Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

July 16, 2015

Cambridge Animal Commission Advises Precautionary Measures due to Rabid Raccoon Finding

Filed under: Cambridge,Fresh Pond — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 12:00 pm

Cambridge Animal Commission Advises Precautionary Measures due to Rabid Raccoon Finding

raccoon and skunk (Wikipedia)July 16, 2015 — On Monday, July 13, Cambridge Animal Control Officers picked up a raccoon at Fresh Pond Reservation that has tested positive for rabies.

Earlier this month, a skunk and a fox found in Belmont tested positive for rabies, though they were not found in very close proximity to Fresh Pond. The skunk was found towards the center of Belmont and the fox was located in the area of Belmont Hills.

At this time, Cambridge Animal Commission has received no reports of any person or animal having contact with a rabid animal, but advises that people take precautionary measures, especially at Fresh Pond Reservation. Dog owners should maintain their pets in clear view and keep them from running in brush areas where they cannot see if something occurs.

Tips for Protecting Against Rabies

  • Avoid direct contact with wildlife, dead or alive. Never touch any wildlife with your bare hands.
  • If you find a sick or injured wild animal, call Cambridge Animal Commission at 617-349-4376.
  • Avoid animals displaying unnatural behavior. Wild animals that are unusually friendly or displaying other unnatural behaviors may have the rabies virus.
  • Discourage contact between pets and wildlife. Don’t let your pets roam or keep them in clear view.
  • If you are scratched or bitten by any animal, either wild or domestic, consult your physician immediately.
  • If your pet receives a suspected bite wound from an unknown animal or if your pet comes in direct contact with any wild animal, even if no wounds are evident, consult your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may recommend a rabies booster.

Please notify the Cambridge Animal Commission if you see a potentially rabid animal or come in contact with one at 617-349-4376. If you get the voice mail, please try to convey the time and location of the siting and your contact number.

July 9, 2015

Who Votes in Cambridge?

Filed under: 2015 Election,elections — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 6:58 pm

Who Votes in Cambridge?

There are 61,910 registered voters with identified birthdates (as of June 29, 2015). Their median age is 39.3. Here’s how their ages as of Election Day (Nov 3, 2015) are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters – 2015

Of these currently registered voters, 31,789 voted in last year’s state election. Their median age is 50.7. Here’s how their ages are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters Who Voted in the 2014 State Election

Of these currently registered voters, 16,773 voted in the 2013 municipal election. Their median age is 58.7. Here’s how their ages are distributed:

Registered Voters 2015
Registered Voters Who Voted in the 2013 Municipal Election

July 1, 2015

Current City of Cambridge Board and Commission Vacancies (July 1, 2015)

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government — Tags: — Robert Winters @ 4:55 pm

Historic and Neighborhood Conservation District Commissions Seek New Members

City SealThe Cambridge City Manager is seeking to fill vacancies for members and alternate members on the Cambridge Historical Commission, Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) Commission, Half Crown-Marsh NCD Commission, and the Mid Cambridge NCD Commission. Nominations from interested Cambridge residents are welcome through August 14.

The Cambridge Historical Commission, a body of seven members and three alternates, establishes historic preservation policy for the city and administers two historic districts, the Harvard Square Conservation District, the citywide landmark and demolition ordinances, and the preservation grant program for rehabilitation assistance. The neighborhood conservation district commissions are made up of five members and three alternates, with most members being residents of the neighborhoods. Each of the four Commission generally meets monthly to review alterations to protected buildings.

The Cambridge Historical Commission, established in 1963, is the city’s historic preservation agency. It is managed by a professional staff that supports four Commissions made up of appointed volunteers.

The current vacancies are for one alternate on the Cambridge Historical Commission, one alternate on the Avon Hill and Half Crown-Marsh NCD Commissions, and one member, who must be a tenant in the neighborhood, in the Mid-Cambridge NCD. Alternates are expected to attend all meetings and participate fully in discussion, and are designated to vote as needed.

