Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

June 25, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 405-406: June 25, 2019

Episode 405 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 25, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on June 25, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Picking winners in Inclusionary Housing, Cannabis permitting; micro-legislating; First Street Garage & innuendo. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 406 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 25, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on June 25, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Open Archives, Car Talk Plaza, City Dance Party; candidate updates; rooftop mechanicals, BarBQ; Arts Task Force, CMAC, EMF, and politics. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

June 23, 2019

Anxiously Waiting for Summer Recess – and Nomination Papers – June 24, 2019 at the Cambridge City Council

Filed under: 2019 election,Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:22 pm

Anxiously Waiting for Summer Recess – and Nomination Papers – June 24, 2019 at the Cambridge City Council

Dance Party (photo cropped from Press Release)This will be the last meeting until the Midsummer Meeting in late July. Committee meetings will continue here and there. Dance Party at City Hall this Friday. Candidates can pick up nomination papers for the municipal election starting next Monday (July 1). Here’s my first pass at the tastier items on the meeting menu:

Manager’s Agenda #10. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $150,000 from excess FY19 parking fund revenue to the Public Investment Traffic and Parking Department Extraordinary Expenditures account, to establish 20 Mile Per Hour (MPH) Safety Zones on primarily local access streets across the City.

Sooner or later the argument will be made that 15mph is even safer. And so on. In truth, 20mph makes a lot of sense of some streets, but there are plenty of other streets where 20mph or even 25mph feels like an unnecessary crawl. Then again, with traffic congestion worse (by design), it’s all academic since you might rarely break 20mph anyway.

Manager’s Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a recommendation from the Planning Board not to adopt the New Street Overlay District Zoning Petition.

That’s two strikes. They apparently tried to sweeten the petition this time by including some subsidized housing in the mix, i.e. Let’s Make A Deal. This doesn’t have the votes to pass. Will there be a third attempt?


Unfinished Business #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the proposed Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance. [ON OR AFTER APR 22, 2019 THE QUESTION COMES ON PASSAGE TO BE ORDAINED]

Communications & Reports #3. A communication was received from Interim City Clerk Paula M. Crane from Councillor Zondervan, transmitting a memorandum regarding Establishing the Equitable Regulation of the Cannabis Industry in the City of Cambridge.

The cannabis train keeps on rolling (slowly) along. The voters approved it but the really wacky part of this is the way some councillors are trying to microscopically tailor the language of the Permitting Ordinance in order to effectively select who will get the greatest advantage in obtaining a permit to operate a cannabis retail store and even how much shelf space will be allocated to what products.


Communications #2. A communication was received from Gregg Moree, 25 Fairfield Street, regarding several issues he needs the Cambridge Police Department’s help rectifying.

If ever there was something in writing that should disqualify a City Council candidate, perhaps this is it. I won’t bother to link to the text. This man is an embarrassment.

Resolution #1. Resolution on the death of Professor Ifeanyi Menkiti.   Councillor Toomey, Councillor Kelley

I remember riding the MIT-Wellesley Exchange Bus with Professor Menkiti when I worked at Wellesley College. Farewell, sir.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department and the City Solicitor to draft a zoning amendment that will count a portion of a new or substantially renovated building’s rooftop mechanicals (excluding solar installations) toward its allowed height and/or FAR.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Zondervan

This isn’t the first time this matter has been addressed. There was the Citywide Rezoning Petition (Sept 2000) that considered issues of bulk and height related to rooftop mechanical equipment (among other things). There was also a zoning petition on this topic introduced in August 2003 and ordained Nov 3, 2003. This followed the Rooftop Mechanicals Task Force Recommendations of June 2003 which also looked at visual and acoustic issues. This new proposal appears to be primarily about height and density and the fact that some of these installations today are much larger than in days of yore.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the City Solicitor and the City Hall building staff to identify a suitable location other than the Sullivan Chamber where the state flag may be displayed in compliance with state law.   Mayor McGovern, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Zondervan

We may soon need a "trigger alert" read at the start of every City Council meeting so that nobody is offended or traumatized by symbols or fabric or furniture or floor coverings. This Order actually symbolizes the distracted priorities of some councillors.

