Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

May 5, 2016

Joint Statement of Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi Regarding the Green Line Extension

Filed under: Cambridge,MBTA — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 5:00 pm

Joint Statement of Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi Regarding the Green Line Extension

May 5, 2016

Somerville sealToday the Cities of Somerville and Cambridge Massachusetts are pleased to make this important announcement of our continued support for and commitment of new funds to bridge the funding gap that will allow the construction of the Green Line Extension Project (GLX) to move forward.

It is our understanding that MassDOT has completed its review of the GLX and developed a new cost estimate, and that on Monday, May 9, MassDOT will transmit information for review and evaluation by the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors that includes a revised budget and plans and a statement of need for municipal governments hosting the GLX to contribute funding. Based on that understanding, we are prepared to make a recommendation that our municipalities assist the state in the funding solution for this project.

We would like to thank the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the interim design team for their swift but careful scrutiny of the project plans and budget, their commitment to the inclusion of public and municipal feedback, and their diligence in developing a new strategy for moving forward. Should the FMCB approve their expected recommendation to construct the GLX, residents of the Commonwealth will reap the benefits of the team’s critical effort for decades to come.

Cambridge sealIt is our understanding, however, that without firm financial commitments from our municipalities that the GLX could be canceled and the Commonwealth would forfeit not only its $996 million federal New Starts grant award, but an estimated $700 million in “sunk costs” of the state’s $996 million share of the project. Additionally, the fulfillment of the public needs that this project was designed to meet would remain unrealized.

The purpose of the GLX is to improve regional air quality as required by legally binding resolutions, reduce roadway congestion, encourage sustainable economic growth, and provide a convenient means of public transportation for Massachusetts residents, workers and visitors. To ensure that these needs and goals do not go unmet, the cities of Cambridge and Somerville intend to seek to expand their financial partnership with the Commonwealth to construct elements of the GLX program, subject to and contingent upon approval by the Cambridge City Council and the Somerville Board of Aldermen.

It should be noted that both the cities of Cambridge and Somerville have previously invested significant funds and resources in sunken costs in support of the GLX project, including the City of Somerville’s investment of more than $8 million for land acquisition and other infrastructure, that have relieved the Commonwealth of several specific required project costs. Similarly, the developers of the North Point area are investing tens of millions of dollars in improvements that support and enable the GLX to occur. Expanding this financial partnership is an extreme and unprecedented arrangement for a state infrastructure project. Despite the fact that our cities bear no responsibility for the cost overruns that brought the GLX to this moment of crisis, we will seek to support the Commonwealth by expanding our cost-sharing role. The Green Line is that important to our communities, our region, and our state.

It is our understanding that the new cost estimate for the GLX will retain core program elements including seven light rail transit stations including a spur to Union Square, a Vehicle Maintenance Facility, a Community Path, and related utility upgrades. With that clear understanding, it is our intention as Mayor of the City of Somerville and City Manager of Cambridge to recommend to the Somerville Board of Aldermen and the Cambridge City Council that our cities commit to underwriting project costs for specific, tangible elements that would deliver meaningful public safety and quality-of-life benefits for our residents.

After discussions with the state, the needed value of new financial participation in the GLX for the City of Somerville is projected to be $50 million and the value of the City of Cambridge’s contribution is projected at $25 million, including financial contributions from the North Point developers, to close the funding gap. Again, any contribution will be subject to Board and City Council approvals.

Furthermore, it is our intention to work, alongside MAPC, with Governor Baker’s administration and the cities’ state and federal delegations to seek legislative action on new and refined “value capture” tools capable of supporting new infrastructure investments around Massachusetts. In addition, we request that the Commonwealth establish a baseline tracking framework for future Infrastructure Investment Incentive (I-Cubed) state tax revenue accruals generated by transit-oriented development around the GLX, so as to not preclude a formal application to use eligible I-Cubed revenues to offset Cambridge’s and Somerville’s proposed municipal contribution, if they choose that option.

It is clear that the Commonwealth is shifting to a new paradigm for major transportation infrastructure investments. Across the nation, many states have established predictable and equitable frameworks for local value capture financing in state transportation projects. As we work toward that goal, Somerville and Cambridge will stand with the Commonwealth to advance the state of the art. We do so with the expectation that this is truly a new precedent for statewide policy, and that our communities will not be held to higher standards than other Massachusetts municipalities seeking state and federal financing for roadway, transit or other infrastructure projects.