Applicants should have an interest in architecture, local history or historic preservation and be committed to protecting the historic resources and built environment of the City. Appointments to the Commission are made by the City Manager with regard to a diversity of viewpoints. Minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply. Individuals interested in being considered should send a letter of interest and a resume by Friday, August 14, 2015 to Charles Sullivan, Executive Director, Cambridge Historical Commission, 831 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139 or by e-mail to

Cambridge Conservation Commission Member Sought

City SealCity Manager Richard C. Rossi is seeking a Cambridge resident to fill a vacancy on the Cambridge Conservation Commission.

The Conservation Commission is responsible for administration of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (WPA), a state law governing activities in and immediately adjacent to local wetlands, waterways and floodplains. The Commission holds two regularly scheduled public meetings each month to review permit applications under the WPA, issue permits and conduct other business related to the management of Cambridge’s natural resource areas.

The Conservation Commission consists of seven members appointed by the City Manager to serve three-year terms. Cambridge residents with expertise in landscape architecture, civil/environmental engineering, hydrology, ecology, or law are encouraged to apply.

Interested persons should send a letter of interest and/or resume via e-mail, mail or fax by July 31, 2015 to:
Jennifer Letourneau, Director, Conservation Commission
City of Cambridge
344 Broadway, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139
Ph. 617-349-4680
Fax 617-349-4669

June 30, 2015

Official 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election Calendar (w/advice)

Filed under: 2015 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections,School Committee — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 7:05 pm

2015 Municipal Election: Nomination Papers

Vote!Nomination papers for City Council and School Committee will be available beginning Wednesday, July 1st at the Election Commission office, 51 Inman Street, Cambridge. The office will be open on Wednesday, July 1st from 8:30am until 5pm. The deadline to file nomination papers is Friday, July 31st at 5pm. The 2015 Municipal Election Calendar is posted on the Commission’s website:

The requirements to run for City Council or School Committee are:

  1. The person must be a registered voter in Cambridge. To register, one must be 18 years of age by Election Day, a U.S. citizen and a resident in the City of Cambridge.
  2. The person must file no fewer than fifty (50) and no more than one hundred (100) certifiable signatures of registered voters in the City of Cambridge.

The Commission has prepared an information kit for candidates containing important dates, Commission policies, services and publications. The kits will be available with the nomination papers on July 1st.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2015.

Wed, July 1:

Municipal Election Nomination Papers available at Election Commission office.

Nomination papers will be available through the July 31 submission deadline, but it is advisable that a candidate pick up papers early and get started collecting signatures. The process is an excellent way for a new candidates to "get their feet wet" and acclimate to the process of asking for support. ALL pages of your nomination papers must be notarized and there are a total of three sheets. You will also want to get a current database of registered voters. This is available from the Election Commission free of charge to any candidate who has pulled nomination papers. Voter history files and the street listing are also available.

Fri, July 31:

5:00pm deadline to submit nomination papers & statements of financial interest for candidates.

A minimum of 50 valid signatures must be filed and a candidate may submit up to 100 signatures. Once a voter’s signature has been recorded for a particular candidate, it cannot be used for another candidate in the same race. That is, a voter should sign for exactly one candidate for City Council and one candidate for School Committee. Candidates should submit as many signatures as possible over the minimum of 50 because it is very likely that some signatures will not be certified. It is advisable that all signatures be checked against the voter registration list before submitting them. Candidates do not have to submit all their signatures at one time, and it is advisable that signatures be submitted as each sheet becomes full. The Election Commission staff traditionally checks signatures soon after they are submitted, so it is possible to know how many signatures have been tentatively certified in case it is necessary to obtain more signatures to reach the minimum of 50 certified signatures. Actual certification is only official when the Election Commission votes to approve them.

Fri, Aug 14: 5:00pm deadline for Election Commission to certify signatures on nomination papers.
Tues, Aug 18: 5:00pm deadline for municipal candidates to file withdrawal of nomination.
Wed, Oct 14: 8:00pm deadline to register to vote in municipal election. In person registration hours are 8:30am to 8:00pm at Election Commission office only. (Mail in registration must be postmarked by Oct 14).
Mon, Oct 26:

Deadline for School Committee candidates and Political Committees to file Municipal Campaign & Political Finance Reports. (City Council candidates should consult their OCPF packets regarding depository-filing requirements).

