Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

July 25, 2015

Cambridge Jazz Festival – July 26th, 2015 from Noon to 6pm

Filed under: Central Square — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 7:20 pm

Cambridge Jazz Festival – July 26th, 12-6pm

Cambridge Jazz Festival - July 26Enjoy a day of free jazz at the second annual Cambridge Jazz Festival on Sunday, July 26th from 12-6 at University Park at MIT (Sidney Street, down the street from Mass Ave. at University Park Common). www.cambridgejazzfestival.org

Featured Musicians:

Cambridge Native Nnenna Freelon is a singer, composer and arranger who has been nominated for six Grammy Awards and has performed with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Diana Krall, and Herbie Hancock among others. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and the Kennedy Center and has been described as "a spell-binding professional, who rivets attention with her glorious, cultivated voice and canny stagecraft"

Drummer Ron Savage is the chair of the Ensemble Department at the Berklee College of Music, and is a Co-Founder of the Cambridge Jazz Festival. Ron and his trio will be collaborating with Nneena Freelon to perform a salute to Billie Holliday at this year’s Festival.

JoAnne Brackeen is consistently rated as one of the best jazz pianists in the world. She has “consistently defied convention, remaking herself and her art many times over” from her early roots in the Bebop scene of the 1950’s and is a “legendary player of immense stature.”

Eguie Castrillo is latin percussionist and Grammy Award winner who has performed and recorded with Tito Puente, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Winwood and toured with Arturo Sandoval. He will be appearing with his sizzling international band “The Latin Jazz Connection”.

Laszlo Gardony is a unique classically-trained ‘jazz architect’ who also has roots in progressive rock, blues, Appalachian and American folk music. He’s been praised by Dave Brubeck for his “fluid pianism”. All About Jazz put him “on par with Bill Evans”.

July 20, 2015

Cambridge Municipal Election Candidates – 2015

The following candidates have pulled nomination papers:

Cambridge City Council Candidates - 2015 (updated July 27, 8:00pm)

LastFirstaddresszipbirthdateoccuppapersvalid signatures
SimmonsE. Denise188 Harvard St. #4B0213910/2/1951Public OfficeJuly 184
BenzanDennis1 Pine St.021391/25/1972AttorneyJuly 186
vanBeuzekomMinka20 Essex St. #1021397/24/1960GovernmentJuly 146
DavidsonMariko2 Ware St. #4110213811/20/1981July 146
ToomeyTimothy88 6th St.021416/7/1953CouncillorJuly 199
DegoesPlinio99 Garden St.021382/10/1981TeacherJuly 184
DevereuxJan255 Lakeview Ave.021385/13/1959Writer/CommunicationsJuly 191
CarrasquilloSantos188 Harvard St. #3B0213910/15/1969July 10
MoreeGregg25 Fairfield St. #4021406/16/1957CarpenterJuly 10
MaherDavid120 Appleton St. #2021388/8/1958Non-profit Mgr.July 196
McGovernMarc15 Pleasant St. #20213912/21/1968Social WorkerJuly 192
CourtneyKim2 Ware St. #4010213812/6/1973AttorneyJuly 161
CheungLeland157 Garden St.021382/11/1978July 152
MelloGary324 Franklin St. #2021395/24/1953ClerkJuly 164
KelleyCraig6 Saint Gerard Ter. #2021409/18/1962PoliticianJuly 10
WilliamsonJames1000 Jackson Pl. #45021401/13/1951July 141
MazenNadeem720 Mass. Ave. #4021399/20/1983EntrepreneurJuly 20
CarloneDennis9 Washington Ave. #6021405/7/1947ArchitectJuly 247
MahoneyPaul F.23 Lawn St.021385/8/1950July 20
SanzoneJohn540 Memorial Dr. #3040213910/16/1988July 20
WaiteRomaine60 Lawn St. #5021386/7/1991July 273
PhillipsLesley R.1643 Cambridge St. #52021397/18/1945ClergyJuly 287
DietrichXavier2 Ware St. #4010213812/2/1961July 1354
LevyIlan148 Spring St.0214111/1/1967Software EngineerJuly 130
HersheyLee Lynn469 Windsor St. #2021411/12/1989July 150
BrownDouglas35 Standish St. #1021382/11/1968Production ManagerJuly 200
ConnollyMike20 Harding St. #3021416/3/1980July 2457

50 valid signatures are needed to have candidate’s name placed on the municipal ballot.