Additional Comment from Massachusetts Area Planning Council:

“I want to congratulate the Cities of Cambridge and Somerville for making this unprecedented municipal commitment to help fund a critical state transportation project,” said Metropolitan Area Planning Council Executive Director Marc Draisen. “The Green Line Extension will have a significant, positive impact on our region in terms of jobs created and retained, new housing units created, and increased transit access for tens of thousands of residents. Cambridge and Somerville have shown a willingness to help invest in a project that will benefit themselves and their neighboring municipalities. We applaud them and MassDOT for working together to create this opportunity to advance this project.”

May 3, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 135-136: May 3, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 135 (Part 1)

Episode 135 – Cambridge InsideOut: Tues, May 3, 2016 at 5:30pm. Featured in this episode is some information about recent and upcomings events plus a few updates on Central Square. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 136 (Part 2)

Episode 136 – Cambridge InsideOut: Tues, May 3, 2016 at 6:00pm. Featured in this episode are some highlights from the May 2, 2016 Cambridge City Council meeting. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

May 2, 2016

Dos de Mayo – Interesting Items on the May 2, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 1:04 am

Dos de Mayo – Interesting Items on the May 2, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Dos de MayoIt’s a pretty short agenda this week as we head toward the Budget Hearings starting Thurs, May 5. Here are a few choice cuts:

Resolution #1. Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 Outstanding City Employee Award.   Mayor Simmons

One of my favorite events. Special congratulations to Sandy Albano. The Awards Ceremony is this Friday, May 6 at 9:30am in the Sullivan Chamber at City Hall.

Order #2. That the Economic Development and University Relations Committee be and hereby is requested to review City Ordinance 12.08.010 Encroachments onto streets – Permit required – Fee – Exceptions to discuss whether including additional approval criteria and adjusting the permitting fees is appropriate.   Councillor Devereux, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Mazen

On the Table #3-5. Three separate applications requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the respective premises.

Communications & Reports from City Officers #3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting additional information on sandwich board sign application for Mexicali Burrito.

How did sandwich boards get elevated to the highest level of attention in this City Council term? Can the color of sidewalks be far behind? Is adjusting the fee required for displaying a sandwich board sign really necessary? I often encounter a sandwich sign partially obstructing the sidewalk in front of a small place on Mass. Ave. on my way to MIT. I just move the sign to a location where it’s less of an obstruction. Problem solved. If a business continues to obstruct the public way after a warning, just revoke the permit. Again, problem solved. Recently I saw a complaint filed on See-Click-Fix about a mattress that was set out on rubbish day on Inman Street that had toppled onto the sidewalk. Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just move the mattress out of the way than to photograph it and file a complaint with the City? It’s not like that property owner will be putting out mattresses every week. Simple solutions aren’t complicated.

Order #4. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to coordinate with the appropriate City departments to publish a Cambridge voter guide to be distributed to each household in Cambridge a month before the 2017 municipal election.   Councillor Mazen, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern

Interesting proposal. Having curated the Cambridge Candidate Pages for the last 7 municipal elections, I’m in a rather unique position to comment on this. My purpose in setting up the Candidate Pages was always to provide a neutral, level playing field with the hope that it would mitigate the advantages that incumbents and candidates with very deep pockets had in getting their name and campaigns out to voters. Judging from the number of hits, especially in the days immediately before each municipal election, the Candidate Pages have been quite successful.

Some of the things that you may not know about is that in every election there are candidates who fail to provide basic candidate information even after repeated requests, candidates who frequently ask to change their posted information, candidates who submit statements that are truth-challenged, and candidates who are totally uncooperative – even though the site is completely neutral. There is also the rather severe constraint that this imposes on me personally since I have to refrain from saying what I really think about the various candidates in order to maintain some impartiality as the curator of the Candidate Pages. If the City chooses to go forward with this, I suppose this would give me the freedom to say exactly what I think about the candidates – something I am often asked to do and which I have resisted doing ever since I started the Candidate Pages. I may still choose to be impartial, but having this option does carry with it a certain appeal.

