Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

November 30, 2013

Turnout in Cambridge Municipal Elections: 1951 to 2013

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 9:49 am

Turnout 2013Turnout in Cambridge Municipal Elections: 1951 to 2013

The percent voter turnout in the recent Cambridge municipal election was about the same as recent years. Here are a few graphics to show the trend from 1951 to 2013:

Turnout graph
Click for larger image

The chart shows voter turnout as a fraction of the "active" voters in order to give a better indication of actual voter turnout. This year the number of registered voters reached an all-time high – in part due to the fact that the list has not been purged out of caution because of the various special elections that have taken place (and still to take place on Dec 10 for the 5th Congressional District). As a fraction of all registered voters, the voter turnout was 25%. As a fraction of "active" voters, the voter turnout was 35%. By either measure, voter turnout was down 1%. However, the actual number of voters increased by approximately 12% from 15,971 to 17,846 based on the number of City Council ballots cast.

November 29, 2013

Different Measures of Popularity of City Council Candidates

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 1:06 pm

Different Measures of Popularity of City Council Candidates – 2013 Election

Anyone familiar with Cambridge municipal elections knows the importance of the #1 vote in electing favored candidates, but there are other measures of popularity that provide insight into the general acceptability of candidates to voters. Shown below are the standings of the top 12 candidates showing #1 Vote Totals; number of ballots listing candidate either #1 or #2 (Top2); number of ballots listing candidate #1, #2, or #3 (Top3); number of ballots listing candidate anywhere from #1 through #5 (Top5); and number of ballots listing candidate anywhere from #1 through #9 (Top9). There was a total of 17,743 valid ballots in the City Council election.

Candidate #1 Votes Rank1
Cheung, Leland 2391 1
Maher, David 1464 2
Toomey, Tim 1457 3
Benzan, Dennis 1301 4
McGovern, Marc 1187 5
Simmons, Denise 1184 6
Carlone, Dennis 1151 7
Kelley, Craig 1093 8
Mazen, Nadeem 985 9
Reeves, Ken 934 10
vanBeuzekom, Minka  875 11
Seidel, Sam 701 12
Candidate Top2 Rank2
Cheung, Leland 4406 1
Maher, David 2646 2
Simmons, Denise 2531 3
Toomey, Tim 2438 4
McGovern, Marc 2266 5
Benzan, Dennis 2208 6
vanBeuzekom, Minka  2017 7
Kelley, Craig 2009 8
Carlone, Dennis 1968 9
Reeves, Ken 1964 10
Mazen, Nadeem 1944 11
Seidel, Sam 1503 12
Candidate Top3 Rank3
Cheung, Leland 6082 1
Simmons, Denise 3847 2
Maher, David 3600 3
McGovern, Marc 3275 4
Toomey, Tim 3231 5
vanBeuzekom, Minka  3079 6
Benzan, Dennis 3032 7
Reeves, Ken 2887 8
Kelley, Craig 2861 9
Mazen, Nadeem 2720 10
Carlone, Dennis 2645 11
Seidel, Sam 2363 12
Candidate Top5 Rank5
Cheung, Leland 7999 1
Simmons, Denise 5721 2
Maher, David 4912 3
vanBeuzekom, Minka  4685 4
McGovern, Marc 4629 5
Toomey, Tim 4336 6
Kelley, Craig 4233 7
Reeves, Ken 4172 8
Benzan, Dennis 3966 9
Seidel, Sam 3828 10
Mazen, Nadeem 3727 11
Carlone, Dennis 3437 12
Candidate Top9 Rank9
Cheung, Leland 9299 1
Simmons, Denise 7181 2
vanBeuzekom, Minka  6253 3
Maher, David 6196 4
McGovern, Marc 5822 5
Kelley, Craig 5630 6
Toomey, Tim 5547 7
Reeves, Ken 5400 8
Seidel, Sam 5179 9
Benzan, Dennis 5004 10
Mazen, Nadeem 4687 11
Carlone, Dennis 4172 12

November 28, 2013

New Mobile App for Café People – the iRake

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 5:16 pm

Announcing a New Mobile App for Café People – the iRake

Storm drainDwelltimeHeavy rains drenched Cambridge a few days ago, and when you combine heavy rain with a plentiful supply of fallen oak leaves that can mean just one thing: Clogged Storm Drains. What’s a café dweller to do when the drains are so clogged that the sidewalk becomes impassable even for hipsters? Since actual physical labor is unthinkable for the Macbook Air crowd, we’ve invented a new mobile app for all those hipsters who wouldn’t dream of getting their feet wet – the iRake.

iRakeSure, you can always use "See, Click, Fix" to send word to those working class men in the orange trucks who take their coffee from Dunkin’ without the $5 cost and the pour-over. But who needs to mix with the little people, when you can simply activate the iRake with a few simple clicks between sips of free-range coffee brewed from politically correct nations of the world. You don’t even have to put down your expensive pastry!

Coming this winter: The iShovel (now in Beta).

City of Cambridge Seeks Members for the Central Square Advisory Committee

Filed under: Cambridge,Central Square,planning — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 1:02 am

The City of Cambridge is currently seeking letters of interest from Cambridgeport, Riverside, Area IV, Mid-Cambridge residents and the Central Square business community who would like to serve on the Central Square Advisory Committee.

CentralSurplusCommittee Charge
Zoning: Undertake all Large Project Reviews as required by the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance and receives all applications for variances and special permits for activities within the Central Square Overlay District for review and comment.

Non-Zoning: Monitor the progress of the non-zoning recommendations of the K2C2 study.

Time Commitment
The Committee will meet every two months. Additional meetings will be scheduled as required based on project review needs.

