named a 2017 Commonwealth Award honoree for Achievement by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Councillor Devereux
Resolution #14. Retirement of Greg Russ from the Cambridge Housing Authority. Mayor Simmons
Order #2. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the License Commission, the Cambridge Arts Council, the Community Development Department, the Police Department, and any other appropriate City department to discuss the feasibility of allowing small businesses to host live acoustic music performances without a license. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern
Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to hire an independent consultant who shall assess the efficiency and effectiveness of how all City Departments conduct their work, who will begin implementing whatever necessary adjustments are deemed to be necessary, and who will report back to the City Manager and the City Council on his or her progress in regular monthly intervals. Mayor Simmons, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Mazen
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on current or potential future public-private partnerships that could deliver an operational Foundry that consists of significant community space for the community. Councillor Toomey
Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to issue a report on the current status of the Broadband Task Force, including a schedule for ongoing discussion and final decision and recommendation. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Cheung
Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff and report back to the Council with an explanation of how the success of these “pop up” lanes will be measured and what lessens we expect to learn from them to help implement safer bicycling facilities throughout the City as soon as possible. Councillor Kelley
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee, for a public hearing held on Dec 13, 2016 to discuss recent and anticipated development projects and commercial and institutional leasing in Harvard Square and how such changes may affect the future of Harvard Square.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy 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 Dec 21, 2016 to conduct an additional public hearing to amend the Zoning Ordinance on the petition of the City Council to delete the existing Section 20.700 – Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts; create a new Section 11.800 – Medical Marijuana; and list Registered Marijuana Dispensary within Section 4.35 of the Table of Use Regulations, allowed only by Planning Board Special Permit within Business A, B, B-1, B-2, C, Industry A-1, B-1 and B-2 districts.
Committee Report #3. 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 Jan 3, 2017 was to discuss an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance on the petition of the City Council to delete the existing Section 20.700 – Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts; create a new Section ll.800 – Medical marijuana; and list Registered Marijuana Dispensary within Section 4.35 of the Table of use Regulations, allowed only by Planning Board Special Permit within Business A, B, B-1, B-2, C, Industry A -1, B-1 and B-2 Districts. This is the third hearing held on this petition. At the Nov 9, 2016 and the Dec 21, 2016 hearings the matter was left in committee.
Committee Report #4. 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 Jan 4, 2017 to discuss a petition by the City Council to amend provision of the Zoning Ordinance related to Inclusionary Housing, including the insertion of new definitions into Article 2.000 and the substitution of revised zoning text for the current text of sections 11.200 through 11.206.
Additional details and comments to follow
Evenings with Experts 2017
First Wednesday of each month, February through May 2017, 7:00pm-8:30pm
A free public lecture series presented by Grow Native Massachusetts at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138
For more information, visit us at http://grownativemass.org/programs/eveningswithexperts, or call 781-790-8921.
CEUs Available for each lecture: APLD (1.5 credits); NOFA-AOLCP (4 credits)
February 1 - Nurturing the Liberated Landscape
Larry Weaner, Author of Garden Revolution & Founder of Larry Weaner Landscape Associates
All too often we think of gardens and landscapes as static compositions of carefully placed and managed plants. But a more dynamic and rewarding approach takes advantage of the unique characteristics of plant species and communities, working with ecological processes, not against them. Learn how designer Larry Weaner utilizes the natural adaptations and reproductive abilities of plants to create engaging, ever-evolving landscapes that bring new meaning to partnering with nature. Using examples from his own property and from client projects, Larry will share how this give-and-take approach results in compelling, low-maintenance landscapes that free plants to perform according to their natural abilities and liberate people from having to cater to their landscapes’ every need.
Larry Weaner has been creating native landscapes since 1977. His work is nationally recognized and has received awards from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Cultural Landscape Foundation, Garden Club of America, and others. His new book, Garden Revolution, is a “must read” for all who seek to integrate landscape design with ecological processes.
March 1 - The Art and Science of Growing Native Plants from Seed: Why, When, and How
Randi Eckel, Founder of Toadshade Wildflower Farm
As we incorporate more native plants into our landscapes, there are so many good reasons to use plants propagated from seed. But wild plants have evolved with a dizzying array of mechanisms, including chemical-induced dormancy and mandatory cold stratification, to ensure that their seeds disperse, persevere, and germinate at just the right time under natural conditions. These mechanisms are not in place to frustrate would-be plant propagators, but must be understood by gardeners to successfully grow native plants from seed. Come for a far-reaching discussion of the issues surrounding seed collection, procurement, and propagation, with information that will encourage the novice and challenge the professional alike.
Randi Eckel has been studying native plant seed propagation and plant-insect interactions for over thirty years. She is the founder of Toadshade Wildflower Farm, which supplies both seeds and plants of species native to eastern North America.
April 5 - How Native Plant Cultivars Affect Pollinators
Annie White, Ecological Landscape Designer & Adjunct Professor, UVM
Initiatives to address pollinator decline are widespread and native plants are the preferred choice for pollinator habitat restoration. The growing demand for natives, coupled with a longstanding desire of horticulturalists for enhanced bloom, color, or other characteristics, has led to the increased selection and breeding of native cultivars. Although these cultivars are typically marketed for their ecological benefits, until now there have been no scientific studies to support or refute these claims. So are native cultivars as valuable in pollinator habitat gardens as the true native species? Annie White will help answer this question by sharing the results of four years of field data. Her research is groundbreaking and remarkable.
Annie White is the founder of Nectar Landscape Design Studio and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Vermont. She earned her MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her recent PhD in Plant & Soil Science from the University of Vermont was focused on this exceptional new research on native plant cultivars.
May 3 - The Challenge of a Public Native Plant Garden: Maintenance, Interpretation and Compromise
Michael Hagen, Curator of the Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden’s new Native Plant Garden opened in 2013. Designed by Oehme van Sweden, it includes a diversity of microclimates on 3.5 acres of varied terrain with a planting plan of almost 100,000 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, and grasses. Curator Michael Hagen will explain how this garden is successfully maintained, and their criteria for what constitutes “native” in species selection and the use of cultivars. This very public landscape presents native plants in a contemporary style, with an emphasis on aesthetics over recreating habitat. Michael will share his observations about how the public perceives and responds to the value of this native plant palette, along with ideas for inspiring others to “go native.”