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department, Assessor’s Office, and the City Solicitor’s Office on developing a Vacant Storefront Registration Policy.   Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Mallon, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan

Collecting data and developing a database of such vacancies may be useful information, but the real question comes down to how that information will be used. There was a previous Order a couple of years ago that would have taxed such properties into oblivion. A far more thoughtful approach would be to provide incentives and guidance to get most of these properties back into active use – the carrot, not the stick.

Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to explain how Newport Construction was selected to work on the Inman Square redesign despite the serious allegations pending against them in Somerville.   Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Carlone

Apparently the chosen contractor cut some trees down in Somerville. In the case of Inman Square, the City beat them to it.

Order #12. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Department of Finance and Department of Human Services to explore options for incorporating additional line items in the FY20 Budget to allocate supplemental funds for legal aid services, housing stabilization and tenant education and organizing to prevent displacement and address its ramifications on Cambridge residents and families.   Councillor Siddiqui, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon

These are basically all good ideas aimed at addressing things at a scale that actually matters, i.e. helping individuals rather than a wholesale policy change such as the proposed "100% Affordable Housing Overlay District" that seeks to move privately-owned residential property into public and quasi-public hands by allowing some select property developers to operate under radically different rules than other property owners.

Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from Interim City Clerk Paula M. Crane transmitting a communication from Councillor Mallon, transmitting notes for the meeting of the ninth and last meeting of the Mayor’s Arts Task.  [Links to all Task Force reports]

While the intention of this Task Force is laudable, some of the comments and recommendations of its members cross way over into the political, i.e. echoes of the Sanders campaign and the Occupy phenomenon of a few years back. Former and new City Council candidates have not hesitated to shower fellow Task Force members with self-serving stump speeches. I’m sure some good actions will grow out of this Task Force and a place like Central Square will be better for it, but I hope that delivering personal or political benefits to outspoken Task Force members should not be among the benefits. It’s right and proper that we should take a step back every few years and reconsider the various arts initiatives and institutions supported by the City to make sure they are delivering best outcomes for all the residents of the city. However, this really shouldn’t be driven by the discontinuation of one person’s arrangement with the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center (CMAC) or the loss of a rehearsal space in the old EMF building in Cambridgeport. – Robert Winters

June 19, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 403-404: June 18, 2019 with Patrick Barrett

Episode 403 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 18, 2019 (Part 1) with Patrick Barrett

This episode was broadcast on June 18, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: City Clerk-Elect Anthony Wilson and a tribute to City Clerk Donna Lopez; Central Square Business Improvement District – where do we go from here? Host: Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 404 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 18, 2019 (Part 2) with Patrick Barrett

This episode was broadcast on June 18, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Proposed Subsidized Housing Overlay; housing issues in general; regional housing perspective; Sullivan Courthouse. Host: Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

June 17, 2019

City Clerk Interviews; Squares and X’s and Ovals – June 17, 2019 at the Cambridge City Council

City Clerk Interviews; Squares and X’s and Ovals – June 17, 2019 at the Cambridge City Council

The City Council will be interviewing the 4 finalists for Cambridge City Clerk at a Special meeting starting at 2:30pm. From the Call of the Meeting: "The purpose of the meeting is to hold public interviews· for the four finalists for the position of City Clerk. The candidates are: Timothy Phelan, Jeanne M. Survell, Niko Vangjeli and Anthony Ivan Wilson ….. This special meeting may be adjourned prior to the commencement of the regular City Council meeting at 5:30. The regular City Council meeting of June 17, 2019 at 5:30pm will open with public comment and the public may comment on the City Clerk candidates among other matters on the agenda pursuant to the Rules of the City Council as amended. Following the conclusion of public comment, the City Council may recess to Executive Session to conduct a strategy session in preparation for contract negotiations with one or more City Clerk candidates. If a vote on the hiring of a City Clerk takes place, such vote would be taken in open session." [The City Clerks and City Managers of Cambridge]

Update – The City Council voted unanimously to choose Anthony Ivan Wilson as the next Cambridge City Clerk, pending contract negotiations.
[The City Clerks and City Managers of Cambridge]