Cambridge School Committee Candidates - 2015 (updated July 27, 8:00pm)

LastFirstaddresszipbirthdateoccuppapersvalid signatures
FantiniAlfred B.4 Canal Pk. #203021416/8/1949RetiredJuly 198
HardingRichard189 Windsor St. #10213910/16/1972AdministratorJuly 181
BowmanManikka134 Reed St.0214011/27/1979July 189
KellyKathleen17 Marie Ave. #1021393/8/1960Social WorkerJuly 192
WeinstenDavid45 S. Normandy Ave.0213812/10/1972Writer/CommunicationsJuly 134
CrutchfieldJake281 River St.021393/31/1987TeacherJuly 153
KadeteElechi10 Laurel St. #4021399/30/1989AccountantJuly 157
CroninFran1 Kimball Ln.021402/14/1952School CommitteeJuly 184
NolanPatricia184 Huron Ave.021388/28/1957School CommitteeJuly 160
CisterninoPia62 Holworthy St. #1021388/28/1974PathologistJuly 20
DexterEmily9 Fenno St.021383/16/1957ResearchJuly 1398

50 valid signatures are needed to have candidate’s name placed on the municipal ballot.

July 21 – Mervan Osborne will not seek reelection to the Cambridge School Committee.

Vote!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

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates

Filed under: 2015 Election,Cambridge,campaign finance,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 8:25 pm

Vote!This year (2015) is a municipal election year and new candidates are already emerging. Just to get the ball rolling, here is where the campaign accounts stand for incumbents and known challengers for Cambridge City Council. This information will be updated as the year progresses.

It will be interesting to see how the new individual contribution limit of $1000/year (up from $500/year) affects campaign receipts and expenditures.

City Council Campaign Finance - 2015 (updated July 23)

CandidatesStartEndOpenReceiptsExpendBalanceNotes
Benzan, Dennis1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$8207.45$23625.00$13480.62$18351.84
Brown, Douglas20-Jul-1520-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00Has not yet opened depository account
Carlone, Dennis1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$4272.67$6917.96$300.00$10890.63$850 refunded donations subtracted
Carrasquillo, Santos1-Jul-1515-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00Has not yet opened depository account
Cheung, Leland1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$6002.06$29047.90$12231.73$22818.23
Connolly, Mike23-Jul-1523-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00
Courtney, Kim1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$0.00$1472.91$1260.03$212.88
Davidson, Mariko25-Jun-1515-Jul-15$0.00$732.00$19.98$712.02
DeGoes, Plineo16-Jun-1515-Jul-15$0.00$1450.00$949.73$500.27
Devereux, Jan1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$0.00$26246.35$22171.43$4074.92$500 refunded donation subtracted
Dietrich, Xavier13-Jul-1515-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00Has not yet opened depository account
Hershey, Lee15-Jul-1515-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00Has not yet opened depository account
Kelley, Craig1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$2601.58$1873.59$259.38$4215.79
Levy, Ilan13-Jul-1513-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00Has not yet opened depository account
Maher, David1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$28741.21$5150.00$5727.59$28163.62
Mahoney, Paul F.2-Jul-1515-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00Has not yet opened depository account
Mazen, Nadeem1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$12273.54$2909.47$8350.06$6832.95$10,713.18 transferred to new account
subtracted from expenditures to
balance; late-May filed report incorrect,
$480 debits entered as receipts
McGovern, Marc1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$6098.45$33939.55$12501.90$27536.10$500 receipt/returned subtracted
Mello, Gary1-Jul-1515-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00no recent reports filed
Moree, Gregg1-Jul-1515-Jul-15-$46.46$0.00$0.00-$46.46account overdrawn
Phillips, Lesley R.2-Jul-1515-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00Has not yet opened depository account
Sanzone, John1-May-1515-Jul-15$0.00$487.39$262.16$225.23
Simmons, Denise1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$7447.29$23982.04$6784.96$24644.37
Toomey, Tim1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$18782.29$23049.34$15127.65$26703.98
vanBeuzekom, Minka 1-Jan-1515-Jul-15$7380.40$20160.83$6520.58$21020.65
Waite, Romaine2-Jul-1515-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00Has not yet opened depository account
Williamson, James1-Jul-1515-Jul-15$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00no reports filed

The table can be sorted by category in ascending or descending order by clicking on the category name in the top row.

You can also look up these periodic reports yourself at the OCPF website.

July 16, 2015

Cambridge Animal Commission Advises Precautionary Measures due to Rabid Raccoon Finding

Filed under: Cambridge,Fresh Pond — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 12:00 pm

Cambridge Animal Commission Advises Precautionary Measures due to Rabid Raccoon Finding

raccoon and skunk (Wikipedia)July 16, 2015 — On Monday, July 13, Cambridge Animal Control Officers picked up a raccoon at Fresh Pond Reservation that has tested positive for rabies.

