Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

November 14, 2019

CRLS, CHLS & Rindge Homecoming 2019

Filed under: Cambridge,schools — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Winters @ 8:45 am

CRLS, CHLS & RINDGE HOMECOMING 2019

A series of events for alumni and staff of CRLS, CHLS and Rindge Tech beginning Saturday, November 9, 2019 through Sunday, December 1.

CRLSEVENTS:

MUSICAL: Saturday, 11/09, Sunday 11/10, Friday 11/22, Saturday 11/23 and Sunday Matinee 11/24 – CRLS Musical "Sister Act" – 7:00pm @ the Fitzgerald Theater, Broadway, Cambridge MA with Alumni Night, Saturday 11/23

PANEL DISCUSSION: Tuesday, 11/26 -"Fifth Annual Alumni Panel Discussion" for CRLS Jrs and Srs at CRLS during first and second block for CRLS Juniors and Seniors

ALUMUNI REUNION NIGHT: "In the Square" Wednesday, 11/27/2019 from 8:00-12:00 midnight @ Hong Kong Restaurant, 1238 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 Free Hors d’oeuvres. Free Drink to the first 100!

HOMECOMING FOOTBALL GAME: Thursday, 11/28/2019 – CRLS vs Somerville at Russel Field @ 10am, Cambridge (Tickets available at Gate)

ALUMNI SOCCER GAME: Friday, 11/29/2019 – Danehy Field 4, starting at 10:00am

REUNIONS:

ALUMUNI REUNION NIGHT: "In the Square" Wednesday, 11/27/2019 from 8:00-12:00 midnight @ Hong Kong Restaurant, 1238 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 Free Hors d’oeuvres. Free Drink to the first 100!

LINKS:
Alumni Website: http://www.crlsalumni.org/
EventBrite Homecoming 2019: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chls-crls-and-rindge-tech-2019-homecoming-tickets-80188769769
Contact: Andy Farrar: af@handsontoys.com

November 13, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 431-432: November 12, 2019

Episode 431 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 12, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 12, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Municipal election results; effectiveness of slates; role of major issues (if any); what’s next. Hosts: Robert Winters, Patrick Barrett [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 432 – Cambridge InsideOut: Nov 12, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Nov 12, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Election last details; Harvard Square Zoning Petition; where do we go from here. Hosts: Robert Winters, Patrick Barrett [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

November 4, 2019

The Last Thing on their Minds – Nov 4, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

The Last Thing on their Minds – Nov 4, 2019 Cambridge City Council meeting

CountdownThis is your classic night-before-Election-Day City Council meeting where Council business places a distant second behind concerns about having all their incumbency protection ducks in a row. If this meeting goes beyond 6:15pm it will likely be because they were forced to listen to the repetitive whining of Public Comment. Anyway, here is my very short list of interesting items on this very short agenda:

Manager’s Agenda #3. A communication transmitted from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the creation of a new municipal Renewable Energy and Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) Reduction Revolving Fund (“Revolving Fund”) to serve the City of Cambridge’s (“City”) municipal energy aggregation, and adoption of the proposed new ordinance, Chapter 3.24, entitled “Departmental Revolving Funds.”

From the Manager’s letter: "The Aggregation adder is expected to raise approximately $650,000 annually, or a total of $1.3 million during the current supplier contract period (January 2019 – December 2020)." Proposed uses are: (a) Invest $1.3 million in a solar energy project located on a municipal building; and (b) Deposit income earned from the sale of generated Net Metering Credits annually into the Revolving Fund. Those funds would subsequently be used to finance other solar energy/renewable energy projects and all resulting GHG reductions would be attributed to the Aggregation’s participants.

Seems like a reasonable plan of action.

Charter Right #1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff on determining the most appropriate signage and messaging that would best educate cyclists on the importance of following traffic laws, particularly stopping at red lights, for their own safety and the safety of other cyclists and pedestrians.