When the Regular Meeting commences at 5:30pm the rest of the agenda will be relatively light, but here are a few notable items:

Order #1. City Council support of S.2213, An Act Relative to Gender Identity on Massachusetts Identification.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons

Tic Tac ToeOne curious consequence of this period of gender redefinition is that rather than introducing the alphabet soup of gender alternatives (actually it’s just X in addition to M and F), the Secretary of State’s Office apparently will no longer include the gender field in the registered voter database provided to candidates and others. It won’t be nearly as easy to do gender-targeted campaign mailings (though I suppose you can still sort by first name and make some assumptions). The Cambridge Election Commission recently voted to adopt this deletion.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City staff and report back to the City Council in greater detail as to why the construction cost estimates for the Inman Square redesign project were so inaccurately low, what steps are being taken to ensure that the project will not lead to further cost estimate overruns, how such inaccurate cost estimates will be avoided for all projects in the future and interim steps that are being taken to ensure maximum safety in this area.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Simmons

The initial estimate was under $3 million which grew to $6 million when approved by the City Council. The successful bid came in at $7.9 million. I would still like some evidence that the desired benefits were not achieved or achievable with the simple addition of the green painted bike lanes now passing through Inman Square.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City staff and Eversource personnel to determine why the signals at Broadway and Elliott, which add an element of confusion to this intersection, were installed without Eversource’s being able to connect them to the grid in a more responsive manner.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Toomey, Mayor McGovern

As a resident of Broadway who had underground electric service until it failed and was never restored (temporary connections have been in place for nearly 5 years now – in my case an electric line screwed into a live tree and draped over a branch), this situation resonates with me. Convincing Eversource to maintain its existing assets remains an uphill battle. Apparently even the City of Cambridge shares this frustration. Last week a new zoning petition appeared that would allow the granting of a Special Permit for any new development project "only if it finds that the utility impacts of the project would not be significant". The problem is not so much what impacts a new project might have (since only then does Eversource carry out any upgrades), but rather in how Eversource maintains (or fails to maintain) its existing assets.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from former City Clerk, Donna P. Lopez, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on May 28, 2019 to receive an update on the Election Commission’s discussion of potential changes to the ballots used for Municipal Elections that would limit voters to marking only up to 15 candidates.

The Election Commission unanimously approved this very modest change which greatly simplifies the ballot design with little or no effect on the election results in any round of the PR election tally. – Robert Winters

June 12, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 401-402: June 11, 2019

Episode 401 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 11, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on June 11, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Central Square Business Improvement District (BID) approved; evolving transportation. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 402 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 11, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on June 11, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Candidate updates (before Patty Nolan announced), candidate requirements; big issues, candidate pages; zoning – infrastructure and obstruction, Eversource; echoes of the Parking Freeze. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

June 9, 2019

Items of Interest on the June 10, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Items of Interest on the June 10, 2019 Cambridge City Council Agenda

City Hall 2019This is something of a table-setting month – clearing out some lingering business and refocusing on some matters that are sure to be wedge issues in the municipal election – housing, bikes, campaign contributions, neighborhood flash-points. Resolving the details of the "Cannabis Business Permitting Ordinance" will apparently continue at least through July and perhaps longer.

Perhaps the most significant piece of business is this 6:30pm hearing:
6:30pm   The City Council will conduct a public hearing to discuss the petition filed by Kenneth S. Barron, 614 Massachusetts Avenue, et al property owners, pursuant to MGL Chapter 40 section O petitioning that a Business Improvement District (BID) be established for the Central Square Business Improvement District.

It is likely that a vote will be taken at this meeting to establish the Business Improvement District. It seems to have broad support and may even get a unanimous vote.

