Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

March 29, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 125-126: March 29, 2016

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:45 pm

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 125 (Part 1)

Episode 125 – Cambridge InsideOut: This episode was broadcast on Tues, March 29, 2016 at 5:30pm. In this episode we spoke of the untimely death of Cambridge Election Commissioner Peter Sheinfeld as well as updates on some other civic matters. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Note: Peter Sheinfeld’s last pre-recorded “Rockin’ At Night” radio show on WRCA (1330 AM) will play this Friday, April 1, 2016 from 11:00pm to midnight.


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 126 (Part 2)

Episode 126 – Cambridge InsideOut: This episode was broadcast on March 29, 2016 at 6:00pm. Primary topics were upcoming events and some outdoors opportunities available through AMC Local Walks/Hikes. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

March 22, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 123-124: Mar 22, 2016

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:29 pm

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 123 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Mar 22, 2016 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. The main topics in this episode were the recent Division 1 State Championship of the Cambridge Falcons (CRLS Boys Basketball) and some other civic news. [On YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 124 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. The prominent topics were primarily things discussed at the Cambridge City Council meeting the night before. [On YouTube]

March 21, 2016

Cambridge Works Transitional Jobs Program Gives Residents A Helping Hand

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 11:20 am

Cambridge Works Transitional Jobs Program Gives Residents A Helping Hand

Mar 21, 2016 – Cambridge Works, the City’s transitional jobs program for younger residents (age 18-35) who haven’t been able to get or keep jobs, celebrated its 16th graduating class during a special ceremony March 17 at Cambridge City Hall. The highly successful program provides a temporary job with the City of Cambridge, and/or other partner employers, while also offering intensive case management, soft skills development and job search assistance to help participants secure an unsubsidized job upon program completion. Cambridge Works is coordinated through the Office of Workforce Development for the Department of Human Services Program (DHSP).

For many participants of Cambridge Works, the job skills they learn, the experience they earn, and the support they receive from the staff and their peers can be life changing, affording them a much needed second chance in many cases. As part of the Cambridge Works ceremony, the staff speak about each of the participants and then the graduates themselves are given the opportunity to share their story and individual struggles, and most discuss how they overcame their particular challenges with the help of this program and the support of the staff.

“For many of you, this was the first step in your journey to employment,” said Deputy City Manager Lisa Peterson. “We encourage you to stay in touch with the staff because they want to support you and see you succeed. And congratulations to some of you who have already received job offers.”

Transitional Jobs Coordinator Mike Merullo expressed his thanks to the Employer work sites and supervisors, adding that they are a major part of “what makes Cambridge Works work.”

Following the distribution of certificates, Mayor E. Denise Simmons congratulated the group, telling them how moved she was by their stories and addressed each graduate with a personal message.

“It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or how you got here, but where you are going,” said Simmons. “Cambridge Works has helped you obtain the skills you need to help you succeed and this city is standing behind you.”

Master of Ceremonies Richard Harding, Cambridge Public Health Department added his thanks to the city administration and City Council for believing that this program could make a difference and helped Cambridge residents in the unique way that it has for the past 16 years.

Cambridge Works Graduates with Cambridge city staff and officials
Cambridge Works Graduates with Cambridge City staff and officials

Happy Spring! – Coming up at the March 21, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 2:23 am

Happy Spring! Coming up at the March 21, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting

Happy Spring!
Happy Spring!

Here are a few items that aroused my interest:

Manager’s Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation not to adopt the Peter L. Cohen, et al., Zoning Petition, with a recommendation that the issue be incorporated into a broader study.

Not much to say about this except that the Planning Board recommends that "the issue of parking location may be best studied as part of the Envision Cambridge citywide planning process." There are some who would like to freeze all new construction until that process is complete (which is silly), but there are lots of issues major and minor that can be made part of that discussion without bringing the city to a screeching halt.

Manager’s Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the Complete Streets Policy and Council Order.

Manager’s Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the adoption of a Policy Order committing Vision Zero, a set of goals of eliminating transportation fatalities and serious injuries.

