Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

May 22, 2014

Superintendent Jeff Young’s 2011-15 contract requires School Committee renewal before July 6, 2014

Filed under: Cambridge,School Committee,schools — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 7:00 pm

Superintendent Jeff Young’s 2011-15 contract requires School Committee renewal before July 6, 2014

Superintendent Jeff Young[contributed by Anita D. McClellan and posted on the CPSParents listserv]

Cambridge public school families may be surprised to learn that many school districts open up their Superintendents’ annual evaluation on leadership performance to rating and comments from district parents, teachers, K-12 students, and residents.

In Burlington, MA, District Superintendent Eric Conti’s Blog posts an evaluation survey for 30 days every May so district parents, teachers, K-12 students, and residents can contribute their 2¢ to the School Committee’s evaluation:

Dr. Conti also posts the passwords required for anyone to access past years’ Burlington Supt. evaluations and comments:

Isn’t it time for Cambridge Public School District – and our 2014 & 2015 School Committee – to emulate Burlington District and to inaugurate PDQ for 2014 an open annual SC evaluation of our Superintendent that takes into account leadership ratings and comments from District parents, teachers, students, and residents?

It would be very quick for 2014 Supt. evaluation to adapt the Burlington Supt. online evaluation survey to CPSD’s needs so results from Cambridge parents, teachers, students, residents can be factored into the SC’s early July vote on whether or not to renew Dr. Young’s contract through 2018.

After the current contract renewal deadline, the SC can develop its own Supt. online evaluation for the Cambridge public to use in 2015 and thereafter.

Anita McClellan, VL

P.S. Burlington MA District offers a series of District blogs to keep community informed on many educational fronts. Wonderful to have such good communications! Find them on in the righthand column on homepage.

Go here for the Burlington Asst. Supt. of Learning’s blog:

The Burlington District Spec Ed Dept. also surveys public on its performance:

FYI: Jeff Young has served under School Committee as Superintendent since July 6, 2009. He reports directly to the School Committee. Contract is here:

Supt. Duties and Responsibilities.

A. The Superintendent shall diligently, faithfully, professionally and competently perform the duties and responsibilities of the Superintendent of Schools; shall serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the School District, as provided in M.G.L. c. 71, §59 and all other applicable laws and regulations pertaining to public education in Massachusetts; and shall be responsible to direct, organize and manage the school system, in conformity with the requirements of M.G.L. c. 71 and all other applicable federal and state statutes and regulations pertaining to public education, and in conformity with the rules and policy determinations of the Committee. The Superintendent also shall fulfill all of the terms and conditions of this Agreement. The Superintendent shall be the Chief Education Officer of the District.

B. Except as otherwise required by the Superintendent’s duties, the Superintendent shall attend all Committee meetings and shall provide administrative recommendations on each item of business involving the administration of the Public Schools or education matters.

C. The Superintendent recognizes that the proper performance of his duties and responsibilities will require him to work longer than the school day and that his duties and responsibilities are not confined to prescribed hours.

D. The relationship between the Committee and the Superintendent shall be based on a deep commitment to working cooperatively for the benefit of the children and the general community served by the Cambridge Public Schools, and it shall reflect a clear understanding that the Committee is the establishing agent of all school system policy and that the Superintendent has the responsibility to administer said policy in a sound, fair and ethical manner.

E. The Superintendent shall have authority, subject to law and any legally binding contracts of the School District, to organize, reorganize and arrange the administrative and supervisory staff in such a way as, in his best judgment, best serves the School District, subject to approval by the Committee.

F. In its discretion, the Committee will refer to the Superintendent any criticisms, complaints and situations that are brought to its attention and which the Committee deems important enough to warrant the Superintendent’s attention. The Superintendent shall review and make recommendations on any matters referred to him by the Committee.