Earlier this month, a skunk and a fox found in Belmont tested positive for rabies, though they were not found in very close proximity to Fresh Pond. The skunk was found towards the center of Belmont and the fox was located in the area of Belmont Hills.

At this time, Cambridge Animal Commission has received no reports of any person or animal having contact with a rabid animal, but advises that people take precautionary measures, especially at Fresh Pond Reservation. Dog owners should maintain their pets in clear view and keep them from running in brush areas where they cannot see if something occurs.

Tips for Protecting Against Rabies

  • Avoid direct contact with wildlife, dead or alive. Never touch any wildlife with your bare hands.
  • If you find a sick or injured wild animal, call Cambridge Animal Commission at 617-349-4376.
  • Avoid animals displaying unnatural behavior. Wild animals that are unusually friendly or displaying other unnatural behaviors may have the rabies virus.
  • Discourage contact between pets and wildlife. Don’t let your pets roam or keep them in clear view.
  • If you are scratched or bitten by any animal, either wild or domestic, consult your physician immediately.
  • If your pet receives a suspected bite wound from an unknown animal or if your pet comes in direct contact with any wild animal, even if no wounds are evident, consult your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may recommend a rabies booster.

Please notify the Cambridge Animal Commission if you see a potentially rabid animal or come in contact with one at 617-349-4376. If you get the voice mail, please try to convey the time and location of the siting and your contact number.

July 9, 2015

Who Votes in Cambridge?

Filed under: 2015 Election,elections — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 6:58 pm

Who Votes in Cambridge?

There are 61,910 registered voters with identified birthdates (as of June 29, 2015). Their median age is 39.3. Here’s how their ages as of Election Day (Nov 3, 2015) are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters – 2015

Of these currently registered voters, 31,789 voted in last year’s state election. Their median age is 50.7. Here’s how their ages are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters Who Voted in the 2014 State Election

Of these currently registered voters, 16,773 voted in the 2013 municipal election. Their median age is 58.7. Here’s how their ages are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters Who Voted in the 2013 Municipal Election

July 1, 2015

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (July 1, 2015)

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 4:55 pm

Historic and Neighborhood Conservation District Commissions Seek New Members

City SealThe 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.


Cambridge Conservation Commission Member Sought

City SealCity Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking a Cambridge resident to fill a vacancy on the Cambridge Conservation Commission.

The Conservation Commission is responsible for administration of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (WPA), a state law governing activities in and immediately adjacent to local wetlands, waterways and floodplains. The Commission holds two regularly scheduled public meetings each month to review permit applications under the WPA, issue permits and conduct other business related to the management of Cambridge’s natural resource areas.

The Conservation Commission consists of seven members appointed by the City Manager to serve three-year terms. Cambridge residents with expertise in landscape architecture, civil/environmental engineering, hydrology, ecology, or law are encouraged to apply.

Interested persons should send a letter of interest and/or resume via e-mail, mail or fax by July 31, 2015 to:
Jennifer Letourneau, Director, Conservation Commission
City of Cambridge
344 Broadway, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4680
Fax 617-349-4669
E-mail: jletourneau@cambridgema.gov

June 30, 2015

Official 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election Calendar (w/advice)

Filed under: 2015 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections,School Committee — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 7:05 pm

2015 Municipal Election: Nomination Papers

Vote!Nomination papers for City Council and School Committee will be available beginning Wednesday, July 1st at the Election Commission office, 51 Inman Street, Cambridge. The office will be open on Wednesday, July 1st from 8:30am until 5pm. The deadline to file nomination papers is Friday, July 31st at 5pm. The 2015 Municipal Election Calendar is posted on the Commission’s website: www.cambridgema.gov/election.

The requirements to run for City Council or School Committee are:

  1. The person must be a registered voter in Cambridge. To register, one must be 18 years of age by Election Day, a U.S. citizen and a resident in the City of Cambridge.
  2. The person must file no fewer than fifty (50) and no more than one hundred (100) certifiable signatures of registered voters in the City of Cambridge.

The Commission has prepared an information kit for candidates containing important dates, Commission policies, services and publications. The kits will be available with the nomination papers on July 1st.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2015.


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.

Printable copy of 2015 Municipal Election Calendar

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

June 21, 2015

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

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:23 pm

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 & Commissionsa 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.

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