Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

August 22, 2013

Danehy Park Family Day – Saturday, September 21

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 1:35 pm

Danehy Park Family Day Saturday, Sept. 21

Danehy Park Family DayThe City of Cambridge will host the 18th Annual Danehy Park Family Day on Saturday, September 21, from 11:00am to 4:00pm. Enjoy a fun-filled day of children’s amusement rides, arts and crafts, music and roving performers, plus free hot dogs, chips, sodas and T-shirts while supplies last! Check out performances throughout the day at the children’s stage. Other special giveaways include colorful kites that appeal to kids of all ages! The rain date is Sunday, Sept. 22.

Danehy Park is a 55-acre facility located at 99 Sherman Street in North Cambridge (adjacent to Garden and New Streets). This free event, sponsored by the City of Cambridge, attracts over 4,000 people annually and offers something for everyone.

Shuttle buses will be running throughout Cambridge to provide transportation. Danehy Park can be reached by public transportation: #74 bus or #78 bus from Harvard Square; #83 bus from Central Square; or take a shuttle bus from the Alewife MBTA Station. Picnics and lawn chairs are encouraged.

For more information, call 617-349-4301 or visit

Danehy Park Family Day  Danehy Park Family Day

August 21, 2013

Come Join the Parade – Thurs, Aug 22, 6:30pm from City Hall to Lafayette Square with the Dirty Water Brass Band

Filed under: Cambridge,Central Square — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 11:02 am

Come Join the Parade – Thurs, Aug 22, 6:30pm from City Hall to Lafayette Square with the Dirty Water Brass Band

(with stops along the way)
August Parade

August Parade  August Parade

PS – We’re going to try to do this every Thursday. Stay tuned!

August 19, 2013

Official Candidate List for 2013 Cambridge Municipal Election



Dennis A. Benzan – 1 Pine Street  
Dennis J. Carlone – 9 Washington Avenue  
Leland Cheung – 157 Garden Street Candidate for Re-Election
Janneke Ann House – 12 Hilliard Street  
Craig A. Kelley – 6 Saint Gerard Terrace Candidate for Re-Election
James Jongsoo Lee – 400 Broadway  
Logan Edward Leslie – 204 Fayerweather Street  
David P. Maher – 120 Appleton Street Candidate for Re-Election
Nadeem A. Mazen – 73 A Magazine Street  
Marc C. McGovern – 15 Pleasant Street  
Gary W. Mello – 324 Franklin Street  
Mushtaque A. Mirza – 843 Massachusetts Avenue      
Gregg J. Moree – 25 Fairfield Street  
Ronald Peden – 25 Aberdeen Avenue  
Lesley Rebecca Phillips – 1643 Cambridge Street  
Kenneth E. Reeves – 340 Harvard Street Candidate for Re-Election
Sam Seidel – 381 Broadway  
E. Denise Simmons – 188 Harvard Street Candidate for Re-Election
Jefferson R. Smith – 134 Tremont Street  
Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. – 88 6th Street Candidate for Re-Election
Minka Y. vanBeuzekom – 20 Essex Street Candidate for Re-Election
Luis Vasquez – 23 Market Street  
Kristen Lane Von Hoffmann – 205 Walden Street  
James M. Williamson – 1000 Jackson Place  
Elie Yarden – 143 Pleasant Street  


Fran Albin Cronin – 1 Kimball Lane  
Alfred B. Fantini – 4 Canal Park Candidate for Re-Election
Joyce C. Gerber – 10 Fairfield Street  
Richard Harding, Jr. – 189 Windsor Street     Candidate for Re-Election
John J. Holland – 26 Normandy Terrace  
Elechi M. Kadete – 10 Laurel Street  
Kathleen M. Kelly – 17 Marie Avenue  
Patricia M. Nolan – 184 Huron Avenue Candidate for Re-Election
Mervan F. Osborne – 149 Auburn Street Candidate for Re-Election


If the entry for any candidate does not reflect the correct spelling of his/her name, the correct office for which he/she filed, or is in error in any other respect, please immediately contact Tanya L. Ford, Executive Director, Election Commission, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, Telephone (617) 349-4361, since this list will be used as the official proof for printing municipal ballots.

Printable official version (PDF)

[released Aug 19, 2013]

August 18, 2013

A Better Cambridge response to Connolly Net Zero Zoning Petition

Filed under: Cambridge,planning — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 6:09 pm

A Better Cambridge response to Connolly Net Zero Zoning Petition

The members of A Better Cambridge thank the proponents of the Connolly Net Zero Petition for provoking such an important discussion about climate change adaptation in Cambridge. The Connolly Petition has challenged our community to take a serious look at how we will eliminate consumption of fossil fuels and promote alternative energy use across the city of Cambridge.

A better Cambridge is a net zero Cambridge. Eliminating carbon emissions should be a primary goal in Cambridge. We believe that a viable approach to serious energy efficiency in Cambridge relies on a multi-pronged strategy that addresses what we require of new development and how we adapt existing buildings, with a focus on multi-modal transportation throughout. A key achievement will be that carbon emissions are reduced within our city through construction of better and more efficient buildings, without at the same time exporting emissions to communities outside of our borders.

While taking this serious and long-overdue look at building efficiency in Cambridge we can’t also lose sight of important community development challenges facing our city. The cost of rent continues to rise in Cambridge, and condos here are being sold for hugely inflated prices. Promoting the development of more mixed residential and commercial buildings around Cambridge’s existing transportation hubs is a key strategy in our ability to make housing more affordable for all people in Cambridge. We have serious concerns that the Connolly Petition’s narrow focus on large scale new development will hurt our ability to create the new affordable low- and middle-income housing that is now so desperately needed to keep Cambridge a diverse and sustainable community.

When it comes to housing, most research and practice-based evidence into the feasibility of cost-effective net zero housing applies to low-density, single-family homes in moderate climates like California. This is not the type of new housing we should expect or hope for in Cambridge, and there is insufficient evidence to make any conclusions about the feasibility of developing net zero multifamily housing here. This places at risk the viability of important projects like housing at the Sullivan Courthouse, for which residents of East Cambridge have been fighting. If the Cambridge Housing Authority development currently planned for Temple Street were subject to the requirements of the Connolly Petition, it almost certainly would not go forward.

In a 2012 study “Think Bigger: Net-Zero Communities” the authors, who represent the Alliance to Save Energy, the Urban Land Institute, and the U.S. Department of Energy, effectively argue that “achieving net-zero energy across an entire building stock requires looking beyond individual buildings and considering net-zero at a community scale.” They state that:

  1. it might not be feasible to achieve net zero energy in every building – this might be more realistic for buildings evaluated together;
  2. Multi-building systems offer opportunities for lower energy use through heat sharing and load diversity; and
  3. drawing a larger perimeter around multiple buildings and adjacent open space allows us to consider “nearby” renewable energy sources thus keeping buildings and urban densities in the net zero mix.

As the study goes on to explain, we need an approach to net-zero that allows for the diversity of building types, uses, and climates and also one that will not dilute urban density in favor of low-rise sprawl. We believe these points are wholly missed in the Connolly Petition’s approach to net zero.

Focusing only on new development, even of substantial square footage, will seriously limit the impact of the Connolly Petition. New construction is small compared to our existing building stock, and anything built after 2010 must comply with Cambridge’s stretch code — energy efficiency standards that are among the toughest in the nation, which have effectively increased the stock of highly energy efficient commercial, residential and institutional buildings in Cambridge without negatively impacting our progress towards key social goods like affordable, multi-family housing.

It would be important to tackle this in a more robust and holistic fashion: require developers to meet “Architecture 2030” goals for new buildings, a program that phases in fossil fuel reductions while, more importantly, targeting our biggest consumers of energy — our existing building stock. For example, this could be accomplished by specifically allocating community benefit funds awarded under new development to support greater energy efficiency conversion subsidies in Cambridge’s existing building stock. Under the Connolly Petition developers could meet net zero requirements by paying for carbon offsets — while missing the opportunity to direct more funding to key community and economic development opportunities.

From a carbon emissions reduction standpoint, Cambridge is a great place to build. Every hundred thousand square feet we add here is a hundred thousand square feet that’s not going up along Routes 128 or 495. Even a net-zero building in a suburban office park is likely to generate a far more negative impact on the climate and the environment than a building in Cambridge that complies with our currently applicable codes and regulations. Suburban construction often involves leveling greenspace and removing acres of carbon-absorbing vegetation. Storm runoff is unlikely to be carried through a separated system, as in much of Cambridge; instead, it is likely to be mixed with sewage, and treated in an emissions-intensive process. Connecting the new structure to roads and utilities generates additional impacts. Workers are far more likely to commute by car, pumping out carbon emissions, and accommodating their vehicles requires additional construction. Of course, no other local town is proposing to require net-zero construction; few even approach Cambridge’s current sustainability standards. The actual choice facing many developers is between meeting Cambridge’s rigorous standards, or taking advantage of the relatively lax rules imposed by most suburban communities. As we work to reduce carbon emissions, it makes sense to keep this broader picture in mind.

Any comprehensive plan to tackle carbon emissions in the Commonwealth would involve incentivizing developers to site their buildings along public transportation networks and proximate to dense residential areas. The Connolly petition, although clearly well-intentioned, seems likely to raise the cost of new development in Cambridge relative to surrounding communities, having the contrary effect. All carbon emissions, whatever their point of origin, have the same impact on our community and our environment. To the extent that this petition moves new construction away from Cambridge, with its high standards on sustainability, and into surrounding areas, it runs a substantial risk of actually raising the very emissions it proposes to contain. We do not believe that this is the outcome the petition seeks, nor do we think it is an outcome that most residents desire.

Focusing on net zero and energy efficiency only neglects the importance of addressing climate change adaptation holistically: in addition to energy efficiency of new buildings and existing buildings, we need to focus on other key climate mitigation strategies such as addressing water resources, resilience planning and mitigation, and innovative and integrated transportation strategies and policies that will effectively move people from their cars into alternative, low- or no-emissions transportation options.

Again, A Better Cambridge thanks the proponents of the Connolly Petition for challenging our community to take this important look at our carbon footprint in Cambridge. Unfortunately, we believe the proposed zoning takes a far too narrow approach that may effectively stall the very type of development we need to actually reduce emissions while addressing key housing/community development needs here in Cambridge.

Talking about Cambridge elections and other stuff (Aug 6, CCTV)

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 2:32 pm

Robert Winters with Ann Cowen on CCTV, Aug 6, 2013

August 16, 2013

Suggested Topics for 2013 Cambridge School Committee candidates

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections,School Committee — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 10:50 pm

Suggested topics for 2013 School Committee candidates

1) Background [biographical, etc.]

2) Top Priorities [List about three – then elaborate below]

3) Top Challenges Facing CPS today

4) Evaluation of the Innovation Agenda

5) School Department Administration and Superintendent

6) School Department Budget and Capital Needs

7) Achievement Gaps, Meeting the Needs of All Students

8) Meeting the Needs of Advanced Learners

9) Controlled Choice, Student Assignment Policies

10) Curriculum and Programs
a) Elementary School Grades
b) Middle School Grades
c) High School Grades

Other topics:
MCAS and Measuring Student Achievement
Teacher Evaluations and Performance Measures
School Safety and Student Behavior
World Languages
Parent Involvement and School Councils
Enrollment in Public vs. Charter vs. Private Schools

Priority Question: What are your recommendations for meeting the needs of high-achieving/advanced learners, especially in the middle-school grades?

Candidates: Send your responses/remarks on these topics or any other topics of your choice to —- or by mail to 366 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139. All of the information provided is helpful to voters, journalists, and organizers of candidate forums and similar events. You can add more information or change the content of your Candidate Page any time up to Election Day.

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2013

2013 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums
[Send event listings to —-]

Suggested Topics for 2013 Cambridge City Council Candidates

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:44 pm

Suggested topics for 2013 City Council candidates

1) Background [biographical, etc.]

2) Top Priorities [List about three and elaborate below]

3) Land Use, Planning, Zoning, Density

4) Economic Development and Commerce

5) Housing

6) Energy, the Environment, and Public Health

7) Traffic, Parking, and Transportation

8) Open Space, Parks, and Recreation

9) Municipal Finance (budget, assessments, property taxes, etc.)

10) Quality of Life and Public Safety

Other topics:
Civic Participation
Government and Elections, Plan E Charter
City Manager
University Relations
Youth Programs, Senior Programs
Arts and Public Celebrations
Cambridge Public Schools
Future of the Foundry Building

Priority Question: What is your vision for Central Square over the next decade?

Candidates: Send your responses/remarks on these topics or any other topics of your choice to — or by mail to 366 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139. All of the information provided is helpful to voters, journalists, and organizers of candidate forums and similar events. You can add more information or change the content of your Candidate Page any time up to Election Day.

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2013

2013 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums
[Send event listings to —]

August 13, 2013

Cambridge Arts Council Announces Launch of its 2014 Grant Cycle

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 12:03 am

New applications and guidelines

Grant Program Community Meeting and Info Session
Monday, August 19th, 6-8pm, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room

Grant Writing Workshop
Monday, September 23rd, 6-8pm, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room

Grant Submission Deadline
Tuesday, October 15th, 5:00pm

Cambridge Arts Council
City Hall Annex
344 Broadway, 2nd Fl.
Cambridge, MA 02139

The Cambridge Arts Council is supported in part by the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, New England Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and many corporate and individual donors. The Cambridge Arts Council exists to ensure that the arts remain vital for people living, working, and visiting Cambridge.

Dima Snow, 2012 CAC Grant Recipient
Dima Snow, 2012 CAC Grant Recipient
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