May 21, 2014

Cambridge InsideOut with City Councillor Craig Kelley

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 3:55 pm

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 59 with City Councillor Craig Kelley (Part 1). This program was broadcast on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters. [Watch on YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 60 with City Councillor Craig Kelley (Part 2). This program was broadcast on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters. [Watch on YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut with School Committee member Fran Cronin

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut,School Committee — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 3:52 pm

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 57 with School Committee member Fran Cronin (Part 1). This program was broadcast on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters. [Watch on YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 58 with School Committee member Fran Cronin (Part 2). This program was broadcast on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Susana Segat and Robert Winters. [Watch on YouTube]

May 19, 2014

The Courthouse Debate and other Key Items on the May 19, 2014 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council,East Cambridge — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 12:31 pm

The Courthouse Debate and other Key Items on the May 19, 2014 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Sullivan CourthousePerhaps the Really Big Item this week is the whole matter of how to proceed on the Sullivan Courthouse controversy. Two reports from the City Solicitor were tabled at the May 5 meeting and are scheduled to be discussed at this meeting. There is also an Order calling for the next Planning Board meeting on this matter to be held at a suitable space in East Cambridge.

On The Table #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the submission of two legal opinions as part of the City Manager’s Supplemental Agenda on Mon, May 5, 2014, regarding Awaiting Report Item Number 14-22 concerning the Sullivan Courthouse and Council Order Number 13 of Mar 17, 2014 concerning the First Street Garage. [City Manager Agenda Number Eleven of May 5, 2014 Placed on Table for further discussion at City Council Meeting of May 19, 2014.]

On The Table #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-22, regarding whether the Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse qualifies as a pre-existing non-confirming structure. [City Manager Agenda Number Fifteen of May 5, 2014 Placed on Table.]

On The Table #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Council Order Number 13, dated Mar 17, 2014, which requested that city staff determine the relevant zoning requirements for the Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse with respect to use of the First Street Garage. [City Manager Agenda Number Sixteen of May 5, 2014 Placed on Table.]

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with all relevant City staff and departments in an effort to move the Planning Board’s upcoming hearing on the Special Permit application for the Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment from the Citywide Senior Center to a gymnasium or auditorium-type location within or nearby the East Cambridge neighborhood and report back to the City Council on this matter.   Councillor Carlone

I attended a meeting on this topic yesterday organized by the new "Neighborhood Association of East Cambridge" (NAEC) that was spawned in response to the courthouse disposition. Leading the discussion were David de Swaan, Bethany Stevens, Seth Teller, and Ilan Levy. Mr. de Swaan made clear that the meeting was to be "about facts, not opinions" and this was largely true. There were, as expected, some rather strong opinions expressed by at least one of the presenters who said, "We have not been well-served by the City apparatus." He called the Planning Board a "rubber stamp board" and (incorrectly) asserted that Planning Board members whose terms had expired were serving illegally on the board. Massachusetts law says otherwise. Though this may be bad practice, any board member whose term has expired may legally serve until his replacement is appointed. The speaker also emphatically expressed his disappointment with the Community Development Department; the Department of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation; and Inspectional Services – suggesting that they were all "asleep at the switch" in regard to the disposition of the Courthouse building.

The Planning Board decision on whether to grant a Special Permit is, I believe, currently anticipated to occur at its June 17 meeting. If I understand this correctly, as long as the minimum parking requirements are met both on site together with leasing from either the nearby City garage or the Galleria, then the decision may hinge on whether the proposal will have a "significant detrimental impact" compared to the previous use of the property. The Planning Board may otherwise be required to issue the Special Permit. There are good arguments to be made on either side of this issue, but one has to believe that a change from a prison to a mixed office/residential use is certainly a net positive. Perhaps this is why so much of the rhetoric seems to be centered around potential changes in wind, reflected light, and the likelihood that the building may be intensely used during late hours. Traffic and parking concerns are also an issue, but it’s not so clear that these will be significantly different than how things were during the decades when the courthouse was in operation on the site.