Here are a few other notable items for this week:

Manager’s Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Future of Mobility Implementation Blueprint Technical Advisory Group. The Advisory Group is expected to meet up to six times between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020: Yonah Freemark, David Keith, Steven Miller, Kathryn Carlson, Melissa Chan, Christopher Tassone, Roy Russell, Raymond Hayhurst, Ruth Allen, Jane Gould, David Block-Schachter, Zef Vataj, Will Dickson, Stephen Russell, James Cater, Bruce Kaplan, Megan Aki, Ilya Sinelnikov, Cambridge Housing Authority Rep (TBD). [Future of Mobility RFP]

This process is worth watching in that it is both necessary and potentially over-reaching. For some years now the City has been carrying out the goals of the Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance by promoting transportation modes (and infrastructure) as alternatives to motor vehicles. Independently, things like ride-hail services (like Uber and Lyft) and electric scooters have appeared and grown in popularity. Also, there are a lot more electric vehicles now on the road and how to charge them is a growing concern, especially for those without parking on premises. Autonomous (driverless) vehicles may be the next wave. This "Future of Mobility" process is apparently supposed to gaze into the crystal ball and make predictions and plans for how all these pieces can fit coherently together. Recommendations growing from this process might not all be about how to accommodate these new modes – they might also lead to restrictions on existing modes. In recent years there has been a trend of City plans being developed, blessed by compliant advisory committees, and then waved through by a City Council which rarely spends time considering any potential negative consequences of the latest "progressive" policy. Indeed, the RFP makes quite clear that this is not to be a "visioning exercise" by the advisory group, but rather a source of feedback for a process in which City staff has already stated very specifically in the RFP the models from which the hired consultant must work. The end product is likely to be at least as much about regulation and restriction as it will be about accommodation.

Manager’s Agenda #4. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 18-15, regarding a report on who is purchasing buildings in Cambridge.

This is interesting information – though it’s not so easy to peer behind the curtain and identify what parties make up some of the LLCs (limited liability corporations), e.g. Invesco for several properties in the Alewife Quadrangle, or what the plans are for some of these properties. It’s also not clear what the City Council will do or even could do with this information.

Manager’s Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $50,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Executive Department Other Ordinary Maintenance account to support the cable television license renewal process.

Here we go again. The United States Congress thoroughly gutted the ability of municipalities to negotiate much of anything in local Cable TV franchises. We will once again be hearing about PEG (public access, educational, and governmental) since these are the only things that can be discussed. What really makes this whole process rather pathetic is that much of the revenue generated by these franchises now comes from Internet access and there is no legal requirement that any of that revenue should support the PEG needs.


Charter Right #3. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to work with the local taxi industry and other interested parties to prepare a Home Rule Petition for the City Council to submit to the State Legislature that would address Cambridge-specific issues and give the City Council the ability to ensure TNCs operate in a safe and responsible manner.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Community Development Department, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and other regional partners such as the Central Transportation Planning Staff to explore the feasibility of partnering with a local research institution to conduct a study that determines how many ride-hail vehicles are on the roads during both on and off-peak times and their impacts on congestion and safety.   Councillor Mallon, Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor Devereux

Perhaps the "Future of Mobility" consultants will have something to say about this, but my sense is that the proposal for a Home Rule Petition is likely more about protection of taxi medallion owners than it is about safety. As for the Order asking to bring in an army of traffic counters, I encourage anyone standing on a street corner or waiting for a bus to count the percentage of Uber/Lyft vehicles passing by at various times throughout the day. [Hint: It’s a lot.]


Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to establish a working committee to review the monuments, memorials, and markers throughout Cambridge to determine whether any of these commemorate those who were linked to the slave trade or engaged in other similarly shameful acts and to determine which individuals should be newly recognized with a monument, memorial, or marker.   Councillor Simmons

I just hope that there is a distinction made between those whose sole claim to fame was infamous (like rebel generals) vs. those who did great things but who engaged in bad practices that happened to be legal at the time. Erasing history is not the same as learning from it.

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to meet with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Department of Public Works, and the property owners and management of the Fresh Pond Mall to identify additional traffic-calming and safety features and to discuss with the mall owner the potential for creating a formal street connection between Terminal Road and New Street.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone

This is a long overdue conversation. Greater connectivity with enhanced safety would be a good thing in this entire area (especially if only those of us who live here know the secret connections).


Order #6. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the appropriate departments to televise and record the City Clerk interview meeting on June 17, 2019, starting at 2:30pm in the Sullivan Chamber.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Carlone

Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from Interim City Clerk Paula M. Crane, transmitting memorandum from Vice Mayor Devereux regarding a special public meeting for the City Clerk interviews.