I don’t think anyone can argue against the general concept of safer streets that accommodate all modes of travel. My only concern here is that there needs to be some understanding that there is no universal agreement on how best to accomplish this. Some people will not be satisfied until all cyclists are removed from the roadways under the dogma that creating segregated facilities is the only safe way to accommodate cyclists. Many of us disagree strongly with that assumption except where there is a great differential in relative speeds of cyclists and motor vehicles, e.g. along most DCR parkways. I certainly hope that in accepting these reports there is no implied endorsement of segregated cycling facilities in all or even most circumstances.

Manager’s Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the block rates for water consumption and sewer use for the period beginning Apr 1, 2016 and ending Mar 31, 2017.

The Bottom Line: Another 0% increase in the water consumption block rate and a 3.2% increase in the sewer use block rate, resulting in a 2.4% increase in the combined rate for the period beginning Apr 1, 2016 and ending Mar 31, 2017. This is the sixth consecutive year that the City has been able to produce a 0% increase in the water rate.

Resolution #1. Congratulations to the CRLS Boys Basketball Team on their hard-earned semifinals victory and best wishes in the upcoming State Championship games against St. John’s Shrewsbury.   Councillor Toomey, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Carlone

You can add the Division 1 State Championship to the resolution. The Cambridge Falcons (CRLS Boys Basketball) won the state title Saturday night against St. John’s, 66-51.

Resolution #2. Retirement of Susan Flannery from the Cambridge Public Library.   Mayor Simmons

We have been blessed with Susan Flannery as Director of the Cambridge Public Library for over two decades. Enjoy your retirement! The Order declares March 30 as Susan Flannery Day in the City of Cambridge. Celebrate by reading a book!

Resolution #3. That the City Council declare Apr 9, 2016 to be Tom Lehrer Day in the City of Cambridge.   Mayor Simmons

Yet another fine example of how mathematicians can be good at more than just mathematics. The Resolution declares April 9 to be Tom Lehrer Day in the City of Cambridge. Coincidentally, that’s also the anniversary of my own mathematics doctoral defense – a personal holiday of sorts. I think I have all of Tom Lehrer’s records.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to provide an update to the City Council as to what steps may have already been undertaken to examine the question of the legality of tying the Living Wage Ordinance to the Linkage Ordinance, what additional measures must be taken in order to obtain a definitive answer, and what the timeline for this process is projected to be.   Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern

It’s not entirely clear what is intended here, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea to intermingle policies regarding what can be built in Cambridge and how developers or commercial tenants should pay their workers. To the best of my understanding, there are also no requirements about hiring union workers in the zoning code, and only the Commonwealth and the federal government have the authority to determine any minimum wage or living wage.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the City Solicitor and other relevant City departments to consider the pending State legislation and pending legislation in the City of Boston and any other actions that would allow Cambridge to institute municipal lobbying regulations.   Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen

Not only is this unnecessary given the limited authority of city councillors under the Plan E Charter, it also reads like an accusation from three city councillors directed at their colleagues. All campaign contributions are now easily accessible public records. There is no need for any additional layer of bureaucracy. This is a "solution" in search of a problem.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Managing Director of the Cambridge Water Department for the purpose of creating an online database of lead service lines similar to the one created by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission and to disseminate information to residents about the Cambridge Water Department’s free quality testing and lead service pipe replacement services.   Councillor Toomey

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Cambridge Water Department to create an informational web page that will provide plumbing infrastructure installation tips for residents, commercial customers, and contractors in the City of Cambridge.   Councillor Cheung

Unlike other cities across the country, the City of Cambridge has been way ahead of the game in terms of testing and replacement of lead services. My house is a good example. I replaced my old service in conjunction with an emergency repair by the Water Department some years ago, and my building has been one of the City’s lead and copper testing sites for nearly three decades. We are definitely not Flint, Michigan.

Order #7. That the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Art, and Celebrations Committee and the Civic Unity Committee hold a joint hearing to determine the feasibility of facilitating the appointment of an “Non-Citizen Representative” to the City Council.   Councillor Mazen, Mayor Simmons

This is a ridiculous proposal. There has never been a day in the history of Cambridge when a non-citizen couldn’t bring concerns to any of the elected city councillors with every expectation that those concerns would be addressed. All five items proposed are already available to any member of the public – citizen or not. It is also abundantly clear that the appropriate City Council Committee for the substance of this Order would be the Government Operations Committee – and neither of the two committees specified in the Order.

Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to update the City Council on the effects of the removal of sidewalk vaults in Central Square.   Councillor Cheung

For those not in the know, the continued presence of hollow sidewalks, a.k.a. sidewalk vaults or area ways, in Central Square is one of the main reasons why the sidewalks routinely fail and are difficult to maintain. Eliminating these area ways is not cheap and the financial burden primarily rests with the property owners. At the very least the City could require that these be remedied as a precondition for any City grant programs or zoning relief. This is just one of many things that continue to need attention in Central Square. – Robert Winters

Catching Up on the Cambridge News (Mar 21, 2016)

Filed under: Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 12:44 am

Cambridge Takes Steps to Protect Workers from Wage Theft
Cambridge City Manager Issues Executive Order on Wage Theft Prevention

On Monday, March 14, 2016, City Manager Richard C. Rossi signed an Executive Order establishing certification requirements for vendors bidding on City contracts. The measure seeks to prevent wage theft, which is the improper withholding of payment from employees and the failure to pay employees according to required schedules. Wage theft most often involves employers paying less than the minimum, contracted, or prevailing wage, not paying for all hours worked, and not paying overtime for hours exceeding 40 per week, but wage theft can take many forms—employers may never send the final paycheck, or may misclassify workers as independent contractors.

“This Executive Order is a clear indication of Cambridge’s continuing commitment to wage justice,” said City Manager Richard C. Rossi. “The provisions put into effect today provide the City the protections that are needed to ensure that we are dealing with quality contractors. We have created a simple and fair process for both the City and for our contractors.”

Under the Executive Order vendors bidding on City contracts will be required to certify their compliance with federal and state wage law with the City, and if the vendors have previous violations, disclose them, and provide a wage bond for the duration of the contract. These measures strengthen the City’s ability to hire vendors that treat their employees fairly.

Labor advocates from the Greater Boston Labor Council and Community Labor United worked with City leaders to bring this issue forward. “Cambridge is taking great leadership for workers’ rights,” said Darlene Lombos, Executive Director of Community Labor United and Vice President of the Greater Boston Labor Council. “By taking this action, the City of Cambridge is sending a clear message to all employers: wage theft in Cambridge will not be tolerated. We applaud the leaders of this city for doing what is right for workers.”

The Executive Order also prohibits City departments from contracting with debarred vendors for the period of their debarment. This will help to ensure that City resources are not used to support those vendors debarred for wage law violations.

The Executive Order is effective for all contracts resulting from requests for proposals or invitation for bids that become publically available on or after March 14, 2016. Cambridge joins the City of Boston in requiring this type of certification and wage bond.

Wage Theft Executive Order
Photo: Arthur Goldberg, Deputy City Solicitor for the City of Cambridge; Amy Witts, Purchasing Agent for the City of Cambridge;
Lindsay McCluskey, Organizer for Greater Boston Labor Council, and Darlene Lombos, Executive Director of Community
Labor United and Vice President of the Greater Boston Labor Council and, of course, Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi


Health & Human Services Job Fair March 30

Mar 14, 2016 – The Cambridge Office of Workforce Development is sponsoring a free Health & Human Services Job Fair Wed, Mar 30, from 11:00am-1:00pm, at Central Square Library, 45 Pearl Street, Cambridge. Take the MBTA Red Line or #1 Bus to Central Square.

Prospective job applicants are urged to research companies in advance and apply for positions online.

Participating organizations include:

little hand Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership little hand Riverside Community Care
little hand Fenway Health & AIDS Action Committee little hand Perkins School for the Blind
little hand Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health    little hand The Edinburg Center
little hand Spaulding Hospital / Cambridge little hand Cambridge Health Alliance
little hand Always Here Home Care little hand Nurtury
little hand Franciscan Hospital for Children little hand United South End Settlements

For more information, call 617-349-6259 or email Josh Foley at jfoley@cambridgema.gov.