Participation in previous Central Square planning activities and understanding of development and design issues are desirable. Final selection of Advisory Committee members will be made by City Manager Richard Rossi.

To apply, please send a letter by Fri, Dec 20, describing your interest in the the Central Square Advisory Committee and any experience you have working on similar issues to:

Elaine Thorne
Cambridge Community Development Department,
344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

November 27, 2013

2013 Cambridge City Council Election Recount

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:15 pm

2013 Cambridge City Council Election Recount Scheduled

Nov 27 – The Cambridge Election Commission yesterday announced the dates, times, and location for the Recount of the 2013 City Council election. It will take place at the Moore Youth Center, 12 Gilmore Street, in the Riverside neighborhood. (Parking is expected to be a challenge.) Though nobody yet knows how long the Recount will actually take, the Election Commission has reserved the space for a two week period beginning Monday, Dec 2 at 8:30am.

The space is reserved for Mon, Dec 2 through Sat, Dec 7; and Mon, Dec 9 (followed by a break on Tues, Dec 10 for the Congressional election to fill the Markey seat); and Wed, Dec 11 through Sat, Dec 14. All meetings begin at 8:30am at the Moore Youth Center.

Looking Back at the 2001 School Committee Recount

There have been municipal election recounts before, but nothing really compares to the marathon 2001 School Committee Recount that took place in the former space of the Election Commission on Green Street (above the old Police Station). Here are a few images from that marathon – just to whet your appetite for the 2013 City Council Recount scheduled to begin Dec 2, 2013.

Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001 Recount 2001
Recount 2001

November 26, 2013

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 21 and 22 (Nov 26, 2013)

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 21 with guest Marjorie Decker – Broadcast Nov 26, 2013 at 5:30pm. Hosts: Susana Segat and Robert Winters

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 22 – Analyzing the ballot data – Broadcast Nov 26, 2013 at 6:00pm. Hosts: Susana Segat and Robert Winters

November 20, 2013

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 19 and 20 (Nov 19, 2013)

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 10:03 am

Episode 19 (Nov 19, 2013, 5:30pm) of Cambridge InsideOut – Notes on a possible Recount:

Episode 20 (Nov 19, 2013, 6:00pm) of Cambridge InsideOut – On Vacancies and Cambridge Boards & Commissions:

Watch it on CCTV every Tuesday at 5:30pm and 6:00pm. The co-hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters.

November 19, 2013

Hubway to Pilot Year-Round Program in Cambridge

Filed under: Cambridge,cycling,transportation — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 11:15 am

Cambridge-based Hubway Stations to Remain Available throughout Winter

Hubway, the metro-Boston area’s public bike share system, will continue to be available to riders throughout winter at almost all Cambridge-based stations. While Hubway has always operated on a seasonal basis in its two and a half year history, this year the City of Cambridge is piloting a plan to provide year-round Hubway service.

We are pleased at the opportunity to pilot Hubway service year-round,” said Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “We’re committed to supporting sustainable transportation options, and we are excited to continue the program this winter season. We do ask for everyone to use care when riding under winter conditions and also request your patience and understanding as we work with whatever nature brings us in terms of weather.”

Almost all stations in Cambridge will remain operational throughout the winter, though the station at Lafayette Square/Main Street will be removed from the street for the season. The Lechmere station will be moved to the sidewalk just east of Lechmere Station. All station updates will be posted on the station map at,, and on the Spotcycle app for smart phones, Annual members may continue to use the Cambridge stations during the season at no additional cost. 24-hour, 3-day passes and monthly passes will be available for purchase as usual.

As part of the pilot program, snow removal will become part of the daily responsibilities of the Hubway field team. The team, coordinated by Hubway’s dispatch office, is on the street from 6am–10pm every day, and is stocked with equipment to keep stations clear of snow and ice.

Users should bear in mind that the regular seasonal closing of stations in Boston, Brookline and Somerville city/town limits will begin as early as Monday, Nov. 18. Most stations will remain open through Wednesday, Nov. 27. Station closures will be posted in advance on Hubway’s website at, on Twitter at and on Facebook at

During extreme inclement weather conditions, Hubway may temporarily close the system and public announcements will be made via social media and the Hubway website. Station alerts will also be emailed to annual and monthly Hubway members, and all riders can consult the Spotcycle app to learn whether or not bicycles are available. In the event of a system closing, riders will be able to return bikes to all stations securely, but will not be able to check bikes out.

To prepare for cold-weather bicycling, there are a number of things riders should keep in mind:

  • Wear layers, but remember that riding will warm you up. If you get hot as you ride, pull over and remove a layer, but always keep your ears and hands shielded.
  • Local bike shops offer bike-appropriate gloves and earmuffs that do not obstruct the use of your helmet.
  • Plan your route ahead of time.
  • Always plan for an alternative mode of transportation in case a blizzard hits or if you simply decide that riding is no longer comfortable for you.
  • Each rider has a different comfort level in inclement weather. If you are uncomfortable for any reason while biking, stop riding and walk your bike to the nearest docking station. If you are cold, make your way indoors to warm up.
  • Be aware that visibility is particularly limited during the winter, with fewer daylight hours, glare and foggy conditions. Hubway bikes have 24-hour lights, but it is also a good idea to wear light colored clothing and reflective materials if possible.
  • Use extra caution under wintry conditions, as roads may not be completely cleared of snow and ice. You are always permitted to ride in the general travel lane (not only the bike lane) and should do so if the bike lane is snowy or icy.

Find out more about the Hubway system, extensions, station outages/closures at, on Twitter at, and on Facebook at

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