City Council candidates are required under state law to set up a depository account at a bank. The bank will report all deposits and expenditures directly to the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF). School Committee candidates are not required to set up a depository account, but they must file a campaign finance report in mid-October and at the end of the year.

Fri, Oct 30: Election Commission will be open 8:30am to 5:00pm for over-the-counter absentee voting.
Sat, Oct 31: Election Commission office will be open 9:00am to 5:00pm for over-the-counter absentee voting.
Mon, Nov 2: Noontime (12:00pm) deadline to apply for absentee ballot, either for mail-in or over-the-counter voting.
Tues, Nov 3:

Municipal Election. Polls are open 7:00am until 8:00pm.
All absentee ballots (except Overseas Absentee Ballots) must arrive at the Election Commission office by 8:00pm to be counted. Ballot count begins at Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue, Central Square after the polls close. Overseas Absentee Ballots are due by 5:00pm on Friday, Nov 13, but must be postmarked by Nov 3.

Overseas Absentee Ballots and Provisional Ballots will be counted on Fri, Nov 13 at 5:00pm.

It is expected that the Election Commission will report preliminary election results Tuesday evening (Nov 3), but this tally does not include auxiliary ballots (write-in ballots and other ballots not yet counted for a variety of reasons). These will be scanned and tabulated on Wednesday. Unofficial election results are expected to be announced on Wednesday when all of the auxiliary ballots have been included. The official election results will not be complete until any overseas absentee ballots and provisional ballots have been included on Fri, Nov 13.

Wed, Nov 4: 9:00am-5:00pm. Ballot count resumes at Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue, Central Square.
Fri, Nov 13: Overseas Absentee Ballots and Provisional Ballots will be counted at 5:00pm.

Printable copy of 2015 Municipal Election Calendar

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2015
(candidates are encouraged to send additional information)

2015 Calendar of Election-related Events
[ submit your events ]

Campaign Finance – 2015 Cambridge City Council Candidates

June 21, 2015

The Appointed Hour – Summer at Sullivan – Highlights of the June 22, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge government — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:23 pm

The Appointed Hour – Summer at Sullivan – Highlights of the June 22, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda

Sullivan ChamberThis Monday’s meeting will be the last regular meeting before the summer break. [The June 29 meeting was cancelled in favor of a joint Ordinance Committee/Planning Board meeting to discuss the uniquely complex zoning petition concerning the Volpe site in Kendall Square.] Chief among the items that caught my attention are the many appointments and reappointments to City Boards & Commissionsa most honorable calling:

Manager’s Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to appointments and reappointments of the following persons as members of the Cambridge Peace Commission effective June 22, 2015:
Frank Connelly, Larry Kim
New appointments:
George Atallah, Aboma Dirbaba, Jame Eliscar, Gladys Friedler, Elelchi Kadete, Lijun Li, Johanne Méléance, John Ratliff, Regina Yang

Manager’s Agenda #2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of William G. Barry, Jr. as a member of the Harvard Square Advisory Committee for a term of three years, effective June 10, 2015.

Manager’s Agenda #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment and reappointments of members to the Cambridge Historical Commission:
William King, Robert Crocker, Chandra Harrington, Jo M Solet, Joseph V. Ferrara, Susannah Tobin
New appointment:
Shary Berg

Manager’s Agenda #4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as members of the Mid Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District Commission, effective June 22, 2015:
Sue Myers, Monika Pauli, Nancy Goodwin, Charles Redmon

Manager’s Agenda #5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as members of the Avon Hill Neighborhood Conservation District Commission:
Reappointments: Theresa Hamacher, Arthur Bardige
New Appointment: John Sanzone

Manager’s Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments and reappointment of the following persons as member of the Half Crown-Marsh Neighborhood Conservation District Commission:
Reappointment: William King
New Appointments: James VanSickle, Judith Dortz, Charles Smith, Marie P. Dillenseger, Dr. Peter Schur

Manager’s Agenda #7. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments and reappointments of the following persons as members of the Board of Trustees of the Cambridge Health Alliance, effective June 11, 2015:
Reappointments: Maren Batalden, MD; William Hart, Everett; Madge Kaplan, Cambridge; Katharine Kosinski, MD, Cambridge
Officers: Carol Van Deusen Lukas, Chair; Joshua Posner, Vice-Chair
Reappointments: Robina Bhasin, EdM, Somerville; Danna Mauch, Ph.D., Cambridge; Barbara Anthony, Cambridge