I can’t help but wonder how things will play out when some of the more "out there" candidates object to what’s permitted to go into the proposed voter guide. Will fact checking be required? Who will be in charge of putting this together and interacting with the candidates and their campaigns? This could open an interesting can of worms. I might speculate that with this free political advertising this could lead to local political parties (or entities that are effectively political parties) recruiting scores of candidates just to pack the pages with their platform. When all the fringe candidates get included, this might end up looking more like a comic book than a voter guide. – Robert Winters

April 26, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 133-134: April 26, 2016

Filed under: Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:42 pm

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 133 (Part 1)

Episode 133 – Cambridge InsideOut: Tues, April 26, 2016 at 5:30pm. Major items discussed included today’s presidential primaries, the City’s Outstanding Employee Awards, the Envision Cambridge committee appointments, and the FY2017 Cambridge City Budget. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 134 (Part 2)

Episode 134 – Cambridge InsideOut: Tues, April 26, 2016 at 6:00pm. Major items discussed included the FY2017 Cambridge City Budget and a rundown of some of the items proposed/discussed/acted on at the April 25 Cambridge City Council meeting. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

April 25, 2016

Real Money – The City of Cambridge FY2017 Budget tops the April 25, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 1:14 am

Real Money – The City of Cambridge FY2017 Budget tops the April 25, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

FY2017 BudgetOne of the things that distinguishes a city manager submitted budget from what you might see in a city with a strong mayor form of government is its consistency from year to year. Rather than see budgets for individual departments or initiatives skyrocket or plummet depending on which voters the mayor is courting, we generally see in the Cambridge budgets predictable changes based on rational objectives. That’s worth remembering the next time someone tries to convince you that we need to change the charter.

Here are what I see as the most notable agenda items this week:

Manager’s Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the FY2017 submitted budget and appropriation orders. [$560,592,915 total proposed FY17 Operating Budget – a 5.4% increase over FY2016; $13,969,210 Water Fund; $16,890,570 Public Investment Fund; (plus the total of $188,100,000 in Loan Orders – see #5-11 below)]

Communications and Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Judith T. Martin, Executive Secretary to the School Committee transmitting a copy of an order from the School Committee recommending the FY17 General Fund Budget of the Cambridge Public Schools be adopted in the sum of $172,793,980.00.

The City Manager and his Finance staff are expected to give a Budget Overview at this meeting during which they’ll provide additional details (and a possible correction to the apparently missing Conservation Commission budget). The FY2017 Budget Book (either in print or online) is also expected to be made available around the time of the meeting. The Budget Hearings conducted by the City Council’s Finance Committee commence May 5.

For the sake of comparison, here’s a table showing how some of the budgets have changed over the last year, 2 years, and 12 years.

