Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

August 16, 2013

Suggested Topics for 2013 Cambridge City Council Candidates

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:44 pm

Suggested topics for 2013 City Council candidates

1) Background [biographical, etc.]

2) Top Priorities [List about three and elaborate below]

3) Land Use, Planning, Zoning, Density

4) Economic Development and Commerce

5) Housing

6) Energy, the Environment, and Public Health

7) Traffic, Parking, and Transportation

8) Open Space, Parks, and Recreation

9) Municipal Finance (budget, assessments, property taxes, etc.)

10) Quality of Life and Public Safety

Other topics:
Civic Participation
Government and Elections, Plan E Charter
City Manager
University Relations
Youth Programs, Senior Programs
Arts and Public Celebrations
Cambridge Public Schools
Future of the Foundry Building

Priority Question: What is your vision for Central Square over the next decade?

Candidates: Send your responses/remarks on these topics or any other topics of your choice to or by mail to 366 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139. All of the information provided is helpful to voters, journalists, and organizers of candidate forums and similar events. You can add more information or change the content of your Candidate Page any time up to Election Day.

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2013

2013 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums
[Send event listings to]

August 13, 2013

Cambridge Arts Council Announces Launch of its 2014 Grant Cycle

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 12:03 am

New applications and guidelines

Grant Program Community Meeting and Info Session
Monday, August 19th, 6-8pm, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room

Grant Writing Workshop
Monday, September 23rd, 6-8pm, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor Conference Room

Grant Submission Deadline
Tuesday, October 15th, 5:00pm

Cambridge Arts Council
City Hall Annex
344 Broadway, 2nd Fl.
Cambridge, MA 02139

The Cambridge Arts Council is supported in part by the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, New England Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and many corporate and individual donors. The Cambridge Arts Council exists to ensure that the arts remain vital for people living, working, and visiting Cambridge.

Dima Snow, 2012 CAC Grant Recipient
Dima Snow, 2012 CAC Grant Recipient

August 8, 2013

Cambridge Candidate 2013 Match Game

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,City Council,elections,School Committee — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 10:45 am

Cambridge Candidate 2013 Match Game (PDF)

Can you match the candidate names, occupations, and birthdates? The list includes all 34 City Council and School Committee candidates.

August 7, 2013

Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project -MBTA Red Line Weekend Diversion – August 10 and 11

Filed under: Cambridge,transportation — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 6:14 pm

Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation

On Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will close the Longfellow Bridge to all motor vehicle travel, except MBTA buses. The closure is to implement an MBTA Red Line diversion related to bridge construction. Buses will replace Red Line trains for service between Kendall/MIT Station and Park Street Station, with a stop at Charles/MGH Station. [Map of bus route and stops]

Bus service will be in place for Boston and Cambridge-bound Red Line customers from the start of service on Saturday, August 10 to the end of service on Sunday, August 11. Red Line trains will resume service on Monday morning. The diversion is necessary for MassDOT’s design/build contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli JV, to perform work in close proximity to the Red Line tracks that is not allowed during MBTA service hours. Please visit the MBTA’s service updates webpage for additional information.

MBTA buses will be the only motor vehicles permitted on the bridge. All other motor vehicles including passenger vehicles, trucks and all other buses will need to use one of two routes shown on the attached detour map to reach Boston. One route uses Memorial Drive westbound to make a U-turn at Ames Street for access to Memorial Drive eastbound to Land Boulevard and Charles River Dam Road (Monsignor O’Brien Highway/Route 28) to reach Leverett Circle. A second route uses 3rd Street and Binney Street to reach Land Boulevard. Truck restrictions are in place for Memorial Drive. [Map]

Emergency response, bicycle and pedestrian access will be maintained across the bridge during this weekend diversion. Please note: Bicyclists will be asked to walk their bikes on the sidewalk across the Longfellow Bridge to ensure the safety of all bridge users.