Michael Hagen is Curator of both the Native Plant Garden and the Rock Garden at NYBG. He previously served as Staff Horticulturist for over 11 years at Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York and was Garden Manager at Rocky Hills in Mt. Kisco, a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy.
To the members of the MIT community:
Jan 18, 2017 – Last November, the federal government announced its plans to work with MIT to negotiate an "exchange" that would give us the right to own and develop a multi-acre site in the heart of Kendall Square: The Volpe parcel. Today, we signed the exchange agreement.
With the contract finalized, I'm writing to share my excitement and explain why this initiative is so important for the long-term interests of MIT and of our Cambridge neighbors.
The Volpe site offers an opening that will not come again: 14 acres, mostly underdeveloped, nearly contiguous with our campus and in the thick of Kendall Square. When this parcel became available, it felt obvious to us that we should pursue this unique opportunity to work with the City and our Cambridge neighbors to help shape the future of the Kendall Square neighborhood, so that it would serve both MIT and the broader community.
From the entrepreneurial energy and culture of its hundreds of start-ups, to the research might and market reach of its major corporate players, Kendall Square is a vital source of opportunities, talent and resources to help the people of MIT deliver their ideas to the world. The emerging strengths of this ecosystem already offer powerful advantages to MIT; it is now clear that our future success depends on making sure that Kendall succeeds as a place – a place where people want to live, work and play, and a place that makes our city stronger, too.
It's important to understand that the agreement we signed today will be paid for entirely with MIT's investment funds, just as if it were a purchase of stocks or bonds; MIT's development on the site will serve as a long-term source of funds to support the Institute, just as with any income property MIT might own anywhere.
In effect, the Volpe project is simultaneously a way of generating future financial support for our mission, while enhancing an innovation ecosystem and neighborhood that support that mission, too.
Today's signing marks the latest step in a community-wide process that began four years ago. In that time, city and neighborhood leaders have developed a broad vision for how the Volpe site might be used, and MIT faculty and staff have worked with them closely to understand their priorities and values. As we begin detailed planning for the site, we are confident that we can develop it consistent with the vision that the City and the community outlined, so that Kendall Square can grow into a lively, distinctive neighborhood with an irresistible personality that is welcoming to all.
I am inspired by the possibilities, and I look forward to working with many of you as we work to shape the future of this remarkable place.
L. Rafael Reif
Martin Luther King Jr.: April 26, 1967, Cleveland (excerpt)
So, set out to do a good job and do that job so well that the living, the dead, or the unborn couldn’t do it any better. And let me say that we’ve got to prepare now to compete with people. Many of our parents have been so scarred by years of denial and neglect that they cannot face the same challenges that we face. But I say to you that you have the opportunity to assert certain things and get ready to compete with people. Don’t set out merely to do a good Negro job. If you’re setting out one day to be a good Negro doctor or a good Negro lawyer or a good Negro schoolteacher or a good Negro preacher or a good Negro skilled laborer or a good Negro barber or beautician, you have already flunked your matriculation exam for entrance into the university of integration.
Set out to do a good job and do that job so well that nobody can do it any better.
If it falls your lot to be a streetsweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures.
Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry.
Sweep streets like Beethoven composed music.
Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say here lived a great streetsweeper who swept his job well.
This is what Douglas Malloch meant when he said, "If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill, be a scrub in the valley -- but be the best little scrub on the side of the rill. Be a bush, if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be the sun, be a star. It isn't by size that you win or you fail. Be the best of whatever you are!"
Full text of speech and audio recording here: http://blog.cleveland.com/pdextra/2012/01/martin_luther_king_jr_april_26.html
Members Sought for New City Manager’s Advisory Committee
Jan 13, 2017 – City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking volunteers to serve on the new City Manager’s Advisory Committee. Community input is a vital component of the decision making process in Cambridge and the City strives to engage and involve all stakeholders. In an effort to foster community collaboration and deepen the understanding of community issues, the City Manager is forming this new advisory Committee.
The City Manager’s Advisory Committee will consist of 12-15 residents and stakeholders who will meet at least quarterly to discuss issues happening in the city, develop working relationships, work with organizations, bring different opinions to the table, and work to resolve problems in advance.
Selection of individuals to serve on the City Manager’s Advisory Committee will be based on their ability to represent the diversity of the Cambridge community. The final group of committed participants selected will be broadly representative of many backgrounds including: small/local business community, large business community, non-profit community, neighborhood associations, higher education, arts community, primary/secondary education, public health and human services, housing advocacy, faith community, new immigrant/under represented communities, youth community, senior community, LGBTQ+ community, and mobility community (bike/transit/pedestrian).
Applicants should be Cambridge residents or individuals with a strong connection with the City.
For more information, contact Lee Gianetti, Director of Communication and Community Relations, at 617-349-3317 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters of interest, including resume and/or applicable experience, can be sent via email or mail by the deadline of Friday, February 17, 2017 to:
City Manager Louis A. DePasquale
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
City Manager Appoints Brent B. Larrabee as Acting Commissioner of the Cambridge Police Department
Jan 9, 2017
To the Honorable, the City Council:
Effective Jan 9, 2017, I am appointing Brent B. Larrabee as Acting Commissioner of the Cambridge Police Department. Mr. Larrabee is taking over for Acting Commissioner Christopher Burke who is retiring on Jan 6, 2017 after 32 years of service on the Cambridge Police Department and 8 months as Acting Commissioner. Incoming Acting Commissioner Larrabee is expected to serve for the next 6-8 months until a permanent Commissioner is appointed, a position that he is not pursuing.
Brent Larrabee holds a Master of Public Administration from Framingham State College, has assisted in the selection of numerous Massachusetts Chiefs of Police, and has served as:
- Chief of Police, East Haven, CT Police Department (February 2012-June 2016);
- Chief of Police, Stamford, CT Police Department (2005-2010);
- Interim Chief of Police, Westwood, MA Police Department, (2003); and
- Chief of Police, Framingham, MA Police Department (1987-2001)
Former Commissioner Haas has known and worked with Brent Larrabee for many years. He highly respects him and strongly recommended Brent for appointment as Acting Commissioner for the Cambridge Police Department.
Very truly yours, Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager
New Year at City Hall - Jan 9, 2017 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights
It's a relatively short agenda to open the new year, but there are some notable items:
Manager's Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Acting Police Commissioner Brent B. Larrabee, effective Jan 9, 2017.