Voter Registration and Absentee Ballots for the Special State Primary, April 12th

Vote!The Special State Primary will be held on Tues, Apr 12, 2016 ONLY in Wards/Precincts 2-2, 2-3, 4-1, 4-3, 5-1, 5-2 & 5-3 for the office of State Senator for Massachusetts First Suffolk & Middlesex Senate District to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Anthony Petruccelli. For Cambridge residents not already registered, the last day to register to vote for the election is Wed, Mar 23, 2016 until 8:00pm. The polls will be open on Election Day from 7:00am until 8:00pm.

If you are a voter in Wards/Precincts 2-2, 2-3, 4-1, 4-3, 5-1, 5-2 & 5-3, please contact the Cambridge Election Commission office to find out when the Absentee Ballots will be available for the Special State Primary. 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. The deadline to apply for an Absentee Ballot is Monday, April 11, 2016 at noon. 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 Fri, Apr 8 until 5:00pm.

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.


BYOBCambridge Residents Encouraged to Bring Reusable Bags when Shopping
Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance goes into effect on March 31, 2016

Mar 14, 2016 – The City of Cambridge seeks to reduce the number of plastic and paper bags being used, discarded, littered, burned, and buried.  The Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) Ordinance, effective March 31, 2016, encourages the use of reusable bags at all retail establishments in Cambridge.

The purpose of the Ordinance is to reduce the use of disposable checkout bags by retail establishments to protect the marine environment, advance solid waste reduction, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect waterways. The Ordinance seeks to promote the use of reusable checkout bags. Residents may donate reusable bags at City Hall, Public Works, or the North Cambridge Senior Center as part of DPW’s Reusable Bag Drive to help low income and elderly residents receive bags. Bags exempt from the Ordinance include produce bags, laundry, dry-cleaner and newspaper bags, and bags used to wrap meat or frozen foods.

“This ordinance is important not only from the perspective of reducing damaging materials being discharged into our rivers and oceans,” said Cambridge Public Works Commissioner Owen O’Riordan, “but we also hope it will be successful in changing people’s behavior to help improve the cleanliness of our streets and sidewalks and reduce the amount of waste in landfills.”

Cambridge businesses will no longer be able to provide single-use plastic bags, but may offer paper, reusable, or compostable bags to customers at a minimum cost of $0.10 per bag. Businesses must show this as the “Checkout Bag Charge” on the receipt and collect sales tax on each bag.

To avoid this charge, customers are encouraged to bring their own bag when they go shopping, out for food, to the pharmacy, and more.

Cambridge Public Works is continuing with successful outreach to businesses to inform and prepare them for the ordinance. Many businesses are excited to implement this ordinance to help the City with its waste reduction goals.

Learn more about the BYOB Ordinance and find helpful information for businesses and residents at www.CambridgeMA.gov/BYOB.


Cambridge Dog License Applications and Renewals Now Available Online

Mar 14, 2016 – Cambridge residents can now apply for or renew their dog’s license online. State law requires that all dogs over 6 months have a current dog license. The dog license period in Cambridge runs from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. The fee for a dog license for a spayed/neutered dog is $10, or $30 for a dog that is not spayed or neutered. Dog licenses are renewed annually. The fine for an unlicensed dog is $50. For more information visit, www.cambridgema.gov/doglicense.

In order to obtain a dog license, owners must have a current rabies vaccination. Dogs can be vaccinated at the veterinarian’s office, at clinics held at some pet stores, or low cost clinics held periodically. The next Rabies Vaccination Clinic in Cambridge will be held Sat, Apr 2, from 9-11am, at the Cambridge Department of Public Works. The fee is $15 per dog. Microchipping is also available for $20.

Dog licenses can be a ticket home if your dog is lost since the number on the tag can be traced back to the owner to hopefully help for a safe return. Microchipping can also provide added protection.

As with most municipalities, there is a leash law in the City of Cambridge that requires dogs to be on a leash at all times when off the owner’s property. Over the past several years the City of Cambridge has been continually working with residents to explore strategies for dogs to be off leash in city parks and open spaces. There are three approaches taken by the city to meet the demand for off leash space: dedicated off leash areas, shared use off leash areas, and shared use hours. For a list of areas, visit www.cambridgema.gov/offleash.

