Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

February 22, 2012

A Very Special Cambridge City Council Meeting – Feb 22, 2012

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council,MBTA — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 12:20 pm

A Very Special Cambridge City Council Meeting – Feb 22, 2012
It’s Mayor Henrietta Davis and Vice Mayor Denise Simmons

Tonight The Nine shall meet to gather information and public testimony on the effects on Cambridge of the proposed MBTA cuts and fare increases and to develop a policy statement in preparation for the Feb 29 MBTA public hearing at the Senior Center City Hall. It is also expected that one or more additional mayoral ballots will take place at some point in the meeting. Perhaps MBTA also stands for "mayoral balloting tried again".

Today’s date coincides with the date two years ago when the previous mayoral impasse was broken and David Maher was elected mayor. Though I don’t recall the date in 1996 when Sheila Russell was finally elected mayor, I believe that impasse lasted longer. Since then, the dates were Jan 26, 1998 (Duehay, 3rd ballot), Feb 15, 2000 (Galluccio, 5th ballot), Jan 7, 2002 (Sullivan, 1st ballot), Jan 5, 2004 (Sullivan, 1st ballot), Jan 2, 2006 (Reeves, 1st ballot), Jan 14, 2008 (Simmons, 2nd ballot), and Feb 22, 2010 (Maher, 6th ballot). If this history is any indication, there’s a good chance this wuill be resolved tonight or at next Monday’s regular meeting. The 1948 mayoral marathon required 1,321 ballots before Michael J. Neville was elected mayor in late April.

It seems as though everyone who pays attention to the mayoral balloting has their own theory about what should happen or what might happen. I have my own theories as well. In fact, I have written out a scenario of how I believe this thing will ultimately play out. In the spirit of Werner Heisenberg, I won’t yet reveal my theory lest it influence the experiment. It will be revealed in 39 days. Hopefully, The Nine will have decided on The One by then. In the meantime, any mayoral ballots will be recorded at http://cambridgecivic.com/?p=1750.

The real substance of this meeting are the proposed MBTA fare increases and service cuts. It’s not clear how much leverage the Cambridge City Council or the City of Cambridge has in this, but some kind of coherent response is needed. A major focus in Cambridge over the last decade or so has been on transit-oriented development and shifting away from dependence on automobiles. It would be a major setback to have this derailed by disincentives to public transit use, especially when calculations indicate that increases in efficiency and a very modest increase in the gasoline tax could resolve this. The state legislature also has an obligation to unburden the MBTA of the debt caused by mitigation costs related to The Big Dig. However this is ultimately resolved, it’s important that future MBTA financing be primarily self-sustaining so that we won’t be faced with similar threats every few years. – Robert Winters

7 Comments

  1. It’s Mayor Davis and Vice Mayor Simmons

    Comment by Robert Winters — February 22, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  2. Is the city now saved?

    Comment by Patrick Barrett — February 23, 2012 @ 12:14 am

  3. Yes, we can now raise armies and build spacecraft in which to send men to Mars. All is now possible now that we have a Mayor.

    Today Cambridge. Tomorrow the Universe.

    Comment by Robert Winters — February 23, 2012 @ 1:05 am

  4. Dear Robert, Thank you for your timely and accurate information and analysis about Cambridge. And thank you for the appreciative spin you give to it all. Doane

    Comment by Doane Perry — February 24, 2012 @ 9:24 am

  5. What’s the scenario ?

    >”It seems as though everyone who pays attention to the mayoral balloting has their own theory about what should happen or what might happen. I have my own theories as well. In fact, I have written out a scenario of how I believe this thing will ultimately play out. In the spirit of Werner Heisenberg, I won’t yet reveal my theory lest it influence the experiment. It will be revealed in 39 days. Hopefully, The Nine will have decided on The One by then. In the meantime, any mayoral ballots will be recorded at http://cambridgecivic.com/?p=1750

    Comment by Don Warner Saklad — April 8, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  6. I was just having a little fun. If you add 39 days to Feb 22, you get to April Fools Day.

    For what it’s worth, I always figured it would come down to either Henrietta Davis or David Maher – even when they had no other votes. I never saw a way that any of the other contenders would get more than 3 votes this time around.

    I choose not to make predictions or recommendations anymore in the mayoral elections because I know that at least one Council member would only dig in to try to ensure the opposite of anything I had to say.

    Comment by Robert Winters — April 8, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  7. > I choose not to make predictions or recommendations anymore in the mayoral elections because I know that at least one Council member would only dig in to try to ensure the opposite of anything I had to say.

    It’s every reason to do it, that back and forth makes it all the more interesting!

    Comment by Don Warner Saklad — April 11, 2012 @ 11:38 am

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