Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

November 28, 2019

Demographic Mixed Bag – November 2019 Cambridge municipal election

Filed under: 2019 election,elections — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:59 pm

Demographic Mixed Bag – November 2019 Cambridge municipal election

I have been curious since the recent election whether there were any patterns in voter turnout that might be discerned when the information about who voted became available. That data became available recently and it’s kind of a mixed bag. There are still a lot more younger voters than there were before 2017, but not as many as in 2017. There was a modest increase in the youngest range (up to about age 26 – credit for that probably goes to the supporters of Burhan Azeem and Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler), but the numbers actually disproportionately dropped for most age ranges from about 27 through the middle age years. Interestingly, the number of voters increased for those in the 70-80 range. We can all speculate about why those numbers would be up when overall turnout was down.

Overall the number of registered voters increased from 66,354 in 2017 to 68,839 in 2019 (including those with listed birthdates) – a 3.7% increase. The number of people who actually voted decreased 4.8% from 22,407 to 21,329. Voter turnout in 2017 was 33.8% of all registered voters. That dropped to 31.0% in 2019, but that’s still relatively high for a municipal election (it was 28.2% in 2015 and 25.2% in 2013).

Here are some graphics to illustrate this, starting with the distribution of voters by age (in 3-year intervals, 18-20, 21-23, etc.) in the Nov 2019 election.

Voted 2019

Compare this to the 2017 distribution – especially the peak at 27-29:

Voted 2017

Notice that in 2015 there were far fewer people in their 20s and 30s voting with a clear dominance in the 65-70 range.

Voted 2015

When we look at 2017 and 2019 side-by-side you can more easily how some age ranges saw significant decreases (more than the ~5% overall drop) and other age ranges actually saw increases.

Voted 2017 vs. 2019

Here’s an annotated graph highlighting some of the more interesting changes.

Voted 2017 vs. 2019 - highlighted

November 27, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 435-436: November 26, 2019

Episode 435 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 26, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 26, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Karp Petition; Planning vs. “Let’s Make A Deal”; how high is high, how dense is dense?; the YIMBY-NIMBY War to Nowhere. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 436 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 26, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 26, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Harvard Square zoning petition, “super crosswalk”; zoning change vs. cultural change; riding the latest bandwagon; License Commission authority. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

November 24, 2019

Turkey Trot – Nov 25, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

Turkey Trot – Nov 25, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

Turkey TrotPerhaps we should call this the Lame Turkey Session and give the ducks a break. Here are a few agenda items that caught my eye:

Manager’s Agenda #8. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $1,924,594.18, associated with Education First’s EF 3 Building, SP#328) from the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund to the Public Investment Public Works Extraordinary Expenditure account which will be used to support utility work associated with the Port Project and were paid by Education First to fulfill their Inflow and Infiltration requirement.

This is what "mitigation money" is supposed to be all about – actual mitigation and infrastructure improvement. Contrast this with the current practice of granting upzoning not for the sake of good planning but for cash and prizes – and, of course, subsidized housing units. At least the proposal to glue subsidized housing units onto a self-storage facility didn’t fly. Mark my words – this is only going to get weirder in the next City Council term.

Manager’s Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 19-140, regarding Harvard Square plaza area safety improvements.

During my four decades in Cambridge I have seen the Harvard Square pedestrian environment reconfigured several times – each time under the belief that nirvana had been achieved. The last iteration was the "Super Crosswalk" that apparently was never all that super. The next iteration is coming. No matter the outcome, we will be assured that congestion and delay is not a negative consequence but is instead good for us and we should shut up and be grateful – and all parties involved will continue to bend the traffic laws as they see fit.

Manager’s Agenda #11. Transmitting communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $107,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Finance Other Ordinary Maintenance account as initial support of the recommendations of the Mayor’s Arts Task Force regarding the Central Square Cultural District.

Yippee! Money for Central Square! Now if we could only categorize sidewalk repair and improvements to the T station as "art" we’ll be all set.

Manager’s Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 19-122, which requested a legal opinion on the License Commissions authority.

This is by far the most important item on this agenda. Though this legal opinion merely states what many of us have known and understood all along, it should put to rest some of the outrageous misunderstandings that have been circulating. That said, I read an opinion today that it was somehow problematic that a quasi-judicial body like the Cambridge License Commission can act without micromanagement by the City Manager – even though any decision of the License Commission can be appealed. Imagine how outraged people would feel if it was suggested that the Planning Board should not issue or deny a Special Permit without the approval of the City Manager. Ultimately the City Manager is "the appointing authority" and could appoint only yes-men (and yes-women) to all the City’s Boards and Commissions as well as the Police Commissioner and Fire Chief, but that practice would likely head south pretty quickly. City Solicitor Glowa’s legal opinion is both impressive and timely, and I hope it puts to rest some of the falsehoods from the Lower Port to the Upper West.