The Cambridge-bound detour remains in place using a signed route from Charles Circle following Charles Street to Leverett Circle, Monsignor O’Brien Highway/Charles River Dam Road and Edwin H. Land Boulevard. [Map]

For more information on the project and traffic management plans, visit the website at For questions, to report issues and concerns related to construction or to be added to the project email distribution list, please call the project hotline at 617-519-9892 or email

August 6, 2013

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Renovation Achieves LEED® Gold Certification

Filed under: Cambridge — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 6:34 pm

Design provides greater sustainability and improved space utilization

Aug 6, 2013 – The City of Cambridge is proud to announce that the comprehensive renovation project for Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) has earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Designed by HMFH Architects, Inc., the highly visible 400,000 square foot high school fulfills the City’s ambitious sustainability goals through substantial reductions in energy consumption and water use, and significant increases in indoor environmental quality, natural ventilation and daylighting.

The sustainable design strategy for the three-building complex, which was originally constructed in 1932 and expanded in 1978, includes a chilled beam HVAC system – well-suited to incorporation in existing concrete frame buildings—and a rooftop photovoltaic array. These retrofits, coupled with high-efficiency lighting fixtures and daylighting contribute to the school’s net energy savings, lowering the operating costs by more than $335,000 annually, and reducing energy use by more than 1.3 million KWh of electricity and nearly 44,000 therms of natural gas.

Monitors in the lobby displaying real-time energy data and a small rooftop garden tie environmental stewardship to the curriculum and provide educational opportunities for the school’s 1,800 students. Other visible features include low-flow fixtures that provide an annual savings of 1.3 million gallons of water, operable windows and outdoor bike racks. Beneath the playground for the onsite daycare center, a rainwater collection tank stores runoff from the roof and is used to irrigate the landscaping, eliminating potable water use.

While achieving high points in the categories of Sustainable Sites, Energy and Atmosphere and Water Efficiency, the project was cited with exemplary performance for construction waste management by diverting 95% of waste from landfills back into the manufacturing process. The revitalization and refresh of classrooms and shared core spaces required careful selection of finishes; recycled and low-VOC materials, FSC-certified wood, and durable rubber flooring that requires no harsh cleaning chemicals, contribute to the overall indoor air quality to provide a healthy learning environment.

The renovated school, which shares its urban site with two other City-owned LEED Silver buildings – War Memorial Recreation Center, also an HMFH design, and the Cambridge Public Library – completes the civic campus of sustainable buildings and aligns with the City’s sustainability initiatives.

CRLS Exterior

"As far as we know, less than 10 renovated school buildings nationwide have achieved LEED Gold, so we are especially proud," said Cambridge City Manager Richard C. Rossi. "This project is a perfect example of what can be achieved with civic commitment and strong community support. It also validates and expands our city-wide efforts to manage all of our resources in the most sustainable way. The revitalization of CRLS represents an ongoing commitment to modernize our educational facilities, to promote the highest levels of learning and achievement for all students, and to reduce our community’s carbon footprint."

CRLS Computer Lab

The City and the CRLS Project Manager worked closely with its architects, utilizing their expertise in both educational environments and sustainable design, to turn this project from a basic reconstruction into a stunning example of how to integrate 21st century learning and environmental responsibility. This effort resulted in improved classrooms, library and teaching facilities, and corridors with new windows, flooring and wall finishes. Additionally, the renovation also enlivens common areas and provides clear circulation and more internal transparency. The re-designed science core includes larger labs that accommodate teaching areas as well as space for experiments, and the theater is redesigned and equipped for live broadcasts.

The City of Cambridge is proud to have worked with HMFH Architects, Inc., a local firm that has been in business since 1969 on two award winning renovated municipal buildings that serve as models for sustainable and healthy community development.

CRLS Panorama - photo by Ed Wonsek
CRLS Panorama – photo by Ed Wonsek

August 1, 2013

The Rumors Are Flying – Candidates for 2013

The Rumors Are Flying – Candidates for 2013 (originally posted Jan 19, most recent update Aug 1)

Not a day goes by these days without my being asked who the candidates will be this year for Cambridge City Council and Cambridge School Committee. [Why do they ask me?] Anyway, let’s just put all this on the table – rumored candidates, confirmed candidates, rumored vacancies, etc. We’ll update this as unnamed candidates sheepishly emerge and named candidates angrily deny. This way it will all be on the table.