The City Clerk position is one of only three for which the City Council is the appointing authority under the Plan E Charter. The other two are the City Manager and the City Auditor. I have no idea who has applied for the position or who the four finalists are, but I really hope the person hired is someone who really understands the city deeply and who can also be an asset to the City Council. The truth is that the City Clerk prepares City Council agendas very much like a playwright where the actors (the councillors) can freely improvise within the script. Also, the Council-related duties are only a fraction of the many essential responsibilities of the City Clerk’s Office.


Order #8. That the proposed Special Permit Criteria amendments to Article 19 of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance (as attached) be referred to the Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board for hearing and report.   Councillor Zondervan, Councillor Carlone

Committee Reports #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, former City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Transportation & Public Utilities Committee, for a public hearing held on May 22, 2019 to discuss with Eversource any plans it has for meeting the anticipated electricity needs of Cambridge businesses and residents by expanding capacity on land it owns throughout the City, with a focus on sites in East Cambridge (Kendall Square and Fulkerson Street).

It would appear that this zoning proposal and the Eversource matter on Fulkerson Street are inextricably linked. It’s a bit disturbing when zoning is used as a reactionary tool. Perhaps a better approach would be to require (with appropriate enabling legislation, if necessary) that all major utilities provide short- and long-term infrastructure improvement plans that address such things as capacity, maintenance of the existing infrastructure, and planning for emerging needs such as local solar generation and charging locations for electric vehicles (just to name a few). Conflating this with zoning seems a bit wrong-headed. It’s reminiscent of how the Parking Freeze was used to block commercial development – even environmentally sound commercial development – under the guise of environmental protection.


Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to draft for discussion several ordinances to reduce or prohibit campaign donations from donors seeking to enter into a contract, seeking approval for a special permit or up-zoning, seeking to acquire real estate from the city, or seeking financial assistance from the city.   Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan

It’s an election year. Some version of this proposal happens like clockwork every two years. The only thing that makes it interesting this year is how much money is now coming from people with a financial interest in the "100% Affordable Housing" Overlay proposal that would potentially deliver properties to various "non-profit" housing developers by allowing them to do things that others can only dream of. Any candidate-endorsing organization that receives contributions from these sources (and yes, I do mean ABC specifically) should be subject to the same restrictions as individual candidates. All of this is likely academic since the November election will likely be a memory by the time any action is taken on this proposal, if ever – so it’s really just posturing at this point.

Committee Reports #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, former City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 1, 2019 to discuss a petition to amend the Municipal Code in Chapter 8.16 entitled “Noise Control” by deleting sections 8.16.081-8.16.087 to prohibit the use of leaf blowers.

My proposal: Enact a Total Ban on Leaf Blowers only after loud sound systems in motor vehicles are banned. But seriously, don’t you think we put far too much effort into banning things? When did Cambridge give up on making an effort to convince people to use better practices? Sometimes we really do seem to be The Village of Control Freaks.

Committee Reports #4. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, former City Clerk transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Co-Chair and Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Co-Chair of the Health and Environment Committee for a public hearing held on May 21, 2019 to discuss the “City of Cambridge getting to Net Zero Action Plan: Fiscal year 2018 progress report” and to receive a general update on the Net Zero Action Plan.

I really hope that "Getting to Net Zero" doesn’t translate into a $3,000 repair in a residential building costing $30,000 or more in order to meet any new requirements. – Robert Winters

June 6, 2019

Catching Up on the Cambridge News – June 6, 2019

Celebrate Fresh Pond Day Saturday, June 15

Fresh Pond sunsetJoin the Cambridge Water Department at its annual Fresh Pond Day on Saturday, June 15, from 11am–3pm, to celebrate Fresh Pond Reservation. Fresh Pond Reservation is truly Cambridge’s green gem – an urban wild that protects Fresh Pond, Cambridge’s in-city drinking water reservoir. Fresh Pond Day serves as an annual community tribute to this unique Reservation that is a vital natural resource, an invaluable sanctuary for wildlife, and a beloved recreational escape in the city. This event is free and open to all; all dogs must be leashed.

Fresh Pond Day events will be at and around the Walter J. Sullivan Water Treatment Facility, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway, Cambridge. Use of public transit and bicycles to get to the event is strongly encouraged. Bus routes 72, 74, 75, 78; & Alewife T are all nearby. Visitors arriving by car are asked to park at the Tobin School on 197 Vassal Lane.

Fresh Pond Day 2018Events Schedule
11:00am-2:00pm   Learn to Stilt Walk
11:00am-3:00pm   Open House of the Water Treatment Plant
11:00am-2:15pm   Live Music from Allston Rock Records
2:30pm-3:00pm   Global Water Dance Performance
11:00am-3:00pm   Free bike tune-ups and bike rodeo; learn about pond life animals with Nature Knowledge for Kids; Junior Ranger badge activities; learn how to fix a leak

Peruse our community tables to learn more from various city departments and local organizations involved in sustainability and outdoor recreation.

Please note that rain or extreme weather cancels this event. For more information, visit www.cambridgema.gov/freshpondday or contact Ranger Tim at 617-349-6489, tpuopolo@cambridgeMA.gov.


Future of First Street Garage Community Meeting, June 19

The City of Cambridge is holding a community meeting on Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30pm at the Kennedy-Longfellow School, 158 Spring St., Cambridge to provide the community with an update on the status of the proposed disposition of a leasehold interest in 420 unassigned parking spaces and approximately 9,000 square feet of ground floor area intended for retail use in the City-owned First Street Garage property located at 55 First Street.City Seal

The meeting will include a summary of the LMP GP Holdings LLC’s disposition proposal received by the city and an update on the First Street Area Parking Planning Study commissioned by the city’s Director of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation in connection with the proposed disposition. The city is seeking the public’s input on the proposed leasehold disposition of 420 unassigned parking spaces and approximately 9,000 square feet of ground floor retail space in the First Street Garage.

You can learn more or sign-up for email updates about the First Street Garage at CambridgeMA.gov/FirstStreetGarage.

Following the June 19 community meeting, public hearings will be conducted at the Planning Board and City Council in accordance with the provisions of the city’s disposition ordinance, Chapter 2.110 of the Cambridge Municipal Code. A City Council vote will be required in order to approve of the proposed disposition of the leasehold interest. State law (G. L. Chapter 30B) also requires that when public land or property is disposed of, proposals must be solicited from interested buyers prior to selecting a buyer. The city issued a Request for Proposals pertaining to the proposed leasehold interest, and conditionally awarded the proposed leasehold interest to LMP GP Holdings LLC subject to the process that must be conducted pursuant to the disposition ordinance and the vote of the City Council on the proposed disposition.

For additional information, please contact Lee Gianetti, Director of Communications, at 617-349-3317 or lgianetti@cambridgema.gov.


Cambridge Open Archives

Dive into the tangled history of Cambridge politics and social activism at 7 local archives from June 24-28, 2019.

Archivists at each site will share treasures from their collections – photographs, art, posters, letters – that tell complex and unique stories about dynamic politicians and dedicated activists; fights over highways and development schemes; a strong mayor vs. Plan E.

See what an archive is, find out what archivists do all day, and see how you can use these resources to learn more about your family and community.

This year’s participating archives:

MIT Museum

The Cambridge Room at the Cambridge Public Library

Harvard Semitic Museum

Harvard Art Museums Archives

Cambridge Historical Commission

Cambridge Historical Society

Mount Auburn Cemetery

REGISTRATION OPENS MAY 31

Info here: http://www.cambridgema.gov/openarchives

This event is free but registration is required.

Questions? 617-349-4070 or chcarchives@cambridgema.gov


City of Cambridge Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day June 8

The second Household Hazardous Waste collection day of 2019 will take place on Saturday, June 8, from 9:00am-1:00pm, at Danehy Park, Field St lot (enter at Field & Fern St). This event is free and open to Cambridge residents (proof of Cambridge residency required).

Proper disposal of materials helps protect public health and environment. A list of accepted items can be found at CambridgeMA.gov/hazardouswaste.

Not sure how to dispose of items properly? Download the “Zero Waste Cambridge” app for iPhone/Android or visit CambridgeMA.gov/TheWorks to use the “Get Rid of It Right” search tool.

Accepted Items:
Batteries: Vehicle & Non-Alkaline
Car Fluids: Antifreeze, Brake, Engine Degreaser, Transmission
Car Tires (max four per household)
Chemicals: Cleaners, Glues, Removers, Photography & Swimming PoolCity Seal
Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Mercury Items: Thermometers & Thermostats
Paints: Oil-Based & Latex
Poisons: Insecticides, Pesticides & Weed Killers
Prescription Medicines (also accepted year-round at Police Dept. 125 Sixth St)
Propane Cylinders (20 lbs. or less only)
Waste Fuels: Antifreeze, Gasoline, Kerosene, Sterno & Motor Oil (motor oil accepted year-round)

Items NOT Accepted:
NO Alkaline Batteries
NO Ammunition, Fireworks & Explosives (call Fire Dept. at 617-349-3300)
NO Asbestos (requires proper disposal)
NO Bleach or Ammonia
NO Commercial/Industrial Waste
NO Construction Debris
NO Empty Aerosol Cans
NO Compressed Gas Cylinders
NO Infectious or Biological Waste
NO Radioactive Waste
NO Smoke Detectors
NO Syringes (call Health Department at 617-665-3848)


Come help us celebrate the 40th Annual Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival on Sunday, June 9th, 2019, from 12:00-5:00pm rain or shine! The Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is the oldest dragon boat festival in North America, founded in 1979.

Dragon BoatsLocated by John W. Weeks Foot Bridge on the Charles River between JFK Avenue and Western Avenue, this year’s festival will feature a record 76 teams, with over 1500 paddlers, from all over Massachusetts, New England the US and Canada, competing in ten categories designated with special races and medals for the Colleges including Financial Institutions, Corporate, Health Care, College, Chinese University Alumni, Women’s, Club, Community and Recreational and Cancer Survivors Divisions.

Spectators will be able to watch brightly colored, 39 foot, Hong Kong style dragon boats as they race on a 500-meter course up the Charles River from the Western Avenue Bridge to the Weeks Footbridge.

The Dragon Boat Races start in the early morning and the cultural programs and festival will begin at 12 Noon. All programs are free and family friendly for visitors. Sponsors, founders, dignitaries and committee members will dot the eyes of the dragon head on each boat in a traditional Eye-dotting Ceremony. This is an ancient Chinese ceremony that is believed to enable the dragon to soar with the utmost power. The Eye-dotting Ceremony will take place at Noon at the docks on Boston side with the accompaniment of a traditional Chinese waist drum dance that will progress over the John W. Weeks Footbridge to open the festival.

The Eye-dotting Ceremony will be followed by cultural programs, demonstrations and performances in the festival tent on the Cambridge side. There will be traditional Chinese music, Chinese Yoyo performance, Filipino, Chinese and Indian Dance performances, Korean Tae Kwon-Do presentation, as well as returning favorites such as Dragon and Lion Dances, Chinese martial arts and traditional Japanese Taiko drumming.

This year there is a special treat that cannot be missed. A special delegation from Longquan China, seven celadon masters with UNESCO intangible cultural heritage status, will demonstrate the making of this ancient ceramic art. This group has also donated a new Dragon Boat to our fleet.

We will bring to visitors interactive cultural demonstrations. Join in a Taiji demonstration on the banks of Charles by Storrow Drive, try your own lion dance with Gunkwok Lion Dance Troupe or give square-dancing a try.

Visitors young and old will find fun, inspiration and cultural engagement with beautiful hands-on Chinese arts and crafts. Come also to sample various Asian foods featuring Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese and more lining the side of Memorial Drive.

The Boston Dragon Boat Festival is sponsored in part by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, State Street, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Eastern Bank and South Cove Community Health Center, Greater Boston Chinese Culture Association, Cambridge Arts Council, Longquan China and Boston Dragon Boat Festival Committee.