Even if we'll have Acting Commissioner Larrabee for just the next 6-8 months, he comes highly recommended by former Commissioner Robert Haas. That's all I need to hear to know that the Police Department is in good hands.
Manager's Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt with suggested modifications, the zoning amendments to Article 19.000 related to lighting in project review.
This is a reasonable proposal and the modifications suggested by the Planning Board make sense. Nonetheless, the alarmists are out in full force arguing against reason. One message posted on a listserv states, "If you do not want Las Vegas style lights in Cambridge, if you believe you have the right to some darkness at night, you need to, once again, email your councillors right now." Yeah, right. Las Vegas here we come. Let's see if the tail wags the dog Monday night.
Manager's Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt with some minor modifications, the Central Square Restoration Zoning Petition (Sater, et al).
I haven't yet heard any serious objections to this zoning petition. It's a very moderate step forward that may yield positive benefits for housing and retail in the Central Square area. It does not preclude further modifications that might one day emerge from the Envision Cambridge process.
Charter Right #2. City Council support of asking the Cambridge Historical Commission to initiate a landmark designation study process on the Abbott Building in Harvard Square. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Dec 19, 2016.]
Most of us want to see the exterior of this structure remain essentially as it is today - regardless of any changes in tenancy within the building. The word is that Curious George will find a new home nearby. One striking lesson from the Dec 19 City Council meeting discussion on this subject was that this area already has substantial protections as a neighborhood conservation district, and landmarking of this building really adds no additional protection. The issue, however, has become a political rallying point, so I don't expect the City Council to exercise good sense here. There are important discussions that are needed regarding the future of Harvard Square, but this isn't one of them. I would be much more thrilled if we could focus just a little attention on the detrimental effect of foreign investors treating this area and all of Cambridge as just a place to shelter their assets. Some of us actually live here - and not just for the investment value.
Communications and Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a communication from Councillor Nadeem Mazen, relating to Council Goals and capacity building for the Community Development Department.
The City Council is long overdue in their periodic goal-setting process, and I imagine more than a few of them would like to address this sooner than later. Regarding whether the Community Development Department is understaffed or if there's a need for a "vision statement for how CDD will run differently in the year 2020", I look forward to hearing what City staff and the rest of the city councillors may have to say on the matter. - Robert Winters
Featured recent stories in the Cambridge Chronicle (the paper of record):
T.T. The Bear's owner could lose $225k if license buyer can't be found (Jan 13, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Bikers, water officials clash over trails (Jan 13, 2017 by Gerry Tuoti)
Could advocates' merger boost Cambridge small businesses? (Jan 13, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Retired fire captain spends half-century documenting Cambridge's fire history (Jan 12, 2017 by Amy Saltzman)
Late Danvers coach Kevin Flynn follows the blueprint of his Matignon mentor (Jan 11, 2017 by Joe McConnell)
Councilors attack delays to Central Square revitalization (Jan 11, 2017 by Monica Jimenez)
Crimson Corner looks to relocate, owner says he was forced out (Jan 9, 2017 by James Sanna)
Pizzeria seeking to open in Crimson Corner space (Jan 6, 2017)
Councilors divided on aggressiveness of affordable housing push (Jan 6, 2017 by Bill Whelan)
Cambridge Rindge girls basketball sets sights on another state tourney (Jan 4 by Wayne Gethers)
Employers warn $15 minimum wage would be costly (Jan 3, 2017 by Colin A. Young, State House News Service)
Alanna Mallon Announces Run For City Council
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, some speculation that he may not seek 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|
|Nadeem Mazen||9/20/1983||34||720 Mass. Ave. #4, 02139||incumbent, first elected in 2013|
|Jan Devereux||5/13/1959||58||255 Lakeview Ave., 02138||incumbent, first elected in 2015|
|Quinton Zondervan||9/15/1970||47||235 Cardinal Madeiros Ave., 02141||privately announced, registered with OCPF|
|Alanna Marie Mallon||12/6/1970||46||3 Maple Ave., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|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||not yet announced, but registered with OCPF|
|Olivia D'Ambrosio||9/13/1983||34||270 3rd Street #305, 02142||not yet announced, but registered with OCPF|
|Theodora Marie Skeadas||8/16/1990||27||988 Memorial Drive #185, 02138||not yet announced, but registered with OCPF|
|Sam Gebru||11/20/1991||25||812 Memorial Dr., 02139||announced, registered with OCPF|
|Dennis Benzan||1/25/1972||45||1 Pine St., 02139||served 2014-15, speculated that he'll seek reelection, but may choose to remain in private sector|
|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|
|Greg Moree||6/16/1957||60||25 Fairfield St. #4, 02140||perennial candidate|
|Ilan Levy||11/1/1967||50||148 Spring St. 02141||ran in 2015, seems to be planning to do it again|
|Sean Tierney||3/10/1985||32||12 Prince St., 02139||considering a City Council run|
|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, speculation he may run for City Council|
|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|
Jan 10 - 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
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 199 (Jan 17, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Voter turnout 2016, Envision Cambridge, Village Green Preservation Society.
|Episode 200 (Jan 17, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Campaign finance 2015, comments on 200th Anniversary show.
|Episode 197 (Jan 10, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Outdoor lighting, Central Square, Harvard Square, and emerging candidates for the 2017 municipal election
|Episode 198 (Jan 10, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: Outdoor lighting, Central Square, Harvard Square, and emerging candidates for the 2017 municipal election
|Episode 195 (Jan 3, 2017, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: civic infrastructure, slates, new candidates, etc.
|Episode 196 (Jan 3, 2017, 6:00pm)
Topics: unfinished business
|Episode 193 (Dec 27, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Looking Back at 2016
|Episode 194 (Dec 27, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Looking Back at 2016 (continued); Looking Ahead to 2017 (including names of some new candidates)
|Episode 191 (Dec 20, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Dec 19 City Council meeting; meeting on Harvard Square development & preservation
|Episode 192 (Dec 20, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Participatory Budgeting winners; a 1987 poem about Central Square; Little Free Libraries for Central Square; and the upcoming Zero Waste Plan.
|Episode 189 (Dec 6, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topic: Berkshire Street fire.
|Episode 190 (Dec 6, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Speed limit reduction to 25mph, Participatory Budgeting, Central Square Restoration Petition.
|Episode 187 (Nov 29, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Lucius Paige; possible late night MBTA bus service; MIT development plans and potential at MIT/Kendall, the Volpe site, the northwest campus, and at Mass. Ave.; Cambridge Boards & Commissions; and Monday's Roundtable meeting on Cambridge's status as a Sanctuary City.
