Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

November 29, 2018

Fifth Friday – Nov 30, 2018 – Central Square

Filed under: Cambridge,Central Square — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 4:50 pm

You’re Invited!

Fifth Friday - Nov 30, 2018

Kick off your weekend (and the holiday season!) with a Fifth Friday celebration
in #CentralSQ! Events will take place tomorrow (11/30) from 5-8pm on
City Hall Lawn and throughout Central Square, including:

• Tour of Workbar Cambridge
• Petting Zoo on City Hall Lawn
• Holiday Card Making at Eastern Bank
• Photo Booth with Santa at the Fire Station
• Record Swap at Cheapo Records
• Ornament Making Workshop at NuVu Studio
• Winter Cocktails & Live Music at La Fábrica
• Live Pop-up Art Gallery at 541 Mass Ave from the #CSQinColor Mural Project artists & friends
• Performance and Refreshments at Dance Complex
• Sock and Coat Drive throughout Central Square
• Board Game Night at 730 Tavern, Kitchen & Patio, provided by Pandemonium Books and Games
• Lighting Ceremony and unveiling of new Holiday Lights
• Hot Cocoa with a Cop at Amazon, provided by 1369 Coffee

Fifth Friday is brought to you by the Central Square BID, Starry, Cambridge Community Foundation
and the CSBA, with help from the Cambridge Savings Bank Street Team!

Friday, November 30 • 5 to 8pm • City Hall Lawn

Details & RSVP

November 28, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 357-358: Nov 27, 2018

Episode 357 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 27, 2018 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 27, 2018 at 5:30pm. Topics: Late semester musings; Nov 26 City Council meeting – trees, curb cuts, councillor coddling, municipal facility upgrades, urban agriculture, outdoor lighting; Van Morrison and Astral Weeks. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 358 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 27, 2018 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 27, 2018 at 6:00pm. Topics: Voter histories, targeting voters, publicly financed campaigns, age distribution of voters 2012-2018, voter turnout, supervoters, #1 voter fealty. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

November 26, 2018

A Quick One! Nov 26, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:24 am

A Quick One! Nov 26, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting

Though a short agenda does not guarantee a short meeting, hope springs eternal. Below are the handful of items of potential action or interest, but first a word or two about The Who.A Quick One

I understand that many people these days may not even know what a radio or a record is, and the term "long playing" (or LP) may now refer only to how long somebody spends on their video games. However there once was a pretty great band called The Who that was known by many as the raucous band that destroyed their equipment at live shows. They also produced some pretty great studio albums – one of which was the nifty 1966 record (their second) called "A Quick One". All the band members wrote songs for this one, e.g. "Run, Run, Run" (Pete Townsend), "Boris the Spider" (John Entwistle), "I Need You" (Keith Moon), and "See My Way" (Roger Daltrey). I have a particular fondness for "Boris the Spider".

Anyway, whenever I say or think of the phrase "A Quick One" it reminds me of this really great record.

Now back to less interesting stuff.

Manager’s Agenda #1. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $3,000,000 to provide funds for the planning and feasibility of improvements to 831 Massachusetts Avenue and 3 Bigelow Street buildings, and the design and construction of improvements at City Hall.

I really hope one of the city councillors asks what the total cost now is for rehab of these two buildings (831 Mass. Ave. and 3 Bigelow Street.). As for City Hall, how much of the cost is for the ever-growing coddling budget for city councillors?

Manager’s Agenda #2. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow $3,000,000 to provide funds for the design and reconstruction of the Fire Station Headquarters building.

I’m glad to see the City’s firehouses getting some long-overdue attention.

Unfinished Business #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-85, regarding a report on the feasibility of appointing an advisory committee to work through resilience elements raised during the Envision process and through the Brown Petition.

The discussion on this last week was illuminating, especially the objections to there being four city councillors on the committee. Apparently this flies in the face a several Open Meeting Law quorum restrictions. It’s also unprecedented to have an advisory committee with four city councillors, but such is the price of political accommodation.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Community Development Department, the Cambridge Public Health Department, and any other appropriate departments to provide a timeline outlining when the City Council can expect to receive draft zoning and public health regulations for urban farming.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Mallon, Councillor Zondervan

Other than beekeeping and perhaps legalizing a few stray hens, I’m still at a loss to explain why this is even an issue or why it has been batted around for so long. Do we really need an ordinance to regulate the sale of some stuff grown in our gardens?

Order #2. That the City Manager work with the Economic Development Department, Business Associations, and Cambridge Local First to create a Small Business Saturday strategy that increases traffic to our local businesses during the 2019 holiday season.   Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui

I personally spent Black Friday at home and will let Cyber Monday pass without spending a dime. As for a strategy to increase traffic to our local businesses, I suggest lowering prices and, of course, selling some really cool stuff. – Robert Winters

November 22, 2018

Distribution of Cambridge voters by age: Nov 2012 – Nov 2018

Filed under: Cambridge,elections — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 2:28 pm

Distribution of Cambridge voters by age: Nov 2012 – Nov 2018
(3 year increments – age groupings 18-20, 21-23, etc.)