Traditionally held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (late May to mid June on the solar calendar), the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of Qu Yuan (340-278 BCE). A political leader of State of Chu, Qu Yuan is recognized as China’s first distinguished poet. Qu Yuan lost the king’s favor and was banished from his home state of Chu because of his opposition to the prevalent policy of compromise to the powerful state of Qin. In exile, he wrote the poem, “Encountering Sorrow,” which shows a great loyalty to his state and its people. In 278 BCE, Qu Yuan learned the news that Chu had been conquered by Qin. Heart broken, he drowned himself in the Mi Lo River. The people of Chu rushed to the river to rescue him. Too late to save Qu Yuan, they splashed furiously and threw zong-zi (traditional rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves) into the river as a sacrifice to his spirit and to keep the fish away from his body.

Today, Dragon Boat Festivals and races are popular around the world. The first Dragon Boat Festival in the United States was held in Boston in 1979, the first in North America. It is now the largest Asian cultural festival in New England. The Boston festival is used as a vehicle to promote Asian cultures and dragon boat racing, as well as to bring diverse communities together in Boston and the surrounding areas. Every year, more than 20,000 people lined the banks of the Charles to enjoy the festivities and performances.

Website https://www.bostondragonboat.org

Dragon Boats


Friday, June 28

5:30pm   Tom Magliozzi Commemorative Plaque Dedication "Hahvahd Squayah"  (DeGuglielmo Plaza, 27 Brattle Street)

Following the unveiling of the plaque, Ray Magliozzi will be on hand to say a few words, along with Car Talk producer Doug Berman, and other Cambridge dignitaries. Denise Jillson, executive director for the Harvard Square Business Association said, “We invite folks to come for the commemoration and stay for dinner and an after-party. A complimentary Italian supper of pasta and meatballs will be served family-style on red and white checkered table cloths for as long as it lasts. In true Magliozzi fashion, dancing is encouraged and hip-swinging, toe-tapping, hand-clapping music will be provided by the Blue Suede Boppers! A festive beer garden sponsored by the Beat Brew Hall will add to the celebration. Brattle Street, between Eliot and Church will be closed for the event.  A vintage ’56 Chevy (Tom’s favorite vehicle) will be on hand for viewing and photo-ops and for those who dare, an open mic will be available for sharing favorite Car Talk stories!”

7:00pm-11:00pm   City Dance Party  (Mass Ave. – from Prospect St. to Lee St.) will be Closed to Traffic (6pm to midnight) but Open for Dancing!)


City Dance Party, Friday, June 28 7-11pm

Mass Ave. will be Closed to Traffic but Open for Dancing!

Join thousands of Cambridge residents and visitors who will gather on Massachusetts Avenue in front of Cambridge City Hall (795 Massachusetts Ave.) for the city’s annual Dance Party Friday, June 28, from 7-11pm. This event is free and open to the public. Take MBTA Red Line to Central Square and a short walk to City Hall!

The annual dance extravaganza with DJ spun music is a special opportunity for the entire Cambridge community to celebrate summer. After dark, colorful lights will be launched, adding to the magic of the evening.

Originally conceived in 1996 as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of Cambridge, the Dance Party returns each year attracting young and old to join in the festivities! The event is free and open to the public.

TRAFFIC IMPACTS: Massachusetts Avenue will be closed to traffic, from Prospect St. to Lee St. from approximately 6pm – Midnight. MBTA #1 Bus Line will reroute between Central Square and Harvard Square from approximately 6pm – Midnight and there will be no stop at City Hall.

For more information, contact Maryellen Carvello at 617-349-4301 or mcarvello@cambridgema.gov.

City Dance Party - photo by Kyle Klein


June 5, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 399-400: June 4, 2019

Episode 399 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 4, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on June 4, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: modifying the PR ballot, PR misconceptions, Ranked Choice Voting for Presidential primaries, Democratic realities, candidate updates, campaign finance, PR election strategizing. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 400 – Cambridge InsideOut: June 4, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on June 4, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Reefer Madness; Mapping Feminist Cambridge, Mapping Utopia, walking tours; Mark McCabe retirement; TNCs and the taxi industry, liquor licences, AirBnB; Zero Waste and the evolution of recycling. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

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