30 out of 31 Communications in which cyclists recoil in horror because a City Council Order from last week suggested "signage and messaging that would best educate cyclists on the importance of following traffic laws, particularly stopping at red lights, for their own safety and the safety of other cyclists and pedestrians."

Only in Cambridge would a resolution calling for enhanced safety yield an avalanche of protest. The turf wars continue.

Resolution #5. Congratulations to Sekazi K. Mtingwa.   Councillor Simmons

Sekazi and I worked together at MIT. I did the math and he did the physics in the MIT Concourse program. I’m glad to see him getting the recognition.

Brattle RoundaboutOrder #3. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the Council by the end of this term on progress toward identifying a source of funding and a timetable for the design and construction of a modern roundabout at the Brattle-Sparks-Craigie intersection, to share the consultant’s 2017-18 report on the feasibility of a modern roundabout, and to schedule a community meeting in early 2020 to further discuss this project.   Vice Mayor Devereux, Councillor Zondervan, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Carlone

I don’t know whether or not this is the best alternative for this intersection but it is an interesting proposal. I don’t like the way it "pedestrianizes" cyclists and I would likely just ride through the roundabout with the rest of the traffic. It’s a bit strange that the Council Order calls for a source of funding and a timetable for the design and construction prior to there being any decision on even doing such a redesign, but it’s fair to say that this isn’t the first instance of engineering via politics by this Council.

Order #5. Resolution in support of the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW’S demands for a fair contract now.   Councillor Siddiqui, Mayor McGovern, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mallon

Finish your thesis, kids. There are better opportunities than being an ABD (All But Dissertation) graduate student. I’ll add that it still seems funny that the United Auto Workers are representing Harvard Graduate students.

99 Items Awaiting Report (sung to the tune of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall")

Wouldn’t it be just marvelous if one of these weeks one of the councillors simply asked the manager to run through the list and say (a) which items he has no intention of reporting (possibly because it’s either moot or ridiculous); (b) which items somebody somewhere is actually working on; and (c) which items he considers to be timely and important. For example, should we all be waiting with bated breath on the future of wood-fired ovens or electronic device usage by City-elected officials? I thought that the request for "a comprehensive, independent planning, and parking study of the neighborhood and use of the First Street Garage" had already been completed. Would it be so difficult to report on the "feasibility of allowing small businesses to host live acoustic music performances without a license?" Can anyone shed any light on the proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance that has apparently gone missing? – Robert Winters

November 1, 2019

Follow the Money – Cambridge City Council Campaign Receipts 2019

Filed under: 2019 election,Cambridge,campaign finance,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:00 pm

Why do labor unions pour so much money into City Council campaign coffers?

Money![Originally posted Aug 15, updated periodically] – One thing I have always found puzzling is the amount of money donated to the campaign accounts of incumbent city councillors. I suppose this could be interpreted as financial support for those who have supported unions in their noble quest for better wages, benefits, and working conditions, but the fact is that all incumbents and challengers appear to share this sentiment. So perhaps it’s something different. There is a longstanding pattern of labor representatives being recruited by some of the larger real estate developers to speak in favor of new development – supposedly because of the jobs involved, but that always struck me as too simplistic. Many of the people who control the funds of these political action committees are, to say the least, politically connected.

There’s also the matter of political contributions from people tied to real estate development. This is always difficult to evaluate because of the simple fact that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to determine motive. There are people who have been generous charitable contributors for ages who also happen to own and/or develop Cambridge real estate. Are their contributions related to their real estate interests or not?

Of course, there’s also the matter of whether or not contributions come from Cambridge residents. It’s not always easy to draw conclusions from this – primarily because some candidates have family and friends scattered across the rest of the state and the country.