City Council

Incumbents expected to seek reelection: Leland Cheung, Craig Kelley, David Maher, Kenneth E. Reeves, E. Denise Simmons, Tim Toomey, Minka vanBeuzekom.

Verified challengers: Dennis Benzan, Dennis Carlone, Janneke House, James Lee, Logan E. Leslie, Nadeem Mazen, Marc McGovern, Gary Mello, Gregg Moree, Ron Peden, Lesley Phillips, Sam Seidel, Jefferson Smith, Luis Vasquez, Kristen von Hoffmann, James Williamson, Elie Yarden, Mushtaque Mirza

Possible challengers: Eric Macomber, Doug Brown, Dylan Rykerson

Not running: Marjorie Decker (incumbent), Joseph "Slugs" Aiello, Larry Ward, Tom Stohlman, Mike Connolly, Henrietta Davis, Matt Nelson

School Committee

Incumbents expected to seek reelection: Alfred E. Fantini, Richard Harding, Patricia Nolan, Mervan Osborne

Verified challengers: Fran Cronin, Joyce Gerber, John Holland, Elechi Kadete, Kathleen Kelly

Possible challengers:

Incumbent who will attempt to jump to City Council: Marc McGovern

Not running: Joseph "Slugs" Aiello, Emily Dexter, James Lee, Elie Yarden, Alice Turkel

Feel free to submit the names of any other rumored or actual candidates. [If there's someone you would like to see as a candidate. we can create a category for that too. Maybe we can recruit some good candidates that way!] If you are a rumored or actual candidate, feel free to confirm or deny your candidacy. If you would like to be added as a rumored or actual candidate, just click on my initials and let me know. – RW

You can also just spill the beans in the comments below.

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2013

2013 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums     [Send event listings to]

July 31, 2013

The Candidates – Cambridge Municipal Election 2013

Filed under: 2013 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 5:10 pm

The Candidates – updated as candidates pull papers and submit signatures – updated Aug 5) – FINAL

Candidate Office Sought Address Signatures Submitted Certified* Notes
E. Denise Simmons Council 188 Harvard St., 02139 98 (July 12) 87 July 1
Kenneth Reeves Council 340 Harvard St., 02139 100 (July 5) 87 July 1
Janneke House Council 12 Hilliard St., 02138 100 (July 16) 91 July 1
Leland Cheung Council 157 Garden St., 02138 100 (July 19) 90 July 1
Minka vanBeuzekom Council 20 Essex St., 02139 66 (July 1), 34 (July 25) 92 July 1
Jefferson R. Smith Council 134 Tremont St., 02139 100 (July 23) 90 July 1
Marc McGovern Council 15 Pleasant St., 02139 100 (July 8) 97 July 1
Dennis J. Carlone Council 16 Martin St., 02138 83 (July 31), 4 (July 31) 70 July 1
Gary Mello Council 324 Franklin St., 02139 70 (July 3), 5 (July 30) 64 July 1
Lesley Rebecca Phillips Council 1643 Cambridge St. #52, 02138 83 (July 2), 17 (July 19) 94 July 1
Gregg J. Moree Council 25 Fairfield St., 02140 71 (July 23) 61 July 1
Nadeem Mazen Council 73A Magazine St. #203, 02139 100 (July 16) 82 July 1
Timothy J. Toomey Council 88 Sixth St., 02141 100 (July 9) 100 July 1
Craig Kelley Council 6 St. Gerard Terr., 02140 100 (July 2) 93 July 1
David P. Maher Council 120 Appleton St., 02138 100 (July 23) 94 July 1
Ron Peden Council 25 Aberdeen St. #3, 02138 100 (July 31) 86 July 1
Dennis A. Benzan Council 1 Pine St., 02139 86 (July 2) 75 July 1
Sam Seidel Council 381 Broadway #1, 02139 100 (July 29) 92 July 1
Kristen von Hoffmann Council 205 Walden St. #3G, 02140 100 (July 29) 99 July 1
Luis Vasquez Council 23 Market St., 02139 100 (July 8) 72 July 1
James Lee Council 400 Broadway, 02139 64 (July 12), 36 (July 15) 85 July 3
James Williamson Council 1000 Jackson Pl. #45, 02140 46 (July 23), 17 (July 25) 54 July 3
Eric Macomber Council 50 Kirkland St., 02138 July 15
Doug Brown Council 32 Gurney St., 02138 July 16
Elie Yarden Council 143 Pleasant St. #2A, 02139 97 (July 29) 75 July 17
Logan Leslie Council 204 Fayerweather St., 02138 100 (July 30) 86 July 17
Mushtaque Mirza Council 843 Mass. Ave. #3, 02139 100 (July 29) 72 July 25
Dylan Rykerson Council 1 Earhart St. #524, 02141 July 29
Richard Harding School 189 Windsor St., 02139 94 (July 26) 80 July 1
Alfred B. Fantini School 4 Canal Pk., 02141 50 (July 2), 50 (July 3) 100 July 1
Kathleen M. Kelly School 17 Marie Ave. #1, 02139 62 (July 8), 33 (July 24) 91 July 1
Fran Cronin School 1 Kimball Lane, 02140 86 (July 18) 72 July 1
Joyce Gerber School 10 Fairfield St., 02140 78 (July 12) 71 July 1
John Holland School 26 Normandy Terr., 02138 64 (July 30) 52 July 1
Patricia Nolan School 184 Huron Ave., 02138 49 (July 19), 11 (July 25) 59 July 2
Mervan Osborne School 149 Auburn St., 02139 90 (July 17) 77 July 2
Elechi Kadete School 10 Laurel St. #4, 02139 93 (July 18) 74 July 2
James Lee School 400 Broadway, 02139 July 3
Albert Howell School 249 Garden St. #6, 02138 July 5
Elie Yarden School 143 Pleasant St. #2A, 02139 July 26
Alice Turkel is not running for School Committee.  The deadline for submitting signatures was Wed, July 31, 5:00pm.