|Episode 188 (Nov 29, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Sanctuary City; Central Square Restoration Petition; recent meetings of the Central Square Advisory Committee and the Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee
|Episode 185 (Nov 22, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Sanctuary cities, non-citizen voting
|Episode 186 (Nov 22, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Bicycle Safety Plan, Inclusionary Zoning, Harvard Square future
|Episode 183 (Nov 15, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Local election results; Louis DePasquale takes the oath of Office
|Episode 184 (Nov 15, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: David Maher to move to Chamber of Commerce; Ranked Choice Voting wins in Maine
|Episode 181 (Nov 1, 2016, 5:30pm) [materials]
Topics: Recap of Oct 31 City Council meeting
|Episode 182 (Nov 1, 2016, 6:00pm)
Topics: Recap of Oct 31 City Council meeting
Cambridge Civic/Political Review 2016
May 7 - Moving Day at MIT celebrating the 100th Anniversary of MIT's move from Boston across the river to Cambridge
June 4 - Cambridge River Festival along Cambridge Parkway and Lechmere Canal.
Aug 25 - The 2016 Oldtime Baseball Game at St. Peter's Field on Sherman St. in North Cambridge
March 12 - Under the guidance of Coach Lance Dottin, Cambridge defeated Lowell by a score of 54-38 to win the Division 1 North Championship.
March 14 - At the Boston Garden, the Falcons won over Catholic Memorial in the semifinals by a score of 77-73.
March 19 - In Springfield, Cambridge defeated St. John's by a score of 66-51 to win the Division 1 State Championship.
Retirements and Appointments (just a few significant ones of many):
Police Commissioner Robert Haas retired and Police Superintendent Christopher J. Burke was appointed as Acting Police Commissioner, effective May 8, 2016.
Retirement of Terry Dumas, Director of the Planning and Development Department for over 25 years and as a staff member for a total of 33 years at the Cambridge Housing Authority.
On July 1, CPS welcomed Dr. Kenneth Salim as the new Superintendent of Schools succeeding Jeffrey Young.
Appointments by the City Council:
Mar 11 - Announcement by Richard Rossi that he would not seek a contract extension as City Manager.
Nov 14 - Oath of Office for Louis DePasquale as Cambridge City Manager
Deaths (only a few of the significant passings this year):
Mar 28 - Death of Election Commissioner Peter Sheinfeld.
April 14 - Death of Suzanne Schell Pearce.
June 25 - Murder of Anthony Clay on Harvard Street
In the wider world, let's take special note of the passing of musicians David Bowie (Jan 10), Glenn Frey (Jan 17), Paul Kantner (Jan 28), Keith Emerson (Mar 11), Prince (Apr 21), Leonard Cohen (Nov 10), Leon Russell (Nov 13), and Greg Lake (Dec 7).
Politics and Elections:
Inauguration of City Council and School Committee
One new city councillor: Jan Devereux
Election of the Mayor (Denise Simmons) and Vice Mayor (Marc McGovern)
Two new School Committee members: Manikka Bowman and Emily Dexter
Election of School Committee Vice Chair (Fred Fantini)
March 1 Presidential Primary (Super Tuesday)
September State Primary: Connolly defeats Toomey; Jehlen defeats Cheung
November 8 - Election of "He Who Shall Not Be Named" as President
Initiative Petition on Lifting of Cap on Charter School Defeated
Initiative Petition on Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Narrowly Wins
David Maher selected as next President & CEO of Cambridge Chamber of Commerce
Day-to-Day Stuff and Around Town:
The Plastic Bag Ban went into effect on March 31.
Sept 19 - DPW Commissioner Owen O'Riordan reported on issues relating to the implementation of the Polystyrene Ordinance.
October - Harvard dining hall workers strike over wages, benefits (Cambridge Chronicle, by Amy Saltzman)
Cambridge and much of eastern Massachusetts suffered a severe drought that required Cambridge to purchase water from the MBTA so that the Cambridge reservoirs would not fall below critical levels. [October 31 Committee Report].
Dec 14 - Participatory Budgeting Results Announced
|Early Voting Location||Oct 24||Oct 25||Oct 26||Oct 27||Oct 28||Oct 29||Oct 31||Nov 1||Nov 2||Nov 3||Nov 4||Total|
|Main Library (449 Broadway)||619||396||465||262||289||688||483||376||624||436||848||5486|
|Election Commission (51 Inman St.)||576||399||465||304||304||401||532||399||571||455||564||4970|
|O'Neill Library (Rindge Ave.)||387||208||302||171||207||373||273||216||395||279||478||3289|
|Water Department (at Fresh Pond)||368||207||218||131||157||429||233||216||348||254||474||3035|
|Police Department (East Cambridge)||290||186||225||93||104||263||251||205||349||260||508||2734|
June 13 - City Council Order asking to explore voter reward options for municipal elections.
June 20 - City Council Order to hold hearings of the Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration, and the Government Operations committee to discuss different models for campaign finance reform and publicly-funded municipal elections in Cambridge.
Nov 7 - City Council Order asking opinion of City Solicitor on the possibility of allowing non-citizen Cambridge residents to vote in municipal elections without a home-rule petition. [This Order was subsequently amended to actually send such a Home Rule Petition to the State Legislature without holding any hearings or debate on the proposal.]
Civics and Government:
Envision Cambridge continues: Workshops, Outreach, Appointment of Advisory Committees, Committee Meetings, Updates
Charter School Roundtable and Ballot Question [Divide widens on Question 2 in Cambridge (Cambridge Chronicle, by Natalie Handy)]
Mar 21 - The City Council adopted the Complete Streets Policy and Council Order.
Mar 21 - The City Council adopted a Policy Order committing Vision Zero, a set of goals of eliminating transportation fatalities and serious injuries.
Apr 25 - City Council Order requested information on the feasibility of waiving the motor vehicle excise tax for electric vehicles.
Apr 25 - City Council Order asking if any progress has been made on the willingness of the City of Cambridge (and local developers) to contribute to a successful Green Line Extension.
May 9 - City Manager Richard Rossi communicates to City Council that City intends to commit $25 million toward successful completion of the Green Line Extension (GLX) Project. Somerville will commit $50 million and Medford will also commit funds.
