Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

January 24, 2016

Tasty menu items for the Jan 25, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 11:22 pm

Tasty menu items for the Jan 25, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting

MenuMore than anything else, I’m hoping that the membership and Chairs of the City Council subcommittees will be completed in time for this Monday’s meeting. There’s also the possibility that the committees themselves could undergo some changes. In 2014 the number of committees was reduced from 17 to 11 via consolidation. It’s unlikely that this number will be further reduced, but some reconfiguration is not out of the question.

Other than the committee appointments, here are some morsels that aroused my interest:

Order #1. City Council support of H.3933 which will create a parity between the effective tax rates paid by the richest and poorest in Massachusetts.   Councillor Toomey

Regardless of the merits of the proposal, it’s hard to tell what is meant here by "parity between the effective tax rates paid by the richest and poorest in Massachusetts". The proposed constitutional amendment would add an additional 4% tax on top of the current 5.1% state income tax on earnings in excess of $1 million in any tax year.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to communicate the Cambridge City Council’s full support of the Cambridge Housing Authority’s proposed project funding to the Commonwealth and MassDevelopment and to convey the immediacy of the Cambridge Housing Authority’s need in requesting that the Commonwealth approve tax-exempt bond financing without delay.   Councillor Cheung, Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern

This would be one more step to ensure that the financing is available to carry out the necessary renovations to the Manning Apartments in the Central Square area.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to coordinate with the appropriate City departments to report back with a rough estimate of capital and operating expenditures for a pilot City of Cambridge tool library for the year 2017.   Councillor Mazen, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux

This is an intriguing proposal, though it seems like the best model would be more like a public-private partnership. Compare with Parts and Crafts in Somerville.

Order #6. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to coordinate with the Clerk’s Office and the appropriate departments to implement within three months an electronic public comment display in the Sullivan Chamber, listing the speaker’s name and affiliation as well as a timer.   Councillor Mazen, Councillor Cheung

Just get a better timer – perhaps one with a green, yellow, and red light to alert the speaker when his or her time is drawing to a close. There is no need for "an electronic public comment display…. listing the speaker’s name and affiliation". Each speaker now provides that information verbally and that is sufficient.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Department of Public Works and the Community Development Department to work with Eversource and other power providers to plan and implement infrastructure improvements to fully support future development in Cambridge and further to confer with the appropriate departments to draft an amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance that would see projects needing a special permit undergo a power needs assessment as part of the permitting process.   Councillor Cheung, Councillor Devereux

This is a modified version of an order from the Dec 21, 2015 meeting. More attention needs to be given to the evolving infrastructure needs in Cambridge as new housing and other structures are introduced – not as a means of blocking development but to ensure that such things as electrical power are adequate to support future needs.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public hearing held on Dec 14, 2015 to discuss the climate change vulnerability assessment.

I make note of this report only because my testimony at this hearing relates to the above Order regarding electrical infrastructure needs.

Order #9. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs with a view in mind of scheduling two finance committee hearings to be chaired by a Councillor of the Mayor’s choosing, one as an update from the head of the Finance Department and the other to review budget priorities, to be held in the middle of February.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux

It is likely that this Order will simply be redirected to the Finance Committee to schedule these meetings if the City Council committee assignments are completed in time for this meeting.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a response to amend Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by Kim Courtney and Xavier Dietrich dated Jan 5, 2016.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a response to an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by Hasson Rashid dated Jan 8, 2016.

Shoo, fly. When well-meaning laws like the Open Meeting Law degenerate into vehicles for malcontents to act out their psychological issues, it’s time for the State Legislature to consider amending the laws to better respect their intended purpose. City officials should not be required to waste their time on complaints such as the two listed above. – Robert Winters

2 Comments

  1. Peace Be Unto You,
    Mr. Winters, I consider your accusations and name calling, such as malcontent, an example of terrible and unethical journalism, plus an unjust bias. Jesus Christ, Moses, and other prophets were also addressed as malcontents, and don’t forget the late and great ciivil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, and don’t forget the ordinary person such as myself, Ms Monterio who successfully launched a civil suit against the city. She was also called a malcontent. Perhaps you were also one of those who called her that too. Judging by your attitude, you are ignorantly and blindly defending those parties that accused Ms. Monterio of being a malcontent, perhaps you are just like them in the matter of getting your palms greased by rich developers, the elite status qou, etc. I’m not mad at you, I feel sorry for you, because I see you going down the same road of so many others in the past, that had the nerve to defy and falsely accuse those of misrepresentation of the truth.

    The Open Meeting law and other give those like myself the right to speak pout against what i feel is unjust, asa journalist the the First Amendment also convey that right. By the way David who slue Goliath was also called a malcontents. Sir, now i truly feel that you are a bad and miseducated person.
    Mr. Hasson J. Rashid,
    Cambridge,MA

    Comment by Mr. Hasson J. Rashid — January 26, 2016 @ 9:47 pm

  2. I rest my case.
    Shoo, fly.

    Comment by Robert Winters — January 26, 2016 @ 10:08 pm

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