* The deadline to file nomination papers is Wednesday, July 31st at 5:00pm. 50 certified signatures are required and candidates can submit no more than 100 signatures. Signatures are unofficially certified by staff in the Election Commission office, but actual certification is done by the Election Commission during July and possibly as late as Aug 14. When officially certified, the number of certified signatures will be indicated in bold.

Cambridge Candidate Pages – 2013

2013 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums     [Send event listings to]

Note to City Council and School Committee candidates (updated June 30):

Please let me know soon if you’ve made any decisions regarding your intention to be on the November 2013 municipal election ballot. If so, please send me any relevant information about your campaign (website, Facebook page, Twitter, e-mail address, phone number, where to send donations). You can also submit any other information relevant to your candidacy (background, priorities, etc.). If you have any ideas on topics that all candidates should be asked to provide statements, please send me those suggestions.

Also, if you (or anyone else) have suggestions on what topics should be presented to all City Council candidates and/or all School Committee candidates in the 2013 election, please let me know soon. Candidates are already submitting responses.

The 2013 Candidate Pages are meant as a resource not only for voters but also for reporters and supporters who may wish to get in touch regarding your campaign. I’m also happy to list any dates for campaign kickoffs or other significant candidate events in the Election Calendar. – RW

2013 Municipal Election: Nomination Papers Available Starting Monday July 1

Nomination papers for City Council and School Committee will be available beginning Monday, July 1st at the Election Commission office, 51 Inman Street, Cambridge. The office will be open on Monday, July 1st from 8:30am until 8:00pm. The deadline to file nomination papers is Wednesday, July 31st at 5:00pm. The 2013 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 5, 2013.

July 29, 2013

Midsummer Meeting – Monday, July 29, 2013 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 1:12 am

Midsummer Meeting – Monday, July 29, 2013 Cambridge City Council Agenda Highlights

The City Councillors take a break from their reelection campaigns to take care of a few business items in this first meeting with City Manager Richard Rossi. As is usually the case after 5 weeks without a meeting, there’s a boatload of City Manager Agenda items (27), Council Resolutions (87), Council Orders (25), and Committee Reports (9). There are also 6 Charter Right items left over from June 24, and an imperfect Zoning Petition (Teague) that needs to be voted or re-filed in some form. Here’s a sampler of some of the more notable items (with a few minor comments):

Manager’s Agenda #14. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $375,000 to the Public Investment Fund Community Development Extraordinary Expenditures account which will be used to conduct a feasibility study for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge linking the Alewife Triangle and the Alewife Quadrangle.