Manager’s Agenda #15. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments of the following persons as member of the Commission for Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board, for a term of three years, effective June 22, 2015:
Maria Fontellio, Zarha Kanji, Alicia Zeh-Dean

Serving on a City volunteer board isn’t for everyone. There’s plenty of room for disagreement among the members of any City board, but it’s really a place where reasonable people can learn from their peers and from City staff and come to reasonable conclusions – whether it be a regulatory board or an advisory board. It’s not a place for inflexible people unwilling to compromise. I have a reverence for people who choose to take on these roles without any compensation. Real civic activism is about giving your time and effort to serve on a City board or volunteering in countless other ways throughout the city. We should all tip our hats to every person named above.

The Rest:

Manager’s Agenda #17. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 15-30 and 15-41, regarding License Commission Fees and Cap Areas.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a complete list of all the established liquor cap areas. It would have been helpful if the number of licenses in each cap area was included in the report. It would also be interesting to get maps showing both the liquor cap areas and the fast food cap areas.

Applications & Petitions #4. A zoning petition has been received from Elizabeth M. Stern, et al. to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map by changing the current zoning designation of Lot 84 (2551 Mass. Ave.) and Lot 65 (7 Richard Ave.) on Assessing Block Map 186 from Business A-2 to Residence B and remove both from the MAOD and the NMAS, redraw the zoning district boundary lines so the two lots are in the Residence B zone and not in the MAOD or the NMAS and revise Article 20, Sections 100-111. [Petition text]

Another week, another zoning petition. The intent of this petition appears to be to prevent either new commercial construction or higher density residential construction from happening at the northwest corner of Richard Ave. and Mass. Ave. where a one-story dry cleaning business is now located.

Order #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the School Committee with the view in mind to request the Superintendent of Schools to provide data regarding Charter Schools.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Cheung, Councillor McGovern and Councillor Simmons

This would be good information to receive, but I can’t see what the City Council can do or will do with that information.

Order #2. That the City Council go on record adopting the Net Zero Action Plan which includes key actions to reduce emissions and the process that engages stakeholders.   Councillor Cheung

The recommendations are all well and good for new construction, but I do hope the City Council acts more cautiously on any requirements for existing residential buildings. If significantly onerous requirement are imposed on homeowners thinking of renovation, many homeowners will either defer necessary renovations or quietly make improvements without seeking permits. I also hope that the elected councillors also take a moment or two to understand enough physics to see why "net zero" may be unrealistic for certain building types and uses, especially in this New England climate. It would be so much better if the language could be shifted away from the often unrealistic "net zero" and toward the more sensible "maximally efficient".

Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to write a letter to the Department of Public Health indicating the City of Cambridge’s non-opposition for Commonwealth Alternative Care’s application to operate a RMD at 135 Fawcett Street, Cambridge, MA.   Councillor Cheung, Councillor McGovern, Councillor Simmons and Councillor Mazen

Two points – First, it’s amazing how many roadblocks have been thrown up to block any medical marijuana dispensaries from actually being built after being approved by voters via initiative petition. Second, it should be pretty clear that full legalization of marijuana for recreational use may be only a year or two away via the ballot box, and it seems likely that any dispensaries that are approved under the current law may become the initial sites for sale for recreational use if and when that is made legal.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to install ADA compliant sidewalks, create protected bike lanes, and consider additional features to guarantee the safety of young students and all other users in the Huron Avenue area.   Councillor Mazen

This Order is about half right. The referenced sections of Huron Ave. lack sidewalks along the perimeter of the Fresh Pond Reservation and it would be good to add them from Fresh Pond Parkway to as far as the Russell Youth & Community Center. They would then also be available to young children on their bicycles. For adult cyclists there are already well-functioning bike lanes on both sides of Huron Ave. that are quite safe and allow for reasonable speeds and normal turning movements. A "cycle track" in this location is not only unnecessary, but it would also require narrowing the travel lanes to a point where cyclists who prefer the road would be less safe. The alternative would be to remove a significant number of parking spaces used frequently by people using Glacken Field, the Russell Center, the golf course, and Fresh Pond Reservation. Installing just a sidewalk would be an improvement without any negative consequences – Robert Winters.