Committee Report #1 & Committee Report #2. A report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Craig A. Kelley, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Sept 26, 2019 and Nov 14, 2019 to discuss the petition by Stephen R. Karp, Trustee of Cambridgeside Galleria Associates Trust, to amend the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by adding a Section 13.100 that creates a new PUD-8 District and to amend the Zoning Map of the City of Cambridge by adding the new PUD-8 District, which District would include the property located at 100 Cambridgeside Place (currently zoned in the Business A and PUD-4 Districts).

I do hope that the City Council passes some version of this zoning amendment solely because I think we could a lot do better in that corner of the city than what exists now, and some reconfiguration of the Cambridgeside Galleria should be part of that. However, I find aspects of the committee report to be problematic, e.g. "the Petitioner will pay the City $50 million dollars in mitigation funding" and "what would happen to the proposed community benefits if the Petitioner decided to proceed under their current zoning" and "she felt that the height and massing could be appropriate depending on the community benefits." In short, approving changes in zoning should be primarily about good planning and not about any "quid pro quo". Unfortunately, this brand of zoning negotiation as commodity trading is not exceptional in Cambridge these days – and it may only grow worse. – Robert Winters

November 20, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 433-434: November 19, 2019

Episode 433 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 19, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 19, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Final Official Municipal election results; ballot data; ward/precinct distribution; #2 Vote Distribution; Instant Runoff mayor. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 434 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 19, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 19, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Election last details; Replacements in the event of a vacancy; campaign finance reform. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

November 18, 2019

Lame Duck Walking – November 18, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

Lame Duck Walking – November 18, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

Lame DuckIn between the inevitable hushed meetings to secure the necessary five votes to become mayor for the 2020-21 term, the lame duck session continues quacking. The agenda is quite short, but a few items worth noting are listed below. Honestly, I’ve been having more fun studying the 2019 ballot data now that the election results were finalized Friday evening [Council][School]. This includes things like the ward/precinct distribution of #1 votes [Council][School], the #2 vote distribution behind each candidate’s #1 votes [Council][School], who would replace each of the newly elected members in the event of a future vacancy, and an Instant Runoff simulation to see how the ballots would choose a mayor (which, of course, is not how it’s done!). Anyway, back to the Council agenda (with minimal comment)…..

Manager’s Agenda #5. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt with comments and suggested improvements, the CambridgeSide Galleria Associates Trust Zoning Petition.

Manager’s Agenda #6. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $4,475,844.18 from Free Cash to the Mitigation Revenue Stabilization Fund which will be used to fund specific future projects, requiring individual appropriations by the City Council at a later date.


Manager’s Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt the Exterior Building Insulation Zoning Petition.

Committee Report #3. A report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Nov 12, 2019 to discuss the Insulation Zoning proposal A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a petition to amend provisions in Article 5.000 and Article 22.000 pertaining to setback requirements and exterior building insulation.


Manager’s Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt Article 22 Green Building Requirements Zoning Petition.

Committee Report #2. A report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Nov 12 at 12pm to discuss Green Building requirements A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to a petition to amend provisions in Section 22.20, which governs Green Building Requirements, and also applicable definitions contained in Article 2.000.


Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to fully restore sharrows to Broadway, alongside the new door-zone bike lane, as a reminder to motorists that cyclists are always allowed to take the full lane.   Councillor Zondervan

I completely agree with this Order (as a person who prefers biking along with other traffic on most roads with ordinary speeds), but I continue to marvel at the trend among city councillors to assume roles which previously were the domain of the professional staff. I can’t decide if this is great wisdom or micromanagement or just a vote of "no confidence" of City staff.

Committee Report #1. A report from Vice Mayor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public meeting held on Nov 14, 2019 to discuss the Solicitor’s Response to Policy Order O-9 from the June 10, 2019 City Council Meeting.

I used to be somewhat agnostic regarding campaign donations from people with business before the City Council, but the recent municipal election campaign has pushed me into the camp of those who feel that some limitations should be the rule. I’m still not convinced that public financing of municipal election campaigns would be worth it either practically or bureaucratically. I also can’t wrap my head around the fact that some of our local elected officials (and their ardent supporters) feel outrage about the Citizens United court decision that opened the floodgates in campaign spending yet have no qualms whatsoever in doing the same thing at the local level. – Robert Winters

November 14, 2019

CRLS, CHLS & Rindge Homecoming 2019

Filed under: Cambridge,schools — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 8:45 am

CRLS, CHLS & RINDGE HOMECOMING 2019

A series of events for alumni and staff of CRLS, CHLS and Rindge Tech beginning Saturday, November 9, 2019 through Sunday, December 1.