Here’s a revised account of the (a) Cambridge contributions, (b) union contributions, (c) real estate contributions (as best as I could discern), and (d) total of union and real estate money contributed over this election cycle starting from Feb 1, 2018 through the latest data available for all City Council candidates (notes: – receipts include loans from candidates to their campaigns; refunds deducted if clearly a refund):

Table of reported City Council campaign receipts (Feb 1, 2018 - present) - Total, Cambridge, Unions, Real Estate - updated Nov 15, 11:15am
Candidate (and PACs)ReceiptsCambridgePctunionsPctReal EstatePctunions+REPct
Total $669,682.15 $424,293.5563.4% $41,250.006.2% $67,751.0010.1% $109,001.0016.3%
McGovern, Marc C. $102,962.21 $44,418.0043.1% $12,050.0011.7% $30,200.0029.3% $42,250.0041.0%
Simmons, E. Denise $63,371.19 $30,751.1948.5% $6,250.009.9% $20,100.0031.7% $26,350.0041.6%
Toomey, Timothy J., Jr. $55,361.68 $31,048.5856.1% $4,600.008.3% $10,750.0019.4% $15,350.0027.7%
Mallon, Alanna $41,195.25 $27,612.2567.0% $6,450.0015.7% $1,900.004.6% $8,350.0020.3%
Siddiqui, Sumbul $30,064.68 $18,186.6860.5% $4,250.0014.1% $350.001.2% $4,600.0015.3%
Musgrave, Adriane $41,308.35 $20,624.3549.9% $3,700.009.0% $600.001.5% $4,300.0010.4%
Kelley, Craig A. $33,504.00 $26,772.0079.9% $2,500.007.5% $1,650.004.9% $4,150.0012.4%
ABC - PAC $24,259.26 $20,207.2383.3% $ -0.0% $1,866.007.7% $1,866.007.7%
Carlone, Dennis $32,173.00 $25,698.0079.9% $500.001.6% $250.000.8% $750.002.3%
Mednick, Risa $19,237.00 $13,854.0072.0% $500.002.6% $ - 0.0% $500.002.6%
Azeem, Burhan $13,199.35 $10,494.3579.5% $450.003.4% $35.000.3% $485.003.7%
Williams, Nicola A. $27,272.59 $20,413.5274.8% $ -0.0% $ 50.000.2%$ 50.000.2%
Akiba, Sukia $3,000.00 $980.0032.7% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
BikeSafety-PAC $3,230.00 $1,905.0059.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
CCC - PAC $18,805.00 $17,925.0095.3% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
CResA - PAC $2,905.00 $2,905.00100.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
Franklin, Charles $31,321.55 $20,253.5564.7% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Kopon, Derek Andrew $8,203.71 $6,817.6683.1% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Levy, Ilan S. $ 450.00 $ 450.00100.0% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
McNary, Jeffery $ - $ - - $ -- $ - - $ - -
Moree, Gregg J. $ 1,500.00 $ 1,500.00100.0% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Nolan, Patricia M. $21,961.23 $13,555.0061.7% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
ORC - PAC $1,992.00 $1,892.0095.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0% $ -0.0%
Pitkin, John $14,022.00 $12,122.0086.4% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Simon, Ben $12,255.33 $6,742.0055.0% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Sobrinho-Wheeler, Jivan $25,331.77 $18,337.1972.4% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Zondervan, Quinton $40,796.00 $28,829.0070.7% $ -0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%

Source: Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF)

ABC-PAC: “A Better Cambridge Political Action Committee”
BikeSafety-PAC: “Cambridge Bicycle Safety Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee”
CCC-PAC: “Cambridge Citizens Coalition Political Action Committee”
CResA-PAC: “Democracy for Cambridge Political Action Committee” – Cambridge Residents Alliance
ORC-PAC: “Our Revolution Cambridge Political Action Committee”

2019 Cambridge City Council Campaign Bank Reports

Filed under: 2019 election,Cambridge,campaign finance,City Council — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:51 pm

The following table shows the summary bank reports (Feb 2018 to present) for 2019 Cambridge City Council candidates and active local political action committees involved in the municipal election. These reports are updated at the middle and at the end of every month. You can sort by any of the fields shown by clicking on the field name – one click ascending and second click descending. #1 Votes and $/Vote fields added Nov 10 and will be updated as bills continue to be paid.

CandidateToStartReceiptsExpendBalance#1 Votes$/VoteNotes
PAC - ABC10/31/190.0021084.2716770.494313.78--A Better Cambridge
PAC - CCC10/31/190.0016900.2411739.355160.89--Cambridge Citizens Coalition
PAC - CResA10/31/190.002522.70735.951786.75--Cambridge Residents Alliance
PAC - Cambr. Bike Safety07/15/190.000.000.000.00--Cambridge Bike Safety
PAC - Our Revolution Cambridge10/31/190.001427.000.001427.00--filed 10/9/19 w/OCPF
Akiba, Sukia10/31/190.003000.031738.181261.85362 $4.80
Azeem, Burhan10/31/190.0012979.5811938.161041.42959 $12.45new candidate, May 7
Carlone, Dennis10/31/1910088.5829068.3322556.5416600.371478 $15.26
Franklin, Charles10/31/190.0030297.7127037.453260.26323 $83.71new candidate, Mar 5
Kelley, Craig10/31/194951.6529149.2026458.097642.761422 $18.61
Kopon, Derek10/31/190.009047.277973.841073.43493 $16.17new candidate, July 2
Levy, Ilan10/31/19-44.32555.71432.1379.26110 $3.93
Mallon, Alanna10/31/195380.4540515.3738248.677647.151256 $30.45refund deducted
McGovern, Marc10/31/196376.1796408.1481075.1421709.171619 $50.08$600 refund deducted
McNary, Jeffery10/31/190.000.000.000.0077 $0.00will not raise/expend funds
Mednick, Risa10/31/190.0016955.5615255.451700.11244 $62.52new candidate, July 15
Moree, Gregg10/31/190.001500.001427.1072.9047 $30.36
Musgrave, Adriane10/31/19474.6738370.1633149.405695.43726 $45.66
Nolan, Patty10/31/190.0020012.7414878.575134.171683 $8.84new candidate, June 11
Pitkin, John10/31/190.0012648.975519.807129.17536 $10.30new candidate, July 17
Siddiqui, Sumbul10/31/199334.0530183.3122895.9316621.432516 $9.10
Simmons, Denise10/31/197595.5053626.6235370.1725851.952006 $17.63
Simon, Ben10/31/190.0012145.958787.403358.55294 $29.89new candidate, Apr 2
Sobrinho-Wheeler, Jivan C.10/31/190.0024407.5619930.524477.041321 $15.09new candidate, Mar 11
Toomey, Tim10/31/1910024.4955361.8041349.6724036.621729 $23.92$15,000 repaid loan deducted
Williams, Nicola A.10/31/190.0027874.6324933.802940.83631 $39.51new candidate, Mar 12
Zondervan, Quinton10/31/191279.6640775.9939855.032200.621380 $28.88
Summaries of potential 2019 City Council campaign bank reports. Adjustments to the totals have been made to reflect returned donations and other factors. [updated Nov 5, 2019 at 4:38pm]

Campaign Finance Reports – 2019 City Council (updated Nov 5, 4:38pm)

Vote!

October 30, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 429-430: October 29, 2019

Episode 429 – Cambridge InsideOut: Oct 29, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 29, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Election coming; voter success; dirty politics, warring slates, and inflammatory issues; “Who defines ‘the issues’?”. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 430 – Cambridge InsideOut: Oct 29, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 29, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: dog people; awaiting report; the “gift” of the Foundry; renewable energy, municipal utilities, cost effectiveness; “weaponizing” the issue of campaign donations; shaming as a political strategy. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

October 27, 2019

Nervously Waiting and Wading through the Campaign Mailers – October 28, 2019 City Council Agenda

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council — Tags: , , , , — Robert Winters @ 11:15 pm

Nervously Waiting and Wading through the Campaign Mailers – October 28, 2019 City Council Agenda

Ballot BoxHere are some items of interest up for discussion/approval/referral this week:

Manager’s Agenda #7. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $350,000 from Free Cash to the Public Investment Fund Library Extraordinary Expenditures account. This appropriation will fund a feasibility study and interior improvements to the Central Square Branch Library.

It’s all feasible. The greater questions are (a) whether the City is willing to substantially redesign the Central Sq. library entrance to make it less of a nuisance, and (b) whether there’s any interest in adding another level or two of parking to the Green Street Garage to meet existing demand and to compensate for losses elsewhere in the Central Square area. My guess is that they’ll do neither.

Manager’s Agenda #9. Transmitting Communication from Louis A. DePasquale, City Manager, relative to the request for two appropriations of $23,000,000 from Free Cash and $7,000,000 from Cambridge Redevelopment Authority for the Foundry project.

The gift that keeps on giving.</sarcasm>

Order #9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff on determining the most appropriate signage and messaging that would best educate cyclists on the importance of following traffic laws, particularly stopping at red lights, for their own safety and the safety of other cyclists and pedestrians.   Councillor Kelley, Councillor Siddiqui, Councillor Carlone

Ensuring cyclists own safety seems like a continuing uphill battle. This past Thursday on my way to teach a lecture I watched two cyclists with no lights ride at around 8:00pm directly across the path of a large truck on Oxford Street below the field of vision of the driver. Near miss.

Order #10. That the City Manager is requested to work with the Community Development Department, the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Department of Public Works to determine what facilities, parking changes, and other improvements to the pavement conditions would be necessary and feasible to make Porter Square and Massachusetts Avenue between Roseland Street and Beech Street a quick-build Complete Street with bus priority.   Mayor McGovern, Councillor Zondervan

I have minimal knowledge of the best remedy for this area. I can, however, show at least one location where paradoxically the removal of an exclusive bus priority lane would actually make bus traffic move more quickly. Beware of one-size-fits-all solutions.

Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Co-Chair and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, for a public hearing held on Sept 24, 2019 to discuss the City policy on sidewalk surface treatments as discussed in Policy Order #16 of July 30, 2019.

I like all-brick sidewalks except when I have to shovel them after a snowstorm. Then again, in my neighborhood when an asphalt patch of a concrete sidewalk is made it can take over 5 years to restore the sidewalk. Or never. Especially if the cut was made by Eversource/Neverfinish.

Communications & Reports #2. A communication was received from Mayor McGovern, transmitting a report, "The Kind of City which is Desirable and Obtainable:" A brief history of zoning in Cambridge.

I love anecdotal and oral histories. They add to the story. As for the political point attempting to be made here, never forget the age-old advice that "correlation does not imply causation." Cambridge zoning was initially done to simply acknowledge and codify what was already built. One definitely gets the impression that the current mayor wants to obliterate existing zoning primarily to facilitate a specific proposal. If you start with a conclusion you can nearly always cobble together a narrative to support it. I am far more interested in the here and now and whether specific modifications to existing zoning might be appropriate to achieve best outcomes, e.g. transit-oriented development, moderate increases in density, and adjusting the table of uses to reflect present-day uses in commercial zones. – Robert Winters

October 23, 2019

Cambridge InsideOut Episodes 427-428: October 22, 2019

Episode 427 – Cambridge InsideOut: Oct 22, 2019 (Part 1)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 22, 2019 at 5:30pm. Topics: Election coming; election systems, district vs. at-large; Candidate page updates; slates & endorsing organizations; incumbency protection and feeders; how to vote a PR ballot. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]


Episode 428 – Cambridge InsideOut: Oct 22, 2019 (Part 2)

This episode was broadcast on Oct 22, 2019 at 6:00pm. Topics: Candidate forums; Cambridge Club event; some Plan E history; Devereux piece; myths about single-family zoning and density; Green Line Extension; growing the metropolis. Hosts: Judy Nathans, Robert Winters [On YouTube] [audio]

[Materials used in these episodes]

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