This was originally envisioned in "The Fishbook" (a.k.a. the 1979 Alewife Revitalization Study by the CDD) as a bridge for all traffic that would connect the western end of Cambridgepark Drive to Smith Place connecting to Concord Ave. Priorities have changed radically since then and perhaps the most significant changes in the forseeable might be a bike/pedestrian bridge over the RR tracks (could happen) or a new commuter rail station (probably won’t happen).

Manager’s Agenda #20. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the Planning Board recommendation on the Phillips et al, Zoning Petition, which proposes new requirements for Special District 2 (SD-2). SD-2 was created in 2000 to regulate predominantly commercial areas abutting Linear Park, which runs through the center of the district.

The recommendation says: "It is the Board’s view that the proposed changes do not serve the City’s planning goal of encouraging the transition of outdated commercial and industrial sites at neighborhood edges into housing. Moreover, the zoning for this district has recently been the subject of significant consideration by the City and the public, culminating in the City Council’s adoption of the Bishop, et al. Zoning Petition in 2012. Development that conforms to the recently adopted zoning was approved by the Planning Board this year. Making such a substantial change to the zoning at this time risks undermining the integrity of that prior public discussion and outcome."

Unfinished Business #16. 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 hearing held on May 16, 2013 to discuss a zoning petition from Charles D. Teague, et al, requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinances to clarify the existing law so that said law can be enforced by inserting text after Section 7.20 Illumination, with the existing test to be retained and labeled as Section 7.23 Lighting Restrictions for Residential Districts. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after June 17, 2013. Planning Board hearing held May 21, 2013. Petition expires Aug 19, 2013.

Manager’s Agenda #21. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the Planning Board recommendation on the Teague et al, Zoning Petition, which proposes new zoning standards regarding lighting.

Honestly, the whole premise of this petition is questionable. If indeed the problem of light intrusion onto residential properties is such a nuisance (and a case can be made that it is), the right approach would be to yank this out of the Zoning Ordinance and put it on a similar footing as the City’s Noise Ordinance. The Planning Board advises that the City Council direct the creation of a comprehensive lighting ordinance that would be incorporated into the Municipal Code separate from zoning.

Manager’s Agenda #23. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Council Order #10 of Nov 19, 2012, regarding a draft Polystyrene Food Container Ordinance, and input from the Recycling Advisory Committee (RAC).

Polystyrene here refers to expanded polystyrene (EPS) which is commonly referred to as Styrofoam. Though you might think this a slam dunk in terms of environmental desirability, the Recycling Advisory Committee had a long discussion on the pros and cons of the proposed ban of EPS in food establishments. It is true that there are potential health effects of hot beverages in EPS containers, but alternative containers do not necessarily provide a net environmental benefit. On balance, however, an EPS ban is both workable and likely to be well-received by most consumers.

Manager’s Agenda #25. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a response from City Solicitor Nancy E. Glowa to Council Orders Number 10, 11 and 12 of June 3, 2013 regarding a legal opinion on the following issues: 1) the expiration date on the Phillips Petition and whether if the petition is re-filed would the extension take the special permit decision of the Planning Board out of jeopardy; 2) how many times a petition can be filed on the same zoning petition (serial filings); and 3) whether it is legal to close Cottage Park Avenue and open Brookford Street.

Manager’s Agenda #26. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a response from City Solicitor Nancy E. Glowa to Council to Order O-4 of 4/29/13, regarding a report on clarifying the expiration date for Zoning Petitions filed in the City.

I will comment only on the last of these. The ambiguity between zoning petition expiration dates can be simply resolved via a minor change in the Zoning Ordinance. It’s baffling why no city councillor has yet proposed this solution.

Manager’s Agenda #27. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a response from Sam Lipson, Director of Environmental Health, to City Council Order O-9 from 10/4/10, regarding a review of the status of smoking in public parks and the efforts of the Smoking in Parks working group.