CRLSEVENTS:

MUSICAL: Saturday, 11/09, Sunday 11/10, Friday 11/22, Saturday 11/23 and Sunday Matinee 11/24 – CRLS Musical "Sister Act" – 7:00pm @ the Fitzgerald Theater, Broadway, Cambridge MA with Alumni Night, Saturday 11/23

PANEL DISCUSSION: Tuesday, 11/26 -"Fifth Annual Alumni Panel Discussion" for CRLS Jrs and Srs at CRLS during first and second block for CRLS Juniors and Seniors

ALUMUNI REUNION NIGHT: "In the Square" Wednesday, 11/27/2019 from 8:00-12:00 midnight @ Hong Kong Restaurant, 1238 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 Free Hors d’oeuvres. Free Drink to the first 100!

HOMECOMING FOOTBALL GAME: Thursday, 11/28/2019 – CRLS vs Somerville at Russel Field @ 10am, Cambridge (Tickets available at Gate)

ALUMNI SOCCER GAME: Friday, 11/29/2019 – Danehy Field 4, starting at 10:00am

REUNIONS:

ALUMUNI REUNION NIGHT: "In the Square" Wednesday, 11/27/2019 from 8:00-12:00 midnight @ Hong Kong Restaurant, 1238 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 Free Hors d’oeuvres. Free Drink to the first 100!

LINKS:
Alumni Website: http://www.crlsalumni.org/
EventBrite Homecoming 2019: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chls-crls-and-rindge-tech-2019-homecoming-tickets-80188769769
Contact: Andy Farrar: af@handsontoys.com

November 13, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 431-432: November 12, 2019

Episode 431 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 12, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 12, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Municipal election results; effectiveness of slates; role of major issues (if any); what’s next. Hosts: Robert Winters, Patrick Barrett [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 432 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 12, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 12, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Election last details; Harvard Square Zoning Petition; where do we go from here. Hosts: Robert Winters, Patrick Barrett [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

November 11, 2019

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (Nov 11, 2019)

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 2:40 pm

Members Sought to fill Upcoming Vacancies in Recycling Advisory Committee

City SealCity Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking Cambridge residents, business owners, and local professionals interested in serving on the Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC) beginning in January 2020.

The RAC is a volunteer committee which provides advice, recommendations, and assistance to the Department of Public Works (DPW) regarding recycling, composting, reuse, and waste reduction. The RAC does this through research, feedback, public outreach, and event planning. The RAC has been instrumental in the city’s new Zero Waste Master Plan, Fix-It Clinics, marketing and education, and other important initiatives that have made Cambridge a national leader in waste reduction.

Cambridge Recycling began in 1989 with a few volunteers dedicated to beginning a recycling drop-off program. Today, the city recovers more than 11,000 tons per year of recyclables from more than 44,000 households. Approximately 32,000 households have access to curbside composting, reducing the city’s trash by more than 7% in the first year of citywide composting. More households will be added to the program over time. The City now serves 123 businesses in the Small Business Recycling Pilot. Lastly, the RAC is working on a Single-Use Plastics regulation in conjunction with the Cambridge City Council and the Department of Public Works.

Currently, the city’s goals to reduce waste match those in the MA Solid Waste Master Plan. Using 2008 as a baseline year, the city aims to reduce trash 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. As of 2018, the city has reduced trash by 28%.

The Committee has been active for over 20 years and consists of at least nine members with a demonstrated interest in the topics listed above. Members serve a three-year term and are expected to attend monthly meetings (Sept-June). The city seeks members that represent local businesses and property managers, Cambridge residents, and users of the Recycling Center, universities, non-profit organizations and social service agencies whose goals overlap with waste reduction.