May 31 - Waverly Path Project Opening Celebration
June 9 - Grand Opening of the first phase (Main Street to Broadway along Galileo Galilei Way) of the Grand Junction Pathway.
June 20 - Communication from Richard C. Rossi regarding the acquisition of two parcels of the Watertown Branch railroad from B&M Corporation for the purpose of creating a future multi-use path and greenway.
June 22 - City presentation of possible reconfigurations for Inman Square roadways
June 27 - City Council Order regarding feasibility of the City of Cambridge filing its own home rule petition to reduce local speed limits (as Boston was then also seeking to do).
Sept 12 - City Council Order prematurely call for declaring all residential zones in Cambridge to be “Safety Zones” with 20mph speed limits and all office and business zones reduced to 25mph. [Council adopted state's enabling legislation two months later and set citywide 25mph speed limit.]
Sept 12 - City Council Order asking City Solicitor and other relevant City departments to report back to the City Council on next steps on how to go about lowering our speed limits as well as the timeline for these actions.
Sept 12 - City Council Order seeking to increase the parking permit fee and consider other changes to towards reducing vehicle miles traveled and promoting alternative forms of transportation.
Sept 26 - City Manager Richard Rossi conveys City's Agreement with MassDOT and MBTA regarding funding contribution agreement for Green Line Extension Project.
Oct 17 - City Council Order seeking to form a Vision Zero Working Group comprised of staff from the relevant City departments and residents to collaboratively develop and review traffic safety plans, street designs, public education initiatives, traffic enforcement and related policies with the shared goal of eliminating crashes that result in serious injuries and deaths as quickly as possible.
Oct 17 - City Council Order seeking to restrict the routes of travel and delivery hours of oversized trucks on City streets.
Nov 7 - City Council adopts Chapter 218 of the Acts of 2016, “An Act Modernizing Municipal Finance and Government”, Sections 193 and 194 giving municipalities the authority to reduce speed limits on all ways other than state highways.
Dec 8 - Speed Limit on City-Owned Streets Reduced to 25mph
City of Cambridge implements component of Vision Zero Initiative
Bicycle Specific Blitz of No-Process Orders:
Sept 12 - City Council Order asking for hearing of Transportation and Public Utilities Committee to discuss how City staff review use of bike infrastructure to determine what works, what does not work and what could be improved and to specifically discuss the possibility of making the Western Avenue cycle track a two-direction bike facility.
Oct 17 - City Council Order seeking information from Community Development Department and the Cambridge Police Commissioner on specific recommendations and measures the City should consider in order to prevent future bicycle accidents and fatalities from occurring, and to make our streets safer for bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians.
Oct 17 - City Council Order calling for pilot system of flex-post separated bike lanes and intersections, along Massachusetts Avenue, Hampshire Street, and Cambridge Street.
Oct 17 - City Council Order to schedule hearing of Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee to discuss the possibility of adding a bike-bus lane to Pearl Street and any measures that can be taken to accommodate on-street parking preferences of residents.
Oct 17 - City Council Order asking to include separated bicycle facilities or adjacent off-street paths in any plans for reconstructing all or part of Massachusetts Avenue.
Oct 17 - City Council Order seeking a pilot program of segregated bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue between Cedar Street and Harvard Square; on Cambridge Street between Inman Square and Quincy Street; and on Broadway between Prospect Street and Quincy Street.
Oct 17 - City Council Order asking for segregated bike lanes on both sides of Huron Avenue for the full length of its reconstruction.
Nov 7 - City Council Order seeking a deadline of Nov 1, 2017 for fully implementing the various street improvements and safety measures for increasing bicycle safety that were passed during the Oct 17, 2016 meeting.
Jan 11 - Ordination of Barrett Petition to modify zoning relating to Accessory Apartments and Basement Space
Apr 11 - Inclusionary Housing Study followed by many hearings of the City Council's Housing Committee
[Aug 11 Committee Reports: Report #1, Report #11, Report #12]
The proposals are now before the Ordinance Committee with action expected in early 2017.
Multiple Medical Marijuana Dispensaries filed zoning petitions for favorable sites.
The City Council is currently attempting to address this by alter the allowed uses in certain business zones.
Aug 1 - City Council Order seeking update on the status of the Classification of Commercial Land Use and Recommendations Study.
Sept 12 - The Classification of Commercial Land Use and Recommendations study is reported to the City Council
This may play a significant role in 2017 if the City Council chooses (as is expected) to update the "Table of Uses" for the various business zones in the city.
The series of marijuana dispensary zoning matters plus the recent initiative petition regarding recreation marijuana and potential retail stores may necessitate this discussion.
Aug 1 - Committee Report of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee on topic of possible formation of a special working group tasked with developing a framework for the continued stewardship, curatorship and oversight of the Out of Town News Kiosk in Harvard Square.
Sept 12 - City Council Order asking Historical Commission to produce a new status report that reviews the Harvard Square Conservation District’s effectiveness since 2005, and that considers whether new zoning regulations may be necessary to fulfill the community’s goals.
Oct 17 - Committee Report of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee on the redesign of the Out of Town News Kiosk.
The year ended with significant activism regarding the future of Harvard Square and specifically the plans for the Abbot Building (Curious George) and neighboring buildings recently purchased with plans for significant alterations. The status of some major vacant spaces, esp. the Harvard Square Cinema, have also been central to this discussion.
Dec 19 - Ordinance Committee Report on zoning petition submitted by Nabil Sater, et al to amend the Zoning Ordinances in the Central Square Overlay District, Section 20.300 (a.k.a. - the Central Square Restoration Petition). This petition received unanimous approval by the Planning Board at its initial hearing.
Kendall Square and Nearby:
Sept 12 - Notification from City Manager of approval of the Kendall Square Foundry Development Partners as the development entity for the Foundry.
This was followed by irate reaction from at least one city councillor. [Councilor calls Foundry process egregious; city manager says project not finalized (Cambridge Chronicle, by Adam Sennott)]
The latest word is that the entire process is being restarted.
Volpe Working Group Formed
Oct 3 - As part of the City's continuing effort to plan for the future redevelopment of the Volpe National Transportation Research Center site in Kendall Square, the City Manager has appointed a "Volpe Working Group" consisting of residents of the surrounding neighborhoods - East Cambridge, the Port, and Wellington-Harrington - along with representatives of the Kendall Square business community and other community stakeholders.