If I’m reading the proposed ordinance changes correctly, it is recommended that smoking be banned in a variety of places that are currently listed as exceptions in Chapter 8.28 of the Municipal Code. The additional prohibition would apply to any public place, municipal facility, municipal vehicle, public park, hotel, and to any outdoor sidewalk seating areas associated with a restaurant.

Charter Right #2. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 13-63, regarding a report on the progress on the non-zoning recommendations submitted by the Central Square Advisory Committee.

Charter Right #3. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 13-71, regarding a report on how the structure of boards and commissions can be adjusted.

Charter Right #5. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the Foundry Building "Reuse Study" prepared by HFMH Architects.

See the notes of the previous (June 24, 2013) City Council meeting for these items.

Applications & Petitions #5. A zoning petition has been re-filed by John Walker, et al., requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Ordinance to the Special District 2 (SD-2) zoning district in North Cambridge.

This appears to be a resubmission of the Phillips et al, Zoning Petition. As such the legal response in Manager’s Agenda #25 is relevant.

Resolution #57. Congratulating Patrick Barrett III and Norma Jean Bopp on the birth of their son, Jedidiah Shelby Barrett.   Councillor Cheung

I will add my congratulations to my good friend Patrick and his wife Norma Jean on our new Cambridge resident, Jedidiah – a native Cantabrigian.

Order #4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Department of Public Works to explore the potential for a community composting initiative.   Councillor Cheung

I really don’t know what Councillor Cheung has in mind here. As a local composting guru, my advice is that any resident who can accommodate backyard composting should do this as their own "community composting initiative." If you want more community, invite your neighbors to contribute and help maintain your compost (and make use of the finished product). A pilot City-operated curbside composting program is also now being developed. What perchance does our good councillor propose in addition? It’s essential that there be people responsible for any composting operation including those in community gardens, and it is often the case that people do not take appropriate responsibility – even in active community gardens.

Order #6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments as to the feasibility of installing side guards on all City-owned trucks to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety and to the feasibility of utilizing pylons as a means through which to separate cyclists from motor vehicles.   Councillor Cheung

I get worried whenever I see proposals like this. As a daily cyclist who prefers sharing the roadway with other vehicles, my first reaction to this proposal is that obstructions would now be in the roadway that could limit my mobility and lead to greater traffic congestion by constricting the roadway. As I have said repeatedly here and elsewhere, bicycles are vehicles just like motor vehicles, and the roadway is to be shared by all vehicles. Cyclists need to make the same turning movements as motor vehicles and the segregation of bicycles into narrow spaces conflicts with this. It also leads motor vehicle operators to not respect the right of cyclists to share the road. The only exception where separated facilities makes sense is on higher-speed roadways where the differential between typical bicycle speeds and motor vehicle speeds is very significant.

Order #8. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Law Department, the Information Technology Department and any other relevant departments to evaluate the feasibility of ensuring all city-sponsored committee meeting minutes are available online.   Councillor Cheung

Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Information Technology Department as to the feasibility of making videos of City Council general and committee meetings downloadable by the general public.   Councillor Cheung

I frankly don’t believe there’s a lot of demand for this public information (except to occasionally create YouTube videos to embarass public officials). That said, if it’s simple and cheap enough to produce this form of public information, there’s no good reason why it shouldn’t be made available.

Order #15. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Director of Traffic Parking and Transportation and the Police Commissioner and report back to the City Council on the City’s efforts to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of current detours and traffic plans currently in place and our ability to adjust them if problems arise in relation to construction projects.   Councillor Toomey

This must surely be in response to the astonishing amount of bridge and tunnel rehabilitation work that is now occurring primarily in the eastern half of the city – most notably the Western Ave. project, the Longfellow Bridge traffic restrictions, and other planned work on the Charles River bridges. My prediction is that many people will bitch and moan and then find ways to live with it. Many will permanently change the way they commute for the better. All of this work is long overdue and necessary, and we should all be celebrating the fact that this neglect is finally being addressed.