GENERAL GOVERNMENT FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
City Clerk $720,925 $1,240,705 $1,123,935 $1,217,510 8.3 -1.9 68.9
City Council $975,570 $1,711,115 $1,789,700 $1,880,205 5.1 9.9 92.7
Election Commission $756,540 $1,072,390 $1,149,425 $1,308,220 13.8 22.0 72.9
Employee Benefits $20,499,920 $32,882,665 $33,025,885 $37,756,330 14.3 14.8 84.2
Executive $1,353,140 $2,298,685 $2,356,150 $2,463,020 4.5 7.1 82.0
Finance $8,837,560 $14,540,220 $16,024,605 $17,151,925 7.0 18.0 94.1
General Services $984,345 $704,725 $683,040 $710,735 4.1 0.9 -27.8
Law $1,780,975 $2,176,975 $2,174,415 $2,219,965 2.1 2.0 24.6
Mayor $430,035 $589,680 $586,635 $671,920 14.5 13.9 56.2
Public Celebrations $671,505 $874,335 $905,900 $939,685 3.7 7.5 39.9
Reserve $37,500 $37,500 $37,500 $40,000 6.7 6.7 6.7
TOTAL $37,048,015 $58,128,995 $59,857,190 $66,359,515 10.9 14.2 79.1
PUBLIC SAFETY FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Animal Commission $228,870 $323,535 $331,365 $338,775 2.2 4.7 48.0
Electrical $2,239,640 $2,767,880 $2,594,885 $2,809,845 8.3 1.5 25.5
Emergency Communications $3,097,485 $4,631,960 $5,077,255 $5,342,040 5.2 15.3 72.5
Fire $28,891,840 $44,661,535 $44,990,895 $46,094,005 2.5 3.2 59.5
Inspectional Services $2,261,215 $3,270,335 $3,414,450 $3,706,080 8.5 13.3 63.9
License Commission $726,735 $1,063,745 $1,183,145 $1,240,340 4.8 16.6 70.7
Police $31,515,220 $49,260,625 $50,646,165 $51,145,765 1.0 3.8 62.3
Police Review & Advisory Board $77,210 $75,235 $77,435 $3,700 -95.2 -95.1 -95.2
Traffic, Parking & Transportation $8,175,095 $11,088,415 $11,483,870 $12,299,375 7.1 10.9 50.4
Weights & Measures $98,910 $142,935 $145,875 $148,945 2.1 4.2 50.6
TOTAL $77,450,040 $117,286,200 $119,945,340 $123,128,870 2.7 5.0 59.0
COMMUNITY MAINT/DEVELOPMENT FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Cable T.V. $999,500 $1,452,495 $1,536,585 $1,642,360 6.9 13.1 64.3
Community Development $4,472,620 $6,335,440 $7,359,590 $8,464,085 15.0 33.6 89.2
Conservation Commission $89,760 $127,770 $130,585 ?? ?? ??
Debt Service $23,917,070 $50,446,035 $54,664,525 $58,096,295 6.3 15.2 142.9
Historical Commission $457,580 $687,860 $654,580 $644,990 -1.5 -6.2 41.0
Peace Commission $76,215 $148,445 $151,510 $154,690 2.1 4.2 103.0
Public Works $23,648,125 $33,634,490 $35,090,060 $37,181,700 6.0 10.5 57.2
TOTAL $53,660,870 $92,832,535 $99,587,435 $106,184,120 6.6 14.4 97.9
HUMAN RESOURCE/DEVELOPMENT FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Commission on Women $155,860 $241,295 $246,425 $253,965 3.1 5.3 62.9
Human Rights Commission $158,730 $266,890 $275,140 $257,270 -6.5 -3.6 62.1
Human Services $14,581,590 $24,225,290 $25,354,795 $27,926,755 10.1 15.3 91.5
Library $5,461,430 $9,249,325 $9,723,990 $9,702,575 -0.2 4.9 77.7
Veterans $510,885 $1,092,655 $1,123,070 $1,102,545 -1.8 0.9 115.8
TOTAL $20,868,495 $35,075,455 $36,723,420 $39,243,110 6.9 11.9 88.0
CITY TOTAL $189,027,420 $303,323,185 $316,113,385 $334,915,615 5.9 10.4 77.2
EDUCATION FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Schools Operating (TOTAL) $122,053,195 $156,669,635 $163,940,420 $172,793,980 5.4 10.3 41.6
INTERGOVERNMENTAL FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
Cambridge Health Alliance $6,500,000 $6,750,000 $7,000,000 $7,000,000 0.0 3.7 7.7
Cherry Sheet Assessments $11,569,960 $21,504,975 $21,336,755 $21,984,465 3.0 2.2 90.0
MWRA $16,177,455 $22,189,730 $23,516,200 $23,898,855 1.6 7.7 47.7
TOTAL $34,247,415 $50,444,705 $51,852,955 $52,883,320 2.0 4.8 54.4
GRAND TOTALS $345,328,030 $510,437,525 $531,906,760 $560,592,915 5.4 9.8 62.3
FY05 adopted FY15 adopted FY16 adopted FY17 proposed 1 yr % change 2 yr % change 12 yr % change
WATER $17,098,120 $13,964,275 $13,964,115 $13,969,210 0.0 0.0 -18.3
PUBLIC INVESTMENT $8,834,255 $31,954,025 $18,076,290 $16,890,570 -6.6 -47.1 91.2

Manager’s Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-14, regarding the possibility of closing two lanes to cars on Memorial Drive on April 29th for Walk/Ride Day.

I hate to say "I told you so", but… no, I actually enjoy saying "I told you so." The City’s application was not approved due to concerns of the State Police around traffic safety and congestion. There was never any realistic chance that this would be approved. I told you so.

Manager’s Agenda #5-11. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order requesting the appropriation and authorization to borrow:

#5: $17,350,000 to provide funds for various water pollution abatement projects, including construction of sewer separation, storm water management and combined sewer overflow reduction elimination improvements within the City’s Alewife Watershed, Cambridgeport Neighborhood, and areas in Harvard Square as well as the Sewer Capital Repairs Program.

#6: $5,000,000 to provide funds for a Comprehensive Facilities Improvement Plan.

#7: $2,000,000 to provide funds for the reconstruction of various City streets and sidewalks.

#8: $149,600,000 to provide funds for various School building infrastructure projects including construction for the King Open/Cambridge Street Schools & Community Complex, building envelope repairs at the Fletcher Maynard Academy, and a new boiler at the Amigos School.

#9: $150,000 to provide funds for the purchase and installation of mechanical components to ensure the operational integrity of the elevator at the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility.

#10: $4,000,000 to provide funds for the renovations of the Out of Town News Kiosk Building and adjacent plaza area in Harvard Square.