In these off leash areas, dog owners must adhere to certain important regulations. The dog must be under voice control and within sight of the owner/keeper at all times when off leash and the dog must have a current Cambridge Dog License. There are other regulations and it is the responsibility of the person with the dog to be aware of these posted regulations. Additionally, either off leash or on leash, an owner/keeper must carry means for disposal to pick up and dispose of any feces left by the dog. The City of Cambridge does supply dog waste bags in some areas, but the responsibility to have a means of disposal is entirely on the owner/keeper.


Draft revisions to the Planning Board Rules and CDD Community Engagement Guidelines

The materials are available on the web and are scheduled to be discussed at the Planning Board meeting on March 22.
http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/zoninganddevelopment/planningboard/planningboardmeetings


30th Annual Cambridge CityRun 5-Miler Road Race and 3-Mile Walk — Sunday, April 3, 2016
Reporting Time: 8:30-10:00am; Starting Time: 10:30am; Start/Finish: Russell Youth Center, 680 Huron Avenue

The scenic, flat, tree-lined course starts and finishes at the Russell Youth Center, 680 Huron Ave. Two miles into the race, the course runs along the perimeter of the Fresh Pond Reservoir – away from cars and distraction. The chip-timed race has been Race measured and certified by the officials at the U.S.A.T.F.

Entry Fee: $30 on or before Saturday, March 19, $35 after.

Register online at www.cambridgecityrun.com. Free Short-Sleeve shirt to the first 1,000 pre-entrants. Participants can also register in person at Marathon Sports, 1654 Mass. Ave., Cambridge.

On Sunday, April 3, interested participants can register at the event at the Russell Youth Center, 680 Huron Avenue, Cambridge from 8:30am-10:00am. The race and walk will start promptly at 10:30am.

RACE ROUTE: Depart from 695 Huron Ave., turn right on Grove, right on Blanchard, right Concord Avenue, right on Fresh Pond Parkway to right into Cambridge Water Department, right onto Fresh Pond Reservoir Loop, right onto Fresh Pond Parkway, right on to Huron Ave.


Cambridge Building Permit Information Session
Monday, April 11, 6-8pm at the Inspectional Services Department, 831 Mass. Ave.

Mar 16, 2016 – The City of Cambridge Inspectional Services Department is offering a free, informational Question & Answer session on renovations and construction requirements for Cambridge residents Monday, April 11, from 6-8pm, at the Inspectional Services Department, 831 Mass. Ave. Topics to be reviewed include:

  • How do I Apply for a Permit for Renovation?
  • When do I Need a Permit for Construction?
  • Questions to Ask Prospective Contractors
  • Should I have a Contract? What Should Contract Include?

Pre-registration is required via email to Martha Flynn, mflynn@cambridgema.gov or by calling 617-349-6107. For more information, visit www.cambridgema.gov/inspection.

March 20, 2016

Sunday Morning Statistics – Who Voted in the Cambridge Presidential primary (by age)

Filed under: elections — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 11:14 am

Sunday Morning Statistics – Who Voted in the Cambridge Presidential primary (by age)

Mar 20 – Just in case you’re interested, here are some histograms of the distribution of Cambridge voters in the recent March 1, 2016 Presidential Primary. Voters are grouped in 3-year increments, e.g. "20" represents the number of voters in the 18-20 range.

All Registered Cambridge Voters with identifiable ages – 65791 Total
Registered Voters - March 2016

Number of These Who Voted in March 1, 2016 Primary – 32732 Total
Voted - March 2016

Percent Turnout by Age – Cambridge Citywide Turnout was 50%
Percent Turnout - March 2016

Here are a few additional bits of information:

1) There were 10,409 unenrolled voters who voted in the March 1 Presidential Primary. Of these, 8285 (79.59%) chose to vote in the Democratic Party primary, 2,097 (20.15%) chose to vote in the Republican Party primary, and 27 (0.26%) chose to vote in the United Independent Party primary.

