Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

January 23, 2011

Jan 24, 2011 City Council Agenda Highlights

Filed under: City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 11:44 pm

Jan 24, 2011 City Council Agenda Highlights

As I am preoccupied with getting my courses ready for the start of the new semester, I’ll have to keep this one brief this week. Here are the items that struck me as significant or otherwise noteworthy:

City Manager’s Agenda #19. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 10-189, regarding a report on the legitimacy of the tax exempt claim of Education First.

The report reveals little that was not already known. I take this opportunity simply to note that this was initiated by an Order from Councillor Toomey that was a consequence of a zoning vote a few weeks ago that also was the last straw leading to Councillor Toomey’s resignation as Co-chair of the Ordinance Committee. At the root of that controversy was the continued breakdown in trust between Councillor Toomey and the other Co-Chair, Councillor Seidel, that first became apparent during the controversy over last fall’s vote to amend the Sign Ordinance. You may remember that during that controversy, Councillor Seidel gave every indication in committee that he would be voting one way and then voted the opposite way apparently due to political concerns. As former Councillor Sullivan often said, "Your word is your bond."

Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Director of the Arts Council and report back on the feasibility of the Arts Council partnering with local arts organization to establish a similar program to Shakespeare in the Park in Cambridge.   Councillor Toomey

Good idea! The Cambridge Common, Danehy Park, and Magazine Beach would all be great venues for this sort of thing. Cambridge often just goes through the motions with the River Festival and Octoberfest and other regular attractions. Theater in the park (not just for kids) would be a great addition.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to contact Eric Lander, Broad Institute, to create a competition to design a Kendall Square of the future.   Councillor Reeves

Wait! Isn’t the City now putting out to bid a contract for a consultant to address the whole stretch from Kendall to Central Square stating at Kendall? We should gather input from all comers, but is the Braod Institute now being called upon to faciliate the future of Cambridge? Let me guess… BioTech!

Order #9. That the Austin, Texas "Parking Benefit District Pilot Program" be referred to the Council Committee on Transportation, Traffic, and Parking for further consideration and review.   Councillor Seidel

Upon reading this, my greatest fear is that the Traffic Department will simply use this as an excuse to install more parking meters in residential areas. They will then say, "Trust us. We’re doing it for your own good."

Miscellaneous #1. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the 2010 Town Gown Reports. [summary]

These reports are always an interesting read. The summary says a lot, but you can also read the detailed reports for Harvard University, for MIT, for Lesley University, and for Cambridge College.

Now…. back to writing my lectures. – Robert Winters

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