#11: $10,000,000 to provide funds for the design and construction of a multi-use path/greenway along the eastern Grand Junction railroad right of way from Broadway to the city line.

That’s a total of $188,100,000 in Loan Orders – dominated by the cost of construction of the King Open/Cambridge Street Schools & Community Complex.


Manager’s Agenda #19. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a report on potential issues related to the Barrett, et al. Zoning Amendment.

As promised on the night the Barrett Petition was passed, the proposed amendments have arrived.

Manager’s Agenda #20. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the City of Cambridge receiving a 5-STAR Rating from STAR Communities (STAR) – the highest score ever given in the country and Cambridge is one of only four cities nationally to earn the top 5-STAR rating.

More gold stars for Cambridge.

Unfinished Business #4. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 24, 2016 to discuss a zoning petition by the Sage Cannabis, Inc. to amend the Zoning Ordinance in Section 20.700 Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts by creating an additional Medical Marijuana Overlay District (MMD-3). Question comes of Passing To Be Ordained on or after Apr 18, 2016. Planning Board hearing held on Mar 15, 2016. Petition expires June 22, 2016.

Manager’s Agenda #21. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-34, which requested a legal opinion on the legality of the Zoning Petition filed by Sage Cannabis, Inc. For a medical marijuana dispensary and whether it is spot zoning.

Communications and Reports from City Officers #3. A communication was received from Councillor Craig A. Kelley, regarding MDD-3 Special District Zoning Petition or the draft letter from the City Manager of non-opposition to the Department of Public Health for Sage Cannabis, Inc.

The Sage Cannabis Petition will likely sail through ordination at this meeting, but the communication from Councillor Kelley is interesting. Apparently, in some other places where marijuana dispensaries have been approved there were agreements signed that would produce revenues for the host cities. It’s a bit odd that Cambridge with its host of community benefit and other mitigation protocols in place never asked for anything from Sage Cannabis.

Communication #1. A communication was received from Steven C. Marsh, Managing Director, Real Estate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Investment Management Company, 238 Main Street, providing a brief update on several requirements related to the Kendall Square zoning (PUD-5).

This letter notes that:
1) MIT’s first community fund contribution payment of $2.5 million and its first community-based organization fund payment of $1 million were made to the City on July 3, 2013; and MIT’s second community fund contribution payment of $2.5 million and second community-based organization fund payment of $1 million were recently made to the City on Apr 7, 2016 bringing MIT’s contributions to $7M. Two more sets of payments will be made in the future, as stipulated by the Kendall PUD-5 final documents.

2) MIT has been working with the City to finalize the property transfer of 35 Cherry Street. The City is working through a community process to determine the future use of the parcel, after which the closing and the transfer of title will be finalized. The City’s acquisition of 35 Cherry Street includes the stipulation that the parcel be used "in perpetuity in a manner that directly benefit residents in the Area Four Neighborhood and surrounding communities."

3) MIT’s $500,000 contribution to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority’s Grand Junction pathway project between Main Street and Broadway has enabled that work to proceed to the point that a grand opening celebration is now being planned for the spring.

Resolution #3. Resolution on the death of Suzanne Schell Pearce.   Mayor Simmons, Councillor Maher

Cambridge has lost one of the most kind-hearted activists I personally ever met.

Order #1. That the City Council go on record urging the National League of Cities to move the venue for the NLC City Summit scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in November 2017 to another state which does not have such discriminatory legislation on the books.   Mayor Simmons

Punishing the local businesses who had no say whatsoever in what laws their state government chose to pass.

Order #2. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council and the community with a response to the concerns and assessment of the Bring Your Own Bag ordinance.   Mayor Simmons

This might also be a good time to get some feedback on reactions to the proposed polystyrene ban set to go into effect later this year. There’s nothing wrong with tweaking ordinances when necessary.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Community Development Department, the Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs, and other appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of waiving the motor vehicle excise tax for electric vehicles.   Councillor Devereux

First, this would require authorization from the state. Second, it’s a slippery road to travel when you start taxing people differently based on what you perceive to be better behavior. Why not charge different excise taxes for people who use their vehicles less frequently?

Order #7. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council if any progress has been made on the willingness of the City of Cambridge to contribute to a successful Green Line Extension and if there has been conversations with local developers regarding the same.   Councillor Toomey

Though I suppose you can make the case that "local developers" and cities through which public transit passes derive benefit from the presence of the transit, this is still a sorry state of affairs when the state and the MBTA cannot manage their fiscal affairs to maintain and enhance their assets.