2) There were 997 registered Republicans vs. 2,097 unenrolled voters who voted in the Republican Party primary, i.e. only a third of those who voted in that primary were registered Republicans. In contrast, about 72% of those who voted in the Democratic Party primary were registered Democrats.

3) In the Cambridge Democratic Party primary (29,670 total ballots cast), it was Clinton 53.11%, Sanders 46.14%, O’Malley 0.15%, De La Fuente 0.07%, No Preference 0.19%, Write-Ins 0.20%, and Blank 0.14%.

4) In the Cambridge Republican Party primary (3137 total ballots cast), it was Kasich 33.63%, Rubio 29.14%, Trump 24.96%, Cruz 6.79%, Carson 1.82%, Bush 0.92%, Paul 0.89%, Gilmore 0.35%, Pataki 0.13%, Fiorina 0.13%, Santorum 0.10%, Christie 0.06%, Huckabee 0.03%, No Preference 0.29%, Write-Ins 0.38%, and Blank 0.38%.

March 15, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 121-122: March 15, 2016

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:38 pm

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 121 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Mar 15, 2016 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. The prominent topics in this episode were the Cambridge Falcons (CRLS Boys Basketball) and the announcement by Rich Rossi that he would retire later this year. [On YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 122 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Mar 15, 2016 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. The prominent topics in this episode was the announcement by Rich Rossi that he would retire later this year and speculation on the process that may follow. [On YouTube]

March 14, 2016

The Eve of the Ides – March 14, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting highlights

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 12:17 am

The Eve of the Ides – March 14 Cambridge City Council meeting highlights

Ides of MarchWith the announcement last Friday that City Manager Richard Rossi would not be seeking a contract extension at the end of his term this summer, things got really interesting really fast around City Hall. People are already speculating on possible successors. Let’s just hope that the relative peace that we’ve see so far this term manages to reign – even as those with divergent points of view jockey for position to influence the process to come. The City Council’s Government Operations, Rules, and Claims Committee will meet at 10:00am on Wed, Mar 23 to continue the discussion of the process and schedule for selecting the next City Manager.

In the meantime, we do have a regular meeting this week. Here are a few items of some interest – with minimal comment:

Manager’s Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the City of Cambridge retaining the noteworthy distinction of being one of approximately 36 municipalities in the United States with three AAA ratings from the nation’s three major credit rating agencies.

This has become an annual event that is treated almost as routine – but it isn’t. It speaks volumes regarding the fiscal policies of the City Management balanced against the policy initiatives of the City Council.

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to form a special working group that will be tasked with developing a framework for the continued stewardship, curatorship and oversight of the Out of Town Kiosk in Harvard Square.

The discussion of this item during the previous City Council meeting had more than a few hints of the desire of some city councillors to micromanage a process best left to the kind of public process that is generally followed in projects like this. Now if only half that much attention could be focused on Central Square.

Resolution #3. Resolution on the death of Margaret Carney-Myers.   Councillor Mazen

Resolution #8. Resolution on the death of Steven Warren Reckhow.   Councillor Maher

I remember Margaret from 25 years ago when some of us expended great effort organizing "Earth Day" events for Cambridge. Though they divorced some time ago, it is worth noting that Margaret was once married to former Cambridge City Councillor Jonathan Myers. The last time I saw her was several years ago while giving some lessons on composting at a community garden in Cambridgeport.

Steve Reckhow’s rapid health decline and death came as quite a shock. Steve and his wife Sylvia have owned the property next to me on Broadway – the former Hubley’s auction house – for a number of years now. They redeveloped that property and the triple-decker behind me with great attention to energy conservation and historic preservation. The Broadway building now houses the Barismo/Dwelltime coffee shop and the Wildflower Montessori School.

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to consult with relevant City departments to develop data on residents of housing developments with 16 units or more to capture such demographic information as the City might find relevant for future planning, to include the number and age of residents, as well as the percent of owner-occupied units, broken down by unit size, specific building and building location.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux

I like information as much as anyone, but this seems a bit on the intrusive side. Perhaps they can just take the information from the annual street listing and be satisfied with that. Do we really need to categorize everything and everybody to such a degree?

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