Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

November 8, 2015

After the Storm – Nov 9, 2015 Cambridge City Council Agenda

After the Storm – Nov 9, 2015 Cambridge City Council Agenda

In Counting there is StrengthThe election results from this past week are now known and the theories are flying about why some candidates fared well and why others will say farewell. Most of this pseudoanalysis is just for entertainment purposes, but there are some basic political truths that continue to be self-evident. Most of all, local elections continue to be won or lost not so much on big issues and big money but rather on old-fashioned hand-to-hand retail-level politics. In particular, in a PR election it’s important to secure your political base whether that’s based on the positions you take, the favors you perform, the neighborhood you come from, or what you look like. It also remains the case that voter turnout is what secures the margins that give victory to some candidates and defeat to others. While others exchange theories, I’m just sitting here waiting for information on how many people voted in each precinct and how that affected the #1 vote totals of particular candidates. Until then, I’ll just allow myself to be entertained by the punditry of others.

The City Council returns on Monday with an agenda long on congratulations and short on substance. The real business took place last week. Here are a few items that may be of interest:

Applications & Petitions #1. A zoning petition has been received from Milford Medicinals, Inc., to amend the Cambridge Zoning Map to include 1001 Massachusetts Avenue in the MMD-1 Zoning Overlay.

The last 4 signatures on the petition were obviously done by the same person. Also, this proposal calls for a change to the existing zoning for a single address to permit a use that is inconsistent with the abutting district (at least in the sense that districts have already been established elsewhere for this proposed use). It may therefore be illegal spot zoning. More significantly, what exactly then was the purpose of the zoning change enacted on Dec 16, 2013 establishing zones where medical marijuana dispensaries may be located?

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to update condo conversion numbers from 2010.   Councillor Cheung

Is my triple-decker the last one left in Cambridge that hasn’t been converted into overpriced condominiums? I’m thinking of digging a perimeter moat filled with alligators that feed on real estate agents.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting modifications to the proposed MXD Zoning Petition and Kendall Square Urban Renewal Plan Amendment.

This is really the only agenda item that seems remotely interesting. It’s a huge document (98 page PDF) that seems to promote all the right things, but you be the judge.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a response to the Subpoena Duces Tecum issued by the City Council on Oct 30, 2015 pursuant to Policy Order #27 adopted on Oct 19, 2015.

I pride myself on being well informed on most matters that come before the Cambridge City Council. This item may be the most cryptic agenda item I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I haven’t got a clue what it means.

That’s all for now, folks. I’m still just waiting patiently for those ward/precinct turnout and vote distribution numbers. I’m also eager to analyze the ballot data after the Final Election Results are determined this coming Friday the Thirteenth. – Robert Winters


  1. Communications #2:
    The City Council sent a “Subpoena Duces Tecum” (a request for information) to TNCs (Transportation Network Companies) regarding their insurance. Fasten, Inc. is another player (Uber and Lyft are better known), based out of Russia. So basically the City asked the the un-Taxi companies for their insurance coverage and Fasten, Inc. responded.

    Comment by Tom Stohlman — November 9, 2015 @ 7:44 am

  2. Tom – I’m so relieved. I thought “Duces Tecum” might be an illness caused by fluoridation.

    Comment by Robert Winters — November 9, 2015 @ 8:40 am

  3. You mean “Dentium Fluorosis”. 😉

    Comment by Tom Stohlman — November 9, 2015 @ 9:12 am

  4. The MMD-1 MMD-2 zoning petition is a spot zoning petition and should be shot down before it makes it out of the gate.

    Comment by Patrick Barrett — November 9, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

  5. Since when can the City Council issue force-of-law documents such as subpoenas?
    Isn’t that the exclusive domain of the judiciary?

    Comment by Fred Baker — November 9, 2015 @ 5:16 pm

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