Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

October 21, 2013

Another Monday – Oct 21, 2013 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:52 am

Another Monday – Oct 21, 2013 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights

As Election Day draws near, the business of the City continues. Here are a few items of interest:

The City Manager’s Agenda features 10 responses to the 34 items on "Awaiting Report". I’m sure the city councillors will do their best to grow the list back again with what are often questionable requests that could be more easily answered in person.

Manager’s Agenda #18. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 13-34, regarding appointing a task force to further examine the Connolly Petition.

It’s been entertaining to watch the spin associated with this whole matter. The bottom line is that few people disagree with the concept of encouraging highly energy efficient building construction, and the response from the City Manager reflects this. However, the Connolly Petition was, in fact, a zoning petition that would have mandated that any new development over a modest size not only meet energy efficiency standards (which many new buildings already do), but also that any energy needs that cannot be met on-site instead be purchased from a restricted list of suppliers and/or supplemented by the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs). The petition also specifically mandated that this should apply to every tenant in the new buildings. [Note – I have repeatedly suggested that this goes well beyond what can be legally mandated via zoning.]

On the substance of the Connolly Petition, the majority of the City Council disagreed with the petition as drafted. This has been made clear in responses in candidate forums and in statements in the Cambridge Chronicle. Most challengers in this year’s election have also made clear that they could not support the petition as drafted. The Mayor and City Manager convened a forum of experts a few weeks ago at the Cambridge Public Library and these experts generally disagreed with the substance of the Connolly Petition. The establishment of this task force can only be viewed as a way to craft an alternative that could actually be supported – and not in any way as what Mr. Connolly is now calling "a huge win for the hundreds of residents who signed on to our online petition." This is delusional at best.

My sense is that this task force will likely focus not only on new construction (which, let’s face it, is what many of the petitioners wanted to block), but on developing policies and programs applicable to all Cambridge buildings. If this can "re-energize" some of the initial efforts of the Cambridge Energy Alliance and tap into grant money to help homeowners and other property owners to make their buildings more energy efficient, then this will be an outcome we can all support. The Connolly Petition was a lemon, but the City administration will make some lemonade.

Applications & Petitions #1. A zoning petition has been filed by Christopher H. Lutz, et al. requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Map of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by rezoning an area on the northern border of Richdale Avenue from Upland Road to Walden Street from its C1-A designation to residential C-1.

Applications & Petitions #2. A zoning petition has been filed by John Chun, et al. requesting the City Council amend the Zoning Map of the City of Cambridge in the entire district currently zoned Residence B located in the Cambridge Highlands neighborhood, situated north of Concord Avenue, south of and adjacent to the Blair Pond Reservation, and east of and adjacent to the municipal boundary with the Town of Belmont by deleting the designation Residence B and substituting therefore a designation of Residence A-2.

Order #5. That the City Council go on record re-filing a petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance in Section 17.20 to increase the setback requirement abutting Linear Park and to clarify form and density language with the residential neighborhood.   Councillor Maher

That’s three more zoning petitions in the queue.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the appropriate City personnel, City partners, and the Governor’s Office to develop a contingency plan to ensure that Cambridge residents who see part or all of their rent subsidized by federal funding will not see their housing jeopardized in the event of a future shutdown of the federal government.   Vice Mayor Simmons

Even though the shutdown of the federal government is over for the moment, this Order illustrates the dilemma that state and local officials face if and when we go through this again. Cambridge has long been supportive of public housing options within Cambridge, but much of this housing is funded by sources outside of Cambridge. If the flow of money is restricted, it cannot be easily replaced by local revenue sources. Vice Mayor Simmons’ order is specifically about the Section 8 program (rental vouchers), but the hard reality is that federal policies and Congressional dysfunction can quickly disrupt local housing options. The Order calls for a contingency plan, but the local options for response are limited.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves, Chair of the University Relations Committee, for a public meeting held on Dec 7, 2012 to tour Harvard University.

Committee Report #4. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves, Chair of the University Relations Committee, for a public meeting held on Mar 5, 2013 to tour Lesley University.

Committee Report #5. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves, Chair of the University Relations Committee, for a public meeting held on Apr 5, 2013 toured the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

I note these more for amusement than anything else. For a long time now I have noted on the City Council Committees page regarding the University Relations Committee: "No reports have been filed by this committee. Until such time as reports are filed, it will be assumed that this committee has not actually met." The committee has apparently met 8 times dating back 18 months (Apr 2012), but these are the first reports being filed. Perhaps we’ll see the other five reports on the eve of Election Day. – Robert Winters

October 16, 2013

Episode 12 of Cambridge InsideOut with guest Alice Wolf (Part 2)

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:27 pm

Episode 12 of Cambridge InsideOut with guest Alice Wolf (Part 2). This aired on Oct 15, 2013 at 6:00pm.

Episode 11 of Cambridge InsideOut with guest Alice Wolf (Part 1)

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:24 pm

Episode 11 of Cambridge InsideOut with guest Alice Wolf (Part 1). This aired on Oct 15, 2013 at 5:30pm.

October 15, 2013

Alewife Reservation Constructed Wetland Grand Opening Ceremony – Tuesday, October 15

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 8:42 am

Alewife Reservation Constructed Wetland Grand Opening Ceremony – Tuesday, October 15

Cambridge, MA – After a long and collaborative effort between the City of Cambridge’s Department of Public Works, the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the three agencies are pleased to announce the grand opening of the Alewife Constructed Wetland just west of the Alewife T Station along the Alewife Greenway Extension multi-use path, Tuesday, Oct 15, from 2:00-5:00pm. (See more detailed directions below).

Alewife Restored Wetland (Aug 2012)
Alewife Reservation Constructed Wetland during restoration – August 2012

Alewife Constructed Wetland - Oct 2013
Alewife Reservation Constructed Wetland – October 2013

The 3.4-acre wetland is designed to store and treat stormwater runoff before it enters the Little River. The new wetland will slow down the flow of stormwater through contact with a series of marsh systems, allowing sediment to settle, and removing nutrients and pollutants from the water. Several types of habitats, ranging from emergent marsh to riparian woodland have been created to enrich and enhance the biodiversity that already exists in the Alewife Reservation. The wetland also provides recreational amenities, including a boardwalk and scenic overlooks, environmental education opportunities, an amphitheater designed with seating for a class of students, interpretive signage, and links to the Alewife Greenway Extension’s bike and pedestrian paths.

"This newly constructed wetland not only improves water quality in the Little River and Alewife Brook, but also provides a new and unique recreational and educational open space for the community to enjoy," said Richard C. Rossi, City Manager.

This project is funded by the City of Cambridge, MWRA and the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust through the Clean Water SRF program administered by MassDEP.

AlewifeWetland2013Oct15TalkingPoints

Please visit the City’s website to learn more about this innovative stormwater management project and new urban wild at www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects.aspx (select Cambridge Park Drive Area Drainage Improvements and Stormwater Wetland Project).

Directions to Alewife Reservation Constructed Wetland:
Walking directions to the Basin Amphitheater via Alewife Greenway Extension:

From DCR Discovery Park Lot – 100 Acorn Park Drive, Cambridge


Exit DCR parking lot at driveway entrance.

• Turn LEFT out of parking lot going SOUTH to walking trail at the Corner of Acorn Park Dr., approx. 90 ft.

• Turn LEFT on walking trail going EAST to Alewife Station Access Rd., approx. 900 ft.

• Turn RIGHT on Alewife Station Access Rd. going SOUTH over the Little River to Alewife Greenway Extension, approx. 450 ft.

• Turn RIGHT on Alewife Greenway Extension going WEST to Basin Amphitheater, approx. 1300 ft.

From MBTA Alewife Station – Intersection of Alewife Brook Parkway and Cambridge Park Drive

• Exit Alewife Station to Alewife Station Access Rd.

• Turn RIGHT out of Alewife Station going NORTH under parking structure overpass, approx. 500 ft.

• Turn LEFT to cross Alewife Station Access Rd. going WEST to Alewife Greenway Extension, approx. 80 ft.

• Stay STRAIGHT on Alewife Greenway Extension going WEST to Basin Amphitheater, approx. 1300 ft.

October 13, 2013

Polling Locations for the 2013 Cambridge Municipal Election

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 3:30 pm

Polling Locations for the 2013 Cambridge Municipal Election

The 2013 Cambridge Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. All polls will be open on Election Day from 7:00am until 8:00pm. For any additional information, please visit the Cambridge Election Commission office at 51 Inman Street, call (617-349-4361) or visit our website at www.cambridgema.gov/election.

1-1:  O’CONNELL BRANCH LIBRARY, 48 Sixth Street, Corner of Thorndike Street

1-2:  TRUMAN APARTMENTS, 25 Eighth Street, Community Room, Thorndike Street Entrance

1-3:  MILLER RIVER APARTMENTS, 15 Lambert Street, Cambridge Street entrance

2-1:  PISANI CENTER, 131 Washington Street

2-2:  M.I.T., Kresge Auditorium, behind Stratton Center, 70 Mass. Avenue

2-3:  M.I.T., Kresge Auditorium, behind Stratton Center, 70 Mass. Avenue

3-1:  KING OPEN SCHOOL (formerly Harrington School), 850 Cambridge Street, Main Entrance

3-2:  AREA IV YOUTH CENTER, 243 Harvard Street, Lower level, Rear entrance (previously located at DPW)

3-2A:  AREA IV YOUTH CENTER, 243 Harvard Street, Lower level, Rear entrance (previously located at DPW)

3-3:  SALVATION ARMY HEADQUARTERS, 402 Massachusetts Avenue

4-1:  PUTNAM GARDENS, Community Room Entrance between Magee and Callender Streets

4-2:  CITY HALL, 795 Massachusetts Avenue, Driveway Entrance

4-3:  2 MOUNT AUBURN STREET, Putnam Apartments, Lobby

5-1:  LBJ APARTMENTS, 150 Erie Street, Community Room (Parking Lot Entrance)

5-2:  WOODROW WILSON COURT, Magazine St., Community Room, Fairmont St. Entry between Door 7 and 8

5-3:  MORSE SCHOOL, 40 Granite Street, Main Entrance

6-1:  CITY HALL ANNEX, 344 Broadway, Conference Room, Second Floor

6-2:  CAMBRIDGE REHABILITATION & NURSING CENTER (formerly Vernon Hall Nursing Home), 8 Dana Street, Activity Room

6-3:  SPAULDING HOSPITAL (formerly Youville Hospital), 1575 Cambridge Street, Hovey Avenue Entrance

7-1:  BALDWIN SCHOOL, Community Floor, 28 Sacramento Street entrance

7-2:  BALDWIN SCHOOL, Community Floor, 28 Sacramento Street entrance

7-3:  GUND HALL, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge Street Entrance

8-1:  GRAHAM AND PARKS SCHOOL (formerly Peabody School), 44 Linnaean St., Playground Entr.

8-2:  FRIENDS CENTER, 5 Longfellow Park, Community Room

8-3:  QUINCY HOUSE, 58 Plympton Street, Main Entrance

9-1:  LEXINGTON AVENUE FIRE HOUSE, 167 Lexington Avenue

9-2:  NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY, 450 Concord Avenue, Classroom

9-3:  HAGGERTY SCHOOL, 110 Cushing Street, Gym, Lawn Street Entrance

10-1:  RUSSELL APARTMENTS (Senior Citizen Apartments), 2050 Massachusetts Avenue

10-2:  GRAHAM AND PARKS SCHOOL (formerly Peabody School), 44 Linnaean Street, Playground Entr.

10-3:  CADBURY COMMONS, 66 Sherman Street

11-1:  JEFFERSON PARK COMMUNITY CENTER BUILDING, 1 Jackson Place

11-2:  PEABODY SCHOOL GYM, 70-R Rindge Avenue

11-3:  BURNS APARTMENTS, 50 Churchill Avenue, Community Room

Absentee Ballots are now available at the Cambridge Election Commission office. Any voter who is unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to physical disability, religious belief, or absence from the City may request an Absentee Ballot from the Commission by Noon on Monday, November 4th. Absentee Ballots may be mailed to voters, or such voters may choose to vote at the Commission office during regular City office hours: Monday, 8:30am-8:00pm; Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30am-5:00pm; Friday, 8:30am-Noon. The office will also be open for Absentee Voting on Friday, November 1st from 8:30am until 5:00pm and on Saturday, November 2nd from 9:00am until 5:00pm.

October 11, 2013

The Candidates – SPECIAL STATE ELECTION – Massachusetts 5th Congressional District

Filed under: 2013 Election,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 8:52 am

SPECIAL STATE ELECTION
Representative in Congress for Massachusetts
5th Congressional District*
(to fill vacancy caused by the resignation of Edward J. Markey)


The Candidates

Democrats (October 15, 2013 State Primary)
Will Brownsberger
Will Brownsberger

(current State Senator)
120 Gilbert Rd., Belmont
15% in primary
Katherine Clark
Katherine Clark

(current State Senator)
64 Prospect St., Melrose
32% in primary – NOMINEE
Peter Koutoujian
Peter Koutoujian

(current Sheriff of Middlesex County)
33 Harris St., Waltham
22% in primary
Martin Long
Martin Long

(former member of Lexington School Committee)
30 Mill St., Arlington
1% in primary
Paul Maisano
Paul Maisano

(businessman, community activist)
10 Gorham Ave., Stoneham
2% in primary
Carl Sciortino
Carl Sciortino

(current State Representative)
17 Orchard St., Medford
16% in primary
Karen Spilka
Karen Spilka