Order #16. That the City Manager is requested to set up a $20,000 one-year Build Neighborhoods Fund from Community Benefits funds.   Councillor vanBeuzekom

I recall when you could request up to a $500 grant through the Community Oriented Policing (COP) program. If these funds were to support grafitti-removal, cleanup initiatives, or block parties, I don’t think anybody would object to the proposed program. On the other hand, I could easily see a politically-motivated group asking for support claiming they needed the money for "community purposes". If such a Fund is established, the rules for receiving grants should be made abundantly clear and all money should go to clearly charitable purposes.

Order #17. That the City Manager is requested to develop cost benefit analyses for at least five scenarios related to the Foundry Building.   Mayor Davis

If this interests you, there are upcoming City Council committee meetings on this matter on July 31 [Finance (Decker)], Aug 5 [Neighborhood and Long Term Planning (Cheung), and Economic Development, Training, and Employment (Toomey), and Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations (Reeves)], and on Sept 24 [Finance (Decker)].

Order #19. That the City Manager is requested to work together with the City of Cambridge Law Department to explore the establishment of an enforced open door while air condition prohibition for Cambridge, and when this prohibition is put in place, precede it’s installation with an awareness campaign through the Cambridge Energy Alliance and the new Community Compact for a Sustainable Future.   Councillor vanBeuzekom

Perhaps we should just have a single Anti-Stupidity Ordinance that includes a prohibition against spending absurd amounts of money on wasted heating and air conditioning. I can think of plenty of other clauses to add to the Anti-Stupidity Ordinance. Perhaps we can all pitch in with the drafting of the ordinance.

Order #20. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on the rationale and thought process of the License Commission on the proposed increase of liquor license fees prior to the change taking effect.   Councillor Cheung

This is a good request. I expect there are some significant costs associated with all the new pouring licenses, and it would be good to hear an accounting of the additional staff requirements for the License Commission, Police Dept., and Fire Dept.

Order #21. That the City Manager is requested to set up a committee to work with the MBTA to ensure that the MBTA will continue to use all of the stops along the #1 Route and not eliminate any stops.   Councillor Reeves

The evaluation by the MBTA of the #1 Bus stops has been going on for the last couple of years and includes a number of sensible changes including the removal of some unnecessary bus stops. It’s a bit bewildering to see a City Council order arriving at this late date calling for all proposed efficiencies to be abandoned.

Order #22. That the City Manager is requested to set up a committee including the president of the tenant’s union, the chairperson of the Housing Committee, the chairperson of the University Relations Committee, and a representative of the City Manager to open up truthful communication with Harvard on their intentions of selling this building (2 Mt. Auburn St.).   Councillor Reeves

There has to be a back story behind this. The Order states that "Harvard University has blocked all meaningful communication between the University and the tenants union and blocked all meaningful communication with elected city officials and administrators of the city of Cambridge." That’s quite an accusation and we’re all eager to hear what it’s about and if there’s any truth to it.

Committee Report #3. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Administrative Assistant, City Clerk’s Office, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Civic Unity Committee for a public meeting held on June 18, 2013 to discuss the Monteiro case only as it pertains to any lessons learned.

Committee Report #9. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Administrative Assistant, City Clerk’s Office, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Civic Unity Committee for a public meeting held on July 17, 2013 to continue discussions of lessons learned as it pertains to the Monteiro case.

I attended the latter of these two meetings and, after reading a summary of "lessons learned" stated in the former meeting, I offered a comment on one important "lesson learned" that had not previously been stated – namely that the City has to do whatever it can to protect itself against similar complaints and lawsuits in the future. More robust performance evaluations would be a good start. Though this seemed like a pretty obvious suggestion and one that I don’t believe had been mentioned previously, I was heckled by a well-known Brookford St. resident for speaking at all. So much for civic unity as preached by the "Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods."

Communications & Reports from City Officers #2. A communication was received from Mayor Henrietta Davis transmitting a letter from Jeffrey M. Young, Superintendent of Schools regarding responses to City Council Budget Questions.

Considering the fact that the questions posed to Superintendent Young were far longer than the answers provided, it’s a good bet that the disagreements between the City Council and School Committee during the recent Budget Hearings will continue into the planned Roundtable meetings in September and October and during next year’s budget cycle and beyond. – Robert Winters

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