There are some abutters who are likely to pursue a lawsuit arguing that the property is not legally a "pre-existing non-conforming structure." This conflicts with the opinion of the City Solicitor whose opinion was characterized by one of the NAEC presenters as simply "transferred from the developer." Others at this meeting apparently feel that the best strategy would be to create maximum delay so that further political avenues may be pursued after Gov. Patrick’s term is over and a new administration is in place.

Manager’s Agenda #9. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-25, regarding a report on the status of the Grand Junction Path project.

Order #17. The City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department regarding the feasibility of hiring a design consultant to design the rails-with-trail path along the Grand Junction corridor and to include money in next year’s budget for design funds for the Grand Junction Rails-with-Trails path.   Councillor Cheung

The report provides an excellent summary of the current situation and the history of the Grand Junction corridor over the years. This is, without a doubt, a project that needs to be pursued. If created in conjunction with new housing options in Somerville, Cambridge, and Allston, this could be a great accomplishment that everybody will one day celebrate.

Manager’s Agenda #10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a proposed ordinance concerning building energy use reporting and disclosure.

This is perhaps the one feature of last year’s "Net Zero petition" that had nearly unanimous support. As the Manager’s statement says, "The ordinance would also enable the City and the community to plan more effectively for energy efficiency and renewable energy."

Applications & Petitions #4. A zoning petition has been filed by Timothy R. Flaherty, et al. requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Map of the City of Cambridge to expand the Medical Marijuana Overlay District, MMD-1 to encompass 61 Mooney Street.

This would be a very minor alterarion to the existing district. I suppose we may presume from this petition that there is a state-sanctioned dispensary that wants to move to a Mooney Street location.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments as to whether it would be feasible to issue licenses/permits to push cart vendors and local artists, both at Carl Barron Plaza and similar spaces in Central Square.   Vice Mayor Benzan and Councillor Cheung

When I served on a committee almost 20 years ago that made recommendations for streetscape and other improvements to the Central Square area, pushcart vendors were definitely a part of what was envisioned for the widened sidewalks and in places like Carl Barron Plaza. Some of the commercial establishments at that time had concerns about competition from vendors who did not have to pay property taxes, but the truth is that these kinds of uses can improve business for all parties if done well. I personally hope it’s not just pushcarts and artists. A hot dog stand would be great. I’m sure the vegan and gluten-free crowd will disagree.

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the appropriate City personnel to determine the feasibility of taking the Vail Court lot by eminent domain for the good of the community.   Councillor Simmons

While there is nearly unanimous agreement that something should happen with the long-abandoned Vail Court property (where Temple Street meets Bishop Allen Drive), eminent domain seems like a bad road to go down – whether done by the City or by the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority with the City’s blessing. On the other hand, perhaps the mere threat of eminent domain may lead to some positive action by the property owner.

Order #7. Urge the Cambridge Housing Authority to delay implementing the smoking ban until such time as the organization can identify a new source of funding to robustly initiate the various smoking cessation programs that will be necessary to assist its tenants in complying with this new policy.   Councillor Simmons

Don’t delay. Other than the courting of votes, there is no reason to grant exceptional status to CHA properties. Banning smoking in all of these properties is in the best interest of all and there’s no excuse for delay. People will adapt to the change.

Order #9. That without discounting the gravity of the crimes perpetrated against Yngve Raustein, the City Council does hereby go on record expressing support for Joseph Donovan’s application for parole, which will be reviewed on May 29, 2014.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor McGovern and Vice Mayor Benzan

This is a good action for the City Council to take. The site provides the essential details of the case:

On Sept 18, 1992 at 9:45pm along Memorial Drive, three Cambridge teenagers – Joseph Donovan, Shon McHugh and Alfredo Velez – exchanged words with 21 year-old MIT student Yngve Raustein. This led to Joseph Donovan punching Raustein sending him to the ground, but it was McHugh who then pulled a knife and stabbed Raustein to death. Because McHugh was only 15 at the time, he was tried in juvenile court, received a 20 year sentence, served only 11 years for the murder, and has now been free for over a decade. Velez was sentenced to 20 years and served less than 10 years. Because Donovan was 17 at the time of the incident, he was tried as an adult for complicity with the murder and received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He has now served 22 years in prison while the actual murderer walks free. Both surviving members of Yngve Raustein’s immediate family, including his mother and his brother, support the application for Donovan’s release.