Order #8. City Council opposition to any off-peak hour fare surcharges as a means of mitigation for continued off-peak hours T service and support for a fair and equitable solution to mitigating the loss of late night T service, specifically one that does not unduly burden those with the least flexibility in their reliance on an affordable means of off-hours transportation.   Councillor Cheung

I didn’t know this was even being considered. It is worth mentioning that when the T shuts down at night the cost of transportation goes up considerably for those who must then take taxis or one of the pseudo-taxi services.

Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Government Operations, Rules & Claims Committee, for a public hearing held on Apr 6, 2016 to continue to discuss the development of the process for the selection of a new City Manager.

The process continues. Hopefully not for too long and leading to a good outcome. If the Council becomes deadlocked, I’m happy to make the decision. – Robert Winters

April 19, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 131-132: April 19, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 131 (Part 1)

Episode 131 – Cambridge InsideOut. This episode was broadcast on April 19, 2016 at 5:30pm. Patrick Barrett was the guest and Robert Winters is the host. In tonight’s episodes we spoke about the recently released Inclusionary Housing Study, several housing-related bills before the state legislature, and good old Central Square. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 132 (Part 2)

Episode 132 – Cambridge InsideOut (Part 2). This episode was broadcast on April 19, 2016 at 6:00pm. Patrick Barrett was the guest and Robert Winters is the host. In tonight’s episodes we spoke about the recently released Inclusionary Housing Study, several housing-related bills before the state legislature, and good old Central Square. [On YouTube]

April 12, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 129-130: April 12, 2016

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 129 (Part 1)

Episode 129 – Cambridge InsideOut. This episode was broadcast on April 12, 2016 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters and our guest was Jesse Kanson-Benanav. In tonight’s episodes we spoke about the recently released Inclusionary Housing Study and other civic affairs. [On YouTube]


Cambridge InsideOut Episode 130 (Part 2)

Episode 130 – Cambridge InsideOut (Part 2). This episode was broadcast on April 12, 2016 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters and our guest was Jesse Kanson-Benanav. In tonight’s episodes we spoke about the recently released Inclusionary Housing Study and other civic affairs. [On YouTube]

April 10, 2016

Up the Inclusionary – Hot Topics on the April 11, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:20 pm

Up the Inclusionary – Hot Topics on the April 11, 2016 Cambridge City Council Agenda

Inclusionary ZoningHere are the relatively few agenda items that seem interesting this week:

City Manager’s Agenda #1. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, recommending the reappointment of Conrad Crawford to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority.

City Manager’s Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, recommending appointment of Naomie Stephen to the Cambridge Housing Authority.

These are the only two City Boards for which City Council approval is required for appointments by the City Manager. Under recently amended protocols, these will each have a City Council committee hearing prior to coming back to the City Council for a vote.

City Manager’s Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study.

This is by far the most significant agenda item. Any change to Inclusionary Zoning would be a zoning amendment, so this matter will now have to be referred to the Ordinance Committee and Planning Board for further deliberation. The study and the Manager’s recommendation call for a substantial increase in the inclusionary requirement. If I read it correctly, the current 15% requirement (which ends up being under 12% of the new units created after the density bonus is added in) would go up to somewhere between 17% and 20% after the density bonus is added. Some activists will, no doubt, want an even higher percentage, but there are at least some indications that the sky is no longer the limit in terms of housing prices and rents. There may be some logic in exercising at least a little caution in increasing the mandatory requirements.

Resolution #4. Resolution on the death of Dorothy Steele.   Councillor Toomey

If you didn’t see the recent Eric Moskowitz article on Dorothy Steele on the front page of the Boston Globe (Apr 5, 2016), you really should. It was one of the most beautifully written tributes I’ve ever read in a newspaper.

Order #2. That all future Government Operations, Rules and Claims Committee meetings related to the selection of a new City Manager be televised.   Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux

The actual level of interest in this process among the general public is not nearly as great as the sponsors of the Order seem to think. Interest will definitely pick as we get nearer to an actual vote, but for now it’s just the usual suspects.

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 Sage Cannabis Inc., application to operate a RMD in the Business B-2 (MMD-3 Zoning) District within the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts.   Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor McGovern

I can certainly understand why the City Council might support a zoning change to allow Sage Cannabis to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at a location not previously permitted under zoning, but does the City Council really have to also write them a letter of recommendation? Surely the zoning change should be sufficient. – Robert Winters

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: