Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

November 11, 2015

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 89 and 90 – Making Sense of the 2015 Cambridge Municipal Election Results

Filed under: 2015 Election,Cambridge,Cambridge InsideOut — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 1:22 am

Cambridge InsideOut this week took a look at the 2015 election results.

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 89 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 10, 2015 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 90 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 10, 2015 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Full Unofficial Election Results (Nov 4, 2015) – City Council & School Committee

November 8, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 4, 2015

Election Day Discussion – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 87 and 88

Cambridge InsideOut this week focused on what to expect on election night (Nov 3).

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 87 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 3, 2015 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 88 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 3, 2015 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Full Unofficial Election Results (Nov 4, 2015) – City Council & School Committee

November 2, 2015

The Eve of Decision – Nov 2, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 12:04 am

The Eve of Decision – Nov 2, 2015 Cambridge City Council agenda

The City Council meets this week on the eve of the November 3 municipal election. [Tune in to CCTV any time after 8:00pm Tuesday for the live Election Night broadcast hosted by Susana Segat and Robert Winters.] Here are a few items of interest that our nerve-wracked city councillors will be considering as their thoughts drift toward the following day:

Manager’s Agenda #3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 15-18, regarding a report on renaming the Area IV Youth Center as the “Dr. Robert and Janet Moses Youth Center.” [attachment]

It would be an even greater honor if "The Algebra Project" so closely associated with Dr. Robert Moses could be promoted and continue forevermore at the Youth Center soon to be renamed in honor of Dr. Robert and Janet Moses.

Applications & Petitions #3. A zoning petition has been received from the Friends of MAPOCO, to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance by a new sub-district of the Massachusetts Avenue Overlay District along Massachusetts Avenue between Porter Square and Cambridge Common.

The delicious irony of this zoning petition filed on the eve of the municipal election is that one of the signers is Councillor Dennis “Not ’til there’s a Master Plan” Carlone.

Applications & Petitions #4. An application was received from the Boston Ballet, 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, requesting permission to hang twenty-three temporary banners on electrical poles on in Harvard Square. These banners will promote the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker. The temporary banners will be hung from Nov 23 to Jan 4, 2016. Approval has been received from the Electrical Department.

One has to marvel at the plans of the Boston Ballet to hang "Nutcracker" banners directly in front of the Jose Mateo Ballet Theater in Cambridge which also stages its own annual performances of "The Nutcracker".


Resolution #7. Happy 100th Birthday wishes to Floyd Freeman.   Councillor Simmons

Floyd Freeman was my favorite neighbor for a quarter century on our block of Broadway – until the night his house burned down and he was forced to move closer to his son and daughter. Many a day I headed down the street on the way to somewhere and never made it because it was just so much more interesting to talk with Floyd. On November 7 he will turn 100 years old and is still playing music and is as sharp as ever. I won’t be able to make it to Detroit for his birthday celebration next weekend, but I plan to honor him in other ways. Happy birthday, Floyd. You really are the best.

Floyd & Robert
Happy birthday, Floyd!
This photo was taken at Floyd Freeman’s 90th birthday party ten years ago.


Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Community Development Department and other appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of establishing an online database of “problematic landlords” modeled upon the databases of Chicago and New York, to determine what the criteria for establishing this designation would be, and to report back to the City Council on when such a database could be up and running in a timely manner.   Councillor Simmons

Why stop there? Perhaps we should also draft a list of "problematic tenants" who nobody would ever want to live in their building. Shop owners could team up to draft a "problematic customer" list. It’s not unreasonable to want to have such lists and I’m sure there are people who would be more than happy to gather the data and pass judgment. However, it may not be the wisest choice for a municipality to do this except in the most egregious cases.

Communications #15. A communication was received from Kim Courtney and Xavier Dietrich, regarding a package store with an invalid liquor license.

Order #8. That the City Clerk, in consultation with the City Solicitor, draft a response regarding the attached Open Meeting Law complaint for the City Council’s consideration, so that the draft response may be considered and voted on by the City Council at its next regular business meeting of Nov 9, 2015.   Mayor Maher

Communications & Reports from City Officers #1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by Kim Courtney and Xavier Dietrich, 955 Massachusetts Avenue #259, Cambridge, regarding the Minutes of the City Council meeting of Aug 10, 2015.

Perhaps it’s time to present Cambridge’s First Annual Dirty Diaper Award to this dynamic duo of litigious, misinformed, and thoroughly annoying wannabe City Council candidates. They can hang it on the wall of the wine bar they may one day open after their retirement from political life. – Robert Winters

October 27, 2015

One Week before the Election – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 85 and 86

Cambridge InsideOut this week focused on some additional aspects of the upcoming election (Nov 3) and other updates from around town.

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 85 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 27, 2015 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 86 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 27, 2015 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Background material for these programs can be found here: http://rwinters.com/insideout/2015oct27/

Cambridge’s new Superintendent of Schools – Dr. Kenneth Salim

Filed under: Cambridge,School Committee,schools — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:21 pm

Dr. Kenneth SalimCambridge’s new Superintendent of Schools

The Cambridge School Committee voted 6 (Cronin, Kelly, Fantini, Nolan, Osborne, Maher) – 1 (Harding) to appoint Dr. Kenneth Salim as the next Superintendent of Schools pending contract negotiations, tonight.

Dr. Salim is the current Superintendent in Weymouth, MA and previously work in the Boston Public Schools as Senior Director for the Chief Academic Office and Interim Assistant Superintendent for Professional Development.

October 24, 2015

2015 Cambridge Pre-Election Fun Facts

Filed under: 2015 Election,Cambridge — Robert Winters @ 2:21 am

Farmers Unite!2015 Cambridge Election Fun Facts (Oct 24, 2015):

There are currently 63,325 registered Cambridge voters.

Of these, 45,038 are listed as "active" voters.

There are 16,479 registered voters who voted in the 2013 municipal election.

There are 10,248 registered voters who voted in both the 2011 and 2013 municipal elections.

There are 7,890 registered voters who voted in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 municipal elections.

There are 6,052 registered voters who voted in the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 municipal elections.

There are 152 registered voters who have voted in every citywide primary and general election since 1997.

There are 5,157 voters who registered this year (2015).

There are 7,409 registered voters who list their occupation as "student".

There are 1,109 registered voters who list their occupation as "professor".

There are 369 registered voters who list their occupation as "artist".

There are 161 registered voters who list their occupation as "musician".

There are 9 registered voters who list their occupation as "farmer".

Addendum:
In 2011 there were 60,367 registered voters at the time of the municipal election.
Of these, 4,413 registered during the year 2011.
736 of these recently registered voters (17%) voted in the Nov 2011 municipal election.

In 2013 there were 70,618 registered voters at the time of the municipal election (typically higher after a presidential election year).
Of these, 4,291 registered during the year 2013.
809 of these recently registered voters (19%) voted in the Nov 2013 municipal election.

In 2015 there are 63,325 registered voters eligible to vote in the municipal election.
Of these, 5,157 registered during the year 2015.

October 21, 2015

PR Election Mechanics – Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 83 and 84

Filed under: 2015 Election,Cambridge,elections — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 9:28 am

Cambridge InsideOut this week focused on some of the history of Proportional Representation elections (Single Transferable Vote), the mechanics of The Count, and the role of candidate slates.

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 83 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 20, 2015 at 5:30pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Cambridge InsideOut Episode 84 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 20, 2015 at 6:00pm. The hosts are Judy Nathans and Robert Winters. [On YouTube]

Background material for these programs can be found here: http://rwinters.com/insideout/2015oct20/

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