Nov 15 - MIT tapped to redevelop Volpe Center in Cambridge (Boston Globe)
Dec 3 - The Berkshire Street Fire
The Dec 3, 2016 fire in the Harrington/Wellington/East Cambridge neighborhoods caused significant damage to six buildings, and fire or water damage to at least five others.
Initial estimates were that there were 48 displaced families, representing 104 individuals, registered with the Red Cross of Massachusetts.
The public can donate to the Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund online at www.cambridgema.gov/firefund or by sending a check to:
Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund
Cambridge City Hall
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
By all accounts, the City, many relief agencies, and a tremendous number of individuals really stepped up to the plate to assist others in the wake of this catastrophic event.
Other City Council Initiatives:
June 13 - City Council Order asking that the Mayor convene a Task Force charged with establishing recommendations for the City Council on what the ideal minimum wage in Cambridge should be, and how to best implement this increase without creating unintended consequences in Cambridge or elsewhere.
There were various hearings and other meetings on the recommendations from the Outdoor Lighting Task Force (and related proposals for zoning changes) that address the potential detrimental impact of outdoor lighting and propose solutions that diminish existing problems and address problems that may be created by new development. [Report][Proposed Ordinance]. The Task Force was appointed Dec 2, 2013 and was originally expected to complete its report and draft Ordinance by Spring 2014. It took a lot longer than that with many different iterations of the proposed Ordinance.
June 20 - City Council Order calling for a joint hearing of the Public Safety and Housing Committees for the purpose of gathering testimony from stakeholders in the City regarding the impact of short-term rentals on our communities with a view in mind to draft an ordinance that meets the goals outlined above, and to refer that proposed ordinance to the Ordinance Committee at the appropriate time.
Councillor Kelley's June 20 Communication on "Short-Term Rentals in Cambridge: An Overview of Current Usage and Patterns as well as Policy Recommendations".
Aug 1 - Committee Report of Public Safety Committee and Housing Committee on the presence and impact of short-term rental units (Airbnb, FlipKey, VRBO, etc.) in Cambridge.
Broadband Task Force:
Sept 26 - Broadband Task Force recommendations and Tilson Report.
One estimate is that it would cost $187 million dollars to build such a network with no guarantee that customers would leave Comcast or another Internet service provider in favor of such a new network.
June 13 - City Manager's recommendation that the City Council approve an Order to take the property at 859 Massachusetts Avenue by eminent domain at a cost of $1,363,875. (This would be a friendly taking from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce.)
June 20 - City Council approves this taking and related expenditure. City Manager Richard Rossi explained at the meeting that the facilities study as well as the $5 million renovation cost will cover three buildings - the newly acquired 859 Mass. Ave. building as well as 831 Mass. Ave. (the Lombardi Building) and 3 Bigelow St. (currently used for transitional housing). It is anticipated that 859 Mass. Ave. will be used for housing and 3 Bigelow St. will be converted to municipal uses and possibly joined to an expanded 831 Mass. Ave.
Sept 26 - After multiple City Council Orders calling for the City to take the long-derelict Vail Court property on Bishop Allen Drive, the City Manager brought in a recommendation and plan to take Vail Court by eminent domain. This was approved by the City Council, and the cost is now being challenged by the previous property owners.
Now, on to 2017 - a municipal election year!
January Programs at Fresh Pond Reservation
These events are FREE and open to the public. Children are welcome in the company of an adult.
|Winter Nature Storytime
Dates: 2nd & 4th Fridays, January 13 & 27, 10 to 11am
Location: Art Room at Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave
Join us for nature story time at Fresh Pond! Children and their caretakers are welcome to join us for some arts and crafts, followed by nature story time. We will read about winter and what humans and wildlife do during this time. Bring warm clothes and go for a winter walk after story time is over! Please feel free to contact Catherine Pedemonti at email@example.com to RSVP or with any questions. Directions: Enter 650 Concord Ave (the back building) and turn left. The art room is at the end of the hall on the first floor.
|Seasonal Walkabout at Lusitania Field
Date: Friday, January 20th, 10:30 to11:30am
Place: Meets at Maher parking lot, 650 Concord Ave.
We will monitor wildlife by sign, track, or presence, and make note of weather, state of plants, condition of water and other abiotic resources. On these monthly walks, help chart the seasonal changes of some of our most active wildlife spots, or simply come and enjoy the walk. Come dressed to be outdoors for the hour. Attend one or the series and develop your ability to take in more of the reservation. No dogs please! Extreme weather cancels. For more info or to RSVP, contact Ranger Jean at (508)-562-7605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Tree Scavenger Hunt
Date: Sunday, January 22nd, 1-2:30pm
Place: Please register for meeting location
Join us for a look at some of our trees in Kingsley Park and learn how to tell them apart in the winter based on buds, bark, and branching patterns. We’ll be outside for the first part of our program and then go inside, have some hot chocolate and talk about what we found. We’ll be walking off trail so come prepared! If the weather is extreme we’ll just change it up and do it inside. Please RSVP by January 19th to email@example.com.
|Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation Annual Meeting & Potluck Supper
Date: Sunday, January 22nd, 5 to 7pm
Place: Maynard Ecology Center, basement of Neville Place
Help us celebrate over fifteen years of educational programs and stewardship during the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation’s annual winter gathering! Enjoy good food, visit with other folks who love Fresh Pond, and learn about the activities of the Friends group. After the potluck supper, we will briefly review what we have accomplished this past year, then share ideas for future programs and projects at Fresh Pond in a relaxed roundtable discussion. Come and bring a friend. Newcomers are welcome. Please RSVP to Catherine Pedemonti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|“More Than Honey” Documentary Screening
Date: Monday, January 30th, 6 to 7:30pm
Place: First floor of Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave.
Taking a journey through the honeybee colonies in California, Switzerland, China, and Australia, this 2012 documentary explores the phenomenon known as “Colony Collapse Disorder”, and how it will impact humanity. Director and writer, Markus Imhoof travels from the different regions to interview beekeepers’ work to preserve their colonies. This documentary is well-researched, fascinating, and contains some amazing footage as well. Please email email@example.com for directions to meeting location.
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. Upcoming Programs
|A Remembrance of Chip Norton, Watershed Manager for the Cambridge Water Department:
|AMC Local Walks/Hikes - Come for a walk or hike with us.|
|Sat, Jan 21. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Jones Forest. 9:45am-noon. Meet at the Locke School parking lot, 110 Allan Road, Billerica. Easy two hour hike, offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club, to explore Jones Forest and the Country Club, by Shawsheen River. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintry conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.||Sat, Jan 21. Wompatuck State Park, Hingham. 10 mile hike w/lunch at scenic pond, 9:30am-2:00pm. Bring lunch/water/hiking shoes. Rte. 3 Exit 14 to Rte. 228N toward Hingham, 4 mi. to Wompatuck sign, then R on Free St. 1.3 mi. to visitor center pkg. lot. Email if severe weather. Bring traction devices/snow shoes if snow. L Mike Tuohey.|
|Sun, Jan 22. Beaver Brook, Hollis, NH. 1:00pm. Come out and enjoy a winter snowshoe/hike at Beaver Brook in Hollis, NH. This hike will be approximately 2 to 2.5 hours depending on trail conditions. We will plan on hiking along beautiful Beaver Brook trail. Bring snacks/water and plan on dressing in layers. Due to winter conditions, traction devices such as yak tracks, micro spikes are required, and if the snow is deep enough we will need snowshoes. Snow/rain or severe cold weather will cancel. L Judi Barthakur.||Sat, Jan 28. Hike Beautiful Billerica - The Fields. 9:45am-noon. Meet by the tennis courts of Boys and Girls Club aka Lampson Field aka Peggy Hannon-Rizza Recreation Complex, 1 Ed Hayes Way, Billerica. Easy two hour hike, offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club, to explore Narrow Gauge and B&M RR and Martina Gage conservation land. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintry conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.|
|Sat, Feb 4. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Warren Manning. 9:45am-noon. Meet by the Manning Manse aka Jon Ryan's Pub parking lot, 56 Chelmsford Road, Billerica. Easy two hour hike, offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club, through Warren Manning State Forest. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintry conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.||Sun, Feb 5. Powisett Farm, Dover. Snowshoe/walk, thru meadows, 1:00-3:00pm. Meet at grey barn. I-95/Rte. 128 Exit 16B to Rte. 109W for 1 mi., then R on Dover Rd. becomes Powisett Road. 2.5 mi. to Powisett Farm on left. Trustees of Reservation property. Rain cancels. L Jean Veigas.|
|Sat, Feb 11. Middlesex Fells, Winchester. Leader's Choice. Hike/snowshoe. Meet at Wedgmere RR Station (Lowell Line) 10:00am, return for 1:30pm train. Call or email Wed-Fri. to determine equipment. Bring water and lunch. From Route 3, take Church Street for 0.3 miles and turn right on Bacon Street. Continue 0.4 miles to parking lot on Mystic Valley Parkway. I-93 Exit 33 (Medford) to South Border Road. Head west 2.2 miles, then take Mystic Valley Parkway. Go 0.9 miles and turn right (Bacon Street) under tracks to parking lot on the left. Storm cancels. L Betsy Goeke.||Sat, Feb 18. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park. 9:45am-noon. Meet at the Vietnam Veteran's Park parking lot by the flag pole, Treble Cove Road, Billerica. Easy two hour hike, offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club, to explore Ralph Hill SVT Conservation Area and Concord River. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintry conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.|
|Sun, Feb 19. Nagog Pond & Sarah Doublet, Acton/Littleton. 9:30am-2:30pm. Meet at Grassy Hill parking lot off Nagog Hill Rd, Acton (see links below), S side of Nagog Hill Rd. From Rte. 2, exit Rte. 27 N toward Acton for 1.1mi., L Nagog Hill Rd. for 1.2mi to Grassy Pond pkg. area on L. This 7½ mi. route wanders through a portion of Acton's Nagog Hill area, hugs the shore of Nagog Pond, loops through the hilly Sarah Doublet area in Littleton where we plan to have lunch and offer an optional excursion to Fort Pond via a short spur trail. Our return covers the remaining portion of Nagog Pond. L Mark Levine.||Sun, Feb 19. Wild Wharton, Groton. 1:00pm-3:00pm. Come see this spectacular conservation area featuring beaver ponds, eskers, varied wetlands, upland forest, and hopefully lots of interesting animal tracks in the snow. Meet at the Dan Parker Road entrance on Martins Pond Rd / Rocky Hill Rd (42.6278N, 71.5234W). About 2 hours, moderate pace. L Olin Lathrop.|
|Mon, Feb 20. Blue Hills Ponkapoag Pond, Canton. Moderate pace 5-mi. hike/snowshoe around pond, 10:30am-2:00pm. Bring lunch & water. From Rte. 93/128 exit 2A, take Rte. 138 S 0.7 mi. to Ponkapoag Golf Course lot on L. If no snow, bring traction device for boots. L Beth Mosias.||Sat, Feb 25. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Summit Fox Hill. 9:45am-noon. Meet at Fox Hill Cemetery parking lot by the flag pole, 130 Andover Road, Billerica. Easy two hour hike, offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club, to explore Fox Hill. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintry conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.|
|Sat, Mar 4. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Two Brothers Rocks. 9:45am-12:30pm. Easy 2 ½ hour hike starts at 9:45 am. Offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Meet at River View Restaurant for breakfast at 8am, or park later, across the bridge, at Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge parking lot off Nashua Road, Billerica. Great Meadows, Concord River, and Governor Dudley Park. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintry conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.||Sat, Mar 11. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Historic Middlesex Canal. 9:45am-noon. Easy 2 hour hike. Meet at 9:45am to start walking at 10am. Offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Park across from the Faulkner Mill, by the Talbot dam (gazebo). Depending on conditions, explore the historic Middlesex Canal, north or south from the summit pond. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintry conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.|
|Sat, Mar 11. World's End Reservation, Hingham. 5 mile hike/snowshoe, 9:00am-noon. Bring snack/water. From Rte. 3 exit 14, take Rte. 228N 6.5 mi., L on Rte. 3A 1.0mi. to rotary, R on Summer St. 0.5 mi. to light, L on Martin's Lane to entr. $6 fee for non-members of the Trustees of Reservations. Storm cancels. L Beth Mosias.||Sat, Mar 18. Hike Beautiful Billerica - Rangeway Forest. 9:45am-12:30pm. Easy 2 ½ hour hike, offered through Billerica Recreation Department and sponsored by Friends of Billerica Recreation in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club, to explore connectivity with Chelmsford Russel Mill Town Forest and a historic segment of the Middlesex Turnpike. Focus on camaraderie and local history. Depending on wintery conditions, sturdy footwear, strap-on ice-grabbers or snowshoes recommended. Registration required. L Marlies Henderson.|
|Sun, Mar 19. Vivid Vistas, Groton. 1:00pm-3:00pm. Traverse the two highest points in Groton, both with open views. In between bagging 500 footers, see wild wetlands, beaver ponds, upland forests, and open meadows. Meet at Williams Barn (42.6264N, 71.5610W) on Chicopee Row. We'll carpool to the start, then hike back to Williams barn. About 2 hours, moderate pace. L Olin Lathrop.||Sat, Apr 1. Castle Island, South Boston. Fast-paced seven-mile scenic walk along ocean to Castle Island, 10:00am-1:30pm. Bring lunch and water. Meet inside JFK/UMass Red Line T station, upper level gates (no nearby parking). Storm cancels. No email after 3/31. No dogs; non-AMC members $1. L Beth Mosias.|
Yard Waste Pickup Ends December 16
Yard Waste Pickup Ends December 16
Holiday Changes for Trash/Recycling & Recycling Center
Due to the Holidays, there will be no trash/recycling collection on:
All curbside collection will be delayed by one day both weeks. The Recycling Center will be closed on Saturday, December 24, 2016.