Voted 2018 Registered Voters 2018
Voted 2017 Registered Voters 2017
Voted 2016 Registered Voters 2016
Voted 2015 Registered Voters 2015
Voted 2014 Registered Voters 2014
Voted 2013 Registered Voters 2013
Voted 2012 Registered Voters 2012

November 20, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 355-356: Nov 20, 2018

Episode 355 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 20, 2018 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 20, 2018 at 5:30pm. Topics: Thanksgiving memories; Nov 19 City Council meeting highlights – First Street Garage saga, Surveillance Ordinance, Street Performers Ordinance. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 356 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 20, 2018 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 20, 2018 at 6:00pm. Topics: Nov 19 City Council meeting highlights – Street Performers Ordinance, Climate-related committee appointments, bicycle safety (asp. the Craigie Bridge & Museum Way). Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

November 18, 2018

Hold that Turkey! There’s a Nov 19, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 9:14 pm

Hold that Turkey! There’s a Nov 19, 2018 Cambridge City Council meeting

Here’s what I find interesting and snarkworthy:City Hall

Manager’s Agenda #6. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-102, regarding the potential for utilizing an Icelandic crosswalk design in East Cambridge.

floating crosswalkFor those who don’t recall, there was an Order asking the City to look into a design that pretty clearly would cause some drivers to jam their brakes or swerve to avoid an imagined collision. The response states: "In one formal study, between 10-14% of drivers swerved upon seeing the markings, perhaps believing them to be real raised objects in the roadway. Swerving would not be a safe maneuver for either the driver or other users on the road." Yup.

Manager’s Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-85, regarding a report on the feasibility of appointing an advisory committee to work through resilience elements raised during the Envision process and through the Brown Petition.

The Manager appointed a task force of 25 people including 4 city councillors, 4 residents, 5 institutional/non-profit representatives, 4 business representatives, 4 subject matter experts, and 3 City staff. One of the four resident appointees who was one of the original petitioners has already expressed his objections to the appointments and has stated that he’s not sure if he wants to be affiliated with this. Rocky start.

Manager’s Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to proposed revisions to the draft Surveillance Ordinance.

Manager’s Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed amended Street Performers Ordinance.

I have no point of view on either of these. I’m simply noting that the City Council now has language to adopt or amend. Both proposed ordinances are currently waiting for action on Unfinished Business.

Charter Right #1. Further Study Needed on First Street Garage (Order #3 of Nov 5, 2018).

At this point the notion that some analysis of traffic and parking supply and demand is warranted seems hardly controversial, and most of the data to support that analysis is readily available. What happens after updated information is presented is when the serious controversy will arise.

Applications & Petitions #2. A Zoning Petition was received from Anthony F. Gargano on behalf of his Client Hercules Kalogeropoulos, Cambridge Mobile Sound and Security, seeking to amend the zoning map in the area of 234 Monsignor O’Brien Highway, from the existing ‘C-1’ to Business ‘A’.

More marijuana. I hope people are beginning to understand that this is just as much about getting in on the ground floor of a potentially lucrative market as it is about making marijuana available for medical or recreational use.

Resolution #8. Recognizing the work and legacy of Dr. Joseph J. Harrington.   Mayor McGovern

I’m glad to see this. Dr. Harrington was one of the many unsung heroes who generously volunteered his time to serve of an important City Board – in his case, the Water Board.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to consult with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State Delegation representing Route 28, State Representative Mike Connolly and State Senator Sal DiDomenico, for an update on the bike lane installation, and measures and actions such as increased police enforcement of speed limits, to improve safety of Museum Way immediately with particular emphasis on the intersection of Museum Way and Route 28.   Councillor Toomey

This is one stretch a road where some separation of cyclists from motor vehicle traffic is warranted and long overdue. That said, the primary danger on this and other roads is intersections. The recent cyclist fatality at this location occurred when the cyclist was stopped alongside a truck and both vehicles simultaneously made a right turn. Side guards on trucks would greatly lessen the likelihood of a fatality, but cyclists should never situate themselves to the right of a potentially right-turning large vehicle.

Order #7. That the Economic Development & University Relations Committee is requested to hold a public hearing to discuss the formation of a city commission dedicated to providing a forum for exploring and addressing the concerns of undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and other post-high school students in Cambridge.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Toomey, Vice Mayor Devereux

I told my MIT students about this and some of them are interested in possibly serving on such a board. I am curious what issues would rise to the top of the priority list of such a group.

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to work with CCTV to ensure funding for our municipal media services, and that the City Council go on record opposing a new FCC rule that would severely decrease funding for CCTV and 22CityView by allowing telecommunications companies to deduct in-kind services fees.   Councillor Mallon, Councillor Siddiqui, Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern

Though much has changed since Cable TV was first licensed in Cambridge – primarily the shift from television to Internet, the support of community access from the licensees has only diminished over time. Continental Cablevision used to maintain a studio for community programming but that requirement went away with a previous federal change. Now the FCC wants to further choke the financial support required of a licensee (and there’s only Comcast in Cambridge).

Order #11. That the Housing Committee Co-Chairs, in collaboration with the City Manager’s Office and the Office of the Mayor, be and hereby are requested to reach out to their counterparts in Boston and Somerville to convene a region-wide discussion about the affordable housing crisis.   Councillor Simmons

I recommended such a regional conversation 2½ years ago as a member of the Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee. It never happened. – Robert Winters

November 13, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 353-354: Nov 13, 2018

Episode 353 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 13, 2018 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 13, 2018 at 5:30pm. Topics: More Central Square murals, Taste of the BID; Elections – local, state, federal – recounts & runoffs; Ranked Choice Voting in Maine. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 354 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 13, 2018 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 13, 2018 at 6:00pm. Topics: Field trip following Cambridge organics recycling; Ranked Choice Voting; some PR history, and a comparison of the Cambridge PR election system and a proposed alternative. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

November 6, 2018

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 351-352: Nov 6, 2018 w/Patrick Barrett

Episode 351 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 6, 2018 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 6, 2018 at 5:30pm. Topics: Central Square, Business Improvement District (BID), Formula Business Ordinance and the Central Square Restoration Petition, Envision Cambridge. Hosts: Patrick Barrett, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 352 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 6, 2018 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 6, 2018 at 6:00pm. Topics: Nov 5 City Council meeting highlights, Envision Cambridge, First Street Garage & Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment. Hosts: Patrick Barrett, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

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