Order #15. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on the status of relocating the Department of Public Works and any plans for creating open space at the current location once DPW operations are moved.   Councillor Toomey

Having volunteered in numerous recycling and composting initiatives over the years, I have a certain fondness for 147 Hampshire St. (DPW Headquarters) and the Public Works Yard. That said, there are many better uses for that property as long as an appropriate alternative can be found for a new DPW yard. The current central location has been great for the Recycling Drop-off Center and other uses, but the surrounding neighborhood is quite dense and could benefit greatly from some well-planned open space on that site.

Order #13. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Law Department, the Election Commission, and the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance to determine the feasibility of publicly funded elections for Cambridge, taking into account models for implementation from other municipalities as well as the exploration of new publicly funded models.   Councillor Mazen and Councillor Carlone

While I can certainly respect the sentiment espoused by this Order, I cannot imagine any reasonable way for such a proposal to be administered, and I’m not really convinced that it’s a good idea. Contrary to what is stated in the Order, public funding will likely not reduce the influence of private contributions unless there’s also a cap imposed on overall spending, and I don’t see that happening. If the receipt of public funds is made conditional on refusing many private sources, then most or all of the successful campaigns will likely not participate, and this may become little more than a financing plan for fringe candidates.

In matters such as this, perhaps we should all take a few lessons from Craig Kelley and Fred Fantini who consistently run successful municipal election campaigns on a shoestring budget. If they can do it, I’m sure other candidates can do it. That seems like the preferred course of action.

Order #16. That the City Manager is requested to detail how the non-zoning recommendations that have emerged from the K2C2 Report can and will be implemented in the months ahead.   Councillor Simmons

It is my understanding that the recently rejuvenated Central Square Advisory Committee will advise on these matters, but there have not yet been any solid plans put forward for either the non-zoning recommendations or possible zoning recommendations. Hopefully there will be some movement on both as this year progresses.

Committee Report #4. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk transmitting a report from Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee for a public meeting held on May 6, 2014 to discuss the effectiveness of the City Council Aide positions as well as procedural issues regarding the submission of policy orders and resolutions.

It’s unfortunate that this is cast as a question of the "effectiveness of the City Council Aide positions" when the real question is whether it’s appropriate that tax dollars should be given to what are undeniably political patronage jobs. If the City Council or its committees need enhanced staffing, there are far better and more legally defensible ways to provide such support. As I have stated before, political privilege is like entropy. It always increases. – Robert Winters

May 13, 2014

Fresh Pond Day – Saturday May 31, 11am-3pm

Filed under: Cambridge,Fresh Pond — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 2:01 pm

Celebrate Our Reservation and Cambridge Community at Fresh Pond Day – Saturday May 31, 11am-3pm

Water Department logoJoin the Cambridge Water Department in celebrating the land, water, wildlife and people that make Cambridge’s Fresh Pond Reservation in Cambridge a unique and vital oasis at the 7th annual Fresh Pond Day. The festivities, hosted on the Reservation at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway will run from 11am-3pm and are open and free to all. Parking will be very limited at Fresh Pond Reservation; all visitors arriving by car are strongly encouraged to park at the Tobin School, 197 Vassal Lane.

Fresh Pond Day is for all ages. Highlights of the celebration will include: live music, children’s StoryWalk and storytime, face painting, stilt-walking, kids’ sing-along, wildlife and bicycle parades, container gardening, a live owl demonstration, fire truck and Reservation utility vehicles on exhibition, Reservation and water treatment facility tours, and a chance to meet and greet with City departments and community groups. Feel free to bring a picnic. Rain does cancel the event. For schedules, updates on weather, and volunteering, visit the Public Programs page at, or contact Kirsten Lindquist at (617) 349-6489,

Fresh Pond Reservation is readily accessible by public transit and bicycle; these “green” transportation options are strongly recommended. Bus routes #72, 75, 74 and 78 all stop within a 10 minute walk of the Reservation. To arrive by subway, take the Red Line to Alewife Station and walk down Alewife Brook Parkway past Fresh Pond Mall, then cross Concord Avenue into the Reservation. Ride a bicycle here by taking a right on Lakeview Avenue off of Brattle Street, crossing Fresh Pond Parkway to reach the bike path on the Reservation’s perimeter.

Fresh Pond Day!

Cambridge Historical Commission announces Preservation Awards Recipients

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 1:57 pm

Cambridge Historical Commission announces Preservation Awards Recipients

2014 Preservation AwardsThe Cambridge Historical Commission is pleased to announce the recipients of the eighteenth annual Cambridge Preservation Awards. Inaugurated by the Commission in 1997, the program celebrates outstanding historic preservation projects and the commitment of the individuals who worked on those projects, thereby making Cambridge a more attractive and desirable place in which to live and work.

This year’s awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 22, from 6:00-8:00pm at Biogen Idec at 225 Binney Street. Biogen Idec has recently completed the construction of a new facility at this location, the design of which incorporated two historic buildings on Fifth and Sixth streets. The public is invited to attend. Due to building security, all visitors will be issued Biogen visitor ID badges. Please RSVP to 617-349-4683 or by e-mail to so that badges may be produced in advance. Guests who do not RSVP should bring identification and will need to wait while badges are prepared.

Projects to be recognized include residential restorations at 15 Ash Street, 2 Brattle Circle, 24-36 Fulkerson Street, 28 Garfield Street, and 146-148 Magazine Street. Winning institutional projects include The Jarvis apartments at 27 Everett Street and Stone Hall at Quincy House by Harvard College; the restoration of 78-80 Oxford Street by Lesley University; the adaptive re-use of 130 Brookline Street and the restoration of the Metropolitan Storage warehouse at 134 Massachusetts Avenue by MIT Investment Management Company; the sensitive addition of emergency egress and exterior renovation of the Harvard Lampoon building at 44 Bow Street; and the adaptive re-use of the former Police Headquarters at 5 Western Avenue, now the Alice Wolf Center.

The winning projects by Cambridge non-profits are the Blacksmith House at 56 Brattle Street by the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House at 159 Brattle Street by the Cambridge Historical Society, and the Cambridge YWCA at 7 Temple Street.

The Anthony C. Platt Award, which is given each year for a project in a neighborhood conservation district, will recognize the renovation of an Italianate Style double house at 12-14 Avon Place in the Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District.

Several participants in the Cambridge Community Development Department’s Façade, Signage, and Lighting Improvement Program will receive Certificates of Merit. The winning projects this year include 26 Brattle Street (Dickson Brothers Hardware), 221-225 Concord Avenue (Local Root-The Kitchen Store, Majestic Yoga Studio, and the Observatory Hill Studio), and 185 Mount Auburn Street (Beyt by 2b design).

May 9, 2014

Cambridge City Manager Seeks Members for New Broadband Task Force

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 9:01 pm

Cambridge City Manager Seeks Members for New Broadband Task Force

City SealMay 09, 2014 – City Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking applicants to serve on a new Task Force which will examine broadband service in Cambridge and evaluate our fiber infrastructure. The Task Force will examine options to increase competition, reduce pricing, and improve speed, reliability and customer service for both residents and businesses. Additionally, the Task Force will investigate scenarios for leveraging the City’s current or future fiber assets to expand access to broadband services, such as service to Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) properties.

The work of the Task Force will help to ensure that Cambridge remains a world-class City in which to live, work, innovate and learn. The final report of the committee will assist the City in planning for the future and setting realistic expectations with the public, as creating alternative solutions can take years to fully implement.

The Task Force will meet on a regular basis and will be charged with:

  • Engaging the broader community, including residents, business and university partners, in understanding their current and future broadband needs;
  • Understanding and documenting existing broadband service in Cambridge – speed, reliability, cost and customer service;
  • Understanding and documenting the existing broadband and fiber infrastructure – both private and public;
  • Examining best practices and models used by other municipalities across the United States to improve access to broadband services;
  • Developing a range of alternatives for improving access to broadband services, including: increased private competition, a mesh network, a municipal fiber network connected to public housing properties, a municipal fiber backbone throughout the city and a complete municipal broadband network;
  • Evaluating each alternative by conducting an analysis of the level of service provided, cost to customers and to the City, customer service, sustainability and flexibility of the system to adapt to improving technologies;
  • Creating business models for providing internet service that includes: funding, cost recovery, governance model, and subscription structure, including options for people with limited ability to pay; and
  • Developing recommendations for leveraging public- private partnerships, including regional initiatives, in achieving alternative access to broadband services.

Residents and interested members of Cambridge’s university, innovation, civic and business communities are encouraged to apply. Prospective members should send a letter via mail, email or fax by Friday, May 30, 2014 briefly describing the applicant’s interest in the committee, relevant background, skills and experience to:

Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
City of Cambridge 795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph: 617-349-4300   Fax: 617-349-4307

May 8, 2014

FY2015 Budget Notes – and a comment on political patronage

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government,City Council — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 2:26 pm

FY2015 Budget Notes – and a comment on political patronage

The first round of the City Council’s FY2015 Budget hearings took barely more than 3 hours today. After a brief (and accurate) statement by Councillor Craig Kelley opposing a proposal to convert the personal assistants for individual councillors into full-time (patronage) jobs, the only departments to have their budgets pulled for further discussion were: (1) Law Department, (2) Information Technology, (3) Public Celebrations, (4) Traffic, Parking & Transportation, (5) Inspectional Services, and (6) License Commission. Most of the inquiries from councillors were brief, and much of the commentary was more like expressions of thanks for how well these departments operate.

The FY2015 Budget Book lists 2 full-time staff positions for the City Council, but the City Council budget includes $1,386,180 to cover the salaries of the city councillors and their aides. These personal aide jobs first appeared in 2006 as part-time positions (without benefits) within the Mayor’s Office budget, but were later shifted to the City Council budget. From the start, almost all of these the jobs were given to individuals connected to the political campaigns of the councillors. Only Councillor Kelley has resisted the patronage urge and operates without a personal aide.

This topic was the first matter discussed at the Government Operations Committee meeting on Tues, May 6. The recommendation of the committee was never really in doubt – of course they want to grant themselves additional political privilege (at taxpayer expense). The City Council apparently is choosing to ignore the fact that the Plan E Charter explicitly says that the City Council can hire exactly 3 positions: City Manager, City Clerk, and City Auditor. Some will argue that it is not the councillors who are appointing the aides, but the councillors choose them, and it’s inconceivable that City staff would ever deny any councillor their personal choice. There are no public postings for these positions, and none of them are subject to the usual range of requirements of other City employees.

It’s always entertaining (and equally aggravating) to hear councillors testify about how much work they do and how they absolutely need more and more staff. So many birthday resolutions, so little time. By the way, almost all of the current group of councillors have other jobs, so most are drawing two salaries. I suppose this explains why they feel the need for additional staff, but an equally good argument can be made for having their salaries cut in half in order to cover the cost of people to write all those birthday resolutions (which would bring them more in line with comparable positions in other cities and towns in the area).

Political privilege is like entropy. It always increases. – Robert Winters

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