Cambridge InsideOut - January 26, 2016

5:30pm – Current issues (see below)

6:00pm – Part 1 of Tip O’Neill 1992 interview from original Cambridge: Inside Out


  1. Appointment of City Council subcommittees - expected at Feb 1 meeting with possible changes in either number of committees or statement of purpose
    One issue is whether Council Committees should be guided by the charge of the committee or the agenda of its Chair (which can be a BIG problem).
  2. Deadline for Envision Cambridge applications extended to Monday, February 1.
    Cambridge Housing Authority deadline Friday, Jan 29; BZA deadline Friday, Feb 12
  3. New Open Meeting Portal for City Council and eventually other City public meetings - It's complicated in some ways, but pretty good in other ways. It takes a little getting used to it, but it should ultimately make it easier to track the progress and disposition of things.
  4. iReport discontinued and replaced by Commonwealth Connect (for web and devices)
  5. School Committee Budget Subcommittee meeting  (Jan 26, 6-8pm,Attles Meeting Room, CRLS)
  6. Jan 26 Planning Board (7:00pm) – Revision of Rules and Regulations, esp. re: pre-meetings
  7. Planning Board – Town-Gown Reports on Tues, Feb 2, 7:00pm at Central Square Senior Center
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lesley University, and Harvard University
  8. Cambridge Redevelopment Authority announces the second year of the FORWARD FUND
  9. Cambridge Launches New Snow Center Website
  10. March 1, 2016 Presidential Primary; last day to register to vote is Wednesday, February 10, 2016 [More information]

Items from Jan 25 City Council meeting

Order #1. City Council support of H.3933 which will create a parity between the effective tax rates paid by the richest and poorest in Massachusetts.   Councillor Toomey

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to communicate the Cambridge City Council’s full support of the Cambridge Housing Authority's proposed project funding to the Commonwealth and MassDevelopment and to convey the immediacy of the Cambridge Housing Authority’s need in requesting that the Commonwealth approve tax-exempt bond financing without delay.   Councillor Cheung, Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to coordinate with the appropriate City departments to report back with a rough estimate of capital and operating expenditures for a pilot City of Cambridge tool library for the year 2017.   Councillor Mazen, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a response to amend Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by Kim Courtney and Xavier Dietrich dated Jan 5, 2016.
Communications & Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a response to an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by Hasson Rashid dated Jan 8, 2016.

Shoo, fly. When well-meaning laws like the Open Meeting Law degenerate into vehicles for malcontents to act out their psychological issues, it's time for the State Legislature to consider amending the laws to better respect their intended purpose. City officials should not be required to waste their time on complaints such as the two listed above. - RW

Perhaps we can speak more generally of where the whole "Envision Cambridge" citywide planning process might lead or should lead, what the potential pitfalls are, and what some of the best outcomes might be.

There's lots to work with here - especially in regard to ensuring that all voices and interests are represented in the process. I attended some of the Growth Planning meetings in the early 1990s where there was some good effort spent trying to get appropriate representation even though the process wasn't nearly as public as I'm guessing the upcoming one will be. - RW