Duties, Responsibilities and Minimum Requirements include:recycling symbol

  • Attend and participate in monthly meeting, held the second Wednesday of the month (September-June) at 8am, at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Sullivan Chamber, 2nd Floor. Enter through back door of City Hall.
  • Participate in creating committee direction and implementation of ideas
  • Take a leadership role in projects, such as doing research, organizing & attending events, and advocacy.
  • Work with the Public Works Recycling Division, Climate Protection Action Committee, and other appropriate City staff to provide feedback on City initiatives.
  • Research different approaches to communication, education and best practices for recycling, composting, reuse and waste reduction programs.
  • Disseminate outreach materials and educate the community
  • Write articles or blogs to promote Cambridge recycling.
  • Initiate, plan, attend and run events to promote recycling, composting, reuse and waste reduction
  • Meet with the community and participate in at least 2-3 events, such as Danehy Park Family Day, Public Works Week events, Fresh Pond Day, May Fair, block parties

Helpful Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Marketing
  • Outreach and community engagement
  • Project Management
  • Advocacy for state policies
  • Familiarity with Cambridge Public Schools

To learn more about the committee’s work, please consider attending an upcoming meeting, on Oct 16 or Nov 13. For more information, contact Michael Orr, Recycling Director, at 617-349-4815 or morr@cambridgema.gov. The deadline for submitting applications is November 15, 2019. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.


Member Sought for Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust – Application Deadline Extended

City SealCambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking residents who are interested in serving on the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust.

The Affordable Housing Trust administers and oversees city funds allocated to create and preserve affordable rental and homeownership housing, and to support housing programs that address the city’s affordable housing needs. The Trust members review proposals for new housing preservation, development efforts, and other housing programs, and provide housing policy and program advice to the City Manager, city staff, other city boards and commissions, and the Cambridge City Council.

The Trust is comprised of members with experience in affordable housing, housing policy, finance, development, planning, and design. The Trust is chaired by the City Manager and generally meets on the fourth Thursday of every month, from 4-5:30pm, at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.

The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, Nov 1, 2019. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the city’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue.


Member Sought to Fill Cambridge Library Board of Trustees Vacancy – Application Deadline Extended

City SealCity Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking to fill a vacancy on the Board of Trustees for the Cambridge Public Library.

Library trustees are volunteer community representatives, library advocates, and leaders in the establishment of goals and policies for the Cambridge Public Library system. Trustees are a vital link between the library staff and the community and work to ensure the quality of library services, collections, and programs, and to make certain that the library reflects and is relevant to the community.

Trustees serve a 3 year term and are expected to attend monthly board meetings, committee and community meetings, appropriate continuing education workshops or conferences, and library programs as their schedules allow.

Ideal candidates will have an interest in and passion for public libraries and an understanding of the importance of the public library as a center of information, culture, recreation, and life-long learning in the community. Candidates should also have knowledge of the community, including an awareness of diverse social and economic conditions, needs and interests of all groups. Strong verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking skills are required. Trustees work productively as a team. It is also important for candidates to understand how the role of the public library is evolving and how information technology and societal changes inform the library’s future.

The deadline for submitting applications is October 22, 2019. Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. For more information about the role of Library trustees, contact Maria McCauley, Director of Libraries at 617-349-4032.


Members Sought for Cambridge Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity – Application Deadline Extended

City SealCambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking members of the community who live and/or work in Cambridge (including private sector and municipal employees, business owners, students, and others) to become a part of the Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity. Applications from interested community members are welcome through October 18, 2019.

The mission of the City of Cambridge Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity is to foster fairness, equity, unity, appreciation, and mutual understanding across all people and entities in Cambridge. The Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity works to provide opportunities for constructive discussions and community events regarding race, class, religion, gender, disability, and sexual orientation, through recognizing and raising awareness of historic, existing and potential civic issues; providing opportunities for honest dialogue and engagement; and by building bridges across communities to better understand and connect with one another.

The Committee generally meets monthly. Committee meetings are open to the public and may include presentations by guest speakers, city staff, and various experts. For information on the committee’s work, current goals, meeting schedule, and events, please visit: www.cambridgema.gov/civicunity

Applications can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. Applications are due by Friday, Oct 18, 2019.

If you have question about the application process, please contact the City Manager’s Office at 617-349-4300 or fgaines@Cambridgema.gov.


Digital Equity Working Group Members Sought – Application Deadline Extended

City SealCity Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking residents to fill two positions on the City Manager’s Digital Equity Working Group. This administrative working group will provide input and guidance to the City Manager and staff at key milestones during the City’s yearlong study of digital equity in the Cambridge. The working group will assist in creating a draft vision and set of goals to inform the City’s digital equity strategy. Additionally, the working group, based on the findings of the study and research of best practices and regional efforts, will help develop targeted strategies the City could take to address digital equity in Cambridge.

The working group will meet quarterly with the possibility of 3-4 additional meetings. The term of this working group is one year.

Applications to serve on the City Manager’s Digital Divide Working Group can be submitted to City Manager Louis A. DePasquale using the City’s online application system at cambridgema.gov/apply. A cover letter and resume or relevant experience  or interest may be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, October 11, 2019.

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