June 15, 2015

Noteworthy items on the June 15, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 1:10 am

Noteworthy items on the June 15, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda

City HallThere are some substantial reports from the City Manager and some interesting Council Orders on this week’s agenda.

Manager’s Agenda #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-97, regarding a report on the MLK School construction compliance with the Cambridge Employment Plan.

Normally I don’t care at all about this sort of bean counting, but I did find interesting the following facts in the Manager’s report:

(1) The Cambridge resident worker hours on the MLK project totaled 3.8% which is less than the required goal of 25%. However, the Cambridge resident population of workers skilled and/or experienced in construction trades has been less than 2% making this requirement virtually impossible to meet. [Perhaps it’s time to revise that goal.]

(2) The minority worker hours on the MLK project as of Apr 30, 2015 totaled 32.6% which is above the goal of 25%.

(3) The women worker hours on the MLK project as of Apr 30, 2015 totaled 1.0%. U.S. Census data reveals that women in Massachusetts skilled in the trades is less than 2%.

Manager’s Agenda #19. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to recommendations of the Cambridge Off Leash Working Group regarding off leash dogs in Cambridge.

The discussions about how best to accommodate our canine friends have been going on for a decade. Dog owners actually comprise a pretty effective political lobby in Cambridge.

Manager’s Agenda #20. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a Planning Board recommendation to adopt, with suggested changes, the Carsharing Zoning Petition.

This has generated some concerns recently as well as some alternate proposals on how best to accommodate carsharing, e.g. using some on-street resident parking spaces for this purpose. This zoning petition is specifically about off-street spaces and the Planning Board recommends that off-street lots should maintain at least 75% of their spaces for privately owned vehicles and that only lots with a minimum of 4 spaces may accommodate carsharing vehicles. However, the Planning Board also recommends that these limits can be waived via a Special Permit on a case-by-case basis. The theory here is that by making carsharing more easily available the number of privately owned vehicles should decrease thereby relieving some of the demand for on-street spaces.

Manager’s Agenda #21. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to appropriate zoning language for recommended changes to the Incentive Zoning provisions, as requested in Council Order Number 6 of May 18, 2015.

As the report states, "The intent of these proposed changes is to implement changes recommended by the recently completed Incentive Zoning Nexus Study." Specific changes include:

• Removing the current special permit trigger so that housing contributions would be made by all projects with 30,000 or more square feet of uses subject to the Incentive Zoning provisions;

• Expanding the definition of an incentive project to add seven new uses for which housing contributions would be required (in addition to the current uses of office, lab and retail): hotel/motel, radio/TV studios, institutional, health care, social services, light industry/wholesale, and heavy industry;

• Increasing the contribution rate to $12 per square foot [from the current $4.58], with an annual rate increase of $1 per year over the next three years;

• Making automatic the annual adjustment of the contribution rate based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI);

• Requiring that the City initiate a periodic reevaluation of the housing contribution by initiating an updated nexus study after three years;

• Eliminating the current deduction of the first 2,500 square feet from the calculation of the contribution;

• Establishing a definition of a “Middle Income Household” and adding language to make clear that the Affordable Housing Trust can use resources generated to assist Middle Income Households.

Order #1. Zoning Amendments to the Zoning Map and Ordinance for the area along Walden Street near the intersection of Garden Street and extending through the intersection of Sherman Street currently zoned Business A be rezoned to a newly created zoning district entitled Business A-4 and add a new Business A-4 line to Section 5.33.   Councillor Cheung

If eventually ordained, this new zoning designation will respond to some of the issues raised by a proposed residential development at the former Masse’s Hardware site(s). It’s interesting that the proposed maximum residential density would actually be higher than is currently the case, though there would now be minimum front and side setbacks that do not exist under the present zoning. I have been told that the affected parties are agreeable to this new zoning.

Order #4. That the City Council meeting scheduled for Mon, June 29, 2015 be and hereby is cancelled after consultation with the City Manager so that a joint public hearing between the Planning Board and Ordinance Committee be held at 6:00pm in the Sullivan Chamber to discuss the zoning petition to amend Section 13.10 to change the development controls in the Planned Unit Development at Kendall Square (PUD-KS) Overlay District; said majority of the area of the PUD-KS is occupied by the Volpe Transportation Systems Research Center operated by the US Department of Transportation.   Mayor Maher
[Petition text] [Summary of major proposed changes] [All currently proposed zoning amendments]

The process for this zoning amendment is uniquely different than just about every other petition due to the many constraints associated with this being a federally-owned property. There are time constraints based on the current presidential term as well as financial constraints inherent in the federal law that allows this arrangement in which revenue generated from the rest of the site must cover any costs associated with constructing a new building for the Volpe Transportation Center on the site. This may also impose some limitations on the lofty goals expressed by some regarding the percentage of affordable units to be mandated as part of any residential construction. One variable that could relieve some of those constraints is the allowance of greater height and, not surprisingly, this has some people bent out of shape about the possibility that the tallest building in Cambridge might grow from this zoning. The unusual procedure of having a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Board (rather than completely separate parallel processes) is also not setting well with the same people, but in this unique situation it seems warranted.

Order #5. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council with suggested changes to Cambridge’s policy regarding advertising revenue that could help support the continuation and expansion of Hubway in the City of Cambridge.   Councillor Toomey

People may not like the advertising, but there are indications that Hubway may not be economically sustainable without it.

Order #6. That the City Council go on the record condemning Harvard Towers Corporation for neglecting to reach out to the City of Cambridge to determine if there are ways to mitigate the negative repercussions on the City’s housing market stemming from the mass eviction of tenants of 295 Harvard Street.   Councillor Simmons and Councillor McGovern

This building (built in 1962) contains 111 apartments, and tenants were given very little warning that they all have to be gone by Aug 31, 2015. The building is just a block away from where I live and nobody in my neighborhood seems to even know what is ultimately planned for the building.

Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to determine the feasibility of permitting cyclists to advance simultaneously with the pedestrian "walk" signal and to to confer with the appropriate departments to determine the feasibility of piloting bicycle-specific signal faces at the Cambridge-Hampshire St intersection.   Councillor Mazen

Many cyclists already do start moving with the walk light (not me), but I have to say that this is really more about convenience than about safety. When motor vehicles and bicycles are both stopped at a traffic light, all parties are aware of each other and there’s little or no conflict when the light changes. The greater hazard is from moving vehicles turning in front of moving cyclists and from cyclists positioning themselves in the roadway in ways that are fundamentally unsafe, i.e. passing a potentially turning vehicle on the right.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff or the appropriate departments on the feasibility of legally requiring supermarkets and other food seller and resellers to donate leftover food to donation centers in order to cut down on food waste.   Councillor Mazen

Many, if not most, food markets already do this to some degree. Facilitating food donations and composting programs would be more helpful than simply mandating that it be done. This means addressing the need for adequate transportation, scheduling, and other logistics.

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with total amount of funds currently in and total expected to be in the Community Benefits Funds account as well as the origins of the funds and any expenditures to date.   Councillor Toomey

Charter Right #1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $88,430 from Free Cash to the General Fund Executive Other Ordinary Maintenance account to be used for consulting fees to conduct a community wide needs assessment relative to our Community Benefits plan. The requested amount is two-thirds of the total cost of the needs assessment ($132,430 total). With a vested interest in the outcome, the Cambridge Community Foundation has made a substantial financial commitment of $44,000 to cover one-third of the total cost (see Agenda Item Number 15). This is the first step regarding the further development of a plan to distribute funds earmarked for Community Benefits. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on City Manager Agenda Number Fourteen of June 1, 2015.]

This matter has been stewing for a number of years and it’s about time that the City Council moved things in the direction of a resolution and a system for handling these funds and putting them toward productive use. – Robert Winters

The Upshot (the morning after): On Manager’s Agenda #1, most of the councillors chimed in about their disappointment that the dreams of past Councils regarding apprenticeships in the trades have not been realized. Chalk it up, perhaps, to the changing demographics of Cambridge or maybe to the fact that many young residents don’t understand that well-paying careers in construction, law enforcement, and other areas are actually available to them (Benzan).

There was some public comment on the Carsharing Zoning Petition (Manager’s Agenda #20) – mostly concerns about the possibility of disruptive activity associated with this commercial activity taking place in residential neighborhoods. One deficiency in the petition is that it doesn’t address the possibility that a resident with off-street parking might choose to park on the street in order to derive income by leasing their off-street space to a carsharing company. If that were to happen, there really should be a complaint-driven revocation process written into the regulations.

The recommended changes to the Incentive Zoning provisions that were the subject of Manager’s Agenda #21 are now a zoning petition that will be scheduled for Ordinance Committee and Planning Board hearings.

The Council spent far too much time discussing the propriety of cancelling their June 29 meeting in favor of a Joint Special Meeting with the Planning Board (not a Roundtable, so there will be no fixed time limit and public comment will be permitted) to discuss the Volpe zoning petition. The Special Meeting was eventually unanimously approved with the possibility that a brief Regular Meeting might also be scheduled in the event that there is any pressing regular business.

The Council voted 8-1 (Mazen voted No) on Order #8 to open the possibility of advertising on Hubway bikes as a means of ensuring the economic viability of the program.

The Council expressed their condemnation of the actions of the owners/managers of Harvard Towers (295 Harvard St.) in evicting all residents (111 apartments) with very short notice and no information on their future plans for the building.

June 6, 2015

Library Program – A Renaissance on the Cambridge Side of the Charles

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 11:03 am

Library Program: A Renaissance on the Cambridge Side of the Charles
(Main Branch, Cambridge Public Library (449 Broadway) on Thursday, June 11, 6:30-8:30pm)

While the Esplanade has long been the jewel on the Charles, the Cambridge river parklands, at long last, are beginning to receive their due. Hear the latest about North Point Park’s skate park and Magazine Beach and Greenough Boulevard improvements. Presenters from the Charles River Conservancy, Solomon Foundation, CNA’s Magazine Beach Committee, DCR and the City of Cambridge will share current projects. A general discussion about best models for the public/private partnerships that have made these advances possible will follow.

Rep. Jay Livingstone will kick off the event. Speakers will include Charlie Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commission, Gina Foote of the Charles River Conservancy, Herb Nolan of the Solomon Foundation, Cambridge City Manager Richard Rossi, Karl Haglund of the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Cathie Zusy of the Magazine Beach Committee of the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association. Mediator Jack Wofford will moderate the event.

Event Program

Greenough Boulevard Rendering

June 4, 2015

Cambridge Historical Commission: Open Archives – June 15 through June 18

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:10 pm

New Spaces for Open Archives – June 15 through June 18

Open Archives 2015Cambridge Open Archives marks its seventh year during the week of June 15th. Visitors are invited to explore “New Acquisitions & Old Treasures” at eight local archives. Several new repositories will be open this year – the MIT Museum’s Hart Nautical Collection and the archives of three Harvard museums – and old favorites are returning.

Each afternoon or early evening, registered participants will be welcomed at two neighboring archives for behind-the-scenes tours. The paired sites are within easy walking distance of each other.

Opening the week on Monday, June 15, with tours from 4:00 to 6:00pm, will be archives at the Longfellow House-Washington’s HQ National Historic Site and the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe.

Tuesday, June 16, from 3:00 to 5:00pm, two new sites just across Divinity Avenue from each other are featured – Harvard’s Peabody Museum and its Semitic Museum.

On Wednesday, June 17, from 6:00 to 8:00pm, tours will be offered at the Cambridge Public Library’s Cambridge Room and at an exciting new venue – the Harvard Art Museums, in the new facility opened only this past November.

Rounding up the week on Thursday, June 18, from 3:00 to 5:00pm, are two venues at MIT – the Institute Archives & Special Collections and the Museum’s Hart Nautical Collection.

Open Archives 2015

Open Archives is a free event, but visitors must register in advance, as space is extremely limited. To sign up, please email and specify day or days. Registrants will be contracted with tour details. Send general questions to the archives email, or call the Cambridge Historical Commission at 617-349-4683.

Flyer for event

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