(current State Senator)
18 Rome Way, Ashland
13% in primary
 
Republicans (October 15, 2013 State Primary)
Frank Addivinola
Frank Addivinola

(lawyer)
1 Longfellow Pl., Boston
49% in primary – NOMINEE
Mike Stopa
Mike Stopa

(physicist)
38 Westfield Dr., Holliston
26% in primary
Tom Tierney
Tom Tierney

(actuary)
7 Lomas Dr., Framingham
25% in primary
 

The Special State Primary will take place on October 15, 2013

The Special State Election will take place on December 10, 2013

*Middlesex County     Suffolk County Worcester County
Arlington
Ashland
Belmont
CAMBRIDGE:
Wd. 3, Pct. 2A
Wd. 4, Pcts. 2, 3
Wds. 6, 7, 8, 9
Wd. 10, Pcts. 1, 2
Framingham
Holliston
Lexington
Lincoln
MALDEN
MEDFORD
MELROSE
Natick
Sherborn
Stoneham
Sudbury
Pcts. IA, 2, 3, 4, 5
WALTHAM
Watertown
Wayland
Weston
Winchester
WOBURN
REVERE
Winthrop
Southborough

October 9, 2013

A quick word on another City Council candidate forum

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 12:03 am

A quick word on another City Council candidate forum

Oct 8 – Congratulations are in order to the good folks of the Porter Square Neighbors Association (PSNA) for putting on an excellent, well-attended City Council candidate forum tonight. There were other sponsors, but this was clearly a PSNA production. Alice Wolf moderated the forum and did a great job managing things with just the right tone and sense of humor. I was especially appreciative of the choice of questions presented to each of the three panels of candidates. They were fair and relevant – a big improvement over last week’s MCNA candidate forum. I am grateful that Erin Baldassari from the Cambridge Chronicle was there taking notes, and I will defer to her report for most of the details of what was actually said and emphasized by the candidates.

One thing that distinguished candidates was their differing views of new residential and/or commercial development in the city. Several of them spoke of the need for a "master plan" which, quite frankly, makes me think of Robert Moses and others who felt they had all the answers. This was softened to some degree by a call for "neighborhood planning" which was not really defined and which could, quite easily, be just a code word for "not in my backyard". Some candidates (who I will refrain from naming for now) spoke only of their fear of any redevelopment in Central Square. The final candidate of the night was the only one who emphasized the importance of training local residents to take advantage of job opportunities in developing areas such as Kendall Square.

On a personal note, I have to say that I was gratified to see some people in the audience who had with them material printed from the Cambridge Candidate Pages. I also greatly appreciated the fact that several candidates referred to material I have posted on the Cambridge Civic Journal. I wonder sometimes why I continue to do this civic journalism, and it helps a lot when I see people actually making good use of what I produce. The next four weeks are going to be brutal in terms of the misinformation and outright falsehoods that are going to be spread about the candidates and about various issues. I’m already seeing some of it in listservs and pamphlets distributed at these forums. At some point self-appointed oracles will tell you which candidates you should vote for and who you should not vote for. As tempting as it may be to go up to the mountaintop and come down with a few inscribed tablets commanding you who you should vote for, I will continue to resist that urge and, once again, ask you to consult what the candidates submit to the Cambridge Candidate Pages and post on their own websites, use your own judgment, and decide on your own how to rank the candidates. Above all, I urge you to ignore any advice from self-anointed pundits regarding which candidates you should vote for. – Robert Winters

October 7, 2013

Cambridge Watershed Bike Tour – October 19

Filed under: Cambridge,cycling,water — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 12:13 pm

Cambridge Watershed Bike Tour – October 19

Cambridge, MA — Explore where your water comes from! Join Cambridge Water Department (CWD) staff on a guided bike tour of the watershed Saturday, Oct 19, from 8am-4pm. The 34-mile loop will take cyclists from the Walter J. Sullivan Purification Facility at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway in Cambridge, to the watershed lands and reservoirs in Lincoln, Lexington, Weston and Waltham. Rain date is Sunday, Oct 20.

The tour will include stops at the CWD Field Office, Winter Street Dam and Gatehouse, Stony Brook Dam and Gatehouse, and Paul Revere Capture Site. Advanced registration is required; registration closes on Oct 15. Participants must be comfortable with the 34 mile distance and must provide their own bike (road or hybrid), helmet and lunch. Technical assistance will be provided by Urban AdvenTours.

To register, please contact Katie at kbooras@cambridgema.gov or call 617-349-7712. For more information, visit http://www.cambridgema.gov/Water/Programs/watershedbiketour.aspx.

Cycle to the Source

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