Reducing Waste During the Holidays
Recycle in the Curbside Toter
Common Curbside Recycling Mistakes
Thanks for Getting Rid of It Right!
Holiday Drives: Donation and Reuse Opportunities
Mass. Ave. Diner, 906 Massachusetts Ave: Hosts a food drive through Dec. 22. See here for details.
The City Manager's Office and the Employees' Committee on Diversity: Collaborating on a Winter Coat and Accessories Drive to benefit CASPAR and help the homeless stay warm this winter. See here for more info.
"Secret Santa for Seniors" Gift Drive: Seekling gifts for Seniors. See here for more info.
Holiday Tree Collection and Composting
DPW will offer curbside collection of holiday trees from Dec 27, 2016- Jan 13, 2017, weather permitting. Remove all decorations and the stand. Place bare trees (no plastic bags) at the curb with your trash and recycling.
Missed curbside pickup? Residents can bring bare trees to the Recycling Center during open hours (Tues/Thurs 4pm-7:30pm and Sat 9am-4pm): Dec 27, 2016 - Jan 31, 2017.
Join Our Team!
Closing Down an Unusual Year - Dec 19, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda Notes
On the Table #1 and #2. Sidewalk sandwich board applications (CareWell Urgent Care, Esmeralda) languishing On the Table since being tabled by Councillor Devereux on Apr 25, 2016.
Applications & Petitions #1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. Applications and reapplications for sidewalk sandwich boards for Esmeralda, Honeycomb Creamery, Darwin's Ltd., Marimekko, and Mundo/Lux.
Normally I wouldn't even bother noting such minor goings-on, but when did the lowly sidewalk sandwich board become such a big deal? This year has been the Year of the Mountainous Molehill with the Cambridge City Council focusing excessively on advertising and identification signs on buildings, and on darkening as many lights as possible. We'll soon be a city of totally anonymous buildings that will only be identifiable via iPhone apps. Apparently the only signage that's completely OK is graffiti.
Bunches of Communications supporting the building of 100% affordable housing on the City-owned parking lots on Bishop Allen Drive.
Needless to say, all housing is affordable to someone. So the real question is what mix of household incomes should be represented in any new housing that may be constructed on these sites? Is segregating people by income the best strategy in the long term? The beauty of Inclusionary Zoning is that it integrates people of different income levels within the same buildings. I hope that any housing that may be created on these parking lots at leasts tries to achieve some sort of economic integration. Most of the communications posted in the agenda make no reference to economic integration. In fact, they bear all the signs of an organized effort - nearly identical phrases transcribed in response to an appeal from a single source.
Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Police Department and other relevant city departments to allow Officer Peter Neal to purchase Rumba upon his retirement. Councillor Cheung
This is a very nice gesture, but my understanding is that these police dogs (and I've met them all) were trained as bomb-sniffers at some expense and may not yet be eligible for retirement. If Rumba is nearing retirement age, I hope she gets a generous pension of dog bones and biscuits and gets to live happily ever after with Officer Neal.
Order #2. City Council support of asking the Cambridge Historical Commission to initiate a landmark designation study process on the Abbott Building in Harvard Square. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern
We all want to see the bones of Harvard Square kept somewhat intact even as new owners and new businesses replace others, and this building is certainly deserving of landmark status. That said, some alteration could still make for a better project. There is, however, something backwards about landmarking only after plans have been submitted. Wouldn't it make more sense to identify and landmark buildings (or entire areas) before they are purchased for redevelopment?
During a recent hearing on Harvard Square that was inspired by this development proposal, one public commenter offered an interesting proposal to create a mid-block alley through this property that would extend Palmer Street and serve as an interesting entryway to any businesses in this building. That would certainly disrupt the "historic facade" of the building, but it was an interesting idea that would be consistent with the many other alleyways and connections that are abundant in Harvard Square. Personally, I just hope that any displaced businesses can be accommodated somewhere in the greater Harvard Square area, though we would certainly welcome them in Central Square or another Cambridge location.
Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Dec 1, 2016 to discuss the zoning petition submitted by Nabil Sater, et al to amend the Zoning Ordinances in the Central Square Overlay District, Section 20.300.
This petition - the Central Square Restoration Petition - received unanimous approval by the Planning Board at its initial hearing. It usually takes at least two meetings, so that's at least one measure of the quality of this petition. Central Square, however, has always been a political football, so I expect that some councillors will try to modify the petition in some ways, hopefully positive ways, in order to get their fingerprints on the football. It's worth noting that the Planning Board characterized this petition as a good interim measure and made it quite clear that other changes to the zoning in Central Square might be forthcoming as the Envision Cambridge process navigates its way through the next couple of years.
Central Square is a Grandma
Poem "Central Square is a Grandma"
contributed by Judy Nathans
Nov 15, 2016 - MIT tapped to redevelop Volpe Center in Cambridge (Boston Globe)
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 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
April 2, 2016 - Yet another fun April Fool's Day
April 2, 2015 - Another fun April Fool's Day
April 2, 2013 - Well, that was fun. Thanks to everyone for being such a sport on April Fool's Day.
Central Square Advisory Committee 2011/2012 Recommendations (Nov 28, 2012)
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"