Meanwhile, outside of Ohio – Nov 5, 2012 Cambridge City Council Agenda highlights
On Election Eve when the focus of one or more members of the City Council is on the next day, the tradition is to have a very short meeting. Colleagues generally respect this, and it’s considered offensive to violate this tradition. Here are a few items that drew my attention for this (hopefully) short meeting:
Manager’s Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the results of the bi-annual Citizens Opinion Survey for 2012. [Survey Results]
Short version – everybody’s happy except for a few raised eyebrows about the quality of the public schools. The once ultimate priority among residents on affordable housing is now barely a blip on the radar. People are now more concerned about public safety and quality City services. Nobody is outraged by the tax rates, especially condo owners.
Manager’s Agenda #9. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 12-115, regarding additional information requested on accessibility and other potential barriers at polling locations.
This is a follow-up report requested by Councillor Decker who spent the last meeting berating good City employees for no good reason. Just because a politician has some skin in the game does not give her license to bully people who are doing their best under circumstances over which they may not have total control. One has to wonder whether elevation to the state legislature will bring a little grace and perspective to this politician. If not, she should expect a lot of pushback from her future colleagues and maybe an actual challenger in the 2014 election.
Charter Right #2. That the Mayor and the Chair of the Government Operations and Rules Committee are requested to provide updates every other week on the status of the City Manager search process to the City Council and to work with the City’s Information Technology staff to have those updates posted on the City Council website under a separate tab on the City Council’s page on the City’s website. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Davis on Order Number One of Oct 22, 2012.]
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Government Operations and Rules Committee, for a public meeting held on Oct 24, 2012 to discuss the visioning process for the City of Cambridge and the City Manager search.
The City Manager selection process carries on – sort of. At the recent committee meeting, the strong suggestion was that the councillors should expect glacial progress with an actual candidate not arriving until possibly 2014 after the current City Council term has passed. Naturally, that suggestion didn’t sit well with some councillors – ironically the same councillors who were most in favor of an elaborate process of self-realization, soul-searching, goal-setting, and kumbaya-singing prior to hiring a successor to Bob Healy. I expect there to now be some movement toward a more abbreviated process, and I would not be at all surprised if the whole process falls apart by next summer and 5 councillors just make a motion from the floor to hire someone they like.
Unfinished Business #10. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, Interim City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public meeting held on Oct 3, 2012 to discuss a zoning petition filed by Susan Yanow, et al to rezone……
Nothing will likely happen with this silly petition to downzone Central Square. The Council voted to "leave to withdraw" at the previous meeting in response to a request of one of the petitioners to withdraw the petition. Expect it to gather dust on Unfinished Business until it expires on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, the actual planning process with Goody/Clancy and the short-term "Central Square Advisory Committee 20011-12" continues. Their next meeting is Wed, Nov 7 to attempt to formulate final recommendations. Where it all goes from there is an open question.
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Department of Public Works on the feasibility of installing recycling bins adjacent to trash bins and report back to the City Council. Councillor Cheung and Councillor vanBeuzekom
It should be noted that there has already been a dramatic increase in the number of "Big Belly" recycling bins in Central Square and elsewhere. There is a cost associated with each new installation, but there are also considerations about maintenance of these bins. They can very easily become just another trash bin to careless people, and that does not promote recycling.
Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Law Department, the Chief Information Officer of the Information Technology Department and any other relevant departments to evaluate the feasibility of ensuring all city-sponsored committee hearing minutes are available online and report back to the City Council. Councillor Cheung and Councillor vanBeuzekom
No argument with this Order, but I wonder sometimes what the actual demand really is for this enhanced availability and whether the cost is always worth it. Let’s hope that the response to this Order is just a revision to the protocol for generating and making these documents available – rather than a lot of additional labor with greatly diminishing returns.
One more thing: Life will go on relatively unchanged for most people regardless of Tuesday’s election outcome. You might not believe that based on all the rhetoric generated by the Senate and Presidential election campaigns. – RW